Does it matter which university I go to become an Investment Banker

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Hi all, I am wondering if anybody who works in the IB industry or is a current university student with similar experience that can help me?

I am 19 wanting to pursue investment banking but currently only hold GCSE qualifications which certainly aren't good grades . At 16 in 2018 I left school with Maths 3(D), English Lit & Lang 4(C), Combined Sciences 4/3(C), BTEC Engineering Merit, Product Design C and Graphic Design D because I am truly terrible at drawing. I always struggled with maths in school and thought I just couldn't do it. Now I have grown older and more mature I realised that I just wasn't pushing myself enough and didn't believe in myself enough to achieve the grades I would of been satisfied with.

After leaving school in 2018 I went straight into college to study vehicle mechanics for a year after which I got a 3 year apprenticeship with Ford on a 6 month probation. During the 6 months I experienced at Ford I came to the conclusion that being a mechanic just wasn't for me and left in Jan 2020.

Since then I haven't had much look with employment, it's been awful. I can't get into many jobs because I don't have GCSE maths and I just can't allow myself to live like this I have big ambitions in life, so I have decided that I will redo my maths GCSE and do whatever it takes to ensure I get an A* or at least an A this time for me to have the best chances for A level study for me to get into university.

I really want to get into IB, I have been learning about the financial markets independently for around a year now and feel that I have a strong passion for finance so it makes sense to pursue a professional career within the industry.

After redoing my GCSE maths this year I will be moving onto A levels/HE Course in order for me to get into university and study a degree in economics. I am struggling to decide which way to get into university, I don't know whether to take 3 separate A levels such as maths, economics and business or take some sort of Access course (I don't know which Access courses allow to get into economics in uni) can someone please tell me which option would be better to get into good universities to study economics to pursue an investment banking career? Is there a way to do 3 A levels and achieve good grades (A*,A) within a year or is that just complete nonsense? I want/need to get into university as quick as I can before I get too old to get into IB.

Also do investment banks really care about which university you go to? Surely if 2 graduate IB applicants applied for a job at a top IB from a university such as Manchester/Sheffield/Leeds and one had a 2:1 Degree in economics and the other applicant also had a 2:1 degree in economics but went to LSE for example they would both be considered for the role? Manchester uni is still a good uni after all so is sheffield, or is it pretty much essential if I want a job in IB to ensure I get into the best universities? To be a pain... Do IB's look down on age for graduate employment? I will be 24/25 by the time I get a BSc degree in economics? Is this too old for IB's or is age not really a problem in the industry? I don't want to pursue something so advanced if I am going to have a disadvantage of becoming employed because I will be a couple years older than other graduates.

I would appreciate it very much if anybody could help me/answer my questions!

Thank you,
Shaun G.
Last edited by ShaunG02; 1 month ago
Badges: 7
Report 1 month ago
Hi, Shaun yes banks care about where you went to uni
If you are interested in IB here is the list of target and semi target unis at UG
Target: Oxbridge, LSE, ICL, UCL, Warwick
Semitarget-Bristol, Nottingham, Durham, Bath, Exeter, Edinburgh, York, St Andrews
good (but not quite semi)- Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle,

At Masters, it changes banks only look at Target unis
Target: Oxbridge, LSE, ICL, UCL, LBS (Warwick is even a maybe)

If you went to a semi at UG level you will need to aim for a 1st and have industry work experience (summer intern or relevant other experience) Tesco won't cut it lol, however people have been known to get into IB with 2:1s. But if you went to a Target honestly the university takes care of all the networking for you (I MEAN IT SAYS LSE ON IT). Banks also care about POLISH ie how you speak and if you have good manners (Don't be saying innit in an interview). Improve your maths GCSE this is fundamental, and in terms of A levels, target and most semi targets require A level Maths (A or A*). The positive thing is this is your first time sitting A levels (which looks good). Also, I would also take A level Econ, although business is easier Econ is more useful for your degree. yes, you will be older but it's not a big deal as long as you went to a good university that will be the thing that stands out on your CV. A word of warning about A-level maths, this is no joke (**** gets hard if you aren't naturally good at maths) be prepared to put some serious hours into it as you need an (A or A*).

Yes you can break into IB but as you can see from all this it's really competitive, accounting (Big 4) is a solid alternative to IB so MM and management consultancy plus the working hours are more attractive. just read this if you don't believe me. So I would read a book on econ and finance before you embark on this journey, as movies like the wolf of wall street, the big short etc try to glamorize the **** out of IB. in reality you are staring at spreadsheets and graphs for 80+ hours a week in ultra-competitive culture (you really need to be econ weirdo to succeed at a bank) otherwise you will just burn out (but there are great exit opportunities).

That all being said I would go for it, you only have one life, and A-Levels and a good degree take you to the next level. Nothing is too late!!!

so good luck Shaun

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