1st Big Boy Paycheck - Keep your heads up!

George87's picture
Rank: Orangutan | banana points 362

Dear fellow monkeys,

I've been meaning to write this for a month or so now, but hadn't gotten around to it. The reason I felt I had to was because it could be of some use and/or inspiration to many of you out there still looking for a job, and just so you know, there is hope for everyone if I managed to find one. I just received a full-time offer at an M&A boutique in Washington, DC last month.

My background

To give you some background, I graduated from a non-target Top 50 undergrad business program last year with a 3.6 GPA (worked hard, but also smart). I was involved with the finance club and a social fraternity (E-board member for both). I was/am also an international student (Romania). Starting my freshman summer, I interned for various financial institutions back home (retail banking, investment banking and M&A boutique), but never managed to secure an internship here in the U.S. (mostly because I was unorganized and didn't have my shit together). Needless to say, when graduation came around, I had no job. Had started networking somewhat my second semester senior year but nobody was really giving me anything in terms of opps, just shit ton of (useful) advice.

Application process and landing an interview

I decided to take a month after graduation to recollect my thoughts (aka drink, lounge by the pool, read and play soccer) and then heavily started re-applying for positions and networking (9am-6pm, everyday). Total applications submitted ~ 100. Followed up on all of them - meaning I researched the company/appropriate department, asked about my application status. I did this on a weekly basis. Being persistent/following up helps, I managed to get a pre-interview test at MBB this way (called and emailed the recruiter 5 weeks in a row).

Finally, I called up a former alumni and fraternity brother whom I had helped organize the chapter's finances with, and had the following conversation "Hey, I really don't know what else to do, I know you used to work for boutique X doing M&A and I want to know if you can help me get in there. I-banking is what I want to do, the firm sounds awesome, can you help me? I'll take anything paid or unpaid or whatever" Two weeks later I get a call from the executive assistant asking if I had time for an interview with the president of the firm. F*ck yeah, I did! Interviewed, was polished and confident. Was offered an internship with absolute no promise of full-time.

Worked my ass off - there was nothing I couldn't/wouldn't do. 4 months later, one of the associates quit, 2 months later I got a full-time offer along with a work Visa sponsorship.

Key takeaways that I think you need if you want to be successful in this business:

Confidence

  1. Be confident, smile and be cool (or fake it 'till you make it)

Hustle

  1. Hustle hustle hustle (be aggressive/proactive, network your ass off, you never know who you might
    run into and what doors they can open for you)

First in, last out

  1. Work harder than your peers - I was the first one in/last one to leave everyday

Be Humble

  1. Be humble, admit what and that you don't know and definitely DON'T LIE ABOUT IT!

Willingness to learn

  1. Show that you're willing to learn

Effort

  1. Remember, what you put in is what you will eventually get out of it.

Apologize for the long post, hope it didn't deter you from reading it. Keep your heads up, keep pushing. Also, I strongly recommend getting the WSO Investment Banking Interview Course to make sure you are also polished when your time comes. Sometimes you get an interview and then it's too late to do all your prep in 24-48hrs. Good luck!

Mod Note (Andy): Throwback Thursday - this was originally posted Nov 2011

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Comments (20)

May 25, 2011

Good stuff bro. It seems that networking is always key in securing a banking position. I'm going to amp up my networking a few notches once I get some time away from work.

Good luck at your new job, you deserve it.

"Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a Champion" - Muhammad Ali

May 25, 2011
George87:

Key takeaways that I think you need if you want to be successful in this business:
1. Be confident, smile and be cool (or fake it 'till you make it)
2. Hustle hustle hustle (be aggressive/proactive, network your ass off, you never know who you might run into and what doors they can open for you)
3. Work harder than your peers - I was the first one in/last one to leave everyday
4. Be humble, admit what and that you don't know and definitely DON'T LIE ABOUT IT!
5. Show that you're willing to learn
6. Remember, what you put in is what you will eventually get out of it.

I like these.

May 25, 2011

My takeway from this. He sent out 100 resumes to different firms and the only one he got in with was the one where he knew someone who worked there. Aka have a friend and have him help you get into the business. Networking always the most important.

So you are romanian? I am from DC and have tons of romanian friends there. DC has lots of romanians. Shoot me a PM and I can send you in the right direction.

The one who does not fall, does not stand up

    • 1
Oct 11, 2018
ProdigyOfZen:

My takeway from this. He sent out 100 resumes to different firms and the only one he got in with was the one where he knew someone who worked there. Aka have a friend and have him help you get into the business. Networking always the most important.

So you are romanian? I am from DC and have tons of romanian friends there. DC has lots of romanians. Shoot me a PM and I can send you in the right direction.

Exactly. I had a few people come an speak to my entrepreneurship class while in undergrad and every last one of them said that networking was the most important thing you can do while in school. It amazed me that they always seemed to know someone at any place they went throughout their careers.

That stuck with me from that day forward and it's crazy how accurate it has turned out to be.

Oct 14, 2018
ProdigyOfZen:

My takeway from this. He sent out 100 resumes to different firms and the only one he got in with was the one where he knew someone who worked there. Aka have a friend and have him help you get into the business. Networking always the most important.

This is true, but I am confident that the 100 resume, initial phone calls and networking calls helped him get polished for that 1 interview that he got referred. I think its extremely important to do both, aka spray & pray and network.

    • 1
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May 25, 2011

This is herculean. There is a 99% fail ratio for any one seeking visa/work sponsorship for US employment -- any job, from low-level data entry to M&A. The fact you found employment at all given your necessity for sponsorship and work in IB is really testament. Felicitari (sp) bro.

It really is amazing to hear stories like yours vs. ppl I know @ Ivy/targets who turn down solid low-BB IBD employment because they "deserve" something better. SB to you buddy, keep that fire going and kick ass @ ur job, you fckng earned it.

Jun 12, 2011
DurbanDiMangus:

This is herculean. There is a 99% fail ratio for any one seeking visa/work sponsorship for US employment -- any job, from low-level data entry to M&A. The fact you found employment at all given your necessity for sponsorship and work in IB is really testament. Felicitari (sp) bro.

It really is amazing to hear stories like yours vs. ppl I know @ Ivy/targets who turn down solid low-BB IBD employment because they "deserve" something better. SB to you buddy, keep that fire going and kick ass @ ur job, you fckng earned it.

I was thinking the same thing. It's difficult to find places that will sponsor, let alone a MM firm, so OP lucked out... or in his case worked his ass off.

May 25, 2011

This is awesome! Congrats bro, keep at it.

May 25, 2011

Thanks guys, it means a lot. As they say in Romanian "Multumesc mult"

May 30, 2011

Silver banana to you bro. Stories like this shows me that impossible is nothing.

May 30, 2011

congrats man - sounds like you deserved it!

Best Response
May 30, 2011

^^^^^^Social Fraternity alumni is the greatest untapped networking resource there is.

I applied to a ton of places online, networked at an event at school hosted by a major bank (Only event at my school), and reached for alum at my social fraternity.

Out of the three:

  • Got two PWM internships online
  • Met the head of recruitment at the event, referred me to another recruitment person, informal interview on the phone, offer for a FT job on the phone that I had to reject.
  • an alum decided to mentor me, got me two interviews: one at a hedge fund as a junior trader, another an exploratory interview with someone really high up at a bank here, and has been working to find me a job at his trading desk. He gave me tips to make myself more marketable and has always bowed for me even tho he just met me.

How I got my job: I worked my ass off in the second PWM internship, the IA referred me to someone and I got a call from him, next day I had an interview.

    • 2
Jun 6, 2011

Nice work, congrats!!

Jun 12, 2011

Congrats and bravo. Hard work still pays off.

Jun 14, 2011

Very cool, congrats. Hard work and knowing the right people is the key to success.

Jun 14, 2011

Way to go man!

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Oct 11, 2018

Congrats on the job and the visa sponsorship, that's no easy feat. You deserve it

Oct 12, 2018

I found especially number 4 to be so accurate. In interviews people do not care if you admit you don't know something, as long as you don't start bullshitting them and stay humble. Good post and congrats!

Oct 16, 2018

Sounds like you've faced some serious adversity. Congrats on your offer.