I'm in the process of finishing up some essays for R2 applications to the top Master's in Finance programs -not exactly the best Christmas I've ever had- and could use a little kick of motivation/realism.
As an undergrad at a non-target, I've learned that it's pretty damn hard to get even an interview at one of these firms without a crazy GPA or connections. The thing is, I'm not sure how much easier it is at a target school. Career services at my school regardingnon-existent and the few professors who have worked in the field either retired a long time ago or are pretty reticent about their experiences/connections.
Due to this lack of information, throughout this process I've pictured the top schools as golden tickets to a great career in finance. However, I've realized recently that people from these schools are competing with each other, and not even necessarily with people in their major. I mean, if you're competing with everyone from Poli Sci Harvard Undergrads to Sloan MSF students to Stanford CS majors... my perspective seems a little too rosy.
So how is it really? Is trying to break into IBD from a target still swimming in shark-infested waters or is it basically all smooth sailing?