Phewwww, it's been a strange ride, fellas.
I would like to gloat about my recent career revelations, while hopefully providing some advice/insight to the people who read.
I have just finished up a GE-type Financial Management Program at an F100 firm with an offer for an analyst role within the company's Global M&A group.
Before coming to this company, I came out of a non-target to work at a very small HF (click on my prof to see my original post on that), but decided to leave after a year and a half. Long-story-put-very-shortly: fund was small, I was being paid shittily & wanted to grow fund, boss was happy with having fund that small, so I left. I am also on L2 of the CFA.
Although the HF didn't work out, it definitely helped me to sneak into the F100 rotational program. Side note: I highly recommend these programs; you get vast exposure in a relatively small amount of time. During my interview with the M&A team after my rotations, they were intrigued by the past experience & the CFA, which no question made me stand out amongst my peers. I will now start for the group in a couple months, working on the analysis, execution, & integration of strategic acquisitions for the company & also assisting in any divestitures of subsidiaries/businesses.
Always wanting to break into the buyside of M&A, this is a dream job for me. Although it is not PE, I actually find this to be a more appealing role. Now that I have developed ties to this company over the past couple years, I could not find anything more exciting than directly helping the firm create value like this.
But the reason I decided to post is this:
there are many avenues to get into this business, and more broadly, whatever you want to do. Sometimes, the cookie cutter path (Ivy>IBD>MBA>PE) may seem like the only one. Certainly felt that way to me at most times. But I'm here to tell you fk that st. I can also tell you that I have never job, and have never had to work a 70-hour week, let alone those horror-story-esque 100-hour weeks you hear about.
This is very cliche, but I am going to say it anyways: work ethic, persistence, lots of patience, and a little bit of luck is really all you need to get in, and to reach any goal you're pursuing. You might need to take some "stepping-stone" jobs that you don't wanna do - trust me some of my rotations have been mind-numbing, or knuckle down on the CFA/MBA while working, but if you want it bad enough, make the most of your opportunities, and get a couple of good breaks, you can get there.
And to those people who read this and say "Yeah, that worked out for you, but it's still rare", I can happily point you to so so many similar stories on on the first page of this forum alone.
Feel free to reach out with any questions or anything. Always love giving back to the site I've utilized for so long!