How I turned tragedy into triumph

Hello my fellow Monkeys,

Although I've been stalking this forum for a year and a half, I didn't have the courage to officially join until recently. I'm currently in my second internship with JPM and have some down time after working on a lengthy project. I thought that I would share my story with some of you to provide a different perspective from what we usually see on here. Anyways, here goes:

Growing up in the Caribbean:

I was born in the Caribbean to a working class family that often struggled to support itself. My father and mother have always had a strong relationship with me and my siblings. When I was 5 my father had to leave our country in search of employment, leaving us behind. He didn't go too far and was able to consistently send money back home. Despite this extra source of income, things weren't easy for us. My parents both lack a proper education and often turned to the massive factories nearby for employment. From a young age I recognized that struggle and told myself that I wanted my life to be different.

At the time my government did not have a structured public school system. I was home-schooled early on and was later enrolled in a schoolhouse nearby. They taught us how to read and write, as well as basic arithmetic. We were taught by women who barely had more education than we did. I look back at this fondly as it undoubtedly shaped my appreciation for education. I developed a sharp focus and was instilled a hardy work ethic by my parents.

Visa Sponsorship / Move to south Bronx NYC:

My grandmother on my mother's side became a US citizen before after I was born. She sponsored us for visas, a process that would take over 11 years. Shortly after I turned 8 we received news that we were approved. I would soon be leaving for NYC in search of a better life. We were shocked but clearly very happy to have the opportunity to seek a proper education and improve our circumstances. My older brother and sister would finally be able to attend high school and possibly higher education. We packed up all our belongings, sold our small house and took off.

Life in New York was not what I expected. The tourist infested areas were clearly very clean and well kept. I moved into the South Bronx, where I continue to live to this day. Needless to say, my first few years here were really rough. I was faced with growing up in a tough neighborhood and learning a new language. I forced myself to read constantly and watch TV shows in English to pick up the language. School was obviously a big help, but I'm sure I don't need to mention the struggles and shortcomings of inner city schools.

My English improved and I progressed through elementary school, middle school and high school. My high school experience was the worst by far. We had virtually zero guidance when it came to applying to college. My saving grace was my English teacher who helped me apply to schools and multiple scholarships. I was accepted to many private schools that offered very little financial aid. My scholarships didn't stretch too far, so I had to come up with a different solution. I turned to local schools and decided to attend a CUNY. This guaranteed that I would be fully covered.

Internship with JPM FLDP

I currently attend a liberal arts college without a proper business school. My affiliation with national business organizations and extra curricular activities set me apart. My sophomore year I attended an annual convention which hosted a career fair. I was able to network effectively and secured an internship with JPM's FLDP. This brings me to today. I'm coming in on the last few weeks and it feels unbelievable. With the help of WSO's FDP guide, I feel like I've had a successful internship and I'm ready for more.

I'm not an IB intern or a student from a prestigious university. I'm not in a FO role but I can proudly say that I have accomplished everything I set out to do so far. Working in Midtown feels unreal as I remember nights when I went to bed hungry. Perspective is everything, I view my current internship and potential full time as a milestone. I still have aspirations to break into high level finance and I will not give up until I do. The turning point was seeing my mother cry because she couldn't afford to feed us. This will forever push me to do better, to break this vicious cycle I was born into. Sorry for the long read guys, but it feels good to get this off my chest.

Thanks for reading,

Slim

Comments (58)

Jul 26, 2017

Congrats! Thanks for sharing.

    • 1
Jul 26, 2017

Great story man, congrats to you

    • 1
Jul 26, 2017

A real non-target success story.

Good job buddy, keep grinding!

    • 3
Best Response
Jul 26, 2017

The American Dream, congrats!

    • 15
Aug 3, 2017

Thank you for the comment! Just like you, I have my sights on the TippyTop! :)

    • 1
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Jul 27, 2017

Motivating stuff! Good luck to you moving forward.

    • 1
Jul 31, 2017

Never gets old to hear underdog stories

    • 4
Aug 3, 2017

Indeed.

Jul 31, 2017

Congrats to you, bud. I grew up in the South Bronx as well, always good to see people go on and do good things (although it's rare). Keep working, set more goals and work harder to reach those.

    • 3
Aug 1, 2017

Hey Conyak,

Thank you very much! The Boogy Down is a tough place for sure, but we have many talented people looking for their shot. I'll continue to pay it forward and help those around me.

    • 1
Jul 31, 2017

As a fellow product of NYC public schools, I want to congratulate you for persevering through all the adversity that growing up in this city entails. I know it's one of the hardest places in this country to compete and thrive in as a kid - all the more so without formal guidance and mentorship along the way.

I am proud to see another kid from the streets rise to the skyscrapers, and I wish you luck in all that you do.

Aug 1, 2017

Hey Fugue,

Thank you for your pride and kind wishes. It's certainly a hard place when all the guidance you have are books and television. Under-funded NYC public schools (Most of them) simply don't provide their students with the resources they need to thrive. I have found many mentors now but the road here was a hard one.

Jul 31, 2017

Incredible story. Keep working hard and pushing yourself to the next level.

Jul 31, 2017

Terrific. Keep up the good work.

    • 1
Aug 1, 2017

Your story is more impressive than most people who even get that FO role including those coming from non-targets. Make sure to reward yourself for your success here and there.

    • 1
Aug 1, 2017

Hey fromtheshadows,

Thanks for your advice. I'll be sure to enjoy myself once the summer gig is over. I'm not so sure if it's more impressive but I'll keep pushing for that FO role nonethless.

Aug 1, 2017

Cool story what was your native language, French?

    • 1
Aug 1, 2017

Hey Bate,

My native language is Spanish, but I also speak a bit of Italian.

Aug 1, 2017

Congrats. I am very happy for your success. However, it is important to keep things in perspectives and always be hungry for success. Fortune is a cruel mistress and she will test you time and time again. First thing I would do when you get your big bonus will be to lock it up in a secret account for the rainy days. Don't let the money change the person who get you there in the first place.

    • 2
Aug 1, 2017

Hey Naoki,

Thank you for the kinds words. I'll be sure to keep that perspective in mind. I remain humble by remembering what I went through.

Aug 1, 2017

Enjoy your money, don't listen to these 401kers who tell you to live like a bum until you're 60 years old. You owe it to yourself

Aug 1, 2017

Very inspirational. You played well with the cards you were dealt.

    • 1
Aug 1, 2017

Feels good to read a story like this after 18 consecutive posts of "is it okay to wear a rolex as a summer analyst even if it was a graduation gift from my grandfather??"

    • 12
Aug 11, 2017

Fucking this^.

'I'm jacked... JACKED TO THE TITS!!'

    • 1
Aug 1, 2017

Thanks for the warm response, guys. I was very nervous to share this story but I wanted to let students in my position know that they have a chance. It's good to see that there are good people on here. I appreciate the love!

Aug 1, 2017

Cheers man, appreciate the honesty and frankness of it all. Humble beginnings, never forget them. Keep making music that's fire, spitting your soul through the wire. Congratulations for making it this far, and keep going - best of luck to you, from one hip hop head to another. Thanks for sharing. Perspective is everything.

    • 3
Aug 1, 2017

Hey bankerboy252,

Thank you for the support. I think that perspective of one's life and situation can determine the difference between success and failure. Hip hop music has been a outlet for my stress and motivation for my relentless efforts. Big up!

Aug 3, 2017

Great story; it's pretty much identical to mine (caribbean origin, not-so-safe city, first gen American, public schools, first gen college grad).

The most important thing to remember is to keep working like you're still hungry. I never forget those nights, ever. Don't ever get complacent, never settle or think that you're in a "good spot", and always be appreciative of the opportunity you're given. It's okay to have a bit of a chip on your shoulder, but don't let it mask your thinking (always be humble, but confident).

You're not allowed to stop until you can write your mom and dad a check for seven figures and tell them that they never have to worry about anything else for the rest of their lives.

Lastly, I can't emphasize this enough, but always work like there are 1,000 people trying to take your job. Be thankful for all of your tough times, because fire forges iron. I have no doubt you'll become successful- just keep pushing, and always strive to become a better person with each passing day.

-Anon

    • 3
Aug 3, 2017

Anon,

Thank you for that inspiring comment. I share the same view, I will not stop until my parents are taken care off. Fire does indeed forge iron. However, my mother has instilled within me a deep appreciation for all. My circumstances will not define me, I will continue to push forward.

    • 1
Aug 3, 2017

I am in a similar situation but in an eastern european country. What i would like to add is that my drive is not breaking the cycle . I, and probably you, already broke the circle. You have food, you are not going to sleep with the fear of tomorrow. My drive is to help those people who would be in the same situation as i was. Im always hungry as long as i know that someone from my hometown wouldn't be able to get the same chances as i did and fight for food his whole life.
You broke he cycle, dont chase the money. You know how life is down there, people in high-finance will never understand it. If people like you don't care, nobody will.

    • 2
Aug 4, 2017

Hey Vadok,

My friends form Eastern Europe tell me the same. I admire your drive to help those around as I try my best to pay it forward. You make a very valid point, I am one of the lucky ones in the sense where I got the opportunity to escape. I escaped poverty but there are many kids back in my hometown who wish they could do the same. I'll keep your words in mind as they resonated with me deeply. Money is not my motivation, I simply seek a better life.

Aug 3, 2017

Awesome stuff! Keep preparing and you'll be in a FO job in no time. Guys like you will succeed.

    • 1
Aug 3, 2017

very inspirational - and I think it's great for all of this hear stories like yours to realize how lucky most of us truly are.

Thank you for sharing!
Patrick

    • 1
Aug 4, 2017

Hey Patrick,

Thank you! It's a pleasure to see that my story has reached you. I want to personally thank you for the site as it gave me the resources to be successful. This is a great community with even greater people.

Aug 3, 2017

Awesome story. Never stop the grind. Never stop the hustle. Your hunger will be your success.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2017

You sound like a guy I would love to have a beer with. Cheers!

    • 1
Aug 4, 2017

Awesome story! Love to see you never gave up. Hard work and aspiration truly pays off. Congrats!

    • 1
Aug 4, 2017

Awesome story. Your English is very good. When you were going through learning English, did you ever listen to rap? I ask because of your username, but also because I have found that listening to rap forces one to learn idioms that one would otherwise miss by just reading books or learning a language's grammar.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2017

Hey Sil,

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate your support. I used Hip Hop and television to learn English. As you can see by my profile, I'm a huge Eminem fan. When I first arrived in this country, he was still in the "Slim Shady" era. His twisted rhymes and humor really helped me develop my grammar. I was able to understand idioms and metaphors easily.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2017

I just have to log on and reply. Awesome story!

    • 1
Aug 4, 2017

Congrats. Never let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve something.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2017

Wow Congrats! I can relate as my parents are from the Caribbean as well (Guyana) and we have a similar story. I was able to land an Intern position with BAML jr year of college and now I am in my 2nd year full time.

    • 1
Aug 9, 2017

Hey jaysingh1993,

Thank you! It's good to see another kid for the Caribbean doing well. Congrats! I hope to be in a similar position soon enough.

Aug 4, 2017

Thanks for sharing! A great story, and I'm sure those struggling will find motivational and helpful.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2017

GOOD JOB!!!

ALL THE VERY BEST TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!!

    • 1
Aug 7, 2017

Amazing stuff Shady. Thank you for sharing.

    • 1
Aug 11, 2017

Congratulations, bro! Luckily you got papers, so when you DO break in, you won't need sponsorship - a huge plus. Cheers!

    • 1
Aug 11, 2017

Hey yessir1,

Thanks a lot, man. I'm a citizen now so sponsorship is not a problem. Thanks for your kind words!

Aug 11, 2017

Great story, OP! Thanks for the read.

'I'm jacked... JACKED TO THE TITS!!'

    • 1
Aug 11, 2017

Hey Chuck,

Thanks for the message, man. I appreciate it!

Sep 22, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    • 1
Dec 30, 2017

You'r not the real Slim Shady then, huh?
Anyway, Congrats bro! GG WP!

    • 1
Jan 2, 2018

Congrats, feels good to read stories like this.

    • 1
Jan 10, 2018

It is not a triumph, and your youth is not tragedy.
Only means you are a narrow mindset, and a selfish person, focus on your own little tiny world in a negative perspective.

I wonder is it real?

P.S. I don't even want to comment on this post.

English man in WSO, fresh off the boat.

    • 1
Jan 10, 2018

Really great story! Keep going!

    • 1
Mar 21, 2018
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Mar 21, 2018