Fake Frank Quattrone (IB PE) AMA

TL;DR: Shoot out any questions you may have regarding any topics over here - the job, MF PE interviews, consulting interviews, ibd interviews, unstructured recruiting, start-up dramas, networking, nerd culture, anything. I've got a couple of weeks off, and usually hang around the forums frequently, so I'll try to answer your questions to the maximum possible extent I am knowledgeable/ am allowed to. And apologies for the long post, and the noticeable incoherence in my writing style : it's a bad habit that has only grown over the years.

So folks, I've been wanting to do this for some time now, but really haven't had the opportunity to sit down and answer questions for the community. IMO, as I've mentioned before, this community has given me more than a boatload of knowledge for getting me where I am, so I really want to give back to this awesome forum. But thanks to popular demand - and a surgery I'll be having tomorrow - I'll be free for the most part of the next two weeks (using up my annual leave). Although there's a shit ton of online gaming to do, one can only play so much.

I've been referring to this site since I joined here, so I've a lot of appreciation to hand out. Maybe later, I'll make a bookmarked list of all the useful topics on this site, for a guy in my position. Made quite a few enemies it seems, but mainly a bunch of cool folks. Special shoutout to @aspiringchimp here - we argued acerbically sometime back, but now I think he's a pretty cool guy. Especially considering his useful advice for consulting wannabes (he has one of the highest SB/MS ratios too from what I've seen).

As most of you know, I'm not the real Frank Quattrone, but just a broke-ass low-level analyst. Just so that's cleared up.

For my background (chronologically):

- spent most of my childhood in the Middle East, learnt a bunch of languages including Arabic, Farsi (thanks to my crazy Iranian ex) and broken Hindi - hence the semi-liberal views most people see from me

- started working on some cool drone shit during high school (to be more specific, b/n freshman and soph) with 2 other friends. Got serendipitously partnered with an aerospace firm, which in turn partnered with a behemoth, and hired a cool bunch of guys. Dealt head-on with rejections from potential VCs (including a top VC from a top firm who poked fun at us for a valid reason).

- then girlfriend passed away unexpectedly, between junior year and senior year of HS. Heartbroken, overworked, under immense pressure and misery. Nothing more. Also, got accepted to some of my desired schools in the US, but didn't get schols to cover up the tuition. My dad isn't rich, and getting a loan is hard when your family has to pay up a home loan too, so that went out the window too. But s/o to UCB and Georgetown for offering me partial funding.

- Attended a top-tier school in my country with an engineering major a year back (5 yrs). Effectively disregarded my major and shot for opportunities in finance. Took up projects with professors from top universities during the school year, and covered the rest with internships and experience, hence a shit GPA. Had a crush too in uni - that didn't help much.

- interned at a major bank in developed Asian economy in AM, where I dipped my toes into finance; loved the kind of work, hated the culture of the firm (I think we know which one), but love the country. Amazing place. Got this intern by networking with a friend of a son-in-law of my dad's boss. Yeah, kinda went full retard networking.

- went full retard sometime afterwards, and began working on a couple of cool engineering projects in Machine Learning, since I thought my mediocre GPA would not help for consulting or finance, so thought about the MS option. Couldn't handle working on my company, studying and these projects, not to mention ECs and student orgs, so GPA went down further. As a note for guys who want to try this, I was practically sleeping 4-6 hours thanks to a phone perpetually buzzing about. It didn't help that part of my company's team was many timezones away.

- went desperately retarded and began emailing a bunch of star bankers for career and generic advice, after guessing email addresses (mailtester yo!). Only one replied. Kept in touch for a long time.

- next year's intern, due to crap uni rules, I had to stick to an engineering intern. Interned at a conglomerate, where I realized that engineering was not what I wanted to do, thanks to the dozens of dull individuals who like to call themselves "engineers" (though they were more like technicians). Oh, and rejected from a possible McKinsey internship also (though I didn't know what I was doing).

- Meanwhile, decided to chuck the VC route and opt for a huge investor and his son, a referral we got via a well-positioned amazing board member we had. Formally established ourselves as a company only around three years back though.

- the finance project I was working with an amazing professor from a top West Coast school (I should give a donation to those liberal fuckers) ended up as part of a white paper for a BB the prof consulted with. Prof offered to recommend me, even though I was miles away. Did not get the offer (it was in S&T).

- About to graduate without a good job, but I had the startup option to fall back to. But as time passed, I realized that working with defence behemoths sucks considering the number of demands they had for us. So I was thinking about getting out of the aerospace startup. Buddies weren't. Company had achieved steady state (to some extent), so I was able to focus on other things.

- the engineering project I worked on goes really well, I got a pretty solid publication out of it

- Decided to extend my school year, and to have a couple of networking chats to obtain an INTERN (yes, I wasn't looking for a job now). The story that stands out most is here (from some previous comments):

I once connected with an MD at a megafund simply because I waited outside his office everytime he got off work. Ended up giving me an off-cycle internship (it was unpaid, at one of the smaller offices, and in what this forum might consider a BO role).

I waited outside the office building for maybe a week and a half, with a bunch of models I had built in my hand. Guy was chill enough to give me a chance to have a coffee chat. Literally put his saucer and tea cup on my resume, and asked me to explain my models and my assumptions. Ended up offering me an unpaid intern, since SA recruiting was long past, and that office traditionally didn't hire interns.

The decision to approach him was pretty stochastic though - I just scoured linkedin and the company team profiles, scoured them for anything I could talk about, then coldcalled and got rejected. Then decided to wait outside, since I had nothing better to do anyways. After all, as a student, one has nothing to lose.

That being said, I think this would only work if you worked in a smaller office in a city that had a similar finance culture to NYC or LDN, but without the usual high number of firms. That was what I banked upon when I contacted this guy,

Great story, extremely retarded now that I think about it, but not as retarded as emailing Ken Moelis and Frank Quattrone. Definitely not recommended, unless you have nothing to lose. Note, I was working in a combination of a "BO role" (not necessarily) and an AM role - kind of like that extra hand in the office. Learnt as much as I could, even though I was told head on that the intern was inconvertible.

- Towards the end of the intern, had an accident. Kneecap damaged permanently to some extent, and put on a morphine drip

- MDs seemed to have liked me. 3 MDs referred me for an interview at the MF. Story's somewhere out there, but basically I screwed up midway, but it didn't really matter since I could bounce back. Also, it seemed I wasn't competing with others, but a minimum (really high) threshold they had put up for me. This was for a specific, lean team at the fund with a great title for the business card, and quite close to a PE team. GOT THE OFFER!!! London beckons for the summer.

- Last (extended) semester, just focused on completing the little backlog that was left, and began networking extensively for advice from anywhere I could get. Offered an interview at McKinsey via referral. NAILED!!! Thanks to months of previous failed prep (for non-existent interviews). Though this was in an Asian office, so much easier. And rejected it (since the MF offered up first), though I doubt they really cared tbh. Still in touch with those folks though. Couple of other interviews, including at an IB, which I quit midway. Remember, all this with a shit GPA.

- Also got slightly addicted to the morphine (drip) so had to attend therapy sessions, which were just a slight bother. Not called by BCG or Bain, even after letting them know I made final round - seems McK values entrepreneurial experience more. Finally graduated around this time. And diagnosed with a chronic condition, for which I'm regularly undergoing treatment (like right now).

- In the gap time between school and job during spring, I helped my dad manage his restaurant. I guess I did a number of auxiliary tasks that helped, because business boomed by 200% over 3 months, from unprofitability. Maybe I should have been a consultant. Basically anything to pass the time.

- Decided to sell the startup and bagged a few dollars in the process - behemoth was getting too bossy over us. Spent the rest of the time till start date partying with my rich buddy and hanging out with a lot of models and fashion designers. Basically the artsy liberal types who make us all cringe.

- All my contacts (including partners and MDs and startup CEOs) began telling me that I was retarded to continue working in finance (or consulting) after that. I decided to join my MF job only because my dad told me to work in a real job for some time and learn what it's like to work in a formal setting. Also, the credibility helps to some extent.

- Planning on doing another startup maybe in a few years. Definitely not making MF PE a career for me. Decided against B-school too, since I'm likely going to be rejected by HSW (yes, I'm kind of a prestige whore to some extent).

- Landed in the hospital recently, thanks to my never ending troubles with my condition. Not to worry, it's a regular thing.

So there you go, my life's story. Bottomline: networking works, GPA sucks but you have to maintain it, else life gets really hard, have as diverse an experience in college as possible since you'll never get such a chance ever again. And don't go full retard and desperado like I did.

TL;DR: Shoot out any questions you may have regarding any topics over here - the job, MF PE interviews, consulting interviews, ibd interviews, unstructured recruiting, start-up dramas, networking, nerd culture, anything. I've got a couple of weeks off, and usually hang around the forums frequently, so I'll try to answer your questions to the maximum possible extent I am knowledgeable/ am allowed to. And apologies for the long post, and the noticeable incoherence in my writing style : it's a bad habit that has only grown over the years.

And apologies to many guys for trolling around for a long time here and for my acerbic behaviour at times. Sometimes the job does get to you, in a nasty way.

Note:- I can speak for mainly recruiting in non-US countries, since recruiting in the US is IMO completely retarded. Also I can provide only what may seem like reused advice for the structured PE process, since my process was highly unstructured. That being said, I would also like to point out how much networking actually helps in PE recruiting.

Mod Note (Andy): top 50 posts of 2017, this one ranks #45 (based on # of silver bananas)

Comments (114)

May 13, 2017

Gonna read this tomorrow. Maybe change title to something like "Frank Qua... AMA"

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

May 14, 2017

Strong post

May 14, 2017

Appreciate the shoutout and great post. Should be on the front page

    • 1
May 15, 2017

Good luck with your condition/surgery. I am also a prestige whore and will 95% be rejected from HSW, coming from a non-target.

BS Industrial Engineering -> MS Systems Engineering -> F500 Engineering LDP -> ??

I want to get into finance. Might try to change role within my current F500. Otherwise, I'm thinking of getting an MBA and networking/grinding until I can get into a finance role somewhere...

Any advice for trying to get into Finance from Engineering?

May 15, 2017

Well depends on a number of factors. Is your school at least a top engineering university? If that's the case, then you can very well try to break into consulting first and then move into a BA position. This is a move I've seen many people do, as long as they have a solid brand name on their resume. If not, you can try to lateral into a more solid product management role in tech, and then apply for an MBA. AFAIK, breaking into finance directly with an engineering degree is quite difficult, especially if you haven't broken in during undergrad.

It's not entirely impossible though - there are a bunch of SMDs who've been able to move into my firm after an extremely diverse experience. As an example, one of the MDs I interned with was an engineering student, then an entrepreneur in college, then moved into (non MBB) top consulting, then moved into an sovereign wealth fund and now works here.

Another MD in my group has a BS in Industrial Engineering from a top engineering school, then worked in finance in a couple of top banks before joining my firm, initially in a significantly quanty division, before moving into our team when it was formed.

It's possible without an MBA, but the journey becomes significantly longer.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 2
May 15, 2017

good stuff @Frank Quattrone"

May 15, 2017

Thanks mate!

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
May 15, 2017

If you don't mind my asking, where are you from? You mentioned growing up in the Middle-East but then ended up all over Europe. No particular angle, just curious.

May 15, 2017

Asian country that's not subcontinental or China. This story's about that :)

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
May 15, 2017

You the Indian Frank Quattrone look-alike?

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

May 15, 2017

Wow this was really interesting. Sounds like you've had a pretty fascinating life. Just to clarify, you're currently working at a MF PE firm at the moment? Or has my reading comprehension gone to shit.

May 15, 2017

The firm is an MF. The group I work in can be classified more as a subset of PE - they have a PE arm that's significantly bigger.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 2
May 15, 2017

PM me if/when you are thinking about doing another startup. Curious to hear the juicy deets

    • 1
May 15, 2017

Thanks for sharing.

What flaws in the process are you referring to when you say that recruiting in the U.S. is retarded?

Also, genuinely curious how one gets involved in "cool drone shit" as freshman in high school (13/14 years old?) At that age, I'm pretty sure I was preoccupied with beating off 3 times a day. Like how do you self-learn something like that?

Best Response
May 15, 2017

The structured process in the US for IBD, consulting and PE is being preponed to unimaginable levels. I believe there was a thread recently on how IBD apps at certain BBs for 2018 internships have already begun. Not to mention the process being highly structured. It's like kids in the US have a certain predefined path that they have to follow: top target --> top BB intern --> BB/EB --> PE --> Business school --> MF PE. It's like the field has become an extension of college life: do these particular courses, do this and you'll get good grades. Competition has become so intense that banks tend to look for safer candidates. This actually reminds me of a talk by Simon Sinek (don't remember which one).

Without networking, the only factors that work for you are your scores and the number of buffed-up finance-related points on your resume (which I've seen, and heard associates lament about, aren't good indicators of performance in interviews/interns). This also means that while networking is effective, it's going to be especially harder than before from a complete non-target (but somewhat easier from a semi-target). In fact, I find that in the UK, Singapore, Tokyo, etc, the process is somewhat more democratized with assessment centres and tests, where your scholastic background wouldn't cause a hindrance - especially across degree subjects. London and the others are also more forgiving of non-traditional backgrounds than the US. Not to mention Visa problems.

As for the dronetech, a bunch of friends and I were working on a coding-oriented competition (my HS had a strong coding culture), got interested in applications of Arduino shortly after, and then worked on automating RCVs using them. Soon we got tired, and around that time, cheap RC UAVs from China started popping around, so we tried developing upon that. HS was pretty cool - we had a whole bunch of diverse students. We had guys who would design model F1 cars and geeks who were coding in Java at 13. Funnily, it was the one of the cheapest high schools in the country at the time.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 6
May 16, 2017

Interestingly, when I interviewed for positions in Tokyo and HK for FI Rate Sales (so maybe not directly applicable to IB/PE), they didn't have me do any sort of assessment. Unfortunately, I didn't make any super days because of minimum language proficiency requirements.

May 15, 2017
Frank Quattrone:

recruiting in the US is IMO completely retarded

Could you please expand on what you mean by this?

May 15, 2017

I've answered just above you :). And thanks for your contribution to this forum - really grateful.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
May 15, 2017
<span itemprop=name>Frank Quattrone</span>:

I've answered just above you :). And thanks for your contribution to this forum - really grateful.

Oh.....please keep my lack of attention to detail a secret :)

May 15, 2017

It seems to me that what you call ''full retard networking'' is actually what helped you the most. Sure you fucked up numerous times, most were hopeless attempts, yet eventually someone replied and that in the worst case scenario got you a bit of insight anyway.

In the end you had multiple offers and were able to choose. Sounds pretty good to me. Or not?

May 15, 2017

Having two to choose from isn't especially great, when one was an MF and the other was McKinsey. Especially when both come around the same time. But it does certainly change your life - at one point, I was this desperate jobless kid with an extended degree, the next I had an offer that was the only thing in hand. Then, a few weeks later, I got the McK offer and was doing better than all of my peers who graduated on time. I did not dick around during the McK interviews even after getting the other offer because I just wanted to show I could beat the process. But I'll hand it to them, consulting partners can be very convincing,

Also, another point I failed to mention - networking can be a hit or a miss, even when talking with higher level guys at the firms. I did network with a bunch of top-level guys from boutique consults and EBs such as RB, LEK, Moelis, etc, but that didn't translate into interviews. That's why buttress your networking with multiple guys gunning for you. This is less important in MBB where if you have an EM+ referral, you're likely to get an interview and only that. But especially important in MF/PE recruiting, where the question of who (all) referred you becomes especially important in the selection process - regardless of what they tell you. For instance, I knew I had bombed my third interview at my firm, and even the interviewer was frank about that. Surprisingly, I was passed to the next round. Sure, I'm talking only one datapoint, but it seems that datapoint deserves more weightage.

Another point (and this I learnt from Sun Tzu) - always have spies. Sure, you can have a ton of top-level guys in the firm, but it would be really awkward to ask them about the process and where you stand currently. Having an insider (s), (preferably Associate +) whom you're really close with, can let you know where you stand competitively, and in some cases, what the interviewer(s) thought of you.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 15, 2017

powerful story (and sad at times). How frequently was GPA brought up when you were going through interviews?

May 15, 2017

also! Let me guess, you're Persian!

May 15, 2017
<span itemprop=name>consultant120</span>:

also! Let me guess, you're Persian!

Nope! Love Iran, but nope. I'm not from the Middle East originally. As BTB once put it, I'm just some "butthurt Asian".

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
May 15, 2017

Once during the MF interview rounds. But a couple of times during the McKinsey PEI. I guess it was because of the high prevalence of strong-GPA engineering majors at McKinsey, while the MF was more forgiving about that. But often I could bounce back by stating the number of publications and projects I had, plus ECs.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
May 15, 2017

this is awesome, I've had similar experiences with regards to the GPA coming up, albeit in less competitive environments than the ones you were in. What advice would you give to a 25 year old tech consultant trying to break into finance/Growth Equity? :)

May 15, 2017

I thought you were closer to my age.... :'(

********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********

    • 1
May 15, 2017

Maybe in another life?
(NSFW)

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
May 15, 2017

I'm looking to sell my business and am shopping around for a bank. Would Qatalyst be up for the task?

May 15, 2017

My son-in-law recommended against working with the Ruskies. You may be in bed with our President, but you ain't in bed with our military.
Perhaps Sberbank would be more to your tastes.....

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 15, 2017

What if I sweetened the pot and offered some state secrets in exchange for Qatalyst's help?

May 15, 2017

Hi Mr. Quattrone, I am an international student graduating from a west coast non target UC. Doing a summer internship (have been doing remote work for them for about two months now) at a small boutique in NYC. Probably going to an MSF/Masters in Economics program for more options and another recruiting season (or two seasons). I am a Math & Econ double major and I bought the WSO tech interview guide. I feel that my accounting knowledge is not strong enough (didn't have much time to fully study the tech interview guide). What do I do in the future to break into IB/ER ? (at least a MM, EB or BB best).

Thank you very much in advance ! And finally, you are really not the true Frank Quattrone? I just saw Jamie Dimon's post on WSO yesterday, and I feel like you are the real one.

May 16, 2017

That wasn't Jamie Dimon. Sorry to break it to you - it was just an overused (reddit?) post from a decade ago.

Study the WSO technical interview guide. Prepare as much as you can - don't leave any grounds for error. As a nontarget, no excuse is going to cut it out for you. Not to mention covering all the good interview guides take a maximum of 1 week if you put all your energy into it, fueled by cola and red bull.

IB and ER have very different routes to break in. But the common denominator is that both require extensive networking to break into. And I think that may have been a drawback in your case.

Also, if you only have that single summer internship on your resume, you may want to spruce it up a bit. Be a part of finance-related clubs on campus, and try squeezing in additional internships/projects during the school year if the location permits it.

And as an international, depending upon your origin, you may actually want to consider going to an international location instead of focusing on NYC/LDN. Frankly, with all the Visa issues playing out badly for internationals, it's better not to put all of your eggs into the US basket.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 2
Jun 22, 2017

good post

May 15, 2017

Interesting post Frank.

May 15, 2017

What advice would you have for a first year analyst at a BB, regarding unique do's and don'ts that the typical write-ups don't cover?

May 16, 2017

Although the topic of excelling at the workplace is quite overused here, I'll try to add what I think has not been covered, or at least give a gist of what's out there.

  • Attention to detail. An associate/senior analyst does not want to see a mistake after having delegated responsibility to you. When you make a mistake on a task he assigned to you, it reflects poorly on your skills, but also on his ability to delegate. Which would effectively cause him to regret delegating work to you, thus making you lose your cred with senior team members through him.
  • Build trust with your associates. Remember, the associates, asshats as they may be, are usually going to be your only link to senior management, especially in the very large, respected groups at BBs. Give them a good impression, maintain a solid rapport with them, and make yourself trustworthy to them.
  • VBA. Brush up on those Excel skills. Learning VBA should be a daily creed. I honestly don't know how much time I've saved simply because it could be coded out. Excel is no longer enough these days. Time not wasted on trivial shit translates to time spent on WSO and Youtube.......wait a minute.
  • Take Notes. If an experienced team member is explaining something to you, don't just sit there like you're some Einstein with eidetic memory. Take notes, have them organized thoroughly, and keep them somewhere safe. You want to have them by your side even after doing the A2A, even after moving into PE.
  • Due Diligence I've seen a lot of guys jump at the first PE offer they get. Sure, you might make bank, but there's a very good chance that your end-year bonus may turn to shit. The space is extremely populated, and I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow, a number of Rockjoint Capitals turn to shit. As an IB analyst, explore all the possible options. You may be interested in less strenuous hours or developing strategy (CorpDev), taking more responsibility (Startup), or be involved more closely in the investment process (family office). Don't just blindly jump into PE because it's the "best" route - at the end of the day, it's just marking items off a checklist. Honestly, I've lost count of the number of PE associates I've met who regret the decision of not going to a startup or to a CorpStrat office.
  • Constantly Network. Ok, so you made it into a BB/top tier consult. Great! But that's just one piece of the puzzle. You have to be constantly networking from Day 1 - with upper management at your firm, with your BB's alum, with HHs, in that order. Upper management usually provide solid recommendations for exit opps since it is to their benefit also. Networking with your alum should be part of your DD process, as you evaluate different exit opps and finalize upon the route you want to take.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 4
May 21, 2017
<span itemprop=name>Frank Quattrone</span>:

Although the topic of excelling at the workplace is quite overused here, I'll try to add what I think has not been covered, or at least give a gist of what's out there.

  • Attention to detail. An associate/senior analyst does not want to see a mistake after having delegated responsibility to you. When you make a mistake on a task he assigned to you, it reflects poorly on your skills, but also on his ability to delegate. Which would effectively cause him to regret delegating work to you, thus making you lose your cred with senior team members through him.
  • Build trust with your associates. Remember, the associates, asshats as they may be, are usually going to be your only link to senior management, especially in the very large, respected groups at BBs. Give them a good impression, maintain a solid rapport with them, and make yourself trustworthy to them.
  • VBA. Brush up on those Excel skills. Learning VBA should be a daily creed. I honestly don't know how much time I've saved simply because it could be coded out. Excel is no longer enough these days. Time not wasted on trivial shit translates to time spent on WSO and Youtube.......wait a minute.
  • Take Notes. If an experienced team member is explaining something to you, don't just sit there like you're some Einstein with eidetic memory. Take notes, have them organized thoroughly, and keep them somewhere safe. You want to have them by your side even after doing the A2A, even after moving into PE.
  • Due Diligence I've seen a lot of guys jump at the first PE offer they get. Sure, you might make bank, but there's a very good chance that your end-year bonus may turn to shit. The space is extremely populated, and I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow, a number of Rockjoint Capitals turn to shit. As an IB analyst, explore all the possible options. You may be interested in less strenuous hours or developing strategy (CorpDev), taking more responsibility (Startup), or be involved more closely in the investment process (family office). Don't just blindly jump into PE because it's the "best" route - at the end of the day, it's just marking items off a checklist. Honestly, I've lost count of the number of PE associates I've met who regret the decision of not going to a startup or to a CorpStrat office.
  • Constantly Network. Ok, so you made it into a BB/top tier consult. Great! But that's just one piece of the puzzle. You have to be constantly networking from Day 1 - with upper management at your firm, with your BB's alum, with HHs, in that order. Upper management usually provide solid recommendations for exit opps since it is to their benefit also. Networking with your alum should be part of your DD process, as you evaluate different exit opps and finalize upon the route you want to take.

Strongest contribution to the AMA discussion in sometime... IMO

    • 3
May 15, 2017

Good post

May 15, 2017

Good besides the fixation on retardation.

May 16, 2017

Yep, checked again. 7 counts of the word. I guess no other words popped into my head then.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 15, 2017

You mentioned online gaming - how well are video games viewed in investment banking? Do the old MDs still think of it as 1980s arcades and Super Mario Bros? What are the chances of an analyst or associate knowing what "Counter Strike", "League of Legends, or "Madden" is?

May 16, 2017

Oh, that was just a passing comment. I'm actually going to be spending more time catching up on my reading list than ever.

Most associates I game with easily know the good ones - Overwatch, Starcraft 2, DoTA2, etc. I personally only indulge in strategy games like SC2, AOE2 and DoTA with a few colleagues. Usually I just game with buddies back from uni (yeah, we take our scheduling pretty seriously), or engage on FPS sessions or races with colleagues.

I wouldn't want an MD knowing about LoL though, lol. Don't even count on them knowing WoW or Skyrim. You can expect them to know of AoE and Starcraft though, but they won't be players - would've just heard of it.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 16, 2017

Do you still follow the drone space? Where do you think it's going to go (past niche applications like video/military, into consumer goods/shipping?), and when?

May 16, 2017

Haha, yes I certainly still do. From my personal perspective, it's going to take at least 10 years more before we see companies competing in the drone tech space the way they currently are in the autonomous vehicle space. And maybe another couple of years to see autonomous drones, and another 5 years to see widespread usage of autonomous drones.

The only major roadblock in most democracies is honestly the development of the regulatory frameworks - the tech exists, the manufacturers exist, the customers exist, the need exists. But regulation can be so mind-numbing at times - even on the military side - that I have to give such wide timelines. In fact, extreme regulation that hindered our growth was one of the reasons that we decided to get out of the space.

Honestly, I see the first drones appearing not in the west but in cities like Dubai and Singapore, and China. Especially China. In fact, I can't wait to try out Dubai's upcoming aerial transportation.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 16, 2017

Thanks for this, Frank. Did you jump between countries in your career path?

May 16, 2017

From intern to FT, yes. Serendipitously, the 3 MDs I was working under were made Partner earlier that year and moved - one in New York, two in London. I decided to catch their coattails for the free ride :).

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
May 16, 2017

Why does it say you're retired under your name?

May 16, 2017

Thanks man. Few questions: Why do you describe US recruiting process as "completely retarded?"

What percentage of employees at the same level as you at the MF came from a standard path (Target, IB, etc) vs your/alternative path?

May 16, 2017

Exact standard path (Target to namebrand BB)? - Around 50%
Semi-standard path (nontarget, worked in name-brand [BB/EB/Upper MM])? - Maybe 35%
Alternative path (nontarget/target straight from Ugrad)? - 10%
Straight from Consulting? - 5% (mainly McKinsey)

Check above for the answer on my opinion on your question.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 16, 2017

Would you ever go back into aerospace engineering? It seems like such an interesting field, if you have the talent for it. If you're interested, send me a PM. I might be able to hook you up with a guy who's kind of a star in the aerospace industry, particularly working with drones (wouldn't be surprised if you've heard of him).

Also, when it comes to hunting down people to network with, how would you recommend finding the people to contact, and what should one say if they do?

May 17, 2017

I doubt I would go back into the field again. Aerospace is so limited by regulations in place, and you'll get tired of long timelines and inefficiency in the system. Besides, we'd like to think of ourselves as a bunch of coders, and not as engineers - we worked with those guys at our partner firm. Back then, there was a dearth of the application of computing power to drones. IMO a career as an aerospace engineer is a slow death, and right now, most of the money is to be made as either a materials engineer or a programmer working in the aerospace domain. Those skills are more transferable too if you want to lateral out.

Hunt for people with a similar background as yourself. Same ethnicity (if you're one of the exotic types), same university, same hobbies, same nonprofit, same circle of friends, same passion - anything. I've met a ton of people at conferences and may have possible amassed a Rolodex of around 600 people, but I think only 50 or so of them would be willing to help me with a favor. Maybe I'll be able to add more value as time progresses.

Also, start from the lower rung, then ask those guys who the cool, (more reasonable) MDs/Partners are, ask them about everything on the concerned persons. Next, contact the other guys and namedrop the first person who referred you and so on. The higher-ups will be more open to networking if you've contacted guys from the bottom rung before - and in many cases, they do check with the lower-level guys to see if you're worth talking to.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
May 18, 2017

Reading Comprehension my boy, reading. UCB and Georgetown offered me partial scholarships, which I couldn't avail of because I had no way to recoup other expenses. I had to be content with an engineering major from my home country.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 19, 2017

Despite the struggles you've been through, I low-key wish that my life will be 1/10 as interesting.

I am a rising sophomore at an absolutely no name college (bad hs grades really screwed me over). I
applied to transfer into three targets/semi-targets only to receive rejections again (I'd wager it was my hs grades again).

I wanted advice on how I should proceed with my career path. I do have a shot for an unpaid internship at a small investment bank (they pride in being bigger than a brokerage but smaller than a middle market bank) for this summer, but I'm not 100% sure if it is worth. The only experience I have now was the networking events I participated in, placing top 5 at a securities analysis competition, and I am currently working on Breaking Into Wall Street. Should I push towards it or should I wait till my rising junior and rising senior summers to focus on interning? Also, any career advice would be appreciated. :D

May 19, 2017

A.) Don't use that word low-key, unless you know Kanye, or at least Virgil Abloh. You don't? I thought so. There's language for the streets and IG, and language for the office - just be sure you aren't mixing up their usage.
B.) Take that internship. Sophomore summer right? Take that internship, and make sure you keep your grades high
C.) Focus on getting grades up, while also building up your network to secure future interviews. Once you got those interview invitations, then you open up your training manual.
D.) BIWS sucks. Use WSP.
E.) Non-target means grades are everything. You made a bad call trying to transfer into targets if your current college is an absolute no name. But that being said, you should focus as much as you can on contacting any alumni, or try setting up cold chats. Also, focus more on local recruiting over NYC recruiting.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 19, 2017

Mr. Quattrone, I have an interview with a small PE fund next monday.

The CEO told me that "We only do buy-side M&A Advisory and this position does not entail financial modeling. It is more qualitative research methods and identifying acquisition candidates from our private equity clients."

Then I confirmed that there will be zero cold-calling (some people in the forum suggested 90% cold calling) and later I will have exposure to financial modeling.

Then how am I going to prepare for this interview? Only behavioral ones? (Got some experience in ER, limited experience in IB but very interested in M&A. 4 leadership positions in college)

Thanks in advance.

May 19, 2017

That's a weird firm alright, but I've seen firms like this. Is the firm a PE firm or just a fund invested in PE?

The lack of modelling experience will severely hurt you during M&A recruiting. You should expect behavioral questions that will scour your entire past experience. Also be prepared to know the essential finance and PE concepts.

Honestly I'm quite puzzled at what "qualitative methods" they'll use, assuming they get their numbers from the CEO's PE buddies. Also, if the firm only has that and zero financial modelling initially (plus no cold calling), I doubt you'll have much to work on as an analyst except investor reports. Although I do suspect they'll have a lot of cold-calling and due diligence waiting for you.

If you could PM me the profile of this company, maybe I could give an opinion then.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 19, 2017

What are the hours like for a first-year analyst at Qatalyst?

May 20, 2017

80-100+. But of course, Qatalyst pays the kids way above street (not so much in London though).

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 21, 2017

Fake Frank,

Thanks for doing an AMA. Query for you on non-traditional paths to buy-side (I suppose in this case lets stick with PE). Other than networking, any recommendations on getting a foot in the door if your background doesn't line up in the traditional path you laid out?

May 21, 2017

Not really. I guess in every high finance job - banking, consulting, PE, etc - there are primarily two routes to get the "in": networking like crazy (and literally like crazy, because most people in PE aren't big on cold networking), or having everything stacked in your favour (top target, top internship, etc.). Just make sure your background is as interesting as possible to your networking target, and stress on those points when connecting with him over email, phone or in person. Big selling points for people in PE and consulting (less so in banking) are entrepreneurial experience, studying their past work well (i,e, doing your homework on them), general ambitious attitude towards everything and being a member of a secret cabal (like the Freemasons or the Illuminati).

If there's any other route you had intended to show as an example, just post an example here, and I'll tell you if it would work or not.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

May 21, 2017

Long shot but do you know or have heard of any healthcare professionals finishing school and going into finance? Great read by the way congrats!

May 21, 2017

Depends on what you term healthcare professionals, and which level of school. Loads of doctors in McKinsey and BCG. Loads. Also a good number of doctors in healthcare divisions of investment banks or healthcare focused boutiques. There were a bunch of healthcare focused funds having qualified doctors.

If you're a bio major in undergrad, yes you can try working in IBD. If you're a MD, you will have to justify your shift of interest (easier in consulting than PE, obviously), but good practices won't turn you down solely based on that.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

Jul 27, 2017

kman

Jun 6, 2017

Ok, no reason to post this entire tale here when the job could've been done in the other thread. And no, I'm not from either of those countries either. But if you're from Pakistan, note that Lahore University of Management Sciences (or whatever is its actual name) is a target for MBB in the UAE. Although I'm unsure how someone could be from elsewhere other than India and still pursue a CBSE education - that shit seemingly only runs in Indian schools.

The average salary of an entry level guy in Dubai lies in the 4000-6000 AED/month range. Yet people flock to Dubai. For what? Of course, the companies in DIFC(Dubai Intl Financial Centre for those who don't know) pay much more in comparison (McKinsey pays 25000 AED/month to BAs, BBs pay in similar ranges). But why do poor people come to Dubai? For instance, why is it that my cousin who did not even graduate college, come to Dubai to earn a paltry income?

The answer is pretty simple - the fastest advancement tracks are in Dubai. If you can prove your mettle, don't be surprised if you're made head of sales or head of a product group within 2 years of starting at entry-level. Most people start at 3000-4000 AED/month, but that number rises exponentially fast. Now that cousin of mine, he's earning a solid 12000 AED/month - not so high as in the US, but zero taxes plus a host of other benefits makes it appealing.

Most regional banks start you off at 6000 AED/month which can easily rise to 15000 AED/month within 2-3 years. At the same time, I have an uncle (now retired since last years) who was very happy making 10000 AED/month (~40k USD) after 25 years of working at a regional bank (in operations). He's worth at least a couple million US dollars now, and spends most of his time nowadays gardening and Skyping his kids and grandkids. How did that happen? Being thrifty and clever at investing. Of course, he doesn't live in the Burj Al Arab when he travels to Dubai or Abu Dhabi these days, but hey, he can take the occasional trip to London or Manila when he wants to.

Now BB guys don't make 5k USD in Dubai - they make more than that. In line with US pay, except lower bonuses (obviously) and zero taxes. Thinking you can get a BB job from a local university (with UK ties that are nontarget in the UK too) is just naive. I've seen people from NYU Abu Dhabi in DIFC, but AFAIK, the standards of admission for NYUAD are the same as those for NYU NY.

Now as for Canadian Visa issues, frankly this is one of the first times I've heard of Canada refusing a student Visa. In fact most of my high school mates who had the acceptance letter from the university could receive one - which resulted in almost half of my former class ending up there, instead of the US or the UK. And most universities abroad have some loan schemes present which offer aid on a needs basis - you should've checked which ones offer them and applied there. I didn't mention this earlier but another factor that prevented me from going abroad was the fact that my parents were vehemently opposed to me taking a loan for the same reasons.

But assuming that they really rejected because you were poor, change your gameplan and now focus 100% on getting into a Canadian uni. Don't bother with permanent residency (which I assume you're going to try for), but get that transfer. If nothing works, try to nail the CFA towards the end of uni and use that to leverage an internship or a job in DIFC.

What I'm seeing right now is someone who attends a not-so-great university and is hunting for internships with a certain sense of naivety that borders on entitlement. No, no company needs to give you a 60k USD job for entry-level. And that too, in a place like DIFC that is more exclusive than London or New York high finance (since lesser number of companies, usually BB/EB, yada yada). All the people at DIFC are either Western educated or have had some exposure abroad. You can either use that to your advantage (like I did) and grow some humility in the process, or you can keep whining about your predicament. I'm sorry for the hard words, but the truth really can't be put in any easier fashion.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
Jul 27, 2017

Thank you for the information.

Jun 6, 2017

nothing to add, bravo dude. if you ever manage your way to the bible belt, look me up, drinks on me.

also, you and @tropos should totes hookup. age ain't nothin but a number

Jun 6, 2017

I might show up in Atlanta to catch up with some friends. Who knows, I might be able to meet one of the coolest guys on these forums too.

I still believe we should replace that little girl SSGA statue with a statue of tropos. She's a proud icon of wahmen on Wall Street.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

No questions, just wanted to congratulate you on how hard you have worked to get what you want and have things kind of figured out. Can't say I will miss Frank Quattrone though :)

Jun 9, 2017
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GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

Jul 27, 2017
Jul 25, 2017
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GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

Jul 29, 2017