Non-Target Advice/ Success Stories

Just wanted to create this thread where everyone can share their advice or own personal stories as to how they broke into IBD out of University. Would love to hear how you guys hustled to get where you are today.

Background

I have just finished my first year of university at a non-target in the UK and as of yet have gotten no internships/Spring weeks ( got an interview at a BB but got dinged at first stage). The reason I'm at a non-target is because I wanted to do medicine but changed my mind last second so I didn't apply for finance/econ at the top schools like Warwick/LSE/UCL. I did get an offer for KCL medicine but that's irrelevant. I don't know if I should bring up that I only switched my interest to finance quite late in my life. Is that showing I am not dedicated?

My plans

For the entire summer really I have been preparing cover letters, practising numerical tests and reading books like "Investment banking" by Rosenbaum to learn valuation and modelling (DCF/LBO etc...) in the hopes of getting some superdays and interviews for an IBD SA 2019 position. Applications for London offices open in a few weeks so just doing some prep before I send off my applications. I have been networking like crazy the last few weeks and have gotten a few phone calls from some people in IBD but nothing too great has come from those calls. i.e they didn't pass my CV onwards. Will keep this updated along the year if I manage to get even one superday.

What were your stories as to how you guys got that first gig in IBD or otherwise (for you lucky f**kers to get straight into HF/PE straight away lol).

Comments (119)

Aug 22, 2018

So, funny you say you're in the UK. I'm currently at Manchester for Int'l Business, Finance and Economics, so I know what it's like to be at an objectively good school but get passed over because there are more 'elite' schools than yours. It's a pain in the ass and it means you have to prove yourself, regardless of whether you're in a finance/economics program like I am, or in another discipline, and you have to prove that you're better than everyone coming out of Oxbridge, LSE and Warwick.

So I actually missed out on spring weeks myself - mostly because my CV was a piece of shit. It has improved but I still haven't firmly secured any SA 2019 positions. What was surprising was that, at least at Manchester, very few people got into Springs or SA positions on merit alone, and the one standout case for me was a guy with 4 A*s at A-Level and a high 1st Class mark in his first year. If you make the grade - 3.5 GPA or a 2:1 - then the rest of the difficulty stems from networking.

However, I got lucky with networking and I'm working for an independent bank back home in Houston for a few weeks before term begins. It was, literally, just from expressing an interest in the firm (which had less than 20 employees, half of which were in the office at any given time), and I got called back by a VP, who is now my boss. If you aren't already, try to find smaller banks that may not have the status of a prestigious BB, but does the same work on a smaller scale.

Relevant experience is the number 1 things applicants lack on their CVs, and fortunately it doesn't matter if it's from a BB or a VC startup - experience is experience. Frankly, once you're in, the hard part is over - I've found working to be a whole lot more fun than I expected. And once you nab your first job in finance, finding a second is significantly easier.

Garrett E Kindle

Aug 22, 2018

Yeah I totally get what you mean. Coming from a non-target is always that extra bit harder to prove yourself. If only I get to the assessment centre stage I can hopefully try and show them & get an attempted at proving myself but the hard part is actually getting to that stage.

My CV was trash in first year. It was two pages long ( a huge no no ) but using the IBD templates from this site and from some people in the industry will hopefully give me a better shot.

Getting that gig at the bank in the States will definitely boost your CV & will give you a good shot at it this year for sure. Have you done any practice on the numericals?

Thankfully I did a summer school investment course at LSE this summer so I at least have one brand name on my application. Crazy that they only look at CV's for 20 seconds so making an impression is a huge deal.

Aug 22, 2018

Yup, you ain't the only one muddling through this cruel world.

So far nothing severely numerical, I've had to do real estate research reports for UK regions but that's about it so far. I'm only in my first week of a 3 week program so I wouldn't expect to be filling out major DCF or M&A models quite yet. I have BIWS to help me with that until I get a BB gig.

Same with me on the summer program. I actually almost went to the LSE corporate finance program but decided to do 4 weeks at Oxbridge instead. Behavioral economics, EU corporate law, Banking/Finance and Strategy. Enjoyed the course overall - and like yourself got some top-notch names on my CV - but I did it more for the names than I did for the courses themselves.

Also, which UK uni are you at (if that's where you're based out of)? I'm actually on committee for MUTIS Finance Society in Manchester and we have some big names coming to our conference this year, if you'd like an opportunity to network a little more.

Garrett E Kindle

Aug 30, 2018
DonalDayUmTray:

I don't know if I should bring up that I only switched my interest to finance quite late in my life. Is that showing I am not dedicated?

Honestly, you haven't a chance. Look at the competition. Take me for example. I was swaddled in an Hermes diaper the moment I was born. After firmly shaking the doctors hand, I left the NICU and boarded a limousine bound for Blackstone's NY office, where I shadowed Stephen Schwartzman for an afternoon. Don't beat yourself up that you weren't there, old boy - only the most prestigious fetuses received consideration.

From there, I immediately decamped to Arlington Virginia on a temporary assignment with McKinsey & Company, where I promptly fired, and then stood in for, the Gerber Baby. I will always remember how raw my infant palms were from the flurry of handshakes I received after turning that enterprise around.

The rest of my life has been a laundry list of accomplishments so feted by the great and good that my resume must be printed on legal paper (but of course, kept to one page - any more shows a lack of modesty). My spot in this past summer's SA class was secured almost 11 years ago.

Don't be upset that you didn't make it, my friend. Why, there might even be a spot left in the summer analyst class of your next life (if you believe in that sort of thing). I'd hurry though - I hear that the first resume drop closed last night, and the most prestigious souls will be attending a superday Wednesday of next week.

Aug 30, 2018

What a dick of an infant

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Aug 30, 2018

Sweet, congrats!

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats, if I read correctly you got an interview with MBB through an online app, without networking there (nothing "concrete"), and as a non target? I guess your high GPA helped but you gotta know there was some luck involved too! But doing well at the interview was definitely not luck, good job.

Aug 30, 2018

Wow!

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats!

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." - DT

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats!

Aug 30, 2018

Good job

Aug 30, 2018

Great Job Sir!

Aug 30, 2018

Well done, sir.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats! Good job on the prep and getting the offer

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats Timmy. I am very happy for you. Thank you for sharing.

Aug 30, 2018

Great job!

Aug 30, 2018

Seriously though, you know your school is a nontarget when an interview request with a BB gets sent to your spam folder.

Haha, so funny and so true. Congratulations. Just what I needed to hear after sending out tons of networking emails today.

Now show them how awesome you are and why you deserve the spot!

Aug 30, 2018

congrats brotha

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats man, that awesome. How did you start networking with these NYC shops? I would assume cold calls and emails were probably the primary method, but what did you say to them in the email or phone call?

Aug 30, 2018
cohiba24:

Congrats man, that awesome. How did you start networking with these NYC shops? I would assume cold calls and emails were probably the primary method, but what did you say to them in the email or phone call?

I would say that 95% of my networking came through alumni connections. There were very few coming from my school, but if they were out there I most likely found them. That said, I did reach out to several people who also had a similar academic major or non target background and everyone was generally helpful. I used a stock email from mergers and inquistions and modified it as I went. Networking is definitely something that improves with practice though. From Sophomore to junior year I greatly improved and became more comfortable with people, I'd say its second nature at this point.

SlikRick:

Congrats on your success. Do you approach MBB networking/cold-calling in the same fashion as IB networking/cold-calling?

I would say it is very similar, if not identical, to ib networking. One major difference would be that consultants generally aren't as available during the daytime hours as IB analysts. When scheduling phone calls shoot for Mon-Thurs evenings after 9pm or anytime on Friday. Also, in-person meetups will have to be on Fridays if the consultant is traveling on a project.

One thing that I found that was helpful was to prepare for case interviews prior to networking and ask the consultant to possibly run through a sample case with you. If you show promise in this case, as you should if you have practiced, it will indicate that you are a legitimate candidate and that it is worth their time to help you further/forward your resume.

IlliniProgrammer:

Congrats man! Glad to see things working out for a fellow state school engineer.

Just do me a favor and when you are making the big bucks, remember that $4 could buy you a nice lunch in the basement of the student union and do your best to save as much as you can. I don't see consulting going the way of investment banking anytime soon, but if things ever turn pear-shaped, it never hurts to have low-key spending habits and a lot of money in the bank.

Agreed, definitely on board with the frugal lifestyle. Part of the reason why I am glad to be in a lower cost of living city. I think a consultant's earnings in my city translate to like $180k+ in Manhattan

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats man! Glad to see things working out for a fellow state school engineer.

Just do me a favor and when you are making the big bucks, remember that $4 could buy you a nice lunch in the basement of the student union and do your best to save as much as you can. I don't see consulting going the way of investment banking anytime soon, but if things ever turn pear-shaped, it never hurts to have low-key spending habits and a lot of money in the bank.

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Aug 30, 2018

Baller!!!

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats on your success. Do you approach MBB networking/cold-calling in the same fashion as IB networking/cold-calling?

Aug 30, 2018

Great to see other non-targets make it! It's a struggle, but if you put your mind to it and want it badly then you will eventually get what you want.

Aug 30, 2018

Wow!!! Congratulations man! Gives me hope. I just did a phone interview and hope I made it to the second round at an IBank. This gets my juices flowing.

Aug 30, 2018

Great news! Really good advice as well. Enjoy the next few weeks, and good luck this summer!

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Aug 30, 2018

congrats

Aug 30, 2018

You made it dawh

Aug 30, 2018

respect!
gj....
I just graduated and have to start networking like a mofo....

Aug 30, 2018

Congratulations man! Seems like you finally got the break you deserved. I know a lot of people in your situation coming out of college would have probably said, "screw it, I'll just get a full time job as a bank teller and live on a measly income and wait for a better opportunity." It's great to hear that you knew what you wanted and actually made the effort to achieve it.

"It isn't sufficient just to want - you've got to ask yourself what you are going to do to get the things you want." - FDR

I'm glad to hear you studied the financial modeling courses intensely. The secret of success in life is to be ready for your opportunities when they come. If you never became efficient in valuation/accounting you would have never gotten that internship offer in NYC and you would not be where you are right now.

Again, congratulations.

Aug 30, 2018

wow dude. that's pretty amazing, congrats.

Aug 30, 2018

Dang, son! That's phenomenal. Way to hustle. congrats.

Aug 30, 2018

wow man, i'm actually feeling this story. And Tommy's not easily impressed

Aug 30, 2018

SB, true grit son

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats man!

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats well done, with the amount of determination you have, I expect another thread from you eventually titled "FT Analyst -> VP".

Aug 30, 2018

congrats? What kind of RE properties you focusing on?

Aug 30, 2018
JimboUSC:

congrats? What kind of RE properties you focusing on?

Thanks a lot! The firm focuses on multifamily complexes.

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats!! Great story, many people would have given up after the internship offer was rescinded.

Are you in Charlotte or Atlanta?

+1

Aug 30, 2018
n1cktm:

Congrats!! Great story, many people would have given up after the internship offer was rescinded.

Are you in Charlotte or Atlanta?

+1

I appreciate that! I'm not in either of those metros though, I'm in the sunshine state.

Aug 30, 2018

I really appreciate the congrats. I wouldn't have known where to start, or what actions to take without the help of this site and the users, so I really have to say thank you to everyone here.

Aug 30, 2018

Congratulations! That's an awesome story. I love hearing stories of persistence (it reminds me of how I felt when I was networking to break in). That initial surge of euphoria you get when you finally achieve what you thought at times was impossible, is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Keep that hunger, and if/when the day ever comes that you are fed up with what you are doing and are frustrated, just remember what you went through to get here, and realize that "this too shall pass." I remind myself of that often, when I am at the office at 4 in the morning and all my friends have been out partying and I missed a friend's birthday, or my birthday (sucks when people plan a party for you and you never end up being able to attend). Things will get tough, but just know that nothing is ever permanent, and you will be able to get thru anything if you keep that drive!

Enjoy the job and continue to keep us updated!

Aug 30, 2018

Great story, and congrats!

As I am somewhat in the same boat, I was interested (maybe a stupid question) how did you get the emails of 2nd and 3rd connections on Linkedin, or are you referring to messaging them on Linkedin?

OE

Aug 30, 2018
osanjak:

Great story, and congrats!

As I am somewhat in the same boat, I was interested (maybe a stupid question) how did you get the emails of 2nd and 3rd connections on Linkedin, or are you referring to messaging them on Linkedin?

I searched here on WSO for email formats a lot. If the firm was not on here, or I couldn't find the format, I guessed using the known formats (john.doe, jdoe, johnd, etc). You name it, I tried it. Good luck!

Aug 30, 2018
Anacott_CEO:

-Don't hate the people who have it easier than you do. Ask them for advice and how you can benefit from certain things.

+1 - Great point, this doesn't get said enough... not to mention this bitter, envious, woe-is-me attitude is an epidemic in America.

Great story, good for you my man!

Aug 30, 2018
The Kid:
Anacott_CEO:

-Don't hate the people who have it easier than you do. Ask them for advice and how you can benefit from certain things.

+1 - Great point, this doesn't get said enough... not to mention this bitter, envious, woe-is-me attitude is an epidemic in America.

Great story, good for you my man!

+1 - Really good point. It is unproductive to be envious of other people because you think they have it easier than you. It may not even be true; and while your focusing on someone else, you're not building your skills or enhancing your opportunities. Play the cards you're dealt to the max. A 2 on the river can beat pocket aces with a little luck and the right strategy.

Aug 30, 2018

Also, I think this deserves to be on the front page.

Aug 30, 2018

Thanks for sharing your story.

Aug 30, 2018

What graduate diploma did you pursue?

Aug 30, 2018

This is a great story man. Thanks for this and good luck!

Aug 30, 2018

Thanks so much for the story and tips, gives me hope!

Aug 30, 2018

Good Stuff. Congratulations

Aug 30, 2018

I'm curious, since you said you were very interested in M&A in some of your classes, do you plan on trying to lateral to IBD?

Aug 30, 2018
johnwayne7:

I'm curious, since you said you were very interested in M&A in some of your classes, do you plan on trying to lateral to IBD?

Honestly, I doubt it now. I'm the only analyst on the acquisitions team and have a great deal of responsibility already and assist management with a lot of tasks. We are growing very quickly, so I see a lot of growth potential here.

Aug 30, 2018
Anacott_CEO:

I got to NYC with my friend and everyday I woke up, made phone calls, sent emails, went back on the grind. I Google mapped "investment firm, NYC" and called every single place I saw a dot for.

Lol. Hands down my favorite part of the story. Congrats.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

Aug 30, 2018

Congratulations. Remember this, so that you might always remember that success is possible. And then get back to work.

Aug 30, 2018

Thanks everyone, really appreciate the congratulations!

Aug 30, 2018

Very nice. Good luck, but don't F this up.

No contract means I have all the power. They want me, but they can't have me. - Don Draper

Aug 30, 2018

Great job man! Story really hit home because I'm a non-target, state school kid studying MIS with dreams of working in finance. I do the fraternity thing as well and know exactly how hard it is to find that balance. Keep on keeping on man, great points at the end.

Aug 30, 2018

Posts like these cancel out all the negativity that comes from constant rejections.

Thank you and congrats.

Aug 30, 2018

That's awesome. You learned from your mistakes, got better, and kicked ass.

Because when you're in a room full of smart people, smart suddenly doesn't matter--interesting is what matters.

Aug 30, 2018

Great story! Congrats!
What online graduate diploma did you enroll in? LSE?

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats! I think the story is one of the most important parts.

Aug 30, 2018

Wow, brilliant. People like you seriously inspire me.

Aug 30, 2018

Good work, now keep up that ethic and receive full time offers from even more institutions when the time comes!

Did you fly over my helmet?

Aug 30, 2018

Can you give us more insight into Canada's "wall street"? Its a black hole to me.

Aug 30, 2018

That's a fantastic story. Good on you!

I'm from Toronto - could you drop me the names of the boutiques you reached out to? I'll be starting my MBA this fall, but I want to reach out to every relevant firm now itself.

Aug 30, 2018
dudguy:

That's a fantastic story. Good on you!

I'm from Toronto - could you drop me the names of the boutiques you reached out to? I'll be starting my MBA this fall, but I want to reach out to every relevant firm now itself.

Thanks! And yes, I will put the list together and PM it to you either later today or tomorrow.

Aug 30, 2018

Wow that's a very inspiring story! All the best for the SA!

I am in Toronto too. Can you please send that list to me too?

Aug 30, 2018
IRSPB:

Wow that's a very inspiring story! All the best for the SA!

I am in Toronto too. Can you please send that list to me too?

Will do.

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats on the offer....can you please send that list to me too ?

Aug 30, 2018

I'm in the exact same situation you were, non-target canadian school with no experience (I do have an alright gpa though, ~3.5). Do you mind forwarding the list to me too?

Aug 30, 2018

GofedwinAus and Unledded - I will send you the lists as well.

Aug 30, 2018

ThatsWACC congratulations.

Can you forward me the list as well? Appreciate it.

Aug 30, 2018

Sent the list to everyone who has asked so far.

Aug 30, 2018

Hey, i go to a semi-target canadian school, decent GPA (3.6), could you please forward the list to me?

congrats!

The difference between successful people and others is largely a habit - a controlled habit of doing every task better, faster and more efficiently.

Aug 30, 2018
mhurricane:

Hey, i go to a semi-target canadian school, decent GPA (3.6), could you please forward the list to me?

congrats!

Sent.

Aug 30, 2018

Very inspiring story! canadian target here, low-mediocre gpa (3-3.3), could you forward me the list also? Thank you, congrats on your offer btw!

Aug 30, 2018
brusselsprouts:

Very inspiring story! canadian target here, low-mediocre gpa (3-3.3), could you forward me the list also? Thank you, congrats on your offer btw!

Thanks! List is sent.

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats - great story! I recognize the difficulty of non-targets trying to get something in Canada vs. in US. It's arguably more difficult given Canadian banks have a very STRONG preference for the target schools and for business/finance students specifically vs. someone could come from an arts background in US and still compete for interviews.

If you could, would love to get a copy of the list for a relative.

Aug 30, 2018

Wow, inspiring story. Congrats!

Aug 30, 2018

Are you from Rotman?

Aug 30, 2018

Whoa!! Congratulations!!! Hats off and enjoy your time at the bank. Read the WSJ and FT daily and get the Economist every week.

Hats off!

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats!

Aug 30, 2018

a.w.e.s.o.m.e !!!!

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats to you and also that troll porsche959 (saw his post earlier). In all seriousness, well done guys.

Aug 30, 2018

Holy shit Flake, WSO isn't blocked? Looks like I know where I'm coming to work. LOL.

Aug 30, 2018
Whiskey5:

Holy shit Flake, WSO isn't blocked? Looks like I know where I'm coming to work. LOL.

Is WSO blocked anywhere?

Aug 30, 2018

Haha nope. Just the chat room.

Aug 30, 2018

congrats man! and amazing username.

Aug 30, 2018

truly inspiring - well done sir!

Aug 30, 2018

Awesome to hear. similar story to mine, except I had to start after graduation. Tear it up, man. Congrats.

  • Commuter
  •  Aug 30, 2018

Congrats!

If you could take the time and do an interview and/or company review in the http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/wso-company-database It would be much appreciated and a way to give back to WSO and the community.

Aug 30, 2018
Commuter:

Congrats!

If you could take the time and do an interview and/or company review in the http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/wso-company-database It would be much appreciated and a way to give back to WSO and the community.

So I already went ahead and did that for other places I interviewed. I don't feel 100% comfortable inputting that data for my firm yet, but once I am working for a little I certainly will.

Aug 30, 2018

Hustling...Very nice. Unfortunately a lot of folks don't know that is what it takes. Straight hustle, social intelligence, and hard work.

Congrats man!

Aug 30, 2018

U Accrete Me...classic

Aug 30, 2018

Congrats! Great story- well written to the point where I considered tearing up

Aug 30, 2018

My I ask which non-target? I'm at Texas Tech, which I'm pretty sure is non target, though my Texas pride wants to believe it's a semi-target. Anyways, congrats to you sir! Your story is very inspiring! Makes me want to study even more!

"Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait."
-Thomas Edison

Aug 30, 2018

Cool man, always good to hear a success from a fellow non-target

Aug 30, 2018

lol wreckemfinance, I'm at Tech and it is no semi-target. But, being in Texas, if you want to do IB here for a boutique/MM, you should find plenty of Tech alum....

Aug 30, 2018

Kudos and keep up the good work!

Aug 30, 2018

bravo. I wish you all the best along with further exponential successes!!!!!!!!!

Aug 30, 2018

very impressive kid!!

Aug 30, 2018

Good work!

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