I've made a ton of mistakes, is it too late?

alleen17's picture
Rank: Chimp | 3

Hey all,

This might be a little late and I know I'm going to be facing a HUGE uphill battle, but I just need to prove to myself that I'm still capable of achieving what I put my mind to. Or maybe you can tell me otherwise after I tell you a little bit about myself.

I graduated undergrad from top 50 business undergrad in '09 with a 3.9 GPA w/ BBA in Economics w/ a minor in Finance. Due to circumstances out of my control, I had to go to a undergrad at a less prestigious school, but at least it was a full ride. Besides my academic record, i did close to nothing when OCR came around and ended up unemployed. Throughout undergrad, my focus was to try to get into banking, nothing less. I did extremely well in all my finance classes, and those classes were certainly what I was most passionate about. I was also involved in a lot of the extracurricular finance programs and activities that helped me dabble in modeling/DCF analysis/trading etc. Unfortunately, I didn't work hard enough to secure myself a spot despite my school being a semi target in a large market. There were a few spots at the BB's and the people who got them ended up doing well and have moved on to getting their MBA's at top 5 MBA programs.

For me however... after graduation, I did something crazy and took a spur of the moment decision to move out of the country to travel and to play online poker. I lived off those earnings and also some earnings from my personal brokerage account, mostly writing covered calls on the few positions that I held. Despite playing poker, I continued to stay up-to-date on the equity markets. In 2013, I ran with the bull market, and thought I was making enough to just swing trade for a while. I built around 15k equity from 2011, to having a bit over a six-digits under management in early 2014, until the correction came around. I took some crazy risks and have given most of it back.

My goal at the moment is to hopefully get back into finance through the real estate track, maybe an MSRED at a top program. I'm in the middle of my gmat preparation, and I'm certainly capable of getting a 700+. Even with that, given my lack of a finance work exp besides two finance internships, I don't think I'll be considered a candidate for a top MBA, and I certainly can't afford the tradeoff of not working two years (hence the decision to go the one year MS route). Right now, im in a non-finance related role, and I'm miserable. It's secure, and I'll make a decent living, but its not what I'm interested in.

Looking for advice... do I still have leverage with my GPA and my potential gmat score to get back on track? Or am I delusional and need to realize that it's too late? How can I prepare myself better, if this is the route I choose to take?

Needed to introduce myself so that I can start PMing ppl as well.. gotta start somewhere.

Comments (6)

Aug 15, 2014

Definitely not too late for you. There is always time to network and find a job. You need to leverage the experience you already have and spin it positively (which you did in your post) and you should be fine. The lack of formal banking job experience can be compensated with your interesting career choice (poker), your real life trading experience, and high academic abilities. If you can take the GMAT and prove your intellect, all of those factors together should present you as a decent candidate for many finance jobs. You might not be on a traditional path, and the timing may not be on the ideal job cycle, but by no means are you out of the game. If you can't get a banking job straight away, you can definitely make a case for a position that will act as a stepping stone into the positions you are looking for.

Cheer up, you will need to network, and meet people to explain your story in person, but provided you can make those conversations happen, you definitely have a shot at the goals you mentioned in your post.

Aug 18, 2014

Don't give up. Just stay positive: send off lots of applications for internships/entry-level positions. You're too young to be hopeless!
From my own experience: travelled for 6 months after graduation - I'm grateful that I did it.
After: I came back and started off at real estate investments. At the same time, I did my GMAT, constantly keeping up with the latest market news, sending off more and more applications, contacting people I knew and contacting people my friends know. Lots of people referred my CV to others and I got interviews.
Eventually, I ended up landing an internship in boutique IB just via simple application in Linkedin. Though, it's unpaid (it's fine, it lasts only 8-12 weeks), the point here is that YOU can also do it for sure. IB internship, be it paid or not, puts your foot on the right door.

Make your CV look stellar, be confident, know everything you need to know for the interviews, network - be confident that you can make it.

Aug 18, 2014

@"Betsy Massar" is the person to ask about b-school stuff. I don't think it's too late, you have a strong GPA, interest, etc., just bust your hump networking, should be fine.

Aug 18, 2014

thanks for the shout out brofessor!

Re poker: I think there's some correlation between poker and quantitative skills, so it's not that much of a stretch.
In fact, if you read Liar's Poker, you would know the story of Howie Rubin (my sectionmate at business school) -- that before Harvard he counted cards in Las Vegas. Yes, he was a very good student in engineering and had worked for Exxon (?) before that, but the parallels between poker and Wall Street have not gone unnoticed.

Here's an article I just found, "Why Wall Street is Recruiting Poker Players"
Yes, it's from 2010, but believe it, things don't change that fast.

Just one question -- did I miss something, but, why real estate?
And also, where did you go overseas? anywhere good? Interesting? That's actually more of an asset than a liability.

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

Aug 19, 2014

@"schuoh",@"brainsandlegs",@"thebrofessor",@"Betsy Massar"

Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement. To have that type of support and advice from you guys means so much to me. I'm doing everything in all other aspects of my life to remain as positive as I can. I exercise regularly and as a result am in the best shape of my life. I meditate occasionally, and I also constantly try to keep myself in a positive thought-loop by practicing simple tasks like thinking of things that I'm grateful for on a daily basis. The only part that seems to elude me are my career prospects.

The biggest task I probably have to deal with is my confidence level. I'll approach everything step by step to gain it back, and further build on top of it.

And Betsy,
to answer, why real estate? It's a good way for me to get back into a relevant finance role that doesn't require me to spend two years in school. The opportunity cost is pretty big. Also, Ive spoken to a contact of mine who has a network of people who have done all sorts of tracks in finance, and those that went the route of the one-yr MSRED pretty much got to where they aimed to be. And the program that I was considering is pretty finance intensive. Lastly, my undergrad was already a BBA degree, so I still think I have a decent grasp of the other aspects of business.

As for going overseas, I traveled mostly between Shanghai and HK before I played poker. and my online poker stint took place in Toronto, CA. I can definitely put a positive spin to what I've learned in poker and apply it to finance. It has taught me lessons, showed me experiences, and molded me in more ways than I would've ever expected it to.

Aug 18, 2014

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!