The long road to ER from a non-target

I have been browsing this forum for almost two years now since the beginning of my senior year and thought I would share my story on breaking into ER.

I was never a great student and actually barely graduated high school while focusing on sports way too much. I do not believe I turned in a single homework assignment in four years. During this time, my parents did give me some money to invest as I was always interested in the stock market. Long story short, I ended up graduating h.s. with a 2.2 and headed off to play junior hockey before college.

This is when I got into a major car accident that caused me to miss 3/4 of the entire junior hockey season. So, I started to take some classes at a no name university that I eventually attended after sports did not pan out well for me (I played d2 hockey fresh yr and walked onto basketball jr. yr).

Then as sports were not the focus anymore you think I would start getting better grades right? Wrong. I ended up with a 1.9 and had to petition to stay in school which I got lucky with. As of now my major was I.T. and I had no clue on how I could start a career in high finance.

So, my grades were still terrible going into my junior year when I realized I needed to step my game up. I retook classes I failed and took 40 credits in my jr year with a 3.95 GPA. What is funny is that my GPA was barely a 3.0 at this point. I ended up getting an internship for my senior year at a small wealth management firm near my school. Ultimately, all I did was perform asset allocations for mom & pop clients who had no clue about the markets. I quickly realized I did not want to work on the retail side of the business.

Once the final semester of school came (still getting close to a 4.0 every semester) I literally networked with the entire LinkedIn of people that had anything to do with equity research. I talked on the phone for countless hours and maintained countless relationships which a few actually turned into interviews eventually. I did not get the offer from these interviews but it shows the power of networking. I then interviewed at an investment consultant and got offered a job right after graduation. I ended up turning it down which everyone in my circle said was the dumbest thing ever.

So what did I do? I kept calling everyone and emailing analysts, took the BIWS modeling course, and wrote numerous stock reports to send off. I was eventually sending off a model with a research report when networking and it turned out to help.

After all my efforts of working for free on pointless stock reports in my own house, I got offered an UNPAID internship in NYC doing ER. I took it right away and didn't even think about the unpaid part. I had some money saved up from trading proceeds over the years and got an AirBnB closet room for three months. At the end of the internship, due to terrible luck the associate I replaced came back because they did not enjoy their new job. So there I was, out again. But, at this point I was still networking every day and had 4 interviews lined up early last month.

I got an interview at a firm and was ultimately rejected for not being experienced even though everyone thought highly of me. I was losing faith until, I got a call from the same firm about another open position and they came to me first. I spoke with the analyst on the phone, did a modeling test, and sent them my research and modeling examples and the rest is history. I now am working full-time as an ER associate at a boutique research shop.

It was not a conventional path and it took an extra year after graduation to get in but, I am happy with my accomplishment given the disadvantages I had put myself in for the past 8 years. Never give up, never surrender.

Comments (7)

May 3, 2016

lol did you end up at Wolfe Research? I hope you're not calling that place an EB
Congrats anyways, keep that hustle going

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May 4, 2016

lol did you end up at Wolfe Research? I hope you're not calling that place an EBCongrats anyways, keep that hustle going

How did you come to that conclusion?

Congrats OP

May 4, 2016

last question he posted was about being somehow waitlisted at Wolfe, which sounds oddly similar to what is described.
I know I got thrown MS for my previous post but, seriously, it's incredibly misleading to make college freshmen believe you can break into Laz/Moelis/PJT/the true "EBs" with your type of background.

Edit: ... And I just realized OP removed the "elite" in his post: nice going

May 7, 2016


Totally agree. If my VP asked me for ER for a PIB and i saw wolfe research, i probably wouldnt include it because i've never heard of them. Its definately not in the league of laz/Moelis, or even lower MM firms like macaquire etc. Its more of a er shop of a caliber of like i couldnt find anything else so ill have to use it.

I'm not trying to shit on wolfe, but definitely misleading to say wolfe is elite er firm. I consume this ER information for the deals that i work on and personally i would only include it if i have literally nothing else.

Anyways, good story - you should be proud of what you could get given your circumstances, not something you pretend to have (i.e. elite ER offer). I've generally found that people give you a lot more respect if you're real with them with less instead of being fake, pretending to have more.


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May 3, 2016

Props to you OP, that is quite a story.
Any advice to fellow monkeys gunning for ER roles?

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May 4, 2016

Congrats! Hell of a story, +1!

As I am trying to do the same thing, I wanted to know were you looking into any specific sectors? My background limits me to breaking into healthcare ER, but I was wondering if you targeted specific sectors or were just looking for whatever was available?

Thanks again, success stories like this keep the hope alive for the rest of us non-traditionals!

May 9, 2016

Want to Lose the body fat, keep the muscles, I can help.