The Same Story, Over and Over Again

Well yesterday came the last rejection I could bear. It came from Teach for America after a 3-month process and the final round interview, after being interviewed and rejected at Citi, KKR, Deloitte Consulting, Capital IQ, Lippincott, various hedge funds, boutiques, etc.

For two years as a non-target, I've been trying to be gainfully employed to start my life. I am a 5th year who foolishly decided to take on another major (but not finishing it anyway) in 2008 to be more employable, and then having the well wishing that 2009 would be "better." Over 800+ applications, hundreds of hours spent writing cover letters, and dozens of interviews gotten from pure dumb luck and persistence, I'm back where I started.

It was always a great feeling walking the extra miles and getting interviews at target schools like MIT, BC, and Harvard--but rejected mid-process or early on, anyway. Spending my savings on 10 hour bus rides to NYC, and being rejected, rejected, and rejected. It was and is the same damn story.

Now, this "underdog" story is getting old. My own mother stopped believing in me, told me to give up, move home, and get a job at CVS. She said no one cared about how hard a person tried, only the result counted. I obviously regard what she says as nonsense, but the last recruiting season ended last November, and there is a growing gap between my last "brand" internship at a large asset manager (think BlackRock) in 2007. Her prediction is becoming true. I know there are thousands like me, so I doubt a plea to listed alumni would have someone go to bat for a stranger.

A mixture of poor decisions, not knowing how to network during my sophomore and junior years (stupid, stupid, stupid), and false optimism has brought me this point: willing to do pretty much anything to pay the bills.

There's one more round of recruiting this February, and I know that there are still boutiques, small businesses, etc. that do off-cycle--but I have a feeling how I handle this job situation, this year, will have irreversible consequences on my own dreams and aspirations: going to business school, doing great work I have interest in, and breaking this state school stigma once and for all.

I wanted to know if any of you WSO frequenters had tips to change my strategy. I've been trying to study for the GRE and GMAT, but this feeling of being worthless and the need to be employed has consumed my life. Without decent work experience, I can't go to business school. With my current degree from a state, employers have the cream of the crop pick. Pretty soon I'll be an "experienced hire" with no experience and a widening gap. Supposedly a May 2009 graduate, my diploma arrives as a Feb. 2010 graduate--and I can't extend this much further.

I have a high school network which I was thinking of asking for help (historical state magnet), and people I've met at conferences and career fairs. But I don't want to seem desperate.

I wanted to know how to tell this story that I just typed in a way that doesn't ask for pity, only for discovery and a chance.

Thanks guys, I appreciate it!

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Comments (65)

Jan 22, 2010 - 4:12pm

That is rough dude, very rough.

How were you getting the interviews? Mind posting your resume just to see where you stand?

And don't let what your mother says get you down. Use it for motivation.

Also, I think your #1 resource should have been alumni. I would start reaching out to them TOMORROW. Helping strangers is not that uncommon if they can pitch a good story. Heck, after reading your post if I was in any position to help, I'd ask you to shoot over your resume and maybe even get you on the phone.

Jan 22, 2010 - 4:39pm

Can you go back to your asset management firm (email them saying your situation and offer to work as an intern if FT isnt available). If not - boutiques, Peace Corps, City year

hang in there and good luck. i go to an Ivy and I'm in the same boat - 50 resume drops, 3 interviews. well see what happens

EDIT: Check your messages ( i read over your old posts and saw that going back isnt really an option)

Jan 22, 2010 - 4:32pm

Dude, feel real bad for you. Have you thought about trying to get a job doing something relevant while you network. I mean there is a lot of stuff in between IB and CVS. A F500 job might not be a dream, but it might help you make money and get you into a top grad program.

Where are you located? You mention a 10 hour bus ride. Give us a little more info, maybe someone can help.

Jan 23, 2010 - 5:19pm
AnthonyD1982:
Dude, feel real bad for you. Have you thought about trying to get a job doing something relevant while you network. I mean there is a lot of stuff in between IB and CVS. A F500 job might not be a dream, but it might help you make money and get you into a top grad program.

You think decent F500 jobs are just all over the place? Yeah just get a job in corpdev or audit or treasury at a big company without any contacts there!

Jan 28, 2010 - 11:20am

Hey Anthony, thanks for the note. I've been applying to these $15/hr internships doing what I can do, which is graphic design, a trade I used in college to pay for it. A F500 job would be a dream for me, even those have turned me down saying I'm under-qualified. For those entry-level jobs, they say 1-2 years of experience.

I am in Boston now, and I went to school in Amherst, Massachusetts. The 10 hour is NYC back and forth, then 6 hours back and forth to Boston to attend a networking event or an info session.

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Jan 22, 2010 - 4:39pm

The last person to listen to is a member of your family....They don't know what your going through. I am in a very similar situation as you and have my parents sending me job applications to jobs that I am way more qualified for....You seem to be qualified if your getting these interviews, so keep your head up man, something will work out

Jan 22, 2010 - 4:54pm

I sort of understand your situation since I've been in a similar position. It seems like you're already applying everywhere, so that's a moot point. Definitely reach out to your high school network, also, have you looked for people on LinkedIn ? Don't worry about looking desperate at this point, and just get in touch with everyone you know. PM me when you get a chance.

Jan 28, 2010 - 11:48am

Hey SAC, thanks for the suggestions. I'll contact you after this week's plan is finished. What I'm doing now is writing letters to the decision makers where I used to work, in my high school network, and off this alumni spreadsheet I was given a while back. I tried our school's mentor network (emailing) and no one responded yet.

I've been going to these additional info. sessions for junior interns and you know, just hoping I meet someone who will go to bat for me.

Again thanks and thanks to everyone here. I know there are thousands of Me's out there, so I'm not a special case, but I appreciate this industry because there is always a way, and there are always people who'll help.

Thanks guys.

Jan 22, 2010 - 7:04pm

Hey mezz and others,

You can message me privately for the resume since some of the projects are revealing, but if it helps others on here, I have some pretty crazy ways I got interviews. I'd like to offer some advice for the private messages I'm receiving (since apparently this is on the WSO frontpage). Please give me some time to respond to all the other messages.

Keep in mind that my first internship at BlackRock, I received from a Monster.com posting in 2006. So, I thought the post method would keep working (failed to sell myself). After 2 years on the internal job board and Monster, Hotjobs, etc. I decided to actually network after nothing happened.

My advice for other kids who just won't quit is that it never hurts to ask, and although sometimes you will feel ashamed when a recruiter turns you away or walks away (this happened to me with a BB (Not BAML, GS), it's worth it in the end. Just walk to the next table.

If I never tried, I wouldn't have gotten these interviews and developed my speaking/networking skills. I also got a lot of help from here (BankonBanking, formerMD--I hope you got my thank you card), from ManagementConsulted.com's Kevin Gao, etc. For everyone who helped (thank you), I made a note to myself that I'd go to bat for the next kid. I sent handwritten thank you cards to everyone whose business card I had. Think 127 stamps before Christmas.

Note: I apologize if it seems like I'm invading your target schools for info sessions, workshops, etc. , but I really just want to do great work for a firm. And going to your schools was the only way. This I realized after 2 years of OCR, nothing happened since the recruiters (logically) were more serious with the target schools. I will donate money later when successful.


Here are some INTERVIEW examples:

KKR: Went on Economics club field trip years ago and saw alum (KKR Principal who grilled me) at Smith Barney office, along with JPM alum. He did not know my name. April 2009, Columbia-dropout friend uploads my resume for KKR internship posted on Columbia job bank. KKR emails 2 weeks later with interview offer. 3 30-minute interviews, being asked would the job be boring to me, saw alum again with his coffee mug (surprisingly--but he had no role in this interview). Told during interview, "we don't know how your resume got into our Columbia pile (CBS, Undergrad), but here you are." Rejected week later but told great resume.

Deloitte Consulting 1: Went to ASCEND conference hosted by the Big 4 (saw information online, registered, took bus down--great conference). Earned on-spot interview. But rejected month later. This is also where I met the CEOs of KPMG and Deloitte.

Deloitte Consulting 2: Got interview off Twitter/Facebook. Saw on Deloitte's Facebook page (Deloitte Careers U.S.) that the newest Twitter poster was a Strategy Principal in consultancy. Tweeted for chance to earn interview, and the very nice guy gave me a break through a personal email (but not promising anything). Interview popped into email week later. Failed 1st round because nervousness (my fault--everything was on the line for me). Learned from mistake.

RBC CM: Went to Boston College for Career Fair. Met Director/MD from MM firm (think Piper but not Piper). Sent sincere email asking for shot, resume bounced to RBCCM Director who was actively hiring (Bay Street vs. Wall St.). But they wanted experienced analysts for off-cycle hires (I don't have direct Corpfin experience). Really grateful, however.

Capital IQ: Went to MIT Career Fair and met software developer who didn't care what school I went to. Took his advice to polish resume and attend info session that week. Only because MIT CareerBridge's system was down that they accepted paper resumes. Put resume in pile, interview offer 3 hours later for next day. Did exam with UX questions and logic questions, interview, but rejected week later because of "technicals." MIT MEng college/high school friend got rejected for same reason.

Lippincott (Brand strategy firm part of Oliver Wyman): Saw email on website and emailed nice lady to ask if internship was in Boston as well. Nice lady forwards to other lady (who ended up being on the executive committee and the Creative Director) who forwards to senior principal, who told me the internship was for NYC only. Emailed principal 2 months later after working extensively on design portfolio (I don't have an art degree but this is how I got by paying for college). Asked if he wanted to see it. Principal forwards to senior associate who sets up interview in NYC a week later at Park Avenue office. Rejected first 10 minutes (really nice guy though who talked with me for an hour) because their interns would be "all-set" already with BFA's, etc. Good experience, told to keep in touch after MBA for brand strategy roles.

*For Lippincott, I never sent a resume or portfolio until the actual interview. Some people will just give you a break like that.

Teach for America: Simply uploaded application online, wrote essay, received recommendations, passed phone interview, poured my heart out for final interview and lesson plan (I taught antonyms with stick-on labels). Read Wendy Kopp's book, visited schools, thought about what I'd teach kids on field trips. This ended up being something I really wanted to do after college, but I understood that it would be extremely competitive. One of the best interview experiences.


Non-interviews but resume forwards, advice, and/or help, keeping in touch:

  1. BNP Paribas: Met VPs at MIT Career Fair, attended info session, then interview workshop weeks later. Took notes from derivatives MD about "hustling" and emailed him month later about hustling experience. He accepted my resume and was very surprised and told me to keep hustling.

  2. Goldman: Went to Boston Career Forum (Career Fair for Japanese speakers--I don't speak Japanese), interviewed in line by nice lady. She said I would be great for HCM, but I wanted to do equities, etc. and she took my resume. At this Career Forum they also had UBS, Citi, BAML, Barcap, and all the banks, etc. You can interview here without being having fluency at all.

  3. Goldman 2: Went to MIT GS Undergrad presentation. Talked to associate who was MIT alum, and asked him for advice, sent card, kept in touch.

  4. Barcap: Went to networking workshop and met very helpful, nice recruiters who gave very clear strategies.

  5. MS, Bain, McK: Went to every Harvard, HBS presentation in nice wso/">suit and tried to learn everything possible without being a bother.

  6. BAML: Went to info sessions posted on College's website, got email from lady who recognized me next day.

  7. UBS: Went to info session at MIT which had a 8 person turnout. UBS MD sat down with me for half an hour, told me he was from Colorado State, and to keep at it and get a CFA I.

  8. Normua Securites: I met the COO during a MBA/Undergrad presentation at the Sloan school. I told him I'd definitely be interested in S&T (but not IB since I don't have language proficiency for coverage) after I go to business school. I met his deputy MD the next day at the Boston Career Forum and talked with the recruiting head about my visit to Japan, Japanese universities, and my girlfriend who was from there. He socked me one in the arm, and told me to learn Japanese and come to Nihonbashi immediately. I sent both of them thank you cards via international postage.

Lastly, BlackRock: I learned that sometimes you can't push too far. With my team gone, and even our MD giving me a recommendation, at that time I was not eligible for an internship as a senior (after reading forwarded emails from HR and those going to bat for me). I could have easily changed my graduation, but I'm glad I didn't. I went to Mt. Holyoke College after asking the career center for permission, and I was the only male there. After the HR lady said she'd call me several times, I decided to ask for advice on LinkedIn--from a lot of people. I got a lot of support from Ex-BlackRock workers who were laid off that year (Feb 09), but it caught the ire of the recruiter, who mentioned in a phone call that I 'had reached out to a lot of people." She doesn't work there anymore, and I've looked elsewhere since. The biggest mistake was that as a 3-time intern (2 Summers, 1 Winter), I stayed within the bounds of my team when I had met so many people. As a 19 year-old, I thought a job would always be there for me. The last thing my VP said to me after I showed up for a visit, was that we should have lunch to talk about the future. But then the layoffs happened.


About the alumni support: you guys are absolutely right. During a BAML S&T presentation I attended, the panelists remarked that they (as MIT alumni) defended their own. "If I have a Caltech and a MIT resume in front of me, guess which one goes in the ..." I definitely admire the camaraderie between fellow alumni.

The last thing I'll say is my mentor from my school once told me that finding a job requires persistence and humor. Most importantly is the question he posed to us (the non-targets): If you knew that the 100th person you spoke with would help you land a job, would you stop at the 99th?

That and hustling, I think, will push the limits.

  • 1
Jan 23, 2010 - 12:02pm
wolfyserver:
Hey mezz and others,

You can message me privately for the resume since some of the projects are revealing, but if it helps others on here, I have some pretty crazy ways I got interviews. I'd like to offer some advice for the private messages I'm receiving (since apparently this is on the WSO frontpage). Please give me some time to respond to all the other messages.

Keep in mind that my first internship at BlackRock, I received from a Monster.com posting in 2006. So, I thought the post method would keep working (failed to sell myself). After 2 years on the internal job board and Monster, Hotjobs, etc. I decided to actually network after nothing happened.

My advice for other kids who just won't quit is that it never hurts to ask, and although sometimes you will feel ashamed when a recruiter turns you away or walks away (this happened to me with a BB (Not BAML, GS), it's worth it in the end. Just walk to the next table.

If I never tried, I wouldn't have gotten these interviews and developed my speaking/networking skills. I also got a lot of help from here (BankonBanking, formerMD--I hope you got my thank you card), from ManagementConsulted.com's Kevin Gao, etc. For everyone who helped (thank you), I made a note to myself that I'd go to bat for the next kid. I sent handwritten thank you cards to everyone whose business card I had. Think 127 stamps before Christmas.

Note: I apologize if it seems like I'm invading your target schools for info sessions, workshops, etc. , but I really just want to do great work for a firm. And going to your schools was the only way. This I realized after 2 years of OCR, nothing happened since the recruiters (logically) were more serious with the target schools. I will donate money later when successful.


Here are some INTERVIEW examples:

KKR: Went on Economics club field trip years ago and saw alum (KKR Principal who grilled me) at Smith Barney office, along with JPM alum. He did not know my name. April 2009, Columbia-dropout friend uploads my resume for KKR internship posted on Columbia job bank. KKR emails 2 weeks later with interview offer. 3 30-minute interviews, being asked would the job be boring to me, saw alum again with his coffee mug (surprisingly--but he had no role in this interview). Told during interview, "we don't know how your resume got into our Columbia pile (CBS, Undergrad), but here you are." Rejected week later but told great resume.

Deloitte Consulting 1: Went to ASCEND conference hosted by the Big 4 (saw information online, registered, took bus down--great conference). Earned on-spot interview. But rejected month later. This is also where I met the CEOs of KPMG and Deloitte.

Deloitte Consulting 2: Got interview off Twitter/Facebook. Saw on Deloitte's Facebook page (Deloitte Careers U.S.) that the newest Twitter poster was a Strategy Principal in consultancy. Tweeted for chance to earn interview, and the very nice guy gave me a break through a personal email (but not promising anything). Interview popped into email week later. Failed 1st round because nervousness (my fault--everything was on the line for me). Learned from mistake.

RBC CM: Went to Boston College for Career Fair. Met Director/MD from MM firm (think Piper but not Piper). Sent sincere email asking for shot, resume bounced to RBCCM Director who was actively hiring (Bay Street vs. Wall St.). But they wanted experienced analysts for off-cycle hires (I don't have direct Corpfin experience). Really grateful, however.

Capital IQ: Went to MIT Career Fair and met software developer who didn't care what school I went to. Took his advice to polish resume and attend info session that week. Only because MIT CareerBridge's system was down that they accepted paper resumes. Put resume in pile, interview offer 3 hours later for next day. Did exam with UX questions and logic questions, interview, but rejected week later because of "technicals." MIT MEng college/high school friend got rejected for same reason.

Lippincott (Brand strategy firm part of Oliver Wyman): Saw email on website and emailed nice lady to ask if internship was in Boston as well. Nice lady forwards to other lady (who ended up being on the executive committee and the Creative Director) who forwards to senior principal, who told me the internship was for NYC only. Emailed principal 2 months later after working extensively on design portfolio (I don't have an art degree but this is how I got by paying for college). Asked if he wanted to see it. Principal forwards to senior associate who sets up interview in NYC a week later at Park Avenue office. Rejected first 10 minutes (really nice guy though who talked with me for an hour) because their interns would be "all-set" already with BFA's, etc. Good experience, told to keep in touch after MBA for brand strategy roles.

*For Lippincott, I never sent a resume or portfolio until the actual interview. Some people will just give you a break like that.

Teach for America: Simply uploaded application online, wrote essay, received recommendations, passed phone interview, poured my heart out for final interview and lesson plan (I taught antonyms with stick-on labels). Read Wendy Kopp's book, visited schools, thought about what I'd teach kids on field trips. This ended up being something I really wanted to do after college, but I understood that it would be extremely competitive. One of the best interview experiences.


Non-interviews but resume forwards, advice, and/or help, keeping in touch:

  1. BNP Paribas: Met VPs at MIT Career Fair, attended info session, then interview workshop weeks later. Took notes from derivatives MD about "hustling" and emailed him month later about hustling experience. He accepted my resume and was very surprised and told me to keep hustling.

  2. Goldman: Went to Boston Career Forum (Career Fair for Japanese speakers--I don't speak Japanese), interviewed in line by nice lady. She said I would be great for HCM, but I wanted to do equities, etc. and she took my resume. At this Career Forum they also had UBS, Citi, BAML, Barcap, and all the banks, etc. You can interview here without being having fluency at all.

  3. Goldman 2: Went to MIT GS Undergrad presentation. Talked to associate who was MIT alum, and asked him for advice, sent card, kept in touch.

  4. Barcap: Went to networking workshop and met very helpful, nice recruiters who gave very clear strategies.

  5. MS, Bain, McK: Went to every Harvard, HBS presentation in nice wso/">suit and tried to learn everything possible without being a bother.

  6. BAML: Went to info sessions posted on College's website, got email from lady who recognized me next day.

  7. UBS: Went to info session at MIT which had a 8 person turnout. UBS MD sat down with me for half an hour, told me he was from Colorado State, and to keep at it and get a CFA I.

  8. Normua Securites: I met the COO during a MBA/Undergrad presentation at the Sloan school. I told him I'd definitely be interested in S&T (but not IB since I don't have language proficiency for coverage) after I go to business school. I met his deputy MD the next day at the Boston Career Forum and talked with the recruiting head about my visit to Japan, Japanese universities, and my girlfriend who was from there. He socked me one in the arm, and told me to learn Japanese and come to Nihonbashi immediately. I sent both of them thank you cards via international postage.

Lastly, BlackRock: I learned that sometimes you can't push too far. With my team gone, and even our MD giving me a recommendation, at that time I was not eligible for an internship as a senior (after reading forwarded emails from HR and those going to bat for me). I could have easily changed my graduation, but I'm glad I didn't. I went to Mt. Holyoke College after asking the career center for permission, and I was the only male there. After the HR lady said she'd call me several times, I decided to ask for advice on LinkedIn--from a lot of people. I got a lot of support from Ex-BlackRock workers who were laid off that year (Feb 09), but it caught the ire of the recruiter, who mentioned in a phone call that I 'had reached out to a lot of people." She doesn't work there anymore, and I've looked elsewhere since. The biggest mistake was that as a 3-time intern (2 Summers, 1 Winter), I stayed within the bounds of my team when I had met so many people. As a 19 year-old, I thought a job would always be there for me. The last thing my VP said to me after I showed up for a visit, was that we should have lunch to talk about the future. But then the layoffs happened.


About the alumni support: you guys are absolutely right. During a BAML S&T presentation I attended, the panelists remarked that they (as MIT alumni) defended their own. "If I have a Caltech and a MIT resume in front of me, guess which one goes in the ..." I definitely admire the camaraderie between fellow alumni.

The last thing I'll say is my mentor from my school once told me that finding a job requires persistence and humor. Most importantly is the question he posed to us (the non-targets): If you knew that the 100th person you spoke with would help you land a job, would you stop at the 99th?

That and hustling, I think, will push the limits.

DUDE, WHY DIDN'T YOU TRANSFER OUT TO A DIFFERENT SCHOOL????

-------------------------------------------------- "Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, 'Would an idiot do that?' And if they would, I do NOT do that thing." -Dwight Schrute, "The Office"-
Jan 28, 2010 - 10:55am

Hey Bespoke Analyst,

I really couldn't afford it. I was accepted to a good school in New York State that had several land-grant colleges but couldn't pay the bill for it.

Jan 22, 2010 - 6:02pm

thats a major bummer. i feel for you, dude.

i also think you should reach out to only alumni at this point. somebody WILL help you somehow. i think linked in is a pretty good resource, i know people who have used it and they have had some success. also, keep in touch with your school's career center.

also, you dont seem to be having trouble getting interviews, so i assume your resume is ok. maybe you need to work on interviewing if youre being dropped mid-process?

edit - i was a little slow to reply, ddint see the last post

--- man made the money, money never made the man
Jan 22, 2010 - 6:05pm

Sorry to hear that things haven't worked out to date yet, but I really admire your perseverance and persistence. This is really impressive. I know this sounds trite but try to keep your head in the game; I'm sure something will work out eventually. You seem to be doing all the right things.

In the meantime, I was wondering why you thought the Blackrock recruiter looked down upon your networking efforts. I mean, I'd think that most employers should applaud you for the efforts that you underwent in hopes of getting a job right? Am I missing something here?

​* http://www.linkedin.com/in/numicareerconsulting
Jan 28, 2010 - 11:33am

Hey numi, I think that particular person didn't like me because I didn't follow the rules (too old to be an intern), and I went over her head to senior level personnel--such as MDs, VPs, etc. of recruiting. Also, I wasn't a target of what they were looking for, so I think by being aggressive in networking, it pushed that particular person back. At that time in April of 2009, they had just laid off a lot of people, and everyone was looking for a job. I guess it's just timing and circumstance that went wrong there.

Jan 22, 2010 - 6:17pm

just read youre last post. wow. keep up the effort, you WILL get the job you want.

--- man made the money, money never made the man
Jan 22, 2010 - 6:23pm

How non target was your undergrad school? 3.6 from a non target in this economy means you are going to getting TONS of rejections. There are simply thousands of more qualified people out there. However, holy crap do I admire your perseverance. I'm delivering pizzas currently because I couldn't find a job. Hopefully it will break eventually, but I'm just warning you it's not going to be easy at all.

Jan 22, 2010 - 6:47pm

Are you from the Boston area?

Also, what was the name of the MD you spoke with at BC, who was from a Piper-like firm? PM the name. I may know who you're talking about. If it is who I think it may be, I may be of more help to you than you (and I) think.

Jan 28, 2010 - 11:30am

There's definitely nothing wrong with Ops or custody, since it's a better job that others may not even get. Nothing wrong with CVS too, but logically, you are not in a place where you can develop relevant skills or be in places of opportunity to get into the industry.

Jan 22, 2010 - 7:34pm

I certainly admire your perseverance.

However, most of the banks are doing the exact same thing as RBC CM that you mentioned in your post above. They want experienced analysts only for lateral positions, even if it is a 1st year lateral. This requirement alone will give you, and all the other fresh graduates on this forum who are looking for a job in banks, a very tough time.

It is a good thing to network, but your network, albeit being very aggressive, has yielded limited actual interview opportunities and looks like most of them ended at an early stage. Personally, I think you need to narrow down your networking contacts. It is tough to get in touch with over 100 people, especially when you have little updates on your own credentials and when they are not your alumni.

Also, try to find some opportunities within your match. You need some success to maintain your confidence and your resilience. Otherwise, you'll soon burn out by these constant rejections.

Btw, prepare an alternative plan. Frankly, it is a tough situation. It is important to maintain your morale and confidence, but morale and confidence alone are not enough.

Jan 28, 2010 - 11:25am

Spoken like someone who knows the job market. Like someone said earlier, I am but of thousands of 2009 May and 2009 December graduates who don't have that 1-2 years of experience for "entry level" jobs, are too old for internships to fight it out for FT, and 2007, 2008, and 2010 in competition.

I wanted to do an Analyst Exchange program, but it's a no-brainer of the vicious cycle. No money, no training, no graduate school--no experience for the job. Most of the lateral positions that come word of mouth are for experienced analysts too. I've had phone interviews just for that, and I really felt regret after losing that chance.

It seems that the only two paths now are join the Army or the Navy and take out loans for a graduate school program.

My alternative plan is to find a full time job that allows me to stay relevant, and to keep on studying for those exams that maintain a demonstrated interest in this industry. I'm retaking the SAT March 13th, taking my GMAT, GRE, and if I could scrounge up the money for initial membership and fee, to sit down for a CFA I next year.

Jan 22, 2010 - 7:54pm

Apply to the Army's Officer Candidate School, serve as an Officer, go to a top MBA program, and then apply to associate positions. All the banks will love your military leadership experience (and you'll become a better man for what you've gone through).

Jan 28, 2010 - 11:17am

Easy E, I've thought about that, OCS, and the Navy OCS. I met an analyst from Jefferies at an info. session who did just that, went to GW on the GI bill, and got his shot. I'm going to ask him about it, and make sure it's something I could do.

Jan 22, 2010 - 11:56pm

I'm in a similar boat, minus the interviews and that much networking.

May 2009 graduate, still unemployed.

I do have phone calls with 2 senior investment bankers at boutiques coming on Monday tho :)

-- Recent Actuarial Science (good statistical skills) grad looking for entry-level work ANYWHERE. Writing CFA Level 1 in June 2010. Passed 3 actuarial exams.
Jan 28, 2010 - 11:27am

studentnel,

Best of luck on your journey too. How was your phone interview or informational interview? Actually since you are good with statistics and perhaps the packaging software, I'd recommend you apply to Analysis Group--they are a litigation consulting firm that uses a lot of Matlab, SAS, etc. I know for a fact (because one of my friends had a job there), that they review every resume and application. http://www.analysisgroup.com -- it's headquartered in Boston, and they are hiring for Chicago, and SF.

Jan 23, 2010 - 5:11pm

Hey thanks for making this thread. I've been lurking on this site for a while now and wanted to chime in upon reading your story.

I'm in a fairly similar situation regarding unemployment. I graduated May 2009 and have been unemployed since. I've been looking for a job while teaching physics part time at a local high school near my house.

I attended a target, but got into the banking game a bit late. After my junior year, I was able to secure an internship at a boutique, which was a fine experience, but given the market in fall 09, not enough to get me a solid FT offer at any BB firm. The boutique wasn't looking to hire FT, but I have good rapport with MDs and associates there.

Senior year, I was actually lucky enough to get into HBS with deferred admission, but on the job front, still no luck.

I've done a lot of networking with alums and the like, have applied to hundreds of places and literally hundreds of cover letters, but nothing has panned out. I wake up every morning and spend hours applying to jobs. It's tough, because, as others have pointed out, people in our positon are competing against 07 and 08 grads with a year of experience, and firms aren't looking to take us as lateral hires because of our lack of experience.

I'm not sure what to do at this point either. My teaching job pays very little and the entire process has been a struggle.

I take heart in the fact that there's a lot of ppl out there like us right now, and unfortunately, even more in worse positions, and am trying to stay appreciative of what I've got.

Jan 23, 2010 - 7:32pm

You're perseverance is admirable. And I'm with ya, I attend a state school too. I flew to NYC just to attend a recruiting event for a BB. Thankfully, I was able to connect with an employee, and I have my final round interview(s) next week. Pretty much my only shot of landing an IB gig at a BB.

Have you checked out regional banks? I know many of them have IB arms. And I've already decided that if I don't land an internship, I'm going to work for free just to get the experience.

Jan 23, 2010 - 9:04pm

Bro - this is an incredibly hard time. You're certainly experiencing the worst of it, but as many have commented, you're not alone.

It's just an incredibly tough time to get into IB. I'm also a May 2009 MBA graduate. I've been networking, shaking hands, taking people out to coffee, trying to get the inside scoop on any upcoming positions, etc. Little (or nothing) has worked.

And - like you - I have family beginning to doubt the wisdom of my dogged interest in IB. But those of us in this forum have a unique bond in our desire to be in the field, and I just wanted to express my encouragement to you as well.

In the long term, I think all of us will be able to better bankers due to our experience in this downturn. If it's true (as so many experienced people have said) that this is the "worst downturn since the Great Depression", than it can only get better from this point forward.

Find a way to make some income so that you can stay afloat. Live to fight another day. Soon all of us will land the jobs we're looking for, and we'll drink to better days.

Don't give up.

Jan 23, 2010 - 11:17pm
Swannyknif:
Bro - this is an incredibly hard time. You're certainly experiencing the worst of it, but as many have commented, you're not alone.

It's just an incredibly tough time to get into IB. I'm also a May 2009 MBA graduate. I've been networking, shaking hands, taking people out to coffee, trying to get the inside scoop on any upcoming positions, etc. Little (or nothing) has worked.

And - like you - I have family beginning to doubt the wisdom of my dogged interest in IB. But those of us in this forum have a unique bond in our desire to be in the field, and I just wanted to express my encouragement to you as well.

In the long term, I think all of us will be able to better bankers due to our experience in this downturn. If it's true (as so many experienced people have said) that this is the "worst downturn since the Great Depression", than it can only get better from this point forward.

Find a way to make some income so that you can stay afloat. Live to fight another day. Soon all of us will land the jobs we're looking for, and we'll drink to better days.

Don't give up.

Although I agree that he is very dedicated to investment banking...how is he certain that he will like ibanking after all? He hasn't had a legitimate IBD internship/job yet.

I think there is a point where you reassess your situation/abilities and try a different route. This doesn't mean you are giving up...you can't just go on like this forever. Sooner or later, you will be in a deep shit living in your parents' basement. Why don't you look at other areas and then go for MBA then try again for IBD?

Plus, is networking that important? I feel like it is important...but not as much as people make it out to be. Most kids who have offers never knew their interviewers prior to their interviews...(myself included). How prevalent is getting IBD jobs through networking? Surely, I went to company presentations and etc...but beyond that, I didn't actively network at all. Most of my friends who have offers never went beyond attending company presentations on campus...and those are mostly bull-shit presentations full of corporate cliches...I only went for food and drinks.

-------------------------------------------------- "Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, 'Would an idiot do that?' And if they would, I do NOT do that thing." -Dwight Schrute, "The Office"-
Jan 24, 2010 - 8:02am
BespokeAnalyst2010:
Swannyknif:
Redacted

Although I agree that he is very dedicated to investment banking...how is he certain that he will like ibanking after all? He hasn't had a legitimate IBD internship/job yet.

I think there is a point where you reassess your situation/abilities and try a different route. This doesn't mean you are giving up...you can't just go on like this forever. Sooner or later, you will be in a deep shit living in your parents' basement. Why don't you look at other areas and then go for MBA then try again for IBD?

Plus, is networking that important? I feel like it is important...but not as much as people make it out to be. Most kids who have offers never knew their interviewers prior to their interviews...(myself included). How prevalent is getting IBD jobs through networking? Surely, I went to company presentations and etc...but beyond that, I didn't actively network at all. Most of my friends who have offers never went beyond attending company presentations on campus...and those are mostly bull-shit presentations full of corporate cliches...I only went for food and drinks.


That's because you go to a target. Non-target guys need to network to be given a shot.
Jan 28, 2010 - 12:17pm

I think the networking is the only card I have left considering the odds. But you're right, there's no guarantee I would like it or any job. I'm actually casting a very wide net to see where any of my skills could be used in a relevant field. Nothing against target schools either, because you guys put in the work and you deserve being picked by the companies.

For HR, it's about low risk and high risk hires. If a school historically comes, then they know the quality of the students, and there's a lasting relationship.

For non-targets, sometimes the firms have never heard of the schools, and we have to build the relationship from the starting point. Imagine a HR recruiter getting the same "I'll work really hard" emails from students--but some they've taken before, and some they have no idea about.

In my case, I'm living in the living room of my grandparents 1-bedroom apartment, and they don't want me there. I'm here because most of the recruiting events happen around here. So I spend most of my time at the nearby school's library and computer center, staying overnight, or going where there's internet to get a job, walking into small businesses with my resume, doing research surveys, taking down names from flyers, etc. so I can get a job, move my two suitcases out, and start my life.

I definitely did make some poor decisions about my major and which school I went to in the past. Up until 2007, I didn't know these were mistakes. The WSJ and Bloomberg are right about the surge in Princeton/Harvard's admissions. When in doubt, there's a flight to quality, and you can always get a job.

I went to a Northeastern career fair, and there were MSF candidates in the same line with me for insurance company jobs. I was thinking of doing a night program there had I some money, but now, even an advanced degree is no guarantee, unless it is from a top institution. And that's a fact.

Jan 28, 2010 - 11:05am

Swannyknif, thanks man for the note. What you've said about that bond is incredibly true. So far, the people who've reached out to offer me suggestions were in my similar shoes. A lot of times I just think I wish I chose a different major or chose my high school decisions differently, but what matters now is how I follow through. Unlike an assignment or a client project, there's no certainty, so I guess what we can do now is increase our bets by networking. And believe me, that is the only way.

The jobs online--I went to a networking etiquette session at a very good school's career office, and the counselor said (where he was before), we definitely hire by referral, but for EOE purposes, sometimes we post a job online... for a day.

I won't give up man, and when I do get a job, I'm not going to sit back because of what I went through to be in that seat.

Jan 24, 2010 - 6:04am

Will private message you. It's clear you're trying as hard as possible.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
Jan 28, 2010 - 11:39am

Thanks jtbbdx, I got your message. Sorry for all the delays, I've been writing these letters to people all week and didn't check my WSO account.

Jan 24, 2010 - 5:09pm

Hey bud, got your email. Not the same guy I was thinking of, but I still may be of some help. It went directly to my work email so I'll give you a shout tomorrow, but keep on networking -- I went to a non-target (borderline semi-) and had to network my ass off to get in, so I can tell you 100% that at this point it's about working hard and dumb luck, so keep cranking on what you can control.

Jan 28, 2010 - 10:50am

Hey ringtailedlemur,

I missed the deadline for Teaching Fellows now, but someone on here mentioned City Year, so I'll be making an application for it. I know people apply again the next year, but at this point it seems unrealistic to gain another sizeable gap in employment for a shot at TFA. I honestly believe in the mission, and like the other thousands of applicants, put in the dues of research, writing, and waiting 30 days for that decision. But I'll keep it in mind; my situation has changed to more of a surviving/getting by/paying the bills this year.

Jan 25, 2010 - 5:40pm

Wow, just wow.

I had a few things in my cubicle that I keep around me for motivation and wanted to share two in particular:

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing."
-Mohammad Ali AKA The GREATEST ever to lace up a pair of gloves.

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. -Michael Jordan

Side note: Have you tried big Four TAS? Have you looked into being a Valuation Analyst at A Duff and Phelps or BDO Seidman type place? Not ideal, I admit, but desperate times ....Have you thought about being Corp/Commercial banking? looked into working at one of the ratings agency's or looking into insurance companies? Sounds crazy but they have huge teams of equity and fixed income researchers. Have you checked F500 corp finance teams or intenral strategy teams? GE FMP type programs? May not be the most ideal career start, but most of these postions would put you in a plcae to lateral into IB or get a decent MBA and come in at the associat level. A

With your internship in AM, have you tried Fidelity?

You are in Boston I take it?
Have you looked into the MFin at BC? Are you willing to move out of Boston? B/C there is the MMS at Duke or the MFin at Vanderbilt or the MS in Commercce fromm UVA? It would be a few etxra bucks but it sounds like you have the knowledge and definitely the drive, just not a "Target" school on your resume. Not ideal, but again, desperate times...

Good luck dude.

Jan 28, 2010 - 10:44am

Hey dzx, thanks for the message and apologies for the delay.

The GE FMP program is a great start, and it did produce many top leaders in finance. I did apply for it, and one student, a friend of mine got it from our school. They took 6 months to get back to him, and he called every week. I asked what kept you going, and he said that he was just hungry for it and didn't care who he had to annoy. He beat out 2 Yale candidates, and it was very inspiring.

This week, I'll write letters out to the people I met in the Big 4. I used to write emails, but emails are easily deleted. Letters on the other hand, especially thank you cards, you can't really throw away that easily. I know it's not easy reaching out because it takes about 1-2 hours per letter to make a convincing case, and it's only one shot really. But I think I will send out 200-300 letters to names I got from my high school network, my alumni network, and people's emails that are on public websites.

I definitely looked at the MSF in finance at BC, and I think that program requires a bit of work experience. Sadly, the one thing keep me from graduate school is the cost. Even though I went to a state, I'm still paying back the Direct Loans I used to for the tuition. But I think it may need to come down to that, so I'll definitely look into creative ways to finance a masters.

Jan 25, 2010 - 9:41pm

Sent you an email -- hoping it actually went through. Let me know if you got it, and if not... PM me your email and I'll send it over.

Jan 28, 2010 - 10:37am

I got your email jimbrown, and sent one back from the address I use more often. Thanks man.

Jan 31, 2010 - 12:18am

No worries on the late reply, you have your hands full anyway.

Anyway, I know that it's hard out there right now, but dude, Army/Navy OCS.....it's not a bad idea, but keep in mind we are at war in Iraq and even after we "leave" we will have a residual presence there for years to come. And in Afghanistan, things are begining to heat up.

I have a sibling that is an officer in the military right now, and not a day goes by that I am not worries about him.

For a shot at an MBA from a top school, it's a huge risk, literally life, limb or death. Honestly, even Public school teachers get into Harvard.

Have you thought about working for the city/county/state? Again not Ideal, but they do provide tution reimbursement and may give you time to study for the CFA. Speaking of which have you tried professional organizations? I know a guy that got an interview at a local hedgefund by talking to a guy he met at a Turnaround Management Asociation mixer. Another buddy got a job as a trader from Networking at a local CFA chapter meeting.

I'm probably telling you about stuff you have already tried, but on the off chance it helps you, I'll put it out there anyway. Best of luck. The world needs more fighters like you in it.

Jan 31, 2010 - 1:51pm

I wouldn't take the SAT again unless you were 100% sure you can 2150+ it. Focus on the GMAT and CFA level 1. I rocked the former and passed the latter and it has opened a lot of doors. PM me if you need any tips or books. I really admire your trying this hard.

Feb 2, 2010 - 4:50pm

admire your perseverance, as i'm from a non-target state as well (likely in the bottom half of large state programs, maybe top 100 overall on a good day) and really had to bust my ass to get interviews. i'm sure you've probably done this, but work on your resume until it is virtually flawless, i must have spent a 100+ hours tweaking mine during recruiting season. also i think a good idea is asking the people with whom you've networked but struck out with for an honest opinion of what you may be doing wrong, besides your experience/academic credentials.

at least to me, there seems to be no real reason why you haven't had any luck yet based on the efforts and qualifications you describe in your posts. however there may be one little thing that , for whatever reason, may be rubbing people the wrong way and turning them off. i had similar struggles early on and thankfully was told by an alum that there is a fine line between being persistent and being a nuisance. not saying this is the case, but any negative feedback you can get may be more valuable than anything positive.

gotta keep a chip on your shoulder and maintain an underdog mentality, someone will eventually respect you for it. from one non-target to another, keep up the good fight and show those ivy league yuppies whassup.

Feb 3, 2010 - 4:33pm

I find myself in a similar situation, the choice I decided to make was to find employment in a somewhat related field with a F500 company. You should look at companies like Bloomberg, but the main point is that, companies would rather hire someone who is currently employed rather than someone who is not. So just try to get a job at a reputable company, even if its not related to bannking.

Feb 4, 2010 - 9:33am

I am in a similar situation as yourself but with a lot of internship (Corp F100) experience. My advice, get off the internet, and get in front of people. If you are confident, smart, and can demonstrate that you are a low-risk, value pick, u have a chance. Also look for jobs outside of IB. There are a lot of trading assistant positions. But walk in the door and get in front of people. No replacement for that.

Mar 31, 2010 - 12:22am

Imagine going through pretty strikingly similar with a 3.5+ from a target school with majors in Computer Egr and Econ.

Recruiting was just terrible.

Go the F500 route, that's what Ive done. There are lots of interesting opportunities - and you can get away with working 35-40 hrs a week.

Nov 21, 2010 - 2:50pm

Guys I'm going to help you all get jobs. PM me if you're still having trouble. 3 years gave me a lot of insight, and a very big rolodex for IB/consulting/trading.

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