Entry-Level/ Career Advice
First of all, I know I don't belong here - I'm just looking for some decent advice on my current situation. I'm expecting to get violated so please don't hold back, but on a serious note any constructive criticism I'd appreciate. Honestly, I'm just trying to have a better idea of what my options are at this point so I don't have to waste any time or effort pursuing something that just doesn't seem possible for me.
To make a long story short, I've had a bit of a unique college experience starting in my freshman year. I was majoring in finance at a decent university in the south, when my mother suddenly passed away. This forced me to return back home to NY, as I immediately returned to education at a nearby university while waiting to be admitted into a well-reputable business school in the city. Admittedly, my mind was all over the place at the time as I was going through a lot, and as a result my GPA began to drop. After transferring twice and ending up at my third school, I was forced to make up many credits that had not been accepted, so I was taking multiple courses during winter and summer sessions on top of working typical labor jobs to pay for tuition. I mention this because between maintaining a high GPA and landing an internship, I failed to accomplish either and this of course stained my resume.
I foolishly became more focused on graduating on time and in the end I had a 3.3 GPA BBA in Finance and no internship. I hate making excuses for myself, yet my hardship situation and even Covid made it considerably difficult to have a very productive college experience, on top of commuting 3+ hours a day/night to classes, which made opportunities more limited.
I've now been out of school for almost 6 months and I don't hear anything back from any Analyst roles I apply to, and IB has always been my sole reason for pursuing finance in the first place. I naturally feel a bit defeated and even naive for thinking I'd be able to make things work out for myself and getting my hopes up. Again this is not a sob story, although it may sound like one inevitably, but at this point I just want someone to tell it to me like it truly is before I go any further. I don't have many people around me who seem to know how the finance world works, especially not IB and I've been attempting to network, but I feel like this post may suffice for seeking advice at the moment.
I've tried to make up for the lack of professional experience by passing the SIE and obtaining certifications like Bloomberg Market Concepts and financial modeling courses, but still nothing seems to make up for my unimpressive college performance and lack of professional experience. Keep in mind I recently turned 24 so I'm aware that time is quickly running out if it hasn't already, and that it's not a good look to begin with for anyone who would otherwise consider hiring me.
Lastly, I've been constantly offered roles as a Financial Advisor, but I'm steering away from that route as I know it leads to nothing within IB and I have no interest in that (if I were to take an offer it'd be to pass Series exams and get out). If IB is simply not an option for me, I'd rather do something completely different and at least find some satisfaction. I hope someone can offer some advice on my predicament, as it would be greatly appreciated so I can have a better idea of things.
As demoralizing as it is to resort to this, please be brutally honest as I'm prepared for the worst.
I understand your situation, so I want to be as honest as possible. It should be clear that BBs, EBs and MMs are out of the question. You should therefore immediately turn to smaller shops with max. 10 employees that
Try to network with people at such shops as much as possible. In your situation, you should spend hours a day on LinkedIn. You'd be doing IB which is apparently your dream, and after a few years, you might be able to move up the stairs to a MM.
monkey18564I understand your situation, so I want to be as honest as possible. It should be clear that BBs, EBs and MMs are out of the question. You should therefore immediately turn to smaller shops with max. 10 employees thatDon't have a lot of applicants to choose from Look at the individual rather than the CV (because they cannot afford to hire a douche bag) Have an interesting deal flow - thus give you great exposureTry to network with people at such shops as much as possible. In your situation, you should spend hours a day on LinkedIn. You'd be doing IB which is apparently your dream, and after a few years, you might be able to move up the stairs to a MM.Thank you for the advice and I appreciate the honesty.I definitely realized BBs and EBs weren't going to be a possibility long ago, but I didn't quite cancel out MMs, assuming if I were to network with fellow alumni of my business school that have some years of experience, I could then explain my situation and maybe it could open a door. I know that's a long shot but I'm confident that if I got an opportunity to interview, I could prove that my knowledge is not indicative of my college performance. Unfortunately that is probably just my desires getting the best of me and I'm sure you're right, but it is frustrating knowing obstacles out of my control are limiting my opportunities in a major way. I will definitely look more into smaller shops, although I wasn't aware the were many, if any at all, that fit the criteria you mentioned. Nevertheless, I will do my due diligence and reach out to those people who could potentially offer me some help or guidance. I've been basically spending my days with LinkedIn running in the background, refreshing analyst roles in the NYC area and mass applying, but with you mr advice I will focus that search and waste less time pursuing the impossible.Oddly enough I feel better knowing what my only options are so if things don't work out soon, I can abandon the plan altogether and move onto something that matters more. In the meantime, do you think it's worth taking a position as a Financial Advisor so I can get licensed, or would that just make me look worse as a candidate? Again, I have no interest in that line of work and I understand it's looked down upon by all finance professionals. I really appreciate your advice and I will get started looking immediately.
There are thousands of such small shops. When I search for investment bank in NYC with 1-50 employees on LinkedIn, I get about 2'100 firms. For 1-10 employees it's 1'000. So you should definitely find some decent shops that employ alumni of you school!
Regarding the Financial Advisor position... tbh, I have no idea. I don't think that being licensed would be an advantage, the only upside I see is life experience and some money you could earn. But you should ask someone with more expertise about their opinion.
This is not the best advice. Have u not seen the recent wave of posts exposing boiler room/bucket shops? These are scammy, cold-calling business brokers, not real "investment banks." The experience u gain at these 5-man no-name boutique shops will not help u lateral up to a MM/BB/EB. You'll likely be cold-emailing all day and maybe writing a CIM/teaser if ur lucky, but no live deal/execution experience.
An alternative I'd suggest is to simply take-up a "normal" job, like corp fin/business development at a vanilla F500 company or middle-office role at a Big 4 accounting firm, like risk management, credit analysis, etc. and then apply for MBA's after 3-5 years to get a fresh start.
Yeah, absolutely I have and the last thing I want is some job that will prevent me from making that upwards transition, but equally the dignity I'd lose from partaking in that type of environment. That's a big reason why I'm declining these Advisor offers, since they're even less respected and more irrelevant.
I appreciate your advice and those are undeniably much better options in my opinion than what I'm faced with right now. I think the MBA plan is also within a good time-frame; ideally after 3 years of work (give or take) so by the time I finish I'll make up for the 2 extra years that I'd be be waiting to apply. That's if things go right of course. Thank you for the advice!
Dont copy a paste text as response just hit response button (the chat box icon on the bottom left). But Seems like a lot was maybe out of your control, sorry you went through all that man. I came out of a tuff situation that lasted a long time, and wont even tell my kids about it bc its truly disgusting but a few questions for you:
What do you put on the resume if you have no experience?
How have you been trying to network?
Are you setting up calls?
Are you in NYC so you can meet with people?
How many people do you reach out to a day?
In regards to being a financial advisor - I would almost do corp dev work / financial analyst at a business you like then lateral. People leave IB all the time bc the hours or they go into PE / VC type stuff. You can also call banks that are small and if they answer the phone thats typically a good sign. I am recruiting rn and still have been able to get interviews, all through cold reach outs, and I consider myself super lucky based on some of the stuff I read on here / the current market is ruff, I also work all night though (not a humble brag just a characteristic) I think if you answer the questions above that will be able to guide you. You will land a job if you want it bad enough, i believe in you.
Let me put it this way as I am a good search engine looking for work, not any trouble. Daniel Loeb wasn't an analyst until he was 29-45 years old. He turned out just fine.
Yeah I tried editing a typo and it got messed up; this is my first post on here so i'm still getting a hang of the platform.
I really appreciate that, my friend. As much I hate making excuses for myself, I often look back and question my priorities only to remember I was trying to work best with the cards I was dealt with and had really no help. I feel though that the worst part is the awkwardness of the matter and the inability to completely move on from it (even though i'd love to) without letting it diminish my opportunities - for instance, i've had industry professionals advise me to leave personal hardships out of resumes or cover letters and to explain it during an interview, but how do i obtain a decent interview without explaining why there was a brief gap in employment, multiple transfers, lack of internship, etc? The last thing i'm looking for is pity or to even bring awareness to it, and I understand the way it could be interpreted, I just want a fair shot.
My resume is as professional as it can look given my experience, but i have my educational studies in finance, my work experience which is mostly labor jobs where I was dealing with some financial analysis and project mgmt (typical student summer jobs), and industry certifications/related extracurricular activities/volunteer work. My cover letter goes into greater detail and includes my related skills/knowledge.
I've been growing my network on LinkedIn, mainly connecting with fin analysts, but I'll admit I am sometimes reluctant to reach out feeling they may disregard me as trying to take advantage and/or not being accomplished. Obviously that's something I need to change and change quickly.
I live an hour outside NYC, but I can and definitely would use that to my benefit. I make the mistake of mostly applying to positions without reaching out to affiliated people because it is usually during the work day and I'd rather contact them at a more convenient time for them, but often forget to. Another poor excuse, I know.
And I 100% agree with your insight. IB has always been a focus for me, but i'm open to other analyst type roles that can lead to further career opportunities. To be fair, I know i'd leave IB eventually as the hours would not be so endurable for so long, but PE and VC are both very desirable end goals that could even bring personal visions to life. While I'm still in my 20s and ambitious I am more than willing to work 100+ hours of week as long as I know I'm working towards something I desire.
You should be proud of yourself though, from what you said I know you can relate to my situation and I give you a lot of credit because I know the extra discipline it requires just to get your foot in the door. So thanks a lot for the advice and support, it really goes a long way. Good luck to you as well!
Yeah reading some of what you went through no help type deal is something I have gone through even when almost begging people around me in the area i was or previously in (bc I knew I needed it) Both professionally for learning and others.But bankers network with young people because they had someone help them get into the industry. More shots on net and always reach out / don't be afraid. I haven't come across an a hole that's senior. Probably don't tell them the true story and just talk about how hard you will go for them etc. have a good reason for why their boutique and find someone similar to you.
Yeah read the guy below ⬇️
This is what I would do if I was you as I had similar situation. No internships and my GPA was well below 3. Take a job in finance doing anything that pays. I took a middle office position in Prime Brokerage at a BB. While there, I worked my ass off to be the best there. I also made sure to network non stop. Every week I would feel like a failure if I didn't have a coffee chat / phone call with someone in banking everyday, 5 days a week. You need to count on your ability to get people to like you and want to give you a shot. I didn't start banking till I was 27. Took me 2 years out of undergrad to land a spot at a reputable MM. you need to just not give up and grind on the networking while working.
Thank you for the insight! That definitely gives me some better hope.
I know beggars can't be choosers, yet working as a Financial Advisor I understand offers no transitions into any banking roles (not to mention it's a legalized pyramid scheme with no productive salary) so I don't think that would look very good in the eyes of any high finance professionals.
Also, do you mean you landed a middle office position in Prime Brokerage at a BB firm as your initial role? Because if that's the case I'd love to know how since I'd be very interested in doing the same or something similar.
The ambition to succeed is not a concern of mine, it's 99% getting the opportunity to prove my capabilities and discipline. And from what I'm told going straight into a MM is unrealistic for me at the moment, so I guess my best bet is finding any type of analyst role that will allow me to sharpen my skills and network externally with those at more ideal firms.
Thanks for the advice, I really am grateful to hear from someone who has had a similar experience and succeeded in their journey
I applied to every position I can find in BB's. Compliance, prime brokerage, whatever. I just wanted to get my foot in the door at the bank. There's a higher chance people talk to you if you work there than if you didn't and it's also easier to look for a job than if you didn't have 1. What I did had nothing to do with high finance and no transferable skills. What matters was that I just networked non stop and kept doing the best job I could in my current role. Dont listen to that nonsense of a MM not being an option. Just network and prove you deserve a shot. Also PWM is not a bad gig at all. It can be very very lucrative, if you are willing to grind just like you would in banking, being an advisor can make you just as rich. Would look into PWM at the BB's. Banking sucks anyways…..it's not that exciting.
Just take a corporate finance job at literally any F500 company or startup in a city you'd like to live in, chill out for a few years there, earn decent money and enjoy your life. It sounds like you've had a really rough past couple of years, and you probably owe yourself some stability (which you won't get in IB at the junior level, anyway). You can always just apply to all of the reputable business schools for an MBA after a few years, and then it will be pretty easy to land associate roles at whatever BB/EB/MM firms you want through the summer associate programs.
Realistically, it is going to be very, very difficult to find a boutique willing to hire someone with a poor GPA, no relevant internships or experience and a sketchy academic record with multiple school transfers, regardless of the personal story. Even if you do find a boutique willing to hire you, it will most likely be one of the dozens, if not hundreds of chop shops or boiler rooms with terrible reputations and deal flow across the street, and you'll just be back to square one trying break into a legitimate financial institution once you're ready to lateral. There are plenty of horror stories on WSO backing up the poor pay and long hours these places are known for in addition to the total lack of professional development.
Are you really willing to put up with all of that bs just to put "investment banking analyst" on your LinkedIn at 24 years old? It's hard enough to battle up that hill in a bull market, but when you have firms axing 30% of their junior bankers with solid performance, target schools and plenty of internship experience, it just seems like a much more intelligent use of your time to look elsewhere for a few years, build some credible work experience in corporate / finance / startup / scuba operations etc. and then take another pass at IB via the well-established MBA Associate route. You have your whole career ahead of you, and there are plenty of well-respected and well-comp'd MD's running BB coverage and product groups who spent much of their 20s bumming around before business or law school. You could do a lot worse, and I worry that stressing your butt off for the next six months just to end up in a bucket shop is likely to be a far worse outcome.
For what its worth, I completely understand and sympathize with your personal situation, and am really sorry you had to go through all of that. If it makes you feel any better, being an IB analyst in 2023 blows, will likely continue to suck next year, and you really aren't missing that much. Good luck in whatever endeavor you choose to pursue!
Perspiciatis officia sunt facilis mollitia numquam. Voluptate deleniti rerum sapiente et aperiam excepturi. Molestiae qui natus architecto eius odit sint. Aut perferendis praesentium et expedita iusto.
Velit modi nesciunt sint tenetur pariatur quas voluptatem qui. Consectetur ad quasi veritatis quia sint. Molestiae est sunt doloremque nam quia. Consequatur eum facilis tenetur corporis. Consequatur quaerat facere totam minus explicabo.
Tempore eaque ea aut odit necessitatibus et. Nihil sapiente iusto non quasi ex cupiditate eveniet. Qui nulla quas aspernatur aut ut expedita.
Temporibus delectus culpa nostrum qui. Quo dolores vitae accusantium adipisci et eligendi. Ut unde ipsa vel labore.
See All Comments - 100% Free
WSO depends on everyone being able to pitch in when they know something. Unlock with your email and get bonus: 6 financial modeling lessons free ($199 value)
or Unlock with your social account...