Q:What would you suggest a High School senior do to expose themselves to the finance industry, specifically the Investment Banking world?
- Focus on getting into a good college.
- Don’t stress about banking. Have fun learning more about business in general and exploring other careers.
Any student in High School should only be focused on getting good grades and a high ACT/SAT score. That and having fun. The results will increase your probability of getting into a better college.
Many people’s career plans evolve. Especially when they get to college and find out becoming a banker is not for everyone. The key is finding out if you really want to do it before your three-year analyst program.
“Being hard working, a team player, and great financial modeler are great skills. However, a banker on my team has to be interested in their job. Working the hours we have to is only possible when the person has a passion for the work.”
- Bank of America MD
That said, my advice is to focus on the universities you’re applying to. Research their investment banking recruitment programs (e.g., Indiana University’s IBW) and acceptance rates (i.e., Yale has 57+ IB recruits). Additionally, chances of landing a position are higher in schools near the big financial cities (i.e. NYC, LA, and Chicago) since they will provide students with better access to bankers; however that does vary according to the school’s reputation and alumni reach.
Another conundrum that usually presents itself is what major you should chose when you get into college? Don’t worry about picking a college based on whether or not it has an undergraduate business school. Many Northwestern University students break in with Economics degrees ever year. In fact, I know a couple Art History and English majors working in banking right now.
In summary, choose a college you’re excited to join, one that will provide you with the most opportunities, and pick a major that you’re interested enough to keep your GPA high. After you get settled in, check out my advice for freshman.
Thanks for the question and good luck!