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Old 04-05-2007, 08:03 PM
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Default Smart students - Choose investment banking

Following up on my previous post on career choice, this post explains why I think investment banking is a great career choice for smart students.

So you've got into the top schools in Singapore, scored distinctions, and represented your schools or even Singapore to compete in all sort of brainy competitions. Australian Maths Competition, American High Maths Exam, Maths Olympiad, Physics Olympiad, Chemistry Olympiad, National Software Competition, IOI, you name it...

Ok, so you're smart. Heck, maybe you even do well in other areas - sports, drawing, music, dancing, dating, mahjong, etc.

You're really smart and capable.

How about challenging yourself to make a million dollars before 30? Too easy? How about $10m before 40? And achieving that without burning your dad's savings on starting some lousy startup, or doing high risk stuff like betting on stocks, options, futures and commodities.

Possible? Definitely. IF you are smart.

Here's my suggestion:

- Get into a good university. I'm talking about MIT, Stanford, Cambridge, and the Ivy League unis. Try to get a bond-free scholarship (more on scholarships another day another post).
- Do extremely well in university. Nothing less than an A-. Better yet if you maintain perfect GPA. Challenge yourself with extremely tough courses like advanced computer science theory, advanced econ, advanced math, advanced statistics, econometrics, advanced financial calculus, etc. You get the idea.
- Seek internships with the top investment banks. Only consider the bulge bracket ones, i.e. Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, and maybe Bear Stearns, Credit Suisse, Citi, Deutsche Bank, and UBS. Don't forget to get a good testimonial at the end of the internship.
- Then graduate as valedictorian (or close to), and go for interviews. It won't be too hard to land a job in investment banking, possibly with a starting pay of US$100k upwards.
- Better yet, get into the top business school ("B-school") and get an MBA. You can do this right after college, or after a couple of years in Wall Street.

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