Went to a non-non-target on an athletic scholarship. BBA in Finance, 3.9 GPA, no bullshit what's my best course of action??

Hey everybody.

I went to a non-non-non-target Mountain West school on a full ride athletic scholarship. I have a BBA in Finance, 3.9 GPA, no clubs or internships because of sports commitments. Don't know a lot of people outside of fellow student athletes, coaches, athletic department folks but I do think I could get some letters of recommendation from some biz/econ professors.

I would love to work in finance/banking in some capacity (not including working in a retail bank branch, to cut off the sarcastic comments). The options I'm considering A) start blasting every finance job listing in Denver or B) try to get into the most reputable MBA program I can. I'd love some honest feedback on what you guys think the best course of action for me is. Thanks! 

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Comments (6)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jun 5, 2021 - 10:49am

Definitely don't do an MBA program. Your best option here would most likely be a MFin program at a target. They are not that difficult to get accepted to and there are number of good ones that have great placements. Additionally, whether you have graduated or not, I would try to get any internship you can ASAP. 

  • VP in S&T - FI
Jun 5, 2021 - 2:17pm

First of all congrats on a great career both academically and athletically.  I was you about 10 years ago (athlete from a non-target graduating with no job or resume) and you are getting a great start just by being on this website.  Here is how I would start.  

1.  Start to learn about different careers in the industry- IB/PE have very little in common with wealth management, S&T, asset management, etc.  Figure out what you think would fit your personality best from the pace and working environment prospective and focus your search there.  You want to cast a wide net but you are going to have a hard time being successful in a job that does not fit you at all.  Most athletes tend to excel in faster paced roles where there is a very concrete scoreboard.    

2. Start to network- If you can find any connection someone has to you reach out and see if they will respond.  There are a lot of ex-athletes in finance, start with the people who played your sport and go from there (does not matter where they went).  Anyone you can find from your school or other schools in the conference, give it a shot.  People will respond to a quick email about yourself and what you are interested in and that you would like to learn a bit more about what they do.  

3.  Leverage the network from the school, the career services people can help put you in touch with alumni looking to help students.  The athletic department folks can help put you in touch with the big donors.  Your school should want you to be successful then you will have more money to donate to them.  

4.  Get something/anything finance related on your resume, you would be amazed how much better your response rate is when you are doing something tangentially related to where you are trying to go.  I have seen a lot of people, myself included, leverage the network and skills gained at a couple of not so great jobs that are not that hard to get into a role that is a great job that people would kill to have.  In some respect you have to work backwards, if you have an industry in mind with high barriers to entry find another role that gets you exposure to people in that industry who you can network with.  Or look around at jobs people who are in that industry have had before moving to that role.      

5. You mentioned wanting to be in Denver, I would focus on any of the major cities on the west coast, there is a bit of a west coast mafia when it comes to finance Denver and west.  People like to take care of their own.    

Jun 5, 2021 - 4:35pm

Just to clarify you've already graduated? If so, and you want to stay in Denver, the network with every boutique IB firm in Denver, there should be at least 2 or 3. Try to get a job there. Grind it out for a year and if you enjoy it stay, and if you want to move up apply for MM firms in NY or regional ones outside of NY. Don't know if there are any large firms in or around Denver but I doubt it. Congrats now you've broken in to MM banking. I've seen this happen plenty of times, and sometimes from there people will move up to a BB or EB once they get their associate promote. The really critical thing is getting that first boutique job and making sure it's at a decent place. Some places say they're boutique IB, but in reality they don't do any IB transactions and act more as a brokerage or consulting firm. 

With regards to the MBA. Without any work experience you won't get into an M7 or T10 MBA program, which is what you need for IB. And even if you did, and I know people who did some tricks to get into a top MBA program with no work experience, you still wouldn't be considered for IB because you'd be underqualified since you have no work experience. The people that I know who did this spent 250k for an MBA, only to be too qualified for an analyst position due to their MBA, but not qualified enough for an associate position because they had no work experience. Ultimately they ended up in middle-office functions and not in IB

Jun 6, 2021 - 5:09pm

As mentioned above, I would shy away from the MBA this early. You will get accepted to plenty of MBA programs with that GPA and athletics, but that does not mean you should attend them. I would look at MS Finance programs / securing internships first before you consider the MBA.

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