cal1k1d wrote: didntgo89072014 wrote:
englandco wrote:OK. I used to work at Houlihan Lokey and saw my share of recruiting as well. Here's my take just briefly (and apologies if my advice is repetitive... I didn't really read your initial post closely and haven't looked at the rest of the thread)
You have a sub-3 undergraduate GPA. As someone who doesn't have seemingly much IB experience, you will have a very difficult time getting into HL's Restructuring Group, which on its own takes Wharton undergrads a lot. You will REALLY need to network if that's your target right now.
If your target is private equity, you're better served avoiding bschool if you don't have any IB experience beforehand. On top of that a lot of the time people who are in PE after bschool actually have PE experience prior to going to bschool as an associate at a PE firm. Unless you go to a TOP BSCHOOL that has a lot of Wall Street alumni (i.e. Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, NYU, Booth maybe) you'll have a tough time getting a job in any finance field that's not BS.
Anyway, if I were you I'd work on getting the IB experience first if PE is your target, forgo the JD, and then get into the best business school you possibly can. You'll need a solid amount of work experience, and good work experience at that (including awesome work recommendations, showing leadership, not making excuses like you did a LOT in your opening post) before you can even consider applying, to be perfectly honest.
So instead of worrying about the LSAT and whatnot, I would really spend the time networking your ass off. Get your foot into the door at a reputable firm and then get some good work experience.
/thread, great advice from the horse's mouth
I do have full time Banking experience but in Public Finance, my experience has been appealing to all the restructuring guys I have talked to as I did some work relating to the Harrisburg bankruptcy and also did some bankruptcy related debt raisings for distressed municipalities. Everyone is starting to do more and more in Municipal bankruptcies with whats going on in Cali and in Detroit.
I also know that the group consistently pulls from wharton as well as Harvard, NYU, Yale, etc. which is why I avoided the standard OCR process. I wouldn't of had a shot being that I am a square peg in a round hole. I am waiting for off-cycle where I can interview against a handful of kids and people (in general) are looking for someone who can come in and do the job so skills and work experience are more important.. At least that is how it was for us at my old shop.
Ideally I really wanna do HL FRG --> Distressed PE and just stay there, but the reality is that I will likely get the 2/3 and out treatment. Were you in the restructuring group? If so which office? And what funds actively recruited there? I know a decent number of funds still pull from traditional BB IB for their funds instead of the more relevant restructuring groups.
My feelings towards the JD are its potential relevance to Distressed PE and it would get at least an extra look for post-mba PE. I would revise your statement that I wouldn't do an mba unless I had pre-mba PE experience because there are always more pre-mba associate positions than there are post-mba associate positions since the later is generally seen as a partner track.
Due to geographic and content preference I was not in FRG, but in CorpFin (dealing only with M&A) in an industry group. But obviously know people in and have worked fairly extensively with FRG.
Agreed that you will need go in off-cycle. I would caution you on a couple things. First, it's definitely difficult to lateral into a group without networking, which I'm sure you are aware of. Why I'm emphasizing the networking so much is because a lot of people think that the only thing they'll need to do is simply get some good stuff onto the resume and then they'll be able to make a lateral move. Obviously that's paramount; however, it's going to help incredibly much if you really start to get to know people in the FRG office in which you're interested in working.
Re: what firms recruit at HL? Right now a lot of MM to lower-MM PE funds. But my buddy who was my analyst mentor did get recruited into a tip-top megacap PE fund. Don't want to say which because it might give his identity away. Another buddy of mine is at a super top HF.
Additionally keep in mind that HL FRG works primarily on the creditor side, not the debtor side. Sounds like a subtle distinction, but it's actually quite important. Sadly, debtor side is more "prestigious," which means the dudes at Blackstone RX, Perella Weinberg RX, or the BBs for example are gonna get the top PE offers. When I left HL the activity in FRG was slowing down pretty substantially, which is interesting to note.
Nonetheless I LOVED my HL experience.
Anyway, long story short, personally I don't believe your situation is most conducive to a JD. The reasoning? Your academic record is unfortunately lackluster. Thus, it'll be tough to convince adcoms that you are going to excel in the classroom. Not to say that it's impossible or that you are incapable, just stating the facts based on numbers. Nothing wrong with that at all.
However, it's just going to take so much more hustle to get to what you want, which is Distressed PE. As Kevin Garnett eloquently put it, "Anything is possible." You honestly just need to get your foot in the door using alternate methods, not the traditional. And that not only means networking, but also working your ass off in true investment banking work experience (no offense, please, none intended whatsoever, just stating the absolute truth).
I have full faith that you'll get to where you want to be in the end if you forget about the past, focus on the present and future, and work really really hard. I didn't have a steller undergraduate GPA either (mine was mediocre), but I got recruited into IB because I networked my ass off and figured out who to talk to, what to say, what to do, and how to best position myself for where I wanted to be at the time. I was probably one of the lowest-GPA hires HL has ever had, to be honest. I left as one of the top analysts in my class and had the opportunity to lateral to Goldman Sachs (I turned them down because I wanted to do something different). Once you're in finance, if you have the balls, you don't need "education" to get a step up over anyone. It takes drive and fire... if you have those and can showcase your natural aptitude on the job, you'll make it where you want to be.
Once again, good luck.