"Why did you major in math/compsci/engineering?"

After creating https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/whats-the-… I noticed math, comp sci, and engineering were the degrees that were mentioned.

So say someone was to major in one of the 3 degrees. When doing an IB interview, the interviewer is obviously going to ask "Why did you major in X?"

For the STEM people on here can you tell me how you would respond if X was math compsci or engineering?


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Comments (14)

Aug 19, 2019 - 9:17pm

I was in this position, and I was just honest about the reasons why I chose engineering. They know your interests change fast and that what you major in might end up not being what you want to work with, and the end of the day, so focus on how your engineering skills can translate into investment banking.

Aug 19, 2019 - 9:21pm

This is truly a layup.

You've always been a quantitative thinker and knew it would help you develop the analytical skills you need to excel in finance. You're now uniquely well-positioned to excel in finance as a result

Hint: just have a rational reason for most soft ball questions about your rationale. the best candidates can go on offense and spin a supposed "challenge" (like not majoring in finance) into a convincing strength

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Aug 20, 2019 - 1:32am

What about outright saying that everyone told you that you should major in Comp Sci/STEM if you want to work in finance since its becoming more quantitative, so you picked it because you thought it would position you better for recruiting? Anyone know of people who tried that? I mean, "do STEM not finance" has been pretty common advice from the finance industry for a while now...

Aug 20, 2019 - 1:44am

i mean i don't think its a good idea to tell the interviewer that you have no independence and are too much of a pussy to make your own decisions such as choosing your major. If you think its trendy or want to hedge the risk by majoring in STEM due to the increase of quantitive influence in finance, the best option of explaining it would saying something along the lines of " i believe that data & analytics are becoming increasingly more important in finance and i have used that to position myself appropriately by majoring in X major to understand xyz quantitive courses yatatata etc."

Aug 21, 2019 - 10:08pm

Are you allowed to directly mention the "position you for recruiting part"?


Aug 22, 2019 - 12:11am

"I would had faced the wrath of a thousand lashes if I did not."

No pain no game.

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Aug 22, 2019 - 3:18pm

Math major here. Recently got into a non-IB project finance team, seems a solid and competent one so I'm happy. I'm also international so recruiting was extra difficult for me. I digressed, was thinking about writing my story on WSO, since I've been here for 3 years.

A few days ago I was talking to my manager and director about college time. Someone mentioned he was an engineering major or something like that, and my director said "I like math majors" --- he probably forgot I'm a math major --- to be fair, math undergraduate and I went for a master in finance later.

Then I asked "I was a math major in undergrad. When I was about to graduate, I had absoluetly no idea what I could do. I've always liked math (you know what, I'm Asian), but I really didn't know what to do with a head full of PDE, abstract analysis proof, group theory, Hamilton curves, Lie Algebra, etc. "

Then he said "the reason I like math majors is this: you will probably never encounter anything that's as hard as what you did in your math classes." He was a computer science major before he did MBA in finance. I guess he put Math above CS in terms of difficulty. No comment on that, but I kinda agree to what he said. To be fair, I have just stepped into the professional world, so I will need to learn a lot of new things along the way. But is any of them going to be harder than writing proofs after you do partial differential equations + advanced linear algebra
on Hamilton curves, or writing proofs on non-associative algebra? I do not think so...

From a purely personal perspective, I was a freshman, have always liked math in school, had no idea what to major at all, sticked to math.

Ofc I didn't not mention those class names to my director.

Aug 22, 2019 - 9:21pm

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