From almost getting expelled in HS to IB FT.
I went to a prestigious private high school where lots of students are placed into Ivy league and other target schools across the nation. However, I gave zero f*cks in high school and was addicted to video games. I was naive into thinking that I could pull a 3.0 and get into a good college based on the reputation of my high school. I was almost expelled for doing so poorly my junior year and was given a letter that stated I must show improvement. As a senior, I watched as my friends got into good colleges and the rejection letters started piling up for me. I was ready to accept a letter of admission to a no-name business school when fortunately, I was taken off the wait-list at a top 70 undergraduate business school. For me, that was enough. I was extremely grateful. Watching on the sidelines as my peers succeeded really motivated me. I consider this to be my life's turning point and what lit the fire under me.
From here, I studied hard in college and got involved. I joined a fraternity and really expanded my social circle. Despite all of the parties, I refused to go out until my work was completed. I pulled a 3.8, won a writing award and really flourished at my university. However, it wasn't enough. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in finance and understood that transferring to a "target" school would help me get there. So, I did. I sent out apps and ended up at a West Coast target (think UCB, UCLA, USC, Claremont). I was quick in understanding that sacrifice is neccessary to succeed.
At my new university, I wasn't involved. I got complacent. I made the same mistake and believed that with a decent GPA and the brand name, I would land a decent job. Wrong. Coming into my junior year, I had NOTHING decent on my resume. Making matters worse, for the summer I had to go back home (not a financial hub) to finish up some credits so I could graduate on time. I coasted, hung out, and worked at my old part time job.
Enter senior year. I quickly realized how far behind I was. I discovered WSO. I began interviewing for finance positions. In the Fall I applied to everything including corporate finance, corporate banking, commercial banking, F500 companies, etc. I'm not joking when I state that my first ever face-to-face interview was during my senior year of college. It was terrible. I had no experience and clearly lacked the knowledge as well.
Fast forward to spring semester. I managed to land an internship in the very beginning of spring at a search fund. It is here where I realized that I wanted to get into private equity / investment banking. Due to the leanness of the firm, I was given a lot of responsibility in terms of deal sourcing and research. I began applying again and practiced, practiced and practiced more on my interview skills. I went through interview guides and brushed up on my technicals. I picked up a finance minor. I estimate that I did over 30 interviews throughout this period. I got lots of experience and improved a lot. I was lucky and managed to lateral my search fund internship into a gig with a well-respected PE shop in California. With this internship, my resume finally began to fill out.
I cold called over 100 boutiques in California with some success. Most banks were looking for interns in the summer and not full-time analysts. I was a little discouraged but continued to press forward. I finally managed to secure an interview with a well respected boutique just last month for a full-time position. I spun my private equity experience into a decent story and did well in the first round on campus. I attended their super day and during the ride back home, I received a call an hour later with an offer. I plan on signing my offer sheet sometime this week.
Moral of the story... Don't give up. If this high school slacker can do it, anyone can do it. And remember, luck does play a role. I was extremely lucky so don't get discouraged. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time so up your chances by being persistent. Thank you to anyone who actually took the time to read my entire post. Feel free to ask me questions. I would love to offer any advice that I can. Cheers guys!