It has been a very long year for me and by no means is it over for me since I just got a SA position. But just wanted to share my story to motivate others in search for their end goal position.
Before last Jan, I had no relevant finance experience whatsoever. I was a senior in a "semi-target" if you can call it that, with some random insurance and HR internship during my sophomore and junior summers. However, during the fall of my senior year, I finally got my shit together and decided I wanted to break into finance, whatever way possible.
I coldcalled my way into my first finance internship doing PWM at a MM bank. Worked there for 20 hours/ week while studying full-time. My weekday schedule looked like this: Work -> Class -> Work -> Evening Class -> Study. After my senior year, I took an unpaid internship at a boutique doingafter coldemailing 100 firms and meeting up with senior people; I even once paid $50 to go to an event that a MD of a boutique was going just to speak with him for 5 mins.
I got into a target MSF program in the EU after the summer. I thought to myself, I can finally get something through OCR and be set after graduating. I even had a finalin their MO/Risk division which was what I thought I wanted to do....
Then, BOOM, my application for my student loan got rejected even though I called them up beforehand to make sure it was doable... expected it to fund half of my tuition. 4 months back and forth dealing with bureaucracy during my first semester... to the point where I ran out of time and I was hit with repayment for my loans during undergrad. At that point, it was clear. I had to drop out. From there, I landed back in Toronto. I used up almost all my savings for day-to-day expenses during my time in EU and the ticket. I crashed with a friend and had to borrow $2K from my dad to just survive.
Initially I started reaching out to different people in banking, AM,, anything... While I was talking to them, I spoke to an alum in REPE (was always interested in RE, just never acted on it). Having him go through the entire industry and the different functions immediately sparked my interest. From then, I networked with over 50 senior guys in the industry (met almost all of them in person) to learn more and see which part of the industry interested me. I lived pretty far from the city and commuted 1.5 hours via public transit each time to get to downtown and once even took a 3hr commute to meet some VP.
Shit got real this last month, when I met with a partner of a REPE and got a spot to interview for a SA position and met a director at an Elite Boutique where he got me an interview for a FT position. Last week I finally got an offer from the REPE, tried to accelerate the process with the Elite Boutique... failed but told to stay in touch since they liked me.
Now I will be starting with the REPE next month for their SA! And given that they know I am looking for a FT, they said there might be a possibility to convert to FT due to some changes in their firm after the internship!
TLDR; got shit together, got experience, dropped out, networked into REPE SA
Persistence (+ doing the right things) pays off, so for all those still at it, don't give up and hit up everyone everywhere!