AuthorTopic: career advice please - how to get into the investment industry?
@2011-09-24 22:34:48
And a very sincere advice, that is... I will share you some of my history and what makes me write this message.

I was recently turned down a potential employment at a European investment bank in London. I reached the final-selection stage, as I usually do with consultancies, investment banks and other companies. But I was not given the offer, this time due to a "bad fit" for the research position and not knowing the technical stuff well enough. The other final selection stages I have been to have also always managed to come up with a reason for not hiring me. Each time there is a new reason.

What really bothers me is that it feels as if I have always had to fight twice as hard for changing my social situation, coming from a blue-collar background. Therefore, my resume has become strong over the years (I am 27 now) including two academic degrees, fluency in several languages, distinguished Army qualifications etc etc.

During my last assessment center (for Research Analyst), I was interviewed by two persons: the Head of Research and the Managing Director. The MD probed me on teamwork, leadership, financial and other skills, and the research guy on tecnical skills only. In my feedback report from HR, it says that the MD of the company was so impressed by me, by my broad background and the achievements etc, whereas the research guy told that they would expect to see more financial know-how.

I honestly dont know what to do now. I am starting to doubt myself and wonder if this is really the field for me? Maybe I am more of a generalist than a specialist? Maybe investment banking isnt for me? Though I dont think they are right, because I have seen the other final candidates and I think that I am far better than many of them, but I still dont get the job. It is making me tired and cynical failing over and over again. This time there were "only" about 5000 applicants for their class of 2012 programme, I think they maybe hired 10 and about 40 made it to the final round. I realise that I must be good to get this far, but what does it matter? Time is passing on and people dont miss out an opportunity to criticise why I am failing and why I am not being able to land a job.

Before this, I served as a Ranger in the Army, later got into Intelligence Analysis, later into Macroanalysis but what does it help? Nothing at all, it seems. I am banging my head against a brick wall and have nothing to fall back upon. The logical thing would be to aim slightly lower, and I agree with that, but when I apply for a more normal job they say that I dont fit their profile or that I am overqualified. Talk about contradictory circumstances...

Does anybody have advice on what I should do? I live in a really small town (2000 inhabitants...) and the job opportunities in the bigger cities require years of experience they say, or say that I am overqualified. The only persons and companies that are willing to give me a break are the big investment banks in London but there everything stops at the final selection. The only way out, so far, has been returning to the Army where I have a steady income but instead risk my life and I am away from my family and leave my social life on the shelf, sort of speaking. It is extremely frustrating that the only choices are heaven and hell, and no middle-way in sight.

So, what am I doing wrong? Is anybody willing to give me a break? I am globally mobile and willing to start at the lowest level if necessary. I have got top grades in two degrees (Economics, Pol Science), am fluent in 3 languages at got several internships and leadership experience and I am currently on unemployment benefits ($150 per week) and it is making me furious... not the money because I get along pretty well with my daytrading, but the situation is bothering me so much, because it is due to a structural barrier that is so hard to break.

I have $15000 on my pocket. I am thinking about buying a one-way ticket to New York, take into some terrible youth hostal and start applying to finance jobs or just simply step right into any bank over there and ask for a conversation with the Managing Director and ask him for work. Does it make any sense? I have no visa or anything, but I have got tons of motivation and drive.

In the Army, I was shot at several times and got out of it alive. I have walked the most miserable places on this earth and I will be xxxxxx if I cant get the job I want. The whole process of applying online for a job, wait 1 month to get a response, do some online tests, be called to a testing session a month later, an interview 2 weeks later and a final selection center 3 weeks later and at the end being rejected after having invested some 3 months in their application process is making me M A D.

Any advice? Comments? Offers for internships or janitor positions? You can take that to the bank, I will start by scraping the floors at Goldman Sachs if necessary grrrrrr.....
@2011-10-11 16:01:42
Free advice is worth what you pay for it, but ...

I'm intrigued that you've trained to go through the worst gauntlets imaginable and yet you're letting a bunch of establishment needledicks affect you. That route is no more advisable than sending a squad against a platoon of T-72s.

But try this on for size: keep thinking like the Ranger you are.

What if you stopped kowtowing to the temples of finance and did an end around? Find a ways to get them to work for you.

It's asymmetric warfare. Think like Carl Icahn, Henry Cravis and other true alchemists. Find an opportunity and magnify it and insert yourself in the deal for a small chunk. New York IS theoretically the place to do that - but do you even need to spend the $15K? There are airfare specials for $99 each way right now, I think. You could also make it happen in London. Come up with a deal, and pitch it to a mentor.

Not that *I* can even practice what I preach, but at least I can live vicariously through your conquests.

Argue you can't, argue you can. Either way, you're right. Or so said Henry Ford.
@2011-10-13 19:36:43
take it as an opportunity. ever thought about self employment? with your daytrading experiences you just need some folks with the same abilities, ta specialists of course, and then start a trading center. could be in utah if you have a fast connection. for the rest - you seem to apply for jobs. why not for internships to get to know some insiders? go for it, you will make it. on the other hand when i check investment banker forums i wonder if they really have a good life - social life is over so it seems...
@2011-10-14 16:54:23
Good luck. It's tough but you need to be tougher. Have you tried agencies? Try to get in a slightly lower position like associate and move up.
@2011-10-16 17:02:46
Why not go the most logical route and apply to top B-Schools in Europe and the US. This is where these companies all recruit so go where the hiring is.
@2017-12-21 13:44:00
Application for i-banking industry is always time-consuming. I have waited for two years in a bad-paid job position to get a chance in to the ib industry. Now I am waiting for another 9 months to look for opportunities to enter an international ib. And until now, I am still in the process and hardly see any fruits. But I am still patient, because this is the rule. As far as one is not born a ib, it takes a long time to break into the area.

So, do not give up, try to find another job that is similiar or useful in knowledge. And simutaneoulsy look for opportunities here, if you are keen enough.

CFA Discussion Topic: career advice please - how to get into the investment industry?

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