The Non-Target Who Didn't Take No For An Answer

Mod Note: Each day we'll be posting the top WSO forum posts of 2014. This one was originally posted on 1/25/14 and ranks #19 for the year by total silver banana count. You can see all our top ranked content here.

Hey all,

As I sit here and prepare to write this story, I look back on one of the most memorable years of my life. I cannot help but be thankful for the opportunity to have gone through some incredible experiences, both good and bad, that have shaped me into who I am today. As investment banking summer analyst recruitment continues to progress this year, I thought I would share a bit of inspiration to help you along your way.

Like many of you, there was a point in time where I sat down and decided that investment banking was what I wanted to do. I was going to apply to as many places as I could, and hopefully land a great gig. Easy enough, right? Not really.. Not at all actually. You see, like many of you guys I attend a non-target state school with relatively low amounts of alumni in the field. Having originally come from a pre-med background, the whole process was daunting to say the least. Exactly one year ago, I did not know my head from my ass and yet, I was preparing to jump into this whole process head-first.

Perspective. I remember always telling myself that I had to have perspective with this whole process. As I began formulating the first steps, I began to try and identify my value proposition. How can I, an over-active undergraduate banker wannabee, convince seasoned professionals that this is what I wanted to do? I had a basic story for why I transitioned from medicine to banking, and found a way to incorporate my past entrepreneurial experiences. It was my enthusiasm and my desire to learn that landed me my first boutique investment banking internship, NOT my experiences or my expertise. I had nothing to offer this bank other than my willingness to learn about the industry. And oh did I learn.

When this year's recruitment began to pick up, I could tell the process was going to be different than last year. I could just feel it. It was clearly obvious that recruitment for these bigger banks was an entirely different ball-game with its own difficulties and obstacles. While at least I knew my head from my ass this time, I was preparing to jump into an entirely different animal head-first with hopes of success and prosperity.

Coming from a non-target, I had to evaluate my advantages and disadvantages, and find a way to best leverage what I had in order to stand out and differentiate myself. I developed an extensive, multi-tab excel spreadsheet and titled it "Networking Doc- CRUNCH TIME" and began to scour the depths of LinkedIn to find any and every alumni in the field that I could find. I also added contacts of contacts, and alumni from other state schools in the industry. I was preparing myself to be quite possibly the most annoying, pestering little shit in the industry. This list came out to be well over 200 people, or what you would call a good start. I would soon find out over a few months that 200 potential contacts translates to approximately 100 responses, 50-60 phone calls, and maybe 20-30 people that may help you. We live in a world with no guarantees, and that is something that began to hit home with me.

To maximize my chances, I tried to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible and tried to create my own luck. I booked a week-long trip to New York on my own dime to meet the new friends I had made. I also booked trips to two other cities, all in hopes of landing an interview at their firms. You see, ladies and gentlemen, the beauty of hard work is that while you are completely zoned in on your mission, those around you begin to notice what you are doing and the work you are putting in to achieve it. Before you know it, university faculty, your friends, and even those at the boutique bank you work at, begin to cheer you on and support you. My contacts began to reach out to me and ask me how I was doing. Incredible feeling to say the least, to know that I wasn't alone. From several months of work I landed three interviews, two superdays, and, drum roll please……One offer. Not just any offer though, an offer from an Elite Boutique to work in their healthcare division where I would be working directly with healthcare companies that save lives. I was thrilled!

The most important takeaway from all this? I gained the opportunity to make friends with great people in the industry. People I can see myself grabbing a drink with after work in a few years should I be fortunate enough to translate my SA experience to a full-time offer. You see ladies and gentlemen, this is a people industry. People join people, not companies. Keep putting in the work, be persistent, MAKE FRIENDS, and just maybe, something might come your way if you are lucky.

Comments (73)

Jan 25, 2014 - 4:39pm
upod01, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Congratulations!!!! Glad to hear that all your efforts paid off.

When luck shuts the door you gotta come in through the window - Doyle Brunson
Jan 25, 2014 - 4:59pm
pinkclouds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This situation sounds scarily similar to mine. Med school hopeful turned investment banker wannabe turned networking ninja and all. Never take no for an answer, and fuck the haters. Thanks for the inspiration. Silver banana for you :)

Jan 25, 2014 - 5:02pm
Flake, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hope you get the green light for full-time. Congrats.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.
Jan 25, 2014 - 5:38pm
D M, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Congrats man, best of luck on the journey.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Jan 27, 2014 - 7:58pm
TGICapitalism, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Way to go! Keep it up and secure the FT offer!

Jan 27, 2014 - 8:51pm
AY01, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Congratulations! Inspiring story indeed thanks for sharing now continue to kick some ass!

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
Best Response
Jan 27, 2014 - 9:00pm
Simple As..., what's your opinion? Comment below:

Silver Banana from one non-target kid to another. Good luck this summer.

[quote=patternfinder]

Of course, I would just buy in scales.

[/quote]

See my WSO Blog | my AMA

  • 2
Jan 28, 2014 - 9:57am
mike97345, what's your opinion? Comment below:

is this post fake? It is well written, well structured. It caters to the legions of posters on here with sub-par resumes. Who would take the time to write this? It seems like a new one of these pops up every few weeks. I am suspicious about a ton of the content on this website.

Jan 28, 2014 - 11:57am
km190, what's your opinion? Comment below:

mike97345:

is this post fake? It is well written, well structured. It caters to the legions of posters on here with sub-par resumes. Who would take the time to write this? It seems like a new one of these pops up every few weeks. I am suspicious about a ton of the content on this website.

This story is 100% true. If anything, I downplayed the more difficult parts of the process.

Jan 28, 2014 - 3:53pm
WallStreetOasis.com, what's your opinion? Comment below:

not fake - i know the OP offline and while it's not the norm, it's also nice to see another WSO member break on through from a non-target.

If anything, this post should be a warning to all members with "sub-par resumes" of the type of hard work it will take to even get an SA, let alone a FT offer.

Feb 9, 2014 - 2:33pm
Bondarb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

mike97345:

is this post fake? It is well written, well structured. It caters to the legions of posters on here with sub-par resumes. Who would take the time to write this? It seems like a new one of these pops up every few weeks. I am suspicious about a ton of the content on this website.

i love this response..."i see quite alot of posters here who succeeded through non-standard methods...that doesnt fit my pre-conceived notions of how the world works...must be fake!"

Jan 28, 2014 - 1:22pm
tengleha, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What was your gpa? How difficult was the process from cold emails/calls to landing interviews?

Jan 28, 2014 - 1:30pm
State of Trance, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What do you mean ?? I went to a target ivy and I am now in PE at an upper MM fund. I have been out of Ibanking for almost 2 years now.

Jan 28, 2014 - 1:44pm
km190, what's your opinion? Comment below:

tengleha:

What was your gpa? How difficult was the process from cold emails/calls to landing interviews?

My GPA was good, not fantastic. The cold emailing part of the process was difficult because there are specific "templates" that work and those that don't; it's a trial and error process. You land interviews by successfully building rapport with bankers on the other end of the line. If they like you, they will recommend you reach out to other people in the firm. From there it becomes a momentum effect- they notify HR and if you're lucky, they'll give you an interview.

Jan 28, 2014 - 1:38pm
tengleha, what's your opinion? Comment below:

^ Woops was ment for OP

Jan 28, 2014 - 2:30pm
eignenvector, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great story.

"When you expect things to happen - strangely enough - they do happen." - JP Morgan
Jan 28, 2014 - 9:55pm
looping56, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Congrats! Can you tell us a bit about the kind of response/reception you got from your contacts and how that relationship developed to then get you that offer?

Array
Jan 29, 2014 - 1:59pm
km190, what's your opinion? Comment below:

looping56:

Congrats! Can you tell us a bit about the kind of response/reception you got from your contacts and how that relationship developed to then get you that offer?

The earlier you reach out, the better. The contacts that responded to me were more than willing to help, I did not get any negative responses from anyone.

I typically email to set up a phone call. From there, I will follow up 1-2 times over the course of 1-2 weeks and then begin to ask about the bank's internship program. There is no science to it, some will help you more than others.

PM me if you are looking for more specific advice.

Feb 1, 2014 - 4:11pm
Qureshi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

details please ... if possible in a step by step manner ... makes it a better read and easier to make it work for oneself: as in an individual customizing the steps you took to suit their needs

Feb 2, 2014 - 6:40pm
Zyzzbrah, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am in the same situation. Senior nontarget neuroscience and economics major. It makes me feel like I don't want it enough since I haven't contacted 200 people. Is it more difficult that I am here in the Midwest and apply for more regional banks first? And how much finance knowledge did you have when contacting them?

Feb 2, 2014 - 9:34pm
km190, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Zyzzbrah:

I am in the same situation. Senior nontarget neuroscience and economics major. It makes me feel like I don't want it enough since I haven't contacted 200 people. Is it more difficult that I am here in the Midwest and apply for more regional banks first? And how much finance knowledge did you have when contacting them?

All it takes is one bank to like you and give you an offer, you definitely don't have to contact 200 people. There is no one track on how to do it- craft a solid story, know enough finance to be competent, and show enthusiasm to learn. If you are a likeable person, you will go a long way.

Feb 2, 2014 - 11:32pm
John Paulson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dude, incredible.
I had lived something like this in my life.

Keeping the story short: I entered to a non-target university here in Chile. After getting good grades for one year, I changed to the best university of Chile.
In the midway, my dad became unemployed, but with a friend we developed an idea that consist of a credit (like a consumer credit). My friends would lend me money and I would return them after I graduate. Now I'm looking for a job and I had been paying since the last year.

Congrats on your story man. Never take a No for an answer. Absolutely true.

Money never sleeps.
  • 2
Feb 4, 2014 - 2:08pm
Qureshi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

snfuenza:

Dude, incredible.

I had lived something like this in my life.

Keeping the story short: I entered to a non-target university here in Chile. After getting good grades for one year, I changed to the best university of Chile.

In the midway, my dad became unemployed, but with a friend we developed an idea that consist of a credit (like a consumer credit). My friends would lend me money and I would return them after I graduate. Now I'm looking for a job and I had been paying since the last year.

Congrats on your story man. Never take a No for an answer. Absolutely true.

simply brilliant ... the idea of credit from your friends ... did it take a lot to convince them? what were the terms you and your friends decided upon?

Feb 4, 2014 - 10:00pm
John Paulson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It didn't take a lot to convince them. I just showed them the passion that I have to become an Industrial Engineer, the difficulties that my family has to help me (no bank will lend money to someone that is unemployed).
The terms were that I would pay them in a period of two years after I graduate.

Money never sleeps.
  • 1
Feb 3, 2014 - 10:49am
LCYM, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bravo. It is very true that when there is a will, there is a way.

Invest first, investigate later.
Feb 5, 2014 - 10:51pm
loldail0, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Excellent!

"A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires." - Paulo Coelho

Hoping to achieve what you did

Feb 6, 2014 - 8:43pm
Ehmerica, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good stuff!

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
Feb 7, 2014 - 12:39am
Billy Hoyle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great story and Good luck. Exact same process I am undertaking now. Even doing pro bono PE analyst work to gain hard translatable skills. Just goes to show you that even when you are down you have to keep striving for the end goal.

Feb 8, 2014 - 12:35am
codename_money, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Deja vu. Silver banana for you. I too attend a complete non target state school in which I started out Pre-Med but, like you, decided to throw my entire life into networking for investment banking last year. As you said, it took persistence and perspective but I landed a FT offer from a BB i-bank in NYC. Congrats and I wish you the best of luck in your internship this summer.

Oct 9, 2014 - 8:15pm
Banquero, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Error harum aut illo voluptas quia quis minima. Hic aut expedita consequatur quia. Ratione voluptatem id ipsum voluptatem vel. Iusto ea consequatur corporis amet temporibus mollitia.

Quo aut occaecati tenetur in. Eos expedita eos veniam ut culpa animi natus.

Maxime corrupti consequuntur consequuntur eos rerum magni. Dicta sit delectus nemo nihil ea doloribus adipisci. Maxime cumque voluptatum porro iure. Omnis blanditiis voluptates labore quo atque cupiditate illo. In ipsa officiis aut dolore sint qui distinctio. Eos a nemo temporibus odit asperiores repellendus. Totam impedit id id tempora ut non.

Amet est quod suscipit. At at culpa dolorem sint. Voluptas corporis nulla ratione nostrum non. Beatae error modi quis vel.

Dec 22, 2014 - 1:39pm
nrg-Banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Voluptatem odio sequi sit culpa. Dolor voluptatem sequi voluptatem debitis. Fugiat rerum optio laudantium eveniet odio dolores. Atque exercitationem ea adipisci qui sequi aliquam facilis.

Magni harum ex facere quidem voluptas velit. Voluptas sunt ipsum accusamus animi quia. Occaecati velit aut vitae aliquam error amet. Est aut nulla et odio in.

Porro molestiae cumque voluptatem et quisquam. Molestiae est dignissimos sapiente. Rem reiciendis magni sed quia sit. Eos qui deleniti corporis id. Eaque accusamus consequatur numquam et. Cumque sed est consequatur maiores quos. Quam consequuntur cumque alias rerum dolore neque.

Dec 22, 2014 - 1:48pm
TraderDaily, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Illum quae quas laboriosam error ut eos. Sequi consequatur necessitatibus excepturi nam assumenda accusantium placeat. Nam autem eos minus. Doloribus pariatur aspernatur quos necessitatibus quibusdam.

Velit architecto iusto reiciendis et est alias. Porro nihil aperiam id et aut. Tempora quidem nemo blanditiis voluptatem. Dolor magni similique provident veritatis.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

May 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲03) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 99.2%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲06) 98.7%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲01) 98.3%
  • Houlihan Lokey (▲07) 97.9%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

May 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲12) 99.6%
  • Rothschild (▲02) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International (▲04) 98.7%
  • Truist Securities (+ +) 98.3%
  • Greenhill (▲05) 97.9%

Professional Growth Opportunities

May 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲04) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (▲04) 99.2%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲05) 98.7%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲08) 98.3%
  • Houlihan Lokey (▲06) 97.9%

Total Avg Compensation

May 2022 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $661
  • Vice President (36) $393
  • Associates (181) $246
  • 2nd Year Analyst (112) $162
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (17) $156
  • 1st Year Analyst (352) $149
  • Intern/Summer Associate (74) $147
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (273) $91