Lateral Internally From S&T FT to IBD FT (BB): Tips, Story, and Advice
Don't see a lot of information on the internal lateral process from S&T to IBD, so I will share my recent experience. Heads up, it's very hard IMO, would really network and perform in your current seat to help your case.
I come from a non-target with a sub 3.3 GPA. I was an athlete in college and all I wanted to do after college was to pay off my student loans. I didn't know a thing about a stock, bond, the markets etc; but I knew the street paid well so I ran after it. Got an internship my sophomore year at a WM shop (MS, JPM, UBS) by cold emailing the right guy. He was a football alumni and he basically handed me the job because he ran the group. A lot of people laughed at me because "everyone" was at a BB their sophomore year and WM didn't have any "exit opps." I was commuting 1hr everyday to work, making $10hr, but I was learning the basics of the markets and vanilla securities. I knew I wanted to be at a BB so I was cold emailing everyone internally; ended up emailing the Global Head of GCM and he gave me a superday. I legit had no clue he was the global head, just pure luck. I thought I did perfectly in the interview but i didn't get it, so lets move on. I ended up interviewing at AB, Citi (2x), MS, EY, and did not convert one single offer my junior fall. I was so embarrassed. Everyone is calling me and telling me they got MS IBD, BX, blah blah blah. Impostor syndrome was setting in, I was this black kid who worked 3 to 4 jobs on campus just to stay afloat, while everyone who I met at these diversity conferences were well seasoned, derived from target schools, and came from upper-class homes. Out of nowhere, one of my cold emails got me a winter internship at a BB in CRE (DB, GS, BAML). Had a great time and I was learning so much about modeling, real estate, securitization, and the IC process. Got the offer for the summer, but it got pulled in late March, so now I am at peak stress again. Ended up cold emailing a MD at a European bank and got into their markets program. That's where I met my best friend and my current roommate, and I was on a derivative desk which taught me how to make money. Life works in mysterious ways. Got the return offer but I ended up meeting a country officer at a BB who got me into the markets program at his bank. Moreover, the country officer invited me to stay with him for a while in his region. This is my first time in a different time zone. Now that I am in markets, I started to see the massive consolidation and headcount was decreasing by the second.
I ended up meeting a few MD's at the fitness center who took me under their wing, they prepped me on the weekends to make the transition over. (Everyone wants to be friends with the huge black dude benching 300+ 6am in the morning). This was challenging, I am on a markets seat and these MD's want me to go over a merger model at 3:30pm on a Monday; lol the market is open homie. Here's the thing, these guys can't give you a job from my experience, you have to wait until headcount is open in a group and then you apply through the internal portal.
The lateral interview is easy IMO, nothing was too technical. The hard part is that a million kids are applying for an internal IB role, so a little political backing is imperative. I see a lot that people say follow-up emails and questions are kind of pointless, but I think they helped get me the offer. I got color from a guy from GIC that the staffer worked on a deal that dealt with my home state, so I asked him about it and he talked for ~30 minutes. Lastly, I kind of felt that a few guys didn't think I could adapt to the curve because COVID has us working remote, and they mentioned that they had a lot of people from the CB/IB interviewing. This made me uneasy so I emailed the staffer and a few other people a paragraph about how I would be committed to the seat and I would be focused on the job, and not even take a sniff of the buyside recruiting. Once I sent the email, I got calls from the group members who mentioned that they sent the email around with high praise.
If you want to lateral internally, I think the biggest thing is having a strong network. These staffers get so many applications, you need to have some sort of sponsor to get you through the door. Next piece of advice is to perform on your current desk. People talk, so don't slack off on your current seat just because you think you have something better in the bag. It turned out that my sponsors, actually got involved in my Associate promotion process for Markets. They didn't say I was trying to lateral, but they mentioned that I was working with them for a year to improve my corp finance skills.
Lastly, fuck what people think. Life is a marathon, and you have no idea what is going to happen. I was so depressed when I went through 6+ superdays my junior year and I wasn't converting. People laughed at me because I was at a small Euro bank, turned out, I met my best friend there and I learned options(made ~100k in COVID by buying TQQQ leaps at the trough). Moreover, if I wasn't at the Euro bank, I probably would have never met a country officer who I can text "wassup bruh" at anytime. TBH he will prob be at my wedding because he's got me through some tough mental times. Remain humble guys, I know a lot of people who were at MS, GS, JPM, BX as interns, and now they are out of the industry. My grandma always said, "God gives, and he takes away."
If a young guy who went to 5 different high schools (expulsion) and went to jail before college can figure it out, so can you.