22 Year Old Failure Seeks Advice re: Breaking into Finance

For the sake of brevity, here is my information:

*22 years old
*flunked out of undergrad after 2 semesters (did not have my stuff together, smoked pot all day and did not go to class)
*worked various random jobs (sales, paralegal, billing)
*failing entrepreneur (started a b2b sales business last year, not going well at all - haven't made any $)
*due to aforesaid early UG failures, am forced to enroll in community college (semester begins in March)

In the past few years, I've cultivated a sincere passion for finance. It's been something of a dream of mine to land a job in investment banking, equity research and, long-term, private equity.

Attempting college seriously, for the first time, I'm considering majoring in business, economics or finance. I have zero interest in earning a degree in accounting, or working in accounting.

That said, what are some things I can do to best position myself to be an attractive candidate for middle market companies (provided BB's are unequivocally out of the question for me) given my horrible academic past and community college future?

I've been advised to seek out an internship or a job with a business broker, as the barriers to entry are not particularly high and the work, while on a completely different level, overlaps somewhat with my dream jobs.

What would you recommend to someone in my position? Perhaps something like corporate banking might be a better fit? I don't know....

Advice is sincerely appreciated. Thank you in advance.

 

Step 1: stop smoking pot, don't drink. Step 2: can you transfer to a better school after a few semester at your community college? Maybe you can apply to a state school or even a semi-target or something. You should be more mature than your fellow CC'ers, which would put you at an advantage when it comes to grades. Get some A+'s, build up a resume, and transfer to a good school as soon as you can.

 

Yeah, I don't plan on earning an associate's or anything - my plan from day 1 is to get a 4.0 and transfer to the best possible school. I have already completed Step 1, for what it's worth...

My concern is that my community college roots may preclude me from any opportunities to work in banking moving forward.

 

Steps:

1) Play up being an entrepreneur. Use it to explain why you're so old - you took time off to create the next MSFT, didn''t quite make it, so decided to start college over. 2) Get a 4.0 your first two semesters at CC, suck your professors off a little, and get good recs 3) Transfer to a target school, as a freshman 4) Maintain aforementioned 4.0 - make no mention of your CC background, play up the entrepreneur bit 5) Get a spot in BB PWM summer after freshman year 6) Maintain said 4.0 7) Get an SA in banking (BB, MM, wherever) 8) Maintain said 4.0 9) Get an SA at a BB 10) Maintain said 4.0 11) Graduate w/ BB job

It won't be easy, but assuming you work hard you'll be 27 when you graduate with a great job.

There are ways to save time on this plan (transfer in as a sophomore, go to a 3-year UK school, etc), but that's the basic outline

 

Drexel Alum: Thank you for the advice. I don't think I can ever truly escape my academic past or CC background as most employers demand transcripts from all institutions attended. If I could somehow (legally) avoid disclosing these disasters, I would be much more confident in my outlook.

 

Holy shit, if you look at OP’s 2017 comment, he followed your advice almost exactly and is now a VP at a mega PE firm! This truly inspires me as an 18-year-old pursuing finance and having gone through my share of failures senior year that almost screwed me out of going to any college. Will bookmark this and return after 4 years to share my own progress!

 

What is it with these dumbass kids flooding WSO thinking that they have a right to investment banking just because they have a passing "interest in finance"? This is not the 70's anymore. Investment banking and private equity are as much of professions as any other high paying career (doctors, lawyers, etc) and takes years after years of dedication to achieve. These people have worked their ass off starting as early as freshman year of high school so they can get into a good college, and then start over in college so they can get a good job. Do you really think that you can replace all their work with your twenty minutes of seriousness?

Sorry to say (not really), but you're shit out of luck. You will never ever work in high level finance.

 
SirBankalot:
What is it with these dumbass kids flooding WSO thinking that they have a right to investment banking just because they have a passing "interest in finance"? This is not the 70's anymore. Investment banking and private equity are as much of professions as any other high paying career (doctors, lawyers, etc) and takes years after years of dedication to achieve. These people have worked their ass off starting as early as freshman year of high school so they can get into a good college, and then start over in college so they can get a good job. Do you really think that you can replace all their work with your twenty minutes of seriousness?

Sorry to say (not really), but you're shit out of luck. You will never ever work in high level finance.

no dumbass, he is admitting he fucked up and is now trying to get his life back together and I'm sure if thats the case, he will work his ass off and hopefully land a job in banking. true, he's definitely started off on the wrong foot but that doesn't mean he can't change his life. If he does well in community and xfers to a top school and networks well, he can be in a good position. Your comment on never working in a high level of finance is retarded .

Then again, if he has no drive and wants an easy way into finance, you would be right.

 
SirBankalot:
What is it with these dumbass kids flooding WSO thinking that they have a right to investment banking just because they have a passing "interest in finance"? This is not the 70's anymore. Investment banking and private equity are as much of professions as any other high paying career (doctors, lawyers, etc) and takes years after years of dedication to achieve. These people have worked their ass off starting as early as freshman year of high school so they can get into a good college, and then start over in college so they can get a good job. Do you really think that you can replace all their work with your twenty minutes of seriousness?

Sorry to say (not really), but you're shit out of luck. You will never ever work in high level finance.

Are you one of those people who has wanted to be in IB since freshman year of hs? No offense, but many people like that feel entitled to IB jobs, even though they're not always the best for the job. It pisses them off that some people can get a late start, and in the end still wind up ahead. If the OP is really driven, and finally has his head on straight, he can probably do well for himself. Maybe not a top-notch IB, but there are plenty of other exciting and lucrative options out there. With the right attitude, drive, network, and internships, OP could probably get the MM gig he desires. Take that seriously, and maybe 20 years down the road, you will be doing well in PE.

 
SirBankalot:
What is it with these dumbass kids flooding WSO thinking that they have a right to investment banking just because they have a passing "interest in finance"? This is not the 70's anymore. Investment banking and private equity are as much of professions as any other high paying career (doctors, lawyers, etc) and takes years after years of dedication to achieve. These people have worked their ass off starting as early as freshman year of high school so they can get into a good college, and then start over in college so they can get a good job. Do you really think that you can replace all their work with your twenty minutes of seriousness?

Sorry to say (not really), but you're shit out of luck. You will never ever work in high level finance.

To SirBankalot:

Whoa! Really?

1. SirBankalot are you serious or are you just trying very hard to pretend to be an asshole.....?

2. This guy (OP) is trying to get his shit together and make it into finance. It is called the American Dream.......

  Why be immature? Why sound like a 4th grader? Why do you think your shit dosen't stink....!

3. Freshman year of high school...........!? So what your saying is you have been "preparing for a career in Investment banking" since you were 14-15 years...wait, wait for it, ok and the grand response is:

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is sad, I hope you finally work in Investment Banking, because if you don't you should just find a new post, then take your insecurities out on another person who is asking for sincere advice and take your insecurities out on someone who may have possibly fucked up or made some choices they shouldn't have (in the past, who has not, seriously who never fucked up? everyone does at some point) but now this person (OP) is trying to create a new path, a clean slate. To become successfull and do what he has got to do to make it.

Conclusion to SirBankalot: Go stick your nose in the fuckin' air and maybe some tall guy will accidently fart on your face....

To OP:

Dude don't listen to people like this guy, they are people who have their entire life path set out, I bet Sirbankalot knows precisely how many times he is gonna wipe his ass tomorrow when he takes a shit.

Also, go for it man. Get good grades, transfer, network, do some internships....even during the year (if you live in NYC or a city that could offer that), biuld up your resume and tailor your resume to focus on anything finance related. Apply to BB MM IB's And make it happen Good luck, see ya on more forums

Not everything in life is fuckin' perfect and not everything in life is set in stone, there are exceptions..... Even in Investment banking...

So go for it, good luck

 
SirBankalot:
What is it with these dumbass kids flooding WSO thinking that they have a right to investment banking just because they have a passing "interest in finance"? This is not the 70's anymore. Investment banking and private equity are as much of professions as any other high paying career (doctors, lawyers, etc) and takes years after years of dedication to achieve. These people have worked their ass off starting as early as freshman year of high school so they can get into a good college, and then start over in college so they can get a good job. Do you really think that you can replace all their work with your twenty minutes of seriousness?

Sorry to say (not really), but you're shit out of luck. You will never ever work in high level finance.

Playing devils advocate, I can understand the frustration with people who come in working hard at school from day one to land a good job; how its not fair that other people come in latter in the game can get the same opportunity. But guess what? Life isn't fair, especially banking. My little brother graduated early from HS, and is at Claremont McKenna & has one thing on his mind: Goldman & Sachs. But he could work his ass off for four years, do everything right, & get through interview 48 just to get dinged; then someone with your background might get it over him.

Op, as you've seen, a lot of people on here have fucked up some years of school, including yours truly. I just got a SA BB offer w/ my cum GPA being a few points lower than the cut off, but networked a little and they gave me a shot to explain my GPA.

So here's what you need to do. Even though you have conducted yourself as a piece of shit up to this point, shake it off and start working your ass off. Obviously you have addictive tendencies (relatively); so I would got to school as far away from the people you were partying with as possible. Go to school were your only friend are your textbooks & 10:00 bed times. It'll be lame, but you spent up your good times. Also, knock it out of your head that you want nothing to do w/ accounting; that's the dumbest fucking thing I've heard a wanna be banker say. Accounting is incredibly important to banking, it's your bread and butter. It would behoove you to take as much of it as possible and excel.

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
 
SirBankalot:
What is it with these dumbass kids flooding WSO thinking that they have a right to investment banking just because they have a passing "interest in finance"? This is not the 70's anymore. Investment banking and private equity are as much of professions as any other high paying career (doctors, lawyers, etc) and takes years after years of dedication to achieve. These people have worked their ass off starting as early as freshman year of high school so they can get into a good college, and then start over in college so they can get a good job. Do you really think that you can replace all their work with your twenty minutes of seriousness?

Sorry to say (not really), but you're shit out of luck. You will never ever work in high level finance.

I know nothing about your trajectory nor do I care to know, but you better not be one of those Gordon Gekko wannabes - he's a community college kid! It'd be the ultimate in hypocrisy.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
 

Sir Bankalot, maybe you had to work that hard to make up for such a shitty personality? People skills are important for long-term successful in this business and this is where you'll likely fall short. Do you pay for sex or is someone actually insecure enough to sleep with you?

Banker718, I think you can make it in IB, you've found the right place for advice ad you seem to have a good game plan.

 

Sir Bankalot: Your post implies that I will never work in "high level finance" based on an inference you made that I merely have a "passing interest" in finance and no propensity to be consistent in that endeavor. I'm not quite sure how or why you deduced that from what I wrote, but I do understand the rigid academic trajectories that lead people to careers in finance, Big Law and medicine.

I obviously understand the importance of consistency in this regard, hence my question about whether or not a few wasted years precludes me from being an attractive recruit after graduating from a good college.

 

FYI...I started at a large state school, some unfortunate shit happened, left, picked it up again at a local community college, transferred to a semi-target, and just recently landed a FT offer at a BB. I'm a little older because of all this, but I'm not too concerned about it. Not really advice for you, but more like inspiration. It can be done.

 

22 is not old. Matter of fact, given your maturity level, I'd say it has a major benefit: now that you've seen what you DON'T want your life to be like, you've got a source of motivation to turn it all around.

I never dropped out of school, but I slacked by first 1-2 years (low GPA, didnt care much, etc...). But once I realized that I was fuking up, I went balls-to-the-wall, boosted that number up to >3.6 (which means my last 4 semesters were all close to 4.0s), networked like a mad man, and got a couple offers (including a top IB) -- all this from a non-target.

Thats what you got to do. Get into that CC, demolish all your courses (aim for that perfect 4.0 dude), transfer to the BEST possible school you can, and start networking once you're there. Def play up your entrep. experience. Maybe start getting into one or 2 extra-curric's that you enjoy/can really excel at. All this well help when trying to transfer/get a job.

Dont listen to the haters.

 

just throwing it in here, when he tries to transfer to a semi-target from a cc - that school will also look at his transcript from his original school (he has to send them all in) but for employers, you would only have to submit your graduating transcript. Might be harder to transfer to a good school with a bad transcript even if its an older one. Correct me if i'm wrong.

 
excelsior:
just throwing it in here, when he tries to transfer to a semi-target from a cc - that school will also look at his transcript from his original school (he has to send them all in) but for employers, you would only have to submit your graduating transcript. Might be harder to transfer to a good school with a bad transcript even if its an older one. Correct me if i'm wrong.

this be da truff!

You can do it man, and even in investment banking, its not what you know, its who you know. GPA is key cuz you can fall back on it, but make sure you're making friends in the financial field, get those internships, work for smaller firms, meet people in the field, join your chamber of commerce. You'll be where you want to be before you even know it.

 

Who the fuck wanted to be an investment banker in freshman year of high school? Sirbankalot you're a fucking douchebag.

"I wanna Thank the Good Lord for Making me a Capitalist"
 
Barcadia:
i would be surprised if you could transfer from a community college to a target school. if thats the route you want to take northwestern would probably be your best bet.

I would probably agree with this.. And almost 80% of the analysts I see in the Chicagland area are from Northwestern...

I regret not transferring there when I had the shot.. Never even applied :-/

At that time I knew I wanted to get in finance, but IBD never crossed my mind. So now with a 3.9 from a non-target, I need to network my ass off...

 
drexelalum11:
swagon:
I wish this guy success, but is there a realistic shot at getting into to a semi-target from CC?? I mean, it's freaking CC (no offense OP, I hope you make it...I'm just curious is all)

Gotta disagree, I know guys who've transferred from CC to top-5 schools.

Well, I wasn't making a point, just posing a question. Anyways, good to know this guy has a shot if he really wants it.

 

If you re smart, careful and hard working you will be able to get away from the years you weren't mature enough to work hard. I have a friend who also lost a couple of years in college and he's doing well ... maybe not like high finance well but he will get there.

work hard and network

it might be a while until you get your first job in finance.. and you will spend a lot of time trying to get one...

don't listen to retards who bought a degree and didn't learn shit in college.

 

Shit, I'm 24 years old...he is young, the only difference is that I built a business that grosses a million+ a year from scratch when I was 21 and yes I did attend school (sanitary engineering school) for 4 years. I have an interest in finance from doing my own accounting. Unlike this fellow prospective monkey I work my ass off. SirBankalot I completely understand where you are coming from but obviously with his track record, most likely he will drop out and fall in to his ways again.

If anyone wonders why im giving up such a fabulous trade..... I achieved my goal of bringing in 1mil+ in gross income in 1 year (since im set up as an S-corp) by 24 and was pitched by an MD to start a carrer in finance. (senior pay is also very attractive and since high school always had a thing for finance). Is this a valid excuse to have an interest in finance? AM I TOO OLD??

"The higher up the mountain, the more treacherous the path" -Frank Underwood
 
helphere:
If anyone wonders why im giving up such a fabulous trade.....

No. Nobody cares here, or anywhere else. And nobody wants to here about your "fabulous" opportunity to make $5,000 a week from home posting adds on Google.

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
 
westfald:
helphere:
If anyone wonders why im giving up such a fabulous trade.....

No. Nobody cares here, or anywhere else. And nobody wants to here about your "fabulous" opportunity to make $5,000 a week from home posting adds on Google.

another sour hater and its more like $15,000.00 a week do the math idiot. Aren't you the douchebag that considers himself a bro....? grow up jackass obviously there is a reason behind on why I used the word fabulous... sarcasm...
"The higher up the mountain, the more treacherous the path" -Frank Underwood
 

First priority is to get good marks. Find a "study-partner" who is good with courses can be helpful - better if he/she has a strong will. Anything else? Don't worry too much. You are like me 5 years ago when I had to do UG all over again, and it's great pain to see buddies get a job and move on without you(still painful these days when I'm struggling with graduate courses when people younger than me get involved in Doctoral studies).

If you ask me, this "pain" can hurt you greatly if you don't take care of it (you start this topic because of it, isn't it?). Try to get some support from family/etc. I cannot talk much about finance because I'm from statistics. But again, hardwork and strong will always pay off.

Good Luck!

Oh, BTW here's one additional advice: Learn more MATH/STAT than required.