I've been a long-time WSO reader and have read countless AMA's that have helped me out along the way, and with FT recruiting in full swing I thought it'd be cool to share my story and give whatever advice I could to people in similar situations to myself.
So first I'll start with my background: I went to a small liberal arts school (non-target) and doubled majored in econ/pre-med (3.4 GPA). I was a varsity athlete and had a couple of awards to my name but nothing even remotely transferrable to finance. After not knowing what field I wanted to go into, I got my start junior year summer with a part-timeat a in (and when I say part-time I mean I was in the office two days a week, 3 tops).
Senior year came around and I spread myself thin applying to whatever had the name "analyst" in the job title, given the limited opportunities for OCR at a non-target. Needless to say, I struck out miserably and wound up in April, with just a month and a half to go before graduation, without a job lined up. Ultimately I landed an internship in retail wealth management (I know what you're all thinking) at a big international bank. Not even remotely attractive, but it got my foot in the door and I knew I could leverage the brand value, if nothing else, to help get me somewhere better.
The summer went by uneventfully, meeting with anyone with the 5 spare minutes to talk. After building up some rapport within my bank, I got a few interviews, only to find myself once again coming up short. So the end of the summer found me as an intern still, with nothig promising in the works. Luckily I extended my internship, and that's when things started to take off. Not wanting to end up an intern forever, I stepped up the networking and wrote anreport (obviously nothing stellar) to have something concrete to show to the people I was meeting with. Fast forward to early October (having shopped the report around to anyone who reads them/could give me advice or feedback) and I managed to land interviews with the team at my current bank, and ER at another BB firm (even though its completely off cycle). Somehow I managed to land offers from both, and in case you were wondering, the ER job is the clear front runner.
It just goes to show that these things really can happen if you play your cards right. If someone told me a guy with PWM and retail wealth management internships would wind up with these two offers I wouldn't believe it, and yet here I am. And to anyone who reads theabout how hard it is to get out of wealth management, and from a non-target no less, I'm not here to say its easy. The struggle is real. But it really is possible, so feel free to ask me anything