7/12/12

Hey everyone; this is my first post.

Context:
I'm a student who has transferred to a West-coast target university from community college, and am currently a rising senior.

Being that my GPA does not transfer, I only attained a 3.0 GPA during last fall, and a 3.4 during this spring 2012 semester -- bringing my cumulative GPA to a 3.22.

I've managed to attain an investment banking summer analyst intern position at a very lean, small to mid-cap IT M&A shop, with whom I'm currently finishing a 10-week program. During the spring semester, I interned at a large tech-focused angel investor organization.

My dilemma is as follows:
Full-time recruiting begins this fall. My ideal goal is to land an IBD position within a BB or a large boutique firm -- covering the tech industry. Now, with my lower-than-desired GPA and only one ibanking experience, do I try to recruit for a full-time position this fall and (in all likelihood) settle for a smaller firm,

OR

do I stay an extra semester (thus graduating Winter 2013 instead of Spring) and instead focus on significantly raising my GPA, gaining a (spring and) summer internship for Summer 2013 along with networking the shit out of these top banks and fellow peers in order to strongly compete during the Fall 2013 recruiting season?

Note: There's NOTHING more I want than to work for a BB and work on large-cap tech deals with great coworkers.

What do you guys suggest?

Thank you for your time/input! Looking forward to further conversation.

Comments (51)

7/12/12

There is nothing wrong with staying an additional semester, especially for the reasons you gave. I'm doing it myself and it's no big deal; in fact, I'm glad I did.

Investment Banking Interview Course

3/3/13

Ya do it.

Just make sure if (when) they ask why you took an extra semester, you have an answer besides "so I could qualify for another summer internship and take advantage of recruiting becuase I didn't have a job offer last year." Saying that might raise some flags. So if you do, maybe add a minor in something, plan to take the CFA level 1/GMAT, or something along those lines.

3/3/13

Do the double major, and if you still aren't satisfied with your prospects do a thesis masters degree in computer science or applied maths (and make your thesis something finance-related like asset pricing).

Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate: "To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods."

3/3/13

I stayed an extra year and a semester. Each time semester I stayed, I made sure to focus on landing a great intern role and maintaining a high GPA. It is all how you tell your story...

John C

3/3/13

sorry, typo "emphasis in finance and accounting"

3/3/13

why do you have to take an extra semester? why do you not just add most classes each semester

3/3/13

It really depends on your school's OCR schedule, but usually:

  • FT recruitment happens in the fall.
  • SA recruitment happens during early spring semester (January-March).

And again, FT starting dates vary by firm, but I know quite a number of people who are starting in July.

And re: your final question about staying an extra semester, here's one piece of advice: Don't try to time the market. No one knows where exactly the market is going to be, and your guess is just as good as mine. In other words, don't stay an extra semester - it's a waste of time. Just focus on sharpening your skills, strengthening your GPA (at least 3.5), and landing summer positions.

Investment Banking Interview Course

3/3/13

I'm in the same boat. Would love to know as well

3/3/13

i've heard that people have done it before. you'd have to have a good reason for staying an extra year. some people might not be receptive to you saying "I didn't get the full-time job I wanted". What would you say? I think that saying you want to pursue a 1 year master's or something might be a good idea

7/12/12
Nabooru:

There is nothing wrong with staying an additional semester, especially for the reasons you gave. I'm doing it myself and it's no big deal; in fact, I'm glad I did.

Is that right? Also: do firms recruit students who are graduating in winter for immediate hire upon graduation? Or does it only apply to spring graduates? (I would assume the former)

"I want the last check I write to bounce."

3/3/13

Do you think attaining a PhD would be better than a Masters if I decide to get into quant trading? Is it even worth it? I am VERY reluctant to take this route btw.

3/3/13

please PM me

3/3/13

I know some quant traders who don't have graduate school. The only ones who move up into management are the ones that have PhDs. That's only what I've seen, though.

You shouldn't ever do a PhD just to get a job, it's a long and tough process that takes up your life while your peers are making money. Only do a PhD if you truly love the topic, or you'll probably end up dropping out of it.

Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate: "To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods."

3/3/13

Exactly what I was thinking!!

7/12/12

I'm not sure and I believe it also depends on the company but I think if you're going for a large company with a structured analyst program you'll start at the same time the other new hires do regardless of when you're hired.

3/3/13

How much does an extra semester cost? I've never really understood why people do this. If it's concern over explaining unemployment, why not go travel/teach/volunteer with monkeys/work for a startup/whatever life enriching activity?

If you absolutely must be in school, why not go get a masters or something? You're going to be delaying your start date by a year anyway and paying tuition...might as well get something else out of it. Probably makes it easier to explain too...

3/3/13

I stayed in school for an extra 6 months to get a second major and do level 1 of CFA and I'm glad I did. Luckily my school let me keep my scholarship and I was able to get part-time IT work, so I guess it would also depend on your financial situation.

3/3/13

Though it is not a problem at all, if you just don't talk about it, they won't even know.

3/3/13

If it extends the timeline for gaining acceptance to a BB or any other finance position, then yes.

It's easier to get hired as a student than as a graduate, utilize campus recruiting. Alot of my friends are trying to find jobs after they graduated and it's just a longer, harder, & more frustrating path.

3/3/13

Could also add a summer class to make sure you graduate on time.

A friend of mine was able to declare a new major and a minor at the end of her summer semester and will graduate on time.

3/3/13

You should start networking. Now. Since you're a sophomore, you've got plenty of time to network. By the time SA recruitment season rolls around, you should be in good shape if you built solid relationships.

3/3/13

same here, any info?

3/3/13

You bring up an interesting point. Doing a one year masters wouldn't actually be a way to delay graduation - I would have to graduate undergrad this year to be eligible for any type of one year masters program. But that is another option I have been contemplating as an alternative to doing a summer analyst internship in 2015.

If you had the choice of delaying graduation for a SA or attending a 1 year masters program and then recruiting for FT after finishing the masters, which would you choose? It seems plausible I could snag a few SA offers this year given previous internships (summered at an EB and prior to that I interned at a large HF). It might be a gamble to extend graduation solely in hopes of getting a return offer from a summer analyst internship, though.

At the same time - grad school seems like a big commitment versus extending undergrad. Having said that, my grades from undergrad are mediocre and cold hurt me down the line for business school and PE recruiting. Would it make more sense to educationally re-brand (I go to a complete nontarget) by building an alternative transcript, or is it easier to leverage the banking experience I already have into another SA role? If I choose to delay graduation I will pick up a double major, which is the story I am using for interviews

3/3/13
mehtal:

How much does an extra semester cost? I've never really understood why people do this. If it's concern over explaining unemployment, why not go travel/teach/volunteer with monkeys/work for a startup/whatever life enriching activity?

If you absolutely must be in school, why not go get a masters or something? You're going to be delaying your start date by a year anyway and paying tuition...might as well get something else out of it. Probably makes it easier to explain too...

in Europe, school system is pretty much free you know..

3/3/13

Hey, sorry for the delay in responding. Personally, I would choose to delay graduation to do SA recruiting again. Hope things worked out for you.

3/3/13
animalz:
mehtal:

How much does an extra semester cost? I've never really understood why people do this. If it's concern over explaining unemployment, why not go travel/teach/volunteer with monkeys/work for a startup/whatever life enriching activity?

If you absolutely must be in school, why not go get a masters or something? You're going to be delaying your start date by a year anyway and paying tuition...might as well get something else out of it. Probably makes it easier to explain too...

in Europe, school system is pretty much free you know..

Don't think the OP is in Europe but I could be wrong. Either way, if you've finished all the necessary credits and you're basically just thinking of sitting around for another semester, for a chance at an internship, might as well do something arguably more constructive, right?

3/3/13
mehtal:
animalz:
mehtal:

How much does an extra semester cost? I've never really understood why people do this. If it's concern over explaining unemployment, why not go travel/teach/volunteer with monkeys/work for a startup/whatever life enriching activity?

If you absolutely must be in school, why not go get a masters or something? You're going to be delaying your start date by a year anyway and paying tuition...might as well get something else out of it. Probably makes it easier to explain too...

in Europe, school system is pretty much free you know..

Don't think the OP is in Europe but I could be wrong. Either way, if you've finished all the necessary credits and you're basically just thinking of sitting around for another semester, for a chance at an internship, might as well do something arguably more constructive, right?

i agree with you 200%
the only thing is that he might have better access to the recruiters through his uni career service, which might be in some cases the crucial part

3/3/13

Having a good job> having a $hitty job/no job

3/3/13

Are you at a target? I'd say an MSF or MiM is probably better.

3/3/13

As above, try not to take an extra semester - finish on time or do a single major.

3/3/13

thanks for the very insightful and quick responses! I'll try my best to network as much as possible. I know you are right about the market thing but just trying to plan ahead-Let's say theoretically (senior year) i don't have any luck looking for a FT in the fall.

do i a) settle for corp fin or whatever..
b) try to grab a SA position? If i don't get hired it would then be ok to just pick up a few classes while going into fall recruitment right?

also call me a noob what does OCR stand for exactly

edit: i am also local to nyc so it might be possible for me- do banks ever offer part-time positions or internships for mid semester?

3/3/13

Add me to the boat :P

...

3/3/13
futurectdoc:

Are you at a target? I'd say an MSF or MiM is probably better.

I am from a nontarget. (state school) so the cost of tuition isn't too much of a burden.

3/3/13
seville:
futurectdoc:

Are you at a target? I'd say an MSF or MiM is probably better.

I am from a nontarget. (state school) so the cost of tuition isn't too much of a burden.

At that point you should definitely go for an MSF, the opportunities will be a lot better that way.

3/3/13

OP have you come across any other advice on the subject, most of what i've been suggested by those in the industry is hold off and keep looking for something FT.. i'm in the same position as you and have been debating doing this if I receive no offer in the by end of Jan/mid Feb?

3/3/13

what's the reason for the second major? With either of those you would be fine for recruiting

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

3/3/13

Where do you see yourself in the long term? Are you looking at IB? S&T? If you haven't decided yet, you still have time.

But the broader and more important question, however, is: Do you want to be in finance for the long run? And if the answer is yes, why? If you can't answer these questions in a heartbeat (or you hesitate), then you REALLY need to think about why you want to do finance. (Is it for the money alone? Because if it is, you'll be miserable, especially when the market is in pain right now, and bonuses are down to almost nothing.)

Although no one knows where the market will be five years from now (or even tomorrow), I am quite sure that the financial industry and Wall Street will never be the same again. And investment banking will no longer be what we have known it to be. With that in mind, is finance really where you want to be? If you start seriously thinking about this now as a sophomore, you'll save yourself a lot of grief later on in life (and even senior year) when you're trying to decide in what direction you want to go.

That said, I would start exploring different types of jobs within finance (not just IB, trading, etc.) if you do decide that finance is where you want to go. Also, take some corporate finance and accounting courses. If senior year you don't land a FT position, your best bet would probably be to do something finance-related. (corporate finance or "industry," management consulting, etc.)

And honestly, I think you're worrying too much. For now, just focus on getting a good sophomore summer internship (doesn't necessarily have to be finance-related), networking with people in the industry, and figuring out if finance is really for you.

3/3/13

Generally, it's a good thing. You are able to network for junior/sophomore internships (which are easier to land) instead of FT positions (where you are competing with analysts from boutique firms and summer analysts who are shopping offers).

I know a few people who benefited from the process. Two are in banking as a direct result of the extra semester.

Incoming Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Master
Literally a problem, solve for both X and Y, please and thank you.
Hugh Myron: "Are there any guides on here for getting a top girlfriend? Think banker/lawyer/doctor. I really don't want to go mid-tier"

3/3/13

That's pretty good. I thought that it puts you behind the pack since you graduate at an awkward time in the year?

3/3/13

literally no one in here has actually answered the question

anyway, you will do 1, 2, 3, 4, 4.5
you will begin recruiting during winter of 4
during interviews, explain your situation- however, when filling in applications, just tick the box saying you're a junior- simplified the process. shouldn't be much of a problem- firms don't even ask about this kind of stuff to be honest

Wu noAi re

3/3/13
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