Depressed and missed recruiting...terrible grades...how to turn it all around?

Hi,

I'm a student at a target school who's feeling a bit lost.

In high school I was the textbook prodigy, as most of us probably were. In college, however, I went through some tough experiences, and I ended up getting shitty grades for a solid two years. The third year I got diagnosed with ADD and started taking Adderall, so my grades finally rose again. It really helped me at least stop feeling suicidal, but I still wasn't on top of my game like I was in high school.

I haven't even had a moment to think about my dreams, because I've been in this weird montage of blurry days for as long as I can remember. I finally spent time with my family recently, however, and it really brought me down to earth. I started doing more research about industries, and discovered I'm really interested in real estate and banking. I built some models and wrote some reports just for the hell of it, and I also started finding some interesting finance Youtubers who were into building simulations.

I think it'd be really fun to intern on Wall Street this summer, particularly in investment banking, since that'll be the scene. Here's the problem- I only really have intelligence. I don't have performance (my grades look pretty rough on paper because I barely went to class half the time) and I can't really position myself as responsible, since after all I missed recruiting season. I know a lot of people would say this industry isn't for me. They're probably right, but I feel like I need to get a taste just to see what it's like. I'm kind of an existentialist (cringy but whatever) and some part of me feels like I'm obligated to try my hardest at securing this experience for myself.

I feel like most of the banks already hired, and I don't know what story to tell recruiters. I thought about mentioning the ADD but that just feels a bit slimey...like I'm trying to exploit my problems to evade responsibility. Also, I worry that employers would discriminate against me if I disclosed, so I don't really wanna air my dirty laundry. Most of the networking sessions on campus are for sophomores now...which is just a tad excruciating. A lot of people would say it's over, and that's the official story, but I can't shake the feeling that if I play my cards right and someone wants to get me in there, they'll find a way.

So....it's March and I want to do Wall Street. How can I pull it off?

Comments (27)

Mar 4, 2018

network

    • 1
Feb 26, 2019

I second this. The only walls holding you back are the ones you see. Focus on the goal instead and the steps you CAN take to get there. Not what you missed.

Mar 4, 2018

I have no good advice to give you, but if I was in your situation, I would try to go the MSF route.

Mar 4, 2018

My suggestions...
1. Find a small boutique near your school (not Wall Street) and use that experience to leverage for a FT spot somewhere else. Or put a year in at the boutique and then lateral as an experienced analyst.

  1. Delay graduation a year and use it to network.
  2. Get an MSF and network like a demon to get a spot for next summer at a MM/BB.
  3. Work a couple of years in a big 4 or something transaction-related. Then after that get a top GMAT score and get into a top MBA, then summer associate at a BB.
  4. Join the military and use that experience to get into a top MBA and then summer as an associate at a BB.
    • 2
Mar 4, 2018

Interesting. 2 seems implausible and 5 won't work because I'm a skinny woman, but I might try out #1 then apply for grad school if it doesn't work out.

In terms of the BBs, should I bother to network right now, or should I lay low until FT recruiting?

    • 5
Mar 4, 2018

Some BBs have already started recruiting, and there is no such thing as laying low with networking. Network whenever and as soon as you can (as long as you are prepared and don't end up looking like a fumbling idiot), especially in the situation you are in right now.

    • 1
Mar 6, 2018

Look up women's diversity events.

Also, why is joining the military implausible as a woman? While I haven't encountered any women who have gone from the military to a top MBA, I'd imagine that some very good opportunities would come out of that.

    • 2
Mar 7, 2018

the fact that people suggest the armed forces as a way to get into finance just blows me away.

    • 1
    • 1
Mar 8, 2018

I think most, like me, have done a ton of research and understand that if you have solid grades, maybe even subpar grades, but excel in the military that you have good chances at a M7 or Top MBA which will open doors to finance. When you do some fucking research, you'll understand this.

    • 1
Mar 8, 2018

It's not an easy path by any means. But, if you truly want a career in high finance its a great path if you have no other options. The military develops and molds people teaching them valuable skills that you can't obtain many other places.

I don't get the resistance to join the military in Israel it's mandatory that every citizen serves in the military. While I'm not personally in the military, for my father and grandfather it was their best career option and they both claim it was the best decision they could have made.

Mar 6, 2018

Not to be rude, but I don't think this site is going to solve your problems. For one, if you're suicidal then I encourage you to seek outside professional help - but if you're suicidal over "missing the boat on banks that have already hired" then I think there's a far different problem at hand.

Quit feeling bad for yourself, you're at a target school with an abundance of resources. Go anywhere on this site and read the countless stories of kids in your shoes who were at non-targets or even homeless (in one case) and hustled their way in. You've got a mountain of connections just by being at the school you're at.

Secondly, your rationale for going to "Wall Street" can't be that it'd be "really fun" or "I only have intelligence." Ever read about any deals? Have an entrepreneurial interest in helping businesses grow? Does any sector interest you? The markets? Investment banking and the like aren't the sorts of industries you waltz into - my own experience --> I was a non-target kid who grinded and did 4 different IB/HF internships before securing an SA spot this upcoming summer. I knew my story cold as to why I wanted to do IB and had no doubts that I was sure I wanted to do it.

Missing the boat isn't "excruciating." If you really want it, I trust that you'll get it. Don't sit around pouting "woe is me" because you had a tough assimilation to college. I don't know you and I hate to make the judgment call based on the vague details you provided about your personal story, but having ADD isn't an excuse especially being at a target school as to why you didn't get into investment banking. I may catch some MS for this reply and I honestly hope you're posting as a troll but I'd imagine that most actual bankers (and not just me, an incoming intern) would feel similarly in that you need to work a hell of a lot harder.

Best of luck.

    • 12
Mar 6, 2018

Your best bet is to network as much as possible. If you're at a target you should have a solid alumni base and career services that can help. Going to an event for sophomores probably wouldn't be fun, but I went to undergrad career events as an MBA student (non-target school and unconventional background) just to try a get some face time, so it's definitely something to consider. You have to be realistic about where you're at and accept that you'll have to be humble and do what you have to do to get back on track. Go to any events you can, cold call/email, reach out people on linkedin, etc. Also, keep in mind, it doesn't have to be Wall Street IB or bust for your internship. There are plenty of great jobs that will help you reach that end goal. Try to find something that makes sense directionally for where you want to be in the future. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint.

I wouldn't say anything about ADD in an interview. I've found it best to separate your personal and professional life, especially in that context. I would use a different story or reason when the inevitable question about your grades comes up. I also don't want to play forum psychologist, but it sounds like you have issues with depression as opposed to just ADD. That doesn't exclude you from working in IB, but you should be mindful of it and make sure you're getting treatment prior and during your career. The lifestyle will likely exacerbate any depression that you have.

Best Response
Mar 7, 2018

@currentlydrinkingcoffee

I'm not going to bother re-hashing the advice others will undoubtedly give you (network, boutique, etc.). Instead I'll offer you a dose of reality I wish I had when I was in a similar position to yours:

Dude. The professional world doesn't care one iota about any of this self-indulgent navel gazing or the rationalizations you can offer regarding your problems. In my career I have seen people ask for coverage to attend the funerals of their family members and get the response "sorry, that's terrible but I'm too busy to cover". You think your sob story has a stronger claim to the sympathy of random strangers?

You missed the boat on recruiting by dint of your own inattention to it. You don't have the pedigree to cut it against the competition. Do you seriously think you have a shot right now against all the kids that have been preparing for this since before freshman year, just because you're smart (but not applied), and you want it real bad? There is one thing that matters for FT hiring, and it is whether you have a previous internship. Short of that, you're running against the odds even with an otherwise stellar CV.

Let me tell you what a low level HR person at a lower tier bank once told me to my face when I finally got my resume in front of her by way of networking with an MD:

"Good SAT scores. Good school, but not great. Low GPA.To be honest with you, if [X] hadn't asked my boss to look at this, I would've thrown your resume in the trash. I can't put your resume in front of the other MDs with my other candidates because it will ruin my credibility."

And then she made some pleasantries about seeing if she could find a way to help me. I followed up, and I never heard back. And that's how the story ends. My credentials at the time were far stronger than yours, and with a much stronger track record behind it.

The long and short of it is that the path you think you want is characterized by brutal competition. I don't want to be a downer, but you should honestly examine whether you're indulging yourself in wishful thinking about your chances. In my experience, that will only result in dejection, and it will feel excruciating and undignified for as long as you choose to continue banging your head against a wall. Unless you really have the humbleness that requires, probably better to bite the bullet, accept your failures, and chart a realistic path that will likely take several years and several thousands of dollars to pursue.

On a totally separate note, I'd be very cautious about even intimating that ADD is responsible for this. Every time you try to blame your faults on some fiat like a medical condition, you are effectively wagering that the gatekeepers who are judging you haven't experienced worse themselves. Because if they have, they will immediately auto-ding you for not being able to hack it the way they did.

Edit: Looking at your post again, one sentence in particular sticks out. "I can't shake the feeling that if I play my cards right and someone wants to get me in, they can make it happen". This is wrong, wrong, wrong and arrogant to boot. If your mother or father is a president or sheikh, you might be able to find some bank that will take you in as a way to curry favor with them. But assuming that you aren't, you must never forget that you cannot bank on anyone else's goodwill in business. If you are no use to the guy who you are trying to work for, you will be shunned. Getting some MD to have a coffee chat and pass along your resume is easy when you know how it's done. Getting him or her to expend political capital in their organization in order to get their colleagues to hire some obviously subpar candidate they don't know is nearly impossible, and often ends with a brief, frank, and degrading conversation about your unfitness for the role. Feel free to try, but this will likely lead you to a rude awakening about how the world really works and how easily things can be said, but not followed through on.

    • 20
Mar 6, 2018

recommend seeing a therapist for an extended period of time

& get exposure to the real world or others not like you in varying lifestyles, cultures, economies and life stages

    • 2
Mar 6, 2018

Bit melodramatic. IB isn't necessarily the best career to get in to for everyone.

Mar 6, 2018

Retake as many classes as you're allowed that you did poorly in, this will: 1. raise your GPA significantly (taking away a C and replacing it with an A) and 2. delay graduation, which will give you more time to recruit

Mar 6, 2018

IB is just a job. Most people are either trying to stay far away from it, or run far from it once in it. Just move on and revisit if you find yourself hitting the recruitment lottery again somehow.

    • 2
Mar 29, 2018

...

Mar 7, 2018

Don't do Wall Street, it's just not an atmosphere for people who think it would be "really fun to intern on Wall Street this summer." You're competing against very driven and single-minded individuals who put fun at the bottom of their boots and then stomp the life out of it during their internship. You're vastly underestimating how soul-crushing the job can be.

If you're really sharp, and a woman, go do Tech. You'll make lots of money, use your creativity, and you can basically walk into whatever company with a huge diversity recruitment edge and be as quirky or moody as you want to be, and get hired.

    • 3
Mar 7, 2018

I

    • 2
Mar 7, 2018
currentlydrinkingcoffee:

Hi,

I'm a student at a target school who's feeling a bit lost.

In high school I was the textbook prodigy, as most of us probably were. In college, however, I went through some tough experiences, and I ended up getting shitty grades for a solid two years. The third year I got diagnosed with ADD and started taking Adderall, so my grades finally rose again. It really helped me at least stop feeling suicidal, but I still wasn't on top of my game like I was in high school.

I haven't even had a moment to think about my dreams, because I've been in this weird montage of blurry days for as long as I can remember. I finally spent time with my family recently, however, and it really brought me down to earth. I started doing more research about industries, and discovered I'm really interested in real estate and banking. I built some models and wrote some reports just for the hell of it, and I also started finding some interesting finance Youtubers who were into building simulations.

I think it'd be really fun to intern on Wall Street this summer, particularly in investment banking, since that'll be the scene. Here's the problem- I only really have intelligence. I don't have performance (my grades look pretty rough on paper because I barely went to class half the time) and I can't really position myself as responsible, since after all I missed recruiting season. I know a lot of people would say this industry isn't for me. They're probably right, but I feel like I need to get a taste just to see what it's like. I'm kind of an existentialist (cringy but whatever) and some part of me feels like I'm obligated to try my hardest at securing this experience for myself.

I feel like most of the banks already hired, and I don't know what story to tell recruiters. I thought about mentioning the ADD but that just feels a bit slimey...like I'm trying to exploit my problems to evade responsibility. Also, I worry that employers would discriminate against me if I disclosed, so I don't really wanna air my dirty laundry. Most of the networking sessions on campus are for sophomores now...which is just a tad excruciating. A lot of people would say it's over, and that's the official story, but I can't shake the feeling that if I play my cards right and someone wants to get me in there, they'll find a way.

So....it's March and I want to do Wall Street. How can I pull it off?

What are the experiences you went through -- obviously don't divulge anything you don't want, but context could be useful here.

    • 3
Mar 7, 2018

I'm sorry, but I couldn't take this seriously when I read this part:

currentlydrinkingcoffee:

I think it'd be really fun to intern on Wall Street this summer, particularly in investment banking, since that'll be the scene. Here's the problem- I only really have intelligence. I don't have performance

If anyone ever heard you say in real life that you think it'd be really fun to intern on the Street, they would probably be shocked at how little understanding you have of the industry (what does that even mean, "that it'll be the scene?" do you realize how many other industries there are out there?). And more importantly, to banks, or really any employer, none of them will care how smart you are - they care about how well you'll perform under a stressful environment.

Reading your story about going through those difficulties makes it sound like you don't respond to stress well; you should really look at other, less stressful industries that I guarantee will be actually fun to work in.

    • 1
Mar 9, 2018

haha good analysis.

Mar 8, 2018

I can't stand half the whiney shit I read here.

Look if you have shit grades, you'll have to network into a local shop. If you have good grades, then you might be able to intern on WS. If you're this fucking depressed, I don't think many careers will suit you. You need to work on yourself before trying to move on to the next phase of your life. Do some introspection and realize that external sources of happiness are fleeting, just like working on WS. You've given yourself another reason to wallow rather than taking the challenge and overcoming it. Shut the fuck up. Stop posting on WSO. Get out there and network.

    • 2
Mar 8, 2018

I believe your current situation is much less of a negative than your lack of desire for the position. All the missteps you've made are ones that others have too, the difference is they wanted it more than you. This life isn't something they wanted to "try out." It was their lifes single obsession until they met there goal. If a wallstreet career isn't something you want this badly then I suggest you seek elsewhere because belive me, there is an army of kids behind you who want it more than anything else in this world.

    • 3
Mar 9, 2018
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May 3, 2019
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