How to Get Six Figures out of College

After graduating with a finance degree and a wealth management minor from a
normal state college, I will begin working at Goldman Sachs earning $110,000 my
first year.

I am not a particularly genius person. Sure, I try hard in school and have an above-average GPA, extracurriculars, internship experience, but I know plenty of people who have those same stats and plenty that are better. However, something clearly stood out about me, and I want to share some tips I followed that helped my personal and professional development so that anyone could benefit from my experiences during my time in undergrad. The list below will help you get a head-start when you’re looking for a job as well as getting through undergrad.

  • Develop a niche

Yes, a finance degree is a good start. Finance majors from the Class of 2022 tend to get a starting salary of ~$68,000 six months after graduating from my school. It’s an extremely employable degree as well, 96% of graduates found a job or are pursuing further education. But my job deals mostly with my minor in wealth management. I was able to find a niche within finance in which I help administer financial products and eventually develop a list of clients. I found that I could use my passion for law, social studies, investing, and more to find an in-demand and specialized job. Find something specific that you’re passionate about within a larger field.

  • Apply apply apply

When I first started searching for an internship my freshman year spring (start as early as you can), I found that no one wanted to respond to me especially larger financial organizations. They were right to, I hadn’t taken many classes yet and I didn’t fit their candidate profiles. I didn’t have an “in” so to speak anywhere. I applied to around 50 local financial firms, none wanted to take me. However, my school hosts career fairs which I always made sure to take advantage of. I attended one virtually back in October 2021 in which I was able to connect with a local wealth management organization not far from my school. Soon after, I began working there part-time during the school year and full-time during 2 summer breaks.

During my junior year, the wealth management program I was in hosted company interviews for internships. I decided it was time for me to explore a new environment and applied for a local Goldman Sachs internship among many other wealth management firms such as J.P. Morgan (which I received an internship offer from as well). Goldman selected me for an interview, and I successfully got an offer to work there in the summer. Search for internships early and apply to as many as possible.

  • Networking is key

A social media site I spend a lot of time on is LinkedIn. Something I learned pretty early on in my business classes was the importance of connections. Through various job shadows, career fairs, extracurriculars, etc. I added over 500+ connections. Treat your connections well by liking and commenting on their posts. You never know when one of those connections will help you or when you get a chance to help someone else. Having a productive network will help you surround yourself with other talented people which will only aid you in finding a high-paying and exciting line of work.

  • Involvements matter

Colleges always talk about their student organizations when you tour them. During my time throughout school I picked some clubs that fit were competitive to get into, impressive on a resume, but most of all fit my passions. While I had these academic involvements including the school’s investment club, I also rushed a social fraternity my sophomore year. Balancing everything was challenging but I used this challenge as proof of my excellent time management skills. Being well-balanced with involvements is something I quickly noticed helped me in interviews and in gaining new connections. Get out of your comfort zone by applying to extracurriculars and try to gain a leadership position within them, it can only benefit you.

Starting off in college isn’t easy but I hope these tips can give you a going in a good direction.