Strategy & Planning Associate
Jon North: “Donnie do you mind if I ask you a question?”
Donnie Shankle: “Yes brother, what’s the question”
Jon North: “How do you get so strong?”
Donne Shankle: “Goddammit brother, you just gotta get strong!”
Jon North and Donnie Shankle are both Olympic weightlifters in the US. Jon North is an ex drug addict turned weightlifter with a larger than life personality. Donnie Shankle is a mentor, a beast and an inspiring lifter. When Jon North met Donnie for the first time, he was intimidated and nervous. He wanted to know what Donnie had done his whole life to get so strong and when he asked, Donnie replied “You just gotta get strong!”
This 5-word response embodies everything anyone needs to be successful.
Most conversations Jay and I have with people start off by the person asking us, “How do I break into investment banking?” We usually respond with a question of our own aimed at learning a bit more about the person we are speaking to and to understand how we can best shape a plan to help them achieve their goal. Donnie’s response to Jon, though different than our usual approach, gives an interesting perspective about breaking into a career in finance.
A personal goal of mine for 2015 was to deadlift 500lbs. I had deadlifted 490lbs in the past but I have never been able to break the magical 500lbs mark. I researched different training programs, talked to trainers to learn what I could do to get stronger, stopped drinking alcohol and then worked my ass off.
I decided it was time to try and pull 500lbs last week as the end of the year approaches. I loaded up the bar, did my warm up sets and started closing in on my max. I hit 460lbs for 2 reps and then loaded 500lbs on the bar. I stared at the bar, screamed and then FAILED the rep.
The hardest part of the lift wasn’t the weight itself, but the fear of the weight inside my head. As I went to pull the bar, I thought to myself, what if I hurt myself during the pull? Maybe I should scale back and train more before I attempt this.
After my failed attempt, Donnie’s words played in my head. The only way I am going to deadlift 500lbs, is if I just go lift 500lbs. That doesn’t mean I just load up the bar and hope my outcome will be different the next time. It means I have to go out and make the outcome different, through discipline, diet, rest, building upon my weaknesses and confidence. No matter how good the advice and insight you get from someone you admire, it’s all totally useless unless you go out, build yourself a plan and execute it.
You need to understand how other people have broken into investment banking. You need to work hard and get good grades. You need to practice and prep for interviews. You need to have the confidence and work on your weaknesses.
There are multiple ways to break into the industry and you have to find what strategy works for you and then go out and do it. So how do you break into investment banking? You just make it happen!
This was yesterday! Stay committed to the grind.
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