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Pursuing Investment Banking from a State School, how difficult is it?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'll be starting at the University of Arkansas next fall, majoring in Finance and Banking. I know it's nowhere close to the target schools that big Investment Banks actively recruit from, but it's the most affordable and in my opinion the best the state offers at this time.

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The only prominent Investment Bank in Arkansas is Stephen's Inc. and they're based here in Little Rock, which seems like somewhat of an mood improver. My problem is the idea of being taken seriously with a degree from here. The Walton School of Business, where I will attend, has good connections with the businesses of the state and I'm sure I will be able to attain analyst type of internships, but will it be enough?

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There's always the Air Force I guess, officers get decent pay grades right?

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So how bad is the sitch? puzzled.gif
post #2 of 21
1. Get top grades from a relevant major - economics, finance, accounting.
2. Network with alumni in the field.
3. Do everything you can to land an internship with a bank or investment firm - if you're a minority look into a program like Inroads.

The main thing is number 1 especially coming from a "non target" school. remember that students going to better known state and private schools that are non target will be competing for the same jobs as you. Many of these student will also have top grades and possibly better alumni connections. So you are at a disadvantage but it isn't impossible.

Never worked in the industry but know folks that got in from non target schools. And they did the above.
Edited by Joffrey - 12/21/11 at 7:33am
post #3 of 21
To be honest, I think networking will help you out a lot. Put yourself on their radar.
There's a course called "Breaking Into Wall Street" which explains this, along with other tools needed to break into Investment Banking. You may want to check them out. Also check out: www.mergersandinquisitions.com
post #4 of 21
I graduated in 2005 from Arkansas (finance). Make sure you try to get involved with the Rebsamen Trust or one of the other student managed funds. http://gfi.uark.edu/586.asp
Might not be entirely germane to investment banking but will be good for you anyway. I wasn't even aware of these when I transferred in and regret not getting to partake.

I don't really have much to offer because I didn't do investment banking, but good luck. Go hogs.
post #5 of 21
Woo Pig Sooie.
post #6 of 21
network network network network network network network and network
post #7 of 21
Extremely difficult... my girlfriend has a 4.0 from a mid-range school, two non i-banking finance internships, connections and still can't get i, because the banks in Chicago all recruit at Northwestern, UChicago, and consider U of I "the low end."


... and this is all for an internship not even a full time position.

I know you'd love to hear "Oh it'll be easy just network and you can do" but honesty and the truth is much better... sorry.

Don't let that stop you if you really want it.
post #8 of 21

Difficult, but at least you're looking into these things early. Get internships, network, and have good grades. The industry could completely change in 4 years with everything that's going on, so don't have a mindset that there's nothing else out there for finance majors.

post #9 of 21
yup. high finance is taking a beating right now.

sales and traders getting replaced by algorithms and high frequency traders (machines).

bankers getting laid off left and right.

bankers getting ZERO bonuses (http://dealbreaker.com/2011/12/bonus-watch-11-jefferies/)
post #10 of 21
Yup, top grades + relevant internships + networking still won't seal the deal for the OP but it would give him the best possible shot. If he fails, his next best options probably won't be awful.
post #11 of 21
He might be able to get a back office job, typically reserved for state school types.
Then again, if he's willing to work in Arkansas, maybe they'll hire him, b/c no one from a proper school would move there.
Unless the entire Arkansas outfit is a back office to something in NY.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reevolving View Post

He might be able to get a back office job, typically reserved for state school types.
Then again, if he's willing to work in Arkansas, maybe they'll hire him, b/c no one from a proper school would move there.
Unless the entire Arkansas outfit is a back office to something in NY.

Fayetteville, AR is considered one of the best places in the country to live. You're showing your ignorance by saying no one would want to live there. Beautiful area. VERY safe. Tons of outdoor activities. And with the university, you get lots of opportunities for art/music.
post #13 of 21
Sounds like a great place to retire. In the meantime, why don't you try hitting up some Ivy caliber OCI and see how these unmarried elite feel about living in Arkansas. Or, just as your NYC friends. LOL.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reevolving View Post

Sounds like a great place to retire. In the meantime, why don't you try hitting up some Ivy caliber OCI and see how these unmarried elite feel about living in Arkansas. Or, just as your NYC friends. LOL.


Why would I care what some pretentious Ivy leaguer thinks? I can form my own opinions. I can use my own eyes. If the entire country was as nice as Fayetteville, AR, this world would be a better place.

Is it a great place to be post-college, as a single 20 or 30-something? Not sure. But as a college kid it's great and I always felt like it'd be a great place to raise a family. Excellent public schools.
post #15 of 21
if i could give you one piece of advice:

and i know you wont like this.

change major, do something else. this business is dead, its not worth it anymore. especaily slaving around in IB during the best years of your life. if anything aim for trading, youll get a much balance, but that is even more dead considering the new Basel 3 + other crap that will make everything more difficult.

if you really want to do it, then focus on getting the most amazing grades possible and network like hell.

i did it with a horrible academic record, but i climbed the ranks, got lucky etc...
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