AMA: Non-target to Fixed Income S&T Analyst

Hey WSO, happy to answer your questions today and tomorrow. I can answer any questions regarding:

  • networking
  • application process
  • interviewing/interview prep process
  • recruiting process
  • school courses to take
  • how to take advantage of linkedin
  • cold emailing

Click inside the post to read my bio.

My Bio:

Upcoming 2015 graduate at a Non-Target majoring in Finance, with an economics minor (Sub 3.0 overall GPA). Landed Full-Time Fixed Income S&T role out of undergrad. I had previous internships at a global macro hedge fund, financial communications firm,equity research shop, and a 10 week Summer Analyst role at a European Investment Bank.

Region: 
All Europe

Comments (30)

Apr 21, 2015

Hi, I know this isn't listed in the stuff you are covering but I was wondering if you knew anything about Structured Finance trading/structuring roles?

Thanks and congratz!

Apr 21, 2015
Knap:

Hi, I know this isn't listed in the stuff you are covering but I was wondering if you knew anything about Structured Finance trading/structuring roles?

Thanks and congratz!

Well, what do you want to know about structured finance/structuring? If you have any specific questions you can always shoot me a personal message.

Apr 21, 2015

how did you bypass HR screenings?

Best Response
Apr 21, 2015
kyc133enydc:

how did you bypass HR screenings?

I didn't! I never got a call back from HR when applying to positions online. I learned this the hard way after numerous applications. Eventually, after applying to a certain position, I would for example google "Morgan Stanley S&T Campus Recruiting HR LinkedIn."

Using this strategy, I was able to obtain the names of certain HR employees within the organization. I was then able to guess their emails (a majority of emails are just [email protected]). I would then email the HR employee asking to set up a 5 minute phone call that week. It's all about getting your resume in front of the right people and building relationships.

I knew that my resume would never make it past the HR screenings, so I had to force my resume to be seen. I found the above email tactics to work successfully.

    • 4
Apr 21, 2015

Thanks. Some follow up questions if you don't mind: who do you mean by "the right people"? how exactly did you make the ask?

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Apr 22, 2015

If HR agrees to speak with you for 5 minutes, what exactly do you say in that amount of time to sell your resume? And why would HR even agree to speak with you?

Apr 21, 2015

What was your networking strategies? With your gpa, how did you land all those internships prior to S&T? Thanks and congrats

Apr 21, 2015
mshiddensecret:

What was your networking strategies? With your gpa, how did you land all those internships prior to S&T? Thanks and congrats

First off, I attended every possible event hosted on campus (finance society, global business, econ society, etc.) After the events I always got the speakers business cards and made sure to email them the next day with a quick thank you and to set up a future phone call/meeting/coffee.

Secondly, I abused LinkedIn! LinkedIn is a very powerful tool! Under the "Connections" tab, there's a link for "Find Alumni." You can search for any company you want and see who works or has worked there from your school. From there, you can either reach out via LinkedIn or guess their emails based on the company they work at and send them a quick email. These guys were all once in your shoes and more than 90% of them are willing to help out.

    • 2
Apr 22, 2015

thanks for your time and sharing your background. great story, and good to know such a success story exists.

a few questions:

how did you get those internships in the first place? same process as how you got the full time gig?

specifically for fixed-income: if you don't have the internships, and gpa is middling (3.1-3.4), plus non-target how would you suggest demonstrating value to get an interview? through technical know-how of interest rates, bonds, derivatives? how far would that technical knowledge go? what would be other components to focus on?

finally, as someone inside the system and with seniors around you, how would you recommend getting in?

thank you again!

Apr 22, 2015
bluesbreaker13:

thanks for your time and sharing your background. great story, and good to know such a success story exists.

a few questions:

how did you get those internships in the first place? same process as how you got the full time gig?

specifically for fixed-income: if you don't have the internships, and gpa is middling (3.1-3.4), plus non-target how would you suggest demonstrating value to get an interview? through technical know-how of interest rates, bonds, derivatives? how far would that technical knowledge go? what would be other components to focus on?

finally, as someone inside the system and with seniors around you, how would you recommend getting in?

thank you again!

Thanks a lot. I appreciate the kind words.

My first internship at the HF I got through a teacher at school. I did well in my financial management class and he recommended me. After that, I was just super aggressive and got all the internships with the tactics listed above.

As to demonstrating value and standing apart from the rest during interviews, you really want to be on top of your shit! Be comfortable chatting about general macroeconomics; know where rates are, how the ECB decisions affects the US, etc.

Other than that, as I'm sure you know, you want to be a likable guy! Specifically for S&T, you're with the same guys on a crowded desk for 10-12 hours a day. Possibly even more than knowing your technicals, you want to show that you're a normal dude and that they can sit with you for countless hours.

Lastly, to get in, I would recommend being fucking aggressive. Download "streak" - it's an add-on for Gmail. It allows you to schedule emails to be sent out at later times and allows you to see when the recipient has opened the email. For example, if I sent my resume and a note to someone and they opened it and didn't respond, I would then follow up 2 days later. Always be polite in all emails! Never come off as arrogant. Also, luck and timing are huge factors. I personally liked to send emails on friday afternoons after lunch. People tend to be in good moods on Friday afternoons as they're anticipating the weekend. On the contrary, I would never send an email on a Monday morning with people are already swamped with emails from the weekend.

Good luck!

Apr 22, 2015

thank you for the tips. it seems a lot of the little things i.e. emailing at the right time of the day/week do add up to make that difference in combination with the big things i.e. persistence and networking.

one question when being aggressive; if one person in a team did not reply, did you reach out to others in the same team or did you not want to run the risk of being that "guy who email everyone" (even if it was just 2 folks) -- where did you draw the line and move on?

how has work been the past 6, 7 months? what kind of tasks have they had you do as an entry level?

thank you again man!

Apr 22, 2015

Thanks for doing this. Beyond your work experience and networking, would you say that extracurricular activities or clubs you were involved in made a difference in whether you got an offer or not? How much weight do you think the recruiters apply to something like clubs vs. work experience vs. grades?

I ask because I'm seriously struggling to find activities that I think are worth getting involved in, but I'm relatively fine on other ends.

Also, what classes do you recommend taking for your position?

Apr 22, 2015
Plainview:

Thanks for doing this. Beyond your work experience and networking, would you say that extracurricular activities or clubs you were involved in made a difference in whether you got an offer or not? How much weight do you think the recruiters apply to something like clubs vs. work experience vs. grades?

I ask because I'm seriously struggling to find activities that I think are worth getting involved in, but I'm relatively fine on other ends.

Also, what classes do you recommend taking for your position?

Then why not start a club? I don't think clubs carry as much weight as work exp or gpa, but founding a club at your school can really help you out: Economics club, Alternative Investments club, International Biz club, IB Club, Trading club, etc.

Classes: Financial Modeling, Fixed Income, ANY and AS MANY accounting classes as you can take.

Apr 22, 2015

Congrats on breaking in! It's very interesting that you mention networking with HR. It's often common that employees will chose to refer a particular applicant to HR, who then potentially act upon that to set up an interview. Are you saying that at times, you bypassed front office staff and went directly to contacting HR to passing your cv onto another HR colleague? And if so, how successful was this approach?

Bitch please, I love bananas! If you found my advice useful, hit me up with one.

Apr 23, 2015
Black Star:

Congrats on breaking in! It's very interesting that you mention networking with HR. It's often common that employees will chose to refer a particular applicant to HR, who then potentially act upon that to set up an interview. Are you saying that at times, you bypassed front office staff and went directly to contacting HR to passing your cv onto another HR colleague? And if so, how successful was this approach?

If I knew someone at the firm directly on the team I was applying to; I'd reach out to them! If I didn't know them personally or could be connected to them through someone in my network, then I would "cold email" HR after I submitted my application. I wouldn't say it's the most successful approach, but for my situation it had to be done. I had a shitty overall GPA (decent major gpa: 3.5-3.6) and went to a non-target. Luckily, the only thing I had going for me was the good work experience. Once I got that first interview, my GPA was never brought up ONCE.

Apr 25, 2015
HopelessIntern:

"Black Star" wrote:
Congrats on breaking in! It's very interesting that you mention networking with HR. It's often common that employees will chose to refer a particular applicant to HR, who then potentially act upon that to set up an interview. Are you saying that at times, you bypassed front office staff and went directly to contacting HR to passing your cv onto another HR colleague? And if so, how successful was this approach?

If I knew someone at the firm directly on the team I was applying to; I'd reach out to them! If I didn't know them personally or could be connected to them through someone in my network, then I would "cold email" HR after I submitted my application. I wouldn't say it's the most successful approach, but for my situation it had to be done. I had a shitty overall GPA (decent major gpa: 3.5-3.6) and went to a non-target. Luckily, the only thing I had going for me was the good work experience. Once I got that first interview, my GPA was never brought up ONCE.

Congrats! Its not very easy to break in these days, especially in Asia where I am from. I would say that the GPA feat is probably one of the most noteworthy. However I would attribute it to your stellar internships. I am from an Engineering background and at one of my BB S&T Summer Analyst interviews I was asked why my GPA is below 3.8-3.9 (I was 3.7+). I really didn't know how to answer that.

Apr 22, 2015

Thanks again for your insights. Congratulations again - its no mean feat. One last question and apologies if I am missing something obvious: why the focus on any and all accounting classes for a fixed income role?

Apr 23, 2015
bluesbreaker13:

Thanks again for your insights. Congratulations again - its no mean feat. One last question and apologies if I am missing something obvious: why the focus on any and all accounting classes for a fixed income role?

Thanks a lot! And No worries. I just believe that many of the fundamental skills needed for a career in business, including assessing profitability and evaluating financial statements, can be learned through an accounting course. I can't tell you how many kids in my senior graduating class can't link the 3 major financial statements. Although not exactly needed for a career in S&T, I do think it can be extremely helpful. A lot of the skills needed for S&T can't be taught in class, but will be learned through the training program and time/experience.

Apr 23, 2015

So awesome to see more and more of these stories pop up. If you're from a non target or target/low GPA and you feel like you aren't going to make it, you're wrong, but you need to work for it. All the resources, like this thread, are out there for you to learn and ultimately get what you want. I had a relatively mediocre GPA and was still able to get what I wanted because I fine tuned my attention to what mattered as OP essentially discussed above.

Apr 23, 2015
EnergyHOU:

So awesome to see more and more of these stories pop up. If you're from a non target or target/low GPA and you feel like you aren't going to make it, you're wrong, but you need to work for it. All the resources, like this thread, are out there for you to learn and ultimately get what you want. I had a relatively mediocre GPA and was still able to get what I wanted because I fine tuned my attention to what mattered as OP essentially discussed above.

Congratulations to you as well!
Here's a good WSJ article to display the hard work that needs to be put in:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-300-emails-led-to-...

Apr 26, 2015
ramenmonkey1:

do you go to binghamton lol??

nope

Apr 25, 2015

Congrats on landing FT,

I'm in a similar situation as yourself, non-target and will be interning this summer doing Fixed Income S&T as well. My question for you is which desk are you trying to get on? I want to have a decent idea of what desks are hot now. Any advice for how to stand out this summer as an intern?

Thanks

Apr 26, 2015
CyberTiger:

Congrats on landing FT,

I'm in a similar situation as yourself, non-target and will be interning this summer doing Fixed Income S&T as well. My question for you is which desk are you trying to get on? I want to have a decent idea of what desks are hot now. Any advice for how to stand out this summer as an intern?

Thanks

I'm personally looking to get onto the rates or FX desk. I'd be interested in macro driven products. But at the end of the day, I'll go wherever they place me just because I'm lucky to have a job!

As for interning, just make yourself useful! You'll see once you're there how that works. Try and help out in any what way, but don't be annoying.

Apr 26, 2015

just wanna get in on this for future info, and congrats dude I'm a non target as well still trying

Apr 27, 2015
theebreadwinner:

just wanna get in on this for future info, and congrats dude I'm a non target as well still trying

Good luck man! Keep working hard and eventually it'll pay off. Keep me updated on your progress.

May 3, 2015
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Feb 10, 2016
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