Picking up the pieces...

I am looking for advice on my current situation... its a sad story until now but im trying to give it a good ending.

I am 28 years old, my dads a software engineer so I had no connections to ws. Out of High School I went to USC, partied like a Rockstar, picked up a decent cocaine habit, and failed out in 2 semesters. Went home to go to state, continued with cocaine allowing it to get bad.

I dropped out of and ended up in rehab at 21, 3 years removed from hs. After that I went back to state school and finished 3 years later than planned. CT state schools excluding UCONN are not desirable. I got a 3.7. I did the best internships the school was offering, which were not close to the street.

Now I'm still in the 1st job I came across after graduating. Ops at a commodities brokerage. Its as bad as it sounds, but im living with my choices. 

My cousin, same age as me, followed the normal track and is doing S&T in equity derivatives at boa. He is doing well financially and seems to like the job.

Someone please share an opinion on the most probable path to at least end up in a S&T.

My thoughts are

1) Military in reserves- then a masters either in finance, or programming full time. This would push out probably 2-3 years. Military would show im "reformed" straight edge guy, negating the 1 marijuana arrest on my record.

2) Keep on applying for junior trader roles in equity derivatives and pray to God I hear back from one.

3) Study for the GMAT as I continue working full time. Then apply to masters programs, and go at night. Also probably a 3 maybe 4 year process.

Thus far I have had no call backs/ interest. Sorry for tone, i'm obviously down atm. Appreciate any input.

Any ideas out of the box would be great, I appreciate any input.

Thanks guys

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Comments (18)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jan 25, 2021 - 11:07pm

I don't know what the right path is, but sounds like you've already thought of more than one good one, which means it sounds like you're committed to turning your situation around. Congrats on that. So many people just complain about their problems without realizing they have to take steps to FIX the problem. You've already completed step one, and though it'll probably be a grind, it's a numbers game -- pick a path, stick to it, get your story down, prepare like a mother, send out a thousand resumes... and you'll get your shot. 

Jan 26, 2021 - 12:20am

My $0.02

1. Military won't get you there - although I think it'd be a great experience

2. High vol applications MIGHT get you a seat at the interview table but won't give you leverage 

3. Unless you're at an ivy, MBA is a $ and time suck

Find a mentor, connect with people that have done what you aspire to do, build mentor-mentee relationships. Look for low-key retired industry are guys/gals - they have big networks and are generally willing to help youngins succeed. If done right, you're looking at 1-1.5 years till you're there.

"Out the garage is how you end up in charge It's how you end up in penthouses, end up in cars, it's how you Start off a curb servin', end up a boss"
  • 4
Jan 26, 2021 - 1:29am

I'm gonna be the bad guy here cause this is a bit ridiculous. I've been in trading 4 years, not exactly the most experienced but I know a bit what i'm talking about. In all likelihood your not gonna get a shot. 

You sound like some spoiled kid who partied away his life and is suddenly begging now for a well paid respectable job. Oh wait that literally is you. Cherry on top you even went to rehab and have a criminal record. You do realize finance attracts some of the smartest and most driven people out there right? The equity derivatives team at MS used to have multiple IMO (international math olympiad) medalists working on the same floor. Do you think you fit in? Wake the fk up. Second chances don't come along all that often, especially to those that waste their opportunities.

That being said, some pieces of sht do end up on wall street somehow. If you do decide to keep trying and get in somehow, good for you, but personally I wouldn't bank on it too much. If your unsatisfied with your current job masters degree is probably the way to go. Good luck

Feb 7, 2021 - 12:47pm


In all likelihood your not gonna get a shot

Why? This is such an unhelpful statement.

Cherry on top you even went to rehab and have a criminal record. You do realize finance attracts some of the smartest and most driven people out there right?
I'm starting to have a hard time believing that you are in touch with the world around you. There are countless examples of "smart" people who battle addiction, especially in this realm. I literally can not stop laughing at the criminal record piece (ya never see this in the HF community).

Good on OP for bettering himself and battling this at such a young age. 

OP, if you read through his comment and feel discouraged. Don't take it at face value, he can't even differentiate between "your" & "you're".

YOU'RE in a good place now, keep this momentum and I promise you will find a role that you can derive happiness from.


Fellow addict/alcoholic - 1 year clean.

Jan 26, 2021 - 2:23am

Would you consider finance alternatives to S&T? 

I agree with most of the sentiments already expressed. While anything does seem to be possible with networking, jiggiewiggie raises a good point even if he does sound like an asshole. S&T is an extremely competitive field even for a normal candidate, let alone one who has a non-target background and a criminal record. 

If you're just looking to do well financially, with a chance of still being wealthier than 90% of Americans, I'd honestly consider looking into BB business banking roles, even at a local branch level. There's roles available in literally in every urban area of the country and all you need generally to get in is a college degree (sometimes not even that). The money is usually OK, but more importantly I've personally known *multiple* people to transfer internally within BBs from business to corporate banking roles, which then opens up a whole lot of more "high finance" opportunities. Obviously you'd need to be a standout performer to achieve this, but I reckon it's a whole lot more possible than breaking into S&T from where you are now. Plus you'd have all the free time in the world to study for something like the CFA, which would help bolster your non-target background and signal that you're a more serious candidate for corporate roles than other retail bankers. 

Just my $0.02, good luck. 

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 29, 2021 - 7:35pm

Why are you so angry at life? Who hurt you? Congrats you knocked sense into someone who is down and kicked him while you gave your glorified view. You are the pos.

Jan 26, 2021 - 6:49am

All of you guys, thank you for the input. Even that mf that called me a pos (haha) appreciate the honesty.

I am determined to find my way into an S&T role, there is no alternative. I need to find a mentor to help guide and provide insight. 

Most Helpful
Jan 26, 2021 - 12:07pm

honestly, you won't get in thru the front door...however, there is always the backdoor...which is tech.

Seriously, learn to code Python in your spare time (free on youtube), then learn the basics of SQL (also free on youtube) so you can add a simple SQL Server database to your projects (SQL server express database is a free version of SQL Server that works fine for small projects...or try MySQL which is open source and also free), also learn Excel VBA, do a few small side projects at your current job (mostly just to get used to coding to solve problems), and then you can get a tech role as a developer at a bank (they are always hiring).  Then, after 2-3 years working in the technology division of a bank, you can lateral into many other roles.

Maybe take a class in financial engineering to understand how to price derivatives, and be able to do it with code.

After working as a software developer at a bank for 2 years, you can try to get a "desk developer" job on a trading desk...which is then a very small step from getting a FO role in S&T.

There is ZERO chance of you getting in thru thr front door....but there are always side doors.

If you think you are "above" learning to code....or if you think you "wouldn't like it" and therefore you won't bother trying....then you deserve exactly what you will get...which is nothing.

just google it...you're welcome
  • 6
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Jan 26, 2021 - 1:32pm

Sounds like your cousin would be the perfect contact. At 28, has some experience and probably some seniority. What is his input? 

Seems like a steep ladder to climb but everything is possible for those willing to work hard enough. Work within the same division as your cousin so rly curious about who he might be, lol. Best of luck

Jan 27, 2021 - 12:16am

1) military won't help much in my opinion

2) you can keep applying but realistically you won't get interviews at any decent place

3) that's the best option, however, once you're admitted to a decent master's program you should leave your current job and dedicate all your resources on studying and job hunting because these programs are short and you want to get the most out of it.

Jan 27, 2021 - 6:38am

Again, thank you for the comments. The situation is dire to me, I don't want to just exist and make a decent salary. Getting into a trading role is something I feel i "must" do.

Immersing myself in python and getting a  certification is the way i am going to go as well as beginning GMAT preparation.

Jan 28, 2021 - 8:08pm

my dads a software engineer

you should use this to get a software developer role at an investment bank, and then lateral your way thru the bank to get to the job you want...this has been done before.

just google it...you're welcome
Feb 8, 2021 - 5:03pm

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