The Student Room Group

How to get into a finance career with my A-levels

I’m at the end of year 12 and belatedly realised I want to pursue a career in finance. I’ve completed a financial education qualification, doing virtual work experience with Santander and JP Morgan, been a treasurer for a youth council but that’s as far as my extras go. I’m planning to find some in person work experience too.

The only problem is my A-levels. I’m predicted A*AA in psychology, biology and English but these subjects have nothing to do with what I want to do. I’m losing sleep because although I want to work in finance, I’m still open with what exactly I want to do— if I wanted to do IB, my best bet would be going to a target uni to do econ…which requires a-level maths. This, along with other scenarios make me feel like doors are constantly closing for me and it really stresses me out, not to mention that my family is unsupportive.

I’ve tried to stay positive and calm. I know that I am capable of pursuing a career so intertwined with maths— although GCSEs don’t affect A-levels that much, I did achieve 9– and I’m going to work on becoming computer literate so I can learn even more. I have 4 plans of action and I need some help with deciding what to do.

1. Go apply for a (accounting/finance or banking/finance) degree at a uni which doesn’t require maths e.g. Manchester, Notts, Leeds and figure it out from there. This is a sound plan but reading so many people on here say that these unis are irrelevant and that most jobs are dominated by LSE grads/ STEM grads from other unis like ICL is disheartening and I really want an honest objective view of these degrees, the unis I’m interested in and career prospects.

2. Take a gap year after year 13 to do A-level maths/FM (not sure how predicted grades would work as a private candidate so please educate me if you can) and make sure to do super well in my current a levels atm so I can try apply to econ (?) at a uni like Oxbridge, LSE, UCL etc. I’m concerned that taking up new a levels will impede any work experience I would want to do in the gap year. Also, although in prepared to take a gap year, I do feel a bit embarrassed about it and I’m afraid to live another year with my family as they don’t treat me very well.

3. Try and pump up my grades right now and apply to top unis like Oxbridge, UCL etc for an unrelated degree and break into finance after if I get in. The cons of this are that applying to these unis for some random degree that I’m not too bothered about is no joke— assuming I can get in for something I don’t care about is a little bit arrogant considering there are so many people who would risk it all for a subject and are rejected, my family will be even more unsupportive if they saw me doing a “pointless” degree, if I don’t get into any of these unis, things will be even more complicated for me.

4. Try for a degree apprenticeship— this is a reasonable idea but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified of what my family would say and what they would do.

I think most of all, the emotional aspect is the most stressful. I do feel a bit like a failure considering the fact that for sixth form, I’m going to a grammar school where everyone has their life figured out while I just realised what I wanted to do and I’m quite paranoid that whatever job I get will be replaced by AI. I’m confident in myself and I believe I can achieve my goals, only because I’ve fought so much to do it (I was nearly kicked out for deciding to not do medicine). However, when people ask me what I want to do and I answer them, there is definitely a lot of ridicule e.g. “you’re wasting your potential, do med” “your a levels are useless” “you’ll never get anywhere if your family don’t approve” “you’re throwing your life away” so although I want honesty, please be kind <3
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Hi there

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