My journey from no-name boutique to PE MF

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masters - Certified Professional
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,264

I have been a long time lurker and recent poster here, I have got so much from this community, I can say I would not have done it without you so I think it is time to give something back. I am sure you heard stories like mine but I hope this can be inspirational to some of you.

My background:

I come from a very low-income family in continental Europe (I am not afraid to say my family cannot make it till the end of the month). I was the first to ever attend university, I got a BSc in Finance with top grades from my hometown university because it was the only place where I could afford to study and I made it thanks to the scholarships my university paid and to my work as a tutor. Starting in university I had no target job, but towards the end of my bachelor watching some finance movies I got interested into M&A and PE. So I looked at some MSc, got a good GMAT and got admission into some top schools in the UK. Sadly, I did not attend because I did not find a way to pay the tuition.

The heartbreak:

It was heartbreaking because I thought going to a top school was the only way to get an M&A job at a BB so I spent some weeks crying (I know it sounds stupid).I decided to defer my offer with the plan to work for a year, make money and then attend the MSc. I applied to all jobs on BB job boards, I spent 3 months checking their websites day and night and networking. In the end I got a 6 month BO internship at BB, I accepted the offer because it was a good way to make money and add a good brand on my cv. While interning I was still applying to M&A jobs in the UK, through networking I got some interviews but no offer, I kept applying but nothing was working out and in the end I spent 1 year unemployed.

Picking myself up:

That time spent unemployed made me feel useless and depressed like I had no purpose on this world, in the meantime I took level 1 of the CFA and I decided to apply to M&A jobs in my country and thanks to some luck I got an analyst job at a small unknown boutique. The pay was rather low, I could barely make it till the end of the month but I was happy to finally work again. My plan was to work sometime there and then lateral to a BB in the UK. In the meantime I also passed the 2nd level of the CFA.

Networking paid off:

Even when I was unemployed I kept networking and applying, the feedback was that I could never get an M&A job with no previous M&A experience, so after I started working for the boutique in my country I was feeling it was just a matter of time until I got what I wanted. After starting at the boutique, thanks to networking I got 2 interviews, an EB in my country and a MF. I got an offer from both of them and I chose the MF because the economic offer was superior.

It has been some months since I started and I now feel happier than ever, I love my job and I can help my family plus I see increasing opportunities opening up for me. The matter of the story is to never give up and always try, even when it seems impossible, always work hard, have a plan and you will reach your goals. There is no magic, that's life.

Where to start:

For those of you that aren't sure where to start (networking and/or interview prep) or want to make sure you're ready for tough LBO modeling tests, I'd recommend the WSO Private Equity Interview Course as a great resource.

Mod Note (Andy): Throwback Thursday, this was originally posted Jan 2017

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Comments (57)

Jan 8, 2017

Thank you for sharing. Very inspiring !

    • 2
Jan 8, 2017

Congrats on your achievement! Definitely gives me motivation at a time when I need it the most.

    • 2
Best Response
Jan 8, 2017

Proud of you man! Keep up the good work and let us know of any new developments in your career.

Jan 8, 2017

Congradulations!!!

    • 1
Jan 9, 2017

Thank you guys!

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Jan 9, 2017

You did a great job Sir! Keep hustling!

    • 1
Jan 9, 2017

Congrats! Very happy for you!

    • 2
Jan 13, 2017

thanks for the support guys, I might be doing an AMA in the near future.

Jan 13, 2017

Quite inspirational. Very interested. Congratulations!

    • 1
Jan 13, 2017

Congratulations!

    • 1
Jan 13, 2017

Congrats, very inspiring!

    • 1
Jan 13, 2017

Congrats! Would like to see the AMA sometime. Curious about your approach to networking and what worked for you to get in touch with the elite boutique and MF

Jan 13, 2017

I developed a networking template that I improved over the time. I was introducing myself and I was reaching out to people who were not in the same team asking if they needed someone, when I had no response I was following up weekly. I kept doing it until they offered me an interview.

Jan 13, 2017

congratulations!

Observe. Learn. Share.

    • 1
Jan 13, 2017

I'm a little confused, could you elaborate on that last part? Did you ever make the lateral to the BB before going to the MF? Or did you go straight from the no-name boutique to the MF?

    • 1
Jan 13, 2017

no lateral to BB

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Jan 13, 2017

Awesome story and dedication, congrats!

    • 1
Jan 13, 2017

Great story, congrats! +1 sb

    • 1
Jan 16, 2017

Thanks Guys

Jan 16, 2017

Thanks very much for sharing! Inspirational.

    • 1
Jan 17, 2017

congrats man:)

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

    • 1
Jan 17, 2017

Congrats!

How was the transition into your new role? Given you've passed the second level of the CFA and have a BSc in finance, you obviously have some background in M&A, but was it difficult to adjust without the modeling skills you would have gained in an IB analyst stint?

    • 1
Jan 18, 2017

I had worked on my modelling skills on my own plus my current firm made me do 1 month of training which was helpful. I still have much to learn but I am on the right track.

Jan 17, 2017

Can you speak more on your networking process, and how you managed to actually find these opportunities while at the boutique?

    • 1
Jan 18, 2017

I was searching the website of all BBs and EBs daily and I was emailing people whenever I was seeing an opening. For the PE funds I was just emailing people as they did not have an openings section and I was asking them whether they needed someone. They initially said no but I kept in touch for more than a year until something came up.

Jan 21, 2017

Congrats! Way to keep grinding!

Jan 24, 2017

Congrats! Any chances you might still consider to further your education (maybe with an MBA rather than an MSc.)?

Jan 24, 2017

Only if I get stuck and it becomes the only opportunity to move up

    • 1
Jan 25, 2017

Inspiring story. From personal experience, I'll just change the last sentence to this.

Somewhere along the line, magic is gonna help you. You think it wasn't magic that made Trump, Cavs and Cubs, all underdogs, champions in 2016. Magic finds those who keep going at it.

    • 2
Jan 25, 2017

I agree with you. We say "Fortune favours the bold"

Jan 27, 2017

Congratulations.

You: Visualized your end goal, had a plan to get there, and persisted.

You sir have the mindset to go all the way!

    • 1
Jan 28, 2017

Thank you. Having a plan and sticking to it is very important, even though people around you may think you are crazy don't listen to them and go on with your plan.

Aug 25, 2017

Alright - I'm going to break the party. Congrats regardless, you definitely seemed to have worked hard.
Is this an offer as a PE analyst (as in actually doing the deal due diligence etc.) or are we talking something else?

    • 1
Aug 25, 2017

PE analyst brah

    • 1
Aug 25, 2017

Sly ass name drop for WSO.

    • 1
Aug 25, 2017

Congratulations man! Keep it up and tell us more about your achievements. I am new here and your story is very inspirational to me.

    • 1
Aug 26, 2017

Thank you, will post an update in the future

    • 1
Aug 25, 2017

congratulations man... well in

Aug 28, 2017

Thanks man

Aug 26, 2017

Awesome!

    • 2
Aug 27, 2017

Great story!! Congrats on your new job and good luck! And what you said about fortune favouring the bold is so true.

    • 1
Aug 28, 2017

Totally agree, sometimes you just have to trust your gut that things will align

Aug 27, 2017

Very inspiring!

    • 1
Aug 30, 2017

True strength of a man can be seen when he admits he cries.
I am happy for you and thanks for inspiring story :)

Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny

    • 1
Aug 30, 2017

You're an inspiration to the WSO community as a whole. Stories like this keep so many youngins (myself included) motivated. The "never stop trying" attitude is such a powerful mentality to have.

    • 1
Oct 31, 2017

Truly inspiring.

    • 1
Nov 1, 2017

I'm inspired!

    • 1
Nov 11, 2017

Congratulations sir! I would like to know the rationale of a MF PE to take in a no-name boutique kid from a non-target to run their models and DD processes.

Was the firm time-constrained or did you get an opportunity to show the quality of your output by doing client-work for them? I can't see them taking the risk in other scenarios.

    • 1
Nov 12, 2017

"The harder you work, the luckier you get"
"Everything happens for a reason"

Two quotes I have found to be very true for me in my journey as well. Thanks for the inspiring story. As a non-target student trying to break into the industry, the key is to simply never give up

    • 1
Nov 13, 2017

@DinhoGaucho I got in because I clicked with some senior people coming from my same country. Obviously, I proved I could handle the job during the interview process

Nov 13, 2017

Thanks to all of you guys! I hope to give an update in the future

Dec 30, 2017

Great post, thanks for sharing!

Dec 30, 2017

A truly inspiring story, certainly for me. Congratulations. I know this could be a bit too revealing, but are you from central Europe?

Dec 31, 2017

Inspiring and full of passion mate. I do perfectly understand what you passed on, and in some cases I can imagine my actual situation to your one. Let us know of developments and your future, and always keep pushing!!

Nicest haircut than Bateman

Dec 31, 2017
Jun 3, 2018

Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny