Chances?? Advice??

So...I am just about to start my senior year at a total non-target, small private school in the state of FL. We have NO, I repeat NO recruiting at my school by big banks other then for financial advising and some wealth management. Despite very limited opportunities, I was able to spend 2 semesters at a recently formed PE firm, focusing on the lower middle market with roughly 100MM AUM. Although the firm is new, all of the partners have previous experience at other firms. One was the founder of a rather well known lower MM firm, another was a partner there for several years and the other founded a different lower MM PE firm. All of them have fairly extensive experience in PE focusing on the lower MM.

Additionally, I have spent 1 semester with a small, VC arm of a large, well known regional investment services firm. As of now it looks like I might be asked to stay on for the next semester and continue to work their until the end of the year.

My school is viewed as somewhat "prestigious" in the area, but is not well known outside of the state of FL. I will likely graduate with a 3.5 or 3.6 and I am a single major, finance, and have no ECs, as I have worked to put myself through school for the last 3 years. Unfortunately I put more stock in my internships than maybe I should have. They have been great experiences but it is pretty much certain that I won't receive an offer from either of these places so I need to start submitting resumes. I know my scholastic resume isn't stellar but will firms make some exceptions for my GPA and my lack of ECs because I have worked the whole time? I am hoping to leverage some of the relationships I have made with the partners into some interviews with some MM IB firms. Personally, I feel like I tend to impress people when they meet me and have been told similar things numerous times by respected industry professionals. Ultimately if I can get my foot in the door and get an interview I think I can generally seal the deal.

Do you guys feel that my lack of IB experience will really hurt me as I apply for analyst positions at IB firms? There is still a possibility for me to get an IB internship in the spring, but obviously that is somewhat late to have on my resume to positively affect a firms opinion as I look to start sending out my resume rather soon.

Is learning modeling on my own my best bet? I have looked into the different programs frequently mentioned on WSO but they are fairly costly given my financial situation. Do I just need to figure out a way to afford one of these programs?

Additionally, I spent 4 years in the Army as an Intelligence Analyst, have been deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. I spent a semester in China studying abroad taking classes in International Marketing, International Business and Chinese Culture. Also, I have a roundhouse kick that would make Chuck Norris flinch...okay, that's not entirely true. Ohh, and I am a white male 25 years old.

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.



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Comments (2)

Aug 13, 2008 - 3:55am

Tap your network.

-Start with the people at the PE shop. They deal with bankers all the time. Talk to each and every single one of them. Eventually, you want to network your way to people at the bank, which leads us to...

-network the hell out of your alumni network. Do whatever it takes to find alums in the BB and boutiques. Use linkedin, facebook, and any alumni website your school has.

-You've got the right idea. Spread your net wide: apply to MM, boutiques, and the BBs (though for the bigger players...and anyone really, you need someone to be willing to pass your resume along and ask HR to give you a preliminary interview). You do that by cold-calling your ass off, meeting alums, asking for advice, making a good impression and ultimately ask them to look at your resume.

-Your story is key. Be ready to answer "why didn't you get an offer from your internship?". I'm surprised: did you not get any modeling experience from class/the PE shop? You're a finance major, so sure you must have had some modeling experience? To me, military experience is amazing and worth talking about. Remember, spin each experience so that it leads to you going into IB.

-I know things are rough during the school year, but you may want to start looking into "sniping" target school information sessions. You were in the services, so you can appreciate the power of the ambush. What you want to do is pick a school/schools that are close to you and considered targets (ie, the BB/top banks come and recruit there, hold info sesions, etc.). Make sure you go there on these days when they hold information sessions, ask questions, and at the end, introduce yourself and say you aren't from that school. They don't care: they want the best people and showing up at another school's event shows them you're dedicated and very interested. Build some rapport, ask for a business card, and follow up. This is tougher in FL I'd imagine. But still, don't rule it out. One thing you've gotta realize is "how bad do you want it". If it's bad, it might be worth it to sacrifice an A for a B or so in a class so that you can fly/drive to a target and attend the info sessions.

Thank you for serving our country and good luck. The key is to find those people that you can introduce yourself to, get them to eventually take your resume down to HR/get you that first phone interview, craft your story and work on it, and make sure you know exactly what to expect from the interviews themslves (the technical questions need to be down cold, especially if you're a finance major from a non-target. Be ready for the other questions they will ask. For better or worse, there often is a right answer and a wrong on the fit/personality questions)

These are just from my experiences so far doing everything I've suggested to you. I'm actually very close to you in terms of background, so I definitely see where you're coming from. Don't count yourself out, though.

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