“I’m an economics student at a top university in the UK. Like a lot of my course mates, I want to go into investment banking. Unlike a lot of my course mates, I don’t come from a family with banking links and I wasn’t educated at a top school. This is turning out to be a real disadvantage.
Before I started at university, I’d assumed that getting a job would be a meritocratic process – and that the other students would be like me. In fact, almost all of them come from private schools, grammar schools or international schools and there are hardly any other ex-comprehensive pupils like myself.
My background means it’s harder for me to get a first job in banking. Many of my course colleagues either have family, friends, or school alumni who can help them land initial work experience. Even before they arrived on the course, a lot of them had already worked for boutiques, or spent a few days here and there in the finance industry. This makes it easier for them to get into a top economics course as they have exciting things to talk about on their personal statements. It also makes it much easier for them to land a spring week position – and from there, it’s much easier for them to get a summer internship.
I’m not bitter! It’s just the way of the world. If I were in their position, I’d do exactly the same. But it’s a bit depressing. – I did manage to land a spring internship last year, and the other intern turned out to the son of two retired bankers. His parents had pulled some strings to get him in. ”
*David Keen is a pseudonym