From Homeless to Front Office

About a year and a half ago, I posted about getting 20+ interviews and no FT offer (20 Company Interviews Later...No FT Offer looking for Advice). I wish I could say that I quickly got a job after that, but that wasn't the case. I'm going to be very vague about certain details, because I'd like to remain anonymous.

Working in finance has been my dream since I was about 12. Around 14, I decided that I wanted to do IB. I started seeking out any and all finance mentors I could find, in addition to reading the news, getting magazine subscriptions, watching CNBC/Bloomberg, etc.

My passion was self-directed

I'm from a very poor community. For perspective, I had neighbors without running water, a neighbor without electricity, and I knew someone without indoor plumbing. Yes, this was in the U.S.A...just in the parts no one talks about. There was violence. I don't want to describe my home life too much. It's too painful. It's too revealing. I'll just say that it was very 'volatile'. That's why for me, investment banking meant so many things in terms of financial independence, being part of a community full of intellectuals (to an extent), and status. It was (sorry MLK) my promised land.

Even so, I was not naive about my status in the world. As both a female and a URM, I knew that it would be even more difficult to break into the high finance world. I started networking and interning as a freshman. I spent thousands (no exaggeration) on networking events, conferences, and industry organizations over the years. I had up to 3 jobs at a time so I could cover my school costs as well as my career costs. This was all so I could meet people with the hope that one day they'd admire my intelligence and tenacity enough to provide me with a lead. When I was 15, a finance person told me that who I knew would matter more than what I knew. While people made fun of me in college for spending money to 'meet' people, it made sense at the time.

Now flash forward to my senior year. I had multiple high quality internships under my belt, not bad grades (considering how much I worked), and tons of people that I'd met in the industry. My school's career center knew and loved me. I never thought things would get so bad...

****Disclaimer for the people who want to say it's easier if you're a minority.****

I don't want to hear anything about companies' diversity programs because that only 'helps' if you're at a target school! There was something in my previous post that I purposely omitted. I didn't want it to turn into a crap show. At some point, there was a lull in the amount of interviews I was getting. Around December '14 things/calls slowed down significantly. I changed one thing before I started to get a faucet of call backs. I refused to check my race, or fill out an application where it was required. No agenda here. I'm just being 100% transparent now.

***End of disclaimer*****

After graduation

Anyhow, I graduated without a job and began to move around from place to place. I kept being persistent. I lost count of how many applications I submitted after 350. I kept making calls. I kept seeing people, eventually maxing out my credit card to have those coffee conversations. It was difficult to keep up appearances. My friends started calling me stupid, dreamer, a leech (for couch surfing even though I bought my own food). I was told to grow up and be realistic. They encouraged me to give up.

After running out of money and hospitality, I found myself sometimes sleeping on the subway or train station. It was scary and painful and cold. At my lowest/poorest point, I could only afford to eat one bowl of cereal a day. I lost around 30 lbs between graduation and my hardships. I was able to do some part-time seasonal work, but while I had that job and was couch surfing, I had to pay for my stay, so I saved nothing. By the time I was permanently kicked out, I was maintaining odd jobs (one of which was a bathroom attendant) while trying to interview for my stable positions. (I just want to say if you walk into a club bathroom and there is no vomit or urine, please tip the attendant. I swear they do more than hand you paper towels. It's just the only way you can see them.)

Anyhow, I would be lying if I said I didn't go to a deep dark place. I thought many times about walking in front of a moving train. I saw so many years of work go up in ash. And for some reason, people in the industry began to express that I must not be trying hard enough. I could go on and on about the shitty things that happened. These are on the mild side.

However, I'll just end by saying that eventually I got the offer. An alum knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who was hiring. I had 4 different rounds of interviews before I got the job, and I'm very happy. Sometimes it gets annoying to hear people brag about their fathers getting them the job or seeing frat boys that barely graduated with no relevant experience go to more 'prestigious' institutions. But I'm never bitter. I see it this way: I've already weathered one of the largest downturns in my life and anything the markets throw at me will be no big deal.

For all of my struggling monkeys, persistence and consistency in the face of adversity will pay you dividends! You got this!!!

Mod Note: Best of WSO, this was originally posted December 2015

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Comments (148)

Dec 16, 2015

Holy shit. I'm not even sure what to say.

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Dec 16, 2015
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Holy shit. I'm not even sure what to say.

"Those stokings need some stuffing".

Dec 16, 2015

And... The Force Awakens !

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Dec 16, 2015

Never Happened.

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Best Response
Dec 16, 2015

Nicely done.

I like my women like I like my coffee: Strong, black, and full of Sapphire. You fit at least two of those criteria and two out of three ain't bad. Three is a trifecta.

That's hot. Call me when you're in New York.

(Just don't tell my wife (or Sharon)).

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Dec 16, 2015

Yes ! +1.

@DickFuld , I am waiting on your "9 Quick Pick-Me-Up Power Moves" post.

Dec 17, 2015

Seconded. You can make it into an e-book.

Dec 17, 2015

Maybe one day, although I fear I might lose a lot of people that I hold close now. So, we'll see what happens.

Dec 17, 2015

This actually made me chuckle out loud.

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Dec 18, 2015
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This actually made me chuckle out loud.

Good to know you have a sense of humor.

Dec 16, 2015

You kept shooting till you hit the target. Well done.

Dec 17, 2015

Thank you. My goal is to convince others that if they really, really want something, they can obtain it.

Dec 17, 2015

You just Chris Gardner-ed it :) Well done!!

"Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger" - Mario Puzo

Dec 17, 2015

Thank you, although you're too kind. If I had a child, I'm 99.9% sure that I wouldn't be here today. That's not to say that it can't be done (he did it obviously). He's the true MVP.

Dec 18, 2015

You're an inspiration to us all. Keep at it :) You're the MVP too.

"Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger" - Mario Puzo

Jan 19, 2017

Agree with you. This is just great.

Dec 17, 2015

Phenomenal story! Really puts things in perspective..

Dec 17, 2015

Thank you!

Dec 17, 2015

wow, just wow. you are the future Carla Harris.

care to elaborate on your current role?

Dec 17, 2015

Thank you. I sure hope so. She's one of my heroes. I don't want to go into too much detail because no one in the firm knows my story. But I work for a MM firm and I'm on the investment/Asset Management side.

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Dec 17, 2015

thanks for sharing your story!

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

Dec 17, 2015
undefined:

thanks for sharing your story!

No, thank you! I've been using this site since I was a freshman. I've been to the conferences since the very first one. I've met some very helpful and wonderful users here. If it weren't for WSO I'd have no true direction on what to do!

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Dec 23, 2015

thanks for your kind words and glad the site has been so helpful to you! maybe we met at the first conference?

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

Dec 30, 2015
AndyLouis:

thanks for your kind words and glad the site has been so helpful to you! maybe we met at the first conference?

I believe so. I've only been to some of the conferences. But not all.

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Dec 17, 2015

If this is all true please message me when you're looking for the buyside. I'll be happy to provide you all the recruiting resources I've aggregated and provide any help I can.

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Dec 17, 2015
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If this is all true please message me when you're looking for the buyside. I'll be happy to provide you all the recruiting resources I've aggregated and provide any help I can.

Thank you! It's all true. Nothing I wrote was an exaggeration, and there are actually several more crazy things that happened, but were omitted for various reasons.

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Dec 17, 2015

Happy for you and wish you and others struggling the best !

Dec 17, 2015

Thanks! All the best to you as well.

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Dec 17, 2015

Congrats, that is definitely one hell of a story. Your attitude is incredible regardless of what you've been through, and your experiences only make it that much more impressive.

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Dec 18, 2015
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Congrats, that is definitely one hell of a story. Your attitude is incredible regardless of what you've been through, and your experiences only make it that much more impressive.

Thank you. I struggled with whether or not I should share my story. But over the months my conscious would not allow me keep it in. I believe in the power of being positive. But I didn't want to give some sunshine and lollipop rendition of what really happened. Everyday at work, I make sure that I start the day with a smile on my face. It doesn't matter how tired or stressed I am, it's just a self-reminder of how lucky I am. I'm not saying I always end the day that way, but I truly believe that attitude determines so much in life.

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Dec 17, 2015

absolutely phenomenal story, congrats on your accomplishments

Dec 18, 2015

Thank you very much!

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Dec 17, 2015

Great Thread.This puts a lot in persepective for me again.

Dec 18, 2015
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Great Thread.This puts a lot in persepective for me again.

Thank you! I am happy to hear that. My mission is accomplished. When I was job hunting, I was relentless. I talked to/ called/met with everyone I could from analyst to CEO. I once talked to a global head of IB at a BB firm that I won't name. It was literally one of the most crushing conversations I'd ever had in my life. He ripped me apart for having a low GPA (he said working/supporting myself was a poor excuse). He called me stupid (he said that if I was truly intelligent then I would have gotten a return offer from my internship). And he stomped on my dreams (he said that I was basically damaged goods and that I'd never get an offer in IB so I might as well move on to other things). It was 30 minutes of torture. I cried for days after the fact. (I'm not a big crier.) For a month, I half assed applied to things, before I snapped back to reality. It was actually around December '14 when this convo took place. In hindsight that was stupid, and I just don't want people to make the same mistakes as me.

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Dec 18, 2015

Did you know that people that feel like they've come from the same sorts of suffering (which many 100% of the time haven't) are less understanding of those that have gone through the real wringer? In the words of a famous HBS alumni graduation speaker - "You go out there, and prove them wrong. Each and every one"

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Dec 18, 2015
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Did you know that people that feel like they've come from the same sorts of suffering (which many 100% of the time haven't) are less understanding of those that have gone through the real wringer? In the words of a famous HBS alumni graduation speaker - "You go out there, and prove them wrong. Each and every one"

Oh trust me I know. I didn't meet many, but I encountered some very discouraging people in the industry. I had someone tell me that I must not be trying hard enough after I mentioned that I had submitted over 300 job applications. I had someone from a really wealthy family tell me that supporting myself was no excuse for a bad GPA. I heard a bunch of stuff.

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Dec 18, 2015
undefined:

undefined:Great Thread.This puts a lot in persepective for me again.

Thank you! I am happy to hear that. My mission is accomplished. When I was job hunting, I was relentless. I talked to/ called/met with everyone I could from analyst to CEO. I once talked to a global head of IB at a BB firm that I won't name. It was literally one of the most crushing conversations I'd ever had in my life. He ripped me apart for having a low GPA (he said working/supporting myself was a poor excuse). He called me stupid (he said that if I was truly intelligent then I would have gotten a return offer from my internship). And he stomped on my dreams (he said that I was basically damaged goods and that I'd never get an offer in IB so I might as well move on to other things). It was 30 minutes of torture. I cried for days after the fact. (I'm not a big crier.) For a month, I half assed applied to things, before I snapped back to reality. It was actually around December '14 when this convo took place. In hindsight that was stupid, and I just don't want people to make the same mistakes as me.

Holy shit. What the fuck? This guy sounds like a complete and total asshole. It's amazing that the global head of IB at a BB would satisfy the banker stereotype of 'asshole'.

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Dec 18, 2015

stereotypes exist for a reason..

Dec 18, 2015
undefined:

stereotypes exist for a reason..

True.

Dec 18, 2015

That story about the head of IB at a BB makes me so upset! That piece of shit doesn't understand the real world & needs to be punched square in the face. Thankfully that generation is dying off or being run out of the workforce. Complete incompetence.

I was watching an interview with Chris Sacca, he was discussing one of Uber's greatest challenges which was underestimating the full blown corruption in the government. I think once more disruptive fin companies come along the corruption in BB's, etc. will soon be run out as well.

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Dec 19, 2015

Watching finance change is pretty crazy/cool. However, I think that smaller/ mid size banks will be squeezed out more so than the larger ones. I don't know, we'll see. There were some pretty huge banks that no one ever thought would go down. And we all know how that went. There is so much going on that it's hard to keep up. But that's what makes our world so exciting!

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Dec 17, 2015

Way to make life your b***h and go after what you want!

Dec 18, 2015
undefined:

Way to make life your b***h and go after what you want!

I try :D

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Dec 17, 2015

Amazing and inspirational post!
Thank you for sharing!

It ain't what you know, it's who you know

Dec 18, 2015

Thank you for reading!

Dec 17, 2015

Amazing story. Wish you the best.

Dec 17, 2015

Great story. Congrats.

Dec 17, 2015

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/20-company-i...'s her thread from over a year ago. Some interesting comments on that thread lol.

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Dec 18, 2015

Well in fairness to them, I heard similar/worse things from friends and family. They underestimated passion. But I just want all the monkeys to know that if you truly want it, you can have it. It may be hard as hell, but getting into banking is not impossible.

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Dec 17, 2015

Hard to take it seriously when the name is itzwhitneybitch.

Next up: From deceased to front office.

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Dec 17, 2015

"It was (sorry MLK) my promised land." lol

Dec 17, 2015

Nice username..

Dec 17, 2015

holy shit

Observe. Learn. Share.

Dec 17, 2015

Just wow. Love these type of stories. Reminded me of the Pursuit of Happiness, which btw is my favourite finance type movie. I could totally relate to a lot of the things you went through. Congrats on your offer and best of luck in your career - you're definitely one to watch!

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Dec 18, 2015
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Just wow. Love these type of stories. Reminded me of the Pursuit of Happiness, which btw is my favourite finance type movie.

Thank you! I mentioned on one of the earlier comments that I'm 99.9% sure that if I had a kid, I wouldn't be able to this. But then again, most people thought I wouldn't be this far either, so who knows.

undefined:

I could totally relate to a lot of the things you went through.

While I'm not happy to hear that bad things happened to you. I am happy to know that I'm not alone.

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Congrats on your offer and best of luck in your career - you're definitely one to watch!

Thanks again! My aim is to be successful.

Dec 17, 2015

Thanks for sharing your story. And congrats to you, can definitely take whatever life throws at you.

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
Socrates

Dec 18, 2015

You're welcome. Thanks for reading!

Dec 17, 2015

Keep it up, you're a beast.

Dec 18, 2015

Thank you!

Dec 17, 2015

Congrats! Clearly there is driven and there is DRIVEN. I don't think most people in your spot would have kept going, so great job. Thank you for also sharing your story here on WSO. I think stories like this always help give us a big dose of perspective on how lucky most of us are.

Happy Holidays!

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Dec 18, 2015
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Congrats! Clearly there is driven and there is DRIVEN. I don't think most people in your spot would have kept going, so great job. Thank you for also sharing your story here on WSO. I think stories like this always help give us a big dose of perspective on how lucky most of us are.

Happy Holidays!

Wow that means a lot! Thank you Pat! I've been using WSO since I was a freshman. I've gotten tons of great advice. I've met some awesome Certified Users. When I left my neighborhood, I had a dream and a general direction, but WSO gave me a map. So much of what I've done in terms of prep and strategic networking has been because I learned from the resources put here. Although the map was a giant zig zag, I eventually figured out where to go. So thank you and Gene and Ant, and so many others who've dedicated time and energy to help all of us who are on unfamiliar grounds. Happy holidays to you as well!

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Dec 18, 2015

Great story, congrats to you. If you ever find yourself in SF, I'd love to meet you.

Dec 18, 2015

Thanks, I'll make it to the west coast one of these days!

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Dec 18, 2015

Mods, Next time some stupid kid talks about which offer is more "prestigious", instead of banning them, send them to this thread. It's incredible how much adversity you've overcome, and how positive you are coming out of this! A person's soul can literally turn cold coming out of a situation like this.

NEVER lose this passion, and keep doing what you're doing!

I think- therefore I fuck

Dec 18, 2015

"As both a female and a URM, I knew that it would be even more difficult to break into the high finance world."

You have a huge advantage as a female or non-Asian minority if you leverage it correctly. And no, you don't need to attend a target school. I go to a good school but not a traditional target and every minority student who is doing IBD took advantage of diversity programs (e.g., SEO, INROADS) or special firm-specific scholarships to get in.

At the end of superday interviews, when the interviewers get on a conference call, HR will typically first inquire how the female and minority candidates did. If they did reasonably well, there will be a huge push to get them offers even if they didn't stand out as the top candidates the team would prefer to give offers to. At the end of the day they have quotas to fill. If you don't check the gender or race box then yes you'll simply be lumped in with the general pool.

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Dec 18, 2015
undefined:

"As both a female and a URM, I knew that it would be even more difficult to break into the high finance world."

You have a huge advantage as a female or non-Asian minority if you leverage it correctly. And no, you don't need to attend a target school. I go to a good school but not a traditional target and every minority student who is doing IBD took advantage of diversity programs (e.g., SEO, INROADS) or special firm-specific scholarships to get in.

At the end of superday interviews, when the interviewers get on a conference call, HR will typically first inquire how the female and minority candidates did. If they did reasonably well, there will be a huge push to get them offers even if they didn't stand out as the top candidates the team would prefer to give offers to. At the end of the day they have quotas to fill. If you don't check the gender or race box then yes you'll simply be lumped in with the general pool.

What are you talking about... how would you know the super day interview process if you're a prospective monkey?Stop talking about shit you don't know about. No one is going to give someone a job just because they are a minority. At the end of the day, if they aren't good, they aren't going to last regardless. Sometimes minorities are scrutinized more because their intellectual capability is drawn into question at times as a result of negative stereotypes society has towards minorities and their ability.

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Dec 18, 2015

Because I know people in the industry and they've shared that this is the way it largely works. The same thing has been stated on this forum as well in those "how are superday decisions made" type threads. HR gives a huge push to female and minority candidates even if they aren't necessarily among the first-choice options of the team. Yes, if they don't meet a certain level of qualification and interview poorly they won't be receiving an offer. But that's irrelevant to the fact that female/URM status provides a distinct leg up in the process on its own.

Regarding your last sentence, that's often a consequence of affirmative action practices themselves and was MLK's central misgiving about the practice of providing non-discriminate advantages to certain groups of individuals based on certain check-box qualities. Then there's the question of, did this individual get to where they are on their own merit, or because of their skin color?

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Dec 18, 2015

So you're saying the reason people sometimes look down on minorities is because of affirmative action instead of the reason we have affirmative action? There are plenty of more than qualified minority candidates who have to work twice as hard to prove themselves and overcome stigmas because of people like you who discount them and bitch about affirmative action.

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Dec 19, 2015

Not discounting anybody or anything. And for the record, I'm part URM. I have, however, never filled out my race on an application as I've never felt I'm an individual who needs it. I don't come from a wealthy family by any means, but on the same token I've never been socioeconomically disadvantaged like many have.

And no, in general, I'm not in favor of indiscriminate policies that favor one group of people at the expense of another just so some particular microcosm of society (university, firm, etc.) better mirrors what happens to be seen in the country or region as a whole. While it's led to more minority representation in the work force and those in positions of power, the policy has done nothing to close the achievement gap (nor does it, in my view, have the power to). Nor does it necessarily work to advantage those who are necessarily disadvantaged as a whole.

Regarding the "works twice as hard" platitude, just about everybody who wants to accomplish anything in life works hard. Sure, some have the advantage of simply posting their resumes to their school career site and get plenty of interviews. But at the same time, they wouldn't have that luxury if they didn't have the ability and bust their tail in high school and college to get to that point in the first place.

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Dec 18, 2015

Thank you for posting, seriously.

Here I was feeling discouraged because of my situation, (non-target, Engineering 3.0GPA, & no IB internships ). In regards to working outside of school to cover expenses I can def relate. I have been working since high school to help out at home.

Similiar story to the global head of IB: Had the chance to speak to an MD at a BB, as I'm sharing my background, he asks "what's your GPA." I confidently stated, "3.0." .. his response "3.0 AT A NON-TARGET?! Forget about it, you're definitely not going to be able to do IB."

So as I keep cold emailing/cold calling away, I'll keep your story in mind. When I have doubts I'll just ask myself "What if ItzWhitneyBitch gave up??"

Congrats!

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Dec 18, 2015
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When I have doubts I'll just ask myself "What if ItzWhitneyBitch gave up??"

Congrats!

I think it's pretty clear what would've happened. By her own admission, she had maxed out her credit cards, drained her financial resources, alienated friends/family (her support network), her health was in decline, she was starving and sleeping in train stations, all until a stroke of blind luck went her way. The mind blowing part of this entire story, is she had good internships and what not, but refused to go after the opportunities right in front of her a.k.a squandered those opportunities by chasing an unlikely dream. Persistence is key, sure, but jesus have some sort of limit.

Normally, any success story is awesome, and overcoming adversity to do it is inspiring. In this case, I can't help but think this person was ready to throw away their life, relationships and early career opportunities. For what? Some false perception of "prestige." I really hope this person's story is the exception, rather than the rule regarding the lengths young people are willing to go to in order to "break in."

Dec 18, 2015

That was just a facetious comment. But yes, this story is the exception: I personally have too many people depending on me for me to misinterpret my chances of breaking in and then end in such a predicament as hers.

I'm making sure I have safety options prepared: hopefully all those who are in similar shoes do.

Dec 19, 2015
undefined:

undefined:When I have doubts I'll just ask myself "What if ItzWhitneyBitch gave up??"Congrats!

I think it's pretty clear what would've happened. By her own admission, she had maxed out her credit cards, drained her financial resources, alienated friends/family (her support network), her health was in decline, she was starving and sleeping in train stations, all until a stroke of blind luck went her way.

I know my story is very atypical. I am one of the 'luckiest' unlucky people you'll ever meet. The issue is that I've met people from similar backgrounds who have given up on themselves, and they actually have a support network. And the people with real support networks could actually benefit the most from the things I've learned. I want people to ask me what I did in terms of finding contacts, talking to senior people, networking strategies at conferences, etc. I'm simply here to help (to the extent that I can) like all the people did to me.

In terms of alienating friends and family, ha! First of all, my family alienated me a long time ago. This is why I was willing to move 1500 miles away without knowing a single soul to reach my dreams. I came to college not knowing anyone. My first day of orientation was literally the first day I had ever been on campus.

In terms of the friend alienation, that was kind of the biggest surprise. I have a typo above in one of the years. But here is my basic timeline: 5 months after graduation, I'd already had 4 addresses (in between those is where the sleeping in bus stations and etc took place. Then I got a more semi permanent address with a friend, and I still had a few more days of train/ bus station sleeping (I got sexiled). After about 5 months, I got permanently kicked out b/c I needed to grow up. I hate going into detail because it makes my friends seem like horrible people, but they're really not. They just were less understanding b/c they got to spend a year or two with their parents and save money, and I didn't have that luxury. It's just really hard to make people understand that. I'm sure that vast majority of people here don't have the issue of not having a permanent home so all the stuff I ran into, they won't.

The being hungry part sucked, but it wasn't too different from some parts of my childhood, so it didn't bother me as much.

Sleeping on an actual subway train, I only did once, and I don't recommend it. It was scary. Nothing bad happened, but the fear of what could just didn't sit well with me. Sleeping in the bus station happened more frequently and was actually not a big deal to me at all. I slept in Port Authority. It's kind of like a hostel if you don't think too much about it. At night, they lock you in behind cages (don't know what they're called officially), so no one can get in or out, and there are cameras somewhere around to deter criminal activity.

And if you're wondering how in the world did I manage to sleep in Port Authority, it's simple. You buy a *refundable* ticket to Philly for the next day. I used Philly because it's the cheapest at $9 if you get the right time. As long as you have a ticket for the next day, they cannot kick you out of the station. Don't try to be clever and stay without a ticket because the cops check and will forcefully (if necessary) remove you. It's not beautiful, there is no bathroom access, the floor is hard, and it's cold during the winter, but it's safe and not smelly. In the morning, around 5 am, the cops come unlock the cages and wake you up.

I'm not here to tell people whether or not they should be willing to sleep in a bus/train station. Hell, as a female, I would strongly discouraged anyone but especially women from doing that unless they have the means to defend themselves in the worst case scenario. I don't go looking for trouble, but the majority of physical altercations I've had in my life have been with males attacking me.

I don't think my luck was blind. Had I not did all the necessary things in terms of preparing myself, when the job opp came up, the alum would have never thought of me or mentioned me to the right people.

The mind blowing part of this entire story, is she had good internships and what not, but refused to go after the opportunities right in front of her a.k.a squandered those opportunities by chasing an unlikely dream. Persistence is key, sure, but jesus have some sort of limit.

Normally, any success story is awesome, and overcoming adversity to do it is inspiring. In this case, I can't help but think this person was ready to throw away their life, relationships and early career opportunities. For what? Some false perception of "prestige." I really hope this person's story is the exception, rather than the rule regarding the lengths young people are willing to go to in order to "break in."

[/quote]

I had multiple nice internships. Which is why I think a lot of people didn't necessarily take me seriously when I asked for help. The amount of times I heard,"You have a great resume; you'll be fine." makes me want to vomit. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel entitled, nor do feel like people owed me their time or a even a recommendation. But I think people for the most part felt less guilty dismissing me or not advocating for me because they didn't think that it would be necessary. When I asked what could I be doing differently, I was being genuine. Because hearing that I'm doing all the right things doesn't help me position myself into a different/ better spot.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by squandering the opportunities in front of me. I think this job was interview 34 in terms of finance positions in the aggregate, and every interview I went into in the past I gave my all. However, can you imagine having an interview after sleeping a bus station, or a superday on a practically empty stomach? Even under ideal conditions, these things are rough, but imagine doing them with all the additional background noise. And I was not only applying for IB if you see my past post I mentioned that I was applying across a wide spectrum of opportunities.

I did have a limit. I had two actually. The first one was pretty basic and stands. If I ever woke up, and truly felt like I should not be in finance, then I would give it up without a second thought. The second was if I ever put so much as one foot past the yellow platform, I would abandon finance regardless of my 'feelings'. Also I don't think that I was throwing my life away. You do realize this is something I was pursuing for essentially a decade, and it was a huge part of my identity. In terms of prestige, that's not what I meant when I said status. I guess influence might be a better word. It's just, in my opinion, that as a very successful finance person, you have the ability to transform lives. You can buy board seats in charitable organization. You could start a charter school. You can influence policy makers. It's not about being cool for me.

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Dec 19, 2015

I meant you could've found a good job outside of investment banking, there is a lot more to finance than IB, but instead you decided to intentionally back yourself into a corner. You can't make the argument that chasing IB was somehow more attainable or a better use of your time and resources. Especially as your situation worsened. In other words, I view most of the adversity you faced as self-inflicted. Having your "limit" be if/when you contemplate or attempt suicide is unhealthy and pretty scary. Especially considering you decided on that initial direction at the age of 12. At the end of the day, you ended up where you wanted to be, and I don't want to detract from your success. I'm sure you'll make the most of this opportunity and the perspective this experience has brought you will be invaluable in the long run.

Dec 20, 2015
ArcherVice:

<

p>I meant you could've found a good job outside of investment banking, there is a lot more to finance than IB, but instead you decided to intentionally back yourself into a corner. You can't make the argument that chasing IB was somehow more attainable or a better use of your time and resources. Especially as your situation worsened. In other words, I view most of the adversity you faced as self-inflicted. Having your "limit" be if/when you contemplate or attempt suicide is unhealthy and pretty scary. Especially considering you decided on that initial direction at the age of 12.

To be fair, I have always believed that suffering for something that you really want also builds character. There's the easy way and the hard way, and sometimes, choosing the hard way makes you stronger as an individual.

<

p>
Yes, her suffering may have been a choice. I would not characterize it as "self-inflicted" however because she won in the end-- she achieved her goal.

<

p>
Is it worth being homeless for a year to land in IBD or have some sort of career or financial outcome? Not to me. But other things are. Other things are worth going to jail for or giving up a career for (not worth giving up your ethics for, however).

<

p>
I don't think she is necessarily a good role model for college undergrads, but she is a role-model in a very different sense- for when you hit a brick wall that can't come down. So you push against it. It won't budge. You keep pushing. People tell you that you're wrong for pushing it- the wall will never come down. But you keep at it. And every once in a while, the wall can come crashing down.

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Dec 20, 2015

Next time I have a bad trade I should intentionally get a Margin Call, that way my suffering, as long as I keep adding to the position, will pay off if a blind stroke of luck comes my way.

Dec 20, 2015
undefined:

Next time I have a bad trade I should intentionally get a Margin Call, that way my suffering, as long as I keep adding to the position, will pay off if a blind stroke of luck comes my way.

<

p>Sure, because getting a Margin Call is just like sleeping in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and keeping a losing trade is something you've dreamed of doing since you were 12.

<

p>

The woman was homeless. She has her dream job now. A year ago your advice was to give up. To the extent that people aren't occasionally allowed to ignore or disagree with your advice sometimes, or that it's personal when people don't listen to you, her success creates some awkwardness for you.

<

p>
99 people out of 100 should have given up and pursued an accounting job. You're right on that point. This woman was the exception.

<

p>
Instead of just saying "congrats", I feel like you're caught up on this unwillingness to overlook the fact that sometimes people will disagree with you or sometimes do things that aren't 100% pragmatic. And if you truly are the pragmatist I think you are, I think you can just say congrats and let it be.

<

p>
She did not follow the advice I would have given either-- and I also worry that she may be used as an example for other people who have such career obsessions that they put landing a job over their well-being. But congrats in spite of it-- maybe she earned it the hard way, but nobody doubts that she EARNED this.

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Dec 20, 2015

As I said above, I already know she's going to kill it in the role given her recent experiences.

Dec 20, 2015

Sounds like we agree on everything, and we're just using a different tone and focus to express ourselves.

I totally agree with and support raising the don't-try-this-at-home caveat, but thanks for helping bring the focus back to her story.

May 13, 2016

Foremost, I think it's incredible OP landed her dream job. Not many people commit to themselves in such a dedicated way, but at the same time those of you who dogpile on the other perspective, you are no less the moral superior than the jerks you perceive them to be. We all have our own opinions, so quit having that holier-than-thou attitude. Without a doubt it would be rational for anyone to label this a rather "extreme" way to go about their ability to land that IB role. After all, the OP clearly said she allowed her circumstances to make her homeless. Not many would do that.

Frankly, what ArcherVice is clearly stating is that OP could have been more patient and prioritized her health for an opportunity that isn't a "never". One doesn't necessarily need to pursue IB head-first to enter high finance. Whether one can call OP's bloom a stroke of blind luck or not isn't really any one of us to decide, because it shows she took the effort to land the job but at the same time that effort could have cost her her life.

Heads and tails, guys. Heads and tails.
In conclusion: OP, congratulations!

Dec 18, 2015
undefined:

Thank you for posting, seriously.

Here I was feeling discouraged because of my situation, (non-target, Engineering 3.0GPA, & no IB internships ). In regards to working outside of school to cover expenses I can def relate. I have been working since high school to help out at home.

Similiar story to the global head of IB: Had the chance to speak to an MD at a BB, as I'm sharing my background, he asks "what's your GPA." I confidently stated, "3.0." .. his response "3.0 AT A NON-TARGET?! Forget about it, you're definitely not going to be able to do IB."

So as I keep cold emailing/cold calling away, I'll keep your story in mind. When I have doubts I'll just ask myself "What if ItzWhitneyBitch gave up??"

Congrats!

Lmao. Let me guess; the MD was a finance major ?

Dec 18, 2015

Don't recall the exact major but it was not Engineering. I tried to defend myself with my extracurricular: D1 athlete, 4 internships + FT Job etc. and it still wasn't enough haha.

But its all good, my success story is next.

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Dec 20, 2015
undefined:

Don't recall the exact major but it was not Engineering. I tried to defend myself with my extracurricular: D1 athlete, 4 internships + FT Job etc. and it still wasn't enough haha.

But its all good, my success story is next.

I look forward to reading it!

Dec 18, 2015

Not going to say the md was right but we all know gpa is one of the most common things these companies use to weed out a ton of people. It's also a thing you can control whether or not you go to a target so there aren't really too many excuses. Yes sometimes the teacher you have is terrible but overall it's usually a small number over a 4year degree. I do wish you well in all of your future endeavors. I like reading the WSO success stories so I will look out for yours!

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Dec 18, 2015

Don't get me wrong I understand where he was coming from, but I will never let some rational number define my intelligence.

Thanks for the kind words sir. And no worries I'll make sure I tag you - so stay tuned.

  • slainte mhath
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Dec 18, 2015

No problem. We're gonna make it!

Dec 18, 2015

This was amazing. Fantastic job :)

Dec 18, 2015

Thank you!

Dec 18, 2015

Obviously the liberal keyboard warriors are going to throw MS, but OP saying that as a female URM she was at a big disadvantage is patently false. The opportunities and recruiting initiatives available to URM's and females (and consequently off limits to everyone else) are numerous, with many firm-specific programs as well. It is a huge advantage being one of the two, let alone both, as the offer rate among URM's and females is higher than the overall pool despite being less qualified on aggregate.

If she had leveraged her race she would have had a much easier time getting to where she wanted to be. That she thought you need to be a target school student to take advantage of the programs and initiatives available simply shows misjudgment and poor research on her part.

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Dec 18, 2015

I'll raise my hand. I threw MS because you turned an inspirational thread into one about race. I'm focusing, as I believe most other monkeys are, on OPs ability to come from the type of upbringing she had to a job in finance, NOT the fact that a black woman (assuming black because she agreed with me on my carla harris comment) made it.

also, I believe she made it clear that the traditional recruiting channels and therefore the diversity programs were not available to her as she did not attend a target, as you do. I believe what she was implying is that being a black female growing up the way she did she did not have the role models/opportunities that most forum users have and THAT, not her genitalia or skin color, is why she was at a disadvantage out of the gate.

I threw MS because your comment reeked of some of Brady's bitching about being at a disadvantage if you're asian, and I think you implied (either accidentally or not) that not being asian was a big reason why she got a chance. it's thinking like this that is toxic, and that is why I threw MS.

and for whatever it's worth, I'm not a liberal keyboard warrior, just someone who despises thread hijacking from one of the best stories I've ever heard, so please excuse my downvoting of your post.

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Dec 18, 2015

I agree and did the same.

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Dec 18, 2015

I agree that it's a great story. I simply didn't agree with a part of her post, which is of course immaterial relative to the greater theme behind it. Her thread from a year back (linked to in the OP) is also interesting.

And yes, having the proper guidance and role models growing up is extremely important in a career as competitive as high finance. Anybody, regardless of race, who doesn't have that is at a big disadvantage.

I knew a girl who had a loads of potential (went to one of HYPW), but came from an abusive household where her parents made her stay home with them each summer and was never allowed the chance to pursue internships. Needless to say, when it came to getting a job in finance she was completely fucked. Now, a few years after graduation, she works some low-paying job that a C high school student could do. It's a shame really.

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Dec 18, 2015

"The offer rate among URM's and females is higher"
Source?

Dec 18, 2015

This obviously isn't some well-hidden fact. Look at, for example, URM admissions rates versus ORM admission rates at Ivy League schools versus the average standardized test scores between the two contingents. And what non-affirmative action practicing systems has done to minority enrollment (e.g., UC system). Debating whether affirmative action exists and its effect on URM representation in universities and the work force is pretty stupid.

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Dec 18, 2015

At first I thought you were just trying to make a simple point, but then it became quite clear that you have some sort of agenda.

First I'd like to thank @thebrofessor for succinctly summing up my feelings.

thebrofessor:

I believe she made it clear that the traditional recruiting channels and therefore the diversity programs were not available to her as she did not attend a target, as you do. I believe what she was implying is that being a black female growing up the way she did she did not have the role models/opportunities that most forum users have and THAT, not her genitalia or skin color, is why she was at a disadvantage out of the gate.

This is a very beautiful quote that I wish I could frame. When I talk to minorities who want to get into finance or who want to leave because they are 'uncomfortable', I'm constantly asking them to evaluate what they truly want.

There are two huge components. There is the work piece and there is the culture piece. Work is easy. It's not necessarily easy in terms of hours or commitment or how much crap you have to learn. It's easy in the sense that it eventually becomes repetitive and it's ultimately straight forward. Culture is a beast. Culture is both very similar and very different across companies the industry. Culture is how you eat, talk, dress, interact, what you watch, what you joke about, etc. There are so many minor things (that you don't notice if you come from an atypical background) which ultimately can be a huge ding. That's why I became so infatuated with the site early on. For example, if I ever thought about wearing a blue suit back home at a professional event, I'd probably get laughed at. So my main point was about lack of familiarity. Which is why I tell people, if you really want to do banking, you have to know what you're getting into. This is a 24 hour job.

However, as I did mention before, not checking my race ultimately increased the amount of interviews I received. You talk about quotas. First of all, if quotas really existed, there would be no need to have diversity programs because you'd literally hire anyone on the spot that fit the description. But you don't see that happening. And you may be talking about 1 or 2 banks who are working extra hard to change their images (I have doubts about your statements), but keep in mind that you're talking to someone who's submitted over 350 job applications so I know stuff is not that simple.

SF_G:

You have a huge advantage as a female or non-Asian minority if you leverage it correctly. And no, you don't need to attend a target school. I go to a good school but not a traditional target and every minority student who is doing IBD took advantage of diversity programs (e.g., SEO, INROADS) or special firm-specific scholarships to get in.

This statement alone just shows how much you are from the outside looking in. First of all, 80-90% of Inroads kids never see the front office. Sorry to any Inroads peeps, but it is what it is...unless things have changed since I graduated. Secondly, one does not JUST get into SEO. You have thousands of people applying for a few hundred slots. Additionally, just like banks have a few 'nontraditional' targets so does SEO. Go to LinkedIn and sort people by participants in SEO. The greatest majority of those participants are from top tier schools. SEO values its placement rate, so they get a lot of low hanging fruit. SEO is very competitive in terms of the grade requirements as well as fit ability. The program is renown for trying to 'break' in people. They tried to recruit me to the program after I'd already had an IB summer offer in hand. Interviewing for the SEO program could have potentially put me on the road to getting my offer reneged, so it didn't make sense at the time for me to risk it. One could only guess what would happen if I had of went through the process and was lucky enough to get accepted.

I applied to several special firm-specific scholarships, and programs for both women and minorities. I was rejected from all of the ones I knew about. The people I knew who got them tended to have a 3.7+ GPA. So I just need you to understand that there are QUALIFICATIONS one needs to MEET to get those things. It is not a matter of "Oh God, I need women, let's give them all scholarships." It's more like, "Oh God, I need easily quantifiable (AKA high GPA having) intelligent women."

undefined:

At the end of superday interviews, when the interviewers get on a conference call, HR will typically first inquire how the female and minority candidates did. If they did reasonably well, there will be a huge push to get them offers even if they didn't stand out as the top candidates the team would prefer to give offers to. At the end of the day they have quotas to fill. If you don't check the gender or race box then yes you'll simply be lumped in with the general pool.

So what you're telling me here is that HR makes all the decisions? I'm pretty sure that I'll spend 90% of my entire life with people who interviewed me and not HR, so they would have more say. But hey I could be wrong.

undefined:

This obviously isn't some well-hidden fact. Look at, for example, URM admissions rates versus ORM admission rates at Ivy League schools versus the average standardized test scores between the two contingents. And what non-affirmative action practicing systems has done to minority enrollment (e.g., UC system). Debating whether affirmative action exists and its effect on URM representation in universities and the work force is pretty stupid.

I wonder how long you've been waiting for this to come up on this thread? Admissions is a holistic process. It comprises of GPA, standardized scores, essays, extracurricular, volunteer effort, etc. Yes, for some the standardized scores may be lower, but that doesn't necessarily imply less intelligence. Here's a peer reviewed article showing that there is no correlation between standardized scores and college GPA.

http://www.nacacnet.org/research/research-data/nac...
As a personal example: I got a 26 on the ACT and a 1850 on the SAT. That's slightly above the national average and well below what you need for a top school. The closest I got to an IVY/one of the top 10 schools was the wait list. The average ACT score of my neighborhood for the ACT was between 16-17 and I was one of 3 who took the SAT in pretty much the history of my 'hood. Tennis players and football players are both athletes, but there are different ways to measure their range of ability.

undefined:

...that's often a consequence of affirmative action practices themselves and was MLK's central misgiving about the practice of providing non-discriminate advantages to certain groups of individuals based on certain check-box qualities. Then there's the question of, did this individual get to where they are on their own merit, or because of their skin color?

People keep saying that. But it's funny. I've never felt that way. Neither did ANY of the high achieving (that's all I surround myself with) minorities that I know feel that way. Instead we've been told that. There were people at my school actively trying to get minority admission to come down because of the perceived loss of prestige. Someone in my career center (who was well meaning) told me that I'd get a job soon because I was female and a minority and companies love that. You mean to tell me that b/c of what I look like, and neither my awards, nor my leadership experience, nor my 2 honors programs, nor my internships, nor my managing of multiple part time jobs, nor my extensive networking, would come into play?

The frustrating thing about text is that it doesn't convey tone. I hope this doesn't come out as sounding angry because that's not my intention. My initial post was not to make myself sound like some victim. It was to let people know that with careful planning and a little luck you can make things happen regardless of where you start or end in life.

You seem to feel like for minorities or women, life is easier. Which in turn makes you sound like a victim.

Personally, I feel like the greatest thing that ever happened to me was being born in America. (I've never traveled internationally so maybe that's why.) There is so much opportunity if you are aware and are a go-getter.

I was just trying to be completely transparent about my situation before this secondary thread happened.
You've said a lot, and I just can't respond to all of it because it simply takes away from one of my main goals and that was simply to help anyone who's really struggling, but sincerely passionate.

Anyhow, if you have anymore derailing to do, please direct it to my inbox because I'm not replying back to further fuel your attention seeking.

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Dec 18, 2015

Well said.

So hot. Too bad you're so young and Sharon reads my posts.

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Dec 19, 2015

This may be the best post ever, honestly. Work for a bit and shoot me PM when you get settled.

Dec 19, 2015

Will do, thank you!

Dec 19, 2015

I scanned your post. I'll cover the things that popped out to me.

-- No agenda. Like the previous poster I responded to, you seem to think that because I brought up affirmative action advantages, that I must be someone who apparently cannot advantage from them (e.g., Asian, white). I'm part URM although I'm not that dark, don't speak with any ethnic/regional accent, or overall don't identify with any culture in particular. Additionally, certain factors such as accent and appearance can definitely disadvantage certain individuals. You rarely see bankers with facial hair, hair below the collar, (visible) tattoos, thick accents, overweight, etc. It's kind of shitty, but all those things are negatives when it comes to client interaction.

-- Growing up with disadvantages, lack of role models, financial means, etc., isn't limited to any particular race, even if it might disproportionally affect certain groups of individuals.

-- Not following the logic behind your believing that not checking the race box increased your interview total. And de facto quotas do exist. My friend (an associate at a BB) explicitly told me that firms are increasing their diversity recruiting initiatives and firms do set explicit demographic targets.

-- I never said that getting into SEO or INROADS is as easy as submitting an application. Your statement that SEO kids are mostly from top-tier schools shouldn't need explanation. Smarter, more qualified kids tend to go to better schools... However, they are programs that are designed to be off-limits to certain individuals who don't check particular boxes. How do I know about them in the first place? Because I was offered to submit applications.

-- Bringing up the term "intelligence" is futile. People will be debating what that means until the universe ends. Grades and scores are simply data points to help make a more informed decision. Universities also use the "holistic" buzzword to avoid getting their asses in a sling, as obviously using a points-based system (or equivalent) is unconstitutional.

-- I didn't read the "scores don't predict GPA" paper, but I could reasonably imagine that being the case. Kids who demonstrate less academic aptitude (weaker scores, grades, whatever else) go to less rigorous schools where the standards aren't as high. Accordingly, their performance is a function of their environment. But one shouldn't pretend for a second that some 50th percentile SAT scorer is going to walk into an MIT classroom and do just as well as everybody else. Even hypothetically that would rarely be the case.

-- That you landed a MM IBD SA role shows you actually did really well, even if getting something for FT was extremely challenging. Because on paper, a sub-3.5/non-target/26 ACT/1850 SAT candidate is going to have an extremely difficult time breaking into IB, particularly if the people following you in the door are 3.8+/top target/2300+. It's an industry where even those credentials don't guarantee an interview by any means. And didn't you say you were actually able to land a BB IBD interview along the way? I read a little bit of your other thread for context, but not all the way.

-- Regarding the career counselor, she likely has no idea how difficult it is to break into banking, especially from a non-target with a lower GPA. I had a friend who was told to her face that "affirmative action is a good thing, otherwise people like you wouldn't be here." Clearly good-natured, but a stupid thing to say. Naturally, she was miffed about it and rattled off (like you did) a list of 5+ things she's accomplished to assert she at least meets some baseline level of qualification. But I blame the institution itself, and don't necessarily fault people for feeling that way.

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Dec 19, 2015

Awesome response. I agree with seo being competitive to get in. It's the leading diversity group and all of their events are at solid semi-targets and targets. Many in seo also have close connections who went through the program and gave them a referral. Now if someone was a black lesbian that goes to Harvard and got in GS or MS then maybe @sf_g's statement would be true but that very rarely happens.

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Dec 18, 2015

You're hands down my favourite person on WSO, ever! I don't even know what to say right now. Can we be friends?

Much love & congrats from Toronto!!!! Keep us updated as you continue to crush it :)

Dec 19, 2015

Thanks. I'm sure what that entails. lol But of course. I love Canadians! I've literally never met a Canadian I don't like. I've only met around 15, which isn't a large population, but it's enough.

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Dec 20, 2015

We may be drake-washed but we don't bite lol. Regardless, looking forward to more posts. Cheers!

Dec 18, 2015

That's an incredible story and I'm very happy and inspired by your perseverance. I'm not tipping a bathroom attendant.

Dec 18, 2015

What an inspiring journey! Your strong character and consistent work ethic paid dividends! Keep it up!

Dec 18, 2015

Congratulations.

Dec 18, 2015

Curious to hear how you got turned on to finance and IBD at 12/14. Would have thought one of the biggest hurdles to URM/ socioeconomically disadvantaged choosing finance as a career path was an awareness that it even existed. It sounds like you grew up around pretty abject poverty, which doesn't really seem like it foots.

That said, if this is real, congratulations. You definitely earned it.

Dec 20, 2015
undefined:

Curious to hear how you got turned on to finance and IBD at 12/14. Would have thought one of the biggest hurdles to URM/ socioeconomically disadvantaged choosing finance as a career path was an awareness that it even existed. It sounds like you grew up around pretty abject poverty, which doesn't really seem like it foots.

That said, if this is real, congratulations. You definitely earned it.

Thank you. It's 100% true. I'm actually hoping to find more people in the industry like me. It gets really difficult not being able to ever let your guard down because people are just so unused to bad things happening. My friends like to joke that someone in my ancestors did something really f'ed up and God is getting me for it.

In terms of awareness, you're 100% correct. At 12, in reference to business, I meant entrepreneurship. To be quite honest, I was just tired of being poor. I figured that entrepreneurship would be the best way to become financially self-sufficient. Then I got really lucky. Because I was part of the state's gifted and talented program, I got to take pre-college classes. The course I chose to enroll in revolved around investing and money management. I was the most annoying (to my classmates) and beloved (to my professor) student ever. I asked tons of questions. That professor ran an IBD program at the university and gave me a few tips. Soon after that, I ordered tons of subscriptions to industry/finance magazines and newspapers (I was lucky at that point b/c a lot business magazines were so desperate to get subscribers that they would give free year long trials). After my year was up, I'd reorder magazines with a slightly different name to get a new trial. My mom was always freaking out because she thought I'd get arrested for fraud. I'd also order glossy annual reports (because back in the day you could get the physical ones shipped for free) in order to understand how companies worked.

So yes, had I never attended that course I would have been woefully ignorant. In fact, I've literally only met 2 URMs in finance from a socioeconomic background similar to mine, and they didn't even get into banking until much, much later. They also had better families then I. Every other URM in finance I've met has come from a stable 2 parent/ non-blended family household that was middle class to upper middle class. Accounting has a better mix.

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Dec 18, 2015

Needed to read something like this today. Great story! Thanks for posting.

Dec 18, 2015

Inspirational. i'm in a similar situation today and while i've managed to get some interviews i got put down really randomly.

Dec 18, 2015

This is fantastic. Congratulations, really so proud of you.

Enjoy this feeling of success. It is addicting, and it very well should be. Let this spur you on to new heights. You have now learned the most valuable lesson in the world. You need to believe to achieve. Your fanatical commitment to your dream has paid off. Continue dreaming, and maintain the same methodical, maniacal focus on making your dreams a reality.

I don't need to say this because you're already practicing it, but remember too to give back. You know better than just about anyone; no man is an island. The people who offered their couch to you, who shared their meals, gave their advice, edited your resume, responded to your cold emails, met you for coffee, and passed your resume along - they are the faces who stand out in your memory. Be that and more for the next person. Give freely and often. "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days."

I won't say any more for the same fear you have of divulging too much identifiable information on an anonymous forum, but your story and mine are eerily similar and I am smiling so hugely for you right now.

"Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men."

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Dec 19, 2015
undefined:

This is fantastic. Congratulations, really so proud of you.

Enjoy this feeling of success. It is addicting, and it very well should be. Let this spur you on to new heights. You have now learned the most valuable lesson in the world. You need to believe to achieve. Your fanatical commitment to your dream has paid off. Continue dreaming, and maintain the same methodical, maniacal focus on making your dreams a reality.

I don't need to say this because you're already practicing it, but remember too to give back. You know better than just about anyone; no man is an island. The people who offered their couch to you, who shared their meals, gave their advice, edited your resume, responded to your cold emails, met you for coffee, and passed your resume along - they are the faces who stand out in your memory. Be that and more for the next person. Give freely and often. "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days."

I won't say any more for the same fear you have of divulging too much identifiable information on an anonymous forum, but your story and mine are eerily similar and I am smiling so hugely for you right now.

"Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men."

Thanks. I truly and sincerely appreciate it. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Working now makes me appreciate those people that much more. Taking time for coffee, reviewing resumes, that stuff is extremely difficult to juggle. I did a lot in school, but that was predictable, but nothing is truly predictable in finance. I can go from having a slow week to being hit with assignments, so I'm truly, truly thankful for all the people that helped me. In terms of the bed and meals...I'm always telling my mentees if they ever have any issues to come to me. I don't want anyone to ever experience what I did. So my sofa beds and food cabinets are open as long as they're willing to do what it takes to accomplish their goals!

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Dec 18, 2015

You are an inspiration! I am in a somewhat similar situation and your post gives me the motivation to keep trying! Thank you.

Dec 18, 2015

Congratulations for your success after all the struggle you went through, it really makes one think that everything in life is possible. Keep it up, go up in the ranks and don't look back. I'll keep studying hard and try to make my way in too as I come from a "non target" and the networking event I've been in haven't been too productive for me, I'm shy, hell of a lot, but for a job of this stature you can't be.

Dec 18, 2015

Incredibly inspiring story. That dedication, drive, and self-belief is amazing. Grit will get you far. And we know the saying, attitude determines your altitude. You have both, and intellect to boot. In your success, I hope you'll remember your roots and not let your environment and achievements turn you into a negative person

Dec 19, 2015

You're a savage. Amazing story and honestly, wow. Crazy.

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Dec 19, 2015

This story doesn't make any sense.

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Dec 20, 2015

Seriously everyone? Are we really going to fucking do this right now? I can't believe what I'm reading from some posters on this thread.

Some of these posts are absolutely correct. Even so, is this completely necessary? This is why we can't have nice things.

@ItzWhitneyBItch Please don't let some of these posts dishearten you.

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Dec 20, 2015
undefined:

Seriously everyone? Are we really going to fucking do this right now? I can't believe what I'm reading from some posters on this thread.

Some of these posts are absolutely correct. Even so, is this completely necessary? This is why we can't have nice things.

@ItzWhitneyBItch Please don't let some of these posts dishearten you.

Thank you @QGKZ ! No worries. Nothing that has been said has disheartened me anyway. I'm well past the stage of allowing others to influence my emotions. Heck, I'm already where I want to be. The worst that any poster could do would be to give me a minor eye twitch. I think for some people, even though my original post was long as hell, it was still too condensed. So it was a bit hard to follow. Literally writing out every single thing that happened would take a very long time, and ultimately wouldn't be value added for what I'm trying to do.

My ultimate goal is not to get praise or congratulations. That's not important to me. I mean I'm extremely thankful for all the well wishers, but I'm here to give back. If I can share through PMs and targeted posts everything I learned over the course of years, then I can help someone well before things get to my stage. I don't know who threw MS at @ArcherVice, but that wasn't me...although I'm pretty tempted. I'm not really sure where the self-inflicted adversity comment comes from. At first, I thought he or she missed missed my post from a year back where I said that I was applying for positions all across the board beyond IB. But then I noticed that he/she was one of the negative commenters/naysayers. I'm guessing somewhere along the line they probably rejected me because I wasn't a good 'fit'.

The advice I got then from one poster was to stop interviewing for so many things because I was spreading myself thin. And that it was really hard to have passion across such a wide spectrum of roles. And that was actually pretty good advice for my situation for two reasons.

  1. Cost

Once you graduate (even before in some cases) the power balance shifts even more in favor of the hiring companies. Around the time April/ May hit, I had to pay for my transportation to my job interviews. When you have a lot of interviews/ rounds and you have to pay out of pocket it really starts to add up. :( I remember one interview costing me nearly $400. The interview was in a random out of the way place (non major city) and it wasn't even for IB. I had to take a train in that night because all the trains that ran the day of would arrive AFTER my job interview. I had to pay for a sketchy motel because it was the cheapest thing that I could afford (it didn't even have proper heat/air circulation). I had to pay for cabs from the train to my motel, from the motel to my interview site, from the interview site back to the motel (because I was too paranoid to bring my change of clothes to the company), and then from the motel back to the train. There were no public transportation options available to me. I don't even remember if I bought food because I was very cognizant of all the costs.

Add the fact that you need to have your suit pressed (after a certain point in financial deterioration, it just didn't make sense to get this done so I eventually stopped). Soon it becomes very clear that all opportunities aren't good opportunities.

  1. Time/Energy/Emotion
    I actually have several stories about this, but I'll just share a few. One does not simply just go into any interview and approach it the same way. A good job in finance is (usually) competitive no matter what it is. I will say it again. All good jobs in finance are competitive! While there are guides on interviewing well in IB, that is exactly what they are. It's how to interview well in IB! IB/ HF/IM that's where I got to go to the final rounds because I understood how those people think. The way you answer questions or frame your story in IB is VASTLY different then how you'd frame your story or answer questions in Consulting or ST or Corp Fin. I had interviews in those fields and I got demolished.

My stories didn't make sense, my brain/way of thinking did not mesh well, and my temperament was off. For my consulting interviews, I could only talk about revenue synergies and cost cutting. True example: in one of those interviews, I was asked how to stop a small bike shop from losing money. The company had 3 workers at all times which I thought was extremely stupid. How many people do you really need to run a bike store? So my solution was to get rid of one of the workers, which is extremely logical as a banker...not so much as a consultant.

In terms of passion, in one of my corp fin interviews, I got called out. Interviewing with the analysts went great. Then I spoke with one of the more senior people. I was asked three questions before it ended. The first two (I don't remember exactly) were softball questions. Then she hit me with the "Why do you really, really want to be here?" I tried with the 'in banking thinking isn't as valued...I'll be more appreciated here... Blah blah blah'. And she shut me down quickly. She responded that all of my coursework, leadership experiences, and work experience was related to banking. She said that I was really passionate about the field, and I was desperate for a job and that was the ONLY reason I was sitting in front of her. She said that she hoped I didn't think she was so stupid to not realize that. When I tried with a rebuttal, she cut into me again, and I was just done with the whole company at that point. The full interview with her lasted 7-10 minutes.

Once, while interviewing, a trader said he wanted to see me angry. I was taken aback and said that I don't really do that. He told me that people curse, throw and break things, and that I needed to be able to handle that. He asked me the last time I'd been really angry, and I couldn't even think of an appropriate response.

So to ArcherVice and all the others who may see my post and think that I was just being really illogical with tunnel vision: Doing well at anything requires time and commitment. Trying to learn a new style of interviewing while supporting myself and already having a resume that 'in some ways' worked against me really wasn't logical at the time. And again this is all still a pretty condensed story.

    • 3
    • 1
Dec 20, 2015
undefined:

undefined:Seriously everyone? Are we really going to fucking do this right now? I can't believe what I'm reading from some posters on this thread.Some of these posts are absolutely correct. Even so, is this completely necessary? This is why we can't have nice things.@ItzWhitneyBItch Please don't let some of these posts dishearten you.

Thank you @QGKZ ! No worries. Nothing that has been said has disheartened me anyway. I'm well past the stage of allowing others to influence my emotions. Heck, I'm already where I want to be. The worst that any poster could do would be to give me a minor eye twitch. I think for some people, even though my original post was long as hell, it was still too condensed. So it was a bit hard to follow. Literally writing out every single thing that happened would take a very long time, and ultimately wouldn't be value added for what I'm trying to do.

My ultimate goal is not to get praise or congratulations. That's not important to me. I mean I'm extremely thankful for all the well wishers, but I'm here to give back. If I can share through PMs and targeted posts everything I learned over the course of years, then I can help someone well before things get to my stage. I don't know who threw MS at @ArcherVice, but that wasn't me...although I'm pretty tempted. I'm not really sure where the self-inflicted adversity comment comes from. At first, I thought he or she missed missed my post from a year back where I said that I was applying for positions all across the board beyond IB. But then I noticed that he/she was one of the negative commenters/naysayers. I'm guessing somewhere along the line they probably rejected me because I wasn't a good 'fit'.

The advice I got then from one poster was to stop interviewing for so many things because I was spreading myself thin. And that it was really hard to have passion across such a wide spectrum of roles. And that was actually pretty good advice for my situation for two reasons.

1. Cost

Once you graduate (even before in some cases) the power balance shifts even more in favor of the hiring companies. Around the time April/ May hit, I had to pay for my transportation to my job interviews. When you have a lot of interviews/ rounds and you have to pay out of pocket it really starts to add up. :( I remember one interview costing me nearly $400. The interview was in a random out of the way place (non major city) and it wasn't even for IB. I had to take a train in that night because all the trains that ran the day of would arrive AFTER my job interview. I had to pay for a sketchy motel because it was the cheapest thing that I could afford (it didn't even have proper heat/air circulation). I had to pay for cabs from the train to my motel, from the motel to my interview site, from the interview site back to the motel (because I was too paranoid to bring my change of clothes to the company), and then from the motel back to the train. There were no public transportation options available to me. I don't even remember if I bought food because I was very cognizant of all the costs.

Add the fact that you need to have your suit pressed (after a certain point in financial deterioration, it just didn't make sense to get this done so I eventually stopped). Soon it becomes very clear that all opportunities aren't good opportunities.

2. Time/Energy/EmotionI actually have several stories about this, but I'll just share a few. One does not simply just go into any interview and approach it the same way. A good job in finance is (usually) competitive no matter what it is. I will say it again. All good jobs in finance are competitive! While there are guides on interviewing well in IB, that is exactly what they are. It's how to interview well in IB! IB/ HF/IM that's where I got to go to the final rounds because I understood how those people think. The way you answer questions or frame your story in IB is VASTLY different then how you'd frame your story or answer questions in Consulting or ST or Corp Fin. I had interviews in those fields and I got demolished.

My stories didn't make sense, my brain/way of thinking did not mesh well, and my temperament was off. For my consulting interviews, I could only talk about revenue synergies and cost cutting. True example: in one of those interviews, I was asked how to stop a small bike shop from losing money. The company had 3 workers at all times which I thought was extremely stupid. How many people do you really need to run a bike store? So my solution was to get rid of one of the workers, which is extremely logical as a banker...not so much as a consultant.

In terms of passion, in one of my corp fin interviews, I got called out. Interviewing with the analysts went great. Then I spoke with one of the more senior people. I was asked three questions before it ended. The first two (I don't remember exactly) were softball questions. Then she hit me with the "Why do you really, really want to be here?" I tried with the 'in banking thinking isn't as valued...I'll be more appreciated here... Blah blah blah'. And she shut me down quickly. She responded that all of my coursework, leadership experiences, and work experience was related to banking. She said that I was really passionate about the field, and I was desperate for a job and that was the ONLY reason I was sitting in front of her. She said that she hoped I didn't think she was so stupid to not realize that. When I tried with a rebuttal, she cut into me again, and I was just done with the whole company at that point. The full interview with her lasted 7-10 minutes.

Once, while interviewing, a trader said he wanted to see me angry. I was taken aback and said that I don't really do that. He told me that people curse, throw and break things, and that I needed to be able to handle that. He asked me the last time I'd been really angry, and I couldn't even think of an appropriate response.

So to ArcherVice and all the others who may see my post and think that I was just being really illogical with tunnel vision: Doing well at anything requires time and commitment. Trying to learn a new style of interviewing while supporting myself and already having a resume that 'in some ways' worked against me really wasn't logical at the time. And again this is all still a pretty condensed story.

I was actually the person who gave you that advice. I was going through a similar struggle at the time and had finally broken through and found something. I remember how good that felt finally having something to show for all the pain, hard work, embarrassment, and effort that was my job search. Congrats and best of luck.

    • 1
Dec 21, 2015

1st of all great story! I know someone very close that is in a similar situation, really hoping things turn around next year and gets a FT offer and a place. Another thing why in the hell a trader would ask that? He/she doesn't know how to interview. Early this year I had an 3 person panel interview and 2x times they asked what is the hardest thing you've ever done. I was taken back more the 2nd time they asked (I hate HR type interviews). That same company is still posting for the same position. I did however get an offer for a new job.

Good luck in the future! Your story is inspiring as hell, Get at it!!

Greed is Good!

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Dec 21, 2015

One heck of a story....

Dec 21, 2015

Congrats on your spirit and perseverance!

Dec 30, 2015
Monkey in Acquisitions:

Congrats on your spirit and perseverance!

Thank you!

Dec 21, 2015

If you show up to WSO Happy Hour, let me be the first to shake your hand and buy you a drink! Merry Christmas!

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

    • 3
Dec 31, 2015

...

Greed is Good!

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Dec 21, 2015
undefined:

Really don't understand why I got MS for my post.... but whatever..

I normally don't pay too much attention to this stuff, but I figured you deserved a response and some encouragement. I don't know either.

When someone gets pissed off by my posts, it's sometimes because they have some personal issues. If they're not willing to step forward and say something, I suspect there's also a lack of confidence on top of that. However I also know that complaining about it is a great way to further encourage them.

There are a lot of unhappy people out there. Especially with the Yellen correction right before year end bonuses are calculated and the general failure of value and mean reversion bets this year. Maybe he was long oil, lol?

Yup, the ms from the (very predictable) miserable dude will be worth it. Especially if this post helps you.

    • 2
Dec 21, 2015

Wow really deep...

Greed is Good!

    • 1
    • 2
Dec 21, 2015

The less fucks you start giving about what other people think (especially the anonymous preftige whores of wso), the happier your life will be.

    • 3
Dec 22, 2015

Congratulations, very well deserved!!

Dec 22, 2015

Thank you for sharing. I'm also in the URM group. Please continue to post your successes here.

Dec 26, 2015

@OP, congrats. I have a question. How beneficial do you think CFA is for breaking into Investment Banking?

Dec 30, 2015
Libertybeast6:

@OP, congrats. I have a question. How beneficial do you think CFA is for breaking into Investment Banking?

I personally don't think that it is very helpful for breaking into IB. The time you would need to spend studying (because of how general/intense it is) could be better devoted to networking or a modeling class. If you fail the CFA, you have nothing to show for it. If you pass, you may get a few brownie points, but not anything that will necessarily move the needle in favor of you over another candidate. I wouldn't say that the CFA is frowned upon, just that you may encounter some indifference within IB. Networking and modeling will always come in handy. However, if you are looking into AM/IM/HF eventually, it's a little different. People on the buy side tend to have a much greater opinion of the certification. I've had several buy side people tell me to go for the CFA which I'll eventually start. But for right now, I'd say the focus should be on Networking & building relevant skills over the CFA.

There are several threads on WSO covering this topic.

Dec 27, 2015

Inspiring

Dec 29, 2015

Wow!!! Congratulations!!!! I'm from Brazil and I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I fought as hard as I could to get a position in IB and after 4 years fighting I got one. Persistence!!!! God bless you abundantly!!!

    • 1
Dec 30, 2015
bteles:

Wow!!! Congratulations!!!! I'm from Brazil and I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I fought as hard as I could to get a position in IB and after 4 years fighting I got one. Persistence!!!! God bless you abundantly!!!

Whoo hoo! Thank you! Congratulations are also in order for you. May blessings be unto you as well.

Dec 29, 2015

Thanks for sharing your success story. Your determination against all odds is really inspiring, especially to people like me who are still trying to make it.

Although, I agree with @ArcherVice that you could easily have found a good job elsewhere with your credentials. During your struggles, were you ever tempted to settle for a less competitive role, perhaps in the middle office, then try to work your way up later? Surely it is preferable to working odd jobs and not having a roof over your head.

Dec 31, 2015
dazzwater:

Thanks for sharing your success story. Your determination against all odds is really inspiring, especially to people like me who are still trying to make it.

Although, I agree with @ArcherVice that you could easily have found a good job elsewhere with your credentials. During your struggles, were you ever tempted to settle for a less competitive role, perhaps in the middle office, then try to work your way up later? Surely it is preferable to working odd jobs and not having a roof over your head.

Great points! One of my favorite teachers in high school used to say, "There's more ways than one to skin a cat." This means (for those who aren't familiar with the phrase) there is more than one way to accomplish a goal. I truly believe this. There were several options, under perfect conditions, that would have made more sense/ been easier. However, due to my time/ financial constraints somethings were just ridiculously difficult. Initially, I was applying for non IB jobs/ non front-office jobs as well. I burned a lot of cash on unfruitful interviewing. Besides rejections, I had multiple interviews where there was an extra honest interviewer who told the truth. On the $400 interview that I mentioned above in the comments, one of the interviewers flat out told me, that I would hate the job, I would do nothing of substance, and that the quoted salary was a lot higher than anything I would ever see.

One of my biggest issues was that I did not graduate and go directly to a major city. So for the longest, I was burning cash to travel only to get rejected at less desired jobs. I'm going to have to make a separate post, so people understand that I'm not condoning my path in it's entirety. It's motivational and cautionary.

Dec 31, 2015

Thank you. I was wondering whether you considered going for MO/BO to be giving up on your dreams. Didn't know you got rejected from those jobs as well, but I guess this makes your victory sweeter. Looking forward to your next post!

Jan 9, 2016

Thank you so much for sharing your story! You are a great example of dedication. I hope it paid off for you, and you are being a happy person right now.

Array

Jan 25, 2016
Feb 17, 2016
Mar 28, 2016

Want to Lose the body fat, keep the muscles, I can help.

Jun 29, 2016
May 4, 2017
Mar 14, 2018