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The investment banking recruitment process

Investment bank recruitment process

If you want to work for an investment bank (and you know nothing about it), you might think it’s just a matter of sending in your application at the start of the third year of university and hoping for the best.

You’d be wrong.

Investment banks are some of the most competitive places to get into in the world. If you thought getting into an elite university was hard, try getting into Goldman Sachs: the acceptance rate at ‘the firm’ is just 1.8%, compared to 5.2% at Harvard University and around 20% at Cambridge.

If you want to get into an investment bank, you need to plan ahead. The recruitment process starts way, way before your graduation year.

1. Apply for events, insight days and spring weeks: your first year at university

If you want to work for an investment bank, you need to spend your first year preparing the ground.

In particular, keep a look out for the ‘events’ banks run on campus, or online. These have become an important way for banks to identify promising students at an early stage. J.P. Morgan, for example, offers schools insight days, campus dinners (on universities) and LiveTalks via its careers site. You can find out about events by visiting banks’ careers pages. Goldman Sachs, for example, has an area titled ‘My GS Events.’

You also need to apply for the ‘spring weeks’ run by most banks in Europe at Easter. These are specifically for first year university students and can lead directly to a summer internship in your second year. Our research suggests that 25% of the places on some banks’ summer internship programmes are assigned to people who were previously ‘spring interns’.

“Applying for the spring weeks puts pressure on you in your first year, but makes life a lot easier after that,” one student told us.  “The spring internships give candidates the opportunity to secure summer internships earlier and be better informed about where their skillsets and interests might best fit,” says a spokeswoman for J.P. Morgan.

While insight days and ‘orientation events’ are run throughout the year, you will normally need to apply for a spring week by January or December, so keep a look out for deadlines on banks’ websites.

Whether you do a spring week or not, John Craven, a former director of structured products and cross-asset solutions at Merrill Lynch and SocGen, who now helps non-middle class students get into banking jobs, says your first year at university should really be spent finding out about the industry and establishing exactly which sector you want to work in (our graduate guide can help you here) and exactly which bank you want to work for.

2. Apply for a summer internship: your second year at university (first term)

Once you know what you want to do in banking, you can devote the first term of your second year to applying for summer internships (known as “summer analyst programmes”) at different banks in that sector. It’s this second year summer internship that’s “crucial” to landing an investment banking job when you graduate, says Craven: “Banks want to hire people they’ve tested the year before.”

Application deadlines for summer analyst programmes are typically late December. In Europe the Middle East and Africa, for example, Goldman Sachs requires that students apply for its summer analyst programmes by December 4th. This year, J.P. Morgan is opening applications for its summer analyst programme on August 1st and closing them on 27th of November.  “We encourage candidates to apply as early as possible in the season because we recruit on a rolling basis,” says the J.P. Morgan spokeswoman.

Getting onto a summer analyst programme is not easy. Banks are incredibly fussy about who they hire for summer internships. If you want to get one, you’ll need to go through the process below.

i) Fill in the application form

The actual recruitment process varies from bank to banks. Most banks use application forms but some – like Goldman Sachs, have historically preferred a CV and a cover letter. 

The application form is the crucial filtering mechanism in banks’ application process. This is where most of the unsuccessful candidates are stripped away. To succeed, you’ll need excellent academics. In the UK, this means an average of 530 UCAS points, plus a degree class of 2.1 or above (usually from a top university). You’ll also need the right kinds of extracurricular activities. Banks don’t just want people who’ve participated in finance societies, says Craven – they want people who’ve taken leadership roles in those societies. Academic studies suggest banks like to hire students whose extracurricular activities resonate with the bankers interviewing them: skiing, skuba diving and tennis all count highly (especially if you were a team leader at university). So does taking time out to work for an internationally recognized volunteering organization.

ii) Complete the psychometric tests

Until now, banks have been big on psychometric tests. In Europe especially, numerical tests were often bundled in with the application form. If you passed well, you’d be in the top third of candidates and go through to the next level. If you failed, your application would be terminated.

Now, there’s a sign that things may be changing. Goldman Sachs doesn’t do numerical tests and J.P. Morgan has dropped tests from its application process. Banks are trying to be more open-minded about who they recruit and doing away with prescriptive numerical tests might be a part of this. At the same time, however, Goldman is thinking of introducing a “personality questionnaire” to its recruitment process, suggesting that more emphasis is being placed upon hiring the, ‘right sort of person.’

iii) Wait for the telephone or video interview 

In 2016, there’s a new stage in the banking application process: the video interview.

In the past, banks often conducted their first interviews by telephone. Now, both Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are making the most of up to date video technology. Using a webcam, you will be asked to record your responses to pre-recorded questions. The intention here is for banks to interview far more candidates than in the past.

Goldman Sachs is using HireVue for its video interviews. You can see tips on how to do well in a HireVue interview here. 

In most cases, HireVue interview results are analysed by a computer algorithm. However, Goldman’s head of HR Edith Cooper said this doesn’t mean you can game it: “If you go in there with a script because that’s what everyone says you’re supposed to say it doesn’t take long for people to figure out what it is.”

iv) Get invited to a second interview or assessment centre (‘super day’)

If you make it past the video interviewing algorithm you can expect to be called back for a more rigorous interview process. At J.P. Morgan in EMEA, this means an assessment centre. At Goldman Sachs, it means endless “structured interviews”.

“Goldman is all about round after round of face-to-face interviews – there’s a big emphasis on character and being the sort of interesting person they want to work with,” says one ex-Goldman Sachs recruiter. 

If you’re interested, we have a full list of every conceivable question you could be asked at a Goldman Sachs interview here.

v) Complete the internship, get an offer, and turn up for your banking job after you graduate (ideally)

If you make it through points i to iv, you can expect to get an offer to attend a 10 to 12 week summer internship or summer analyst programme. Simple? Not exactly.

Once you’ve got a summer internship, you’ll still need to come out of it with the offer of a full time job. – To “convert” it in banking parlance. This can be easier said than done – especially in years when banking revenues are low and banks decide they need fewer graduates. We have advice on converting a J.P. Morgan internship here, and a Goldman Sachs securities internship here.

3. Apply for full time graduate jobs: your third year at university 

If you fail level 2 and don’t convert your internship – don’t get a full time job offer for after you graduate, you’ll need to start all over again. This means, applying for scratch for full time analyst jobs during your third year at university. Unfortunately, you’ll have to go through the application processes i to iv (above) all over again.

Deadlines for full time jobs (‘analyst positions’) are usually in October. Goldman’s full time deadline is October 30 in EMEA.

Good luck.

Comments (78)

  1. Who wrote this article please? Thanks

  2. I would like to ask, for those who do not have the 320 UCAS points, what would be the best step forward into banking? Would it be via entry level permanent roles or going via the temping route? What is the best suggestion for those who do not make the graduate schemes?

    Thank You

  3. I would like to ask, for those who do not have the 320 UCAS points, what would be the best step forward into banking? Would it be via entry level permanent roles or going via the temping route? What is the best suggestion for those who do not make the graduate schemes?

    Thank You

  4. Man, If you are not from Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, UCL (or maybe Warwick). you can seriously FORGET FORGET FORGET applying to IB.
    Nobody has got in before if they are not from one of the above university.

  5. Chris W,

    I find your comment very narrow minded and frankly, I do not think you really know what you are talking about. You have heard somewhere that MOST people from the top uni’s gain entry into IB’s, but this does NOT mean ALL people. I know many people who work in IB’s and they went to mid range uni’s. I do agree that it helps, but that is it.

  6. It is true that most graduates come from top 10 universities, however, there are exceptions and I personally know a few people who come from other universities and still have jobs in IB front office.

    London Student Reply
  7. Chris,

    Looks like you dont really know what you are talking about. I know someone who went to a university which may be classed as THIRD tier, and he works for Goldman. I rest my case.

    Back to my original post, if anyone has any advice, I would be grateful.

  8. Funny that I’m now on the grad programme of a BB in FI s&t without attending of the above mentioned universities.

  9. Chris:

    I agree with you totally! I have seen on numerous occasions (at 4 interviews to be precise) people from only the aforementioned universities at interviews at the major BB running for FO positions.

    Yes, perhaps it is possible to work for a BB coming from a mid range university, but only in BO or maybe MO. It’s these sorts of people who account for the 7,000 dead applications!

  10. Sour grapes Chris?

    Durham Student Reply
  11. Amused, you can find many things, and you can think many things. However, these things you find and think, might not be real or true.

    guys, let’s be frank, we all have heard about this friend of ours getting into IB with a thrid from the bottom 20 uni. But does this reflect the general truth? Or are we just unable to accept the real hard fact?

  12. I know techies can get onto grad schemes from uni’s like Edinburgh, Glasgow & Melbourne Institute of Tech. They’re not rocket scientists and techies move into FO if they really want to. There is a good profile section on the Morgan Stanley careers website.

    woodie_woodpeck Reply
  13. woodie_woodpeck:

    Oh come on, give me a break! BO monkeys becoming FO monkeys?! That is virtually impossible. It’s easier to get into Harvard than transfer between the two!

    Chris W

    Completely agree with you. Those dismissing this idea are purely trying to reassure themselves, knowing full well that only the elite from the elite will end up in the top BB in M+A, Trading etc.

    Its one thing lying to yourself, but another thing when you start to believe in your lie!

  14. Martha, no-one is saying FO Jobs are not dominated by people from the discussed uni’s, and there’s a reason for this: they are the most selective uni’s, banks want the best candidates and therefore choose the best uni’s to target.

    That’s not to say however that if the right candidate with the necessary qualifications, a sound understanding of their department and a genuine interest in forging a career at that bank came along that they would be rejected at the door- they stand just as much chance as anyone else.

    The fact you yourself got 4 interviews demonstrates my point- if a bank wasnt interested it would have rejected you long before the interview stage, saving them much time and money. The reason you didnt get the job was because you didnt perform well in the interview.

    I’ll finish by quoting yourself:

    “Its one thing lying to yourself, but another thing when you start to believe in your lie!”

    Durham Student Reply
  15. Anon,

    If you have less than 320 UCAS Points forget it. There’s no way you’ll get in, so find something else you enjoy and purie that instead.

    <320 UCAS Points Reply
  16. Most of the FO jobs are taken up by those in the top unis. In my intake there are about 40 graduates. A lot of candidates from the top few universities but at least 10 have not gone to LSE, Oxbridge, Imperial or LSE. Thats 25% of the intake.

  17. To <320 UCas points

    I know several people with 300 who have made it. One in M+A, and another in Trading.

    Rather than acting so harshly, it would be better to give some more constructive advice. Other career options, alternative routes, further study, etc.

    Thanks for the comment though.

  18. For fast career progression, the grad schemes are best. Most seek 320+ points. However some will accept lower scores if you have other skills/experience relevant to the job.

    Temping is a way in, and once in, you may get the opportunity to apply for internal vacancies so long as you prove yourself. But this is not guaranteed.
    Accepting a perm job will give you a steady income and may also give you an entry point into internal vacancies. However, employers don’t like to see their investment in you wasted, so you would need to discuss any internal applications with your line manager.

    Either way, there are no guarantees, but in the absence of 320+ points, building up relevant experience and a good reputation as a worker are essential. So the advice is, whatever you decide to do, slacking will not be an option if you want to be noticed for your talents. You may have some valid reasons for not getting the UCAS points, and if so point this out. Employers will look at the whole picture generally, but a push in the right direction never hurts. Job agencies are experience in this – find a good one, don’t embarrass the agent, and you may just land on your feet. Good luck.

    Anon advice re <320 UCAS points Reply
  19. Durham Student

    I agree with your logic but students from lower tier universities are given less of a chance. Yes, you are correct in saying that the “my friend who went to…is now working at…” scenario exists, but it certainly is not wide spread. They are merely one-off’s, and the general finding is that banks recruit from elite establishments. For instance, take a look at ML’s target university list!

    For the record the interviews that I was referring to, I did pass all except one and offered an internship in their M+A department.

    Besides a candidate it not entirely made up by their university (although that is the first thing Tracey from HR sees) but instead the qualities and traits gained though extra curricular activities, volunteering etc. And so finish with the line that you (Chris) so unfittingly quoted: “Its one thing lying to yourself, but another thing when you start to believe in your lie!”

  20. Anonymous.

    why did you type in LSE twice? Also, the 10 that have not gone to Oxbridge, Imperial and LSE, they could have been from UCL and Warwick as suggested.

  21. Martha: Here at MS Tokyo an IT friend moved from to IT to future sales trading last month.

  22. Sorry typed it in twice by mistake.

    Some of them may have gone to UCL, Warwick, etc. There are those from european universities too. I don’t know how they rank. Other universities represented for the FO were

    Warwick, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton, Kings, UCL and Edinburgh. Some other universities were represented too.

  23. that is absolutely not true i know people who failed some of their exams got 2.2 and now work in investment banking you just have to be lucky and have good contacts.

  24. Which banks accept final year students on summer internships?

  25. the quote if ur not from the top ten uni’s forget about it i know a an uel graduate who got a first another who got 2.1 are now working for a top investment bank working at th back office

  26. The desk I manage would consider applications from outside the top ten however the level of competition is intense so work experience would help this may account for why you have been unsuccessful so far. If you are really serious get yourself on a good Msc programme and then re-apply.

    In regards to Durham student’s comment, I hope that you will enjoy your career as it will probably prove to be short lived with that attitude. I hope this type of arrogance is not indicative of all Durham students as the university is only ranked 9th and is not what we would consider to be a true talent source unlike colleges such as Imperial. I only hope that you never come to work on our trading floor as you wouldn’t last a week.

  27. Just out of curiousity, these people who got 2.2 and got into Banking, what Banks do they work for and what universities did they go to?

    I find this hard to believe so I would just like to know. Thanks

  28. Why not just set up your own company. I am about to finish an MSc in international Management with the Open Uni Business that I already have 5 offices involved in raising finance with these big banks.

    Set up your own company and these doors will be wide open.

  29. sorry guys, that’s complete bull**** you are saying. i’m a VP in FI derivatives trading and came from st andrews which is not among the typical top 5. if your cv and grades are good you will be invited to every interview and then it will be up to you to persuade your interviewers to take you. cheers! g.

  30. I think it’s pathetic to suggest that unless you’re from one of the top uni’s, you won’t work in an IB (or in the FO to be precise). Personally, I wholly believe in you make your own luck and your destiny is carved by you so regardless of your background, I don’t think it is not possible. It’s entirely in your hands how much you want it and how hard you’re willing to work at it.

    I’d apply to the grad schemes anyway – whether you meet the criteria or not. Research as much as you can and make sure you give the best answer possible. What’s the worst that can happen – you don’t get invited for an interview? Well, if you don’t apply, you definitely won’t be invited for an interview!

    So, if you’re unsure of applying or you think you don’t match their requirements, apply anyway. And for all those with the defeated mentalities – well, you’re already defeated so it’s not much point saying anything to you except to not try and force your defeatist, pessimistic attitudes onto others.

  31. Thanks, this is a very informative article. Is it possible to also do a piece on ‘fasttrack’ applications as well? I had never heard of these before (just like many others I know) and they are not mentioned on any bank’s websites, but apparently they do exist. Many of the graduate positions are taken at this early stage and the fasttrack applicants do not have to go through the strenuous hurdles mentioned above.

  32. To anon in debt/fixed income. It is hard to say I wouldn’t last a week on your trading floor when I have lasted 5 years on my own floor….it must be a very different environment.

    What is it I said that you have perceived as arrogance? Nothing I stated earlier is incorrect, and at no point have I stated that at the time of applying I was an exceptional candidate or that Durham was an exceptional university.

    Durham Student Reply
  33. If you’re 27 years old now, do the 2-year part-time Graduate Diploma in Finance at Birkbeck, and then the 2-year part-time MSc in Finance at LSE, would investment banks, brokers, hedge funds or prop-trading houses be interested in your application even though you’re 31 years old?

    Old Man Grandpops Reply
  34. Forget all this can i can’t I. If you really want it go for it and prepare for when you get those interviews. Your chances are better going to a top uni but not going to one does not make it impossible. Just be true to yourself as to weather you have what it takes to get in. If you think there is a chance and it is what you want to do. go for it

  35. From what i hear they are cutting back on graduate recruitment. So it is going to become increasingly difficult to land a position. Numbers for some divisions may still be the same. But this won’t be known until a few months from now.

  36. I agree with Chris completely…..I graduated from a so called third tier university with a 1st and it has taken me 3yrs of temping, blood sweat and tears to get into IB just because I wasn’t an uxbridge snob and just a normal Brixton lad….this divide does exist although the posh toffs will not admit it cuz they get in via the back door…all I can say to you Chris is, If you have a dream follow it and don’t let no one tell you you can’t achieve it

  37. Where have you heard this? It is the first I have heard!

  38. One thing I’ve noticed as well is that these uxbridge people don even have finance degrees they all graduated with some mediocre Ancient History degree and the door was opened wide for them to get into IB. Whereas people from so called 3rd tier uni’s have to sweat do academic degrees, get good grades and still get the door slammed in their face….and you call this fair…I think banks should stop recruiting all those people who did none finance/economics/ business related degrees and get these people to work for their money…really what motivation could someone who studied about vikings have in IB ???? Ridiculous Nepotism!!!!

  39. The credit crunch didn’t really see many people loosing their jobs in the financial services. However, it is widely anticipated that the period after this shock will see the number of graduate/undergraduate intakes slashed.

  40. It might not be accurate but heard it from employees that ML might not be recruiting much and DB has lowered it intake.

  41. Lehman and Morgan Stanely have certainly cut their intake – I heard this directly from their HR department.

  42. Please ignore people who say you need to be from one of the top schools to get a place. Of course this helps, but it is not essential.

    I work in equity derivatives trading at a bulge-bracket and get to see loads of CV’s for interns and full time analysts. This year for our full time analyst programme there are several people from schools that do not fall in the top 10. However these candidates made it because of how intelligent and prepared they were.

    If some of you actually make it into a front office banking role you will see that on the trading floor no one will care whether you went to Oxbridge or Loughborough. What they care about is the quality of your work and your ability to interact with others. I have met many Oxbridge interns who are academically brilliant but lack the social skills to network and interact with clients. At the same time I have met other interns who have more mediocre grades(300-320 ucas points), but manage to produce excellent work and possess great social skills.

    The work in banking does not necessarily require the ability of a Cambridge mathematician. Simply a smart team-player with the passion and drive to do whatever is necessary to succeed.

    VP, Equity Derivatives Reply
  43. 40winkz, well done on sticking with it and getting into an IB, I am a recent graduate from a third tier uni…what advise would you give to someone who has a 2:1 and 300 ucas points but would probably have to go the same route as yourself to get into IB? Just a couple of other questions what kind of roles did you do in the 3 years before and what role do you have now? If you don’t mind answering! Thanks!

  44. It is easier to get your foot in the door if you are from Oxbridge/LSE. FACT. As someone said ealier, lie to yourself, but don’t lie to us.

  45. tried to get in IB for 5 years, I applied each either for intrns ord grads, no luck, they look at you only if you are from top biz schools

  46. In regards to the latest news that many banks have frozen their hiring, what effect will this have on their graduate intake. Will it also be slashed, making everyone’s chances a lot slimmer, or will this be exempt?

    Some contribution from an EfinancialCareers Editor would also be helpful here!!

  47. I’m an international student who has an MSc. Finance, got 2 scholarships (1 international)to cover it, but can’t land an interview for even an internship. I guess I have more working against me..I’m not European, I didn’t go to Oxbridge. However, I’ll keep plugging away as I know I am a good candidate. All the talks of diversity recruitment are just that..talk.

    Been trying, Student Reply
  48. u lot need to gain faith in yourselves.. i have been offered a grad placement in IB yet i do not have a degree, despite rejecting a financial Economics place at kingston to persue sales reppin for 3 years. im only 20 with alevels and official sales certificates to my name, yet managed to talk myself into a dream placement. JUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

  49. I have 2:1 but my A level is very poor..Whats is the chance of getting a job in IB?

  50. Regardless of being prepared for the recruitment process, I urge this year’s graduates to carefully consider a career in banking. I have friends who found themselves in banking ‘because everyone else is doing it’ and that she ‘doesn’t know what to do with an economics degree’. Look at the options available to you, and there are many. Prestige, kudos and fashion should not be the driving forces for you to apply.

  51. It will be very hard, yet nothing is impossible. I am indeed in a similar position. At present, it may be tougher than usual as bank’s hiring headcount may be low.

  52. Has anybody submitted any applications to investment banks yet received any responses? I recently submitted the application form for Merrill Lynch I was hoping somebody would be able to tell me how long you have to wait for an outcome i.e. a rejection or an invitation for interview?

  53. Yeah Ive heard back from a few of the banks, though had nothing from Merrills yet either. Sat the numeracy test about 10 days ago though so not too worried yet, some take longer than others to screen the applications.

  54. Hello,

    I’ve been researching into I-Banking over the summer attending several “Skills for Success” workshops held by different banks like ML and was wondering how International Baccalaureate was compared to students who did A-Levels. I achieved an equivalent of 466 Ucas points or 32 IB Points; stand a chance? I’m on course for a 1:1 in my degree in warwick.

    Candidate09 for Reply
  55. An element of truth in all responses. If you don’t have the coveted UCAS points but have a good 2.1. Try Temping through a large recruitment agency to gain knowledge of the product area you wish to work in, preferably in a middle office or Desk assistant environment. Do some financially relative exams, CFA 1 is a good choice even the IMC or IAC, this shows you are determined and pro-active. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK with front office as much as possible and don’t be afraid to use your contacts. Be confident but likeable around senior management. Ensure that you show an aptitude for your job and are more than able to take on more responsibility. Don’t be afraid to network with HR after all they will be able to get your CV in front of the right people. It may take you a year or 2 to get a junior role in front office and it may not be at a tier 1 IB but it will be a start. If you are any good, it will soon shine through and you will be recognized for your achievements. I got a role within 18 months. I also have friends that went down the route of Accounting and then moved laterally once qualified. Be that guy everyone likes, but also does what is required and amore. Good luck!!

    Kingston alumni Reply
  56. Candidate Equities- Did you get asked to complete the second part of the application form after completing the online numerical test? If you didnt get asked it might be a good idea to email Merrills and ask if there were any problems with your numerical test. They made a mistake after I completed the 1st part of my application form as they didnt send me the numerical test. However after chasing them up they said they were sorry and it had been a mistake and sent the test immediately. By the way if you dont mind me asking have you managed to secure any 1st round interviews?

  57. Has anybody managed to secure any 1st round interviews yet? I just spoke to Merrill Lynch on the phone and even though its been a week since I submitted the application form they told me that it could take until the November deadline until I get an acceptance or rejection. Do investment banks normally take this long to get back to you?

  58. Hello,
    Yes I sat the test and have filled in the extra details, though talking to friends Merrill’s seem to have a reputation for being slow through this process. I have managed to get 3 telephone interviews and 1 assessment centre lined up so far, all for FO, so am very pleased. Not trying to brag; I come from a fringe top ten Uni with AABB at a level and no internship so I’m by no means one of the superstar candidates. Reading comments on some articles about ‘if you’re not from Oxbridge forget it’ seem quite irrelevant, and frankly wrong at times.

  59. Candidate Equities- Thats great news- congratulations good luck for the all the interviews. Its nice to see somebody from outside Top10 unis getting interviews. Theres far too many people typing in that this isnt possible. Everybody has a chance of getting in although it will vary based on your university and work experiences but that does not mean its impossible. By the way Im in a similar position to urself except I got AABD at A level and also come from a fringe top ten uni although I need to get a move on with applications as I have not had the chance to complete many.

  60. Hi,

    I am trying in tokyo to get into an investment bank. Why I did not get any reply after the last round of interview? They dont even bother to say yes or no. I will try for a while and then probably give up.

  61. I think it’s very telling that so many of the postings with negative, elitist views seem to have come from contributors with poor grammar, immature views and who misuse the apostrophe! (Have a brief look back across the thread.) I suspect that some of them are not in investment banking at all. Likewise, the defeatists appear all too swift to write off their failures as products of the universities they attended, their social background, or worse, their race.

    It is a given that those from the top universities have the academic advantage from the start, but there is much more to sell. Work experience, knowledge of the industry, evidence of strong interpersonal skills and the appearance of commitment to a career in the industry all matter a great deal when it comes to the crunch. Start by getting a good attitude, doing research and then get out there and make your own luck. If you want to get in it should be possible, you may just have to work on it. Don’t write yourself off because your academics don’t look hot – you can compensate with further , relevant study and experience.
    If you have bags of tenacity and a head on your shoulders you should be able to achieve your goals. :)

  62. The UCAS cut off is certainly very discouraging. I don’t meet the 320 cut off but I’ve got a 2:1 from a top 20 Uni, a masters from top 3 Uni,internships at 3 international banks (2FO, 1 BO), and I still can’t even get an interview at most banks!
    Someone needs to look at the recruiting system.

  63. After reading all these comments,so is it virtually impossible for someone who is attending Queen Mary to do IB?

  64. The people moaning that they are not taken seriously because of their sub-standard undergrad/A level achievements should wake up!

    If you werent prepared/capable of achieving highly early on in your development then why should you be even given a shot versus a candidate who was focussed enough to achieve from an early age?

  65. i go to loughborough university and its not one of the uni’s mentioned i.e. oxford, cambridge, LSE, warwick i know plenty of people who have got into grad schemes at the top investment banks. one of the senior managers at morgan stanley is also a loughborough graduate.

  66. I am a final year student studying Finance at Westminster uni. Unfortunately, I only have 280 Ucas points. Although I am currently in the process of applying to IB’s and not being pessimistic about my chances, I know it is realistic that I won’t obtain a position on a graduate scheme. This leads me to the conclusion that a Masters in Finance would be a good option. Or possibly to qualify in accountancy and then transfer laterally.

    What advice would you give me?

    Any constructive comments would be greatly appreciated.

  67. Ok what about this profile…
    A- Levels- 4 A’s in Maths, Adv MAths, Physics , Chem
    Degree – MEng in Electronic Eng, 2.1 honours sheffield (was top 10 when i went there!)
    3 years exp working in business consulting and now have developed a passion interest and drive for FO inv Banking
    but no finance experience

    First of all..are my academics ok? and then what are my entry options??

  68. Now i understand why sum very dull people work in IB. They are programmed to be the above

  69. Anon 5th December, in response to your comment -What about EDHEC, Bocconi, Harvard, Princeton and the rest of the Ivy league – Everyone is moving to Europe, London especially.

  70. If you want to enter IB, you have to be well connected. Grades, university, experience etc is secondary.

  71. well written article ,thank you for your advice and please continue to share the information.

  72. Regarding comments about Unis. Yes tier 1 schools in Europe are LBS and INSEAD and graduate schools are the top 5 + warwick and Cass. But I think this is all a bit over stated. There are many stars in the industry without even formal qualifications. If you graduate with a 2:2 from a less well-known school find a job wit4h an agent and after a couple of years do a better MBA (your 2nd chance). But donot think that only top schools get there. Top Schools have more support but someoen with drive will always find a way. I knew a few in top firms from less than prestigious universities (or rather the bottom 5 of Times rank).

  73. Maybe so but its worth a shot, i mean, really what do you have to lose..Nothing, thats what i thought so application away

  74. Hi Guys,

    I totally disagree with the fact that, only the top guys from LSE, or Oxbridge, get into IB, I think its only about self- belief and determination.Its probably just a coincidence and exposure that these guys, get at these places, and mostly it has also has to do with the alumni network these people have access to. I personally, am from RHUL, which is not from one of these top rungs, but am hell bent on getting into an IB.

  75. More investment bankers come from Bristol than any other University actually.

  76. Hi enjoying the interesting discussion on top universities. Wondered what anyone’s opinion is of Birmingham university, do you think students from this uni have a chance in IB???

  77. I’d say around 70-80% of those taken into FO roles are from the top universities but there are plenty more from other universities. If you know the right people, and have the right grades then you stand a good chance. I personally know someone who trades at GS who did not come from a ‘target university’.

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