A slightly different situation (feedback wanted)

I went to a top 10 target school (somewhere in the Midwest!) for a BA in Economics for undergrad. I did okay (~3.5) and graduated in June of last year/'08.

By my 3rd year in college, I was able to get most second round BB interviews (including GS, ML, etc) but not the final summer internship offer so I had to take my safety which was an equity research position at Bank of America Securities (BofA). Got the job/call back for FT. Converted the equity research FT to a job offer in IBanking (after re-interviewing for those positions from scratch).

Fast forward to a week before graduation when I get a call from BofA rescinding my offer on the grounds that they were unable to get me a work permit (I am a [South Asian Country] citizen). This happened to international students every year prior but they generally moved international candidates to London as a stop-gap until they got authorized to work back in the US - not an option they were going to offer to me given the circumstances/market conditions that had begun to unfold by then (June 08).

I looked around for a bit, but it was mostly too late by then for most places (in the US and elsewhere) in terms of opps for fresh grads so I had to come back to [South Asian Country] where I started working at a small local bank, but the top IB shop in [South Asian Country](affiliated to a top 10 global BB - i.e. local partners of said BB).

The problem is, as bad as the deal environment has been in the US, its been worse down here. I haven't closed a single deal in the ~11/12 months I've been here. Also, given that its a small office, they don't have a formalized traning program for the new analysts (who end up working on 'text-based' assignments for most of the first year: IM's, Presentations, Pitch books - and are only very slowly broken into the analytical part of it over time - generally starting second year'ish). Insanenly enough, they still manage to give us enough work to keep us here late (although admittedly not till 2am every night) and I clock around 70/80 hrs on avg (some all nighers but not that many). I've pitched many an opportunity, none of which have sadly followed through to the very end (and even if they had, these are USD 20-50 mm deals at the most)

This is the status quo, so to speak, and something I'd like to change asap.

My goals are to:

1) go to a top 5-10 B-School within the next 2-3 years

2) I'd like to change geographies (i.e. go back to a NY or a London...or even an HK or a Dubai - any 'major' financial center)

3) I'd still like to learn valuation/finance (its not like I haven't learned anything, but not enough - I still couldn't make a model completely from scratch although through general interest I could probably make a basic model). This is a very important point, I'd like to go to a place that really teaches you a lot (even if it does so by putting me through my paces)

4) Work at a place that is a large global firm, with a globally recognized brand cache. This is also very important to me, not just for point 1) but for other reasons as well. For all intents and purposes, prestige matters, although I wouldn't define it as narrowly as just top BBs. Prestige probably equals (to me) a top global firm with a good reputation in whatever business lines it is involved in.

With the above in mind, I'm not as closed to non-IB opps as I was (although that remains the preference). I'm open to IB, PE, Corp Fin at top 5 global acc firms, M&A dept. at large companies, etc (even asset management, but finance still important). Basically anything that fits the above categories. Pay is not a huge motivating factor at this stage of my career although I do have to be above average (in $ terms, prolly at least 60-90k range (all comp included) - depending on living expenses of location, etc).

My question, and I have to apologize for the length of this post, is how do I go about finding said dream job...and doing so quickly (I'd really like to leave [South Asian Country] asap), i.e. what should I be doing and how?

It was easy to apply for jobs in college as a student, but career services from my school go to 0 after being out of school for a year. Alums are a long shot, if that. What resources should I be looking at?

What places are hiring (firms/depts)? I figure I'll probably have to re-position myself as an entry-level candidate (i.e. Analyst program all over again in IB terms), but I'm okay with that if those 4 conditions hold. The economy is by no means in full swing, but I feel like the carnage (at least seemingly) is over and the job environment is better than it was last time I went job hunting a year ago...I just hope I'm not too late for recruiting cycles.


PS Great website. I've seen some very insightful comments. If you've got an IB background particularly, and can offer some words of wisdom, whether you're an MD, VP, Associate, Analyst, whatever...(anything other than current student!) please feel free to pass it on. I'm all ears.

Thanks in advance,

Comments (5)

Oct 1, 2009 - 3:58pm


I have added my resume, for those interested...just ignore the fact that it says PE. While I am technically doing PE here, its a small office, so when there isn't much PE work I do work for IB (as does the PE associate - PE team is very new and has the same MD - yah, thats the emerging markets for you!)...Either way, my experience in the IB team would have been no different in this case, so please disregard that detail if it's a hangup for you.

Also, given that I want to move as soon as I can (I feel like I am wasting my time right now with respect to general career plan), I am not really eligible for all the FT recruiting going on right now - as, unless I'm mistaken, they are hiring analysts for class of '10 - quite a few months away (~9 months - almost another year...at which point I wouldn't be willing to re-start as an analyst).

Oct 1, 2009 - 5:06pm

I can't comment specifically on who is hiring right now, but I assume you've gone back to BofA to see whether they could place you now in London since things have in fact picked up in the market. Also, have you circled back to every bank because some in fact may have a need for someone right now. Would you trigger the same work permit problem (I'm not sure why you need one if you're a US citizen). I know that some banks are stretched very thin right now because of all the layoffs and the recent pickup in business. They may be willing to bring someone on right now.

Gotta Mentor Connect to the Advice & People You Need to Achieve Your Career Goals
Oct 2, 2009 - 3:34am

Thanks for the feedback. It didn't show the fact that I had written I am a "[South Asian Country]" citizen - I think it got treated as an HTML tag and so was not displayed in the post - so to clarify, I am NOT a US citizen.

When you say circle back to banks - are you referring to just general apps on their websites or some other means of communication.

Thanks again and thanks also for the few private messages I have received for this. Feedback in all its forms is appreciated :)

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