March 14, 2023

Sam Shiah’s Tips On Landing A Top Investment Banking Job

Today we’re featuring guest blogger Sam Shiah, Founder and Head Coach at Wall Street Mastermind. His company’s mission is “to help our students secure the highest paying and most prestigious jobs on Wall Street.” Read on for his tips on how to land an investment banking job at one of the top firms.


According to Brian DeChesare, the founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street, only “30-40% of candidates in the top MBA programs who apply for investment banking roles will win at least one IB summer internship offer, and 10-15% of candidates will win an offer at their top choice.”

Considering the acceptance rate at top-tier investments typically range anywhere from 1-3%, these placement rates are actually quite good.  But in my experience from speaking with many MBA students, they’re also much lower than what most would expect.  After all, if you’re investing six figures and two years of your time to go back to school just so to switch careers into banking, you’d hope that there’s better than a coinflip’s chance at getting the job, no?  So aside from using the career services offered by your MBA program (which everyone is already using), what else can you do to make sure you have a competitive advantage over your classmates and end up as part of the 30-40% who succeed?

Well, let’s cover the five most important points:


1. Make sure you are going to a top program.  M7’s are best, but anything in the top 20 is usually OK.  Make sure to check the school’s employment report to see if they place graduates into IB. This is important because top-tier banks do not hire at non-target MBA programs for the most part, even though they do at the undergraduate level.  This is where working with a great MBA admissions consultant can be hugely beneficial.  Because if your goal is investment banking, getting into a non-target program is going to be a complete waste of your time and money.

2. Make sure you have 2-6 years of pre-MBA work experience that’s at least semi-relevant for investment banking.  And make sure you are able to nail down a really logical story for why you want to switch careers into IB.  Just so you can get a sense for the typical profile of a successful candidate, here are some examples of MBA candidates we’ve gotten into IB (school/pre-MBA experience/offer):

  • Harvard / 4 years FP&A / Morgan Stanley
  • Chicago Booth / 6 years actuary / Morgan Stanley
  • Berkeley Haas / 7 years sales / Citi
  • USC Marshall / 3 years secondary PE / Barclays Capital
  • USC Marshall / 5.5 years accounting at bulge bracket banks / Guggenheim
  • NYU Stern / 5.5 years portfolio management / BMO
  • Toronto Rotman / 4.3 years investment management / CIBC (“Big 5” Canadian IB)

3. Understand the recruiting timeline.  You MUST get a summer internship between your 1st and 2nd year in business school, because most if not all of the full-time offers are given to returning summer interns.  The recruiting process for these summer internships happens during your FIRST semester on campus.  If you’re a diversity candidate, diversity recruiting can happen even earlier during the summer BEFORE you start school.  In other words, you have to be ready earlier than most people realize.  Don’t be caught off guard.

4. Do as much as you can before you start school. Recruiting for investment banking is extremely demanding.  You might have to do a pre-MBA finance internship if you have no prior relevant experience.  You want to network with as many alumni as possible at your target banks.  You also need to prepare unique answers for the most common behavioral questions.  And you will need to learn all the accounting and corporate finance concepts needed to ace technical interviews.  If you were planning on learning these things through your MBA classes, you won’t have time to do that before recruiting starts.  Once you start school, you’ll also be extremely busy going to classes, joining clubs, meeting all of your new classmates, not to mention attending all of the recruiting events.  Many MBA students who wait until their first semester to start preparing for recruiting find themselves overwhelmed and short on time.

5. Work with an investment banking recruiting coach.  If you’re reading this blog, you probably understand the value of working with an experienced MBA admissions consultant to help you get into a top business school.  The top investment banks have an even lower acceptance rate than top MBA programs, and it makes a huge difference if you have someone who knows the ins-and-outs of the recruiting process helping you.  Here at Wall Street Mastermind, our coaching team consists of former investment bankers and private equity investors who have helped over 800 applicants (and counting) with the investment banking recruiting process.  We are much more specialized than the career counselors at your business school, and are able to give you a lot more individualized attention.  We are also the only company of our kind to offer a money back guarantee, as well as income share options for those with a need for financial assistance.  For more information, please visit

Sam Shiah
Founder and Head Coach
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