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 Once again, somehow managed to get fucked over as that MM rescinded my offer.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.