So as I've been asked for 'my story' but have never really done it in a full, comprehensive way... here we go.
I was born back in 1985 to two parents who realized they were going to become parents when they were 16 and 17 years old. Both of them dropped out of high school in preparation to keep me as a kid, my mom worked as a waitress while my dad went off to tractor trailer driving school. They seperated (never married) around the time I was maybe 2 or 3 and I proceeded to live with my mom during the week and my dad on the weekends... for a short stint of time while living with my mom I was living in housing projects in Connecticut (East Hartford, Mayberry Village area) and I remember 'playing' on the window bars outside like they were a jungle gym. My mom met and married some other guy who apparently was physically abusive to her (I dont remember seeing anything -- not sure if it was never in front of me or I just repressed it) and when they moved to Florida when I was 4 or 5 she sent me to live with my dad so that I would not be in this negative environment. I was living with my dad and grandparents back in CT and my dad worked pretty heavy hours as a truck driver/doing paving work to provide for us while my grandparents helped take care of me during the day after school, driving me places and giving me food, but in a way I was largely on my own to learn and discover things. My mom soon after divorced her abusive husband and went off on her own, but quickly was ping-ponging her way back from rehab for alcoholism and anorexia and I never really saw her at all. When I was 8 years old, I was featured on ABC (or NBC or whatever)'s night news segment Dateline as one of two families whose grandparents help take care of their kids' kids. When I was 11, my mother passed away in her sleep from the damage her anorexia and alcoholism had worn on her body (when she had just turned 29 or 30) which was a huge shock and a tad devastating to me especially as she had been cleared and been 'okay' for a few monthsfrom the doctors at her rehab programs.
I guess everything was relatively 'normal' until when I was 16/17 or so... my dad had saved up a large amount of his cash (although always was horrible with credit and money his whole life -- something I've turned to be the opposite of) and had bought his own big rig and was trekking gasoline around for work -- unfortunately he was making a good amount of cash and was partying/going to the casinos a lot (since he was young 30s making six figures from a blue collar background and no education) ith one of his buddies who owned a restaurant .. not so much alcoholism (or maybe it is) but definitely excessive partying. He ended up burning out, sold his truck and continued this lifestyle and burned through all of his cash... commence 'death spiral' ever since and not being able to get his life back together. Seeing this, I knew I had to go out on my own and be independent from my father due to the environment I was growing up in and set off on my own to push myself through school by working 35ish hours a week doing everything from retail (babies r us to hot topic to express haha) and IT on campus as well as internships so that I could provide for my food housing tuition social life and, of course, world of warcraft.
I entered UConn as a pharmacy major -- AP biology credits and all -- but quickly realized i hated chem with a passion even though i loved bio and physics. i had to take economics as a pre -req for the pharmacy program and had an eccentric, retired corporate lawyer as a professor who made the topic very interesting -- I always had a curiosity in th stock market but never knew what it meant but I went ahead and switched over to economics to explore these two new curiosities. After networking with uconn alumni I was able to secure an internship doing retail investments under a financial advisor at a local bank in CT -- I hated the cold calling and the other annoying things that went along with the job (riteof passage for most of us going into finance) but I kept sucking it up and asking how they put the different funds and investments together-- I knew I was interested inand from there. I did a few trading competitions for both equities and commodities and did pretty well (11th out of 343 in CT for one and 1st place finish out of 10 teams for the commodities) and started pursuing the investment realm -- however I had a 2.71 gpa since I kinda went into college not knowing how much grades mattered and had other pressing issues such as survival going on at the time :) Thankfully, my econ/finance was around a 3.34 so I marketed that on my resume... my junior/senior internship had me doing economic development work and economic research as well as helping the CT hedge fund association put together their first annual hedge fund conference... I was VERY active in college in groups, starting as VP of my satellite campus' student goverment my freshman year to being a treasurer in the international relations association, doing sex ed stuff on campus, polish cultural society, and even helped push through an MBA level class on hedge funds.
so on to 'how i got into my job' :) I was the first hire at my firm from uconn ever, my group consisted of princeton/yale/brown/cornell and one penn state guy as is kind of typical for wall street and I was asked my first day on the trading floor 'which ivy did you go to?!'. Joyous. But during the interview I think I held my own very well and basically spewed my passion fr the markets and interest and willingness to put up with whatever to ensure that I made it as well as having a multitude of trading competition related material to throw at the recruiter -- I think if you have enthusiasm and passion for something it will show, be it your ability to go ahead and do it or for a job/business school interview... I stated back in september 07 and had a VERY rough time starting of and he majority of my group thought I'd end up being axed haha but ultimately I won rookie of the year for my class -- took home some what over a 100k, the next year with the insane volatility of 08 gave me over 500k+ which the government promptly took over 200k of haha. When the markets died down volatility wise in late 08/09, I proceeded to be in a hole for 1.5 years and not get any pay except for draw... thankfully I bought ~150k of the S&P index around 84.02, paid off all my student loans (70k) and had plenty of cash laying around plus a very strong frugal conviction haha. The past two years I've done decently but my income has been far too volatile (better than my first year but nowhere near my 08 year) and since I am in the 4-6 year range that is the 'hotspot' for MBAs and especially for finance I've decided to make the jump now for the MBA process.
Knowing my GPA was a weakspot with my 2.71, I took ten (yes, ten.. theyre ~700 each) classes through NYU SCPS in finance, portfolio management and risk management and came out with a 3.76 to add to my story that 'Hey, im a very smart and driven kid just didnt know what was oing on and had other outside pressures before) for the admissions process. For the most part, whenever that has come up during an interview I've been very confident about mentioning my low gpa (although i dont ever bring it up myself haha) but the interviewers are usually VERY understanding in seeing what else ive done nad usually were like 'the reviewer mentioned your low gpa but we know why anddd ehhh doesnt really matter' usually with a quick smile and bruhing it off-- outside of work ive been the treasurer of a tenants association in harlem that sued our landlord for 300k in damages for low income dominicans (including repairs and rentals) and do a lot of alumni outreach at my alma mater, including helping re-spark a dead mentoring program at the school of business and being invited to join a small panel for the alumni association under the board of trustees that deals with improving alumni mentoring/student involvement initiatives on the campus.
I was looking at buy sideoriginally and while I love the markets, I really hate accounting and I am very much so a people person so I have been looking at account management/product management roles at large investment management firms ( Wellington Vanguard State Street etc) in dealing with a hybrid role of client facing/portfolio management.... but also at the same time I am looking to leverage my social/interpersonal abilities with that and also in consulting which has an array of exit ops (trading is VERY niche so grass is greener there haha) and I enjoy doing a variety of problem solving types of things so I think those two roles are more 'best fitting' for me. I would harikari if I did ibanking working 100 hours a week :P I dont want to blow up when I'm mid 30s and not have a time else to go so its opportune haha. My dad and I have a very good tight relationship -- Im 27 this year and he just turned 44 -- although it is a 'reverse' father son relationship where Im the dad because he still doesnt really have his shit together -- my car back home is much more so his now since hes been in and out of work (and suffers from depression and anxiety as well, forgot to throw that in there.. but somehow I've been okay as an extremely volatile trader lol) for the pst 3 years and I help support him financially as well.
To answer some things that were asked... the one thing that kept me going is that I knew that it was all on my shoulders to make myself successful and happy, and that if I did not it would be my own fault and as such I could not let myself down. Every large obstacle in life or other kind of detriment can be overcome if youre willing to put in the time and emotional strength to overcome it.
Trading I think is something that is very personality driven and on the job driven -- some may disagree. You have to be passionate about the markets, a bit of zen helps (although there are plenty of angry traders) but that can be manifested in a 'i dont give a fuck' kind of attitude as well haha, confident in yourself, and smart and be able to have a feel for mental math in so much that youre kind of always calculating risk/probabilities in the back of your head even if you arent doing actual math on paper or in your mind (does that make sense?)
I think my background was a strength as long as you are able to show tht you might have suffered some but overcame it and it made you stronger and youve excelled nonetheless and 'broken the mold'. Cant be too caught up in the past have to keep looking forward because otherwise youre not going to be able to do shit with your life if you keep moping or daydreaming too much about the what ifs of the future. Plan your life but taken action now. do it do it do it.