A decent amount of details will be omitted, went through too much to type.. just shoot questions...
My mom was 21 when she had me and my father was a taxi driver In NYC. Growing up was a bit tough given the cards I was dealt. I honestly don't remember a day where I didn't see a cockroach in our apartment or a week where I didn't wear the same clothes twice. Age of 7/8, my parents divorced. Father left while a mother of 2 boys decided to move to D.C to live with relatives in a search for a better opportunity. My mother is a very strong woman, I remember her bringing me to her college classes sometimes because she could not afford a babysitter. She graduated with honors.
Despite the circumstances, I was sure good at one thing. FOOTBALL! My mom didn't want me to end up like the other kids on the street so she signed me up when I was about 8. Trying my hardest not to brag, but coaches saw I was ahead of my peers. I was that kid playing tackle with the older boys on the street till my mom yelled my name.
Middle school was an interesting time in my life. It was then when I realized I could use football as an avenue to college and riches. I was also introduced to weed through older kids & cousin. This would have a positive and negative impact later on.
HIGH SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL! The years that shaped me. Started on varsity as a receiver/safety during my sophomore year. By my junior year, I was being recruited by subpar D1 programs like UCONN, Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Rutgers, MIAMI U (IDK how the hell with the amount of talent in FL). Got my first offer from Nebraska after my junior season. I was super excited because things were going my way. Things went downhill from there. I tore my ACL + MCL after the 3rd game of my senior season and all interest in me went away, even my offer! This was a very dark time in my life. Yeah, it's only HS, but how would you feel if you were the top 10 players in the state and saw other players go on to play D1.
I pretty much said fuck school during my senior year. I ended with a 2.0.
As mentioned, I was introduced to weed in middle school. I wasn't smoking on a daily basis like I am now (need to slow down) but my intake only increased. Money was tight so my friend Billy taught me the game. He fronted me a quarter of some Reggie (low-grade weed) at the time and told me to come back when I have it. I remember mixing oregano into my product to increase my profits. This was 8TH grade, very few people smoked then and the ones that wanted to look cool, I took advantage of.
Fast forward to H.S. everyone knew I sold weed. Every ounce I sold I made sure to save X amount in order to buy my own product eventually. Taught me how to budget! Sophomore year was when I was first introduced to Cali weed and money started pouring in. I had enough to cop a pound (16 Oz, $3500-4500) depending on quality back then, prices are much lower nowadays. From there I started fronting people I trusted. Fast forward to senior year, I was on my way to the local grocery store parking lot to make a drop. My inspection sticker was expired so I eventually got pulled over. I made a drop earlier that day and my car stunk.
The officer issued me a ticket and asked me if I had any weed in the car because he could smell it. I was honest and told him I had a couple of ounces under the driver seat. Next thing you know 5-7 cop cars showed up like a murder happened. I was 17 at the time and my birthday was 2 weeks out. I remember being in the back of the squad car with no A/C like "fuck, is this really happening" A bald DEA agent with sunglasses started interrogating me. I gave him a fake story and he said the judge would give me some points for cooperating. Once my mom arrived to the scene, they asked if they could search my room. They searched my room and didn't find anything. I got very lucky because my room was in the basement and I had an extra QP (4 ounces) in my laundry room which was also a part of the basement but not the search.
It was a very dark time in my life. One that really made me think. At one point I was going to drop out H.S because I knew I was going to do at least 3-6 months and would miss graduation. Luckily, my lawyer knew the officer and due to my status in HS football, I think he leveraged that into making me look like a good kid. I still thank him to this day because my felony charge with intent to distribute were dropped.
During my senior year, my accounting teacher Ms. Hardin introduced the class to investing. We were put in groups and participated in a stock simulator competition. My friends didn't do shit, but for some reason, I took it serious. My team ended up winning the competition and that's when my teacher asked if I'd ever consider pursuing a career in the investment industry. I then started reading news and purchasing books about investing and tried to learn as much as I could.
Due to terrible grades in HS, I went to community college during the first 2 years. This was the first time I've ever been a straight A student. Yeah, it's a community college but still an impressive accomplishment in my eyes. During those 2 years, I asked a family friend if I could work free of charge in exchange to learn more about accounting. He said yes, I would soon be hired 3-4 months later.
After completing my Associates, I transferred to a top 25 public school. By then, I had a LinkedIn and searched up if I knew any relatives in finance. I had a relative that worked at Goldman in IB and asked for advice on breaking in. While he wasn't much help, he still told me to network my butt off because chances were slim if I didn't land an internship my junior year.
I started reaching out to Alumni and before I knew it I was being considered for an internship at the Federal Reserve Board. My internship experience was great but I wanted to break into the investment industry. Senior year was around the corner and with no offers, I decided to stay an extra semester to try and lock in another internship. After a shit ton of emails and attending information sessions, I secured an internship in fixed income.
The firm I interned at didn't offer full-time positions to recent grads. Started applying aggressively and used recruiters. I was able to land an interview with MS but I went in nervous as hell and asked stupid questions like "how did Morgan Stanley turn itself around"...did not get the job.
I drove Lyft for about 5 months frequently to pay for school loans & bills while I networked. I remember at one point telling myself to give up and take a typical finance job. I did it. Gave up on breaking in and decided to work for a private contractor. Luckily during those hard times, I kept in touch with the Managing Director at my previous internship. Got to know him pretty well and he was always there for advice.
After working for the government for about 3-4 months, I couldn't take it. I was itching to be in finance. I still kept up with what was going on in the markets because I was trading on my own account and knew my time would come. That time came last week!!!! The Managing Director told me they had an opening and that I should apply. There were 9 strong candidates and nothing was guaranteed. I went in with a "fuck what happens I'll be successful no matter what in this life" attitude. An hour after the interview I received a call with an Offer!!!!!!!!!
Man, it was the best feeling. I teared up a bit, looked myself in the mirror and said this is just the beginning.
Thank you to those who read my story.