I am 19 years old, who due to personal issues couldn’t complete A levels. I also have very poor AS levels (BCCD). I’m currently studying economics at the Open University (averaging 83% on essays).
On top of studying economics for ~35 hours p/w, I work 40 hours a p/w in retail banking, have done an IB day school and have self-taught myself how to financial model. I’ve also applied for spring internships (but have got no response as of yet).
Do I stand any realistic chance at getting into a front office IB job? Will my work ethic and resilience overshadow my very poor academic record?
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Last edited by Msurnnan; 3 weeks ago
Nothing's impossible, but it's worth keeping in mind how most investment banks look for candidates for single positions (based on my own experience in my bank's hiring process for an analyst 1 position):
1. Receive 1,000 applications (number can be +/-, but proportions are right)
2. Remove the 600 applications that are complete no-fits e.g. completely different background, poor skillset, no relevant prior internships, typos in CV etc.
3. Remove the 200 applications from those who did not attend a [top 10] university
4. Remove the 150 applications who did not achieve a good track record of As (or higher) throughout their school tenure
5. Remove the 30 applications where the cover letter / application doesn't fit / make the bank interested
6. Interview 20 candidates
7. Hire 1
The question isn't if you're good enough - maybe you are - but how are you going to get around the system above?
inclined to agree with Bb^
unconventional routes of super hard networking or starting of in audit > getting aca > lateral to a boutique etc.. it's a tough road, without the right starting line
In todays world a lot of stuff is about what you can offer as a person, uniquely. It’s not so much about going through a system like University or A-levels, sure it’s good for your credentials but people still look for individuals and not always the systemically approved candidate. You should dedicate 100% of your effort in this and give up all hopes on the systemic route to save time. Become an individual and see where it takes you. This means networking, getting experience, I wouldn’t recommend open university. If anything it’ll make your CV look worse, if I was HSBC I’d risk someone with no degree than a degree from Manchester met.
Drop out of uni, finish those a-levels, do a degree-apprenticeship type thing, network as much as you can, focus on yourself in this process and think about things you can uniquely offer that other bankers lack. It’s easy to find things bankers lack, empathy is one of them so don’t expect a struggle story to get you through, personality is something they lack too - with a good personality you could standout and gain loads from networking events by being a pleasure to be around, it goes a long way. As pointed out above, you stand zero chance through a traditional application cycle, your only choice now is to be selected/recommended somehow.
So under your current route, to be blunt, it’s waste of time. Open university doesn’t even offer good networking events. Unless you’re doing something on the side with it like starting your own company, building an investment portfolio etc., their name on your CV won’t add any benefit and if anything would tarnish it to a bank. I hate to sound rude but I believe if you fail the systemic route, dont try and compensate by taking the leftovers or alternatives of it, go a different route instead. You’ve hit a road block with the poor A-levels but found a turning and missed the road ahead closed sign, you’re satisfied with the illusion you’re going somewhere but it ends the same. Should’ve taken the train or a boat.
Last edited by 3121; 3 weeks ago