12/20/12

A few months ago I wrote a post about how I came from a non-target school with a sub 3.0 GPA, and made it into a FO gig at a top MM bank. You can check out my background and brutal job search journey here.

I'm writing this post to hopefully provide some advice to fellow monkeys who have accepted offers and will be starting their capital markets careers soon or upon graduation. I've been on the job for 6 months now and absolutely love it. S&T hours, an awesome team, and I finally feel like I am somewhere with a solid future and career path.

While you may think you've made it and all your worries are gone now that you landed the bank job you've been killing yourself for, think again. It's just the beginning of another journey.

Continue to better yourself, stay up-to-date on the markets, and even continue to network. Chances are that where you are now is not where you are going to end up in 10+ years. You may not have to cold call anymore, but continue to network and expand your connections.

Prepare to fuck up. You're not going to hit the ground running. Every job comes with a learning curve. Yeah you can reduce that learning curve, but you are going to screw up as you're getting the hang of things. Try to take it in stride.

Don't forget where you came from. Only a few months on the job and I get cold calls and e-mails from people looking for jobs. I will always give someone the time of day and do what I can to help because I have been there and know how goddamn hard it can be. Stay grounded and don't let your head get as big as a lot of your coworkers'.

I don't want to ramble on anymore. I also don't mean to beat my own chest or pretend I have everything figured out 6 months on the job. I just wanted to give an opportunity for any of you guys that are about to start a new job to ask any questions to someone who may be a few months ahead of you and can help make your transition a little smoother.

Comments (18)

12/20/12

Inspiring story, gives us non-targets hope.

You can't beat the feeling of achieving your goals by working your ass off.

SB'd. Keep it coming.

"Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

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12/20/12

What location are you in? NYC?

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."

12/20/12
12/21/12

Can you describe your networking efforts?

I have a sub 3.0 GPA from a University of California (UC) school. I currently plan to enroll in a MSF program in hopes of "resetting" my GPA.

12/21/12

Also, how did you deal with your GPA during interviews?

12/21/12

Tremendous man. Thank you so much.

12/21/12

Very inspiring! I used your last post to motivate myself and got the offer at the end. Thank you so much!

In reply to aurelius
12/21/12

Thank you for sharing with us.

aurelius:
Can you describe your networking efforts?

I have a sub 3.0 GPA from a University of California (UC) school. I currently plan to enroll in a MSF program in hopes of "resetting" my GPA.

Which MSF program are you planning to enroll?

It's not about the money. It's about the game between people.

In reply to blueslord2910
12/21/12

blueslord2910:
Very inspiring! I used your last post to motivate myself and got the offer at the end. Thank you so much!

This is so good to hear. Congrats man

In reply to yeahright
12/21/12

yeahright:
What location are you in? NYC?

NYC

In reply to aurelius
12/21/12

aurelius:
Also, how did you deal with your GPA during interviews?

See my original post for networking efforts. As far as gpa goes - you need to have a story. I was working part time, helping to pay the interest on my student loans, involved in school groups/activities, and played some intramurals. Are these valid reasons to slack off in school? No. But I had a story and it wasn't 'drinking and smoking pot with my buddies'.

12/21/12
In reply to Ichan
12/23/12

Ichan:
Which MSF program are you planning to enroll?

I'll likely have to wait 1.5 years for a MSF program. I'm a little late to the game, perhaps I'll apply for round 3-4.

I'm considering programs like: Villanova, Pepperdine, UIUC, SMU, Queen's (Toronto, I have dual citizenship), University of British Columbia (Vancouver), and Wake Forest (MiM). Thus far I've found it difficult to evaluate the strengths of the various programs. Furthermore, with a mediocre GPA and poor work experience I am forced to resort to whomever accepts me - the whole endeavor is a long shot.

Do you have recommendations as to MSF programs?

12/23/12

Buddyfox:

Don't forget where you came from. Only a few months on the job and I get cold calls and e-mails from people looking for jobs. I will always give someone the time of day and do what I can to help because I have been there and know how goddamn hard it can be. Stay grounded and don't let your head get as big as a lot of your coworkers'.

One of the very few I've seen actually acknowledge this.

Kudos. Congrats, man.

12/27/12

the danger of feeling like "I made it" is that it's not true. We haven't made it. Getting a job is an impressive and meaningful first step but it is just that - a first step. The OP seems to understand this, but I'm concerned with the idea voiced by some on other threads that once you're in you've made it. If there's anything I've learned in this biz is that getting the job is just a foot in a door.

Specifically- The first 90 days are critical! There's even books like "The First 90 Days" and the "One-Hundred Day Manager" out there extolling this.

So get ready for a 90 day proving period, and get set to impress (otherwise if you get yourself stuck in the 'marginal' or 'sub-par' bucket early, you have to work 10x as hard to get yourself re-sorted as a good player.

You need to clear the rest of your life off the table.
Tell your significant other and family that for the next 90 days you're going to be totally out of commission and killing yourself in order to prove your worth to the firm.
Tell them not to expect you for dinners.
Calls and coffee are ok but that's the extent of it.

You've been given a window. Get your apartment and clothing in order, find a deli near work, get your cell phone in order, whatever. Buy a whole bunch of canned food and put it in the desk drawer, get yourself a towel and sweater and put it in the office for the late nights.

And make a plan for quick wins. Plan out low-hanging fruit, those small wins, that you can reach at work. For instance, if there's a friendly client you can win early - get it tee'ed up. Start planning to take out co-workers. Early quick wins shows the firm "this person can execute" -- even if it's on tiny things. The impression sticks.

Be ready to subtly 'brag'. That is, show your work progress. Do progress reports that you can share around. I used to do a lot of work and not brag about it. My mistake. You need to manage the perception. Get others to know what you're doing, what you're accomplishing, etc. I had an annoying brown-nosing colleague who sent out weekly reports on the number of client meetings he had, which types of clients were broken down in a pie chart, etc. I thought it was assanine - until he got fast tracked for promotion. I hate this part. I just want to do my work and be appreciated for it. But fact is, you need to keep others thinking you're kicking butt if you want to get ahead.

Set aside time about a month in to start taking the seniors out drinks. Socializing is important, but it's particularly important to do so from the bottom up - that is, to cultivate senior level relationships. Surprisingly not all of them are asshats. You may even get to like the place more once you have some senior level friends. But for sure, it's those who are known up above that get ahead.

Now before you start slamming me for being a brown noser and that douche that everyone hates - I'm not that guy. Take my word for it. What I have shared above is what I've learned from not being the guy who greases the wheel, from not being the guy who socializes, from being the guy who just wants to work hard and be recognized for it. It doesn't work. When the axe comes (as it is wont to do these days in this economy) it's the ones who have built a defensive structure that survive and get ahead. Trust me.

And for sure, getting the job, doesn't mean you've made it. You have just a seat at a desk and a chance to show them you can do a job. And maybe, just maybe, you can keep it.

12/27/12

the danger of feeling like "I made it" is that it's not true. We haven't made it. Getting a job is an impressive and meaningful first step but it is just that - a first step. The OP seems to understand this, but I'm concerned with the idea voiced by some on other threads that once you're in you've made it. If there's anything I've learned in this biz is that getting the job is just a foot in a door.

Specifically- The first 90 days are critical! There's even books like "The First 90 Days" and the "One-Hundred Day Manager" out there extolling this.

So get ready for a 90 day proving period, and get set to impress (otherwise if you get yourself stuck in the 'marginal' or 'sub-par' bucket early, you have to work 10x as hard to get yourself re-sorted as a good player.

You need to clear the rest of your life off the table.
Tell your significant other and family that for the next 90 days you're going to be totally out of commission and killing yourself in order to prove your worth to the firm.
Tell them not to expect you for dinners.
Calls and coffee are ok but that's the extent of it.

You've been given a window. Get your apartment and clothing in order, find a deli near work, get your cell phone in order, whatever. Buy a whole bunch of canned food and put it in the desk drawer, get yourself a towel and sweater and put it in the office for the late nights.

And make a plan for quick wins. Plan out low-hanging fruit, those small wins, that you can reach at work. For instance, if there's a friendly client you can win early - get it tee'ed up. Start planning to take out co-workers. Early quick wins shows the firm "this person can execute" -- even if it's on tiny things. The impression sticks.

Be ready to subtly 'brag'. That is, show your work progress. Do progress reports that you can share around. I used to do a lot of work and not brag about it. My mistake. You need to manage the perception. Get others to know what you're doing, what you're accomplishing, etc. I had an annoying brown-nosing colleague who sent out weekly reports on the number of client meetings he had, which types of clients were broken down in a pie chart, etc. I thought it was assanine - until he got fast tracked for promotion. I hate this part. I just want to do my work and be appreciated for it. But fact is, you need to keep others thinking you're kicking butt if you want to get ahead.

Set aside time about a month in to start taking the seniors out drinks. Socializing is important, but it's particularly important to do so from the bottom up - that is, to cultivate senior level relationships. Surprisingly not all of them are asshats. You may even get to like the place more once you have some senior level friends. But for sure, it's those who are known up above that get ahead.

Now before you start slamming me for being a brown noser and that douche that everyone hates - I'm not that guy. Take my word for it. What I have shared above is what I've learned from not being the guy who greases the wheel, from not being the guy who socializes, from being the guy who just wants to work hard and be recognized for it. It doesn't work. When the axe comes (as it is wont to do these days in this economy) it's the ones who have built a defensive structure that survive and get ahead. Trust me.

And for sure, getting the job, doesn't mean you've made it. You have just a seat at a desk and a chance to show them you can do a job. And maybe, just maybe, you can keep it.

12/27/12

congrats.... we need more dynamic folks on wall street.

less boxes and more movers and shakers!

best of luck

who is john galt?

In reply to earthwalker7
12/31/12

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