Another Non Target Success Story

Hey fellow chimps. I am excited to say that I finally landed a full time analyst position with a boutique investment bank. I did not have the typical route to IB. I never even had a finance internship during my undergrad. During my senior year I discovered my passion for IB and started networking my way into phone calls and coffee chats. A few months go by and I totally messed up 2 super days a year ago. I ended up taking the WSO interview and modeling courses while I enrolled in a Masters of Finance degree after I couldn't find a job during the peak of the pandemic last May. After networking vigorously from a non target and taking internships while going to school I was able to finally land a full time analyst position. A couple of items that made me stand out from other candidates despite coming from a non target school, and lacking IB internships included the following:

  1. Always make a cover letter and try to find out who is interviewing you.
  2. Know your technical flash cards well, and have a good understanding of the financial statements.
  3. Consider a masters or an mba to help you stand out from other candidates.
  4. Don't be afraid to reach out to people via LinkedIn or send a cold email to a firm. Especially if you can get an alumni connection.
  5. Don't give up your search. It truly is a numbers game and it took me 4 super days to figure it out, and finally land the job on the 5th.

Best of luck to those of you that are still searching. It took me over a year and a half to break in, but it is worth it.

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Comments (31)

Jun 6, 2021 - 8:01am

Grats on the offer as a fellow non-target who broke in. 

I gotta ask how did a cover letter help you? To me from both the perspective of being the guy sending them and the one evaluating them, they've held absolutely no value.

  • 4
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Jun 6, 2021 - 12:49pm


Grats on the offer as a fellow non-target who broke in. 

I gotta ask how did a cover letter help you? To me from both the perspective of being the guy sending them and the one evaluating them, they've held absolutely no value.

I've heard this from a lot of recruiters, it's a tie breaker on occasion but more often than not, you're in or you're not

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jun 8, 2021 - 6:23pm

Can confirm this after doing interviews for my EB

When going through a stack of candidates we screen by resume then go through and, if between 2 candidates, will see how much each of them wants to be here based on their Cover Letter. Unless you're on the line, a CL isn't going to put you over for most positions as there is simply too much content for us to go through. 

Jun 6, 2021 - 12:57pm

I can only speak from my experience, and yours may differ. However, I started to notice that firms where I just shot over my resume I would be rejected 9/10. When I added a job detailed cover letter catered to the firm, I noticed that I was significantly getting more calls back. The success rate would also go up if the email was to an alumni connection, or if you can find the name of the VP/Associate or whomever is interviewing you for round 1. This is just my experience and it may differ for everyone.

Jun 9, 2021 - 10:33pm

Awesome insight. Thank you, I will keep in mind when talking to prospects / applicants.

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Jun 6, 2021 - 3:49pm

Good job man, huge congrats to you! I second the technical flash cards, I made quizlet sets to prepare. I think it's good to intuitively understand the concepts behind financial statements, DCFs, LBOs, valuation etc but a lot of technical questions you want to have very polished and smooth and automatic. Love that you got the job and happy for you! Go celebrate!

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Jun 7, 2021 - 1:06am

Big props to you man, also fellow non-target who got IB FT without an previous IB position. Let's fuck around and get paid.

Jun 7, 2021 - 2:24am

You´re a King, and don´t let anyone tell you otherwise

...and the Truth shall set you free
  • 2
Jun 8, 2021 - 5:20pm

New here but I'm an ex internal recruiter (UBS, citadel, credit Suisse +) and am now on search side and wished i could've helped you!

I have so many banking roles at top firms so if you have friends looking pls send them my way.

Good luck to you in the new role and congrats!!

Debbie Gollin


Jun 9, 2021 - 2:20am

Hey man I'm in a similar situation -- just graduated with a BBA in Finance from an NYC non-target. Didn't have finance internships, or any internships for that matter. Do you think going for a masters program is a good idea? 

Jun 9, 2021 - 8:35am

Yes I think it is a good idea because while you're finishing school you can use your school email to network. It seems like your school email is a free pass for people to take the time of day to talk with you. Plus you will solidify your finance knowledge and standout from kids with just an undergrad degree. It will help a lot on the backend of your career also. I would either go with a masters of finance or an MBA in finance and try to start off as an associate out the gates.

Jun 10, 2021 - 5:23pm

Congrats. VP here, heavily involved in recruiting process - Masters of Finance may be helpful, but don't recommend anyone get an MBA to try to break in. There's no way we can recruit a post-MBA analyst, you'll just get dismissed immediately as a low quality Associate applicant rather than a non-traditional Analyst applicant

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