Had a Pair of Aces and I Folded - Now What?

mementomori456's picture
Rank: Monkey | 44

Had IB dreams since 10th grade so I put in the work (perfect score on SATs, lights out GPA, sports etc). Rejected from all ivy's, but a blessing of an acceptance from a target (UVa, b/c fuck anonymity). Due to some serious mental health issues and a terrible cultural fit, I had to leave and ended up at Rutgers. At this point, I turned away from prestige out of some false sense of higher purpose and thought I'd try my hand at startups. I clawed my way into a startup (early stage, not brand name) since then (3yrs), graduated in Business Analytics & IT w/ a 3.85 and have come full circle.

I realize I was being a little shit by turning away from the many things I should've done (tried to transfer to a target, suck it up and continue to shoot for SA roles) but the way things played out, I was set on skirting the system and doing things my way. I was wrong, but I've got to move forward and I'm ready to do what it takes to get back on the grind.

Two months out of undergrad (22y/o), no previous internships in finance. I've led strategic analysis & biz analytics at my startup so I'm extremely well versed in Excel. Always had a knack and passion for finance so I'm more than ready to pick up modeling and the finer details. What's the best way to go about this? Network like hell for a boutique role (intern or actually full time?) Should I go for a MSF? Drop IB altogether + look at ER or others? Wait for MBA (what should I do to maximize my chances till then?)

My end goal is Corp Dev/Strategy (though now I'm more interested in strategy roles in big tech + well funded startups). PE and HF are naturally also very appealing. Thank y'all in advance for your help (even though I know >90% of you will likely shit on me, but that's fair, I'm in for any and all feedback)

Comments (38)

Aug 18, 2019

MSF at a target (MIT, Princeton, Duke, Olin... look into others but those are all strong programs). It's another year of tuition, but if you play your cards right you can easily get into a BB/EB for 2021 full time, rather than making multiple lateral moves. With a quantitative degree, startup work, and 3.85, you should have a good shot if you can write a good essay. Recruit for FT 2021, start networking next spring.

In the next year, work on applications as your priority but also see if any boutique IB firms (probably small ones) will let you work part or full time to beef up your resume. Ideally you'd have an internship next summer before you start too.

Your UG profile is strong so the opportunity to network into a boutique is definitely there if the extra year of tuition isn't worth it, but MSF + networking would easily get you into a top group.

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Aug 18, 2019

Appreciate the insight! I've read that the top MSF programs consider applicants' backgrounds in math and I haven't really touched it since HS (AP'd out of Calcs, got a C in Linear Algebra - took it for shits and giggles). That being said, I'm actually interested in going back and filling in those higher math gaps so maybe online courses/certificates could help. Thanks for taking the time out to help!

  • Prospective Monkey in Other
Aug 19, 2019

Sorry you did not have a good time at UVA. But why does everyone on this forum say it's a true/great target when it doesn't rank as high as other ivies/private schools?

Aug 18, 2019

We don't hire MSFs, only MBAs

Aug 18, 2019

For analyst roles? And when you say we you mean BB/EB?

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Aug 18, 2019

"Two months out from grad (22y/o), no previous internships in finance. I've led strategic analysis & biz analytics at my startup so I'm extremely well versed in Excel"

It's not too late to pick a path and pursue it.
You can extend your academic studies.
You can get an MS in finance, at a target (like Columbia) or you can seek out post-grad internships.

I'd recommend that you try multiple tracks and see what sticks.
It could be a golden time for you to try to figure out which of these paths you really most gravitate towards.

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Aug 18, 2019

Thanks for the reply, yeah I'm definitely trying to get a feel for different paths and will work on networking for informational chats so I can get a better understanding of careers in finance.

I previously planned on rebranding with a top MBA down the line, would getting an MSF make this redundant? I know that MBA's have a broader emphasis on more than just finance and felt that it would suit my interests (strategy & management) better.

Aug 19, 2019

well you can apply to MSFs or Stanford's MSx.
Will an MBA be redundant?
Maybe. But MSF has a place in helping people without a business degree to bridge the gap.
Up to you really.
Right now, I'd focus on internships and entry level roles.

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Most Helpful
Aug 18, 2019

Also non-traditional path here. Had some personal issues that resulted in me leaving college at 18. Didn't come back (graduated from a non-target) until I got my shit together at 22. 25 now and a first yr analyst at a lower BB coverage group in a major city (SF/LA/NYC). Breaking in from a non-traditional background is challenging, but definitely doable if you have the grit/hunger to work hard. Happy to chat.

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Aug 19, 2019

Wow congrats man! Will definitely take you up on that!

Aug 19, 2019

(Duplicate post)

Aug 20, 2019

Is it okay if I PM you to chat? I'm in a similar non-traditional path, would appreciate any advice you may have.

Aug 20, 2019

of course, happy to help

Aug 19, 2019

If you're trying to decide between working at a well funded larger "startup" or PE I would think about the type of environment you like working in.

Mid/Large size PE tends to be very structured and as you are likely aware, startup roles tend not to be.

Smaller PE funds won't have a ton of structure either. Probably more than a startup but still quite fund specific.

Any reason you're not considering VC? Seems like a nice path for someone with your background? Getting in is a little weird since there's no set path other than smile and dial but that seems like something you'd enjoy. :)

Aug 19, 2019

Oh that's interesting, I haven't seen many people distinguish between the environments in PE (usually all gets lumped into a two letter acronym!). VC is definitely in my sights as well, but I feel it'll likely be quite down the line.

In the meantime I'm just trying to brute force my way into an off cycle internship/job as a recent grad with no finance experience at all (but a genuine passion for it all the same, for whatever that's worth).

Really appreciate the insight btw, thanks for replying!

Aug 19, 2019

Why anyone sh*t on you when asked for advice and guidance? You deserve a response from the community no matter the question.

"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"

Aug 19, 2019

Trolls will be trolls, but thankfully it doesn't seem to have happened yet, fingers crossed!

Aug 19, 2019

Network, network, network. I agree that spending the time to take the GMAT and do a MSF program could be helpful, but it looks like you have some strong experience that you can leverage. I would take the time to learn as much as you can about IB analyst roles at different shops (compare BB vs. MM vs. LMM) as well as corporate finance roles to see what you really want to do. The best way to do this is to talk to folks who held those positions, and positive if they are a hiring manager. A lot of those info interviews turn into real interviews, etc. PM me if you want to discuss, I'm happy to expand on that.

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Aug 19, 2019

I've got to say, I really am grateful for the helpful responses I've gotten. Thank you, I am certainly thinking deeply about what it is I envision myself fulfillingly doing moving forward and I will surely take you up on that offer for more insight. Much appreciated!

Aug 19, 2019

If you're 22, you're in good position to put your head down, show some leadership, and build a great MBA resume for T-10 schools. That means do high value assignments in your role, get the promotions, and do worthwhile extra curriculars on the side. Take the GMAT enough times to get a high score.

Or, reach out to your alumni/network to try and move to an analyst role now. You have some good options at this stage.

I guess my question would be, do you try to move too fast and burn out easily? Are you sure you even want to do IB?

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Aug 19, 2019

The initial thrill of helping to build a business was great, but after getting to know more professionals at startups and big tech even, it seems that business/finance folks are consistently second class to techies (duh, I know, but I hoped/thought strategy would play a bigger role!)

I'm no stranger to long hours and have been restless really to enter a workhorse environment where I can at the very least be around these major financial deals and understand different concepts around valuation, pricing/structuring and negotiation. Hope to be around highly driven and intelligent people as well, and it seems investment banking is an ideal opportunity to check all those boxes. Would love to pm and maybe get a better idea of the day to day if you have time! Thanks for replying!

Aug 19, 2019

1600 SAT and 4.0 GPA and you didn't get into any ivy league schools??? Seems unlikely at best..

Aug 19, 2019

Agreed, which is why that was a very painful reality for me to accept. Technically 4.4 out of a theoretical 4.6 due to AP class weighting, but mostly A's nonetheless. I'm past that, I'd like to focus on what I can do now though!

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Aug 20, 2019

Not that unlikely if you're asian, unfortunately.

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Aug 20, 2019

Deadass! It is what it is, but I'm holding out hope that the chip on my shoulder and on those of folks in similar positions will take us further than the prestigious brand name. Those kids might make it there quicker, but there's a certain charm/appeal to the grit that the longer path brings!

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Aug 20, 2019

Have you seen the scandals as of late? Scores and achievement are no longer adequate for admission. You need a wildly unique story appropriate for a marketing brochure or a parent with deep pockets that may be willing to break the law.

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Aug 21, 2019

Haha yeah, to be honest if all else fails I've always considered throwing a Hail Mary by dropping everything and doing something super unique and interesting (not just for admissions/interview purposes, I just tend to enjoy taking those types of leaps/risks)

Aug 20, 2019

It's alright man, aces aren't as good post-flop anyway.

You're still young, there's still a lot you can do - time is on your side.

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Aug 21, 2019

Thanks, with the conventionally airtight structure to IB and related careers can really fool a youngin' into thinking he's missed the boat! Taking a step back and seeing how long the runway really is can provide all the fuel needed to take off I think.

Read your AMA btw, congrats on how far you've made it! Wish you more success in career & life and thanks for sharing your insight!

Aug 21, 2019

Just the start man. You can do it too - remember that you can have anything you want in life, but not everything you want. Keep us updated with how your situation goes

Aug 21, 2019
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Aug 21, 2019
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