What is needed to get into I-banking?

What kind of grades, extracurricular activities, and general knowledge are needed to get into investment banking (analyst position)? Kids with degrees in History are landing positions in investment banking these days! What's up with that?

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Comments (262)

Jun 1, 2006 - 1:33am

showing leadership can never hurt, and genuine interest in finance and i-Banking...they will look and see, is he in the i-Banking club on campus? grades vary...obviously helps to have higher grades, but if you have some connections you could still land a job witha 2.8 (that's the way the world works). No connections, i would say below a 3.5 puts you at a disadvantage, but it also depends what school you go to and what your major is...if you went to Wharton and got a 3.3, that is obviously much better than a 4.0 at some Community college.

general knowledge: basic understanding of how valuation is done: commparable analysis, comparable transactions and Discounted Cash Flow . how to build a basic 3 statement model (this is not essential, but wouldn't hurt to have some Excel and PPt skills)

Also, you must seem VERY enthusistic and excited to work long hours -- you have to get across that you know the hours are brutal, but you don't mind because you'd be learning so much. yadda yadda yadda...

  • 3
Jun 1, 2006 - 4:19am

I can give you my perspective on the European I-Banking. Grades do definitly matter, as they are proof of the quality of work and commitment you might bring to the bank. It does differentiate you from the crop, as they are looking for the best candidate. This is the main thing you have to bear in mind; your profile is not in absolute terms but in competition with other candidates. So you have to stand out: leadership and genuine interest in finance, as mentioned by an earlier respondant, is what makes you different. You must head some kind of club on your campus, maybe have done some kind of charity work, and know what capital markets is all about.

Jun 11, 2006 - 9:24pm

When I'm taking the first pass at incoming analyst resumes I put them in the following buckets:

Top Tier: Strong GPA (GPA>=3.7) and Strong Experience. Experience can be summers at a top bank, consulting, or college athlete.

Second Tier: Medium GPA and strong to respectable experience.

Third Tier: Strong GPA and no work experience or low GPA and strong work experience.

Basically, if you don't have either a strong GPA or strong experience, you're out of luck.

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  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
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Jun 12, 2006 - 12:33pm

A friend of mine and I would like to get into Ibanking but we're both Mechanical Engineering majors at a tough school with one year left and less than impressive GPA's (2.8-ish). Do you think we'd get more consideration because of the harder major?

Jun 12, 2006 - 4:01pm

sorry not likely, even if you're at mit and caltech. we'd only consider you w/o finance experience if you had a high high gpa. otherwise, ask yourself this, why would we consider you? a 3.3 finance major at wharton isn't so impressive either but would probably be easier to justify

Jun 13, 2006 - 1:39am

It all depends on what school you go to. I'm from a non-target school and it took a reasonable resume and EXCELLENT knowledge and presentation in the interview. If you have a brand name school behind you, it will only take a reasonable resume and good social skills, as mentioned above. The most important part is convincing them that you want to work 100 hours per week. They know how much it sucks and they don't want you having a breakdown (which can happen to the best of us after an unexpected 24 hour workday).

If you were born in 1987, as your name suggests, you have some time to prepare. Grades, leadership, and finance interest are key. Know the recent M&A deals. Also, don't freak out over Sophomore internships. I had a BS one and I still got in on grades, finance knowledge, and a handshake.

Jun 18, 2006 - 7:21pm

I'm going to be a senior in College (University of Illinois), and I really want to make it in the Banking arena. I don't have the strongest GPA (3.2), but I'm a double major (Finance & Economics), heavily involved in school activities, and I have some pretty good work experiences. I have worked at Merill Lynch in the Global Private Client Division, and currently work at Morgan Stanley in the Financial Controller Group in New York. Is this enough to garner an interview?

Jun 19, 2006 - 2:12pm

UIUC is a good school, but because u're already in NYC at MS doing a summer internship, this should help your case. you should network your butt off at MS and try to see if they offer mobility programs that let you interview with the banking division for a full-time offer. i know of people at GS who worked in the controller group as sophomores and networked that into a banking internship for their junior year.

ask around, talk to as many people as you can. you have a great opportunity there in NYC at MS!

  • 2
Jun 27, 2006 - 10:01pm

I want to get into a ib summer program for next year and I want to know what my chances of getting in are or what I need to do. I don't go to a top tier school, but my school(University of North Florida) was rated in Princeton's review as 5th place for "America's Best Value Colleges." My gpa is decent, but I am a rising junior and have time to raise it. This summer I am interning at Merrill Lynch as a Global Market and Investment Banking Services intern. The manager has already told me that ifI want I can stay as a limited hour employee. If I stay there I will have 2 years of experience before I graduate. I volunteer on the side. I have taken online classes at Merrill Lynch University where I have got excellent grades. I also worked for a real estate brokerage firm but had to quit due to my intern hours with ML. I manage my own stock portfolio. I am thinking about applying to my school's student managed investment fund. . Also I was thinking about going up to visit Merrill Lynch's headquarters in NY. Would it be rude for me too e-mail some of the GMI recruiting people to see if they will see me when I am up there? Any advice on what I should do?

May 23, 2007 - 10:16am

I worked my butt off getting a freshman internship, and it's probably legitimate to have one, but i'm not too sure it'll affect your standing much come junior year or time for a FT.

Aug 9, 2007 - 4:59pm

Yeah I did too. I had a choice between doing PWM at a BB or M & A at a extremely small regional and chose the PWM. Both were not too shabby for a frosh. I eventually chose the PWM. Hope it was a good descision

May 24, 2007 - 8:45pm

junior year is of most importance..but interning fresh/soph year is definitely a plus....keep your grades up...great extra curricula and networking

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Mar 5, 2008 - 3:54am

How to get into banking - and WSO myths... (Originally Posted: 12/03/2012)

You come from a non-target? Sucks to be you
You have a low GPA? Sucks to be you
You want a job in banking? Sucks to be you

I've been on this website for almost 6 years, and only recently re-started reading some of the posts. Most of them are pointless, but there is the odd post that will entertain me, and make me realise how bad you guys all have it. What really drives me nuts is the posts were people just exchange a lot of useless information and "inform" everyone wrongly.

So I will start with a few myths:

I messed up this question in an interview, I'll never get the job

When I interview people I like to ask the following question: "How do you hedge your gamma?"
When I ask it, I KNOW that you will not know how to answer it. The only reason I am doing this is to see your thought process and how you re-act under pressure. End of.
Should I were a suit with two or three buttons and a sock in the side pocket?

I don't care how you dress. I really don't, and nobody else does. If you are a student I don't expect you to come in tailored. Go to primark or some other cheap place, pick up a suit and a good white shirt and a tie; go even to a used shop to get it! Make sure the suit went through the tailor at the dry cleaner so he can make it look a bit better on you, and that should make it so that you don't look like a clown. You can get dressed for less than $200 including everything. That also goes with: should i wear my expensive watch? I don't care.
The hours are so bad, you are treated like shit, etc...

True. Not a myth. Sucks to be an analyst.
I come from a non target, I have a low GPA, I come from a target etc...

There is only one thing that works, and that is networking. At my old bank (think top BB), we would receive two books of 500 CVs each, that is the number of CVs that had made it through the HR screening out of 6000 to 10000 candidacies depending on the year. I can tell you that unless a kid made a genuine effort of reaching out to us, either on campus, or in some other way; there is a very low probability we will pick you from that book of CVs...
If you are not in that book, it probably does not matter either, if I like you and I see you made an effort to reach out to me, I will ask you to come in for an interview; formal or informal.
Will extra education, courses, the CFA etc... Help me?

Unless you are a chartered CFA holder, no.
MBA, no - only if you are at a top school, it will give you access to me at networking events and that is the only thing that matters.
Excel courses? What the fuck? NO!

Banking is still an extremely rewarding job, but that depends entirely on what you do and whether you are suited for it. Everything is not the same, and if you don't make it in banking. It's ok. I have friends on food stamp smoking dope all day long and they are loving it...

One last piece of advice:
I will take a candidate that shows confidence (NOT arrogance, an arrogant prick will be escorted out of the room after 2 minutes). Determination, not why they want that job, but to show me they want to succeed in life.
Also: don't crush my fingers when you shake my hands, grab the hands not the fingers numb nuts.

A final note I work in equities, but this is valid for the future bankers as well. Trust me, my friends in M&A, DCM, ECM etc... are the same bread I am made out of: human, and they don't like pricks...

Mar 5, 2008 - 4:37am

How can I get into Investment Banking? (Originally Posted: 08/14/2015)

Hi, I'm a new user! I always wanted to be an investment banker since I took a few finance classes in college. I ended up studying engineering and management which I regret. I want to get into IB. How can I do this? I'm 23 years old.
Do I need to go back to university to get a Finance degree? How can I get into this field now?

Mar 5, 2008 - 4:39am

How to get into I-Banking (Originally Posted: 08/24/2007)

I'm a 19 year student at Texas A&M University, It has become a passion for me to get into Ibanking. I live in Houston and plan on moving to NY soon after Graduation. My question is that if somehow i dont land a job at an I-bank and i take my career into another direction, would it be possible for me to get into I-banking after I get my MBA? And is a Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) valuable in I-banking? I will appreciate any answers you guys give me, I'm still very confused about my future so any input would help me a great deal, thank you.

Mar 5, 2008 - 4:46am

How to get into investment banking (Originally Posted: 07/26/2007)

Currently im in a very reputable boutique in their hedge fund department, but i really want to switch over to M&A or restructuring finance...basically anything else. I'll be a senior this fall and am looking into getting my hands on ANYTHING during the school year. Any suggestions, recommendations, etc.


Mar 5, 2008 - 4:59am

Any Advice, Want to get into investment banking (Originally Posted: 03/12/2008)

I got my MBA with a specialization in finance and investments at Baruch College, 3.8 GPA, I graduated in 2005. I've been working in a family business Auto Parts Distributor though since 2002. The only experience in the field that I have came from some summer internships at Bear Stearns back from 95-97. I would look to get into the Investment Banking field any advice on what would help me land a job would be appreciated.

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:00am

well you've certainly come to the right place. given you have your MBA, I'm guessing you would be able to get a summer associate position (I'm guessing banks have that, given their SA positions...i may be totally wrong, let me know if i am guys; the HF i work at now have summer analyst spots for MBAs currently enrolled). call up your schools' (both UG and MBA) career centers and ask for some leads. talk to your MBA profs. given, i'm graduating college in May and am just starting my i-banking career, but ive managed to figure out that the majority of finance spots can be acquired due to networking, contacts, etc. just bug anyone you know, and youll get in. good luck.

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:01am


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Mar 5, 2008 - 5:02am

How to get into a top bank? (Originally Posted: 06/06/2013)

I want PE and I know that the 80/20 rule is alive and well in banking exit ops. With that in mind, how can I move up from my current situation. I'm a summer analyst at a 2nd tier BB (Citi/DB/BAML/BARC/CS) in a mediocre group with limited exits (think specialized like RE/Power/FIG). I know focusing on the offer is the main thing BUT I need to also think about my FT years.

I am scared I'll have no option if I stay on in my current group except to take a 3rd year or take a huge paycut after having no exits. I am extremely ambitious and am willing to do whatever it takes. I got this far against all odds (unorthodox situation).

No one in my family did shit with their lives and they all demean my job to compensate for their inadequacies. "you're just a secretary" etc. I need to prove it to myself and them that I can kick it with the best recruits in finance. It'll crush me if I can't.

Please advise me.

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:05am

Things to do in college to get into i-banking (Originally Posted: 09/04/2015)

I am a recent high school grad who wants to get into i-banking after college. I will attend a target school this fall and I am wondering what sort of activities i should do and when should I get internships? I do already plan to be involved in a fraternity and play club rugby . I have already done a few small finance internships for some family members and friends who runs a brokerage firm and another who manages money for some clients.
Thanks for any help , I understand I may be getting ahead of myself .

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:14am

ways to get into I-banking (Originally Posted: 08/21/2011)

ok so I'm going to be a senior in college, major in political science, minor in economics. The econ at my school does involve a decent amount of math, and my school's biz undergrad is considered pretty good. I was originally thinking of doing something politics related (ie think tank, lobbying), or law school, but I've decided against those. I wanna do i-banking. This summer I interned at a consulting startup in New York City, and some of our clients include publicly traded companies or ones owned by big PE firms. Before this summer, I had interned on several political campaigns. I also am fluent in Spanish, and am starting Chinese this year. I'm also a student leader, active in extra-currics, and president of an organization. My GPA is 3.55, the school in general is academically similar to BU, Fordham, UDel.

What are my chances? Could I do BB or am I limited to boutique? Also, are there high paying IB/PE/HF jobs outside of NYC?

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:18am

Trying to get into banking (Originally Posted: 12/01/2008)

I am currently a student at Texas A&M in their Professional Program in Accounting. It's basically a five year program where I get a Bachelors in Accounting and Masters in Finance. Its geared obviously towards accounting careers with a few lucky people going into finance (maybe 5-10 out of the 250 members). I have a 3.6 undergrad and a 4.0 grad GPA. I am currently working part-time at the Merrill branch in town helping an advisor with researching various equities, bonds, and mutual funds. I want to get into anything finance but mainly banking or possibly research but my options are limited since I am from a nontarget. I have applied to every SA program I know of and wanted to see if anyone had any tips. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:25am

How to get into banking (Originally Posted: 07/31/2014)

Hi, my name is Mario Reyes. I am currently a college student and hopefully will be transferring into CSU Long Beach. I am looking for advice on how to get into banking, if I am not coming from a target school.

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:33am

Referrals to get into I-Banking? (Originally Posted: 01/14/2013)

My brother-in-law works as a VP in Investment Banking.
I am not sure if I should approach him to refer me for a job in I-Banking.

GMAT - 720
Age - 30
Gender - Female
Experience - 8+ years as an Engineer in the Silicon Valley
Undergrad GPA - 2.9 downward trend from Cornell. I did fail classes as well.

Do I need to get a MBA or can I approach my brother-in-law to refer me to get a job in I-Banking.
Do referrals help? With my background, do I need to go get a MBA or can I pull some strings and get into I-Banking?

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:48am

different way to get into ibanking (Originally Posted: 10/21/2006)

It seems that a large amout of people here talk about the two years as an analyst as being the worst. Are the hours the same at a small boutique. i would imagine that they would be less, and if they are less, why not just start as an analyst at a boutique, go to business school, then start as an associate or vp at a bigger firm. now of course there are uncontrollable cariables to take into account, but genarlly is this a feasible thing to do. all comments are welcomed

Mar 5, 2008 - 6:00am

How can I get into IBanking (Originally Posted: 10/03/2012)

I have spent about 30 hours on this site and I have seen plenty of discussions about how to get into ibanking and how to be a superstar at target schools etc.

I am starting this thread and asking this question because I haven't seen people like me get a decent answer from anyone on this forum. This is a more personalized question and I think people who are in my situation will like learning about what they can do to improve.

I am from a non-target state university double majoring in accounting and finance. I have a 4.0 gpa and I have been very active in club organizations, participating in sports, founding organizations, community service, and attending conferences. I have interned with a large bank, though not a BB, and I am currently in my senior year. My problem is this: I don't know how to break into i-banking given my circumstance. It seems the large banks really only recruit from the target universities. I have a very good chance of attending UVa to get my masters in accounting and then on to a big 4 firm and my CPA. I know people on here trash accounting and I really do not want to start a flame war. I just need to know what I should really do to break into the i-banking world.

Would getting my CPA and going big 4 (audit tax or even advisory) help me break into i-banking or do I need to land some job right out of undergrad and hope to get into a decent MBA program in a few years? By decent I mean top 20 as I do not believe I would be able to get into top 5. And if I were to choose the latter, what type of job should I be looking to land right out of undergrad to help set me up for i-banking given my circumstances?

Thanks in advance.

Mar 5, 2008 - 6:14am

How To Get Into Investment Banking (Originally Posted: 02/24/2007)

I'm from Toronto Canada. 26 years of age and writing the second level of CFA. Have a masters in Econ from U of Toronto.

Currently working as an IR at a discount brokerage.

Objective: ibanking position

Question: How can I get in? What do I need to do and what route would you recommend to increase my chances?

Mar 5, 2008 - 6:25am

Is it sitll possible to get into investment banking? (Originally Posted: 02/12/2009)

I'm currently a junior taking the hardest major at my university. It's not a target. Here's the problem: I have a 2.8 GPA. You'd think I have no chance, right?

I worked hard to pull a 4.0 last semester and have As in all of my classes right now. If I can keep doing this, I'll have slightly above a 3.0 GPA after next semester and I'll have pulled a 3.1-3.2 GPA when I graduate.

However, because of my GPA, I likely won't be able to get an internship this summer and even if I do, it won't be a very good one. It definitely won't be even a bad one in investment banking; it'll probably be in another area of finance.

I'm scoring near perfect on gmat practice tests so grad school is an option if I need to go that route to get into investment banking.

Is it still possible to get into investment banking? How should I go about doing it?

Edit: I'd also love to get into trading, specifically foreign exchange. Unfortunately, this also might not be a possibility.

Mar 5, 2008 - 6:39am

Breaking into Investment banking (Originally Posted: 03/16/2013)

I'm starting to get a lot of emails from random people, saying that they're trying to break into the bank where I work.
Some lay out steps they've taken so far.
Some even ask me for help, breaking in.

Bottom line, should I be concerned?
Security is taken very seriously at my firm.
A few years ago, I believe we actually had someone who managed to make it inside and stole some client information.
Also, our email is monitored.

Is it possible to be implicated in a crime, even if I simply ignored the email? Do I have an obligation to report them?
A lot of these people are just college students that I assume are just messing around, but if one of them actually breaks into company property and steals something, can I get in trouble for not having told someone else when the threat was first raised?

  • 2
Mar 5, 2008 - 6:47am

Breaking into I-Banking (Originally Posted: 04/04/2011)

I'm entering a top 20 MBA program this year and want to get into I-Banking. What advice do you guys have to get an internship for the summer? Are there certain requirements that the banks have to even look at you as a candidate? I really don't care if it's a Goldman or a boutique firm.....pretty much just want to get into banking.

Mar 5, 2008 - 6:50am

Best Resources for Breaking Into IB (Originally Posted: 01/06/2014)

With so many job posting sites and people posting for each job, it is obviously increasing harder to "stick out" in the application process. I come from a non-target, small liberal arts school and would appreciate any advice or help in knowing how to improve my job searching skills within IB. I have done enough work and research to know I am willing to do as much work as it takes to break into IB but have developed a few questions to help improve my chances and maximize the return on my time spent. To help me accomplish these goals I would like to know:

1) What are some of the typical resources industry insiders use to find the best job opportunities?
2) What resources do insiders use to determine the credibility of the banks/jobs they find?
3) How to find contacts within the banks I'm applying to, or would like to apply to, for follow up and informal interview purposes?

Thanks for the help.

Mar 5, 2008 - 6:52am

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