A Story of Breaking out of BO/MO Hell

Thank you to everyone on WSO for giving me the tools and courage to pursue this huge career change. After 6 months of slowly decaying in a middle office role, I was finally able to land a FO Coverage role at a BB (think Deutsche/BMO/UBS). Here is my story:

My Background:

I came from an extreme non-target with a horrible GPA (~2.5). I was a shithead in HS and most of college and partied almost everyday. During my junior year, I became really interested in challenging myself with a career in IB and other sophisticated financial services. So I busted my ass to land a bunch of internships in various fields of finance, but was still unable to close on any IB Analyst roles. During full-time recruiting, I snagged a backup MO offer at a multi-national IB on the West Coast.

Getting out of Middle Office Hell:

I was somewhat comfortable with it because I was able to negotiate an all in salary of ~80k, and thought I could try to lateral internally. However after the first couple weeks, I knew immediately that it would never happen and that I needed to GTFO of living hell. The combination of mind-numbing work and a clash with the MO culture was not the best place to be in. It definitely took a toll on me, led to depression and unfortunately went back to my old partying ways. Lost my girlfriend of a few years and fell into a deep spiral, but the hope of a better career/life kept me pushing on.

Interview for a Front Office role:

After months of networking and cold-calling, a dozen phone screens and two superdays with no offer, I started to get discouraged. However, I kept at it and kept finely tuning my resume and deal-experience. Then one day as I was looking through online job boards, I fired off a blind application online that turned into a superday. Due to my lack of FO experience, I was heavily grilled on technicals and behavior, but was able to successfully navigate it with ease because of the interview guides from WSO. In the end, I believe my understanding and passion for the business of banking really sold me as a candidate. As I was being walked out by an MD, he basically hinted at a verbal offer. Got the written today.

Success!

I credit my success to never giving up and being relentless. Being in the right place and the right time was crucial, as well as having an immaculate, well-formatted resume. Coming from a BO role with little FO experience, utilizing the WSO interview guide (http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/investment-ba...) was crucial to giving me a basic outline on how to prepare for technicals. I'm happy to answer any questions, give out any advice to anyone else who is in my shoes, whether it be a life-draining BO job or a poor GPA.

Happy fucking new year everyone.

Mod note (Andy): Throwback Thursday - this was originally posted Jan 2017

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Comments (26)

Dec 31, 2016

Great story man, how did you explain your poor GPA?

Dec 31, 2016

I omitted it on my resume, and it never came up in any of my super days. My resume honestly did not have room for it, it was really structured around my internship/deal experience. I think acting real humble, understanding my technicals and confidence in my own capability gave my interviewers no reason to probe further.

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Dec 31, 2016

Uh, since when is BMO considered an "international BB"?

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Best Response
Dec 31, 2016

Think we know where he's at.

    • 19
Jan 3, 2017

Classic game of "one of these things is not like the others"

    • 2
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Dec 31, 2016

good job. Happy New Year. Way to hustle and make it stick

Funniest
Jan 2, 2017

To escape back office, I just got a MBA and partied for two years, seems easier.

    • 20
    • 1
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Jan 2, 2017

Recently did something similar congrats man - what deal experience were you speaking about?

Dec 31, 2016

During my junior year in college, I took an unpaid internship at a search fund that worked on lower middle market sized LBOs. Without giving too much away, I sourced a deal and helped with the lbo model. Great talking point during my interviews and a big bullet point that helped my resume pass through online applications.

Jan 3, 2017

Congrats on the transition- obviously not an easy one to make (speaking from experience)

Jan 3, 2017

Congrats, man. I would love to see a "day in the life" MO/BO thread.

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Jan 4, 2017

I wanted to off myself

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Jan 9, 2018

LOL that's the whole story? "I wanted to off myself. The end."

    • 1
Jan 3, 2017

Happy new year

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

Jan 3, 2017

what was so bad about back office? Also, how do you know you are going to like front office so much more when you still have not experienced the hours?

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Jan 3, 2017

Congrats on the offer! Great job, really shows that persistence pays off.

Can you please go a bit further into your deal experience? Was this from your internship, as there isn't really much/any of that in MO unless I am missing something.

Dec 31, 2016

I posted above about some previous internship experience I had with MM PE

Jan 3, 2017

Congrats dude. I'm in a similar spot right now (got blown out of a hedge fund, whatever). Good to know there's still hope.. MBA/partying path does seem tempting though not gonna lie.

May 20, 2017

Congrats man,
How did you highlight relevant experience coming out of MO? Im looking to make a move at some point out of MO but Im not sure how my relevant my work experience is. Did you look for activities outside of work to put on your resume to highlight interest/experience?

May 21, 2017

Congrats! Gotta admit, I always like these stories. Curious, can you give us your age range and what level (e.g. A1-3, Assoc1-3, junior VP) you'll be coming in as? I'm guessing you're mid/late 20s and coming in as Assoc 1, but always interested in learning as age/level is pretty well defined in the industry.

Dec 31, 2016

Actually, I just turned 23. Coming in as a first year analyst.

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May 24, 2017

I found just getting the interview was by far the hardest part. Must have applied to 100+ roles over a year when i was in MO/BO, maybe got 4-5 callbacks, and one eventually lead to a FO job. You definitely learn what works and what doesn't as you go along.
Broadening your horizon also helps, and doesn't necessarily mean lowering your standards.

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Jan 10, 2018

This guy is very lucky - only 6 months to transition and his job was 80k coming from a non target w/ low GPA. Jeez you should be counting your blessings buddy.

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Aug 24, 2018

Exactly what I was thinking, i'd buy a lottery ticket.

Aug 28, 2018
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