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.
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:
- Be confident, smile and be cool (or fake it 'till you make it)
- 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
- Work harder than your peers - I was the first one in/last one to leave everyday
- Be humble, admit what and that you don't know and definitely DON'T LIE ABOUT IT!
Willingness to learn
- Show that you're willing to learn
- 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