Not asuccess story - but i think I made out well:
I came from a VERY non-target state school, accepted because I was offered full ride based on SAT scores, seemed a good idea at the time. Always wanted to break into finance (VC in particular) but I had NO IDEA the pedigree problem that existed until about halfway through college (tip: IT DOES). We even had an alum that works at a very top tier Boston hedge fund come in and talk about how Finance shouldn't be taught at lower tier schools.. asshole. Either way I worked hard (read: not that hard) to get a goodand graduated without any debt at all.
Through my last year of school networking was key. Attended every event, 200+ cold and warm emails. Resulted in 50+ info calls and 25+ trips into NYC for informational meetings. Graduated with NOTHING but a list of 30-40 warm contacts who had hiring potential. Spanned's all the way down to 5-10 man boutiques. Finally found an MD (three actually) that were leaving a MM IB and starting their own shop doing capital raising and advisory. They had just decided to add on another analyst the week I placed a follow-up call. Seemed lucky but really persistence was key. Had three interviews with them, killed it and got the FT offer. Took three months to travel Europe, Dubai, Australia/NZ (want to do this again somehow).
I'm six months in - work/life balance is great (compared to IB), might open a thread on it later. Bonus is totally dependent on how the business does.
WSO and M&I were HUGE on industry information, networking tactics and motivational material. Like to thank everyone for that.
I intend to post here more often and become part of the community instead of be a lurker like I have been. Unless of course I decided to take the FOTM street musician exit after 1 year.