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"Junior banking jobs go to the rich students"

"I'm an economics student at a top university in the UK. Like a lot of my course mates, I want to go into investment banking. Unlike a lot of my course mates, I don't come from a family with banking links and I wasn't educated at a top school. This is turning out to be a real disadvantage.

Before I started at university, I'd assumed that getting a job would be a meritocratic process - and that the other students would be like me. In fact, almost all of them come from private schools, grammar schools or international schools and there are hardly any other ex-comprehensive pupils like myself.

My background means it's harder for me to get a first job in banking. Many of my course colleagues either have family, friends, or school alumni who can help them land initial work experience. Even before they arrived on the course, a lot of them had already worked for boutiques, or spent a few days here and there in the finance industry. This makes it easier for them to get into a top economics course as they have exciting things to talk about on their personal statements. It also makes it much easier for them to land a spring week position - and from there, it's much easier for them to get a summer internship.

I'm not bitter! It's just the way of the world. If I were in their position, I'd do exactly the same. But it's a bit depressing. - I did manage to land a spring internship last year, and the other intern turned out to the son of two retired bankers. His parents had pulled some strings to get him in. "

*David Keen is a pseudonym 

AUTHORDavid Keen Insider Comment
  • 2:
    2:2 Student
    18 January 2015

    Hi David,

    I wouldn't be too disheartened. As your aware, it's a fact of life.

    I went to a comprehensive school, and today still notice that a lot of my peers who didn't perform as well are commodity traders, brokers etc..., though whilst at University, I did notice that there were a sizeable number of students from Private school backgrounds, studying Law.

    I had a child at 22, and through a variety of other reasons, I ended up with a 2:2 and found job hunting incredibly difficult. I ended up having apply for jobs in a very unconventional way after being fired from my first job, and leaving my second. I'm now 24, and have worked as a Business Analyst for over a year in a bulge bracket Private Bank. I earn more than a lot of my peers at Asset Managers, and silver circle law firms, but it's not exactly what I want to do.

    Point is, there are always ways to get where you want, you just have to be dynamic and develop other skills that others may not have. Network your socks off too, it helps when gaining placements and internships. Take it from someone with a 2:2 degree, a parent at University, someone who didn't study anything relevant at University or college to finance, comp school etc...

    Good luck!

  • Ma
    18 January 2015

    I totally agree! I come from the exact same background as you and because I couldn't land an investment banking job and couldn't afford to wait for it or had anyone to pull some strings for me, I had to look for a job elsewhere.....I work for a top tier company but it's still not where I'd like to be....

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