Just keep reading for verifiable proof …
My story will shock you …
And hopefully inspire you too.
DIARY OF A HARD-DRINKIN’,
HARD PARTYIN’ UNDERGRAD
My GPA was in the gutter.
So low I was in danger of being kicked out of undergrad.
I barely spoke English.
So little English I rarely gave it a try.
I stayed in the comfort zone of my native tongue.
[I’m from Korea by the way.]
I partied, drank and dated up a storm.
Oh yeah – I loved watching TV too …
I was all about entertainment.
I was an introvert.
Very quiet and measured.
Hangin’ out in the clubs loosened me up and relaxed me.
I liked that loosened up feeling.
I liked not being the introvert sometimes.
I really liked that not-giving-a-damn feeling.
It helped me socially.
I was not about studying at all.
[Studying!? Later for that dude!]
My school textbooks were so unused the binding would snap back at you.
if you tried to open one up.
And I never even dared to try and open them. LOL.
I left that to my friends and girlfriends.
They were astonished at the brand new look and feel of my textbooks.
SPIRALING DOWNWARD (IT’S ALWAYS
5’O CLOCK SOMEWHERE, RIGHT?)
Not one company would give me an internship.
[Looking back, can you blame them, tho?]
Failing at an interview was just another excuse to hit the clubs.
All night ‘til closing time.
“Tomorrow is another day” I would tell myself. But tonight … let’s play!
I felt bad.
But not bad enough to change.
It was apparently some kind of medium-bad.
Not quite all the way bad.
Change is hard.
Change is very hard.
It’s a force of nature.
One of the most powerful forces of nature you can came up against.
Man against nature is a powerful conflict.
In this story I was the casualty.
I just didn’t realize it yet.
I kept going to bars and partying.
I kept watching TV and hanging with my bros.
I lived for the clubs and my social life.
The only thing that mattered was getting my grind on.
It was all I cared about.
Every night was like “The Hangover.”
My crew was my wolfpack.
Who needs a strong GPA, a great command of the English Language, and career-focus when you have friends, beautiful girls and great clubs?
Then one day I hit rock bottom. I was unemployed. No prospects. All my friends were succeeding and going places in their careers. Not only was I the ONLY guy in my undergrad class who hadn’t landed that key first job out of College. I had NO Plan B. No safety net. It was beyond embarrassing. It was sad. I started to estrange myself from my friends and classmates because I was so ashamed. When I was around my Anglo-Saxon friends I felt like they were giving me a derogatory look like, “Hey, hopeless Asian Guy, there is no place for you in our country.”
Reality had finally sunk in.
I was a failure.
I had the wrong priorities.
I lacked focus.
I was going nowhere.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
I was ready to admit defeat.
The black hole that was my job prospects started to wear on me.
[And it was a really big black hole. Trust me.]
And it was scary.
Self-reflection time set in.
I took a good long look in the mirror and didn’t like the person staring back at me.
Not at all.
I didn’t like the 24-hour party animal I had become.
Right then and there I knew I had to make a change.
Force it if necessary.
I needed a personal revolution …
ENTER THE KNOWLEDGE CYBORG
I had a catharsis.
To this day I’m not sure WHAT the catharsis was, I just knew I had one.
I started to feel a little better.
More in control.
I stopped drinking.
I stopped partying.
I stopped focusing on nonsense.
Like my TV addiction.
[Not an easy habit to break by a long shot.]
I decided I was going to get my act together.
Instead of getting my grind on in the clubs, I was going to get my grind on in the classroom and at the library.
I was going to become a Knowledge Cyborg.
I found my passion in Business Analysis.
From now on the 24-hour party person was now the 24-hour bookworm
My grind became learning English and perfecting my ability to speak English fluently.
My grind became hitting the books.
My grind became study.
You’ve heard of The Terminator?
I was the DeTeriminator –DETERMINED – a powerful, super-strength cyborg of knowledge, demolishing and soaking up everything about business and finance.
Fast and furiously I made my way through a Masters in Finance Program. I tackled business concept after business concept.
I started consuming the Capital Cycle and soaking up Porter’s 5 Forces like they
were candy. I applied these frameworks into businesses that I was looking at.
I was doing this case study every day.
Learning about business frameworks and analyzing competition and marketplace …
These things really resonated with me.
I felt like a new person.
I had a new purpose.
I was determined to change.
I was determined to make things better for myself.
I was determined to become a success.
And I got my shit together.
I became a well-oiled knowledge machine on a quest to learn and succeed.
It’s like my programming had been rewritten and now I was ready to take on mthe world.
Well at least the Academic World.
And the Corporate World.
All this grinding brought me to a 3.5/4 GPA. YES!
The grinding helped me score an internship in a student managed fund at my University.
The 24-hour party kid turned knowledge cyborg had turned things around.
The 24-hour party person was no more.
I did a personal victory lap.
(No toasts. No partying.)
I started networking up a storm.
You could say I was a networking machine.
MAKING $165K A YEAR AS A ROCK$TAR
IN THE FINANCIAL WORLD
BY SUPERCHARGING MY SKILLS
My internship turned me from Knowledge Cyborg into a Finance Rockstar.
I gained key skills.
I met key people.
My phone started blowing up with calls with requests to interview for awesome job openings.
I quickly landed my first job.
BOOM! 75K a year … Cash Money!
I’ll remember that day … September 29, 2014 forever.
But that was just the beginning.
I started working on other skills.
Perfecting my public speaking.
Which as an introvert wasn’t easy.
Not by a long shot.
But I did it.
With a ton of hard-work I improved my personal communications.
I worked on my business writing skills.
Until …I was a rock-solid business writer and communicator.
I continued to read every book I could get my hands on about finance and business.
I didn’t leave the house without a copy of something from Warren Buffet.
Everyday I would check for stories online about the icons I admired: Jeff Bezos. Jack Ma. Howard Mark. Charlie Munger.
My business analysis skills became SUPERCHARGED!
I mastered the art of establishing a contrarian view and thinking independently.
I mastered financial modeling and made it my biatch.
All the hard work …
All the personal development …
All the work I did …
I was swiftly promoted to Associate Director making 165K a year in just 3.5 years after I got my first full-time job.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN …
So, I really didn’t drink and party my way into six figures.
It’s more like un-drinking and un-partying my way into six figures.
And if I can turn it around, then surely you can too …
You can get your dream gig!
Work your skillset daily.
Become a better writer.
Develop a passionate love affair with Public Speaking. (Believe me … this one skill WILL pay huge dividends.)
Network like a mofo.
Go to meet-ups.
As many as possible.
Work your LinkedIn.
Engage in practice interviews with friends and family members.
Ask for feedback.
Be brutal on yourself.
Think about what went well and what sucked.
Rinse and repeat the cycle again.
And soon I’ll see you at the six-figure club!
If you want to be in finance, especially in research … You MUST understand Porter’s 5 Forces, Capital Cycle and Financial Modeling over, under, sideways and down. And you must be able to apply these frameworks into looking at real business every day.
Such case study will get you a true insight and experience which will help you to stand out from the crowd. Your experience and knowledge will accumulate from day 1 of your case study. People with a full-time job, especially junior people, are just too busy with grunt work which will never help them to think independently.
This can be your real advantage.
P.S. I hope you enjoyed my story and hope the story helped you to become a better person. Indeed, if you are transformed, then could you please return the favor with my fundraising below. I am raising money to help indigenous students relocate from their home to campus and provide them with a place to stay. Small contribution from all of us will help more indigenous students achieve their life-changing degrees and make a positive difference to future generations.
P.S #2 The first 100 people who participate in donating will receive a list of critical takeaways that I learnt over my career, including stuff that I wish I knew when I was in University. Also, I will share materials I used for my study: things like an interview guide, videos on financial modeling (300+ hours long) – which cost me around $1,700 – and my book recommendations. Don’t miss this chance to learn from my mistakes. As Charlie Munger said, “it’s always better to learn from other people’s mistakes”.