TheKing is one of the top WSO users and contributing authors: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/karma/top
He has worked in MM Banking and MM Private Equity. I will let you find out more from the man himself below in Part Two:
Did you go to a non-target/semi-target school, etc?
Well, I went to NYU, but I wasn't in the b-school (Stern.) I was in CAS and got an economics degree. I looked at both CAS and Stern while in high school, and I just did not think I could bring myself to spend four years studying business when I'd likely be working in business my entire post-college life. With that said, it definitely took a little extra effort to get into banking out of CAS. We had the same career center as the Sternies, but often had an extra hurdle to jump over when it came down to getting interviews. My approach was to do as much as I could to build a strong, well-rounded resume. I had a decent, but really made a strong case for myself with extra-curricular leadership and relevant every summer and during the school year as well. It worked out well for me, but took a lot of leg work. Some of my best friends went to Stern and I can say that they definitely had an easier time given the name recognition and caliber of the finance program there.
Did you get an MBA or other degree (MSF) or are you considering it?
All I've got is a Bachelors in economics. I plan on never returning to school. It's expensive both in terms of money and time spent. I know a lot of people talk about how much fun it can be and how much you party, and I'm sure that's true, but honestly, the end-game of an MBA doesn't really line up with what I want to do with my life anyway. And I'm pretty content socially and got a lot of partying out of my system as an undergrad that the social aspect isn't that appealing to me.
With that said, if you want to do PE for the long haul, you will almost certainly need an MBA. My firm recently did a search for a mid-level position and we would only look at MBAs with prior PE experience. Honestly, PE is getting as structured as banking is. I work for some people with what anyone on would consider to be "non-target" backgrounds who are absolutely amazing at their jobs, but it's almost impossible to break into the field anymore with non-traditional backgrounds.
What's your next step?
Tying into some of the things I said earlier, I'm hoping to step off the track a bit. Namely, my two years in PE are up and I've got no desire to go to business school. I'm aiming for something with less transactional focus. So, perhaps working at a funded startup in a business operations role or at a larger company in corp dev / strategy. Generally, though, I'm pretty open to a lot of different roles, I just don't see myself solely working on deals for the rest of my professional life. Ideally, my next role will allow me to use the business skill set I've acquired and a little bit of creativity. Moreover, as I hinted at, I've got some side projects I'd like to devote some time to, so hopefully being out of the deal making game will give me time to really focus on them. I like to at least think of myself as enterprising, and having extra time on my hands should let me do some different things that I wouldn't be able to if I were still bogged down on legal calls anddives.
What keeps you motivated?
A lot of things. Money plays a role, but only to the extent that I can build up my savings and support my lifestyle (which isn't all that extravagant). I'm more motivated by doing things that interest me a good deal. Ideally, I'd have a job that pays well enough with a good work / life balance so I can focus on side projects and hobbies outside of my day job.
What is the most important piece of advice you could tell a college student?
This will sound cheesy as hell, but, whatever. The most important piece of advice I can give a college student is to be true to themselves and make their own path. Obviously, there is a base level of responsibility that comes first, but there are so many damn ways to make it in this world, that people shouldn't feel tied down by traditional paths. To me, that's one of the biggest issues with front-office finance, you get on a track and it builds up a mindset in many of the people who do it that getting off the track is bad. It's important to set your own goals and agendas and not worry about what others think or say. Again, with a base level of responsibility built in there.
What do you do to relax or take your mind off work?
Other than the typical "drink, hang out with friends" or what not answer, when I really want to remove myself from a work mindset, I love to read, watch movies and good TV, and shoot hoops. I'll read business books ever so often, but also like to mix in some mind-bending stuff, physics, philosophy and the like. Same on the movie / TV front, I like things that make you think and don't insult your intelligence.
I'm also a bit of a politics junkie, though I've tried to tone that down since following it just tends to be an exercise in frustration and futility.
What are 3 tips you have for picking up chicks in a bar?
Ha, let me think for a moment. I suppose the best three tips I'd have are be funny, don't look and act like a slob, and to realize that women are people, too. If that makes sense. Also, don't try too hard and don't worry about it too much.
Once again, thank you to TheKing for sharing your time with us. Check out his WSO blog: linked HERE