Start up = Career suicide? Want to get into IBD. Need advice and mentorship.

Hi everyone,

I am a long time lurker who had too much pride in myself and didn't want to ask for any help until now.

I graduated ug from a west coast non-target school (top 3 UC). Went to grad school studying finance in China (Peking/Tsinghua/Fudan/SJTU), Decided to come back to US. After struggling 1/2 year of job search I worked at a big tech (Google/FB/Paypal) doing AML. However, I wanted to be successful and make money. A couple months later, a friend of mine asked me to join a drone tech start up and I did. I was hungry for success and startup success seemed extremely desirable especially when I was in Silicon Valley.

Now I am here at the startup after about 1.5 years and I recognized that finance is still where I really want to be at. I always wanted to go into IBD at a BB since grad school but I had too much pride and was afraid of failing so I tried to recruit but never put in my 100%.

But recently after some self-reflective thoughts, I decided to deal with my pride and fear. I want to reach my dream. Now, my goal is to get into high finance, especially IBD in a BB. I know I do have the chance of not being able to succeed right now or even in my entire life. But I want to exhaust ALL of the possible routes first before I explore any alternatives. I know it is late in my life to do this and I don't think I can afford a full time MBA but I am not here to give up. I read about how many bankers who broke in and rose to the ranks with very different backgrounds or career changes which gave me hope to keep going.

I have confidence that if I can deal with startup hours, commitments, and stress, I can work IBD. Even if I have to start at the bottom, I will do it. I view starting over as part of the startup risk I'm willing to bear and I'm thankful because I'm still (relatively) young and have no family!

I would really appreciate any kinds of job advice that can help me reach my goal. I am open to all kinds of suggestions to get into BB IBD as end goal. Also, if anyone can provide any sort of mentorship, it would really help me also. Thank you all.

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Comments (8)

Nov 4, 2019 - 5:15pm

What about part time MBA? Depends on your GPA/GMAT, but Booth part time places very well into the street and you wouldn't have to give up working.

It will be hard to break in directly being out of school and having untraditional work experience, but if you can spin your work at the startup that would be interesting for MBAs


Nov 5, 2019 - 2:12pm

Thanks for the suggestion! I thought about that too but weren't sure if it's viable. I heard that banks don't like to recruit from part-time MBAs, is that true? Also do you think Berkeley and NYU's part-time program are good for finance recruiting too?

Nov 5, 2019 - 3:20pm

If you don't mind taking a little longer, I think gunning for boutiques may be easier and then you can try jump to BB after a year or two - but that is if you're really sure BB IBD is your end goal, as in you want to stay there forever. Because by then (MBA + 2 years boutique) you'd be upper associate level and banks don't want you leaving after that.

Nov 6, 2019 - 4:09pm

I see. So what's the best way to start gunning for boutiques? And is it difficult to jump from boutique to BB compared to MBA then BB?

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Nov 6, 2019 - 4:16pm

As much as I love working with people here at my current start up, I realized I cannot imagine myself working in our current industry for the rest of my life. It's important to really believe in the vision/mission or else it's easy to burn out.

Nov 7, 2019 - 5:03am

First thing I would do is organize and articulate all the skills you've learned and how that laterals over to your potential new gig or school. There is no such thing as a negative experience. These events occur to help you grow and reach your eventual goal. Start with a positive outlook and the rest will flow. Articulate your experience well. Future employers will understand. Getting stuck in a negative outlook with resentment, that's digging a hole for yourself, which is unlikely case given you're seeking advice here. Kind regards.

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