IB Hustler Stories: For those who did not get into IB, what are you up to now?

I guess the title says it all. This might go against the tide since the idea that there are considerable options outside IB for a lot of people often divides the forums on WSO. I will still take a chance.

There are ton of stories of Non-Targets getting the right internship, networking hard, preparing for the technicals, and making it to that FO role they wanted or something similar. For everyone posting these stories – please keep doing that. It fuels a lot of people. But, we have to admit that this is not the whole picture. And there might be some value in learning about the stories not covered by the POV of our survivorship bias.

If you networked hard, went through interviews, and gave a diligent attempt to the entire process and still did not make it, I would be glad to know:

  1. What are you up to now and what are you working towards?
  2. What would you want to say to the folks who are considering IB or about to enter the race for applications?
  3. Any important stories or learnings you would want to share.

To the old guard – I am not trying to dilute the value of the hustle. I guess it does help in some way to some people. But, I think there are folks who blindly go in without knowing why they want it and might face internal unrest later. This is for them. So they can make a more informed choice – today.

P.S. Got the idea from the thread - https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/how-many-o…

Cheers. Long live the hustler. 

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Comments (28)

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
May 26, 2021 - 3:03pm

This is probably a good time as ever to share my story

I started at a Non-target that was so Non-target even Non-targets don't know about us. Think Montana State/Wyoming/Boise State something along these lines. So I decide I want to do IB in my senior year (talk about behind the curve). No "real" internships- Fairly decent resume.  And Like many I go to the all mighty Linkedin to start hitting up alumni from my school as WSO suggests.  There are 7 alumni that do IB,  one at a BB (who never responded to me), 1 at an MM ( never got back to me),  3  at regional boutiques, and 2 at Psuedo boutiques that were really more valuation shops.   

So after combing through that rigorous list, I just start blasting the cold ones out as fast as I can.   Sure enough some hits come back and boom I land a summer internship for after I graduate at a regional boutique (looking back it really wasn't that hard) . I go through the internship, good feedback the whole time.  They want to schedule a meeting, the title of the meeting, "Employment moving forward".  Being the bright eyed bushy tail fresh I think this is a good thing. It wasn't, they told me I was canned and had two weeks to be out the door. This is August 2019.

Well fuck. I go back and blast the network, and email everyone I know in about 2 days.  I literally worked 22 hours days emailing everyone I knew.  Luckily I find another shitty boutique to sign on too. This time at the analyst level and their pay was trash. This one was even worst then the last and I found out this real quick. It was border line a business brokerage shop. I start doing work for them and letting them know I think there are some ways for improvement.  I think this was my downfall as I think the other juniors though I was a prick. This firm also did quarterly bonuses.  So throughout the day in between meetings, others are getting called in and getting bonuses.  I don't get called in until the end of the day.  The VP tells me I am fired. The reason, the firm didn't think I was a fit with the team.  I was hire and fired all in under 70 days at this firm.  So great that was a waste of time.  Not to mention they fired me the week before Thanksgiving 

Well, I start looking for jobs and this is going into the holidays.  I start applying and calling everywhere but sure enough everyone is out of office.  So I see if there is any freelance work that I can find.  Sure enough, I strike gold.  There are a couple postings on a job board for someone to do M&A modeling.  It was MBA students that needed help with their final projects.  So I do this for the holidays the cash is actually not terrible. I picked up some accounting work after the holidays too. Meanwhile I have been having interviews left and right for pretty much any job.  (Jan 2020)

After a while, my ex-girlfriend at the time breaks up with me the week before my birthday. (Feb 2020), so the following week, on my birthday I get a call from a MM and get an offer.  For a Capital markets Division (a pretty bad group).  I take it and the start date is Early March 2020. Made it in by the skin of my teeth on that one. I work there one year and then one of the Connections I made my senior year calls me up (April 2021) and says he has a spot for me in IBD at a Lower BB

I know work in a great group at a lower BB and couldn't be happier.  I know there are a lot of people that have it way worse, but coming off of two firings and a bad placement at a MM.  I finally made it to a lower BB, by keeping head up and still grinding for my goal.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
May 27, 2021 - 12:25pm

Thanks. There were a lot of ups and downs in the first year after I graduated.  My best advice is if you want something keep working towards it.  Most of the time something will click if you put yourself in the right places. 

May 28, 2021 - 4:01am

Love this story. What an attestation to disciplined and focused work. Great job man, you definitely deserve being in such a fantastic role.

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
May 28, 2021 - 11:28am

Thank you.  It was a struggle there for a bit.  I hope some people can read this and get a little bit of motivation out of it.  

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May 26, 2021 - 6:19pm

I went to a non-target state school in the South (and think DEEP South). I had no idea what I wanted to do even senior year as a finance major. I went to China for a year after graduating and dicked around teaching and playing in a band (was pretty fun, Asia is the future) for most of 2016 and 2017. Got back in summer 2017, and figured it was time to start getting serious about a career. Well.....a bit too late for that. I am now in operations at a BB, been promoted once, and can't wait to try and get into a decent MBA program to get out of operations. I know I'm smart enough for FO, it's just I didn't decide to get serious until WAY too late. Hopefully I can get into a good MBA program and place into a BB or decent MM/EB. Until then, I'll enjoy the 50hrs a week of boredom in the back office.  

May 26, 2021 - 6:49pm

Bang any Asian hotties? Also - for your future attempts at the almighty IB - do a full time MBA. I did part time at a top 20 and there were like 2 banks that posted resume drops. Also a tough year cause all you ass holes are lateraling and filling the open spots in hopes of a better life, creating a lot of froth and turn over in the industry but I think this makes it tough for all the non target bros.

  • 1
May 26, 2021 - 11:18pm

You're in operations yet claim you work in investment banking?


  • 1
May 27, 2021 - 5:07am

Applied during college (in Europe), and did not even get past first round anywhere, despite the fact that I had decent background. This is because they all use psychometric testing which I absolutely sucked at.

Fast forward, I now work in audit at Big 4. Maybe the tests are a good filter after all because despite being a good student, I am quite terrible at even my audit job, so instead of FO finance, I am thinking of trying to network into FP&A instead (per the advice given to me on a previous thread I created).

Still toying with the idea of trying to make the switch to FO for jokes though to see if I can do it.

May 27, 2021 - 1:50pm

I think it has less to do with the role and more to do with me.

I did well academically because I could ask the teacher over and over again for help until I really understood the question. I even had tutors holding my hand a lot etc. I have a great work ethic but this style of learning I developed just is not translating over to the corporate world that well, where time is money and you need to complete tasks quickly. I'm trying my best to improve but feels like an uphill battle.

May 27, 2021 - 12:45pm

Tried to break into IB during my senior year at a non-target, was late to the recruiting process because I didn't actually know what I wanted to do upon graduation. Had two final rounds with two regional banks, but ended up without an offer. Decided to take an offer from one of the ratings agencies expecting to lateral that into IB a year later. Fast forward a year later and lateraling is just as difficult. Had three final rounds at two BBs and one MM bank, but was unsuccessful. I gave up on the IB dream because clearly it wasn't in the cards for me and quite honestly I didn't really want to do IB. I only wanted to do IB because all my peers were doing it and this forum made it seem so elite, but now looking back on it me not having a passion for it probably translated into my interviews lol. Instead of doing IB I decided to go down the AM route, as I'd much rather strive to be a PM. Now I'm at an AM with ~200B AUM as a credit research associate, which is much more aligned with the route I want to take. IB isn't the end all be all. 

May 27, 2021 - 6:18pm

I'm gonna start another thread called "what are some good coping mechanisms to deal with the failure of not getting into IB"

I like to tell myself "Why do bullshit excel and powerpoint work for 20 years to become an MD and start doing business development (which is what attracted me to IB), when I can just do bus dev?" 

Also I do business development 

  • 2
  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
May 28, 2021 - 2:06am

I don't 100% fit the mold because it was by choice rather than being forced into it, but I might have some useful stuff. I'm a recent non target graduate and was super heavily focused on front office positions until about the end of my sophomore year. I honestly just took until then to realize that I didn't give a shit about the technical questions I was supposed to study for and could barely bring myself to spend time preparing for those interviews. I liked a lot of stuff associated with front office and had been laser focused on finance since HS, but when push came to shove I took my lack of interest in preparing as a sign I shouldn't sign up for hours of financial modeling. I'm joining a solid tech consulting firm and am obscenely glad I'm on this track instead of IB (nothing against IB ppl of course this is just a much better fit for me and my goals)

Stuff I'd say to failed candidates: 

Your career is incredibly long, no doubt starting it well is important, but don't think that when you're 40 you're gonna be regretting your first job being good instead of really really good.

There's a whole world of careers out there you may enjoy. I was so focused on finance (in part out of necessity because you don't get an offer as a non target if you're not focused) that I didn't even realize all the cool areas of business that are out there. Even on Wall St there are a million perfectly good interesting positions that aren't IB you can still end up in. It's easy to get sucked up in the hyper obsessive mindsets of this forum and your IB focused peers, but once you've gotten past the recruiting phase (whether you have an offer or not) you realize IB is just one of many excellent ways to begin your career and as long as you didn't end up somewhere mediocre it's really quite fine. Research what other options you have so that you don't feel like front office or a bullshit F500 corporate finance analyst roleare your only options in the world.

Finally, just know that it'll all be over soon and you won't have to worry about your career as much very shortly if you just keep pushing through. Your first job helps set the trajectory for a lot of your career and I do believe it's important to get a good one, but after you're in the workforce you won't have to be frantically stressing about "making it". Like I said, I'm still a careerist, but now I'm a well paid tech consultant with options rather than a non target hoping to overcome my circumstances. It's worth it to keep hustling even if you didn't get IB to make sure you still land somewhere solid

TLDR: It's nbd just get the next best job and move on with your life

May 28, 2021 - 7:58am

Can you expound on what exactly your job entails as a tech consultant?


  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 28, 2021 - 6:17pm

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Oct 11, 2021 - 12:32pm

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