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Been waiting literally 1-2 years now to make a post like this. Finally landed a FT offer with a solid VC firm as an analyst! Super pumped and excited to start as I have gone through hell and literally overcome all the things that you could possibly deal with.

Went to a top public university (although I was non/semi-target since no OCR without being in the business school), double majored math/econ and graduated with a shitty ass 2.9-3.0 GPA. Had a few finance internships (F500 PWM, top tech firm, really small college incubator/vc advisory, BB BO/MO rotational) during my undergrad studies. Going into my junior year summer, was still kinda clueless about IB and recruiting but managed to land a few interviews (but no IB offers). Ended up taking a BB BO/MO rotational program internship and did well there and received a return offer for FT.

Come senior year, I came well-prepared and networked ALOT in the summer. Despite my shitty GPA and lack of IB internships, I still managed to land around 10-12 interviews, converting approximately 8ish final rounds. Even with so many opportunities, I somehow came out of fall recruiting season with 0 FT IB offers. Was almost always told I was a good interviewer but others had better experience/qualifications. In fact, I even had one MM reject me for FT IBD but then turn around and give me a FT offer if I could graduate early in January (which I unfortunately could not).

Was crushed that I couldn't convert a single offer but pulled my shit together and went in for SA recruiting (hoping to stay an extra semester). Things went poorly as I had already used most of my contacts for FT recruiting and I landed only a few interviews, however I still managed to land a SA offer with a solid MM. Once again, somehow managed to get fucked over as that MM rescinded my offer. Apparently they had a strict 3.0 GPA requirement and I had a 2.96 (yes...seriously lost my offer). Once again, absolutely devastating and at this point I knew I would be starting at my BB BO/MO rotational program in the fall.

Took a little break from networking but started hitting the pavement hard again after SA recruiting / before my BB BO/MO rotational program started. Between SA recruiting my senior year / semester before graduation and a full year later while working my FT BB BO/MO rotational program, I was able to land another 7ish interviews for FT IBD positions at boutiques/MM's, once again, converting another 5ish final round interviews, only to come out empty with 0 offers. Same old story, great interviewer but looking for candidates with previous IB experience/more experience.

Upon going through another round of failures, I decided it was time to change strategies. I still continued networking/looking for jobs all while I started to study for my GMAT. After taking my GMAT, I applied for MSF this fall (and was accepted into Vandy/Duke/Villanova/WashU) to hedge myself in case I couldn't find a job. Additionally, I started to stray away from looking for jobs in major cities (ie. SF/Chicago/NYC) and look at second/third tier cities. Also, I started to expand my search as well (not only just IB firms), but anything related (Big 4 TS, valuation, VC, PE, ER, HF, etc.). I found a higher success rate for landing interviews this way and lucked into a VC firm looking to hire an analyst. 4-5 rounds of interviews and a case study later, the VC made me an offer and now I'm here writing this post.

In conclusion, NEVER EVER give up. The toughest part about the entire job search was how easy it is to just give up. Persistence was key for me in landing my interviews and eventually my offer. Remember, networking is a marathon, not a sprint. I literally went through every single contact in my alumni database, contacted nearly every single alumni I could find on LinkedIn (and going to a top public, believe me there are ALOT of alumni out there) and had even started reaching to complete randoms (ie. people I have no connection with). Networking with anyone and everyone, I've landed interviews with IBs after talking with people working in marketing in F500 companies (who referred me to their friends in finance). Over the last two years, I've reached out at one point or another to literally every boutique/MM/BB in multiple cities. With regards to how much networking I did, my recruiting folder currently shows I've received around 1k emails (and realistically I've probably sent out easily 2-3k emails) and I've probably done 100-200 informational meetings/calls.

I have received great advice on these forums (although take the advice with a grain of salt) and would be happy to provide advice/answer any questions. Hopefully all you prospective monkeys out there will be more motivated after seeing this!

EDIT: Any questions regarding more details about networking, please see my other post at bottom of thread.

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Comments (76)

  • Bob Loblaw's picture

    Congratulations dude, that sounds like one hell of a story. Way to never give up.

  • Abdel's picture

    Congrats man, we're all happy for you!!

    But wow, 4000 e-mails? Is this real?

    Again, bravo my friend

  • brutalglide's picture

    Just checked, looks like my original estimate was off, I'm at 2kish emails actually.

  • OhYeah's picture

    Congrats.

    Curious what the case study was like? Is this an early stage fund?

    "Sincerity is an overrated virtue" - Milton Friedman

  • brutalglide's picture

    Was a very vague case study actually (part of the test to see what you would do). Was provided basic financials/company information for first 5 years and asked to find a valuation of the company and return (assuming an exit in 5 years).

    I ended up using a simple DCF and comps valuation and calculated an IRR/MOIC as well. Also wrote a 2-3 page investment memo (SWOT analysis basically with some explanations of assumptions in my valuation). I'd say it's an early/mid stage fund (mostly series A/B), although they can do a wide variety of investments.

  • UFOinsider's picture

    wow! CONGRATS!

    Get busy living

  • streetwannabe's picture

    Congrats man. This is inspiring for me since I'm still searching.

    "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

  • Human's picture

    Congrats. I am very happy for you.

    "I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."

  • KingPhoenix's picture

    Congratulations. That's amazing. Out of curiosity, tech VC?

  • xc48cross's picture

    Congrats! great story... talk about perseverance.

  • eignenvector's picture

    Congrats man, anything can happen when you never give up.

    "When you expect things to happen - strangely enough - they do happen."
    - JP Morgan

  • jgx101's picture

    You obviously deserve this, congrats man. You must be a pro at emailing and calling by now

  • gammaovertheta's picture

    I'm not surprised you got offers rescinded because of a 2.96 GPA. For OCR at my university, every BB has a cutoff of at least 3.2, but most are higher around 3.6. Honestly, wtf were you doing when you were supposed to be in class? It better have been worth it.

    Congrats on the eventual success though!

  • WallStreetOasis.com's picture

    awesome story. Love hearing these...just goes to show you that even with a shit GPA you can break in if you're willing to put up with a lot of pain and outwork everyone. We'll get this on the home page tonight.

    The networking skills you perfected from this search will likely be the most valuable asset you gained from this struggle.

    Congrats! We could definitely use some more VC gurus on WSO.

  • In reply to gammaovertheta
    brutalglide's picture

    gammaovertheta wrote:
    I'm not surprised you got offers rescinded because of a 2.96 GPA. For OCR at my university, every BB has a cutoff of at least 3.2, but most are higher around 3.6. Honestly, wtf were you doing when you were supposed to be in class? It better have been worth it.

    Congrats on the eventual success though!

    Only surprised because I listed a 3.0 GPA on my resume when I applied yet (2.96 --> 3.0 rounding). Obviously I knew I was way below the usual cutoffs but still it's not like I lied about my GPA or left it blank when I was applying then they found out my GPA was shit.

  • Value_added's picture

    Congrats man, +1 for sharing your story.

    Impressive to land a VC gig with no consulting/IB experience. What did you use for interview prep when you broadened your search to VC, ER etc?

  • MrBroadway's picture

    did you study any materials going into ur interview. like wso or vault guides? what do think made ur interviews go so well even though in some cases u didnt get the offer?

    congrats on your new position by the way!

  • D M's picture

    That's awesome man, congratulations!

    "You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
    "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

  • brutalglide's picture

    Used Vault/M&I/WSO guides, memorized them front to back. Also did TTS self-study as well. Also read a little of Investment Banking (Pearl and Rosenbaum) and took a look at Macabus/Damodaran as well. Between those I almost never ran into a tech question I couldn't answer.

    Didn't really do anything different for ER/VC prep. Obviously I did alot of reading/studying of the industry (tech blogs, vc blogs, dealbook, wsj, etc.) which helped alot.

    I think my interviews went well cause I practiced a lot. During my senior year I did tons and tons of mock interviews. Was lucky enough to have friends in the career center and they helped me set up practice mocks with MBA students (previous IB'ers) and successful undergrad kids. It also helps I guess that I got rejected a million times as well (so lots of practice there as well). Personally, I think that for the most part the reason I didn't get the offer was not because I was bombing interviews/sucking, but rather because I was a "high risk" choice. I couldn't just do good in interviews because it wasn't enough to overcome my lack of directly relevant experience / bad GPA, which is probably why I made it past first rounds pretty consistently but couldn't land the offers.

  • Aarron's picture
  • CompBanker's picture

    Congratulations! Great story.

    CompBanker

  • drnick175's picture

    More power to you. This is inspirational and shows that the old adage remains true, "You reap what you sew, but you always must sew first."

  • lowhangingfruit's picture

    at risk of sounding harsh, knowing nothing else, with a 2.96 gpa, i definitely would not hire you either.

  • George87's picture

    Great post and congrats for amazing effort! Good luck in your new role. As a side note, from now on I think it's fair to link these type of posts as the answer to the "recruiting season over, no FT offers, what now?" posts... Also want to emphasize the fact that there is no "what do I do now?" moment until you finally get to write a post like the above.

  • go.with.the.flow's picture

    damn dude this pumped me

  • gstackle32's picture

    As a fellow non-target who went through 19939232 interviews before getting an offer, I understand how hard it is to keep pushing forward. Great job man, you deserve it.

  • TooEducatedToBeBanking's picture

    The people hating on this guy for having a low gpa after getting the job are a joke. He got somewhere not many people do by breaking your formula. People aren't hiring you for your ability to write a 30 page essay on Thucydides' objectivity on the Peloponnesian War; they are hiring you for your ability to do the work, bring in money, and not be an insufferable cunt.

  • swordfish24's picture

    great story bro. did you go to berkeley? if so, double major in math and econ at berkeley is no joke dude. most people here won't even pass your intro to analysis course

  • Mr. Hansen's picture

    Congratulations. What approach did you use for networking with alumni? Straightforward about your intentions? Did you try to contact professionals outside your alumni network?

  • freemarketeer's picture

    Very impressive, congratulations!

    Could you give us details of how you networked so well? What sort of emails would you send? How straight-forward were you?

  • KKS's picture

    Congratulations! Were most of your informational interviews with alumni?

  • 18-1's picture

    Good job, dude. It's great reading success stories like these.

  • umadlol's picture

    You mentioned you had a shitty GPA but still got into decent MSF schools, do they not care about GPA that much? or did you crush your GMAT?

  • In reply to TooEducatedToBeBanking
    lowhangingfruit's picture

    TooEducatedToBeBanking wrote:
    The people hating on this guy for having a low gpa after getting the job are a joke. He got somewhere not many people do by breaking your formula. People aren't hiring you for your ability to write a 30 page essay on Thucydides' objectivity on the Peloponnesian War; they are hiring you for your ability to do the work, bring in money, and not be an insufferable cunt.

    "Bring in money" - guessing you're not in banking. Might want to refine your answer to "so what do you think investment banking analysts do?"

    Unless he had connections, wonder how he landed so many first round interviews with a mediocre/subpar resume (low GPA and no experience). So if all you prospective monkeys want to learn something and get insight, then the biggest you should be asking him is how did he land those first round interviews?

    At my BB and many of my friends' BBs, non-target recruiting is pretty difficult and you need an "in" or someone who is championing you. A sub 3.0 GPA resume with no experience wouldn't even get passed on.

    In either case, congratulations sir. Should be proud.

  • Kanon's picture

    Amazing story! Definitely one of my favorites. A lesser man would crumble after losing the MM offer (because man, that really sucks). But now you got an amazing spot in VC that a lot of junior bankers and consultants will kill for 1-2 years down the line.

  • brutalglide's picture

    With regards to some of the questions, most of my informational interviews were with alumni, although I definitely did plenty of calls with non-alumni as well. Generally speaking, I'd stick to alumni, unless there were none at a particular bank (in this case, I'd contact non-alumni, usually people who have a similar background or are from a non-target).

    In terms of details how I networked, my efforts changed a lot over the years. Starting with my first round of SA recruiting my junior year, I started late and didn't have much time so I merely contacted all the boutiques/MM's directly asking regarding unpaid internships (so I didn't really "develop" a relationship). After seeing poor results for that, I quickly started conducting informational interviews, usually under the guise of "seeking advice." Short emails (very simple, my name is _____, I go to ____, really interested in IB, I know it's tough industry to break into, would love opportunity to get your thoughts/advice). I spent most of my junior year spring/summer leading up to my senior year developing these connections with alumni/non-alumni.

    Once fall recruiting got underway, I reached back out to them usually with an email summarizing what I did that summer and explaining I received return offer, but still really interested in IB, knew that fall recruiting starting soon, anything I could do to position myself better for landing interviews. This had pretty solid results as I had started early and developed these relationships in the summer. I think it is very important to start early as it shows a genuine interest in IB and beats the flurry of emails most professionals will receive once fall recruiting gets closer.

    Additionally, I followed up persistently, I never gave up on a contact until I tried 2-3 follow up emails (usually 1-2 weeks buffer between each email). I believe this was important as well as many people ignored my emails for a month straight, but when they finally did respond they were helpful. I was VERY organized in my networking efforts (I highly advise you guys use Outlook) which made keeping track that much easier. Another thing to consider is how important "warm" leads are (get your initial contacts to forward you to other people). "Warm" leads almost always lead to a response, and usually if they can help, they will help.

    Also, I think a lot of my later success (especially when things got tougher after graduation) was attributed to developing relationships early. Think about it, as a working professional, would you be more likely to help a kid who has been pestering/following up with you for over one year? Or would you help the kid who just sent you one email (even if he has better grades)? The key to overcoming a lower GPA/bad experience/etc. is to prove to these professionals that you will bust your ass and not make them look bad if they forward your resume. From a professional's viewpoint, in order to mitigate the risk on my reputation, if I forward some kid with a shit GPA/experience, I need to KNOW that this kid will kill the interview and bust his ass studying, KNOW that he knows the in's and out's of the job, and not fuck up basic questions (ie. dcf).

    With regards to comments about my background, I think it is important to note I went to a top public school (a target, but since I was not in the undergrad b-school program, I had no access to OCR, which is why I said non/semi target). Additionally, even though I had a low GPA, it was in math/econ (which no joke and very difficult). The finance/accounting classes I took were an absolute joke compared to my math classes. Finally, I did have A LOT of internship experience, albeit not IB experience. Additionally, all my internships were with name brand/well-known companies, even though it wasn't IB so I had a very solid resume (and I'd like to think a well written one). Not many kids had name brand companies on their resume for 4 straight internships.

    For all the kids out there who think that they'll break into IB with little/no real internships, shitty GPA, non-target schools, I will tell you now that it will be VERY VERY VERY difficult (not saying it's impossible though). Although I failed on the GPA front (but did a tough math/econ major), I still went to a top public school (bschool is target), had 4 very solid internships (related albeit not in IB), held leadership positions in my ECs and networked like a madman. Your application could be lacking on one area (ie. GPA), but you'll need to make up for it in another way (ie. networking like madman).

    In terms of MSF, I personally did not think I would fare that well as I did poorly on my GMAT (mid 600's). However, once again I think my tough major/good uni along with lots of work experience helped offset my low GPA/average GMAT. I had 4 internships during undergrad along with one year of work experience at my BB BO/MO gig while most kids applying for MSF programs have little/no work experience or internships. Additionally, I was very involved on campus and had leadership positions for those as well and wrote solid essays/interviewed well. I am surprised by my great results though (even got $ at Vandy and Villanova); apparently MSF weren't as competitive as I thought (or I was just lucky?).

    EDIT: Wanted to add in another line here about writing a solid resume. This is VERY VERY important for landing interviews, especially if you have a weaker overall application. Your formatting for your resume should be impeccable. The M&I format is a great starting point, but your bullets need to be WELL WRITTEN. I can't tell you the number of resumes I see where people have completely useless bullets points. If your bullet points are one line or shorter, I can tell you right now your resume's bullets probably aren't very well written. Follow the ACR or STAR format (action, context "how", result / situation, task, action, result) and your bullets should easily be 1.5 lines. Just to give you guys an example from a recent resume I fixed for a friend: Performed cost analysis on company's hiring sources --> Performed (action) cost -benefit analysis of company's hiring sources by examining and comparing various hiring options (context and "how"), resulting in a deliverable presenting multiple methods of reducing the cost of hiring (result).

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