MBB wannabe to FAANG Software Engineer
While the odds are this post is relegated to the WSO trash heap-to grace the eyes neither of monkey nor MD-on the off chance my story could be helpful to someone in a similar position as I was a year ago, I wanted to share. The moral of the story: if you're better at math than schmoozing or stuck at a non-target school due to finances save yourself years of pain and self-loathing and GO INTO TECH!
After discovering WSO during my junior year at my T30 semi-target UG, I spent most of my waking moments of the following year in pursuit of an analyst slot/T2 firm. I became obsessed. My school is largely a feeder into Big 4 / corporate-rotational / lower-tier IB positions with 1-2 making it into top tier consulting firms a year. Based on what I read on this site I assumed my pedigree would be the main thing keeping me out, as no consulting firms have proper on campus recruitment / interviews. I spent so much time regretting earlier life choices / not attending a proper target school, despite having been accepted to several / not getting on the business track earlier in college. Still I kept on-improving my resume, networking, and case-prepping.
Come fall of my senior year, my grind seemed to be paying off as the hundreds of cold emails I sent out resulted in first-round interviews at all of MBB and ~half the T2 firms. My good luck ended there. While I made it to final rounds at MBB and one T2 firms, I walked away with zero offers, despite dozens of hours of case prep. When it came down to it I got too nervous in final-round interviews, I cared too much, and I failed to meet the salesmanship requirements of the role.
After several weeks of wallowing I happened upon an article about software engineer salaries at the big tech firms. I couldn't believe my eyes-Facebook SWE's starting out at 200k, SWE's at quantitative hedge funds starting at 400K total comp in their first year. From my pre-professional focused UG to this forum, I'd come to believe that medicine/law/business were where the money was and that engineers generally had to move into management to see still inferior levels of comp.
While I have relatively decent social skills-have always had friends, no trouble with dating, regularly go out-I get anxious under intense pressure, and I've always been more successful in academics than gaming social systems. If I'd know it was possible to get rich by solving math problems (essentially the deciding factor in SWE interviews) I would have been on that track from the start. Also while Big Tech has its own set of target schools, the culture is much more meritocratic and open to people without the proper pedigree, which is liberating for someone who had to turn down offers from a T1 undergrad due to finances.
After graduating with no job offer, I hit the math/CS books. After 10 months of grinding, I went from a zero coding skills to a software engineering offer at the SF office of a FAANG company. I'll be pulling in roughly 170k with an additional 30k signing bonus in my first year, working 40-50 hours a week.
I'm not posting this to try and shit-talk consulting or finance careers-I have enormous respect for this community and the work you all do. I wanted to get this story out there to provide an alternative path to wealth for people who may not know about tech careers and lack either the pedigree or innate disposition to succeed in consulting, law, or finance without going through the hell that is medical school/residency.
If you're smart and have adequate social skills you can break into software engineering and pull in six figures (and even seven if you move into management after 10+ years) with a good work-life balance. For those of you who are better at math than politics or who missed the HYSP golden ticket, seriously consider giving software engineering a try if you aren't 150% sure you were born for banking.
Finally much thanks to all you monkeys for making this community such a helpful resource. And for anyone looking to learn more about pivoting into tech check out Reddit's CSCareerQuestions forum, TeamBlind (the WSO for tech), or feel free to send me a PM.