Looking for Career Advises

Good afternoon everyone :slight_smile:

I recently signed up to this forum to prepare my CFA level I exam. I would like to get advices from you guys in order to make the best possible choices for my career.

Quick Introduction

I just turned 21 and I am currently studying for my CFA level I for June 2017. I grew up in a very small village in France and I attended local school since I turned 18. Against my professor’s will, I apply to this BS and I successfully passed the tests (SAT-like, English & redaction). Ranked Top-10 BS in France but not considered as a target school.

During the same year, I decided to joined the French Army Reserve. I resigned after 25 months because I had to study abroad for my exchange program. Looking forward, it was one of the most valuable experience in my life. I developed a lot of important skills such as discipline, organization and I am now a good-team player.

I studied a BBA but in only 3 years, we called it ‘‘license’’ in French with a minor in Finance. My parents helped me to finance the school (€5k/year) but I also decided to start my own business. I opened a very basic online business prior to enroll at my BBA. I was basically buying clothes from China and sold it on Internet. I had to learn about Excel, marketing and even started to program some VBA for the inventory management. It is not a great achievement, but I make around €10K. 50% to finance my exchange program during the third year of my bachelor and 50% to invest into securities. As you’ve probably recognized, I am currently managing a very small portfolio since I turned 18, I lost almost €1K during the first year, but now my portfolio is at €6.1k.

At the age of 19, I joined the UNICEF as a volunteer. Few months later, I was in charge of the local fundraising campaign and I leaded a team of 6 students. However, we did not reached the expectations ( we raised less than 500€) and I decided to left after that.


France : 3.4/5 - Exchange semester in China : 82%

I have a big issue with my GPA. Our grading system is out of 5. It’s very challenging to be above 4.00 (less than 10% of the students have more than 4 out of 5). Moreover, we don’t have the opportunity to chose our classes by ourselves and we have to strictly follow the program if we want to validate our degree. 40% of my undergraduate degree is based on group-project grades. The worst is, you can’t enroll additional classes in my business school even if I pay. I have to enroll for a master degree in this case. This is why I hate the French educational system.

However, during my semester abroad, I did a really good job. Because I had the choice to select up to 6 classes over +20 classes, I was really motivated and I had a GPA >80% during this semester. 50% business classes and 50% finance.

Working Experiences


  • 16 / 2 months / Local Farm / Picking vegetables

  • 17/ 3 years / Own Business / Selling clothes online

  • 18/ 25 months/ French Marines Reserve/ Everything you can expect from a Solider x)

  • 18/ 3 months (internship) / Leading sport-chain shop in France / Sales

  • 19/ 6 months (internship) / €15M sales Start-up / Assistant CFO / General accounting, financial analysis, ERP development, Forecast Cash Flows on 5 years.

  • 20-21 / 8 months (After graduation Internship+ full time) / Leading Boutique Consultancy in Thailand / Financial modeling, Valuation, PowerPower speech, meeting with clients (I worked on 2 projects with a value >$50M for both of them).


Right now, I am currently studying for my CFA level I, had an exam for the Microsoft Office Excel Specialist Expert in 2 weeks. I took the CFA level I because I want to increase my knowledge in finance (remember I hold a BBA). I also ave a Microsoft Excel Expert certification.

I am considering to apply for a MIF for 2018, UK or USA. My main motivation is not the knowledge, because we can learn everything from the web or in books today, but rather for the prestige, network. I did not really targeted some specific schools (I firstly selected which countries I would like to apply) but top-tier school, if possible Oxford, LSE, MIT, Berkley… My goal after this MIF is to work either in IB or VC.

  1. In the situation where I passed the CFA level I and I obtain a very good GMAT score (>730), do you think I can have a chance to be selected for an interview ?

  2. How can I deal with this GPA ? I can’t take extra classes in my college but are MOOC useful in this situation (EdX, Udemy…) ?

  3. What type of experiences should I look for right now ? A small NGO offers me a position on India to develop micro-finance (volunteering). But I strongly believe of the power of a big name on my CV. That’s why I am considering apply to the BIG4 and also some banks.

  4. Do have any others suggestions ?

Thank you for your help guys !

You’re extremely unlikely to make it to IB or VC. What are your alternatives?

Thank you for your answer Ohai.

  1. What about a MIF to break into IB or VC ? I think I’m still young and spend 1 or 2 years at the university can’t hurt.

  2. Do you have any suggestions to had more value on my profile ?

If I can’t find any positions in to IB or VC, I would move to Asia and work as a freelance consultant.

thanks :slight_smile:

Why so?

They recruit straight from US IVYs - assuming he wants to work in US

Not that I disagree, but to me “extremely unlikely” in the context of this post, means less than a 10 percent chance. Is it fair to say this is what you imply?

3.4 / 4.0 is low for IB

3.5 / 5.0 - not even sure how to describe

Holy shit !

Guy has 1% chance unless he knows some very important people.

Yeah 3.4/5 GPA and the resume probably doesn’t find the trash soon enough : /

Yes, by “unlikely”, I mean less than 1% chance. IB recruiting is very stupid. They only take people from top schools, usually undergraduate programs, with high GPA, and who most resemble themselves. Otherwise, they hire associates from MBA, again with similar profiles. To get into VC, you usually need to have done IB first. If not, you have worked in the industry for 5+ years and then got an MBA.

IB is not for everyone. I went to a top US school, got 3.8 GPA, and I got undergraduate and MS in 4 years. However, I was not a fit for IB - I knew it and the guys who interviewed me also knew it. So, I did something else in finance that was better for my personality and background. OP, for you, I can tell that other things - corporate finance, or maybe even entrepreneurship, are more viable routes.

There’s a good book that follows 7 2-year IB associates. The name slips my mind, but it’s a must read for anyone thinking about that path. I’ll post the title later.

Thank you guys for your answers.

@philadelphia_collin5 thank you. Do you have any suggestions for the school how can fit with my profile ? Ivy league seems to be a very high target but maybe top 30. I also heard some school have ‘‘quotas’’ by countries. For example, is going to be 10 times harder for a Chinese student to break into a top-tier school rather than a Estonian student with the same profile. Do you know if French students are over-represented or not ? :slight_smile:

@philadelphia_collin5 : https://breakingintowallstreet.com/ that one right ?

In France, a bachelor degree is not really familiar. The traditional way is a master degree, 2 years of preparatory school right after high-school and 3 years of Master. Some students round up their master with a specialized master such as a MsC Finance. They usually graduated between 22 and 23.

I have chances at ESSEC, ESCP or EHDEC but this is not not goal. However, I want to work abroad, that’s why I am going to apply abroad.

So for you guys, there is no possibility for me to break into IB ?

By the way, for the GPA, I just used www.wes.org/calculator and my US GPA seems to be between 3 to 3.30 out of 4 ! :wink:

You have got to be kidding me. How is 3.4/5 ~ 3.3/4? Math isn’t strong for you is it?

It is an uphill battle but hey “nothing in this world worth having comes easy.”

Instead of posting on an anonymous forum you should find a mentor or a friend who has “made” it from your position or someone who is already in the field. This person will be more likely to provide you with constructive advice and criticism and the steps you need to take to get you closer to your goals. This will give you either false or true hope, regardless, a hope that will motivate you and drive you harder towards your goals. Then when you look back, you’ll realize that you’d come far from where you began your journey

There is more to it than just numbers. Unfortunately, I think op will have a hard time explaining that most people struggle to get really high grades France because of the way they’re tested.

Agree 100%. There are many people from top schools, with high GPAs, who do well, so there’s really no reason for them to pick someone who doesn’t fit the mold. Better to fail conventionally (and they don’t even fail, they do fine with their formula) than to succeed unconventionally, in their eyes. That’s coming from someone who’s tried to break in that route with no success. Also, they don’t care about CFA in case someone hasn’t said that.

I think you might have a chance at a small bank if you can bring in a ton of industry experience and connections.

Well you don’t know the school system in France and GPA’s aren’t exactly a fraction, are they?

yeah how at MIT, someone with a 2.7 is actually really good. they are out of 3.0 - at least it was ~10 years ago when one of my older brother went there. i remember his first report card read 2.xx and i said to him damn dude you were always c0cky in HS and look at you now son!!! he said it is out of 3.0 and told me to go play golf because the sun’s out…