Daniel Jeffries: Entering Finance from Clarksville, Tennessee

It’s no secret that most of the largest and most successful financial institutions have a strong bias towards only hiring from Ivy League schools and other “target” universities.  Many of the strongest candidates also typically have internships with elite banks in major U.S. cities, such as NYC or Chicago, so it can be exceptionally difficult to break in from a small town like Clarksville, Tennessee.  While this can be discouraging for most students of non-target universities who may not have been 100% motivated from day one, it hasn’t stopped Daniel Jeffries  from trying to break into this competitive industry.

Daniel Jeffries is an upcoming Accounting graduate from a small state university in Clarksville, Tennessee.  Although he had a pretty strong track record in high school, he wasn’t quite as motivated or ambitious as the other students in his honors/AP classes, so he was content with attending a smaller, less highly-recruited state university.  It wasn’t until he took a brief gap period and witnessed what it was like to be a working-class citizen did he realize the consequences of not living up to one’s full potential.

Perhaps one of the most important lessons that Mr. Jeffries learned in his early 20s is the importance of budgeting and financial planning.  After reading several investment and personal finance books, he managed to pay off his student loans and earn a strong return from his portfolio, and he finally discovered his passion for finance.

Since then, Daniel Jeffries has worked diligently to maintain straight As in all of his upper division classes, while continuing to work part-time, complete online programming courses, and score an impressive 740 on the GMAT.  He is currently also working as an internal audit intern, volunteering as a tax return preparer for Clarksville Tennessee’s VITA site, and studying for the notoriously difficult CFA exam. His hard work and determination is already starting to pay off, and he recently received a partial scholarship offer for one of the nation’s top Master’s in Finance programs.

With his high aspirations of breaking into business valuation, asset management, or investment banking, Daniel Jeffries still has his work cut out for him.  Many employers from elite financial institutions tend to immediately throw out any resume without a top university listed on it, and Mr. Jeffries knows that he will have to work twice as hard as Ivy League students in order to make it in one of these competitive fields.  There are very few non-target graduates with lucrative jobs on Wall Street, but they are some of the hardest working and most determined people you will ever meet.  Daniel Jeffries is 100% committed to becoming one of these outliers, and it will be interesting to see how far his aptitude and raw determination will take him.

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