AMA: extreme poverty to non target to investment banking

johndoe2019's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 697

Hello everyone, I am sharing this because Andy and Patrick said it may be useful for some younger users. I legitimately believe that WSO helped me get my career started.

About me: I grew up in the roughest part of town nearby a big city (think Ferguson Missouri, Flatbush Brooklyn, Baltimore, Detroit, etc). My dad was a substance abuser and my mom found "homes" by finding a new boyfriend to move in with. I had two brothers and sisters.

I didn't finish high school because we got evicted when I was 16 and we couldn't find any place to stay. I got a GED and worked for a landscaping company.

Anyways after doing that for a few years I got mad at my boss one day, quit, and enrolled at a community college. From there I transferred to the closest four year university with the thought "ok ill major in business!" with no other plan.

I got interested in banking my sophomore year but too late in the game to be on the right cycle for internship recruiting, so I missed out on any summer analyst roles. I also had to work full time to support myself so I had a job as an overnight stocker at a big retailer from 11pm to 7am, took classes from 9am to 4pm. I also drove for Uber on weekends.

My junior and senior years I did a bunch of local internships from my schools on campus recruiting. They all sucked. "Intern - accounting" was my title. I essentially licked stamps, surfed the web, data entry, etc.

My big break came when I decided I wanted to network heavily. I made it my goal to contact 10 strangers per day. I had literally zero alumni network in banking. After 6 months of doing this I found a guy who for whatever reason took pity on me and he made an introduction to his buddies who managed a very small hedge fund in NYC. They had me do a crazy long interview which included a case study where I had to build a 3 step model from scratch in under a couple hours and then make an investment pitch. They let me come on as a pseudo intern for a couple months with no chance for a full time offer, but I took it anyway.

So I paid for the resume service here and I started applying for jobs in July / August and through that short experience at the hedge fund I got an interview with a very large investment bank, who loved my story and gave me a full time offer on the spot.

I've been at this role about a year now and I get buy side offers almost every day through LinkedIn and I'm getting ready for business school in case that doesn't work out. My life literally never would have taken me this far if a kid at school had not told me "you should check out Wall Street oasis."

Anyways, ask me anything.