Interested in Banking as a Freshman in College?
It’s investment banking internship recruitment season, and as President of my university’s IB club, I get many questions about securing positions, resume/cover letter reviews, and other general advice. Yesterday, a freshman emailed me:
I want to work in investment banking after I graduate. However, I just got a 3.2 GPA this semester, do you think I can still break in and intern at a bank this summer?
Frankly, I didn’t know I wanted to do investment banking until my sophomore year, at which point I joined my school’s investment banking club. There is a lot of information on the Internet, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Personally, I like to keep it simple and do the minimum amount of work.
Here is the advice I gave to the student (summary):
- Take the time to figure out what you want to do. Join the investment banking club, meet with professors or take a few finance courses, and read the news. Find out if you actually have an interest and passion for the work.
- If you have study abroad, volunteering, or research aspirations, this would be the summer to accomplish them. The next couple of summers should be spent interning.
- Keep you GPA above a 3.5. As a freshman, there is still time to bring your GPA up. However, a 3.5 GPA will allow you to apply and peruse many more opportunities, even if you don’t choose banking.
- Bonus for my readers: Diversify your network. Okay, so as a freshman, you may not get too many opportunities to meet professionals and people will say you are too young; however, this is the perfect time to learn. Practice conversing with people and attending career events banking related or not.
Most Important Tip
As a freshman, situate yourself in your university, make friends, and keep your grades up. If you find out that you are really into finance, spend more time focusing on “point #1” and foster that interest.