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.
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.
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