Bio: tl;dr version: non-target, non-major, also had a sub average GPA in undergrad but compensated with a higher grad GPA and work experience.
I went to a non-target, east coast, liberal arts college and graduated with a biology major. Originally, I intended to pursue a career in medicine, so I found full-time work at a prestigious medical hospital in the NYC area, where I worked for some two years. After doing the "white-coat" gig and a few volunteer activities (e.g., working at a hospital in a clinical setting), I realized this is not what I wanted. At first, it was kind of alarming because I had spent the latter part of my life (6 years) focusing on best positioning myself to become a doctor, and now, here I was wanting to do something else, but I had no idea what!
Thus begun my long journey, involving lots of networking and relentless job search. I focused on my strong points - what was my background and my experience? It all spelled science/research/medicine, so I focused on selling those points. I quit my job as a researcher and then worked part-time at a CVS pharmacy (as a tech) until I landed something better. I took accounting/of the library and bought the Breaking Into Wall St program to try giving myself an edge and show interviewers I was eager to learn. But no one bit, and people I had networked with said it would be a very, very long and uphill battle if I wanted to make it into a role at a bank, even with my background.
I guess I'll go into it later if asked, but I eventually landed a job at a pharmaceutical company, working within a business operations role (Pricing). Even though I knew it was not a finance role, I knew I had to bridge that gap of business background somehow. In addition, I managed to network into a MSF Part-time program in NYC. For an entire year, I worked my 9-5pm pharmaceutical job, while working on graduate school homework/projects, in addition to continuing to network/attend informational sessions.
About 3 months into it, I had finally landed an interview at a middle market bank for an Equity Research position, which I had failed to impress the Analyst, but it was a start! For lack of better words, it fueled my desire to push harder because I knew I was starting to receive some attention and people were starting to take me more seriously for such roles. More interviews started popping up: MM IBs (e.g.,, PJC, ), small boutiques, and elite boutiques ( , , )...these were for either, investment banking analyst roles or associate roles, all within the life sciences space - my bread and butter. After a year, I had two offers for equity research associate roles - ironically, both were at MM banks. I chose the one that I felt most connected with and had the best interview process with, not necessarily the one that granted me the most money.