I started reading WSO last year and it changed my life perspective. Having a brother who works at a top IB boutique and is the highest rated analyst doesn't make a career choice easy especially since I followed his footsteps since middle school.
Going to a small liberal arts college in Midwest did not expose me to driven finance students who plan to work for. It's mostly philosophy and English majors who sadly will end up working at local coffee shops and restaurants for first few years of their professional career. (I am not making it up, that's what happens with many alumni from my school)
WSO gave me the knowledge most of college career advisors lack. It gave me a network of people I can ask about anything and even meet in person and exchange our experiences live. It's my favorite website out there and I am truly grateful to all Monkeys for help and support!
Now how did WSO changed my life? Starting college I was lucky to get a research nonpaid position with a finance professor at my school for the summer and traveled in Europe last 3 weeks. This experience gave me some modeling skills but I was too young to really appreciate it. Following that sophomore year I was late realizing that I need a job for the summer so in February/March I started applying. With no previous real job experience I had small chances of getting any internships. I decided to do 2 case study competitions in Europe where I come from and was lucky to win both of them. The prizes were interviews with 2 firms I picked. I picked GE Healthcare and famous local PE fund (started by the richest man in the country so a great name on the resume).
I totally bombed my interview at the PE fund. I did not know enough accounting to answer the analyst questions. On the other hand the GE Healthcare interview went really well and after a week I found out I got the job. I was super excited because I got the FMP internship as a 2nd year college students while in the country where the office was they only employ the brightest MA students or graduates with MAs in accounting/finance/law from 2 best local universities.
Starting the summer of sophomore year I reached out to the MD at a local AM firm with tiny AUM for American Standards but investing in US. I was lucky to get a paid internship with his firm for 2 months. I did mostlylearned a lot about the industries I covered and companies that most interested me at the time. Following that I did the FMP internship at GE Healthcare for month and a half. I loved that experience and got a full time offer for after I graduate to enter FMP program in Europe. I learned a lot of accounting and modeling and I worked closely with C level executives since the office was pretty small.
Junior year in college I started reading WSO and reading all the materials my brother would send to me. I started building my network reaching out to alumnie in BBs and MMs. Since I am an international student only BBssponsorship so I concentrated on them. I got 3 final rounds. 2 at BBs in New York City and 1 in London. Unfortunately I was the only kid not from an Ivy League schools and Oxbridge at these final rounds so I got dinged. It hurt really bad and I felt terrible that all that hard work on my resume and cover letters did not pay off.
I was determined so I got a list of boutiques in every major city in the US and send around 500 emails all together. I got many responses and interviewed with probably 20 of them. Since it was too late to apply to other BBs or even MMs (who rarely employ international students due to the Visa issues for full time) I got 12 offers. Some of them unpaid and some paid pretty well. They were offers from Chicago, Minneapolis and New York City.
In October 2012 I also got an offer for TP internship at a Big 4 company that paid slightly better than the IB boutiques.
With all these offers I had a really hard time to choose what firm I would work for this summer. I ended up picking 2 boutiques and the Big 4 firm and ended up finishing two internships with one still in progress this summer. It's been the best summer in my life. I 2 picked Minneapolis based firms and one boutique in NYC that I could work for from distance. I will never regret my choice of firms to work for.
During the Big 4 internship I was also working for a boutique in NYC and attended all the training sessions and conference calls with other interns. Big 4 TP internship ended up being a great experience since Big 4 firms really treat their interns well. Work was easy, hours great, amazing perks with tickets to sport events, free dinners and happy hours. I spend my free
Once these 2 ended I started my 3rd internship this summer at a very established local boutique that has its niche in the MM market in Midwest.
I was extremely lucky to get it through a school connection. I am the only intern and since all other bankers are at least 30 years older than me my role is pretty much being an IB Analyst. Thanks to training I did earlier this summer () I am ready for my role and I am really comfortable doing models, pitchbooks, talking to clients and working closely with senior bankers. They all have 30 years of experience in the MM transactions and it's an amazing opportunity for me to learn so much at the beginning of my career. I will be forever grateful to the alumni who gave me a chance especially since he's been with the firm for 62 years and is retiring this year.
On top of the learning experience I will get I was extremely lucky to get a corner office as an intern with a beautiful view of downtown Minneapolis. It doesn't happen to even analysts at bigger banks so I am really happy I chose this firm to intern at. It's uncomparable with the cube I had at Big 4 company and even the GE Healthcare FMP internship the year before that.
I don't want to bore you guys to death but I really wanted to express my gratitude to WSO and everyone that helped me in picking the companies and over the whole process of recruitment.
I hope to end this summer with 3 FT offers in hand. One more to go!
I think I will also be able to use my summer experience to get a MM or FT offer for next year and my Visa will be provided as well so I can stay in the US.