The Non-Target Who Didn't Take No For An Answer

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Rank: Gorilla | 538

Mod Note: Each day we'll be posting the top WSO forum posts of 2014. This one was originally posted on 1/25/14 and ranks #19 for the year by total silver banana count. You can see all our top ranked content here.

Hey all,

As I sit here and prepare to write this story, I look back on one of the most memorable years of my life. I cannot help but be thankful for the opportunity to have gone through some incredible experiences, both good and bad, that have shaped me into who I am today. As investment banking summer analyst recruitment continues to progress this year, I thought I would share a bit of inspiration to help you along your way.

Like many of you, there was a point in time where I sat down and decided that investment banking was what I wanted to do. I was going to apply to as many places as I could, and hopefully land a great gig. Easy enough, right? Not really.. Not at all actually. You see, like many of you guys I attend a non-target state school with relatively low amounts of alumni in the field. Having originally come from a pre-med background, the whole process was daunting to say the least. Exactly one year ago, I did not know my head from my ass and yet, I was preparing to jump into this whole process head-first.

Perspective. I remember always telling myself that I had to have perspective with this whole process. As I began formulating the first steps, I began to try and identify my value proposition. How can I, an over-active undergraduate banker wannabee, convince seasoned professionals that this is what I wanted to do? I had a basic story for why I transitioned from medicine to banking, and found a way to incorporate my past entrepreneurial experiences. It was my enthusiasm and my desire to learn that landed me my first boutique investment banking internship, NOT my experiences or my expertise. I had nothing to offer this bank other than my willingness to learn about the industry. And oh did I learn.

When this year's recruitment began to pick up, I could tell the process was going to be different than last year. I could just feel it. It was clearly obvious that recruitment for these bigger banks was an entirely different ball-game with its own difficulties and obstacles. While at least I knew my head from my ass this time, I was preparing to jump into an entirely different animal head-first with hopes of success and prosperity.

Coming from a non-target, I had to evaluate my advantages and disadvantages, and find a way to best leverage what I had in order to stand out and differentiate myself. I developed an extensive, multi-tab excel spreadsheet and titled it "Networking Doc- CRUNCH TIME" and began to scour the depths of LinkedIn to find any and every alumni in the field that I could find. I also added contacts of contacts, and alumni from other state schools in the industry. I was preparing myself to be quite possibly the most annoying, pestering little shit in the industry. This list came out to be well over 200 people, or what you would call a good start. I would soon find out over a few months that 200 potential contacts translates to approximately 100 responses, 50-60 phone calls, and maybe 20-30 people that may help you. We live in a world with no guarantees, and that is something that began to hit home with me.

To maximize my chances, I tried to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible and tried to create my own luck. I booked a week-long trip to New York on my own dime to meet the new friends I had made. I also booked trips to two other cities, all in hopes of landing an interview at their firms. You see, ladies and gentlemen, the beauty of hard work is that while you are completely zoned in on your mission, those around you begin to notice what you are doing and the work you are putting in to achieve it. Before you know it, university faculty, your friends, and even those at the boutique bank you work at, begin to cheer you on and support you. My contacts began to reach out to me and ask me how I was doing. Incredible feeling to say the least, to know that I wasn't alone. From several months of work I landed three interviews, two superdays, and, drum roll please......One offer. Not just any offer though, an offer from an Elite Boutique to work in their healthcare division where I would be working directly with healthcare companies that save lives. I was thrilled!

The most important takeaway from all this? I gained the opportunity to make friends with great people in the industry. People I can see myself grabbing a drink with after work in a few years should I be fortunate enough to translate my SA experience to a full-time offer. You see ladies and gentlemen, this is a people industry. People join people, not companies. Keep putting in the work, be persistent, MAKE FRIENDS, and just maybe, something might come your way if you are lucky.

Comments (73)

Jan 25, 2014

Congratulations!!!! Glad to hear that all your efforts paid off.

Jan 25, 2014

This situation sounds scarily similar to mine. Med school hopeful turned investment banker wannabe turned networking ninja and all. Never take no for an answer, and fuck the haters. Thanks for the inspiration. Silver banana for you :)

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Jan 25, 2014

Hope you get the green light for full-time. Congrats.

Jan 25, 2014

Congrats man, best of luck on the journey.

Jan 27, 2014

GREAT STORY! thanks for sharing and congratulations!

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Jan 27, 2014

Inspiring read!

Jan 27, 2014

great job!

Jan 27, 2014

Awesome story!

Jan 27, 2014

Way to go! Keep it up and secure the FT offer!

Jan 27, 2014

Great read, congrats!... One question: How did networking with alumni from other state schools work out for you?

Jan 27, 2014

Would be more than willing to help with some pointers for anyone who needs it. Just shoot me a PM

Jan 27, 2014

I'm a non-target as well, great to hear your story!

Jan 27, 2014

Congratulations! Inspiring story indeed thanks for sharing now continue to kick some ass!

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum

Jan 27, 2014

SB'd. Awesome hustle.

Best Response
Jan 27, 2014

Silver Banana from one non-target kid to another. Good luck this summer.

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Jan 27, 2014

Awesome man, 200 contact excel tab makes me feel like I don't want it bad enough. Take one of my SBs.

Jan 27, 2014

Very nicely done- a must read for anyone on here trying to break in. The hard work paying off is always a great feeling.

Jan 28, 2014

Great story...keep it up!

Jan 28, 2014

Congrats! That was a great read.

Jan 28, 2014

is this post fake? It is well written, well structured. It caters to the legions of posters on here with sub-par resumes. Who would take the time to write this? It seems like a new one of these pops up every few weeks. I am suspicious about a ton of the content on this website.

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Jan 27, 2014
mike97345:

is this post fake? It is well written, well structured. It caters to the legions of posters on here with sub-par resumes. Who would take the time to write this? It seems like a new one of these pops up every few weeks. I am suspicious about a ton of the content on this website.

This story is 100% true. If anything, I downplayed the more difficult parts of the process.

Jan 27, 2014

not fake - i know the OP offline and while it's not the norm, it's also nice to see another WSO member break on through from a non-target.

If anything, this post should be a warning to all members with "sub-par resumes" of the type of hard work it will take to even get an SA, let alone a FT offer.

Feb 9, 2014
mike97345:

is this post fake? It is well written, well structured. It caters to the legions of posters on here with sub-par resumes. Who would take the time to write this? It seems like a new one of these pops up every few weeks. I am suspicious about a ton of the content on this website.

i love this response..."i see quite alot of posters here who succeeded through non-standard methods...that doesnt fit my pre-conceived notions of how the world works...must be fake!"

Jan 27, 2014

lol, so true...

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Jan 28, 2014

Congratulations! Great story and I wish the best of luck securing a FT offer.

Jan 28, 2014

Rock on

...

Jan 28, 2014

Good post. Keep on trucking!

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Jan 28, 2014

Gr8 job. Congrats OP.

Jan 28, 2014

What was your gpa? How difficult was the process from cold emails/calls to landing interviews?

Jan 28, 2014

What do you mean ?? I went to a target ivy and I am now in PE at an upper MM fund. I have been out of Ibanking for almost 2 years now.

Jan 27, 2014
tengleha:

What was your gpa? How difficult was the process from cold emails/calls to landing interviews?

My GPA was good, not fantastic. The cold emailing part of the process was difficult because there are specific "templates" that work and those that don't; it's a trial and error process. You land interviews by successfully building rapport with bankers on the other end of the line. If they like you, they will recommend you reach out to other people in the firm. From there it becomes a momentum effect- they notify HR and if you're lucky, they'll give you an interview.

Jan 28, 2014

^ Woops was ment for OP

Jan 28, 2014

Great story.

Jan 28, 2014

Congrats. Great story!

Jan 28, 2014

Congrats! Can you tell us a bit about the kind of response/reception you got from your contacts and how that relationship developed to then get you that offer?

Jan 27, 2014
looping56:

Congrats! Can you tell us a bit about the kind of response/reception you got from your contacts and how that relationship developed to then get you that offer?

The earlier you reach out, the better. The contacts that responded to me were more than willing to help, I did not get any negative responses from anyone.

I typically email to set up a phone call. From there, I will follow up 1-2 times over the course of 1-2 weeks and then begin to ask about the bank's internship program. There is no science to it, some will help you more than others.

PM me if you are looking for more specific advice.

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Jan 29, 2014

congrats. non-target brah

Jan 30, 2014

SB for you!!! Inspiring story and further proof that you can come from anywhere and make it!!! Thumbs up!!!

Jan 30, 2014

Selecting your bank and group is like rushing a sorority, and life as an analyst is like pledging a fraternity.

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Jan 27, 2014
BTbanker:

Selecting your bank and group is like rushing a sorority, and life as an analyst is like pledging a fraternity.

lol, so true

Jan 31, 2014

Thanks for the inspiration.

Jan 31, 2014

Great post. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jan 31, 2014

What exactly did you say to those contacts on Linkedin?

Feb 1, 2014

details please ... if possible in a step by step manner ... makes it a better read and easier to make it work for oneself: as in an individual customizing the steps you took to suit their needs

Feb 1, 2014

Great story. Congrats man and best of luck!

Feb 2, 2014

I am in the same situation. Senior nontarget neuroscience and economics major. It makes me feel like I don't want it enough since I haven't contacted 200 people. Is it more difficult that I am here in the Midwest and apply for more regional banks first? And how much finance knowledge did you have when contacting them?

Jan 27, 2014
Zyzzbrah:

I am in the same situation. Senior nontarget neuroscience and economics major. It makes me feel like I don't want it enough since I haven't contacted 200 people. Is it more difficult that I am here in the Midwest and apply for more regional banks first? And how much finance knowledge did you have when contacting them?

All it takes is one bank to like you and give you an offer, you definitely don't have to contact 200 people. There is no one track on how to do it- craft a solid story, know enough finance to be competent, and show enthusiasm to learn. If you are a likeable person, you will go a long way.

Feb 2, 2014

Dude, incredible.
I had lived something like this in my life.

Keeping the story short: I entered to a non-target university here in Chile. After getting good grades for one year, I changed to the best university of Chile.
In the midway, my dad became unemployed, but with a friend we developed an idea that consist of a credit (like a consumer credit). My friends would lend me money and I would return them after I graduate. Now I'm looking for a job and I had been paying since the last year.

Congrats on your story man. Never take a No for an answer. Absolutely true.

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Feb 1, 2014
snfuenza:

Dude, incredible.

I had lived something like this in my life.

Keeping the story short: I entered to a non-target university here in Chile. After getting good grades for one year, I changed to the best university of Chile.

In the midway, my dad became unemployed, but with a friend we developed an idea that consist of a credit (like a consumer credit). My friends would lend me money and I would return them after I graduate. Now I'm looking for a job and I had been paying since the last year.

Congrats on your story man. Never take a No for an answer. Absolutely true.

simply brilliant ... the idea of credit from your friends ... did it take a lot to convince them? what were the terms you and your friends decided upon?

Feb 2, 2014

It didn't take a lot to convince them. I just showed them the passion that I have to become an Industrial Engineer, the difficulties that my family has to help me (no bank will lend money to someone that is unemployed).
The terms were that I would pay them in a period of two years after I graduate.

Feb 3, 2014

Thank you, this was a good read. Congratulations.

Feb 3, 2014

Thanks for sharing, truly inspiring. Congrats!

Feb 3, 2014

Bravo. It is very true that when there is a will, there is a way.

Feb 3, 2014

love it.... great job man.

Feb 5, 2014

Great job! I hope that I can motivate myself to try that hard and land a MBB internship.

Feb 5, 2014

insipiring!

Feb 5, 2014

Excellent!

"A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires." - Paulo Coelho

Hoping to achieve what you did

Feb 6, 2014

congratz man, incredible

Feb 6, 2014

Good stuff!

Feb 7, 2014

Great story and Good luck. Exact same process I am undertaking now. Even doing pro bono PE analyst work to gain hard translatable skills. Just goes to show you that even when you are down you have to keep striving for the end goal.

Feb 7, 2014

Great story. Keep it up.

Here's my story for you -

Super-Non Target from TX. 3.1 GPA. No IBD internships. Landed FT gig with Top MM in NYC.

Welcome to the club.

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Jan 27, 2014

Excellent. Congrats!

Feb 8, 2014

Deja vu. Silver banana for you. I too attend a complete non target state school in which I started out Pre-Med but, like you, decided to throw my entire life into networking for investment banking last year. As you said, it took persistence and perspective but I landed a FT offer from a BB i-bank in NYC. Congrats and I wish you the best of luck in your internship this summer.

Jan 30, 2014

@Codename_money: Congrats to you too!

Feb 13, 2014

Congrats! Truly inspirational!!

Feb 19, 2014

congrats, made for a great read

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Mar 4, 2014

Congrats!

Mar 15, 2014

congrats buddy, glad things worked out

Feb 5, 2014

congratz

Oct 9, 2014
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