Posted March 17, 2014 by

How to get a job on Wall Street after College

An entrance to an office building on Wall Street in New York

An entrance to an office building on Wall Street in New York. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The first step is to know whether you are passionate about finance. I personally like finance as it involves numbers and common sense, and how the main goal is to maximize profit. I learned early on in my pursuit of a Wall Street career to not work on Wall Street for the money. I promise you will either get burnt out or easily beaten by people who actually like finance.

Two Sides of Wall Street

There is the sell-side (investment banks) which includes any firm that sells services to buy-side firms and other companies in general. Some of the services include mergers & acquisitions, IPO’s, selling bonds, and helping advise certain decisions at the corporate level.

The other side of Wall Street is the buy-side. This includes all firms that invest in various ways, either using their own money, or raising money from the general public, high net worth individuals, or institutional investors (pensions, banks, etc).

Two Types of Wall Street People

There is the analytical side, and the relationship management side. Both of these types can be found on either the sell-side or buy-side of Wall Street. Analytical people are typically found making investments whereas the others are found working with transactions (investment banking, private equity, and venture capital) and in sales roles.

I strongly suggest doing your own research and some introspection to see if Wall Street is truly for you and what type of personality you have. This can help discern whether the sell-side or buy-side along with which specific role is the best fit for you.

Some sub sectors: Investment Banking, Trading, Brokerage, Real Estate, Corporate Banking, Accounting, Consulting, Asset Management (Private Equity, Venture Capital, Hedge Funds, Mutual Funds, Private Wealth Management all fall under this umbrella though they are very different from one another). I’m sure I’m missing some, but be sure to do your own research as well.

Breaking into Wall Street

Breaking into Wall Street is no easy task by any means. Unless you attend an Ivy League or other top academic institution breaking onto Wall Street is probably one of the toughest paths to pick.

Once you’ve figured out where you fit and what you want to do, you have to learn how to network. If you go to a core school for recruiting (Ivy’s, MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, U Michigan) you will still have to network, but less so than non-core schools (all other schools).

With networking you have to reach out to family members, anyone in your friend circles, and even create completely new contacts from cold emailing or calling. You want to generate a decent amount of contacts in the industry so when it comes time to recruiting and interviews, you have enough people vouching for you. There is a lot of luck involved in the job hunting process and you can only do so much to control the outcome. Therefore it is typically a numbers game. The more contacts you have, the higher the chance of getting interviews. The more interviews you have, the higher the chance you have of landing a job. All it takes is one offer, but it doesn’t hurt to have a multitude of opportunities.

-The author is a college junior in the USA and recently accepted a summer internship role at a major investment bank in New York City.  He is currently a contributing blogger for

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