What can I do as a high schooler...


I will be a senior in high school soon, I'm located in WA, USA.

If my goal is to work in high finance, something like BB IB, or in something like MBB consulting, what can I do from here?

What colleges should I apply to? If someone goes to a top school, say UPenn, are they "guaranteed" to get into a job such as BB IB?

Also, I'm torn between pursuing a CS major and maybe trying to become a SWE. are there pros or cons to IB vs. SWE? any differences in pay, hours, job security, or anything else?

In addition, since the future is tech, would pursuing an Econ or Finance major be a bad move? In comparison to doing something like CS or AI.


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Comments (26)

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Jun 27, 2020 - 9:24pm

You're going to be a senior in HS. Go get laid and stop worrying about making a decision that you're going to change multiple times over while you're in college and probably out in the working world as well.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 27, 2020 - 10:18pm

As someone who also lightly(althought you probably check this 2x a day) in highschool, maybe you should read the fucking forum which answers litterally every objective (and all subjective, but W.E) parts of your post.

P.S. If you decide to pursue finance, you'll be a great fit for stern. As they like to say, it's matched only by wharton for business.

Jun 29, 2020 - 3:36am

" If someone goes to a top school, say UPenn, are they "guaranteed" to get into a job such as BB IB?"

There are over 10,000 undergrads at UPenn, what do you think? You're 16 or 17, please go have some fun. If you insist on using WSO do your research before you post repetitive spam questions.


Sep 15, 2020 - 9:52pm

Genuinely surprised people in high school are like this. I am just out of undergrad and don't know what I want to do for the rest of my life. You 18 year olds are already thinking about your potential compensation in 5 years. Go get in trouble or something. You guys are so weird.

  • Prospect in Other
Sep 15, 2020 - 10:16pm

Everyone on the thread, trust me, there are kids that have been set on GS TMT since they were rising freshmen and this isn't an exaggeration. Being in senior year of high school means applying to colleges, which means considering their career. Nothing wrong with this. Using Google is definitely a valid way of getting information. Using a forum is another very valid way. So maybe help him out a little.

OP, if you want to work in IB or consulting, first figure out why, don't just do it cause it's the best paying or most prestigious. Don't be a sheep. If you want to do it for legit reasons (although high compensation and prestige can be a good bonus), then firstly you should try to get into a target school. A target school makes it easier to recruit, a semi-target makes it possible to recruit, and a non-target makes it very hard (not impossible) to recruit. There's exceptions to all of this, but the top target schools are going to be the top schools for the most part. Use the search function to skim through some of the threads on the rankings and tiers of schools so you can find some schools you're interested in. Also, remember to pick a college for personal factors that aren't just recruiting. This is a crucial decision and where some stranger on the internet ranked it for recruitment in a job you might not even want in the future is just dumb. If you really want, you can try to get a random business/finance internship the summer before college starts but you really don't need to do that, it's up to you. I wouldn't because that's supposed to be one of the most fun summers of your entire life.

Apply to the top schools. If you go to UPenn, you aren't guaranteed a top job. It does, however, become significantly easier so you should still shoot for it.

Pay, hours, job security are all valid factors to look at. But please please please use Google to find the differences between both the CS and finance/econ majors and then the differences between the IB and SWE careers. Look deep within and ask yourself what you really want to do. Then do that. It's a gut thing.

If you think the future is tech, then you can feel free to pursue a double major in econ/finance and cs or maybe just get a minor in cs as this might be a good way to fend off the risk of not being employable in a tech-heavy world. I'm of the opinion that finance is too versatile to just completely disappear because of tech so this isn't something I would do. Maybe just try learning to code first to see if you're into it tho. Also, you can only major in AI at like 16 universities in the whole world. It's still a really new field so I would recommend against pursuing it at that level.

Sep 16, 2020 - 10:16am

Get laid. Work on your social skills. Build an alcohol tolerance. Would recommend experimenting with drugs but that's a tad too much in HS, just stick to weed. Enjoy yourself hardo.  

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • 1
Feb 27, 2021 - 9:51pm

It pains me to know that clients won't feel comfortable around you. Wishing you Godspeed! Try something light, wine perhaps. 

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
Sep 16, 2020 - 12:19pm

It's good you're thinking about things like these. But, you will likely change your mind at least a few times while in college and in the real world. IB and SWE are two very different things. A choice like this comes down to passion, not job security, pay, hours, etc. You're still in high school so you have plenty of time. The best thing you can do for yourself is get good grades and test out various interests. Getting good grades will set you up to have many options. Instead of looking into the actual positions of SWE and IB, look at the foundations. If you don't enjoy the very basis of the job, you'll have a miserable life. Let your intellectual curiosity lead you. What about coding interests you? Do you like math? What about finance interests you? Do you enjoy working with numbers? Do you pay attention to the stock market? I think asking similar quests to these will guide you down the right path. And most importantly, be honest with yourself. And hey, maybe you find out you don't like either SWE or IB...who knows? Best of luck!

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