Losers Can Win
I'm a long time lurker and a first time poster on WSO. Please note that this post will revolve around my journey to investment banking. This sort of story has become much more typical, but I still think it has enough merit to be shared. Please bear with the entirety of this post, I promise there is a point to it all.
So I'm a loser. I don't say that out of pity or self-deprecation. I say that as someone that has lost many, many times in his life. I come from a pretty standard, middle class family with nothing too special about me. I had parents that were pretty hard on me, wanting me to succeed while in the process (ironically) killing my self-esteem. When I set out for college I wanted to do well. I wanted to be a super involved, I wanted good grades, I wanted an active social life, and after it all ended I wanted a prestigious job with killer exit opportunities. I wanted to fill that gap in myself that I'm sure resonates with more than a few of you. To be a winner.
Flash forward to today, my senior year of college. I am unequivocally a loser.
Firstly, I have lost positions and leadership over and over again in student organizations to others that knew how to play the game. I definitely was not qualified for everything I applied for, but perception and for being a little different hindered me time and time again. No one really gave me a chance to try to have an impact, and no one cares because now it's all about "living up senior year." Banks don't like these losers.
I'm barely an average student at my school. I will acknowledge that many have external issues that might have affected the all-powerful GPA, but I have had a decent amount of shit thrown at me through working to pay my way through school and an emotional disability that developed in college. Banks don't like these losers.
I am only recently started having "fun." I was never invited to parties or asked to hang out before. My phone never goes off with texts from friends besides my roommates. I have made an effort to enjoy senior year while I can, but college wasn't quite the experience I saw from all those frat movies. Banks don't like these losers.
Consulting and investment banking are the "prestigious" jobs open to college graduates today. Investment banking was the job that I knew better fit me and I put my all into that pursuit. Though I didn't have a high GPA or was a Vice-President of Organization X, I did have a lot of good work experiences and am part of a small group that fights a cause I am truly passionate about, despite not being "sexy" on a resume. I recently looked through my email and phone record and found that I sent 3,326 emails and 318 phone calls to investment bankers. I made expensive trips on my own dime getting coffee (and tea) trying to get my face out there. I spent more of my youth trying to get into the industry than I am proud to say. And I kept losing. I kept losing, I kept losing, I kept losing. I kept getting dinged due to arbitrary resume screens, awkward phone calls, tough interviews, and having sh*tty interactions with *ssholes that thought they were better than me because they could say they were an analyst. I kept losing and losing and losing.
But then someone upstairs decided to let me win. I (somehow) got an interview with a middle market investment bank and received a full time offer. Now, at the end of November, when most banks have stopped recruiting, I can say that starting next year I will be an investment banking analyst in New York City. It's funny how things work out like. I kept pounding the pavement and working my butt off. I've been told "no" so many times that I let it affect my academic, personal, and professional lives. And then I got a job. I won. I am a loser, but apparently there's a memo that says losers can win sometimes. I'm not sure what will happen next, but I'm excited. I recently told my contacts the exciting news and I've gotten more "congrats" and "way to go" comments in the past couple days than I have had in my entire life before.
Looking back, I can really relate to that saying about how much better something is earned rather than given. I had 0 other options and this was the last bank I could get my foot in the door with. This experience has made me firmly believe that losers really can win. Everyone looking to break into the industry, please keep doing your best and never giving up. The recruiting process is ultimately a numbers game so you just need to keep fighting until you land something. This site has been instrumental for my psyche because some people here have done some pretty amazing things.
My future employer is actually pretty lucky. In a year they are going to get the best god d*mn analyst they ever had. I'm looking forward to a couple crazy years!