Non-target --> FT Off-Cycle IBD Analyst

So I have been around here for about a year and half now, and have to say thank you to the community. Really learned a lot and got my foot in door based on the advice on these forums.

The Non-Target School

Now for my story, I attended a large (20,000+ students) non-target school. We were in proximity to a banking center but for the most part had no recruiting for any positions related to IBD. To be truthful, I didn't even know what IBD was until about 2 years ago. Met a kid in a bar, told me about the career path and sounded like something I would like.

Rough Start

Nonetheless, I messed up horribly throughout college due to my mother passing away the summer before my Freshman year. This led to non-stop drinking throughout my career. First day I came to campus, decided I wanted to pledge and that was the best/worst decision I made. Love the people the friends and the camaraderie, but it did heavily influence my substance abuse. I finished up my freshman year and worked at a small accounting firm in the college town, just taking summer classes and bullshitting around.

...That Just Got Worse

During this time I dated a girl lets call her L, who severely hemorrhaged my ability to make logical decisions. She would often use my emotional attachment to her, which came from my lack of family support, to her advantage. This culminated in us getting messed up every night. Ended up breaking up with her because I found out she cheated on me which left me devastated but not done.

Started my sophomore year, and at this point my father was in the process of getting remarried, whilst my sister was busy getting a masters degree at an ivy-league institution. I had been left a large sum of money which I used to pay for school/support a drinking and drug habit. This began to dwindle quickly as I overspent without any regard to how difficult it is to actually earn money.

Therefore based on my social circle, I decided to sell various exotic substances we will call them to support my habit and get me through school. I will let you be creative enough to think of which ones. While I did make a a lot of money doing so, I also used and abused. Began dating a new girl during this time that enjoyed similar habits as I did at the time. This really led to us just attending a bunch of music festivals and having sex as a reason to miss class. I was lucky that school was fairly easy still and my grades never really slipped.

I was on scholarship as well so I never wanted to lose it. This made me always keep my grades in check think I never got below a 3.5 for the most part.

The Bottom

Nevertheless, the lifestyle was unhealthy and it began to unravel towards the end of my sophomore year. I ended up failing my first class and had to retake it during the summer. I did so, but did the stupidest thing I ever could have and decided to try and cheat instead of study. I ended up getting caught and this led to me being dismissed from school for 1 year. I was lost distraught I did not know what to do. I thought my life was over, thinking as a 20 year old that I will never be successful. I ended up losing the girlfriend who I adored, friends abandoned me and well all of my life went to shit per se.

3 Random Jobs & Getting Back Up

During this year is when everything changed in my life. I picked up 3 random jobs from bar tending, to hosting, and even picked and packed boxes at warehouse. All of the most meaningless and repetitive tasks known to man. It did indeed build a respect now for the average working American. It really in essence got my ego in check which was my biggest dilemma.

I quit selling/drinking so much and finally got the help I needed during this time as well. My family began to give me the support I needed which quickly healed a lot of old wounds. Also, remember how I had mentioned earlier I met a friend who was very interested in IBD? He was one of the few people to stick by me as he "saw potential" in me. Funny enough he was right in the end. I worked my ass off this entire year and saved up enough to put myself back into school.

People Came Back

Many people began to return to my life during this time as well who had abandoned me earlier. Began to realize the whole actions speak louder than words mantra really does hold true. I spent the summer which puts me at the beginning of my junior year academic wise but I should be a senior at this point. I buckled down when I returned to school and never got anything less than a 4.0 the rest of the way. I had no idea how to get into IBD and began reading these very forums to figure out what the hell I needed to do.

Networking and Tools to Make It

I started networking very late and didn't get an analyst role in the summer, but did find a BO/MO role at a BB bank. I loved every minute of that internship, and was hooked on working in banking.

As a competitive person though, I wanted to premier role and that led me to really spend the last year making sure I networked in. During the summer at my BB internship, we had the [email protected] email handle. Got a lot of response to this handle as compared with an Probably was not supposed to do this, but as an intern they didn't look after us very much.

I used this along with Linkedin to seek out any alumni I could speak with. I ended up getting a pretty high response rate because I emailed them constantly and professionally. There are probably 100-150 alumni i found and spoke with probably 70 of them.

I Sent Over 400 Emails

Being a non-target the people who were involved really enjoyed speaking with students sharing a similar interest. It led me to a PE shop position I was able to take on for my fall semester as well as numerous interviews with MM/BB banks. I think I sent probably 400+email, 200+phone calls, self-financed a trip to Chicago, NYC and Houston. These along with being presentable and having a good story have taken me the farthest.

Then I Bombed My Interviews...At first.

After doing all my networking, I began interviewing and sucked the first 2 or 3 times. I mean I was the worst candidate in the group because I was nervous. Eventually, I found my balls and began to understand the process and what qualities they were interested in. Also, working at a PE shop, I began to really understand the technical aspects that people dread. Honestly, besides one particular boutique/MM shop I never got really ridiculous technical.

The investment banking interview course from WSO was fantastic and the models were easy to follow. After perfecting my story, I still kept ending up short handed. I was pretty discouraged until I had a VP I had spoken with email me asking if I was still looking for a position. Fortunately I was, crazy enough an analyst from a different group at the same bank emailed me asking if I wanted to interview for an analyst role for them as well.

Super Days!

I ended up getting past the gate keepers and did a double super-day at the office going from 1 group to the next. This time, I was prepared and felt awesome about everything I had done. I probably got 3 blocks from the office until that beautiful area code popped up, received my first FT offer for an off-cycle hire as a BB IBD analyst.

After saying thank you, and barely getting back to my hotel, the second group called and extended an offer as well. This is right around the holiday time so you have to imagine I'm ear to ear grinning after all I had done to get there.

It Kept Getting Better...

But it kept getting better, a position I had interview for that I thought I had not gotten also made me an offer the same day. So there I was tired from endless interviews with 3 offers from BB/MM IBD groups. I was finally, in my experience happy as everything I knew I could do was finally going in my favor.

The countless risks I took were paying off. I now start in a couple weeks with a group I had been hoping to join up with from the beginning as a FT analyst. Felt that there are not enough true to the heart stories sometimes, but this is as honest as it comes.

2.5 Years...

I went from being kicked out of school, friendless and down on my luck to 2 and half years later taking a plane home to see my family with 3 IBD offer letters. Although, I am excited/nervous to start my new career, just felt I my story my inspire people who may feel down on their luck as well. I thought at 20 years old my life was over, now I realize it's just beginning. Keep chipping away my fellow monkeys opportunity awaits those who work for it.

If anyone wants any clarifications, feel free to post a response, not going to get very personal but will clarify any tactics I used and tid-bits I picked up if anyone is curious.

Thanks for the support everyone, really appreciate it. Look forward to an opportunity to give back in the future.

Mod note (Andy): TBT - this was originally posted in 2014

Comments (50)

Dec 8, 2014


    • 3
Dec 8, 2014

Damn, man. Nice.

Dec 8, 2014


Dec 8, 2014

This post is a perfect example of why I keep coming back to this site. Well done

    • 3
Dec 8, 2014

Awesome post, man. Glad you broke in. Keep hitting it hard!

Dec 8, 2014

Congratulations man

Dec 8, 2014

Awesome to hear man. Great article, happy you made it.

Dec 8, 2014

Hell yeah. Good job bro. Keep on crushin it. This is only the beginning.

    • 1
Dec 8, 2014

Congrats buddy.

Dec 8, 2014

Incredible story. Congratulations!

Dec 8, 2014

Way to go!

Dec 8, 2014


Dec 8, 2014

Amazing story, keeps me motivated even though i will be going to a non-target in NYC. Congrats! Good luck on the next chapter in your life.


Dec 8, 2014

Congrats! Get myself so motivated.

Dec 8, 2014

How EXACTLY do you use Linkedin? How did you go about choosing which alumni to talk to?

Dec 8, 2014

How EXACTLY do you use Linkedin? How did you go about choosing which alumni to talk to?

Dec 9, 2014

Love to hear stories like this. They keep me going on Mondays' like today.

Dec 9, 2014

Great story man. It's awesome to hear a story which I can find similarities too.

Did you use your negative influences in your life/you getting kicked out/etc. as an advantage during your interviews? I feel as if generally speaking, one of the best ways to impress is to bring up a perseverance story and how you grew from it.

Dec 9, 2014

For Linkedin, I used search terms such as IB Analyst, associate, vp, etc. and searched specifically for people from my school, hometown, high school, etc. That's the only way I found people and just had those contacts leverage me into meeting other contacts.

I never mentioned my story by saying I got kicked out of school, that sounds terrible. I would restate it as I had difficulty in school but persevered by doing the following actions, then obtained the following grades and experience. People care about results and the actions in between not what actually initially happened. Otherwise you make it sound like a poor-me attitude.

Dec 9, 2014

Congratulations not only on your offer, but on breaking your addictions! You've come a long way and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season; you truly deserve it.


Dec 9, 2014

Attakid, kick some ass in your new role. Best of luck

Dec 9, 2014

Congratulations to your offers! you mentioned that you constantly emailed and followed up with your contacts. Would you mind sharing your advice on the content of second/third follow up emails? or in other word, What did you usually write in your follow up emails? how to maintain your relationship with your contacts. Thanks!

Dec 9, 2014

When it came to follow-ups, I would just resend the original message with an acknowledgement that I had sent one previously. I would usually also mention I was not trying to annoy them and would "look forward to the opportunity to speak with them". As for maintaining my relationship, always email and follow-up every few months. Just check in an update, never know who might need a guy or know of an opportunity. On Linkedin, I made sure my message was concise as possible and had to customize it a lot due to word limits. Be creative with your wording and it will get their attention.

Dec 9, 2014

love these stories!

Dec 10, 2014

Congratulations man. You have really inspired me to work harder. What exactly did you include in the initial email when you sent out the 400 emails to alumni, could you provide an example or a template to work off

Best Response
Dec 10, 2014

Examples below included a few.

Hi [xxxx],

I came across your profile on Linkedin a few weeks back and wanted to reach out. I noticed your experience within the field of investment banking and was hoping I could speak with you to learn more about the roles, duties and operations you have been apart of. Moreover, I am very curious of the different functions working in London compared with the USA. I haven't really had a chance to speak with anyone in another part of the globe, and would really appreciate an opportunity. Understanding you a very busy person, I will enjoy anytime you could offer in the coming weeks. I look forward to hearing from you, hope you have a good weekend.

Best Regards,


Hey [xxxx],

I came across your profile on Linkedin and wanted to reach out and see if you could offer me a little insight. I noticed you went and got a masters in finance post-grad before your current role in banking and wanted to know a little more information on how that role helped in getting you an analyst position. I have thought about taking that option since [xxxxx] doesn't offer the best recruitment prospects, but would really enjoy some insight from someone who has taken that route. I promise I do not intend to waste any of your time as I am sure your busy. I appreciate anytime you can offer and look forward to an opportunity to speak with you.

Best regards,



Hi [XXXX],

I found you on Linkedin and saw you were a [xxx] alumni. I wanted to reach out for some help. I am trying to enter a FT analyst position after graduation in december and wanted to know if you could offer any help or advice. I appreciate any time you can offer.



Each of these messages created a response so take it for what it is, but I tailored every message personally and didn't use some template to blast out each email. Felt the personal touch created a high response rate even though they sound fairly generic at least the information is.

Hope these examples help, I am free this week if you want to PM me for any follow ups.

Dec 12, 2014

OP, just wondering do they check transcript or not?
And is that misconduct reported on the transcript?

And big congrats!

Dec 12, 2014

OP, just wondering do they check transcript or not?
And is that misconduct reported on the transcript?

And big congrats!

Dec 12, 2014

Checked transcipts, they were unofficial but for some reason the university never listed it on there, guess they had a system glitch and never had an issue with it. Once again, I never mentioned what actually happened, I would say I took time off of school and did x,y and z which led me to this BB internship and continue from there. No need to dwell on the negatives of ones past.

Dec 12, 2014

Great story and congrats on the success. Our stories have some strong similarities and I am in a similar position you were prior to your offers. Could you PM me man. I have some questions but not enough points or w/e to send messages.

Dec 13, 2014

Absolutely outstanding. So happy for you!

Dec 13, 2014

Very nice story, and it has inspired me to sign up here.

My own experiences have been somewhat similar, so perhaps I'll post them when I get a chance, seeing as how helpful your post was.

Dec 13, 2014

You are amazing; the gut of committing into this will bring you a long way for sure. I'm happy for you to see the efforts you put in (say the massive networking emails and calls you made) finally pay off. This is inspiring.

Dec 16, 2014

Great story man, a true definition of persistence. Congrats!

Dec 17, 2014

Great read! Grats!

Mar 18, 2017

Good ole American Moxie - well done!

Jun 29, 2017

Great post, thanks for sharing!

Jul 20, 2017

That's was a great story. Happy for you man!

Nov 9, 2017

One of the best success stories on WSO.

Glad you turned things around and appreciate your vulnerability too.

Dec 29, 2017

Hey, OP!
Love your story, feel it kinda resonates with mine (although mine was not as dramatic as yours tho).

I am going to have a video interview for summer internship with a BB IBD. I wonder, whether you have any tips and trick for me to be able to ace the interview?

Wish you further success, bro!

Mar 13, 2018


Congratulations on making it! I also have a similar story and in the process of prepping for FT interviews.

Question- did you ever use any headhunters to get interviews or did you go through the process primarily on your own?


Mar 14, 2018

If you go back in this guys post history from 7 years ago (already an inconsistency - states he's been here for a year and a half), he's giving advice for obtaining an apartment to a first-year analyst. This is 100% a marketing ploy incentivizing you to buy WSOs interview course. It's really quite sad that the site owners have decided to taint the information and interaction found on this website for monetary gain. Misdirecting the passion of the young and naive in such a way is downright rapacious if you ask me.

Mar 14, 2018

OP Here, you are right I don't ever edit this post. This is from back in 2014, no clue why the date was changed and the formatting. The amount of hocking around this story gets is kind of ridiculous, I was browsing Instagram one day and this was the story that pops up when you click it. When I posted this I hoped it would inspire someone else but this shouldn't be used as a marketing gimmick.

Jan 13, 2019

good luck

    • 1
Feb 8, 2019

Nothing like a fresh cup of accomplishment in the afternoon to reinvigorate after lunch. I love encouraging stories like this, I hope you continue to soar onward and upward!

    • 3
Feb 8, 2019

Fuck yeah dude love to hear it!

Feb 14, 2019

Great post

Feb 16, 2019
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