Urgent: Tough decision regarding choosing internship/FT offer/major. Please help

brutalglide's picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 542

Hi all,

I'm currently an Econ grad with a low GPA (2.9-3.2) from a top public (UMich/UVa/Berkeley/UCLA). I have solid internship experience (F500 PWM, top F500 tech firm business analyst, small VC advisory firm, BB MO).

I recently graduated this month, but was planning on taking extra classes this spring semester at a community college to finish up my 2nd major in math. Although I've already graduated with an econ major, I'm able to add another major to my degree by finishing up this class. Additionally, I have a job offer with a BB MO for full-time that starts in mid July. Obviously, I've been hoping to break into IB, but despite multiple interviews/final-rounds and extensive networking, nothing has come through for me yet.

However, I recently was offered an unpaid equity research internship (flexible start date) at a decent MM/boutique firm. The MD told me that if something opened up, the internship could lead to a full-time job, however he didn't want to make any promises. From a monetary perspective, it's definitely manageable to intern unpaid for 2 months. I feel that it will be a good opportunity and I'll get some good work experience.

This presents a very tough situation for me. On one hand, if I start the internship in the next week/two weeks, I wouldn't be able to finish my math major because I'd be interning instead of taking the class. However, I'd be able to intern for about 8-10 weeks and still be able to take my FT BB MO gig if I didn't get an offer after the ER internship. If I started the internship after I finished up my math major, I'd only be able to intern for 3 weeks before my FT BB MO job started. So realistically, I wouldn't be able to take the FT BB MO if I wanted to intern in ER. Or if I wanted my FT BB MO job, I wouldn't be able to do the internship in ER. However, in this particular case, I'd be able to finish up my math major.

I've been looking for FT IB gigs for over a year now, and although every once in awhile I have a chance, nothing has come through yet and I'm starting to question if it will ever happen. Additionally, given all my shortcomings (ie. low GPA), I feel that as time passes, it's only getting harder and harder to break into IB. However, it's really hard to give up a decent FT BB MO gig and/or my math major for a "chance" at a full-time job in ER. I may end up jobless if I took the ER gig and never got a chance for an offer.

If anyone has any advice, please advise as I only have less than a week to make this decision. Any help/advice is greatly appreciated.

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Comments (10)

May 3, 2011

I would do the ER job. I get the impression, and obviously you can tell better having been through it, that they are saying that to hedge themselves in case you suck. If you do well, that internship should become full time. I think it's a way better opportunity than doing a MO job anywhere. MO CAN lead to something better, but it's such a small chance that I, personally, would not risk it. This is coming from someone that started in OP's and managed to get out of it (luck to answer your question. Yeah, I did really well and busted my ass, but so many others did and it didn't matter in the slightest). The math major will always be there, no matter if you do it now or in a few months. If you feel like you have to be at a BB and a boutique is beneath you, then do the BB MO job. It sounds like you are okay from a school standpoint, so I wouldn't stress about landing A FT gig if the ER thing didn't work out. I can't stress this enough, OP's (MO) kills you, or rather, makes it incredibly tougher for you to really get anywhere. Hope this helps. Good luck.

May 3, 2011

Have you ever considered going to a boutique IB firm? Most of them will take a look at you with a major in that range. A family member of mine is at a boutique getting valuable experience in IB, the lack of a training program does make it challenging but I feel if IB is your ultimate job you should work within IB even if at a boutique. The former of my brother now works for GS in IB given strong references...just a thought.

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May 3, 2011

I think the equity research position is, like stated above, a 2 month trial to see if they like you.

May 4, 2011

I am in a similar situation as you. I have a couple of q's for you:

-What is your major you graduated with (helps to know the worth of the additional math degree)

-Even if you need it, how valuable is a math degree from a CC (in BB recruiter eyes)?

I know you are very caught up over this but since I'm a third party I can lay it out simply:

If you take the ER Int you have ten weeks to give it your all for a front office job at a solid MM, if you fail you still have MO at a BB (which you could maybe go to B school after a couple years and repackage yourself for an associate position if you want to go FO)-- and all you have to give up for this is a couple months getting a second math degree at a CC?

I hope this makes it clear- take the ER position and kill it. You'll get the offer!...and even if you dont you still have a BB MO in your back pocket.

May 4, 2011

Its not for some math major at a CC. Itd be a math major from a top public. My school didnt offer the course I needed in the spring and actually told me to take the class at the CC and they would have the class transfer over, therefore letting me finish my math major at the top public.

My major concern with the ER internship is that it may not be that legit / I'd be giving up my math major or FT BB MO job for a "small" chance. I initially contacted an analyst for networking for IB jobs and we talked a little over the phone. The analyst worked in ER and decided to not only forward me to the IB division of the MM but the MD for ER as well. The MD then contacted me with a few random questions and asked me to let him know when I'd be in NYC. I didn't email him for a week or so after that as I didn't have any plans to go to NYC, but then he reached out to me asking if I still wanted to intern and basically offered me the unpaid internship even though I never had any sort of official interview.

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May 4, 2011

Okay I see, sorry I didnt catch that from your OP...Then your first major (or already completed major) is very important. If it is a major that would be good for an FO role, then maybe just stick with it and take the ER. If you really feel like you need to finish the math then leave the ER on the table (but bear in mind you are giving up a probable chance for an FO role FT vs. a math degree and an upfill battle to the FO from the MO after). It certainly is a predicament.

If I were you, I would take the risk of the ER, work as hard as I can and see what happens. I'd just rather have that chance at FO now than a two year stint in MO and a fight to get out.

You know, you could always lay out your situation to that MD and make him give you some opinion. Just explain it and ask him what he thinks. I have done that before and gotten straight answers. It'll also have the positive side effect of giving you further insight into how likely you are to get the offer at the end of the internship.

May 4, 2011

I don't think a community college math degree will add significant value to an econ degree at a top public. It's apples and oranges. I would take the full 8-10 week summer internship at equity research. At least ER is a front office position. Speaking from someone who is in mid-office, I've seen how difficult it is to move up from it and frankly the best path is to go to bschool if you desire.

May 3, 2011

Regardless of where the degree is from, it makes more sense to do the ER internship. Worst case scenario, you will not get a FT gig out of it but will still be able to take the MO role.

The MO role is still in play no matter what you do, so don't think about it in making this decision.

The decision comes down to whether or not you want to take a chance at the ER role by skipping the math degree from a top public by way of one class at a CC.

I say take the chance on the ER role and see what happens. Best case scenario you get a FT gig out of it. Worst case scenario you take the MO job at a BB and do that class at a later date. I'm sure wherever the job is will have CC around or online options for you to be able to finish the math major while working at the BB. All you would really be doing is prolonging the degree like a semester/quarter.

Do what you will, but it's obvious from where I stand where the cost benefit analysis ends up. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

May 4, 2011

I don't understand half the posts in this thread. Nobody seems to read at all. I have ALREADY graduated with an econ major from a top public. I CAN finish my math major from top public as well if I finish one more course (which I can take at some random CC/4 year university; online classes are not an option).

However, I was just doing some research and I won't be able to finish my math major if I don't do it now. To explain, not a single community college offers the course (the math class is far too high level; I looked up every CC for where my BB MO FT offer was). Additionally, there are no 4 year universities that offer the course during night (if I was to potentially finish my major in the fall/next year while I was working my FT job).

Basically, if I take the ER internship (for a chance at a FT offer), then that means I have to lose my math major from top public (in addition to my econ major that I already finished) or lose my FT BB MO offer.


May 11, 2011