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PimpMyCV: First class degree, second tier university - will I get a job in banking?

Do you need to go to a top university to get a job in banking?  What if you attend a not-so-top university and get an excellent grade? - Will that suffice? Below we have the (anonymized) CV of a UK student in precisely this situation.

He wants your feedfback. Will this CV get him a job at an investment bank? If not, why not? What can be improved? Add your advice in the comments box at the (very) bottom of this page.

Is my CV good enough for an investment bank?


UK University (ranked 38th)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

BSc. Accounting and Management (2nd year)

  • Grade: 1st Class Honours
  • Relevant Modules: Financial Accounting - 97%, Applied Economics - 86.4%


  • A Levels: – A*, Economics – A*, English – A, Commerce – A.


Accountancy firm, London                                                                                                                                  

Intern (One month) 

  • Analysing purchase and sales invoices of clients, and creating an input and output VAT summary to help reclaim or pay VAT on a quarterly basis to the government
  • Working with senior accountants to analyse invoices and statements, which reduces the time taken to prepare trial balances and increases efficiency in the preparation of financial reports
  • Implemented a new process of scanning clients’ bank statements and converting them into an excel spreadsheet (Bank Summary), which lead to overall improvements in efficiency
  • Keeping track of Payroll deadlines for all clients and informing colleagues to ensure timely tax return submissions.

Asian corporate                                                                                                                                                  

Summer Intern (Two months)                                                                                                                                                             

  • Assisted Head of Department in analysing accounts and preparation of Financial Statements required for auditing
  • Collaborated with Fixed Asset department in analysing and depreciating assets on a straight-line method on SAP accounting software and built reports collaboratively with Head of Department
  • Worked in teams to complete VAT summary, analysis to reduce the time taken to prepare reports


JP Morgan Launching Leaders Insight Day, London                                                                                                                             

Participant 2018, one day                                                                                                                                                                                     

  • Selected to attend the event which consisted of 40 participants out of 250 applications in total
  • Introduction to JP Morgan and the investment banking division with details about the product, Industry and coverage groups
  • Participated in a trading simulation, networked with employees, attended seminars including a case study on Tesco-Booker merger

CIMA Business Game Case Study Competition, London                                                                                                                         

Team Leader, 2018                                                                                                                                                                    

  • Given a case study on how to increase the profitability and growth for a high-tech leisurewear company
  • Led a team of four to analyse a case study and suggest changes to increase profitability before presenting our suggestions
  • Won 1st place for the best suggestions and acknowledged for critical thinking and well-structured arguments


School Prefect                                                                                                                                                        

  • Elected as a representative of the student body to maintain discipline by collaborating with fellow Prefects
  • Led my house to victory in our inter-house football shield
  • Solved problems with regards to poor food quality by suggesting a change of suppliers to the Principal, which was implemented


Languages: English (fluent), Bengali (native), Hindi (fluent), Nepali (limited proficiency)

Interests: Cricket: Member of the Senior cricket team in high-school, Football: Integral member of the plus 2 (senior) football team

Societies:  Trading & Investment society; Banking & Finance Society

Technical Skills: Proficiency in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, QuickBooks, SAP SE.

Certifications: Prince2 Project Management Course, Corporate Finance Institute Course: Introduction to Corporate Finance

Insight Event: Citibank Thought Leadership Insight Event: Invited to attend a seminar and network with professionals.

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AUTHOReFinancialCareers Insider Comment
  • Gi
    29 December 2018

    It's tough. There are employees with Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degrees doing basic Customer Service roles out there. Do yourself a favour, start at the bottom and work your way up. Deffo agree with the contracting point below but not all of them pay the "small fortune." It is the recent experience that employers will look at the most. Don't stay in one job for too long either.

  • AD
    10 December 2018

    Middle office BB no problem

  • My
    Myrone Viesca
    8 December 2018

    I think your question is too broad. What sort of job do you want? Most people when they say a job in "banking" they mean front office. But don't forget, there are also middle and back office which may not glamorous, but are fast becoming as well paid and sometimes even better than their front office counterparts. My situation is very similar to yours. I got a 1st in Economics from a university that's middle of the league tables. I applied for banking jobs not really knowing what I wanted and I got my first role as a compliance analyst. I quickly found out that being a "contractor" in this industry earns you a small fortune, anywhere between £200-£450 for Analysts and up to £600/700 for team leads. You do the maths. I'm 26 with just under 4 years experience, I managed to get a 2 bed in West London and I will earn excess of £100k this year. There are plenty of banking roles out there but you have to be clear in what you want and target your applications accordingly. Don't get too bogged down with being a "banker" in the traditional sense. The hours you put in and the pay often mean that Analyst like me in middle/back offices will be getting paid more than them.

  • We
    7 December 2018

    Yes, you can, and they will be lucky to have you as you’re obviously very bright. If you want to go with the IB/S&T route...My advice would be to try to get an IB internship ASAP, the accountancy and corporate helps but if you can get an IB division from a bulge bracket IB on there in some manner it will work wonders...even if it’s out of cycle, get names and numbers from a Bloomberg terminal if you can get on one and start cold calling the teams you want to work for directly (e.g you can type BIO MORGAN TMT <go> and see lots of JPM/MS tmt coverage team).

    Take it from someone that worked their way from a tier 3 university in Australia to being accelerated to Associate through my analyst class, it isn’t your resume and marks that are going to hold you back.

    I will leave you with another thought though, are you sure you want to work in Finance? Salaries aren’t what they were in bull market days and you can have a much more enjoyable lifestyle (whilst still being well paid) in a small technology company or in consulting. Finance really is quite dull most of the time once you get over the initial thrill of seeing your name on a deal pack and it is a slog to get some real responsibility (~7years to VP level where you start owning client relationships). Not telling you what to do but finance is definitely not the be all and end all

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