From 100 Plus Rejections, To Accepting A Great Offer

Good morning,

I am posting my success story for a few reasons. First, to (hopefully) inspire someone in a situation that I was in. And second, to thank members of high finance and this website specifically.

I will try to keep this as brief as possible.


Why High Finance

I had aspirations to be on Wall Street at about age 15. Keep in mind, for all the wrong reasons. Then early in college I decided that I wanted to become a financial advisor, as I had a great role model who thought I would be very successful in that field. Then during my junior year in the fall at a non target school in the pacific north west, I began reading wall street oasis. I was reintroduced to the idea of becoming (to quote the book *Straight to Hell*) "A big dick swinging banker." (To clarify, this is a joke. I do not think that book is truthful, as someone questioned in the comments, and it is simply a reference and a light hearted joke. I just wanted to break into high finance.)

Where I was at

Now being very late on the recruiting chain, and under qualified compared to most in high finance, I had limited options. I began networking HARD. Every day over winter vacation was spent on my laptop emailing, cold calling, on linked in, reaching out to alum, friends, friends parents, etc. For about 10 hours a day I sat on my couch, in front of my laptop, trying to connect with anyone who could help me out. Fortunately for me, I had a few alumni who sent me in the right direction, and helped me immensely.

After reading several articles, I realized that many of my hours were wasted. My resume, cover letter, and other methods of reaching out were not up to par. Rather than dwell on my mistakes, I learned from them. I reached back out to previous contacts, and continued pushing. If you take anything away from this post, lesson one is **do not dwell on mistakes**. Reach back out to people, learn from the mistakes, and continue to grind it out.

Dealing with Rejection

During my entire life I really never faced constant rejection. If I was rejected from something, I would usually bounce back and be ok. I received a scholarship to play my sport of choice for college, I had internships at high school in a law firm and a congressman's office, and I had early success in my life. During Sophomore year I received three summer internships for Financial advising, a nonprofit, and a political office, but did not pursue any of them due to family reasons. Applying for high finance internships I was rejected, a lot. In a big way, this rejection was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I firmly believe that rejection can really help people. Rejection is not failing, which is something I have just recently understood. Being rejected means you tried, and though you did not ultimately get what you wanted, you gained feedback, you maybe had a chance to practice, and you are more prepared for the next chance you may receive. Rejection for me really helped me evaluate my position in life, where I was, where I wanted to go, and the most effective and efficient route I could take to get there.

Networking/Trying to make it

During my networking, one important contact I made via a cold email. He kindly agreed to speak with me about his career in IB. He and I spoke a few times, emailed back and fourth, but ultimately his small firm in the Mid West did not hire a summer intern. I offered to work unpaid, and they were still not interested. This was the lowest I had felt during my search. To work for free, and still not be wanted, was not a great feeling. However I understood, as the time it would take them to train me, and my minimal, if any, contributions would not be worth the time it would take to get me there. But what was lesson one? press on. This would become a theme almost in my search, getting close, interviewing, connecting well with people and feeling like I could win the offer, to not be hired. Whether it was them not hiring, or selecting other people, I just wasn't landing offers. Ultimately I was rejected well over 100 times in a four month span. Some random company applications, some final round interviews where I had contacts on the inside, and some in the middle of those two.

It's always darkest before the dawn

This is right about the time (March) where I had exhausted contacts, and almost felt like my search for an internship was futile. I really considered going to the city my girlfriend was going for the summer, working at Starbucks, and meeting everyone in the area that I could who worked in high finance to network. However right as I started to feel down, I connected with an alum who was a consultant in a southeastern city. I had never really considered consulting, I always wanted to be a banker, but I gladly scheduled a phone call to learn more about him, and **ask for guidance and or help**. *(Something I have noticed with people in general, not specifically bankers, but people as a whole are they are unwilling to ask for help. Why? to quote Don't Eat Alone"Everyone you meet is a chance to either be helped, or help them" So please ask for help. Don't be afraid to ask for things, everyone in their life has been helped by someone else, and the best thing you can do is either help that person in return, or pay it forward and help someone else when you can.)*

Keeping an open mind

During the phone call, I realized that I had never really considered consulting, and furthermore, had no idea what a consultant really did. Another key note here is to **KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN**. Do not assume that you are meant for something based off of a book that you read, a quiz you took online, etc. Always keep options open, and do not talk down about career fields that you may not know about. I see this all the time on this website about private wealth management or financial advising. Just because it may not take a niche skill, does not make it a bad field to go into. If you want to purse that career, do not let anyone judge you. The only person you have to accept the outcomes of the decisions made in the past, is the person you see in the mirror.

From "down in the dumps" to "on top of the world"

To continue, I had interviews in the alums consulting office in the southeast, I felt great about the interviews, how I connected with the people I met, and I felt great about the case study, and that I was finally about to land the internship I was desperately seeking. I got rejected after the final round. In a state of shock, I emailed my alum and thanked him for the opportunity, and asked for some feedback. I was told that I did great, and that I was highly considered, but not chosen. (I was given reasons, and these helped me in my next interview) I do not know if this was BS or sincere, but I felt deflated. My alum then told me that he would reach out to some other friends in consulting, and get back to me. But during this process I learned a lot about consulting, a lot about myself, and most importantly how consulting interviews and banking interviews differ, and how to spin previous experiences just a little differently to be more appealing. Expecting to never hear from him again, I started looking over other options. I then received an email from the alum, with a CC to one of his consulting friends. After a few emails and a phone call with a random consultant I was told to speak with, I had an interview. I made it through to the final round, and of course had the flu during my last round. After struggling through it, I ultimately landed a summer internship, in a great city, for a well respected firm that I am very excited about.

Epilogue and Thank you's

Also, to the people who have helped me out along the way, I am extremely thankful. And if I am in any position to help you out in the future, I will. However the main thing I can do is pay it forward, and always attempt to help someone who reaches out to me, not matter how irrelevant they may seem. For example, I have started helping freshman in my fraternity build a plan to pursue high finance, even though I certainly do not have it all figured out, I just want to help them start that initial research on what jobs they might want, and how to put yourself in the best possible position to get them

Thank you again to all members of this community, I love discussions on here and am very fortunate to have found this website. Great members, and I hope this post will inspire a few people who currently feel a little lost, like I was.

Thanks again everyone! Sorry it was so long!

Mod Note (Andy): Throwback Thursday, this was originally posted May 2017

Comments (32)

WidespreadPanic90, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Way to grind, man! Wu Tang Clan ain't nuthin' ta fuck with!

"That was basically college for me, just ya know, fuckin' tourin' with Widespread Panic over the USA."

  • 1
mike ross, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"Rejection is not failing, which is something I have just recently understood. Being rejected means you tried, and though you did not ultimately get what you wanted, you gained feedback, you maybe had a chance to practice, and you are more prepared for the next chance you may receive" Love it! -more people need to get this, you're a legend

  • 4
kayz08, what's your opinion? Comment below:

well done.

You given up on banking?

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.
6969, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can never GIVE UP. You MUST always be INNOVATING and DISRUPTING the industry to SUCCEED.

  • 5
Best Response
Opslivesmatter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

lol banking blows bro.

Also, love the career advice from 21 year olds.

  • 8
  • 1
OathbringerNYC, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In the same boat Wu Tang. Non-Target school that may be making its way into Semi-Target range. Didn't know what I wanted to do with my life but knew it was Finance related. Two months before graduation I felt an attraction to macro-research/market analysis and now its doing everything I can to break in. I intend to sit in my school's trade floor every day over the Summer and get Bloomberg certified and utilize my alumni network, a well as the PEOP function to reach out and ask for advice. Thanks for sharing your story!

If you ever read something and at the end go "What the hell?", look into it.

  • 1
  • 1
Gangster Putin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Now that you're a consultant, make sure to push your clients to diversify their bonds.

  • 5
Chuck Rhoades, what's your opinion? Comment below:

SB'd for phenomenal reference. For those who don't get it,

'I'm jacked... JACKED TO THE TITS!!'
Fugue, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Congrats @Wu_Tang Financial" ! Great to hear your story, and good on you for remaining persistent in the face of adversity.


Chewco, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've noticed that a lot of young people here like to reference and quote GSElevetor's book: Straight To Hell. After giving it a read myself, I'd discourage any one from thinking that it is anything other than fiction. Besides the fact that it unabashedly tries to imitate Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho (fiction) in terms of writing style, it is authored by someone who admitted to being a charlatan.

For a more realistic read, I'd seek out Rolfe/Troob's book: although it might be a little dated, it is still entertaining and more realistic.
  • 1
  • 1
Wu_Tang Financial, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I meant it more in a sense of let it go as nothing you can do can fix the issue. However It is important to remember these mistakes so you do not make them in the future. I too have had this kind of "rage" where you remember a small detail you may have missed or had a mistake on a resume. Not fun, but you probably never made that mistake again huh?

Proteus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Congrats man! Keep up the amazing work both on and off the site.

Just an Undergrad trying to get a job. Something you disagree or dislike about my posts? Let me know by PM'ing me or commenting constructive criticism.
  • 1
lebrownjames, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What type of consulting will you be in (MBB/Big 4/ Boutique)? Most consulting firms stop hiring by spring time so congrats to you. I am looking to break into consulting from a non-target in the Mid Atlantic, was wondering for any advice

dyxdyx, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP is a vivid example of someone having the growth mindset (by Carol Dweck), which is necessary for becoming successful in pretty much anything.. Best of luck with whichever path you choose!

stephenh320, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey Wu Tang. I am in somewhat of the same situation and it is very encouraging to know that someone like myself can make it. I wish you nothing but success in all of your future endeavors!

baratta1000, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think this is all excellent advice. I've had a lot of similar experiences especially when networking, but there's a lot of great firms out there

  • 2
  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I honestly hate these types of stories... look, let's face it, IB wasn't made for no-name college graduates like you. Let's keep the industry civilized and reserved for the elite.

  • 3
Carl Van Loon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dolorem dolore voluptates ut consequatur. Pariatur aut sed ducimus enim sapiente nesciunt ipsum.

Carl Van Loon Van Loon & Associates
Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

March 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (+ +) 99.5%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 99.1%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽02) 98.6%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▽01) 98.2%
  • William Blair (▲10) 97.7%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

March 2023 Investment Banking

  • William Blair (▲04) 99.5%
  • Lincoln International (▲11) 99.1%
  • Canaccord Genuity (▲17) 98.6%
  • Stephens Inc (▲10) 98.1%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲04) 97.7%

Professional Growth Opportunities

March 2023 Investment Banking

  • Financial Technology Partners (▲05) 99.5%
  • Lincoln International (▲01) 99.1%
  • Lazard Freres (▲13) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽03) 98.1%
  • William Blair (▲02) 97.7%

Total Avg Compensation

March 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (27) $425
  • Associates (141) $260
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (9) $194
  • 2nd Year Analyst (86) $170
  • 1st Year Analyst (264) $171
  • Intern/Summer Associate (45) $165
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (193) $92