There never seems to be a shortage of people who want to work on Wall Street. Due to above-average compensation, the financial industry has no trouble attracting talented professionals who want to become analysts, traders or managers. As in any industry, there are no set rules for getting your foot in the door. That said, there are a few proven paths to a career on the streets.
Aim for schools targeted by investment banks
High schoolers dreaming of a career on Wall Street should aim for universities where investment banks recruit undergraduates. This list includes Ivy League schools such as Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as top schools such as the University of Chicago, Duke University, and Georgetown University.
While investment banks claim they recruit from a range of majors, the reality is that students who focus on business, economics, math, and other related fields are ahead of the game. history and English majors. Keep in mind that an undergraduate degree generally limits your job opportunities, although it is not impossible to get a job in finance with a bachelor’s degree.
A finance internship can provide a foot in the door. Not only does an internship give you the chance to build relationships, but once you have a well-known company on your resume, other companies are more likely to give you a chance. (For related reading, see 7 tips to help you get that internship.)
How to Get a Job on Wall Street
Approach from a different angle
Investment banks often cast a wide net when filling research analyst positions and other functions. Physicians are popular candidates to cover industries such as medical devices and pharmaceuticals. A bank may call on engineers to cover technological niches such as semiconductors.
Many banks make a conscious effort to build research teams that include at least one person with industry experience. These candidates bring with them in-depth knowledge of their sector, as well as essential industry contacts to keep abreast of the latest developments.
The MBA is the real springboard
Of all the ways to get on Wall Street, earn a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from a highly respected university may be the easiest. Although many banks do not even consider an undergraduate for research or sales, they actively and aggressively recruit promising MBA candidates.
Nevertheless, an MBA alone does not guarantee a coveted job on Wall Street. Undergraduate success helps, as does a successful pre-MBA work history. Prospective employers want to see a record of hard work and upward progression. (For more, see Traditional MBA or graduate business degree?)
Be realistic, but optimistic
Even if you don’t have an MBA or industry experience, there is still hope. Banks do not always require rigorous qualifications for merchants, and there are other routes, such as IT or Human ressources department. Walk in, impress management, and you might land an opportunity elsewhere in the company.
Plus, living outside of New York doesn’t preclude you from opportunities. Most major cities have a sell side Where buy side company, and a combination of persistence and luck could lead to an interview and an offer.
A challenging but rewarding place
Qualifications can get someone through the door, but hard work keeps them going and lifts them. It is possible to start as an administrative assistant or in the back office and land a better position through hard work and a positive attitude.
If someone really wants to work on Wall Street and is really willing to work hard, the goal is achievable. Have no illusions. Wall Street doesn’t hand out generous salaries for no reason: the hours are long, the work is hard, the stress is high, and it’s not a forgiving environment for the mavericks, underachievers, or slow starters.
However, many people find the work rewarding and the pay more than enough for the effort required to get there. (For related reading, see How to Become an Investment Banker and 12 hot careers and how much they pay.)