F500 Corp Fin Program -> Boutique IB

Any advice would be much appreciated: I graduated from a non target this May with a Finance major (3.62 GPA). My internship experience consists of FP&A in a smaller commercial focused bank and a credit analyst at another small commercial bank. I started a 2 year Corp Fin development program at a F500 company in August. I took this offer over two commercial banking offers (after being turned for IB at JPM). I thought that this development program would be challenging enough, but it's not. I am bored. I am determined to break into IB, and I am wondering about 3 courses of action from here:

  1. Start networking hard with alumni at boutique firms and try and get hired immediately.
  2. Fine tune my interview skills and continue to network with hopes of applying/interviewing in the Fall and entering with analysts graduating in 2012.
  3. Stick it out for 2 years, interview in the Fall of 2012, and try and enter with the analysts graduating in 2013.

Any other constructive ideas for breaking in would also be appreciated.

-SCR

Comments (14)

Jan 24, 2011

Your best chance is off cycle. It would be extremely rare for a bank to have you start with it's new analyst class. You should have taken the commercial banking offers because you could have atleast levered credit skills to go to a lev fin/syndications group.

Feb 5, 2012

,

Jan 24, 2011

f500 corpfin - 50 hours a week max. stable, pleasant....B.O.R.I.N.G

crackrock - why not do all 3? if you're confident you can get into boutique FO, then it can only help you case when you apply for BB FO. Just my opinion

btw - your callsign rocks hahahaha

Jan 25, 2011

Firebi: I was afraid someone would say that about those credit analyst roles, and I appreciate your advice. I understand that I don't have a chance at a BB for options 2 & 3, but what about a KBW, BB&T, Stifel, or Harris Williams? Any chance I could get in the 2012 analyst clas at any of those firms?

UFOInsider: I plan on doing all 3. I just submitted my resume to a small firm and will interview soon. Just wanted to get a feel for my best shot and also see if anyone thought it would be beneficial to finish the program. BTW- if you don't have a wicked jump shot...

Thanks so much for the input. Any further input would be great.

-SCR

Jan 25, 2011
Slingin'CrackRock:

Firebi: I was afraid someone would say that about those credit analyst roles, and I appreciate your advice. I understand that I don't have a chance at a BB for options 2 & 3, but what about a KBW, BB&T, Stifel, or Harris Williams? Any chance I could get in the 2012 analyst clas at any of those firms?

UFOInsider: I plan on doing all 3. I just submitted my resume to a small firm and will interview soon. Just wanted to
get a feel for my best shot and also see if anyone thought it would be beneficial to finish the program. BTW- if you
don't have a wicked jump shot...

Thanks so much for the input. Any further input would be great.
-SCR

I will say this again: your best shot is off cycle regardless of BB, boutique, etc. Start networking and getting your name out to all the shops in your area so your name will be top of mind if something opens up in the middle of the year. From my experience banks do want "experienced hires" in their summer analyst classes.

Jan 25, 2011

.......So I went the white boy way of slinging crack-rock: I became a stock broker.

f500 is actually a really good place to start if you don't get into IB right off the bat.....you'll be doing similar work, just a LOT more of it and in more depth. Several people I know left corpfin for banking b/c they got bored and realized that after two years of banking they would have the equivalent of 10-15 years in industry......it was not a tough decision. good luck man

Jan 25, 2011

3.6 GPA is pretty good, start networking

Jan 19, 2012

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Jan 19, 2012

So I figured it was time to share my story in case it helps anyone else out there. It was about a year long journey and I learned a lot over that time period and I couldn't have done it without the help of some of you on WSO. So this will be long winded, but if you need some motivation go ahead and read it all; hopefully at some point, someone will be in a similar spot and will find this helpful. Let's get to it.

I posted this thread a year ago, but I am going to start a little before that. I had failed to get an offer in IB after two superdays and I really didn't know what to do after graduation. I moved back home and immediately started working hourly at a small, but rapidly growing commercial focused bank. It was basically a compliance role and the idea was that within six months or less I would be moved to their credit analyst pool. The ace up my sleeve was that I was slated to start a rotational development program back in the south come August. My plan was to work at the bank, see if I liked it, see if they moved me to the credit analyst role, and if they didn't, I was hourly so it was no big deal to leave and start my rotational program. During my time at the bank, I had my light bulb moment and realized that I needed to get into Private Equity; however, two months went by and the hours were bad and so was the work. I became impatient with the work and decided to head back south to start my rotational program. For some reason I thought the rotational program would be better experience/development. I still see this as my biggest mistake. I moved away from a bigger market and into an industry/program with less transferable skills to Investment Banking. I wish I had known about WSO back then because I think breaking into IB would have been a lot easier if I had someone advising/telling me to stay at the bank.

Anyway, flash forward about six months (about the time I wrote this thread). I had just finished my first rotation and hated it. I knew it was time to get out and so began my search to really break in. I got lucky early on, two connections turned into phone interviews for reputable boutiques up in New York. I thought I had prepped well. I knew most of the important technicals but my story sucked; I got dinged in the first round for one of the boutiques and in the second round for the other. My interview skills were rusty and it showed. After those first two interviews things really dried up (looking back on it, the weather was getting warmer and my networking was suffering. For four months I applied for openings online and sent emails/cover letters with no success. I had stopped talking to people and it really hurt my prospects). Finally, in May, I got an interview with a boutique in town. It was supposed to be a 15 minute phone call and so I barely prepped. I thought it would be all fit and they would save the technical stuff for when they brought me in. WRONG. I got drilled, they didn't ask one fit question and I flopped. It was so embarrassing. I knew the answers, but I couldn't get them out because I hadn't practiced in awhile. That was the low point. I knew I had had my chance and I blew it. I felt so ashamed of myself.

At that moment I told myself that I had to really commit to this and make things happen or I shouldn't be half-assing it and wasting my time. I went home that night and bought both the WSO technical and behavioral guides. Over the next week I read and committed to memory both guides, I refined all my answers and I followed up on a lot of online applications with emails, again. Very soon after, I got a response from another local boutique and we set up a phone screen. The phone screen went well and within a week I went in to meet the partners (keep in mind all this was going on while I was in my rotational program that was the worst part and if anyone has questions about managing a job search while holding a job please feel free to PM). It went great. I walked out of the interview and felt like I had killed it. I also loved the firm and the people. I sent all the follow up emails and the associate said that I would hear back in about a week. Then radio silence. I sent two emails over the next month and never got a response. Finally I called and left a voicemail, but still never heard a word. It was so frustrating because I felt that everything was a great fit for both parties and I was so pissed that they wouldn't get back to me, but I knew I needed to press on.

I started taking interviews outside of IB. I couldn't stand the back office accounting and finance work in my rotational program and I needed to get out and get into something that was front office or client facing or at least involved some variation and wasn't driven by month end or quarter end reporting. I started looking at real estate hoping to get to an REPE firm at some point. I also looked at healthcare consulting hoping it could lead to Healthcare PE down the road. Finally, I got real desperate and applied to Fund of Funds. I just wanted out. For about a month I interviewed at these different places in all different cities across the country. I nailed every interview and got offers from everyone (thanks to the WSO guides). I was just about to accept a position in the healthcare consulting space when I got an email about an off-cycle opening at a very reputable middle market firm. I did the phone screen the next day and was invited to the mini-super day. It was a hard choice since all I wanted to do was get out of my current job, but I turned down the consulting gig (exploding offer) because I knew I needed to pursue this middle market opportunity as it would be my best shot at PE down the road.

Flash forward to the mini-off-cycle super day, there were a couple other candidates, but one that was better than the rest, and to be frank, his pedigree was undoubtedly better than mine. I went through the interviews and did great. I walked out of there and knew that I did my best, but I wasn't going to get the job. To my surprise, they called and said I was the one they wanted, BUT they had to wait for approval for the headcount. "As soon as we can hire someone, you will be the guy." They said it could take as long as two months and I was fine with that, this was a great opportunity. About a month later I got another offer from a great boutique firm back home that I had previously spoken with. So I called up the associate at the middle market firm and told him the situation. He responds: "Bob, this isn't anything official, but from what I can tell, I think we'll have you in your desk within the month. You should turn down this other offer." That was in the beginning of October. Keep in mind, I turned down some opportunities to apply/interview for on-cycle positions because I had this locked down. At the end of October I called up the associate again and he broke the news to me: "Bob, I found out last week that we couldn't get approval for an off-cycle hire and we can't hire you."

I know I am not entitled to anything; I was an idiot in college, I didn't get a killer GPA, I focused too much on extracurricular stuff and was never truly prepared for my IB interviews, but still...I was f*cking livid when I heard this. I felt like an idiot for taking these people at their word and believing that I had this thing locked up. I passed up on so many interviews and positions that would have been so much better than my rotational program and now I was stuck back at square one and time was running out. Literally I had no idea what my next move was, that night I went home and polished off a fifth of Jack. I stumbled into work the next morning and realized I had a new voicemail. "Bob, this is Joe from XYZ (a partner from that local boutique that had gone radio silent). One of our associates just quit unexpectedly, let's get you in here this week, come to an agreement on some terms and get you started ASAP." I was a little hesitant based on the radio silent period, but the partner explained everything and I signed on the dotted line.

I have been at this boutique for about two months now. The partners are great. We have some awesome live deals going, I've already traveled to Board meetings and had discussions with management teams so the exposure has been great. I don't have a brand name on my resume and I have to train myself a lot of the time so I know it's going to be almost impossible to get into PE, but I am a hell of a lot happier than I was in my rotational program so thanks WSO and everyone that took the time to respond to my PMs and answer questions.

-SCR

    • 1
Jan 19, 2012

This is very motivating! I am in the same situation, but just a year behind. I am currently in a pretty boring rotational program in a commercial bank.

If you don't mind sharing, what was your excuse to go to all these superdays? You went to so many in a short period of time, did you tell your manager you are taking days off for "personal reasons"?

Another question in the same regards, if you did not tell your manager you are apply for outside jobs, will it be awkward for them to figure it out later on when another company call him doing a background check or something?

I can PM you if you think it is better that way.

    • 1
Jan 19, 2012

I did not tell my manager I was interviewing else where. Luckily I had different managers every six months so that helped to disguise the fact that I was taking a good amount of "long lunches" and days off. Some times I had to take a half day for interviews and some times I had to take a whole Friday or something. I would use different excuses like "my parents are in town" or "I am going home for the weekend" or "I am getting cable installed so I have to leave at noon". I mixed it up and made every excuse different.

Every place I interviewed with knew that I was leaving a two year program early, they never would have asked for references at my current job. If I need references from my year in the program for my MBA or something, well I left on good terms with most of my managers and hopefully that won't be an issue.

Jan 19, 2012

nice man awesome to hear! Great motivation!

I banana back

Jan 19, 2012

Congrats. Good read

Jan 19, 2012
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