You are FIRED - living through that experience

Someone posted about being fired from their bank today. So I decided to share my two cents of a similar experience and how horrible the past three months of my job were.

Hey man, shit happens.

The Background
I got a 50k IB associate job at a shit bank with 3 partners, a VP, and another associate (young guy but big time douche bag). I took a low paying IB job (vs a 100k consulting job) because I wanted to learn and grow (and the boutique IB firm knew that). I soon realized that no one out there actually knew financial modeling. Even simple DCF's. I didn't know much myself either. I did think initially that there will be some sort of training, maybe not like the BB but some level of training. Eventually, I had to train myself. The only thing I did learn out there was making presentations and that too a lot of it I learned myself. But because these guys were so anal about getting the format font etc right I learned how to be the best at creating CIP's.

The Stage is Set
In 3 months the company told me that things aren't working out and in another 3 months I'd most probably have to leave (I think they started looking for alternatives and a cheaper analyst too - they hired someone for 30k a year later). But the next 3 months for me were horrible, the people at the firm were all old, white, sexists, racists, homophobes. My VP (about 70ish yr old guy) used to constantly mimic an Indian accent (I'm Indian) and said that's his British sense of humor. I had the most horrible time of my life at that firm during those 3 months. Needless to say, my wife and I started having problems because of the job etc.

Problems at Home
Eventually, when I got laid off I started working for a senior banker who for some reason was working solo on a $60M sell-side transaction and an $8M buy-side transaction. I started working for free for him initially as I just wanted to learn and stick in the industry. He trained me, taught me a bunch of stuff, I did a lot of work for him, anything and everything I learned at my old firm - mostly making CIP's. He started paying me a monthly stipend (1k) and has offered to pay a % of the deal (70k) when it closes. He flys me to the client's location often and treats me like a VP now. I ended up hiring two interns from my grad school and am training them the way I hoped my old firm trained me. And in hindsight, I feel it would have been so much better if I left the old firm when they said things aren't working out. So I would say its a better if someone gets fired overnight than dragging it for months.

IB is a great field man. I'm in it for the money and the meeting people, making financial models, creating CIP's are just a bonus. I never knew that I would enjoy being a perfectionist (still learning to be better). Especially because I thought I could never be one. I think just doing the same thing, again and again, does make you fall in love with what you do. Now that I manage two analysts/interns, I am now learning how to carry out a deal independently with as little intervention from my partner. My goal is to keep working for the guy I'm working for the next year or so and then move to a decent firm where I have job security and can make money. My Partner knows my plan and is supportive of me. He has offered me to stay on board too but understands the situation. I do feel lucky I found a banker like him to guide me. I'm always learning and growing and I think that's what always works. Hard work, hard work, and some more hard work. I also interviewed at a bunch of IB firms (Baird, Jefferies, Stifel and a few smaller ones) where I made it to the final round but was either put on hold (so that they could offer a job in case the first choice candidate declined) or got dinged. Once I have a decent experience I plan to hit the market with all I have and till then keep polishing myself.

Do you guys have any suggestions/recommendations of what you would do differently?

Comments (18)

Aug 13, 2018

apologies dont have much to add but out of interest is this states or UK? what was your prior experience to swing an associate role without having done much modelling before (based on your comment regarding needing training)

Aug 13, 2018

@moneytrail This is in the US - a small city on the east coast. I was able to swing an associate role as I had recently graduated from business school (non-target business school, but ranked top 10 at the university level). I had about 4 years of experience at the big4 in its consulting group before this. The partner who hired me said that they'll hire me at the associate level but I'm pretty much an analyst (with a similar pay).

Aug 13, 2018

70 year old VP?

Aug 13, 2018

@EbbsAndFlows Yeah I think he joined the firm at a really mature age and has been working there since. He pretty much is the only one who runs the shop but doesn't know anything about financial modeling. I think he plans to retire soon.

Aug 13, 2018

Your story sounds similar to that of a friend of mine. I would first start off by figuring out why the first bank told you it is not working out. How was your performance? Second, I would spend some time looking at what went wrong in these interviews. How is your interviewing style? I would consider the WSO Mentors Program which I used when I was lateraling from a boutique to a MM. If you are getting interviews at top MMs and making it to the final round without eventually getting an offer, you are most likely not leaving them with a hook or not a fit personality-wise.

You crossed off the hardest checkbox (IB experience). Now you just have to get a job.

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Aug 13, 2018

@Sil The first bank told me it's not working out because they realized that I'm as clueless about financial modeling as they are. My performance was good in that I was very hard working and my partner felt bad for me and said that where ever I go he'll personally put in a word for me and give me a good recommendation (saying that I am hard working). What didn't work for me - since I was given the first signal that things are not working out, the VP literally use to point out any and every mistake he could possibly catch. Sometimes the partner and he would call me in the conference room to shout at me for not updating a contact sheet or something like that only to find out after 20 minutes that the VP hadn't forwarded the email. In which case it was a slap on the wrist for him.
My interview style - I'm not sure how to answer that about myself. I would imagine I'm smart and confident and not cocky. But honestly, I'm not sure. I'll check out the WSO mentors program.

I feel during the final rounds fit might be a big part of it. I mean, I'm technically very savvy, I've been a people person all throughout my life (got my jobs and internship through meeting/networking with people). I felt at most places the reason was either that I'm not for the vicinity so it might make sense to hire someone from around town or someone with a strong work experience (rather than me who has less than a years work experience in I-banking in the states). I do think the industry is hard to get into if you are not a white guy.

Aug 13, 2018

So, the first role did not work out because you lack financial modeling skills. Now, obviously these bankers sound like a bunch of unprofessional dolts, but on the bright side, you know exactly what you need to fix. I would work to correct this right away. Perhaps your current role will allow you to do so?

Are you tying everything back to your experience in interviews? For example, if you are asked whether you prefer BBs or MMs, tie your answer to your experience and how working with X, Y, and Z has prepared you for BBs or MMs.

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Aug 13, 2018

My bosses have never officially fired me due to fear of their own safety.

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Aug 13, 2018

@MonacoMonkey haha good for you!

Aug 14, 2018

Your perseverance is inspirational. Keep grafting - eventually you will get hired by the right place and you'll be in a position where you can capitalize and prove yourself. Until then, keep hustling (learning as much as you can on the technical side, and trying to nail your interviews when you get them). You may get rejected 20 times more before you get that role, but you'll get it eventually. Really admire your perseverance and hustle. Keep at it

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Aug 14, 2018

@saracen Thanks, man. Appreciate it. I honestly believe if you keep hustling the world will conspire to deliver what you want. I know it's overused but I think it's true.

Aug 15, 2019

@saracen - Finally landed a job in IB with a Big4
Your comment to my post was encouraging so thought I'd share this update with you.

Aug 14, 2018

100% - you just need to keep at it. The difficulty of the path will only make it more satisfying when you get to where you want to be. A lot of very successful people have incredible stories where they have taken the unconventional route and worked their ass off to get where they are today, and they are more impressive for it.

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Aug 14, 2018

Look at it this way: From your description of the people at this firm, you were either not learning anything, or what you were "learning" was wrong and will need to be unlearned, painfully, later. And you were doing all that for below-market compensation.
Yes, you need to pay your bills and unemployment is no fun, but trust me, you'll soon look back on this (your having been fired) as a positive development.

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Aug 19, 2018
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