Foster Care to Strategic Finance: My Story

I saw a couple of my story posts, and thought it would be good to share mine since I come from a very nontraditional background. I saw another post in outline form and liked it, so mine will mimic that.

The beginning:

  • I was placed in foster care at three months old. My mother didn't know who my father was so I permanently have a made up name on my birth certificate.
  • I stayed with a foster family for 10 years, while having monthly visits with my biological mother and brother.
  • Random day in 5th grade, my case-workers paid me a visit to let me know that I would be moving homes after nine years. Apparently living in a trailer with my foster mom and her boyfriend wasn't looked favorably upon by the state.
  • Bounced from two more homes over a 5 month period.
  • Adopted at the age of 11. All I have is a garbage bag of clothes and a couple star wars action figures to my name.

Fast forward to high school:

  • Failed Algebra 2 my senior year (I lacked the fundamental mathematical building blocks early on). Got into third tier state school (I think out of pity)
  • Began college as a marketing major. Got a D in accounting (twice). Switch major to Economics so I never had to take an accounting class again.
  • Graduate, move to a new city and receive a temp role in a bank making $14 an hour. Reviewed reverse mortgages all day and helped the mail department package letters for delinquent credit card payments to make overtime $.
  • Five months later I'm working in mortgage. I make $31,200. It sucks.. Laid off after a year and a half... That sucks more.
  • Five months later I'm working in brokerage for another bank. This time I make $44,000. I think I've made it.. Then I realize back office work sucks.
  • A year later I'm working as an Senior Financial Analyst making 60K. I got the job because the manager liked that I was an Eagle Scout. It wasn't real finance work, it was mostly data operations.
  • Leveraged the product experience I gained from that role, and received an offer in strategic finance with a F500 bank.

That's the short and sweet version, the lesson I learned is that determination and persistence go a long way of overcoming obstacles that are thrown your way.

Comments (17)

Mar 30, 2017

thanks for sharing your story!

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Mar 30, 2017

Congratulations on your success!

Could you give a quick rundown of what strategic finance is? It seems like every firm has a different definition for this role.

Mar 30, 2017

Thank you for making it short and sweet. Congrats on your role!

Best Response
Mar 30, 2017

That's what I am talking about! This is a real success story. Not one of these stories about entitled Ivy league kids who complain about 10 rejections (boo f*ing hoo) and then "finally" receive a BB IBD offer...

Congrats man. You have made it further than most kids on this board including people with top BB IBD offers. Now get back to work.

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Mar 30, 2017

love it, thanks for sharing!


Mar 30, 2017

Great Story!!! Congrats on your progress, fellow Eagle Scout here too. Glad it has helped you make some inroads!

Mar 30, 2017

thanks for sharing. love it. keen to understand what product knowledge you learned in your SFA role that was leveraged into strategic finance? would be great if you could throw some light on your day-to-day in your new role.


Mar 30, 2017

you da man! congrats

Mar 30, 2017

The new role I'm in looks at economic impacts to consumer products and compares the financial results to plan and forecast. The data operations role I was in looked at all banking products and I used that experience to interview for a role in consumer strategy. The reports/presentations go to the board of directors.

Mar 31, 2017

What a great success story and I'm sure you can still go higher. Thanks for sharing your inspiring experience. Yes determination and persistence go a long way for sure> Never say never and never listen to other people's advice if they say never.

Apr 2, 2017

I too am an Eagle Scout. I am proud of you and your success. Of course, I am even more proud that you are an Eagle Scout! Eagle Scout speaks volumes of a man's character and values. I wish you huge success in your endeavors.

From one Eagle to another.

What do you call an economist who forecasts? Wrong!

Apr 4, 2017

Best success story I have seen in ~10 years reading this site. Congrats on your success, and I admire your grit and determination. As a farm kid from downstate IL, I have always found my career path somewhat comical, but I can't say I ever faced true hardship in the way that you have. Keep grinding!

Apr 6, 2017

One of the best threads of WSO. Congrats man on your success, keep you head high, you have made us proud. SB'ed
@AndyLouis ,When is it going on the front page?

Get busy living or get busy dying.

Apr 6, 2017

Simply awesome. You're a savage!! No doubt in my mind that the best is yet to come.

Apr 8, 2017

Thanks everyone, I appreciate it. Difficult times made me appreciate what I have now. It's been an interesting journey so far for sure.

Mar 16, 2018

Congrats on overcoming adversity from one Eagle Scout to another!

Mar 26, 2018