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Generally, cold-emailing works better than cold-calling for securing informational interviews. This is because a clear and concise email can be answered whenever the networking target has the time, whereas a cold-call at the wrong time may annoy a potential contact.

A huge part of this process is targeting people you have some sort of connection to, even if it’s not personal. If you attend the University of Wisconsin and there are three alumni working at JP Morgan’s Investment Bank, start with them. If you served in the Marine Corps and are looking to transition to a position on Wall Street, networking with former service members is a great way to get started.

Direct and Concise:

The most important thing to do is be direct and concise in what you would like, while simultaneously showing your appreciation for any advice or help they’d be willing to offer. The people you are targeting are extremely busy and have a lot on their plate already. Try and keep emails to 2-4 sentences, and your introduction in a cold call to less than 10 seconds. Your goal is to get an informational interview, so telling your life story isn't necessary. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to help you out.

Cold-Call Opening Line Example:

Hi, my name is John and I'm a junior studying finance at the University of Virginia. I was wondering if you might have a minute to discuss your job and background or if you'd be willing to meet up for a cup of coffee sometime?

Cold-Email Example:

(first name),
(If you've been referred, start off by saying "I was referred to you by ____.") I am currently a Junior at UVA studying finance. I am very interested in learning more about (their industry) and (their firm). Would you be willing to speak on the phone for a few minutes or perhaps grab a cup of coffee so I can learn more about your background?
Sincerely,
John Student

Finally, keep in mind that you will have far more in common with an Analyst than with an MD. If you have the option, start from the bottom up. If you make a strong connection with an Analyst, they will most likely go to bat for you and will probably give you contact information for other Analysts (and possibly even some Associates, VPs, and MDs).

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