What are the chances for an Asian international student for IBD?

Hello Monkeys,

I just wanted to ask if my chances of making it into IBD as an Asian international student were okay or not.

It's my first post and I hope this is not a dumb post as I didn't see many posts relating to what I am asking now.

To provide some background about myself, I am an international student from Asia. I went to a private boarding school on the East Coast for high school and have made my way into USC's Marshall school.

I finished up my freshman year and took a leave of absence for two years due to my mandatory military service. I have served in the Army branch within my country's military and have done some... interesting stuff.

I was stationed at the forefront of action, then got moved into being a drill instructor, and during my last few months got some experience doing HR stuff within the military. I was discharged as a sergeant and I am making my way back to USC this fall.

I had no knowledge about the finance sector at all until I came to USC where I decided to transfer over to Marshall. My prior major didn't have much of a future in my opinion and business seemed to have a lot of opportunities for me.

I have done two internships so far; one for a brokerage firm in Hong Kong and one for a big 4 accounting firm's M&A stuff before my sophomore year in college.

I have read up a lot on about the finance sector and got really interested in IBD. I know a lot of top-tier college students are also pursuing for a career in finance/IBD/banks but I wanted to know with all the information that I have provided what my chances were in getting into IBD.

I realize that USC(Marshall) does not have that big of a presence on the East Coast(NYC) but is there a decent chance? I am unaware of that many Asian internationals making into Wall Street and IBD. When I say Asian internationals, I am not talking about Asian Americans due to the Visa sponsorship problem.

Any food for thought and advice?

Sorry for the long post.
Have a good day and thank you for reading this far.


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Comments (19)

Jul 19, 2017

I am very certain that you come from Korea, and I have seen many Korean students with military experience going into IBD, and in my opinion, interviewer would love to hear your military experience, because that is interesting and that means you can survive under pressure and extreme situations, so this is your bonus points and you should tell a good story out of it. Definitely it would be hard to break into IBD because 1. you don't count as minority and can't go to those diversity program, 2. I have seen more female international Asians in IBD than male, 3. you are not American and you require sponsorship which is very hard to get considering the lottery basis now (it was much easier to get sponsorship a few years earlier). I have even heard of BBs not sponsoring international students given that over 70% of them can't get Visa after one year of working. So you definitely have to figure your way into banks that claim to "not sponsor", and also try to find banks that still sponsor. HK BBs are good too and you can try there, they pay the same and HK has much lower tax and they reimburse you for 200K HKD housing each year, which I think you are going to make much more in HK than in US, so definitely try HK as well. So overall, it's hard to quantify how possible it is for you to get into IBD in US, you just have to grind many times--wouldn't be surprised to interview over hundreds of times before getting offers.

I know people have 1 to 3 years of OPT, but no, lots of banks do not want that even you claim you don't need sponsorship for 1 to 3 years (They only accept green card). Trust me, I have been through this process so I know how painful it is. Most of the IBD programs are 2 to 3 years and I can't just use my 3 years of OPT? I know, that is the reality.

    • 2
Jul 17, 2017

First of all, thank you so much for giving advice.

Yes, you are very much correct in getting my home country right. I am from South Korea.

And I also realize that the odds are stacked against me due to the current situation in US politics and that IBD is already ultra-competitive to get into in the first place without my disadvantages of needing a Visa sponsorship.

I have considered the HK BB route but I will try my best to everything possible in my current situation.

Thank you again for providing such a wonderful reply.

Jul 18, 2017

You should qualify for CPT, OPT (1 year afaik) and then, if timed correctly and a company is willing, 2 shots at H1b. Those odds aren't terrible, but it requires a lot of networking, research (re: which companies are willing to sponsor) and a little bit of luck.
While I agree with the post above the situation isn't great but don't give up; many internationals find their way to naturalization via F1->H1b->GC.
If you qualify you could also play the DV lottery while you are in the US and, if you are selected for further processing, could do adjustment of status (AOS).

Jul 17, 2017

Hey Gumball, thanks for the reply!

I have done my own extensive research into the Visa sponsorship and about CPT and OPT and have found the same information as you have provided. Needless to say, thank you for providing this information!

But I have heard from former USC international students who were either in Marshall or Leventhal go back to their country of origin due to not being able to win the lottery albeit the Visa sponsorship they had from their employers.

That's the scariest part. Even if somehow magically I did get an offer from IBD or any prestigious institutions for a full off job in the future, my worst nightmare is to be sent back to my country of origin to work since I couldn't get a Visa since I could not win the lottery system.

But as you have said, I should fight onward. Thank you for your comment Gumball!


Best Response
Jul 18, 2017

the us gov has monthly newsletters and provides every possible ounce of data in a very transparent way. go through the data and calculate your odds. 1x OPT and 2x H1b isn't too bad, there are also other Visa types some companies might consider if they really like you (i.e. L1 after a year).

Count yourself lucky you are able to actually be in the US, use your time efficiently and meet as many companies as possible.
Also: try connecting with companies from your home country who have a head office in the US - there must be quite a few. Here you also have the cultural and language advantage.

Good luck.

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Jul 17, 2017

Thank you for the info! I will definitely look into the monthly newsletters.

I still have three years until I hit the job market so I hope something improves by then or who knows...it might get worse.

I always thought it was a privilege to be able to study abroad in the States. I have lived almost my whole life outside of Korea and have lived mostly in the States. It feels weird that I gotta worry so much about my Visa.... Never realized this until recently...

Jul 18, 2017

International here who also served in the military (Not Korean) on the West Coast. I've seen a fair few upperclassmen internationals sponsored by EB's and a few BB's so it's definitely not impossible.

About the Visa, well life sucks. I'm sure you faced worse challenges in the military, specially if you served as a grunt in an infantry based unit. Atleast you have work authorization in HK, imagine kids coming from China & India who have it much worse than us. Of course most of the internationals in SC are insanely wealthy, so they may not have to deal with the same issues.

Don't set your mind just on IBD. Remember we do not have MM's and boutiques as a backup so apply everywhere and network extensively.

Jul 17, 2017

Hello Work life!

I am so glad that I am meeting someone whose international and from the West Coast! Are you currently working in the finance industry or are you a current college student?

I would like to ask some more questions! It would be of great help if you can answer some questions for me, that is if you have the time.

Thank you,

Jul 18, 2017

Same boat as you bro, incoming sophomore. Most of my knowledge comes from my friends who did not serve in the army (from an international high school, so tons of expats), and have gone through the recruiting process in NY/LA/London.

And of course WSO, I've browsed this website since graduating high school.

Jul 17, 2017

Ah nice. Thank you for the info! Did you apply to some of the sophomore internships at BBs?

Jul 18, 2017

I haven't yet, but I wasn't planning on simply because I'm not diversity. Do you know which banks accept non diversity sophomores?

Jul 17, 2017

I haven't done extensive research but I know MS does? I might be wrong but they have a non-diversity AND diversity program. But I may be wrong.

I am just power-reading through all the valuable posts on this site. I just began this site like two days ago. It makes me feel depressed because international students have it worse than most people who are born here in the States. But I try ha.

Jul 18, 2017

Haven't checked MS yet but I seriously doubt without extensive networking/connections that a non-diversity international sophomore would get a summer offer through online applications.

Honestly I understand the purpose of a Visa system and limiting foreign talent because otherwise a good portion of the entire working population in developing countries will flood the US labor market.

However, what I do not like is the way the system is structured. After spending 4 years and paying obscene tuition rates, I'm pooled in the same lottery as IT services from India/China? I'd wish they split the damm system and also set a higher H1-B minimum salary. In all honesty, while I'm going to give it my best shot, I've accepted and made peace with the fact that I may have to return home.

Jul 17, 2017

I agree with your frustration regarding how the system seems effed up in a lot of ways. I didn't only spend 4 years playing an obscene tuition (I go to USC, where the tuition is one of the highest, HA! I chose it I know haha) but I have ALSO spent FOUR effing years in a private boarding school as well. That's effing eight years in the States and I still get to be put in the same lottery as IT services from India/China.

I even went to a top 10 boarding school in the States. The tuition was pretty damn high. I just feel it's dumb in how this system works for visas. I know I am not entitled to anything and I also know this damn world is unfair.

But I am going to try my best and live like I will die tomorrow to achieve what I want. I fear failing but I fear more that I never try. Gonna try.

    • 1
Jul 18, 2017

Yeap just gotta deal with it. Also, PMed you.

Jul 17, 2017

Got it. PM'd back!

Jul 19, 2017

If they don't sponsor you, at least you got the OPT. Use it to your advantage.

Jul 24, 2017

Can you double major in a STEM-qualifying subject outside of Marshall? As alluded to above, at least that gives you an extra OPT time (an extra 24 months as of now), so 3 years in total from my understanding.

Jul 17, 2017