Impossible to apply to Investment Bank with a 2:2


I graduated from UCL with a 2:2 in economics, but have 3 A level As. Is it worth me applying for any positions or will I get a straight rejection?


If you have exceptional circumstances, then by all means apply and put it down on your application form.


what if i dont?


What do you want to apply for? …IB?

The trouble you might find is that some online application systems automatically reject candidates who don’t fulfil the minimum academic requirements. Your three A’s is good, but large graduate employers do put a lot of emphasis on the minimum 2.1 entry requirement (even though university grades are debatably a less important means of rating candidates).

Jungle Boogie is right - you need to try and explain why you didn’t hit a 2.1. Think about pressures that you had, extracurricular activities that you were involved in - show on your application form that there was a good reason why you didn’t get a 2.1.

To bypass automatic rejection, it might be an idea to call HR at the companies you wish to apply for and explain your extenuating circumstances, to see if they might consider your application despite the lower than asked for uni grade.

Good luck…!


If you wanted to work in IB you might be better off submitting your CV to an IB recruitment agency and say you want to work in Sales. The chances you will get to actually do the investment banking graduate scheme are sadly very slim.


Oh i don’t mind working in operations or sales I want to get a foot in the ladder, any good links to agencies?


I’m not sure- redsuperted any ideas?


well i’m guessing they’d say that if your extracurricular activities made up for it, then it should be ok?? call HR maybe? and you can apply for back office positions - operations etc and see where it takes you. good luck!


If you think you’ve got a ‘sales’ edge, then you’ll be OK. Otherwise try and find another way in, or get another qualification, like an accountancy qualification (e.g. [[ACA]] or [[CIMA]]).


My situation was slightly different from kkhimji2001.

I would also like to apply for position in I-Bank. However, I didn’t do well in my A-level examinations as I was nervous at the time of examination. Even though I was well prepared, my brain could not be able to function properly at that time and was completely black out.

However, I had got a 2:1 degree in BBA Quantitative Analysis for Business. After I graduated from my University, I studied for and completed all three levels of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants examinations and was a CPA. In addition, I have completed all three modules of the Institute of Internal Auditors examinations and was a Certified Internal Auditor. Do you think it will be some kind of extenuating factors or I would still be automatically reject by the system?

Looking forward to hearing advices from you. Many many thanks!


You can still get in to IB with a 2.1, even without all your extra qualifications. How long has it beeen since you graduated? Where do you want to work in an I-Bank? What were your ALevels - very bad?


I graduated in 2001 and will be going to London to read a MSc Finance this year.

I would like to go to the corporate finance division of I-Bank. My A-level was really bad. I failed one of the science subjects.

By the way, I have contacted the Career Consultant of my Business School in London and she mentioned that my extra qualifications could not really counted as extenuating circumstances. I am therefore a bit worry. I have started to fill in the online application form for one of the investment banks and it required me to provided my A-level results.


I will apply for the Analyst Program of Legal and Management Controls Division of the I-bank as well.


Yes, they will do. Have you considered applying for back office roles and then trying to move across once you’re in a bank? You should also call HR at the banks you want to apply to and ask them about your situation.


what is the easiest division to get into, chanceswise at goldman? Is it operations? Also should I apply for a new analyst position or an off cycle internship?


Depends really on what kind of person you are. If you are a pushy sales type, then sales is probably easiest to get into. Otherwise you could join in the [[back office]] somewhere. However, be aware that for the graduate scheme, [[Goldman Sachs]] has 200 places and receives 20,000 applications a year. They only hire the best.

Equally, when I applied for [[Big 4]] accounting, (I have straight A’s and a first class degree), I was sometimes rejected what appeared to be automatically by the system- maybe the jobs just filled up? Who knows!


is that the same for any bank? easier to get in through back office positions?


I don’t think there’s much opportunity to go from [[back office]] through to [[front office]] in most [[investment bank]]s. In the same way as if you were an accountant they wouldn’t suddenly let you move to IT, the same goes for moving from something else e.g. [[operations]] into [[investment banking]].

Your best bet is to work in the [[front office]] of a smaller [[investment bank]], picking up front office experience, and work your way through that way.


I heard that it is easier to get an internship at a bank as a graduate if you have no experience than going for a grad position where the number of places are less and more competition.

Meanwhile I can apply for a masters and bring it up at the interview as the reason why i am doing an internship. If I impress and get offered a position, I can cancel my masters offer and take up full time employment?


If it is easier to get an [[internships|internship]] at an [[investment banking|investment bank]] than a graduate job then it’s only slightly easier. However, you would definitely stand a better chance of getting a graduate job at an [[investment banking|investment bank]] with an [[internships|internship]] under your belt.

You’d also probably stand a better chance of getting a graduate job with the MA.

‘’‘Interesting fact’’’: Jerome, the French Rogue Trader (remeber him? - he lost Society Generale 3.7 Billion a while back) originally started out in a [[back office]] position before transferring to [[front office]]. His CV states that “Middle Office - Referential Team” from 2000 to 2002 before moving to “Trader Assistant” in 2002-2004; from 2004 until the scandal, he was a real trader.

In reference to the points above, it is possible to move from back/middle office to front office, but is the exception rather than the rule. Chris’ point suggestion about working in a smaller investment bank and working your way up is probably your best bet.