11/11/12

I've been in the industry for several years and I've come across every type of situation. I've met guys from top schools who work in bulge bracket firms, but I've also met people from those same schools who can't seem to land a great job. Conversely, I've met guys from non-target schools who managed to get into a top firm.

Simply stated, I do recommend you attend the best school you can get into. Being the underdog is no fun and even if you "break in" it will take longer to get where you want to go. As well, there are many employers you'll meet along the way that are very rigid about the "rules". So even if you get in, it may still be harder to get promoted or find a better job later on. Therefore, the best solution is to attend the best school. This leads me to the first rule:

Rule #1: Remember the Michael Jordan Rule:

Jordan was the best basketball player of his era. Charles Barkley was arguably #2. On any given night, Barkley might outscore Jordan. However, NO ONE would ever remember Charles Barkley as the best player of his era. The same rule applies for b-schools. There are many schools that rank "top 20" and claim they are almost as good as the top b-schools in the country. However, they are the Charles Barkley of b-schools. Even if they are that good... they'll never get you the same amount of respect in the job market.

The next set of rules are suitable for people who don't end up going to target schools:

Rule #2: Start small and work your way up: If you can't land a job as an FX trader out of school (and it's your ideal job), try to get a job as a commercial FX trader. Commercial traders are people who sell FX to mid-size companies under $100 million in size. You might not be able to leverage that towards an IB associate position, but if a bulge bracket firm is looking for an institutional FX sales or trader, they will look at someone with mid-market FX sales experience. I was told this is the case by an MD on an institutional FX desk who was looking to hire a junior trader!
In similar fashion, if your goal is to do M&A in a bulge bracket firm, you should get a job doing M&A at a boutique or an accounting firm. The same rule applies for lending: a commercial banker will eventually be able to land a corporate lending job. It takes 2-3 years of experience and a bit of patients but you will eventually get in. Also, remember that your time spent doing mid-market IB/FX/lending will not necessarily count as work experience in the big leagues.

Rule #3: Continue obtaining designations: Unlike b-schools which can vary in terms of credibility, nobody questions the value of an accounting designation or a CFA. All these things help! Keep trying to obtain additional letters after your name and your ability to land interviews will surely improve.

Rule 4: There is no substitute for passion and industry knowledge: I once met a young man who went to a non-target school and was dying to land a job in IB. Except that this kid was different! He seemed to know modeling cold. He opened a small investment club at his local school and was investing $30k on behalf of the student members. All these things helped. He stood out from the crowd! Anyways, this guy landed an M&A summer analyst role at a top firm. All the guys from target schools probably didn't stand out. It is likely that none of them had started a small investment club!

Rule 5: Rules are made to be broken: If there is one rule I have learned over the years it's that "rules are made to be broken". Where there is a will there is a way. You might not get into Goldman, but there are ways of getting into other firms if you try hard enough.

Time is on your side. If you are 22 years old and are trying to get into IB, you have 43 years until you reach retirement age (i.e. 65). Even if you end up working in a tier 2 firm from 22 to 25 and then go for an MBA from 25 to 27, you could still end up joining the industry at 28 years old. That still leaves 37 years until retirement! Most successful bankers are considered "old veterans" after 20 years of experience.... With 37 years to go you have nothing to worry about!

Comments (125)

11/11/12

I wish I had read this 2-3years ago, so I didnt have to figure it out through trial & error.

This should be required reading for any non-target very early on.

11/11/12

Hey thanks for this article! It was a great read. The part about the top 20 business schools was especially insightful!

11/11/12

Generally, on target and correct. Good write-up.

It's really all about odds.
Go to a top school? dramatically increases your odds.
Cold call good contacts? increases your odds a bit.

Simply put: You want to spend your time doing the things that yield the best increases.

11/11/12

grapefury - good analysis

11/11/12

Rule #6 - never talk about Fight Club

11/11/12

Stockton was #2 bro

11/11/12

Fantastic article! Banana awarded! I wish there was more help for people from Non-Target Universities!

You win a few, you loose a few, but you keep on fighting.

11/11/12

Barkley was not even close to the second best player of Jordan's era. Magic, Bird, Malone, Olajuwon, Ewing were all better and thats just off the top of my head.

11/11/12
Bondarb:

Barkley was not even close to the second best player of Jordan's era. Magic, Bird, Malone, Olajuwon, Ewing were all better and thats just off the top of my head.

"not even close" is definitely an overstatement. he wasn't #2 but he was in the ballpark at least

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

PM me if you're traveling to Buenos Aires in 2016 (I live here) :-)

11/11/12
Bondarb:

Barkley was not even close to the second best player of Jordan's era. Magic, Bird, Malone, Olajuwon, Ewing were all better and thats just off the top of my head.

Indeed

11/11/12
Bondarb:

Barkley was not even close to the second best player of Jordan's era. Magic, Bird, Malone, Olajuwon, Ewing were all better and thats just off the top of my head.

Magic and Bird were reaching the tail-end of their careers as Jordan was hitting his peak; their eras overlapped, but I would say they were distinct (I think Magic/Bird were drafted 5 or 6 years before Jordan).

I'd say the 2nd-best player of Jordan's era was Olajuwon, but Malone, Barkley and David Robinson were in the mix (honorable mentions going to Ewing, Isaiah Thomas, maybe even Stockton, Drexler, Pippen, Kevin Johnson).

11/11/12
rm1234:
Bondarb:

Barkley was not even close to the second best player of Jordan's era. Magic, Bird, Malone, Olajuwon, Ewing were all better and thats just off the top of my head.

Magic and Bird were reaching the tail-end of their careers as Jordan was hitting his peak; their eras overlapped, but I would say they were distinct (I think Magic/Bird were drafted 5 or 6 years before Jordan).

I'd say the 2nd-best player of Jordan's era was Olajuwon, but Malone, Barkley and David Robinson were in the mix (honorable mentions going to Ewing, Isaiah Thomas, maybe even Stockton, Drexler, Pippen, Kevin Johnson).

I do not think Robinson was better then Ewing. He had a better tail-end to his career when he played second-fiddle to Duncan, but during the Jordan-era I think Ewing's outside game was way superior to Robinsons and therefore he was the better player overall. Ewing also had no supporting cast at all. I agree that Olajuwon was better then both of them.

11/12/12

I agree that Robinson wouldn't have won championships if it weren't for Duncan. But I feel that Ewing and Robinson were about equal on offense (Ewing had a higher skill level, but Robinson was more athletic and a better rebounder), and that Robinson was a slightly better defender. I don't think Ewing won an MVP, and Olajuwon vs. Robinson was always more hyped-up than Olajuwon vs. Ewing (though the Texas rivals thing probably played into that too).

I have to admit that since I was born in the '90s I've actually seen few games from that era - my conclusions are drawn from that small sample as well as the advanced stats off basketball-reference.com!

11/11/12
DM123:

Rule #3: Continue obtaining designations: Unlike b-schools which can vary in terms of credibility, nobody questions the value of an accounting designation or a CFA. All these things help! Keep trying to obtain additional letters after your name and your ability to land interviews will surely improve.

I like this rule a lot. Letters next to your name are always a good thing.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

11/12/12
Hooked on LEAPS:

I like this rule a lot. Letters next to your name are always a good thing.

definitely. especially if you're talking about roman numerals after a name shared by a former governor or company chairman

11/11/12

Really ground-breaking OP...

So basically work hard, choose a field that you can see yourself having a career in, and do things that will improve chances at getting your dream job? Seems like common sense to me.

11/11/12
droking7:

Really ground-breaking OP...

So basically work hard, choose a field that you can see yourself having a career in, and do things that will improve chances at getting your dream job? Seems like common sense to me.

If it was common sense 75-80% of the posts on here wouldn't exist.

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development

11/11/12

Jordan went to a semi-target, and that's a stretch.

11/11/12
wannabeaballer:

Jordan went to a semi-target, and that's a stretch.

Target for basketball.

Jimmer Fredette went to a non target.

11/11/12

Waiting for Brady to praise rule #1

11/11/12
DM123:

Rule 4: There is no substitute for passion and industry knowledge: I once met a young man who went to a non-target school and was dying to land a job in IB. Except that this kid was different! He seemed to know modeling cold. He opened a small investment club at his local school and was investing $30k on behalf of the student members. All these things helped. He stood out from the crowd! Anyways, this guy landed an M&A summer analyst role at a top firm. All the guys from target schools probably didn't stand out. It is likely that none of them had started a small investment club!

I think I know who you're referring to. Did he intern at Barclays?

11/11/12
DM123:

Rule 4: There is no substitute for passion and industry knowledge: I once met a young man who went to a non-target school and was dying to land a job in IB. Except that this kid was different! He seemed to know modeling cold. He opened a small investment club at his local school and was investing $30k on behalf of the student members. All these things helped. He stood out from the crowd! Anyways, this guy landed an M&A summer analyst role at a top firm. All the guys from target schools probably didn't stand out. It is likely that none of them had started a small investment club!

I think I know who you're referring to. Did he intern at Barclays?

11/11/12

whatever yo, if MJ's Stanford, the next best player is a Ball State communications major

11/12/12

I'll have to second Hakeem as a second to Jordan. We know how he fared against Barkley.

11/12/12

no he did not intern at barclays.

11/12/12

Good words.

11/12/12

how is everyone forget about Yinka Dare?

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

11/12/12

Haha how did this turn into a basketball hall of fame forum? Nonetheless, coming from a non-target, I definitely appreciate OP putting up this article. When I first joined WSO I was legitimately depressed because it seemed like my odds of having a solid career in finance were slim to none, all because I did not attend the top tier schools or held senior exec contacts. Articles like this give me hope and structure my approach without giving me unrealistic ideas of walking into GS without any credibility. Common sense maybe but when you get this tunnel-visioned into a highly competitive field you tend to forget the basics that are right in front of you.

11/12/12

Im impressed that all the little kiddies on this site know who those players are

11/12/12

Really intriguing!

11/12/12

Do you think going to a good MBA means that you can "rebrand" yourself with the better tag?

11/13/12

Not disagreeing with the general ideas in your post, but this Jordan/Barkley - school analogy is terrible.

Rule #1: Remember the Michael Jordan Rule: Jordan was the best player of his era. Charles Barkley was arguably #2. On any given night, Barkley might outscore Jordan. However, NO ONE would ever remember Charles Barkley as the best player of his era. The same rule for b-schools.

Sure, SEC schools may place a lot of players in the NBA, but people will remember Jordan as the best because he did what he wanted every night on the basketball court. The fact that he owned Barkley on the regular had nothing to do with the fact that Barkley attended Auburn, nor did Jordan's success in the league have to do with the fact he attended NC (note: I'm not discounting the benefit of good coaching.)

While as an investment banker, you may be remembered solely for the fact that you attended Harvard, in both leagues you're better off averaging 50 ppg for your career if you want to cement your legacy.

Still, better to attend Harvard if possible.

11/15/12

very well put

4/4/13

From a non-target kid: Which is why I am preparing myself for H/S/W MBA now

4/29/13

Great read thank you!

4/29/13

Congrats! Time to change your username haha

4/29/13

Loki777:

Congrats! Time to change your username haha


Thank you very much!
4/29/13

Congratulations and good luck!!!

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum

4/29/13

AY01:

Congratulations and good luck!!!


Thank you! Really appreciate it.
4/29/13

congratulations!

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

PM me if you're traveling to Buenos Aires in 2016 (I live here) :-)

4/29/13

AndyLouis:

congratulations!


Thanks @"AndyLouis"

If anyone else has questions - just comment on here or private message! I'll try and get back to you ASAP.

4/29/13

"I abused LinkedIn". Love the hustle, congrats.

4/29/13

BillBelichick:

"I abused LinkedIn". Love the hustle, congrats.


Thanks man
4/29/13

many congrats dude, a great example of hustle and hard work paying off.. appreciate the tips as well, Shot you a PM!

4/29/13

Thank you for your tips so much. You're right, Linkedin is indeed important. Whenever I applied for some internships, someone anonymous would definitely view my profiles on Linkedin in the following days. But I still don't know how to hit the point or attract them.

4/29/13

I am in a similar situation and it's always enlightening to hear others progress. Stories like these definitely motivate me and encourage me. Congrats!

4/29/13

I am in a similar situation and it's always enlightening to hear others progress. Stories like these definitely motivate me and encourage me. Congrats!

4/29/13

I am in a similar situation and it's always enlightening to hear others progress. Stories like these definitely motivate me and encourage me. Congrats!

4/29/13

nice post, congrats

Observe. Learn. Share.

4/29/13

Will do.

Make opportunities. Not excuses.

4/29/13

Thanks for sharing! Golden advice!

4/29/13

awesome post! It's unfortunate they don't teach these kind of topics in business school.

4/29/13

WallStreetPlayboys:

This leads to point two - the most important job advice you will ever get before joining - because you're likely wondering why don't I simply get ranked #1 in everything?

"Never unnecessarily raise expectations, lower expectations, deliver higher results"

Now that you know your MD's will have the results of all the tests you also do not want to be the Rock-star analyst/associate. The reason why is you'll enter on day one and you'll immediately get staffed and grinded. You've unnecessarily raised expectations too high. You want to leave some room for error so your MD/, Director/VP all see improvements from their criticism of you. This does many things for you 1) you have now set a bar that can easily be beat, 2) your bosses will now believe you take criticism well and are able to improve and 3) this lowers your hours slightly out of the gate. If you are getting ranked on the all time list for speed in the excel formatting exercises... You've gone too far.

This point is non-intuitive but generally holds true.

4/29/13

Tbh I have found once on the job standing out as a non target is the same as standing out. I would also say that being from a non target actually gives you a leg up with impressions because people think "that kid must have done something to get here" after hearing where you have gone to school.

4/29/13

Agree

4/29/13

derivstrading:

Tbh I have found once on the job standing out as a non target is the same as standing out. I would also say that being from a non target actually gives you a leg up with impressions because people think "that kid must have done something to get here" after hearing where you have gone to school.

Correct that's why we stated in the second sentence that it can be applied to target students as well.

" Notably, you can apply these steps to a Target entrance as well, however for a Non-Target following the blueprint will be of utmost importance."

Push comes to shove if there are layoffs and you are equal with a target student right after training you're more likely than not gone. Hence why you should stay in that 75% (top quartile range) from the get go.

(Note layoffs after training are rare, barring a recession, unless you can't even pass the training classes in which case you deserve to be let go)

4/29/13

extremely useful and practical series, thanks wsplayboys

4/29/13

Finally some good advice from someone actually working in the industry.

Greed is Good. Greed is Right. Greed Works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, Greed for life, for money, for love, and knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind...

4/29/13

This rhetoric is interesting/hilarious. Here's some advice: Do your fucking job. Don't be a douchebag and don't act " try hard." Just be a normal , sociable person who works hard and smart. If they don't like you, fuck them. Sell side is dogshit anyway.

4/29/13

Wish someone had told me this when I first started out.

Chill

4/29/13

Aston Gekko:

If they don't like you, fuck them. Sell side is dogshit anyway.

Yes, this attitude will take you places (so glad we'll be competing for the same jobs).

4/29/13

""Never unnecessarily raise expectations, lower expectations, deliver higher results"

Been there, done that. But if you're doing it, make sure your director doesn't figure out your plan, get mad, and call you on it.

On another note, I tend to tell the ladies that I'm "mediocre at best."

4/29/13

Good post, bookmarked it for future use

4/29/13

Great overall advice.
However, dont quite get the expectations thing.

How exactly do you lower expectations coming in? Reason why you've made it as a non-target is bcuz you had a little something extra.....and doesnt it look actually worse if you say "uhmm...sure...let me see if I know how to balance that model....never done it before" rather than "will do"....and getting it done?

And even if you do manage the lower-expectations-outperformance one time, you probably cannot keep pulling that crap over and over again right? Those mofo's are too smart for that shit....you go above and beyond one task and they come to expect it in every single task they give you from that point on....NO? Maybe i'm just confused

Any real life example / elaboration would be great

4/29/13

Congratulations man! It's definitely the best felling ever to have a happy ending to that hustle.

Nothing is true; everything is permitted.

4/29/13

Congratz man!

WallStreetOasis Contributing Author - Intern

Check out my Blog

Check out my Twitter

4/29/13

Congratulations! I'm glad to hear about someone from a non cookie cutter background that succeeded!

4/29/13

Role model! I'm from non-target too

4/29/13

Most intriguing success story I've read, good shit man

4/29/13

Check your PM's

4/29/13

Congrats! This kind of success is the best high in the world.

How did you deal with the stress of being initially dinged at the BB and having to start another search?

4/29/13

My friend has done it before. I'm from NYU and my friend is from poly. For us,they (recruiters) probably only care about the quality of the person, besides, NYU merged with poly so it was probably not a big deal for them. As of this year, poly gets access to our career site as well. But I personally don't think it's with it especially since you guys are from completely different schools. You might get in trouble and you might get your friend in trouble.

4/29/13

btw if it's worth anything, my friend also applied through their website. He heard back more from their website than through our career website.

4/29/13

They will be looking through a list of resumes from your friends school. It will be obvious when they get a resume with a different school listed on it. You will definitely stand out but maybe not in a good way...

4/29/13

Might be better off networking rather than trying to sneak in like that. It doesn't look good on either you or your friend.

4/29/13

Probably wouldn't do this-they'd think it's a mistake or a joke or something. Without you being there to explain it, it probably wouldn't work.

Sneaking into target schools' career/internship fair is a 1000x better idea and works like a champ. Completely recommend it.

4/29/13
makers mark:

Sneaking into target schools' career/internship fair is a 1000x better idea and works like a champ. Completely recommend it.

THIS works

Get busy living

4/29/13
UFOinsider:
makers mark:

Sneaking into target schools' career/internship fair is a 1000x better idea and works like a champ. Completely recommend it.

THIS works

Care to elaborate? I've gone back and forth as to whether this is a good idea.

4/29/13
theBEEGEES:
UFOinsider:
makers mark:

Sneaking into target schools' career/internship fair is a 1000x better idea and works like a champ. Completely recommend it.

THIS works

Care to elaborate? I've gone back and forth as to whether this is a good idea.

Elaborate? yeah, sure: go to another school's career fair and start meeting people. Get creative when explaining why you're there, and then: HAPPY HUNTING!

Get busy living

4/29/13

Yup very simple. Employee reps at career fairs talk to 100+ people and remember nobody-walking up, shaking their hand, and saying you're from some random fucking non-target immediately grabs their attention. Not everyone will be completely helpful to your cause, but if you grab their card and follow up for coffee, they will at least 100% remember you and usually in a good way. Don't think that since they're recruiting at their alma mater that they won't help you out-many people are impressed by this.

I would say sneaking into these is literally the best and most time-effective way to network from a non-target. Just learn the security before-I've been kicked out of one. This makes for good stories though.

4/29/13
makers mark:

Just learn the security before-I've been kicked out of one. This makes for good stories though.

Please post more at some point :)

laudrup10:

makers, do a decent number of hedge funds and private equity shops show up undergraduate career fairs at targets?

NO

Get busy living

4/29/13

makers, do a decent number of hedge funds and private equity shops show up undergraduate career fairs at targets?

4/29/13

My friend just got a job at a HF by dropping his resume at another school's career site. What do you have to lose?

4/29/13

I'm from a non-target and I have had luck landing many interviews using other school's online career portals in the last couple months.

In my experience the recruiters responses vary. Some of them are not too fond of this tactic and have responded very coldly to me but others have been impressed by my tenacity.

4/29/13

yeah sounds good I just don't wanna get my friends into trouble. although idk who's gonna make the effort to rat some kid out for that.

4/29/13

Have you tried networking at all? Just from your post it seems like you havent or haven't nearly enough. I don't mean to sound like a dick, but I truly don't understand when people come on this website and post stuff like this. If you haven't networked day in and day out for at least 6-12 months, you haven't tried and you do not want it bad enough.

Just my thoughts

4/29/13
analyst-therapist:

Have you tried networking at all? Just from your post it seems like you havent or haven't nearly enough. I don't mean to sound like a dick, but I truly don't understand when people come on this website and post stuff like this. If you haven't networked day in and day out for at least 6-12 months, you haven't tried and you do not want it bad enough.

Just my thoughts

Yeah I guess I should elaborate more. I have done quite a bit in my local area and in the Chicago area through the CFA society. But still no one wants to give a non target a shot. I know it sounds like a broken record, but I have been busting my balls e-mailing and cold calling people in the chicago area and some outside of there. Going outside of the midwest is a joke for me. I have actually had some people laugh at me on the east when I tried to tell them about my school. What are your thoughts on networking outside the area when you have absolutely no one in the business from your school?

4/29/13

You may have to do an MSF at a name brand school. Normally, I'd say focus on alumni networking and network with people on LinkedIn etc. Problem is in your case a lack of heavy representation.

You might try the MSF. An MSF coupled with a CFA may help a lot more.

Best Response
4/29/13

First thing you need to get out of your head is that your school matters. It does not. Not in the least bit.

That's what it really means to be a non-target. When people see your resume and see a school that isn't a "target," they immediately don't care what the school is. They just check to make sure you have a good GPA before deciding whether or not to read the rest of your resume.

That works two ways, as per my experience: first, it makes you suck at online applications, as no HR system will ever pick your resume out of any list of applicants. Second, it lets people know that you're more hungry than anyone else about getting the job. After all, you went through the trouble of making sure a real set of eyes got to your resume and not a computer/HR guy (interchangeable).

It's quite obvious that you haven't done enough networking, and the reason for this is that you're afraid of or unwilling to head out to the east coast (or west, if you've thought of that).

Allow me to be the first to say that if you don't spend the time on-site and within close proximity to the people you want to connect with, you will not find a job. Take the plunge. Finance a 2-3 month stay in NYC. Find a hostel and set up camp there if you don't have friends in the city; the limited privacy will motivate you to work harder.

I know people who have done exactly that before. It's not hard and has a high rate of success. The least you should be doing if you want to work on the Street is flying or taking a bus to and from the city every week or every other week to hit networking events and do informational interviews.

AND, if you think that's ridiculous, just know that there is an Indian kid who is in danger of overstaying his Visa to find a job while he works his ass off at a hotel overnight in Harlem to get the job he really wants. There's also a Chinese kid whose parents bred him to be an academic monster since he was in the cradle back in China, and now that he's here he's doing whatever it takes to succeed. There's also some kid from Cali who grew up like a spoiled brat because his father is a millionaire, and even though he's an idiot, his father paid for him to go to UCLA or Stanford. All he's gotta do is prove he fits in.

So yeah man, go hard or go home is the moral.

Equities are for chumps.

4/29/13
FSC:

First thing you need to get out of your head is that your school matters. It does not. Not in the least bit.

That's what it really means to be a non-target. When people see your resume and see a school that isn't a "target," they immediately don't care what the school is. They just check to make sure you have a good GPA before deciding whether or not to read the rest of your resume.

That works two ways, as per my experience: first, it makes you suck at online applications, as no HR system will ever pick your resume out of any list of applicants. Second, it lets people know that you're more hungry than anyone else about getting the job. After all, you went through the trouble of making sure a real set of eyes got to your resume and not a computer/HR guy (interchangeable).

It's quite obvious that you haven't done enough networking, and the reason for this is that you're afraid of or unwilling to head out to the east coast (or west, if you've thought of that).

Allow me to be the first to say that if you don't spend the time on-site and within close proximity to the people you want to connect with, you will not find a job. Take the plunge. Finance a 2-3 month stay in NYC. Find a hostel and set up camp there if you don't have friends in the city; the limited privacy will motivate you to work harder.

I know people who have done exactly that before. It's not hard and has a high rate of success. The least you should be doing if you want to work on the Street is flying or taking a bus to and from the city every week or every other week to hit networking events and do informational interviews.

AND, if you think that's ridiculous, just know that there is an Indian kid who is in danger of overstaying his Visa to find a job while he works his ass off at a hotel overnight in Harlem to get the job he really wants. There's also a Chinese kid whose parents bred him to be an academic monster since he was in the cradle back in China, and now that he's here he's doing whatever it takes to succeed. There's also some kid from Cali who grew up like a spoiled brat because his father is a millionaire, and even though he's an idiot, his father paid for him to go to UCLA or Stanford. All he's gotta do is prove he fits in.

So yeah man, go hard or go home is the moral.

Good inspiration here. Same thing I'm having to do on a minor scale in my city. If you're not networking practically 40 hours a week, you're not really networking. Network harder!!! Find a high-level person in Finance who is willing to at least give you a spreadsheet loaded with his/her contacts (phone/emails) and start cold emailing and calling. Use that person's name in the emails/calls. I am getting positive responses from this!!! Try it!

4/29/13

Yea I agree with FSC. Don't let your school define you. You can definitely at least leverage the wealth management name and the CFA to yourself instead. Focus on what you've done, your abilities and what you're willing to do for an employer than where you're from.

4/29/13

Well I am getting the Go hard or go home message and I appreciate everyone's insight. I have come a long way and I feel like I have a lot going for me but it's not enough so I will hit it hard. The one question I have is what do I do in the meantime? I just graduated and just finished level 1 of the the CFA. What do I do? Internship or just tell anyone I am talking to that I am looking for a job?

4/29/13
HunterEL:

Well I am getting the Go hard or go home message and I appreciate everyone's insight. I have come a long way and I feel like I have a lot going for me but it's not enough so I will hit it hard. The one question I have is what do I do in the meantime? I just graduated and just finished level 1 of the the CFA. What do I do? Internship or just tell anyone I am talking to that I am looking for a job?

C'mon guy. I don't want to sound like a jerk but are you kidding me?! You can tell people whatever you want. Who cares.

And I certainly hope that if you're talking to people, you are mentioning the fact that you'd like a job. You phrased the question as if you might not be. Have no shame. Tell them what you want.

4/29/13

If you have the parental support, I'd try to volunteer at a shop if necessary and try to parlay that into a job.

4/29/13

If you've read this site long enough, you'll know that non-targets CAN AND DO make it on Wall Street. The process may be harder, but it happens. So maybe the traditional networking path isn't working for you. Do something out of the ordinary. Getting into finance today sometimes takes a bit of creativity.

If you want it, go big. Someone above recommended maybe taking a trip to NYC. Convince those you contact as best as you can to sit down with you to chat about your skills, etc. At that point you can explain your school situation and make them forget about the name.

I guarantee you that the more people you network with, the more likely you'll have someone who bites and takes a chance.

4/29/13

I can get to Chicago in less than 3 hours time. I am not really sure which events to go to other than those put on by the CFA Institute and local society. I have done some cold calling and have no problem with it I just need to talk to the right people and I guess I am a newbie when it comes to that.
I can finance the rest of this summer easily, but at the end of august I will want to start making some money and I am concerned about the gap on my resume.

4/29/13
HunterEL:

I can get to Chicago in less than 3 hours time.

Beg, borrow or steal a list of firms that are in the investment area you want in Chicago. Then use LinkedIn and your alumni network and your professors from school to get the contact info of someone high up in one of these firms. Call them directly, or call the main number and ask to talk to them directly; say the name of the referral. Get them on the phone and tell them you are coming to town and are trying to get into their business, and could you just get some advice?

Then call all the other places on the list and tell the hiring manager (if that's all you can get) or the CIO or CEO or COO that you will be in town to see X company (the one above), and could you drop by their company too? You are a recent graduate trying to get into the business and are looking for advice.

Then when you get in to see them, get their advice! Give them an elevator pitch about yourself, tell them it is your elevator pitch, and ask what you suggest they do to get into the field. That should lead to a good talk. Be sensitive to their time, but don't leave without asking them if there is anyone they suggest you talk to, at their company or any other.

Then follow up on every single lead, and don't forget to use the name of the person who referred you every time you speak to someone. If it is a portfolio manager, even at a different firm, you will get noticed.

Then do it all over again with the new people. You are now getting networked. Keep it up until you have a job.

If you had any chemistry with any of these people and they started acting really distracted when you were talking, they might have been trying to think of how you might fit in with their company. Don't push it, but call everyone back in a couple weeks and invite them to lunch/coffee/drink to thank them for helping you out.

4/29/13

Hunter - I have to agree with everyone else who says you aren't trying enough. Even though it might seem like you can't possibly try harder (we've all probably felt that way), you should step back, re-evaluate your approach, see what's working/not, and switch gears a bit.

Kill a few hours on LinkedIn and find people whose career path you admire, etc. Shoot a message which expresses your genuine interest and career goals and ask for an informational interview. This has proven to be the most successful method for me by far. Once you're on the phone, LISTEN to them. Hear them out, learn their story, and talk about yourself only when they ask or when you can contribute something to the convo. For every person you speak to, that opens hundreds of potential doors for people they can introduce you to.

The biggest thing I've learned is that your school DOES NOT matter. I went to a top school, and my tuition could have bought me a house, but my education is never brought up in interviews. People want to know about your skills, goals, and what you can do for them with that. From what you wrote, you have a great foundation. You're telling yourself that your edu is the end-all, be-all, and that's mentally digging you into a hole you don't have to be in.

Best of luck!

4/29/13

Thanks for all of the advice! I am already hitting linkedin hard. As for the cold calling and hitting up people in chicago what sort of companies should I screen for. Just a base AUM. I am looking to get into fixed income management but that may be a bit picky at this point. I guess I want to focus my contact and resources early on the ones that are larger and will give me a better return on my time and effort. I am compiling a spreadsheet of all the places I want to talk to tonight. couldn't think of a better Saturday night actually. Thanks everyone for lighting a fire under my ass and making me step back and take a look at what I am doing right and wrong. Keep the advice coming because everyones comment has added something to my notes to work on.

4/29/13

This post really rubbed me the wrong way. So much so that I went through the effort of resetting my password in order to log in to type the following message. And as a disclaimer, I mean the forthcoming advice in the nicest way possible...

Sack up. No wonder you don't have a job. Learn to sell yourself. Sell your experiences. Sell your skills. Sell your shitty little school that no one knows about. Tell employers why they should give a chance, why you're better than Joe Blow. Stop looking for reasons why you can't get a job. Maybe you'll need to leave your small town but if so, so be it. In an over saturated labor market, employers in a shrinking industry aren't exactly going to come kicking down your door to hire you.

I didn't come from a target school. I had an awful GPA. But I decided I wanted to work in banking and nothing was stopping me. I took a shitty paying, temporary contract, working in the BO for JPM. The work sucked but I did well and made a name for myself. When they needed to fill a permanent vacancy, they approached me. I'm still doing less than ideal work in the BO but was quickly promoted to AVP and I'm getting great exposure. After my next review, I plan to transition into equity research with my boss' endoresment. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, I'm just saying...make it happen dude. There are a million ways to make it work. Find one.

4/29/13

"you miss 100% of the shot you don't take" Wayne Gretzky

4/29/13

You sound like you need to go get a Masters in Finance and start networking. Make sure to take the Masters from a target school, and in the city you want to work if possible.

4/29/13

As been said, I would suggest a MSF in a good university for rebrand yourself.

4/29/13

Yea, it sucks as a non-target. been there done that. I remember when I applied to the IB Freshman/Sophomore internships with a 3.92 and an internship at a $1B+ PE shop already under my belt. Didn't even get a single interview...

You gotta have balls if you want these positions. Go get it.

"If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."

4/29/13

Also - Join every relevant group on LinkedIn. Do not underestimate this.

A big plus of this is that if you can message anyone who you are in the same group with regardless if you have a connection with them or not. I've had CEO's of multi-hundred million dollar companies message me back. Lots of these guys are nice and willing to talk - you just gotta get through their screeners and this works as many manage their own LinkedIn accounts.

Best of luck.

"If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."

4/29/13

Edit: Unable* to land a prestigious job

4/29/13

Edit: Unable* to land a prestigious job

4/29/13

northwestern mutual, edward jones

4/29/13

sigh...

Disclaimer for the Kids: Any forward-looking statements are solely for informational purposes and cannot be taken as investment advice. Consult your moms before deciding where to invest.

4/29/13

look for PWM roles.. It gives you a decent name on a resume (MS, JPM, Credit Suisse, ML)

4/29/13

Keep browsing the threads. There are many that have come on WSO and gotten good feedback and direction with the same issue that you have. Just don't settle for a "prestigious firm". If every kid in their 20's with a finance degree could break into Wall Street and get six figures their first year working for a top tier firm, there wouldn't be other jobs out there. Look at regional banks, boutique firms, and get some plan b situations worked out. If you absolutely have to have a job, the Ed Jones, Northwestern Mutual might work, but I would rather push hard to find a position in corp finance or Big 4 roles. The lie that kids can hop out of undergrad at a non-target and make 100k on Wall Street is as likely as some kid on your high school football team making it to the NFL. Not to say it doesn't happen, but it's better to cover your bases than to only be willing to accept a Wall Street gig.

"Decide what to be and go be it." - The Avett Brothers

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