Investment Banking as a graduate Watch

nik0120
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Hey guys,
I am really stuck at the moment & could use some help!

I have just graduated from Durham with a degree in Biomedical Sciences. I really want to get into IB but am not sure of how to go about this. I got a 2:1 in my degree and have many extracurricular activities- president of biology society, treasurer, many volunteering experiences. However I don't have any banking experience. I applied to many banks for summer internships last year but was sadly unsuccessful.

So my question really is what to do next? Apply to summer internships, grad schemes, off cycle? I was thinking of applying to a mixture of the above but realistically what are my chances?

Thanks for the help!
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BusMan21
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Yes that is a decent strategy. But make sure you diversify your applications, do not just apply solely for front office IBD M&A - it’s a tough gig to secure particularly with no internships or banking experience. Risk, Finance etc can still get you in the door...
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gr8wizard10
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masters in finance and do internships
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asif007
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As already mentioned, you will have to bulk up your CV with internships and other experience in the financial sector. Keep applying until you get something. Your degree and your university are not traditionally recruited into IB so you will have to work harder to match the requirements for the jobs you want. Be prepared to do a Masters and/or get some employment in another sector if you want to get equal consideration as Maths/Economics/Finance graduates from Oxbridge, Imperial, LSE etc. It will be more of an uphill battle for you to get into IB straight out of uni, especially with no internships. Now you’re away from Durham and presumably back in London, get onto applying for those internships ASAP. I wish you good luck!
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nik0120
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Thanks everyone for the advice! Which would I have a better chance with of graduate schemes and internships? I heard that I can't apply to many summer internships as a graduate but then I can't apply to graduate schemes with a lack of experience, and also places on graduate schemes are limited.

In terms of Masters I did consider this but the ones I found don't accept biomed graduates.

If I worked in another sector and later transferred across to IB which area would be the best to work in?
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xtrembob
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(Original post by nik0120)
Thanks everyone for the advice! Which would I have a better chance with of graduate schemes and internships? I heard that I can't apply to many summer internships as a graduate but then I can't apply to graduate schemes with a lack of experience, and also places on graduate schemes are limited.

In terms of Masters I did consider this but the ones I found don't accept biomed graduates.

If I worked in another sector and later transferred across to IB which area would be the best to work in?
plenty of masters will accept any undergrads with a decent 2.1 from Durham and a good GMAT.

When it comes to internships/jobs apply to a mix, although most firms that wouldn't accept you for Summers would take you for off-cycles, so I'd avoid applying for FT jobs given how competitive they are. Note that Durham is the 2nd uni most represented at my BB this summer with 3 people (alongside many more schools - LSE, Warwick, Bocconi etc) , after HEC and LBS with both 5 and 5 respectively.
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asif007
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(Original post by nik0120)
Thanks everyone for the advice! Which would I have a better chance with of graduate schemes and internships? I heard that I can't apply to many summer internships as a graduate but then I can't apply to graduate schemes with a lack of experience, and also places on graduate schemes are limited.

In terms of Masters I did consider this but the ones I found don't accept biomed graduates.

If I worked in another sector and later transferred across to IB which area would be the best to work in?
Yes, internships are intended more for undergraduates in the middle of their degrees so you might have missed the boat on that. But I’m sure you can keep applying for unpaid posts that will have less training than an internship. Do them for a couple of weeks here and there and it all counts towards experience for graduate schemes. Yes places are limited but even people who go down the traditional route and tailor their CV entirely to finance can spend multiple rounds applying.

For Masters I suggest you consider doing something more social science related which could translate into financial positions further down the line. I have a friend who graduated in Pharmacy and had the same problem as you - most Masters in finance subjects wouldn’t accept him without an undergraduate degree in a Maths/Economics/Finance subject. He did a Masters in Marketing instead and now works for a pharmaceutical company. It’s not IB but the principle is the same. For example, you could do a Business related Masters and leverage the skills you gain from that into a financial analyst position with a bank, then keep working your way up to IB.

If you want to get experience in another sector, management consultancy is a good place to start out. It is competitive but they accept graduates from all sorts of different backgrounds and give you experience in a range of sectors. You’ll get training for everything you need to do, but you could specialise in financial clients and then leverage that into a mid-range position with a bank. Tbh, with your background I think the senior and best paid financial jobs will only be achievable by working your way up in a company.
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nik0120
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Last year I applied to M&A internships at lots of different banks. Would I be able to apply to the same banks this time round but to a different division? Or will that show that I'm not really dedicated to that area? Also, what is the easiest area of IB to get into?

What about investment management- is that just as difficult to get into with my background? Is the level of competition similar as IB? I was also considering applying to smaller companies such as fintechs.

In terms of unpaid positions how do I go about finding them?
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IPEguy
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(Original post by nik0120)
Last year I applied to M&A internships at lots of different banks. Would I be able to apply to the same banks this time round but to a different division? Or will that show that I'm not really dedicated to that area? Also, what is the easiest area of IB to get into?

What about investment management- is that just as difficult to get into with my background? Is the level of competition similar as IB? I was also considering applying to smaller companies such as fintechs.

In terms of unpaid positions how do I go about finding them?
If anything IM can be considered more competitive as there’s less places but it’s certainly another avenue you can go down and so will provide more opps. In terms of msc check again on not being accepted by contacting unis. I got into a msc finance from international relations without gmat (yes at a decent semi target).

Ps I wouldn’t do any msc except finance.
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uxa595
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Check out UBS - they accept grad apps for internships (no need to be at uni). There also may be a few others who do, but check their eligibility guidelines.
I remember they their internship cohort last year prob had an average age of like 25 with a 28yo too.
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nik0120
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Really good advice so far guys!

I was thinking to apply for off-cycles for the banks which have them, and then summer internships or grad schemes for the rest. I have been trying to contact banks to see whether they accept graduates onto the summer internships- a lot of the websites say they only accept penultimate year students. However most of them aren't giving a decent reply and are just referring me to the website. Will most banks reject me for summer internships just on the basis that I am a graduate?
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asif007
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(Original post by nik0120)
Last year I applied to M&A internships at lots of different banks. Would I be able to apply to the same banks this time round but to a different division? Or will that show that I'm not really dedicated to that area? Also, what is the easiest area of IB to get into?

What about investment management- is that just as difficult to get into with my background? Is the level of competition similar as IB? I was also considering applying to smaller companies such as fintechs.

In terms of unpaid positions how do I go about finding them?
M&A is difficult to get recruited into straight out of uni with it being a specialist area. That might be why it’s proving difficult to get an internship there. Same goes for IM - the senior financial departments will be more difficult to secure an internship in without having contacts, a top quantitative degree from a target uni and pulling some strings.

I would suggest you apply for internships in different departments, including at the banks you’ve already tried. I don’t think the area you get experience in will have a lot of effect on the area you end up getting a job in - you can always apply for a different sector with the transferable skills you’ll gain from an internship at any bank. You could try admin or receptionist jobs and see if those get you any exposure or potentially a chance to shadow a member of staff in the area you’re interested in.

Smaller companies in things like fintech come with a lot of risk. Working for a start-up in its infancy means you’re likely not to be paid for a while until the company starts making a profit, which could be years away.

(Original post by nik0120)
Really good advice so far guys!

I was thinking to apply for off-cycles for the banks which have them, and then summer internships or grad schemes for the rest. I have been trying to contact banks to see whether they accept graduates onto the summer internships- a lot of the websites say they only accept penultimate year students. However most of them aren't giving a decent reply and are just referring me to the website. Will most banks reject me for summer internships just on the basis that I am a graduate?
Have you tried Lloyd’s, HSBC, Barclays, RBS etc? I’m sure not all the banks will refuse based on you being a graduate. Lots of people change career and enter financial sector jobs further down the line, so you won’t be the only one in this position. Keep applying for everything, on cycle and off. Eventually you will get something!
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