Hardest You've Hustled for a Position?

I've worked very hard a handful of times to go above and beyond what any other applicant did in order to secure positions I really wanted. After having just put together a pitchbook (and all relevant supporting models for a SA spot - for the second time), it got me thinking. What was the hardest you monkeys' have worked in order to secure a slot at any firm? Did it pay off in the long haul? Where do you draw the line? At one point does it come across as weird and make one look bad?

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (72)

Mar 15, 2018 - 4:05pm

Most work I ever did was wink at the lady VP interviewing me. Only had one banking interview ever...and I got hired. Boom.

  • 6
  • 3
Mar 15, 2019 - 12:22pm

Recently promoted to Branch Manager. Rumor has it they are sending a VP over to open a Wealth Management office. I cannot wait to see the new business come in!

Mar 17, 2018 - 11:58pm

Months of interviews, 20 letters of recommendation, 10 page essay, full physical and psychological tests, IQ test, and a final rapid fire board interview with about 12 people at a large table at once.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 6
  • 3
Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Mar 18, 2018 - 8:23pm

Threw away an excellent relationship, spent months doing nothing but reading & studying & doing practice problems, mental math tests, brain teasers, re-learning all of calculus, stats and probability, basically turned into a hermit...for an entry-level algo trading interview that I was only able to even get in the fist place due to a friend. I studied the wrong stuff, got some very esoteric options math questions instead, a bit beyond what you get in Hull, which I had also completely gone through front to back, for the second time. That and one brain teaser which was the only one out of the hundred+ that I had worked with that I always stumbled on. Needless to say, didn't get the job.

Truly the most work I've ever put into something in my life, looking back, it wasn't worth it, perhaps, but it was an experience. Should have kept the girl though.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."
  • 5
Mar 19, 2018 - 12:03pm
  • Flew across the world to network
  • Brought them a deal sourced via personal relationship for a spot as a SA
I had a flair for languages. But I soon discovered that what talks best is dollars, dinars, drachmas, rubles, rupees and pounds fucking sterling.
  • 4
  • 1
Best Response
Mar 19, 2018 - 1:26pm
  • Quit my full-time sales position making decent money, and moved back home with my parents.

  • Started looking for unpaid internships in boutique IB (Low GPA, Non-busness Degree)

  • Leveraged two unpaid internships to convince one to pay me part-time money.

  • I worked full-time hours at the internship (making only Part-time money), in order to learn the industry as quickly as possible.

  • Worked my ass off for a year commuting 40min to work.

  • After my first year I was offered to join the firm as an Associate on FT pay.

  • After another year the firm was splitting in two, I received two competing offers from two groups of partners.

  • I leveraged both offers, and now I'm 25 with a VP title.

No real idea how to proceed from here. I fit into the VP role like I fit into my dad's suite when I was 12 yrs old ...but we're figuring it out day by day.

"A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself."
  • 35
Mar 19, 2018 - 3:04pm
Keysey Söze:

No real idea how to proceed from here. I fit into the VP role like I fit into my dad's suite when I was 12 yrs old ...but we're figuring it out day by day.

Sometimes the hardest thing in that situation is not the role itself, but enduring the process of letting people's perceptions adjust to a younger person performing the roles and responsibilities of an 'older' person ... well.

I've met people in their 20s who look old and are bald or have a receding hairline that fare better initially than the young faced 25 year old who seems to be a young Warren Buffett or the like in mind and heart.

This is not an issue with startups, or situations where a young person has a large chunk of control of equity. But, at large companies (especially client facing), it will always be a struggle until you hit 35 or 45 and start to wrinkle, age, and talk a little slower as the perceived wisdom goes up, even though you might have had it all along at a young age.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
Mar 19, 2018 - 5:33pm

Truth. I'm 25 but look like a 21 year old and it hurts sometimes. I'll probably see the benefits when I'm looking healthy as I get older rather than withering away.

Mar 19, 2018 - 8:41pm

You're spot on. Posturing helps make myself "APPEAR" older, but nothing says experience like grey hair and shaky hands in this industry. You catch a lot of side-eye when passing out business cards.

One things that has helped me out more than posturing, is always knowing:
1.) Why I'm here
2.) What am I doing
2A.) How is what I'm doing helping
3.) What are my goals
3A.) Beginning steps on how to accomplish them

"A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself."
  • 2
Mar 20, 2018 - 10:02am

Very similar experience:

  • Started in IB
  • Unable to transition to buyside smoothly
  • Clock was ticking so hastily signed up with a search-fund to at least keep the gears turning
  • Contacted by startup buyside shop: worked nights and weekends for 3 months getting their capital raise across the finish line (models, presentations, investor questions/meetings) all the while conducting due diligence on a search-fund acquisition during "day job"
  • Full time VP offer at 25
  • 5
Mar 24, 2018 - 5:29pm

This is wicked. Congrats man. Will you be lateraling soon to a MM/BB/EB ?

Work hard, work clean, & most of all do not give up.
Sep 21, 2018 - 4:54pm

Planning on staying put with the fund. We have deployed very successfully so far this year and will likely raise another fund here soon. Don't see a reason to lateral while things are going well.

Mar 15, 2019 - 10:55am

That right there is inspirational for everyone that says you can't make it. Total hustle and badassery.

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
  • 1
Mar 19, 2018 - 3:15pm

Basically threw away my 4th quarter in my MSF program to prep for Capital One BA position. Made it to last round (flew me in) but faced the hardest case interview I've ever seen. I still remember some of the details. Had to analyze call center reps vs automated online FAQs. It was incredibly technical and quantitative. Had to draw cost curves and substitution rates based on actual data provided. Had to estimate the break even point and stress test the call center capacity (had a tiered structure). Was a real nightmare.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
  • 2
Sep 21, 2018 - 4:56pm

Is Capital One even worth all that? What do they even pay their BAs? I feel like I'd have just peaced out.


Sep 21, 2018 - 5:50pm

It's like $90K to $100K all in, which isn't bad for an MSF. Cap One's strategy teams are very selective for some reason but you have to live on their campus in Virginia. From what I hear, it's a very cultish environment. I'm happy it didn't work out.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
Mar 19, 2018 - 9:19pm

Not your typical path

  • Non target, PWM back office junior summer internship
  • Dinged for IB, started at Big 4
  • Laid off, clawed my way into a lower MM investment banking analyst seat
  • Networked and lateraled to a BB, sacrificing a year to start as a 2nd year analyst, much older than everyone in my class
  • PE, met a company I really liked with an amazing business model, became their
  • CFO at 28, company has doubled in size to ~$100mm
  • H/S/W
Mar 19, 2018 - 10:49pm


“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
Mar 27, 2018 - 3:21pm

Big congrats, that's damn respectable. There's two glaring wins here that interest me most, if I may ask:
1)How did you position yourself from being laid off to getting into a MM IB spot?
2)How did you obtain the CFO promotion?

Mar 20, 2018 - 1:46am

just looking at these posts, makes me wonder if any other industry attracts this much grit

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

  • 1
Aug 29, 2019 - 5:40pm

Some of the old guys at the top of the tenant rep game are insane. Back in the day they would start in a bullpen room at 8am with nothing but a small desk, chair, phone book, and phone and a mandate to make at least 300 calls per day. It's ridiculous how much they get paid for the service they provide, but I respect the old guys who started with nothing but cold calling, no piece of the action from senior brokers or salary.

Mar 23, 2018 - 6:40pm

(UK Target) Chose to live in a cheaper house that was close to my university campus to minimise time commuting; sacrificing any chance of an active social life (everyone lives away from campus) Turns out the house was a pile of shit and I had been mugged off by the landlord - I had a mouse problem and was burgled over the course of the 9-10 weeks.

9AM lectures straight til 6 or 7PM; waking up at 5:45AM to do some applications/networking before leaving and getting back by 7:30 to complete seminar work and then applications til 1-1:30 AM. Overall submitted over 200 apps online & around 150 cold calls alongside reaching out to over 300 individuals for networking.

I sent stock/investment pitches and analysis + market reports to specific desks I knew I was interviewing for (eventually lead to a desk asking to have a formal report on a company drawn up internally following my initial research)

Interviewed at a lot of places however rarely made it to final round (they would eventually go on to hire an EU MSc student more often than not anyway) Though I got 2 BB AM final rounds but technicals roasted me; meant to have 30 min interviews but mine ended up being 1hr 30. Other one, was my 1st ever technical interview so i didn't know how to play it.

Fast Forward to now, I see one girl on campus who got the offer ahead of me who did 2 applications and got the BB offer I wanted - she literally did cv and cover letter and got through her technical interview answering the how do you value a company qn with 'do a CFD Model' and being unable to fully describe the method +pros/cons or any alternative methods eg SOTP. I dont have faith in recruiting when stuff like this happens.

Anyway, I now have an offer in Fixed Income at a North American bank and am waiting to hear back from some prestigious AM firms.

Not to be a dick but did you really lose faith in the "recruiting model" because they hired a female based more likely on her being female than more quantitative metrics? Let me guess, she was also decently attractive? That IS the recruiting model.

Either way, you got there right? Congrats.

Mar 20, 2018 - 12:21pm

To get my first finance internship as a sophomore in college (2006), I went door-to-door to over 50 firms in a suit with my resume and followed up consistently. Being denied at the door - and in one case, having the secretary throw my resume in the trash in front of me - was difficult but I had nothing to lose at that point. My GPA was shot (think a 2-handle) from getting very ill freshman year, and I had hit rock bottom. The last firm I spoke to (top Swiss PWM shop) ended up giving me a chance to interview for an internship (after I followed up by email six times), and I was accepted after two rounds.

It changed my life, and I can never thank enough the banker who took a chance on me, with only hustle and no credentials to my name. After that, I won a job at Blackrock the next summer, consulting for FT, and onwards from there. If I hadn't hustled for that internship, I might have dropped out of school and would be in a very different place.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
  • 12
Mar 21, 2018 - 2:10pm

Definitely, I try to pay it forward. If anyone cold calls or emails me, I'll make time to speak and give my best and honest advice. The earlier recruiting happens every year, the less students know about the options in front of them. I try to arm students with information so they can make better decisions and recruit more effectively.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Apr 2, 2018 - 7:09pm

The thought process behind that article is superb. Be proactive, not passive. Sure, the tactics should be different on a case-by-case basis to steer clear of legal troubles, but I like the attitude.

Apr 2, 2018 - 7:10pm

I'd definitely get sued.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller. "Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL
Apr 1, 2018 - 1:53pm
Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

July 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (36) $363
  • Associates (209) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (120) $152
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (28) $146
  • Intern/Summer Associate (101) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (444) $133
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (357) $82