Starting early and making the most of your summers is crucial to building a strong resume and preparation for the field. Related experience and a strong GPA increase your chances of standing out in the applicant pool. The schedule for interviewing for summer internships and full time positions is earlier than almost all other fields, so be prepared to invest significant time in the application process during the peak season.
Salary varies widely depending on role, education level, and location. Here is a sample of 2016 median salaries from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor:
- Accountant/Auditor: $68,150
- Budget Analyst: $73,840
- Financial Analyst: $81,760
- Financial Examiner: $79,280
- Loan Officer: $63,650
- Personal Financial Advisor: $90,530
- Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agent: $67,310
Do your research to get a better sense of what specific companies in particular cities are paying entry-level analysts. Check out Glassdoor and Salary.com to get an idea. Also, a cost of living calculator can be very useful when trying to compare salaries in different parts of the country.
Join the Bowdoin College Finance Society, a student-run club designed to discuss contemporary events in the economy, participate in a stock-market simulation game, attend on-campus workshops led by Training the Street, a leading Wall Street training firm. The Bowdoin College Finance Society is also offering a one-on-one peer mentoring program to assist underclass students as they prepare for summer internship interviews. To find out about upcoming club meetings and activities, contact Ellen Pham ’18, firstname.lastname@example.org and Max Nordeen, email@example.com (fall semester), or Ellen and Brian Mullin, firstname.lastname@example.org (spring semester).
Define Your Search
If you are uncertain about the specific job function that might be well-suited to your interests and ability, you may want to spend 15 minutes with Pymetrics. Pymetrics is a free career exploration tool that leverages neuroscience-based games to suggest career options that may be well-suited to your abilities. The exercises are fun and the career report highlights what qualities large corporate employers have indicated are predictors of success in various job functions (including consulting and finance.) The report may also provide insight into other career options that leverage similar skills.
Finance and consulting positions have deadlines beginning early in the academic year for full-time and late in the fall term/early in the spring term for summer internships. The earlier you engage, the more opportunities you have to land a position. Check Handshake and other job and company specific websites regularly to ensure you do not miss any deadlines.
Reach out to Bowdoin alumni contacts and beyond to get on the radar screen early. Often the people chosen for interviews are those that have made positive impressions via pre-deadline conversations/exchanges. Remember that networking is about information gathering and not about asking for a job or internship. Build your base of allies at your target firms and they will help you open doors for interviews.
Screen In Opportunities
The current economy has reduced the number of traditional summer analyst positions and consulting internships. Be sure to include fields and positions that leverage your core interests into other areas. Actuarial and market research positions are two areas that use many of the core skills required in finance positions.
Prepare & Practice
There is little room for error in the competitive consulting and finance hiring process. Every cover letter must be targeted to the employer. Every interview must demonstrate your passion and qualifications for the position. Practice interviewing by scheduling a mock interview and master the technique of the case interview.
Organizations and Alumni
This is a list of companies where Bowdoin alums are working:
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch
- Cambridge Associates
- Cowed and Company
- Credit Suisse
- Deutsche Bank
- Eldridge Industries
- Fidelity Investments
- Goldman Sachs & Company
- Guggenheim Partners
- J.P. Morgan
- John Hancock
- Liberty Mutual Insurance
- M&T Bank
- MFS Investment Management
- Morgan Stanley
- Piper Jaffray
- Prudential Financial
- RBC Capital Markets
- Silicon Valley Bank
- The Investment Fund for Foundations
- Wells Fargo
- Business Skills Programs
- Preparing for Graduate School
- WATCH: How to Prepare for a Career in Finance
- WATCH: Tips for Landing a Finance Job
- WATCH: 3 Common Mistakes Made in Finance Interviews
Field-Specific Vault Guides
Quick, introductory primers on related fields, you may check many of these titles out of our library or download them at the Vault Guides.
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- Investment Banking
- Middle Market Investment Banking
- Private Wealth Management
- Leveraged Finance
- Sales & Trading
- Investment Management
- Hedge Funds
- Private Equity & Venture Capital
Employer Specific Vault Guides
In addition, Vault offers a collection of Guides with profiles of leading employers:
- Top 50 Banking Employers
- Top 50 Accounting Firms
- SEO & Financial Services Diversity Programs
For more information, see the following videos: