You Get to Redo College

The question is simple: if you could go and redo college, what changes/different decisions would you have made in your pursuit of a high finance career? It can literally be anything from which group of friends you surrounded yourself with to what type of internships you did/didn't do, or hell even choosing a different school to go to. Anything that happened/didn't happen during your college career. If you didn't go to college, do you regret it? I'm very interested to here what changes people would make in their path (if any).

Comments (113)

Apr 27, 2017

I came to the US as an international student and studying at the university here was a dream come true. I went to an average school and probably wouldn't qualify to go anywhere else with my below average SAT and Toefl (English was not my first or even second language).

I wish someone would've advised me to retake my SAT during my first 2 years of college so that I could transfer to a more prestigious school. Only in my junior year I realized that a lot of job opportunities were simply not open to me due to my school, and it was kind of late to change anything. I don't even think there is any graduate who is working on Wall Street from my school, so networking wasn't also an option!

I am now planning to apply to top MBA programs to get a stamp on my resume and open myself to more opportunities and better network.

    • 1
Apr 27, 2017

Bang more

Array

    • 15
    • 2
Apr 27, 2017

breaking out of single digit lays has been harder than breaking into wall street

    • 5
    • 2
Apr 27, 2017

Definitely wouldn't go to a nontarget again -- while I like the larger school feel, the non-existent OCR is a huge pain, and having almost no alumni on the street meant I could count the first rounds I got on one hand. I'd make sure to apply to semi-targets like UMich, UVA, UNC, UT, USC, if I could do it again (wouldn't get into a target with my high school extracurriculars).

I'd also probably have rushed, done an internship every year, and only been in 1 good finance club and 1 fun regular club, instead of being in 4 poor-quality business societies.

    • 3
Apr 30, 2017

UT is a target school for Houston & NY

    • 1
Free Consultation

Vantage Point MBA's clients are accepted to the top MBA programs at a 3x higher rate than the average acceptance rates. Request a consultation with their team to learn how they can help you gain admission to your dream schools. Learn more.

May 7, 2017
<span itemprop=name>VanillaRice</span>:

UT is a target school for Houston & NY

Got the impression when I was recruiting that if you were at a target that wasn't UT or A&M you were at a disadvantage for Houston recruitment

May 2, 2017

Realistically I feel like this is the most tangible thing (or set of things) I should have done and the most attainable for bright kids in the larger states that have good states schools, but primarily UVA, UMich, UNC, UT, and maybe a few others. After that, focus on 1-2 clubs that were actually relevant and had also done more intramural sports. I would have also looked into adding computer science as a minor just to be more marketable.

The amount of friends I had that got interviews based off of Greek life alone was truly astounding too, so I feel like I should have bit the bullet on dues and gone that way too.

Having a dad as a former general contractor, I should have also bought up a lot of properties with him and rented them out to students to kickstart a real estate career.

Apr 27, 2017

I received an offer/scholarship from MS S&T for my junior year SA internship and another offer from SL Green (acquisitions). I chose a MM IB SA internship instead. I wish I frequented this forum enough and asked others to weigh in on my options. I regret not preparing enough for technicals, because I blew my superdays at GS, BX, Evercore, BX PE, Gleacher, and a slew of other top shops.

I also wish I networked more intensely, reached out to alumni more often, and became more involved in on-campus societies/networks. Reflecting beyond a constructive threshold may perpetuate unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, so I try to refrain from excessively obsessing about 'what ifs' and the past. Instead I conclude that they're sunk costs, and I move forward. It can't hurt to ask and learn from the mistakes of others though, albeit it may be harder to implement solutions if you don't experience mistakes/consequences firsthand.

    • 2
    • 1
Apr 27, 2017

In hindsight, I love the friends and relationships I made college because that's what basically helped develop my character to this day.

I would have pursued the same nontarget college, done better in school (in terms of gpa & understanding finance material), pursued internships early and expose myself to more networking opportunities not just held in at my college but also local events with industry professionals.

    • 1
Apr 27, 2017

Take a gap year between high school and college. Plenty of opportunity to do cool thing during that time and a year of perspective would have been a good thing.

After that hustle and get into a top ivy league school, it's still amazing to me how many opportunities are afforded to people just because of the name of the ugrad institution.

With all that being said, I'm pretty happy with how things have turned out, so no real regrets

    • 6
Apr 27, 2017

Read another post on here about how UG target is starting to matter less and less as technology is slowly going to make its way so much into finance that it'll be more about sales than anything else, so the companies are looking for employees with excellent social skills rather than top UG. Thoughts...?

    • 1
Apr 27, 2017

Sales will always pay well until the end of time. Someone will always have to call the people that own all of the robots to sell them things.

Apr 28, 2017

Meh I'm not convinced. Maybe in the long run, but I don't think you'll see a big shift in the next few decades. Even if tech completely infiltrates finance they'll still want "smart" people being social and those will end up being people from top schools. Sure maybe a few more will be able to make it from other places, but in the few jobs I've had since graduation and from what I've seen anecdotally, the alums from top schools pull hard for their own school across the board.

May 1, 2017
<span itemprop=name>GolfGold</span>:

the companies are looking for employees with excellent social skills rather than top UG. Thoughts...?

College prestige and social skills are not mutually exclusive. Plenty of personable and charming Ivy kids that can schmooze their asses off.

    • 2
    • 1
May 8, 2017

THIS. I went to work in real estate after high school for a few years and eventually ended up at JLL/CW/CBRE running my own book of business on an investment sales team a few years later. Headed back to school this fall. Will leave with zero debt.

This opened a whole new world of relationships and opportunity for me in my industry. However, I would say the perspective is the most important thing I've gained walking away from my gap years. I have a much more clear focus for my studies and overall sense of maturity. I don't think I would've been mature enough to attend UG at 17 years old out of school. PS, it makes for a pretty cool story to tell in interviews.

    • 1
Apr 27, 2017

Can't believe @idaho poured his heart out on this thread and admitted that he's still a virgin. Dude's probably crying in his room right now with a cornstalk way deep in his ass.

    • 6
    • 1
Apr 27, 2017

I'm thinking I'll go play COD from my mom's basement and yell at the other kids on Xbox Live. I'm gonna turn off my computer too because you can't cyberbully me if I'm not on the internet!

    • 7
    • 1
Apr 28, 2017

After my first year with a 3.9 gpa, I would have made a transfer from non target FSU to a more target university like Michigan, Virginia, Texas, or UNC. Then I would have dropped accounting all together, and would have focused heavily on that easy joke of a major known as finance. Doing a double major in accounting with the dumbest decision I ever made, and will probably haunt me far down the line when I decide to apply for an MBA. It's the difference between me having a 3.6ish and a 3.18 gpa. lesson learned? It pays to be a winner.

    • 1
Apr 28, 2017

Big fan of that last statement. Thanks for the comment

Apr 28, 2017

it worked out in the end. I found out that I'm really good at the military, and that I have a high tolerance for bullshit. Hopefully the interesting work experience as an aviator offsets my crappy gpa and lets me get that HSW.... or at least an m7 one day

May 2, 2017

I'm on the other side of that situation and I think my dual major has helped me the most out of anything so far in UG. It's the only reason I've had 90% of my interviews and why I've been invited to recruitment events.

Apr 29, 2017

I'd bang OPs Mom.

    • 4
    • 1
Apr 29, 2017

It would have been impossible to know these people back then, but somehow get hired into my current group in commodities straight out of college.

I honestly don't think I was hard-working or smart enough back then, but I think I could have been one of the BSDs in my market by now if I had started straight out of college.

Best Response
Apr 29, 2017

I'd recognize that college has little to do with learning, and everything to do with credentials and pedigree. My goal would therefore be to get the highest GPA possible in a reasonable major (e.g. business, accounting, econ or something) with the least amount of effort. I would only take the easiest classes with professors that had reputations for being lenient and handing out inflated grades. I would accept nothing less than an A on every test, and would regularly meet with the professor or TA to make sure that happened. If, despite my efforts, it appeared I was going to get below an A, I would drop the course. I would care zero about "looking smart," or trying to prove anything in the classroom because I'd understand that is a colossal waste of time and effort. The only thing that matters is the number next to the letters "GPA".

With all my free time, I would learn real things on the side -- finance, programming, advanced math, etc., but I would do it via online tools like Khan Academy, Coursera, or Udacity, where I could learn using actually effective pedagogical techniques and without worry about tests or damage to my GPA.

I'd also have more time to socialize and enjoy typical college extra curricular activities, which I would to a much greater extent than I did the first time around.

Apr 29, 2017

Sounds like you had a tough major, what was it if you don't mind me asking?

Apr 29, 2017

lol hate to admit this... but definitely this if your goal is to enter the realm of finance or consulting. Always grinds my gears when i see things like English lit from harvard Goldman Sachs analyst. super common too.

    • 1
May 2, 2017

Isn't it sad that the last time pure learning/ academic skills matter in real life is High School, and after that everyone effectively tries to judge you on how smart they perceived you to be in HIgh school (SAT scores, college prestige, etc). I'm almost 30 and people still want to see the test scores I got when I was 16, literally half a lifetime ago. I'm lucky they were good, but would have accepted nothing less than perfect if i'd known they'd stick this long

May 5, 2017

Transferring from a semi target to an Ivy. Our schools resume template doesn't have any SAT/ACT or HS info. I've noticed that it's pretty common for people form targets to have their scores on? Is this required? How would anyone verify that

May 2, 2017

"Don't let school interfere with your education."

May 3, 2017
<span itemprop=name>NoTime</span>:

"Don't let school interfere with your education."

"Don't let your education interfere with getting laid"

Apr 29, 2017

I am not finished yet but I would definitely go to class more to pump up the marks, play more intramural sports, talk to girls my first year, not get my fake id taken away, participate more in the schools finance club, not be so afraid of upper year students and hustle harder while trying to get my first two internships

Apr 29, 2017

Start a business, before you become preoccupied with getting a top-bucket bonus, kissing your bosses' asses, and constantly being self-conscious of how much money you make and what your prestige level is in the Wall Street hierarchy.

Apr 29, 2017

I would have spent time figuring out what it took to me true to myself, and also looking after myself better. Doing what's best for your health and finding a genuine motivation is far more influential on your career than changing your major.

Apr 30, 2017

Less studying, more partying, more gaming the system rather than trying to be hardcore with academics, extracuriculars, etc

Apr 30, 2017

More intramural sports

May 1, 2017

Gap year before college. It just wasn't something anyone I knew did. Only when I got to college did I meet kids who had done it. They all seemed slightly more mature, confident, and worldly. They didn't get rattled or party their -sses off first year and bruise their GPA.

May 1, 2017

I would have simply enjoyed the social aspects a lot more.

It really is taken for granted how easy it was to see your close group of friends regularly for meals, sporting events, parties, etc. and once you get out in the working world and realize that unless your friends are in the same line of work, or in the same city, you simply won't see them as much.

College is such a great period of someones life, especially in comparison to formatting 100+ hours a week.

'I'm jacked... JACKED TO THE TITS!!'

    • 2
May 1, 2017

This. So much this. You never truly realize how hard it is to make real friends in the working world until after you've left school. I like the friends I have now a lot, but it would be nice to talk to someone who majored in something besides finance/business administration for once and talk about something new/see a different viewpoint.

    • 1
May 1, 2017

I wish I'd just taken my college selection more seriously / done a lot more research.. I was 16 when I graduated high school and decided to go to a non-target in my home country, while my dream had always been to study in the US/UK.

May 1, 2017

Pretty easy and that would be to not do my Masters in ME and went to law school instead.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

    • 2
May 1, 2017

While I caveat this by saying that things largely worked out for me (so not too fussed about any of this now):

  1. I'd go to one of the targets I got into out of HS instead the state school I went to
  2. If I still went to said state school, I'd stay for the full four years and do the combined MSF (instead of graduating in two years, working for a year, and then having to go to an MSF program that ended up canceling out all the savings associated with graduating early)
  3. I'd have double majored in stats and econ

Interestingly, the latter two mistakes were made despite the fact that I was advised on both points on several occasions. Despite 'proving' those people wrong (in the sense that they're dire predictions of failure never came true), I frequently wonder why the hell I insisted on making things difficult for myself --> said another way, I need to do a better job of taking advice in the spirit offered, not as a challenge or comment on my abilities

    • 1
May 2, 2017

Actually major in finance.

    • 1
May 2, 2017

So much, so much I would change.

I would've actually gone to community college for two years, busted my ass off and transferred to a semi-target. No chance at a target because of HS. I would've joined a frat as well and more involved with student organizations and instead of working part-time as a sales associate for Verizon, would have focused more on getting internships, volunteering experience and taking more classes I'm interested in, history, philosophy, religion.

There are two things I've noticed when it comes to the world of finance, consulting, and tech. Name of college and GPA is all people care.

May 2, 2017

Yea this is kind of idealistic, depending on your idea of a "semi-target"

First off, you can't really join any frat if you transfer in junior year. And if you went to a mediocre semi-target, taking too many liberal arts classes is probably not a good decision.

    • 1
May 2, 2017

Wish I would've taken a less beaten path. Would be sweet to be a marine biologist or something. I imagine studying sharks or something would be the equivalent to getting into investment banking.

May 2, 2017

Majored in Comp Sci and not have pursued a high finance career

    • 4
May 2, 2017

Why? Are you in PE/IB now?

May 7, 2017

I would've at least tried taking more CS courses early on in college and see if that's something I'm good at or liked before waiting until senior year

Feb 4, 2018

Haven't graduated yet, but wish I would've traveled more (i.e. study abroad, international tour during semester breaks). I know once I graduate and begin working I won't have the time to travel for a couple years. Thoughts from anyone who's studied abroad?

    • 1
May 2, 2017

Best. Decision. Ever.

Feb 4, 2018

Elaborate? Did you extend your graduation or did you just take Summer/more classes abroad?

May 3, 2017

Absolutely do it. Building bonds is insanely easy and it really gave me a refreshed feeling heading back home.

    • 1
May 3, 2017

I highly recommend this.... if you have a job lined up. I went during my final semester of school, and didn't have a job lined up.... that was a very bad idea. I got home broke as could be, living back in small town florida, getting a whole bunch of job rejections. Your actual time over there will be the best time of your life, especially if you go somewhere like italy

May 7, 2017

Absolutely study abroad if you can. I'm sure you've heard this before, but literally everyone cites not studying abroad as a major regret. It's almost comical how much I hear it, yet many of my friend and peers still didn't take the opportunity when it arose.

I studied abroad and had a blast, but almost didn't because I was so focused on getting a good job for the summer. My rationale was that getting a BB summer internship was more important, that I could always travel blah blah. Luckily for me, my parents pushed me to go.

When it comes down to it, you're very much unencumbered during your undergrad years and living and studying in another country is a tremendous experience that can almost never be replicated again. People will BS and say that they traveled after graduation so that counts as studying abroad but it really doesn't. Having to live day to day in another country is very unique and undergrad is a perfect time to go and try this out.

    • 3
May 3, 2017

Not go into the military at all, which would have led me to not go to military college and instead apply to all the normal Ivies/engineering schools. I could probably have done very well as a finance major at MIT/GA Tech.

Feb 4, 2018
  1. I wouldn't get herpes
  2. I would still party everyday
    • 1
Feb 4, 2018
  1. Not joined a frat
  2. Worked during my downtime to pay for school
  3. Went to clubs / bars / real life shit more instead of frat parties
  4. Gotten good grades

To sum it up: study hard, work when out of school, don't be a bitch.

    • 2
Feb 4, 2018
M- Weintraub:

1. Not joined a frat
2. Worked during my downtime to pay for school
3. Went to clubs / bars / real life shit more instead of frat parties
4. Gotten good grades

To sum it up: study hard, work when out of school, don't be a bitch.

What were your big regrets around Greek life?

Feb 4, 2018
M- Weintraub:

1. Not joined a frat
2. Worked during my downtime to pay for school
3. Went to clubs / bars / real life shit more instead of frat parties
4. Gotten good grades

To sum it up: study hard, work when out of school, don't be a bitch.

This, +1

Feb 4, 2018
M- Weintraub:

1. Not joined a frat
2. Worked during my downtime to pay for school
3. Went to clubs / bars / real life shit more instead of frat parties
4. Gotten good grades

To sum it up: study hard, work when out of school, don't be a bitch.

I disagree. I worked a lot during college. I really wish I had took on additional debt and put my time towards GPA. Spent 4 years digging myself out of back office work, which cost me way more than the amount of money I made during college.

Feb 4, 2018

I would've gone to a top state school instead of private

Feb 4, 2018
  1. Close the deal THAT NIGHT. A number is cool but I think Like 60% of them went nowhere.
  2. I'd major in finance again
    • 1
Feb 4, 2018
  1. Not majored in hard science, instead pursuing undergraduate business degree
  2. Gotten good grades
  3. Read a lot more
Feb 4, 2018

Not have followed my high school girlfriend the college she wanted to attend, a non-target none the less...
Would have taken more accounting (preferably minored in it)

Would absolutely join Greek Life again

Feb 4, 2018
TheBigBambino:

Would absolutely join Greek Life again

This, 100%.

Feb 4, 2018

wouldn't have:
- attended my work hard-work hard fuckhole of a school
- attended a school nowhere near downtown
- majored in bio coming in and tried econ

would have:
- taken a joke major from the get-go
- networked like hell early on
- gotten laid during o-week
- gone to UT and been able to look at gorgeous people 24/7

Feb 4, 2018

Wouldn't have:
- Turned down the opportunity to transfer to a top school for slight increase in cost (this was also a change of country and career path)
- Lied to myself for a year about still wanting to pursue medicine
- Let go of friendships too easily - While chasing a opportunities I said good bye to too many people
- Regret the mistakes I make
-Study so hard as a freshman/sophomore

Would:
-Study abroad for 1.5 years - Everything in my life is better because of those 1.5 years... turned me into someone with the social skills to get a banking job from a state school
-Study foreign languages
-Would double major in something practical (Finance) and something I enjoyed (fairly "useless" language)
-Stay healthy

Feb 4, 2018

Wouldn't have:

  1. Completely ignored classes I didn't care about, thus getting a terrible GPA
  2. Spent so much time in relationships. Being single in college is fantastic. Always had more fun, and it's not like I'm still with the girls I seriously dated then.

Should have:

  1. Transferred after two years (along with that higher GPA)
  2. Studied abroad. Never got around to it.
  3. Been a business major

Wouldn't change:

  1. Going Greek
  2. Getting involved in student leadership
  3. Getting drunk regularly, having a lot of pre-marital, staying fit and generally enjoying the experience
Feb 4, 2018
CRE:

Wouldn't have:

<

p>1. Completely ignored classes I didn't care about, thus getting a terrible GPA

Should have:

<

p>1. Transferred after two years (along with that higher GPA)
2. Studied abroad. Never got around to it.

I thin these 3 points sum up the best of what anyone in this thread is going to say, @Status_Quo

Feb 4, 2018

Would have been more mercenary about my degree; graduate in 3 years, taken state school classes to build up cheaper credits, not worried so much about 'friends for life' even though I have them.

Networked harder, internships, a clear post-graduation career path. A good plan would have offset much of the benefit of my private college education.

Would Not have changed;
1. Being a 4 year collegiate athlete
2. Waiting for Mrs. Right - not a minute of regret in not chasing skirts for the sake of it.
3. Gotten the hell away from my crappy home town/state

Feb 4, 2018
Paladin:

Would have been more mercenary about my degree; graduate in 3 years, taken state school classes to build up cheaper credits, not worried so much about 'friends for life' even though I have them.

The part about friends surprises me - do you think that you would've gotten the same quality of relationships even if you invested less time/effort?

Feb 4, 2018

To be honest I wish I went to a more fratty environment type school in a warmer area. I would kill to go back in highschool, get good grades and go to UT or USC. Those girls and parties OH MY GOD.

Feb 4, 2018

Would change:
-start networking a little earlier
-get more involved on campus

Definitely wouldn't change
-greek life
-studying abroad
-partying / doing dumb stuff. You only get 4 years

Feb 4, 2018

Would change:
1. Fit in a second study abroad to East Asia
2. Get involved in a non-finance club after freshman year

Would not change:
1. Joining a fraternity
2. Europe study abroad
3. Finance major

Feb 4, 2018

Would have:
Lived on campus all 4 years
Been more career oriented from the start
I made a goal to attend every class (which I did) and I think it really helped me to stay focused even when my work ethic was not nearly as strong as my discipline
Maintained my work ethic through my senior year
Complete a minor in a subject that really interests me

Wouldn't have:
Joined a frat - never did and never regretted it
Over committed myself
Gone home so much
Moved off campus after sophomore year

Feb 4, 2018

I'd be more open minded, less of a self-righteous arse. Particularly when it came to social & political beliefs.

Feb 4, 2018

Would you guys recommend going for an internship freshman year, assuming one can get something business-related that's not terrible? Or just chill that summer?

Feb 4, 2018
NickW1:

Would you guys recommend going for an internship freshman year, assuming one can get something business-related that's not terrible? Or just chill that summer?

Definitely internship if you can find one.

Feb 4, 2018
  1. Keep my studying habits/motivation
  2. Stress less
  3. Talk to girls more and not be afraid
    4.Lift Freshmen year
  4. Get an internship freshmen year summer
  5. For the love of God, wish I would have studied abroad for a term/summer

I am 21 and going to be a senior

Feb 4, 2018

Would not change:
Study abroad for 1.5 years again (no regrets whatsoever)
Join a frat
Work a lot including internships and pad my resume

Would change:
Live with friends off-campus
Study more, higher GPA
Major in something else
Date and party more

Feb 4, 2018
  1. Would love to care more about my GPA so I could at least try to jump over the GPA thresholds when applying for a job
  2. Pretty much everything else, including majoring in Finance and joining organization and committees instead of winning competitions
May 3, 2017

I graduated with a sub 2.5 gpa. So probably not party as much and get at least middling 3.5 grades.

May 3, 2017

Thank you this thread has been very helpful!

    • 1
May 4, 2017

You're welcome. Didn't expect all the responses, but it has provided a lot of insight for me too.

    • 1
May 8, 2017

Great!

May 4, 2017

Major in CS instead of Mechanical engineering. I'm really going to regret this till the end.

May 5, 2017

Was electrical an option? I think my one of my buddies did computer-electrical engineering? Not sure if they're generally attached like that.

May 5, 2017

Yes ECE (electrical & computer engineering) is another option where you also get to learn about hardware too. But I think ECE is way more challenging than CS (software only) option.

May 5, 2017

Party a bit less than I did. At a certain point, the marginal return is negative.

    • 1
May 5, 2017

Got the fuck out of my non-target and transferred to HYP

    • 1
May 5, 2017

and maybe study a little harder.

May 7, 2017
Comment

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

May 7, 2017
Comment

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

May 7, 2017
Comment
May 8, 2017
Comment
    • 1
May 13, 2017
Comment