Do I stand a chance?

Morgan Stanley

I’m looking for honest answers please.

Ok well I’m studying Finance, Accounting and Management at the University of Nottingham. Accounting was my favourite subject at A lvl and I managed to get AAB. I applied to Nottingham because it was ranked 5th at the time for the subject Accounting and was the best University I could get into.

Now I’m about to start my second year and will need to secure an internship for the summer somewhere. When I was in college I was adamant on joining one of the big 4 Accountancy firms however I have begun looking at Retail Banks such as RBS and HSBC. I’ve also looked at Investment Bank scheme froms Deutsches Bank and Morgan Stanley.

Getting to my point I realise that Nottingham isn’t probably a target University for Investment Banks however I’m planning to do a lot of volunteer work related to business this year and in my final year in hopes to make me stand out a bit more. I’m also spending my 2nd semester in the Malaysia campus so I’m hoping this may show independance if I can perform well in my modules in a foreign country.

So what I’d like to know is if I work hard and do a lot of extra curriculam activities and achieve a 2:1 or 1st will I have a strong change at getting onto an Investment Bank grad scheme. And if so what grad scheme do you think I’d be best suited to with an Accounting degree? I’ve heard coporate finance has a good starting salary and trains you in a professional qualification.

If you don’t think I would make it in Investment Banking could you give me an opinion on which is better to work at a Retail Bank such as RBS or work for a big 4 accountancy firm as these are my 2nd choice options. Also if you could tell me which areas in Retail Banking earn the most and which I’d have a shot at getting that would be highly appreciated. I think for Accounting Corporate Finance earns the most so if I did go into a big 4 Accs firm I’d probably just do that.

Thanks to anyone who replies



James, it sounds as if money is your main concern £££ - have you been on the efinancial careers site by any chance!!

I know how frustrating it is not being at a target uni (I was at a top 20) and even though I have a 2.1 and MA in Economics, was offered a place at Cambridge for a PhD, have and loads of extra-curricular activities to my name and examples of leaderships skills I am not bothering to apply to IBs this year. Saying this, a couple of my uni friends ended up at Bear Stearns (before it’s demise!), Lehman Bros (again, not for long!) and BarCap. Therefore, with your background it sounds as if you have a chance (it’s not like Nottingham is a former poly!) - you also have the requisite UCAS points (340 I think), which without, your application would get filtered out from the outset! Just make sure you get that 2.1 or 1st or you’ll find things very tough indeed!!

If it was me, I would choose Big 4 over retail banking every time - but each to their own!! With the Big 4 you will end up with the ACA to your name and a chance of entering an IB at a later date. There are even companies out there which will help ACA’s get into IB’s upon qualifying - although I imagine it’s extremely difficult to achieve at this juncture. Within the Big 4 there are some good grad oppurtunities, for example, in Corporate Finance and Transaction Services - so perhaps you could investigate these a bit more… CS is pretty competitive at the Big 4 and TS don’t recruit many at the moment, so again, these are competitive areas.

While I appreciate that money is important, I think considering money over a career path at this stage could be a tad myopic and detrimental in the long run. For example, although you may start off on a lower wage opting for one career path (ACA perhaps) in the long run you may be able to command a much higher salary and have better prospects both financially and job-wise than in retail banking (again, an example to illustrate my point!). I do, however, realise that the prospect of 3 years of auditing and ACA exams is enough to make many people run a mile!

Good luck with whatever you do :smiley:


ps. are you talking about the investment banking divisions at RBS and HSBC?


Thanks very much for your reply, I’ve sent a private message.


Big 4, you need qualification at least an ACCA on your name, then you will have loads of options in three years time, just be patient and be wise. Do not worry about Nottingham, think about what you can do for a charity, your grades are the most important, then good luck