The Mistakes of an Aspiring Analyst

madmoney15's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 691

Hello Fellow Monkeys,

I'm 25, unemployed and recently graduated from a top-ranked university with a low GPA. I've cold e-mailed and cold called as many people as a Chinese phonebook. My daily schedule starts at 5 am to work out (lost 60 pounds) and then to immediately apply and network for investment banking jobs. But the struggle to become an Analyst has been much more difficult than I anticipated.

I thought the road to getting an offer would of been much easier to be honest. I've studied diligently the Breaking Into Wall Street courses and I also read Mergers and Inquisitions daily to get an understanding of how to get in the industry. Costly mistakes have held me back tremendously though. I also hadn't learned yet that it's the small details that matter the most.

Case Study 1:

Networking like any other morning, I sent out 10 personalized messages to big shots that had unconventional backgrounds. A Managing Director from a Bulge Bracket firm e-mailed me back immediately and said he'd be willing to give me a shot because he liked my hustle. I was so excited that I sent him an e-mail right back to thank him and to delve more into the opportunity.

But I couldn't shake the funny feeling I had after I sent the message though. I went to my Sent mailbox and re-read the message. It was filled with grammatical errors. My next-door neighbor could probably hear me scream many expletives while she was drinking her morning coffee. I thought I could survive the ordeal so I waited for an e-mail response. Hours turned into days, days turned into months and still nothing. I knew it was over. I had closed a door because of a mindless mistake.

Case Study 2:

Never talk about Workaholics being your favorite show in an interview. I got dinged harder than Tim Tebow's throwing motion.

These are just few of my many mistakes but it's important to highlight that nobody is perfect. But if you can minimize the mistakes more than the next candidate, you're that much further to getting an offer. I now triple check my e-mails before I click the send button. From recruiting to the interview process, I suggest you diligently find any subtle blunders that may hold you back. And if you do make a mistake, just know that mistakes are meant for learning, not repeating.

Comments (36)

Dec 8, 2012

Live and learn, your hustle is your edge.

Dec 8, 2012

Workaholics is a great show

I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them.

    • 1
Dec 8, 2012

hey we all started out as idiots!

    • 1
Dec 9, 2012

Read important emails out loud to yourself before you send - to networking prospects, to clients, etc. - works almost every time. Also to be on the safe side delete any addresses in the 'To' or 'cc' boxes until your message is perfect. No one is rushing you to send an email - take your time, take a breath, maybe let it sit for a little bit if it isn't super time sensitive.

And learn from your mistakes. You're young (I'm 3-4 yrs older than you) and no one expects us to be perfect, and if they do, you don't want to work for them. But email errors and typos are very avoidable if you take care. Learn from it and move on and be a little bit better the next day.

Hang in there, it is a tough market. It's easy to feel like your mistakes are fully what is keeping you back, but it's a combination of forces too. Consider that even if you had made no mistakes, the result might have been the same. Keep prepping, rehearsing with a friend you trust, practice your answers to stock questions in front of a mirror, and keep a word document so you can figure out your story and keep it straight and tell it well. I'm not saying to lie or be over-rehearsed, but prepping thoughtful, deep answers to all of the key interview questions is a great way to get to know yourself better and to come across stronger and more confident in your interviews when they come.

I would explore options beyond investment banking at this point too - I worked for what I would categorize a strong large-ish boutique for three years, and I know in tougher markets - markets far better than this - we wouldn't really even consider a resume with a sub-3.7 GPA, and ACT/SAT of at least 32/1400+. Investment banking jobs have always been hard to get, and they're especially hard right now because banks are not hiring, they are firing. You will have to get lucky - almost anyone would have to get a little bit lucky - to get a good banking offer at this point. If your school has a mentorship program, which I'm sure you've looked into, it might be good to talk with someone about other options, in finance or otherwise. Would you mind sharing what you studied, and just how good your school is? Not to be facetious at all, but it makes a difference - University of Wisconsin is a 'good' school, but the same GPA and degree from Penn or Dartmouth is going to go much further. Also, what did you study and precisely how long ago did you graduate?

Short version:
1. You can avoid email mistakes
2. Think hard about what you want, and try being creative in terms of what you would be happy doing.
3. Whatever you do keep hustling hard

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

    • 3
Dec 9, 2012
frgna:

Read important emails out loud to yourself before you send - to networking prospects, to clients, etc. - works almost every time. Also to be on the safe side delete any addresses in the 'To' or 'cc' boxes until your message is perfect. No one is rushing you to send an email - take your time, take a breath, maybe let it sit for a little bit if it isn't super time sensitive.

And learn from your mistakes. You're young (I'm 3-4 yrs older than you) and no one expects us to be perfect, and if they do, you don't want to work for them. But email errors and typos are very avoidable if you take care. Learn from it and move on and be a little bit better the next day.

Hang in there, it is a tough market. It's easy to feel like your mistakes are fully what is keeping you back, but it's a combination of forces too. Consider that even if you had made no mistakes, the result might have been the same. Keep prepping, rehearsing with a friend you trust, practice your answers to stock questions in front of a mirror, and keep a word document so you can figure out your story and keep it straight and tell it well. I'm not saying to lie or be over-rehearsed, but prepping thoughtful, deep answers to all of the key interview questions is a great way to get to know yourself better and to come across stronger and more confident in your interviews when they come.

I would explore options beyond investment banking at this point too - I worked for what I would categorize a strong large-ish boutique for three years, and I know in tougher markets - markets far better than this - we wouldn't really even consider a resume with a sub-3.7 GPA, and ACT/SAT of at least 32/1400+. Investment banking jobs have always been hard to get, and they're especially hard right now because banks are not hiring, they are firing. You will have to get lucky - almost anyone would have to get a little bit lucky - to get a good banking offer at this point. If your school has a mentorship program, which I'm sure you've looked into, it might be good to talk with someone about other options, in finance or otherwise. Would you mind sharing what you studied, and just how good your school is? Not to be facetious at all, but it makes a difference - University of Wisconsin is a 'good' school, but the same GPA and degree from Penn or Dartmouth is going to go much further. Also, what did you study and precisely how long ago did you graduate?

Short version:
1. You can avoid email mistakes
2. Think hard about what you want, and try being creative in terms of what you would be happy doing.
3. Whatever you do keep hustling hard

Thanks for the words of advice. I've been studying diligently on how to improve on my interview skills. At first, my feeling was to just be who I am because I thought that'd get me further. Apparently not though. hah

1. My school is ranked a top-25 (University of California school)

2. I studied History (focused on American)

3. I graduated in June, so it's been about 5 months.

I definitely want to be in finance and preferably investment banking but I'd be flexible to get into research or asset management if it would be a little easier to land that. But I've set my goal for IB and I promised myself to be relentless until I accomplish my goal.

Dec 9, 2012

Shit 60 pounds, I'm still tying to shake my moobies off.

Dec 9, 2012

I the spirit of grammar correction, it is not "would of", but "would have". I would ding someone for this, it's pretty basic.

To the starving man, beans are caviar

    • 1
Best Response
Dec 9, 2012
philosophizingphilosoraptor:

I the spirit of grammar correction, it is not "would of", but "would have". I would ding someone for this, it's pretty basic.

Do you mean, "In the spirit of grammar correction," or "I, the spirit of grammar correction,"? I can't tell exactly from your post.

    • 3
Dec 9, 2012
SirTradesaLot:
philosophizingphilosoraptor:

I the spirit of grammar correction, it is not "would of", but "would have". I would ding someone for this, it's pretty basic.

Do you mean, "In the spirit of grammar correction," or "I, the spirit of grammar correction,"? I can't tell exactly from your post.

Haha, the former, although the latter is funnier.

To the starving man, beans are caviar

Dec 9, 2012
philosophizingphilosoraptor:

I the spirit of grammar correction, it is not "would of", but "would have". I would ding someone for this, it's pretty basic.

Actually, it's "would of". I don't know if you know this, but I'm actually a member of the grammar police. I take my job very seriously. So shape up now, or I'll have to give you an old tomato, which may turn out to be a blessing in the skies. It's a doggy dog world, and I gotchyo back.

    • 1
Dec 9, 2012
Going Concern:
philosophizingphilosoraptor:

I the spirit of grammar correction, it is not "would of", but "would have". I would ding someone for this, it's pretty basic.

Actually, it's "would of". I don't know if you know this, but I'm actually a member of the grammar police. I take my job very seriously. So shape up now, or I'll have to give you an old tomato, which may turn out to be a blessing in the skies. It's a doggy dog world, and I gotchyo back.

Are you serious man? The statement,
"I thought the road to getting an offer would of been much easier to be honest." is grammatically correct?
...the road would HAVE been easier, not "would of". Would of what?

Anyway, since I cant seem to persuade you, run a google search and straighten yourself out. Or, check out
http:// public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/couldof.html
and numerous other sites.

Doubling down on an obvious fuckup is even worse than the fuckup itself. A shitty member of the grammar police man, consider your license revoked.

To the starving man, beans are caviar

Dec 9, 2012

Look man, I know you're hustling and doing whatever you can do to get that IB job. But the fact of the matter is that it probably will not happen for you right now. If you've noticed, the Street is in a downsizing mode - this means that there are a lot of good candidates with quality investment banking experience fighting each other for each open job. If you don't have a 4.0 and aren't coming in with analyst intern experience, your chances are slim at best.

Not landing the job from campus recruiting makes it very difficult to grab an analyst spot. I know that on this message board there will be a lot of people who talk about how they pulled it off, but unfortunately they are the exception, not the rule.

You had a low GPA and you're unemployed right now and focusing on "networking". I'm sorry to say it, but you sound incredibly unimpressive - not meant to be a nasty remark, just the honest truth. The easiest way for you to land a job is to already have one. Maybe you should focus on just landing a job in a related field or something where you will be able to demonstrate an analytical capability (being a history major makes this last part quite important. Start reaching out to small consulting shops, accounting firms, ratings agencies, equity research shops, or companies' corporate finance departments.

Land a job and then start beating on the headhunters and bankers you know to help get you an interview. Stop targeting MDs as well. They don't care as long as the analysts working for them are good. Target associates and VPs - they are not far enough removed from the experience that they will understand what you're going through and may be more willing to shoot your resume around. If it doesn't work, go to B-School, get very high grades, and go through the IB recruiting process. Your hustle is a great asset, but in this market it is unlikely to win you the spot.

"Anything less than the best is a felony"

Dec 9, 2012
Get_Yield:

Look man, I know you're hustling and doing whatever you can do to get that IB job. But the fact of the matter is that it probably will not happen for you right now. If you've noticed, the Street is in a downsizing mode - this means that there are a lot of good candidates with quality investment banking experience fighting each other for each open job. If you don't have a 4.0 and aren't coming in with analyst intern experience, your chances are slim at best.

Not landing the job from campus recruiting makes it very difficult to grab an analyst spot. I know that on this message board there will be a lot of people who talk about how they pulled it off, but unfortunately they are the exception, not the rule.

You had a low GPA and you're unemployed right now and focusing on "networking". I'm sorry to say it, but you sound incredibly unimpressive - not meant to be a nasty remark, just the honest truth. The easiest way for you to land a job is to already have one. Maybe you should focus on just landing a job in a related field or something where you will be able to demonstrate an analytical capability (being a history major makes this last part quite important. Start reaching out to small consulting shops, accounting firms, ratings agencies, equity research shops, or companies' corporate finance departments.

Land a job and then start beating on the headhunters and bankers you know to help get you an interview. Stop targeting MDs as well. They don't care as long as the analysts working for them are good. Target associates and VPs - they are not far enough removed from the experience that they will understand what you're going through and may be more willing to shoot your resume around. If it doesn't work, go to B-School, get very high grades, and go through the IB recruiting process. Your hustle is a great asset, but in this market it is unlikely to win you the spot.

I'm interviewing for a well known middle market investment bank now. And already been interviewed at two. Being called in to interview tells me I have a fighting chance and I'm running with it.

Good call on to target Associates and VPs though. I'm going to switch it up to get a better response rate.

Dec 2, 2017
madmoney15:
Get_Yield:

Look man, I know you're hustling and doing whatever you can do to get that IB job. But the fact of the matter is that it probably will not happen for you right now. If you've noticed, the Street is in a downsizing mode - this means that there are a lot of good candidates with quality investment banking experience fighting each other for each open job. If you don't have a 4.0 and aren't coming in with analyst intern experience, your chances are slim at best.

Not landing the job from campus recruiting makes it very difficult to grab an analyst spot. I know that on this message board there will be a lot of people who talk about how they pulled it off, but unfortunately they are the exception, not the rule.

You had a low GPA and you're unemployed right now and focusing on "networking". I'm sorry to say it, but you sound incredibly unimpressive - not meant to be a nasty remark, just the honest truth. The easiest way for you to land a job is to already have one. Maybe you should focus on just landing a job in a related field or something where you will be able to demonstrate an analytical capability (being a history major makes this last part quite important. Start reaching out to small consulting shops, accounting firms, ratings agencies, equity research shops, or companies' corporate finance departments.

Land a job and then start beating on the headhunters and bankers you know to help get you an interview. Stop targeting MDs as well. They don't care as long as the analysts working for them are good. Target associates and VPs - they are not far enough removed from the experience that they will understand what you're going through and may be more willing to shoot your resume around. If it doesn't work, go to B-School, get very high grades, and go through the IB recruiting process. Your hustle is a great asset, but in this market it is unlikely to win you the spot.

I'm interviewing for a well known middle market investment bank now. And already been interviewed at two. Being called in to interview tells me I have a fighting chance and I'm running with it.

Good call on to target Associates and VPs though. I'm going to switch it up to get a better response rate.

Hey @madmoney15 any updates on this? It's been 5 years man how did it go, how many interviews you got. And what are you working on now. Cheers man!

    • 3
Dec 10, 2012

How did you graduate this year but you're 25, are you a masters student or something?

Also, given you're from Cal or UCLA, you really should've done Haas or econ if you wanted to do banking. Even if you did a harder major like engineering/math it would've looked better than having a low gpa from History. My BB threw out history majors immediately (especially with a low gpa) unless they were from HYP.

Dec 10, 2012

Is it possible for anyone on this board to correct another person's grammar without making mistakes of there own?

(Yes on purpose)

Dec 10, 2012

Got to Case 1 and stopped reading. Kid, you're not "hustling" if you send an email, the guy doesn't write back, and the world ends. Grow some balls, pick up the phone and start making your luck.

Dec 11, 2012

I think you meant "I've cold e-mailed and cold called as many Chins in a Chinese phonebook." If you're going to use a racist analogy, at least use it correctly for Christ's sake!

-Concerned Asian

Dec 11, 2012
special_ant:

I think you meant "I've cold e-mailed and cold called as many Chins in a Chinese phonebook." If you're going to use a racist analogy, at least use it correctly for Christ's sake!

-Concerned Asian

that makes no sense. if anything, it's "I've got more chins than a chinese phone book" - austin powers.

op doesn't follow the classic joke, but I don't think he meant to. china has a lot of people, a chinese book would supposedly be very large.

-Concerned Racist.

Dec 12, 2012
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Dec 14, 2012

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