Nonlinear Career Tracks - Anyone on one?

Venturepapi's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 517

This post is for the nonlinear career trotters - All the paper perfect ivys to IB or Consulting can skip this thread unless you have some value to provide.

But to the nonlinear career trotters, curious what your trajectories have looked like? Has anyone ever taking a job completely irrelevant to their path/experience just to get back in the game and make money?

Comments (48)

Jun 7, 2019

On some bullshit right now. Built an APP in VBA, using SQL for Access, solid ad hoc analysis skills, learning OPs and contract negotiations, ecommerce, etc. Planning to beef all that up and learn coding outside of MS to build even more powerful APPs. Looking to find my way back into the finance track or something around smart people so I can build a network and have a valuable personal book.

But I'm honestly not energized about studying/taking the GMAT, even though I know it's going to be important for me to get T-10 B school. Not energized about doing the 2 years no pay, gambling to get some post-MBA spot in IB, just so I can be paid right.

Fuck life, man.

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Jun 7, 2019

edit: never mind, life is pretty okay

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Jun 8, 2019

I think you got to have some perspective here. You're already in a situation that is more fortunate than 99% of the world. To even have the chance to be "paid right" (whatever that really means...nobody is entitled to be paid any given amount), be as it may with the caveat of having to go through MBA first, is already incredible. You'll be a lot happier in life being grateful for what you do have than being resentful for what you don't have.

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Jun 10, 2019

People that go around comparing their (and especially other people's) lives to the "rest of the world" really are insufferable.

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Jun 7, 2019
sheldonxp:

I think you got to have some perspective here. You're already in a situation that is more fortunate than 99% of the world. To even have the chance to be "paid right" (whatever that really means...nobody is entitled to be paid any given amount), be as it may with the caveat of having to go through MBA first, is already incredible. You'll be a lot happier in life being grateful for what you do have than being resentful for what you don't have.

Being paid right refers to the absurdity b-school advocates use, that one shouldn't be concerned about the hefty $200k price tag, because the aim after school is IB. What if it wasn't? That's the real risk, being stuck with that and in a sub-IB role.

The price of b-school is not justified by the post-b-school pay. Afterall, you sacrifice to go to b-school, bust your ass to get a job where you'll have to put your head down and work hard, so you could potentially live like a king.

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Jun 7, 2019

Yeah I've got a great non-linear career path.

Started at a non-target studying Finance and Accounting. Graduated with no offers so going back to school. The end. I hope this helps.

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Jun 13, 2019

keep your head up....sounds pretty similar to where I was exactly 15 years ago. Right now I'm CFO of a F500 BU and was just named interim President. I highly doubt I'll get that interim tag removed, but it's possible. I'm nothing special and I've been relatively "successful" from where you're at

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

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Jun 7, 2019

I appreciate that. Definitely not giving up and that comment was more humorous than depressed. Working a fulltime internship and 2 part time to try to make up for the experience that I started late on. I'll make it, its just a matter of when.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Jun 7, 2019

I'm on that track right now.. Just graduated from a small, top engineering school and took an offer more or a BD/Fintech role in NYC. Hoping to transition to IB quickly before I'm left out of the loop for 1st year analysts.

Jun 7, 2019

Aspired to become a film-maker in undergrad, while studying business administration. Started in Account Management in Advertising. Then, jumped to being a Content Marketing Consultant with my own clientele by the time I graduated. Then interned with a small startup covering stock 'stories'. Now focusing on my CFA and grad school admissions. Might be interning at a boutique ER/Infrastructure finance/Valuation Advisory firm in a few weeks.

Jun 7, 2019

FINALLY!

Awesome man, thank you for sharing!

Curious how you've shared your story along the way?

WSO seems to be all or nothing in IB and anyone who messes up thinks their life is over so Bschools the restart. You seem to have done a 180 and i don't mean that in a bad way. Just curious to learn a little bit more about how you've moved through in your path and pitched your story along the way (+ any pushback you have had from potential employers).

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Jun 7, 2019

Yeap, my current job has no connection with my major, but at least I have money to live

Jun 8, 2019

just got mine on track:

Started community college in music. Got into top nonclassical performance school in world, turned it down for excess scholarship at strong regional program. Got a wrist injury my last year, and markets were a second passion, so I shifted focus. Turns out prestige schools in music have no overlap with finance; found myself at a nontarget, even though I was accomplished in a competitive area. Got into nearby nontarget MSF to get time for a couple internships. I start buy side hy/distressed FT next month. I imagine things will actually stay nonlinear for future goals.

JUST DO IT. Don't let your memes be dreams.

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Jun 8, 2019

Ended up in IB but took a highly circuitous route to get there. My timeline was: (i) HS ==> (ii) Road construction ==> (iii) Poker ==> (iv) JUCO ==> (v) Briefly leave JUCO to play more poker ==> (vi) JUCO again ==> (vii) semi-target ==> MM IB

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

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Jun 11, 2019

This is absolutely wild. I take it you did pretty well and were likely in Vegas for a while?

Jun 8, 2019

Never actually played in Vegas. I started off as an online player, but ended up finding a couple of underground games near where I lived which were incredibly soft and ended up being my honey-pot. I also had a large casino w/in 1.5 hours of where I lived, but I only played outside of the clubs/online during weekends when the casino games were softer - I was probably better at finding weak games than I was at actually playing poker. I would've made an above average living if I'd kept playing, but I wasn't going to be on High Stakes Poker anytime soon. Was actually rolled up and prepared to move to Vegas after JUCO if I didn't get the schollie money I wanted from a school I wanted to go to, but one of the schools on my list ended up coming through at the 11th hour and that was that for my poker career.

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

Jun 8, 2019

Nine years ago I started at some junior college, satellite state school. I remember scouring this board nights in my single dorm room that looked like a jail cell, just looking to find people who made it to a decent career track from a bad start like me. In hindsight, the outliers give a false sense of confidence. I wouldn't say I got complacent reading the 'success stories' here, obviously not because I still made it eventually, but I'm not sure it helped. My high school year book quote was "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason." Funny how things come full circle. My 10 year HS reunion is next weekend but I won't be able to go because part of me finally getting onto a decent career track involved moving across the country to a city I hate.

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Jun 9, 2019

Went to what has been described as a SUPER non target school on WSO. Came out and worked at ML in their investment management side. After a year and after I got all my licenses I applied to grad school (MBA) got into a top 40 program interned at a PE fund. Worked my butt off and the managing partner of the firm noticed. He took me under his wing promoted me to "lead intern" lame title but it meant I was in charge of the other interns. He put me on the deal team and thankfully was able to close a deal during my time there. Interned at a Big 4 in audit through school, literately had no interest in audit but it was well paying and by the end of the internship would give me enough money to pay for a full semester. Again worked as hard as I could and it was noticed. Went into my offer meeting and told them I wanted Deal and I felt audit wasn't challenging enough and kinda monotonous. Later found out that the managing partner of the office took notice to my hard work and personally called the head partner of Deal Advisory and told them to hire me. Ended up getting the offer in Deal, had a few other offers but chose to go with the Big 4. Along the way I networked as much as I could and would talk to anyone who could remotely give me advice. Learned a lot about myself and the industry and WSO was a huge help. Spent a lot of afternoons reading threads.

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Jun 10, 2019

Word up, player. This rings very true to another like yourself.

Jun 19, 2019

Thanks for your story.

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Jun 10, 2019

Graduated with accounting/finance --> first job as an environmental analyst --> moved back to states and bartended --> audit at Big 4 --> associate at a PE shop.

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Jun 11, 2019

Front office at the PE shop?

Jun 10, 2019

Yep

Jun 7, 2019

How many years in each?

Thats wild

Jun 10, 2019

1.5, 1, 3, 2

Jun 10, 2019

My path looks more straight and narrow on paper and in hindsight, but in reality it was all over the place getting to where I am today. I've applied to about 625 jobs during that time, went back to grad school, and sat for the CFA exams.

I came out of a non target school and ended up taking a wealth management position. This seriously set me back on my buy-side goals as I was pigeon-holed, and, quite frankly, there are no transferable hard skills. I quit the WM role after over a year to pursue the CFA program and any internships I could find for experience to get into asset management, equity research, or buy-side funds. During this period, the economy was entering into recovery and jobs were all for experienced hires. Everyone told me I was crazy and would never make it. I even had upper level people in well known IBs tell me I was wasting my time and that I don't deserve to be in the industry given the school I was from. Fast forward about a year through persistent networking, cold calls, cold walk-ins, CFA level 1 studies, and personal equity research projects, I took the GMAT and decided to go back to grad school. Unfortunately, with limited time and money I ended up going back to a non target school, but I did my best to make the most of it.

Upon graduating, I did not get a single buy-side offer and was actually continually being contacted for wealth management roles. I probably applied to 40 jobs and only had about 6 call backs. I even got a personal referral to a good friend of H. Kravis and a very successful silicon valley serial entrepreneur both of whom I spoke with and tried to grow that opportunity/network in whichever way possible. Nothing came of those, but it was encouraging. Shortly after, I got contacted for a brand new tech startup by someone close and I ended up joining that out of grad school to try and gain VC related experience. I drove 1.5 hours each way for the start up during the day, and worked at a deli at night. The startup was completely boot strapped by the founders and nobody was taking pay, including me. 1 year later, we had a product out but VCs did not want to fund the business and were only interested in the pending IP. The founders called it quits and a friend offered me an admin role at his textile company which I worked for a few months.

During that time, I kept my personal equity research and investing going and was applying for equity research and buy-side jobs. I would submit my own research reports and models with each job application for work samples. This landed me a couple interviews for an ER associate role and some family office investment analyst roles which I interviewed for. During the ER interviews, some guys from the IB team sat in on the panel and in the end they asked if I would be open to joining them. I joined the IB team to which I was let go in under a year due to macro economic forces working against me. Armed with a great recommendation letter and deep deal experience during the short stay at the IB, I cold called my way into a L/S equity hedge fund backed by a forbes listed billionaire. A key item that played into my hiring here was my personal research and modeling experience that I had learned and developed over the prior few years. It also helped, that my boss, having come from nothing, liked to root for the underdog.

3 years later, the fund needed to reorganize and I ended up getting recruited into a PE role for a family office focused on direct PE and Equity investments. I don't consider myself "successful", but I have come much further and much sooner than I had anticipated.

I never thought I'd leave such a write up on here, but hopefully this will encourage some of you out there that are grinding through the daily BS we non-targets face. Keep at it, put in the effort, continue to network and, sooner or later, it will pay off.

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Jun 19, 2019

Thanks for your encouraging story.

Jun 10, 2019

My path is rather non-traditional. Basically reset my life after undergraduate by going to law school and landed at a private equity fund.

Graduated from highschool with under a 2.6 gpa and then repeated the performance in college to graduate with ~ a 2.5 from a mediocre state school. Probably had a bit too much fun in college.

I realized I was screwed job-wise (and had naught internship experience) so I went to law school. I have generally been OK with standardized tests and made it into a top 25 law school with some good money. Ended up working for a couple finance/strategy internships that I received from hustling using the undergrad and MBA network of jobs and one legal internship. I also passed level one of the CFA while in law school. I considered getting an MBA at this point (had applied and was accepted to the corresponding T25MBA) however I decide against getting an MBA without work experience. I ended up recruiting all over the place for full-time (interviewed for investment banking analyst roles, MBB associate positions (post MBA track), corporate development, but ended up taking an M&A associate attorney role at biglaw firm.

After working for the firm for a bit, I ended up moving to a large PE shop in a middle-office type role and I then have transitioned over to an investment role at the post-MBA level.

I think the main thing that got me into doors places was that I was very inquisitive and interviewers could tell that I really wanted to be where I was interviewing for. I could sell my different background as a differentiator. Additionally, alike the example above I also got a reputation as a thoughtful and hard worker.

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Jun 7, 2019

Confused are you a JD/MBA or just a JD?

Jun 10, 2019

JD only. Was considering an MBA down the road but will likely not be competitive for the schools I would want due to my undergraduate GPA.

Have the GMAT done and everything but not going to go through the process most likely.

Jun 12, 2019

I'm trying to shift over from engineering to finance but geez it's been years and not a single interview. I'm thankful I have a job but I would settle for anything finance related at this point. (I was an engineering major btw)

Jun 13, 2019

are you at a company now that has corporate finance? If so, internal moves are usually the easiest way to get your foot in the door.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Jun 12, 2019

that's a solid idea. unfortunately while I do work for a very large Eng firm they are not too keen on moving people around. If you are good at what you do they try to keep you in that position as long as possible. But now that you bring it up I might reach out to our HR/recruiters and see if they can do anything. (gotta shoot your shot right?)

Jun 20, 2019

I started off moving to the west coast when I was 17 to surf and snowboard. At 18 went into spec ops training active duty, but didn't make it, took E-3 and honorable discharge to go to military school at 19. Picked up two degrees and a minor there including studying abroad twice in Spain and China. Applied to Fulbright to China to research underemployment; accepted on US side, Chinese rejected it. Went into management consulting and corporate finance. Started in DC then NYC and left the corporate world to start my own company which taught me a lot of lessons but was ultimately a failure. In progress if you will. After that, went to Canada for a year with my church and had several roles in the forest there including collecting sap for maple syrup and also a lumberjack for two months (chain saw every day). This priest and two seminarians taught me how to play poker up there. I picked the game up quick and very well. I came down back to the US hoping to go pro - so studied a little more of the game and started playing simulation for six months and watching videos - then finally for money online and in various tournament venues live, but mostly online. I wasn't doing bad, but was was off my circadian rhythm playing all night for weeks that I started to lose it and feel it is never wise to play 100% poker all the time. But, I built up a good base that year. Then after that I went into neuroscience analytics and automotive analytics to finally in 2018 when I started two more brands on paper. I'm working on about 5 possible income streams including some large art (2 5x7 foot panels, 10ft wide) and some projects that are in the very beginning stages. I was sidetracked a lot this year by so much cycling, but after an Ironman 140.6 finish last week in Colorado, I have a lot more time on my hands to work on potentially profitable projects.

I'm not really sure where I'll be in a year or 5 years, but am pretty much game for anything.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jun 7, 2019

goat, howd the race go?

Jun 20, 2019
famejranc:

goat, howd the race go?

Ironman race was good.

Was pretty cold. Air temp in the 40s coming out of the swim. Had to get in full winter gear for the bike. Swim time was decent. Then, I cycled at 20.06mph for 112mi then was cool until about mile 15 of the run and started to feel like my groin and hamstrings were tearing apart so came in a bit over 13hrs for the 140.6. Good experience.

But, I think I'm going to stick to 70.3 races. I signed up for Augusta in August so am planning to get 4:59 at the NYC 5th Ave Mile race early September then 4:59:59 in Augusta. Should be fun. All I wanna see is 4:XX that month...

https://i.imgur.com/xukdzPi.jpg

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jun 21, 2019

My father passed away 2 years ago while we were on a vacation in Mexico due to a serious car accident. I was 20 years old at the time and have been running our family's small business ever since. I am going to graudate from a non-target university this spring and will be leaving the company as things have stabilized. I really have no idea where life will take me from her as I have abolsutely no formal finace or accounting work expierence. To remedy that I have begun the Corpoarte Finance Institute FMVA Certification to gain career knowledge without formal expierence. The dream is to one day become a high-level executive working in FP&A or Investment Banking.

Jul 2, 2019

> attend semi-target b-school ug, really proud of myself at the time (rofl)

> two months in, "fuck finance, ill do data science & management bc i read something on the internet that said data scientists rake it in"

> two years in, family financial situation goes to shit but too bad i failed intro to management and have a 2.3 cumulative gpa because i fucked around too much and took what i had for granted

> have no relevant finance experience bc i quit my freshman summer internship at some mid-tier tech firm, tried and failed to do a startup sophomore year, and junior spring quit my internship at another shit-tier tech firm

> "okay maybe ill try finance"

> junior summer land a $10/hr internship at tiny, tiny real estate investment firm (<$100M aum, but shout out to the guys - they taught me everything i know and can never thank them enough)

> busted my ass, bought a bunch of real estate financial modeling courses over the summer and taught myself to build RE acquisitions models

> work there for a year, grind it out in school 1.8 > 3.2 > 3.6 > 3.7 semester GPAs, cumulative 2.8 currently with one more semester left (took a gap semester)

> didnt know i had to do recruiting a full year before summer 2019 so limited my opportunities, but i got lucky and landed an FO SA role at a top 3 REPE (bx, stwd, oak)

> love the team, love my job, finally not ashamed of myself anymore, learned how to have some fucking discipline, can now take care of my parents who are both really sick

one more semester to go, hopefully i'll get the offer to return after this summer

never thought i'd be working in real estate, let alone private equity. as you can tell, i planned on doing VC but struck out hard and ended up at the sweetest gig i could hope for and am really happy with how everything turned out

nice

Jul 8, 2019
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Jun 7, 2019