A small success story, huge thanks to this forum

Hi fellows!


This last year has been incredibly frustrating and disappointing for me in many aspects of my life, most of them related to trying to break into Investment Banking. Last Friday I started at a pharmaceutical multinational company as a Business Analyst Intern because I could not manage to break into IB and needed something to pay the bills, however, when I came home that same afternoon from my very first day I received a call from the last bank I had interviewed with (after one month without hearing from them I assumed they dinged me).

They told me I had been selected among all the candidates to join the M&A group that summer as an intern. I can´t really express how I felt, I could not believe what I was hearing, after being rejected from nearly 40 investment banks/shops I got into one of the best M&A groups in my country. Here I tell my story hoping that someone who is still trying to break into the industry finds some inspiration as I have found in the countless number of posts I have read in this forum. Thanks WSO.

My background and my interest in IB

I studied Economics at a semi-target university in a western European country, I am going to graduate with far from stellar grades (2:1 un the UK system) and without any idea of what investment banking was 10 months ago... I have always had a genuine interest in investments and have managed a small private portfolio but never thought about pursuing a career in investment banking before. When I became aware of the existence of IB I was fascinated about it, I accidentally found this site and started to read everything related to the industry and how to break in. I have always been a fast learner and this was no exception, I was really serious and focused on breaking in and that helped me a lot.

Applications and Interviews

I applied to almost all BBs and EBs in both my country and London but did not pass any screening. In some banks I was asked to do some logical and numerical tests that I did not pass and others just threw my resume to the trash (or a computer deleted it). I got really angry with myself because I have always considered myself pretty good with numbers and maths but I realised that tests were a matter of practice.

Importance of networking:

Without any positive response from any bank I discovered what is called networking (didn't know about it before). I cannot tell enough how important this has been to me. Networking is completely key if you come from a modest background, let me repeat, NETWORKING IS COMPLETELY KEY IF YOU COME FROM A MODEST BACKGROUND, like from a non-target or if you have modest grades. After being dinged from all BBs and EBs I got several positive responses from cold calling some bankers and managed to have coffee with them. The first times I completely screwed with the bankers I met with, I was a complete disaster networking and I burnt a lot of bridges. However, I was learning a lot. I learnt to listen and ask smart questions, I learnt to go straight to the point and tried to give something back to the banker for his time when possible (like paying for the coffee when you are just a student, some bankers liked that).

No interviews and frustration

I was reading WSO, networking and studying corporate finance almost all my time and still managed to get very good grades in my last semester, it´s all about organisation. But did not get any interview... I considered the masters option in April, but it was too late to apply to Business School because I still had to take the GMAT. I kept applying to IB shops and AM positions but again... no interview. I got incredibly frustrated, I knew I was ready to kill an interview because I knew the technicals, I knew my history very well and studied a lot about interviews but I was not being offered the chance of an interview. I got really upset with myself because I knew that this situation would not have been a problem whatsoever if I was in second or third year (out of 4), but I was about to graduate in 3 months. As I kept reading posts and success stories I found a common pattern, everyone who made it seemed to agree on one thing, never give up.

My Last Chance

Thus, I kept reaching out to bankers and setting up coffee talks or even phone calls, even though it was very late to get an internship at any bank. At one of the biggest banks (no idea why I did not apply before), I found a banker that was really eager to help me and he passed my resume to HR. Guess what, they called me 2 days after for an interview. I remember they gave two days before the interview to get prepared so I spent the 48 hours studying the technicals and behavioural questions (especially the technicals because I was told I would have to do a written exam after the interview). This was my last chance.

The interview

That day, I went to the offices and first I had a 45-minute interview and then the exam which took about an hour but I finished in 40 minutes. I really killed that exam, I knew everything that was asked in the exam with perfect detail because I had studied a lot. After that I had more interviews and online tests and then, they stopped contacting me. I followed up several times but they barely responded. The banker that helped me get the interview did not answered any of the 2 follow up emails that I sent, then, I completely lost hope. It was mid-June and was to graduate in 2-3 weeks so I started to look for a job in order to pay the bills after graduation. I got into a pharmaceutical multinational as a Business Analyst Intern with very good conditions but I was still thinking about IB. I planned to do the 1-year internship and then try to break into a top master in finance. I would use the MiF as a doorway to IB. I started last Friday and then, received a call. I got the M&A internship.

Happiness and Success

I know this is only an internship, but it means a hell of a lot to me. I believe this is what is called happiness, getting something that you have wanted so bad, something you have tried so hard to get and all of a sudden, all your efforts pay off. I feel really happy right now. I am preparing myself to shine in the internship since my next goal is to covert this into a FT offer. I can't stop thinking that this forum and all of you have helped me to get in. Your advices, your experiences and even your funny and ironic comments have shed light on my way. With this post I hope I can contribute to make this community greater.

Thank you monkeys.

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