In this incredibly competitive industry, I figured someone might be curious if anyone had ever lied on their resume to gain a more favorable appearance and land interviews. I have, and here is my story.
A few important things about me:
1) I attend a Non-Target State school on the West coast.
2) I had very few connections to Wall Street, but consider myself an above average networker.
3) I learned more about myself and the finance industry throughout this experience than I could have possibly imagined.
When I was a sophomore in undergrad, I began to develop an interest in finance and began to do a bit of research on my own. Through online research and reading forums such as this one, I learned that there were target schools and non-target schools that the biggest banks in the world primarily recruited from. I have always been a competitive person and like to challenge myself, so I began to ask myself the question "Why not me?". I have a very close relationship to the Dean of the business school I attend and I reached out to him to see if he had any contacts in the NYC area who would be willing to help out a young guy like me. He introduced me to a few people and gave me a list of alumni that I could cold contact, and I began to network. At the time I simply felt a feeling in my heart to get out to NY but had no industry knowledge... AKA I had no idea what the hell I was talking about, and just about every alumni who had responded to my initial outreaches became aware of this after having conversations with me.
However, I was learning and picking up on how to effectively communicate with these people more and more with each conversation. After many unsuccessful attempts to establish genuine and valuable relationships, I hit a gold mine. I contacted an alumnus who for some reason saw something in me and began to tell me about what he did and train me to get ready for the interview process that was upcoming. I couldn't believe my luck, and was incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have such a helpful person on my side. He worked in the sales side of S&T at a top Bulge Bracket firm, and he invited me to go to a networking event to get to know more people in the firm. I of course went to the event, and hit it off with the people I met with, and at this event I also learned that the alum I had been talking to for a few months was the head of non-target school recruiting. I thought I was going to fall over- GOLD MINE. After the event, I was notified that I would be put through an accelerated interview process. I was on cloud nine. I couldn't believe how lucky I was and how many things had fallen into place to help me accomplish my dream.
HERE'S THE FATAL MISTAKE: before all of this happened, I filled out my application and submitted a resume that showed an exaggerated GPA, because I did not think I even stood a chance at landing a first round with a place like this. I know now how incredibly stupid this was, so feel free to eat shit if you want to comment and tell me this, I KNOW.
I had afast approaching and several people in the organization mock interviewing me, prepping me and introducing me to other's in the firm. I was in the perfect place to land an offer, but began to realize how hard everyone I was speaking with had worked to get to this point and it was eating away at me inside. After consulting several people who I trusted dearly and getting very mixed answers to what they thought I should do, I cancelled my super day and apologized to all the people I had been in contact with. Those were some of the hardest conversations I have had in my life and they were not happy, obviously.
I was devastated. I had just fucked up what at the time I thought was the best opportunity I would ever get in my entire life. I was actually depressed for a good month or so, but felt good about the decision I had made to do what was right. Later in the same month that I cancelled my interview, I received an offer to take awas a 6-month full-time job DURING the school year. At this moment, I was sure as hell that I did not want to work in corporate finance, but saw the unique situation this would put me in. It would delay my schooling enough for me to get another shot at getting out to Wall St and NYC for an internship- the dream was still alive!
I accepted the Corp Fin. Internship knowing that I had no desire to work there full time, and put my life on pause with the intention to keep my dream alive. The corporate finance job was great experience, but I fucking hated it. I learned a ton about myself and that hard work is always appreciated even if you don't love what you do everyday. Because I worked my ass off at work and was hitting the networking grind as hard as I could, I was also able to land aat small, but respected West coast firm during the summer that I would have spent in NYC had I not been a dumb ass.
Guess what- I fucking loved every second of what I was doing and realized that I was way better fit to do Asset Management than I would have been doing S&T. I found my passion and began to set my sights on NYC again, cold emailing and calling firms that I was interested for the upcoming summer. I was relentless, and made numerous meaningful contacts that were happy to help me learn about each firm and job title that I was interested in.
I did it right this time, and my resume reflected exactly who I am and what I had accomplished. I received super days at each of my targeted firms, and Just two weeks ago I accepted an offer that I have dreamed about for years. Redemption is sweet, and doing it with the experience I had a year earlier made it that much sweeter.
What did I learn that I think some fellow monkeys can take away?
1) Your character is the best part of who you are. Never compromise it, and always always tell the truth.
2) I learned that the reason I was able to make it so far the first time was not because of my GPA or my resume. It was who I am as a person. They loved who I was, and I had believed the lie that I wasn't good enough. Please don't believe that you aren't good enough just because you don't have a 4.0 or go to HPY. You can do anything if you are passionate and relentless.
3) Do the right thing. It might seem hard to do at times, but it will serve you well in your careers and lives.
4)and don't give up, ever.