1/14/13

Feel free to ask anything you'd like about investment banking. Open for questions.

Comments (131)

Best Response
1/13/13

JamesHetfield,

Sorry to hear about that but I don't have much to say -- I'd contact HR and let them know it was an honest mistake if I were you. Honesty is always the best policy. Life happens -- easier to be upfront now and may give you a chance to showcase your honesty / personality to HR. Banking is about turning negatives into positives.

Ct banker,

Biggest determinant of SA-->FT offer is attitude. Obviously competency is key and doing something egregious in this area will not help your case, but you must have an extremely positive attitude about all work / banking related topics. The analyst program is a 2-year commitment, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it is a lot. If you find it difficult staying positive and having a good attitude about banking in a 10-week period, the stats don't look great for your attitude over a 104-week period (minimum), and attitude is generally one of the most important determinants of success in banking. if you sit at your computer enough you will learn finance, accounting, excel, and powerpoint. bankers are looking for team players and people that can put on a smile even when you've had not enough sleep for months. Also, ask questions when you don't know things. there will be many things you don't know, and even if you do know it, there's probably a faster way than the one you chose. ask questions to analysts, be interested, actively participate in the process and your deal team. be an effective and meaningful communicator. Do these things and you'll stand out. Last thing -- don't worry if you feel you're "not getting enough modeling experience" based on your current staffings. this will not have any impact on your offer. do the work that you get well. the reality is that for analysts, there are periods where most of the work you do is not modeling. there are other periods where you do tons of modeling. so, in essence, can't stress this enough, do the work you get extremely well. if you do that, then chances are you'll get an analyst who appreciates the work you've done and will be more likely to involve you on modeling-related assignments / teach you about it in his/her spare time because he/she was in your shoes once.

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1/13/13

Where are you located and how are your hours?

1/13/13

NY. Hours are standard -- generally around 70-80 as a 2nd year unless something gets really busy, in which case you can sometimes get into 90-100, but those tend to be more rare.

1/13/13

Thanks for doing this- very helpful.

What group do you work in (if that isn't identifying yourself too much)?
Do you have plans for after you finish your analyst stint?
What type of school did you attend?
What did you find to be most helpful for you in the recruiting process?

Appreciate it.

1/13/13

Hours vary highly on what you're working on, your teams, and your groups, though -- important to keep in mind.

1/13/13

blackjack, went to a target. moving to buyside. best piece of advice for recruiting (assuming SA) is know your technicals, your story, and why you actually want to do banking. having this down will help you present a coherent narrative to your interviewers, which is a key step in the process. further, banking is all about effective communication, and this is something that people take heavily into consideration during the recruiting process -- across all firms.

1/13/13

Do you want to stay in IBD long term?

"Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

In reply to lasampdoria
1/13/13

lasampdoria:
Do you want to stay in IBD long term?

Said he is moving to the buyside, so I am guessing not...

1/13/13

I personally am moving to buyside but I know many people that are staying in banking long-term and are perfectly happy doing so.

1/13/13

OP,

I made a mistake in my online application for GS. Made a honest mistake with my HS GPA. Have not seen my HS transcript for years, so I put down something wrong.

Will this cause me trouble during the BG check process. This is for GS SA.

If it helps, I can be upfront about it. According to some earlier posts in this forum, GS does ask for HS transcripts.

1/13/13

What would be your advice to a SA before starting work, what should u be doing to ensure a FT offer?

1/13/13

what did non-targets in your group do to stand out and get an offer?

1/13/13

couchy, once you're there -- no one cares what school you went to for SAs. Everyone is in the same boat and will be considered on the same level, adjusting for the finance experience you've had in the past. Do well at what I wrote about in the above post and you'll be fine.

1/13/13

How much is/was your rent in Manhattan?

1/13/13

Not going to answer that but I know people that are paying between $1000 - >$2000 per month. All depends on what you're looking for and how well you prepare in advance.

1/13/13

Thank you for the response, also what are your hours typically on the weekends and do u have any issues taking your vacation days?

1/13/13

What brands mainly made up your work wardrobe?

Also, how did you prepare when entering your FT stint vs. being a SA

1/13/13
1/13/13

Some people will -- but I'm not going to answer the wardrobe question -- whether it's business casual or formal at your firm, as long as you look clean and professional, you're fine. Some would advise against wearing overly fancy / aggressive clothing as a summer analyst. For SA's I personally care most about attitude, competency, etc, but some bankers will sometimes view overly fancy / aggressive clothing in a negative light. you don't want to be known as an SA for your clothing, basically, you want to standout for your personality and the quality of your work.

use common sense here and be aware of your surroundings -- applies to a lot in banking.

1/13/13

what did your bonus progression look like?

1/13/13

all 168 hours of the week are fair game. I've worked on materials that have been due during the early hours of Sunday morning. Obviously people try to live normal lives so these times will be rare, but you should be aware that people work very late every day of the week (or at least are prepared to).

Generally analysts get 2 weeks of vacation, and don't take any until after they complete their first year -- so in the summer when you commence your second year, although some will take vacation in late winter / spring of year 1. all depends on the situation / person though.

In reply to oppcostofcapital
1/13/13

oppcostofcapital:
JamesHetfield,

Sorry to hear about that but I don't have much to say -- I'd contact HR and let them know it was an honest mistake if I were you. Honesty is always the best policy. Life happens -- easier to be upfront now and may give you a chance to showcase your honesty / personality to HR. Banking is about turning negatives into positives.
.

How important are hs grades for banking? Is it just another way to disqualify non targets who didn't have 4.0s and a bazillion extracurriculars when they were 14?

1/13/13

How much of an impact can 1st and 2nd year analysts have in helping people get FT offers? I work in a bank in a FO (but not IBD) role, and am interested in trying to network my way into IBD within my bank. Is it worthwhile (no disrespect intended) to reach out to analysts?

If so - what is the best way to approach the analysts? How do you like the emails you receive asking for help/info interview/short chat etc to frame the subject?

Thanks for your help

1/13/13

anavoisp -- go where you think you'll get the best experience. that being said, HSBC is a top bank, so if you think you'll be in a good group, I don't think you'll be disadvantaged by having worked there. all about how you market yourself in the interview process. go where you think you'll shine.

gamenumbers -- not answering questions about compensation.

1/13/13

How common is it for bankers to reach MD without an MBA? Is it ultra hard or discouraged by the BB banks if you start as an analyst?

1/13/13

Husky -- at least to me, HS grades are not relevant. It was at least 3 years prior to your application. Bankers / employers care about what's current, generally. If it's something you're worried about, I don't think you need to necessarily put them on there. College GPA on the other hand, must be on there. For most bankers I know, not seeing the GPA will cause them to assume the worst.

MFFL -- if analysts you speak to think you are qualified / have what it takes to get an offer and be successful, speaking with them will definitely help. would start with your network and get connected with analysts that way. Cold-emailing is tougher, but can't hurt, and if you do it, would attach your resume, be open about your interest in banking, and let them know that you're interested in hearing about their experiences in banking etc. Would frame it as less you trying to get a job and more as you trying to learn about the business. A recurring theme of this thread is intended to be is that attitude is very important in the hiring process. Generally though, whether people respond is luck of the draw and whether the people you email are free / not swamped with work. Most people I know try to respond to emails of people who cold-email them, but it's definitely not a given.

1/13/13

Husky -- MBA helps but is definitely not a requirement... many excellent MDs I know do not have MBAs.

1/13/13

What the fuck is with these high school grade questions? Nobody gives a shit, but if you sucked at hs, you probably go to a shit university and won't make it to banking.

/blunt truth

1/13/13

Thank you! What GPA do I need at a target to get a BB interview?

1/13/13

anavoisp -- honestly, anything can happen, but being below 3.0 is tough given the number of applicants. Being above 3.5 helps, but being below that is not a dealbreaker.

1/13/13

what are some good habits you developed that helped you succeed as an analyst? what separates star analysts from the average/mediocre analyst? any other advice for starting first years?

In reply to BTbanker
1/13/13

BTbanker:
What the fuck is with these high school grade questions? Nobody gives a shit, but if you sucked at hs, you probably go to a shit university and won't make it to banking.

/blunt truth

dude tons of athletes at top schools have horrible hs grades. A kid from my hs went to Harvard with a 2.9 (if I were to tell the sport he would be VERY easy to identify for H students). JamesHetfield posted that GS asks for your hs transcript during apps which seems strange and I wanted to know if it was a legit evaluating factor.

In reply to Husky32
1/13/13

Husky32:
BTbanker:
What the fuck is with these high school grade questions? Nobody gives a shit, but if you sucked at hs, you probably go to a shit university and won't make it to banking.

/blunt truth

dude tons of athletes at top schools have horrible hs grades. A kid from my hs went to Harvard with a 2.9 (if I were to tell the sport he would be VERY easy to identify for H students). JamesHetfield posted that GS asks for your hs transcript during apps which seems strange and I wanted to know if it was a legit evaluating factor.


I bet I can count the # of athletes at top schools with poor high school grades on WSO on one hand. Even if an athlete is lucky enough to get to a good school, they are usually geniuses too.
1/13/13

RonaldBacon --
communication
efficiency (which you get over time)
attitude, being a team player
talking to other analysts and learning the best / fastest ways to do things in advance
taking initiative and figuring out what you can do to make the rest of your team happy before they think of it
getting to a point where you understand a situation and understand what needs to be done so that you can meaningfully impact the meaningful work / work done ratio by communicating effectively with more senior members of your team

1/13/13

Did any of your fellow bankers do a one-year masters program (e.g. MSF, MMS, etc.) after UG?

1/13/13

How are analysts picked to interview undergrads? If you have never interviewed an undergrad before, what are the chances you will interview one this year? Will they let you know beforehand or is there any list of people who are "qualified" to interview? How is this in Asset Management if you know?

1/13/13

KKS -- actually yes -- it's not as rare as you would think.

Prangs -- there's no science to it -- generally the heads of recruiting determine the team -- it ends up being who is free to interview on interview days and when possible banks try to have analysts who went to a certain school interview candidates from that school -- other that it's wholly based on circumstance. Would imagine it's the same in all of finance -- after you work the job for a few months you tend to have a very good idea of what's required of professionals on the job and what to look for in candidates.

hopefully that should provide candidates with some hope -- after a few months on the job, all of this finance / accounting / DCF / merger model / LBO stuff -- how an increase in 10 of depreciation on the income statement impacts balance sheet equity -- starts to make a lot of sense.

1/13/13

OP,

I'm a Freshman, and my undergraduate business school is non-target (top 50). Over the winter I interned at a boutique investment management firm (BB firms through the week before I return to school. I plan on not really doing anything other than sitting back and observing after being introduced to those in the meetings, but what would you recommend I do to get the most out of this opportunity networking wise? I'm sure simply the fact that I'm there will look very good on my part as it is. Oh, and at the firm I intern at employees, as well as the CIO, follow a facial hair policy that you can have a beard as long as it is neat and tidy, and actually filled out. Would you recommend that I go clean shaven when I attend these meetings? Thanks.

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1/13/13

How did your analyst class do in PE recruiting? Out of those who were looking, how many got offers/size of funds they went to? How difficult would you say it is to get a PE job in general, or a top PE job at a good MM or megafund?

finally, how does a good buyside job pay relative to banking as a third year?

1/14/13

OP,

Given that many banks now try to convert nearly all SA -> FT, would you say that nearly all SA's were given offers, even those on the fence? Moreover, were SAs given offers even if some didn't necessarily do a "great" or "good" job? Also, have you seen a lot more SAs accepting offers? And lastly, how important would you say it was to put in face time and also do all the social stuff with members of the group (get drinks, etc.) ?

Thanks in advance!

Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.

1/14/13

My Question: Does HR really have all the recruiting power? Let me give an example..

If you network with an MD at say a BB/top regional, can that MD alone bring a prospect in to be considered for a spot EVEN if there isn't a need on the team?

This is the gist I have been getting so far.

Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

1/14/13

How long do analysts / associates take to read resumes when they get the OCR pile from HR? What's the decision process like for determining the interview list?

1/14/13

stryfe --
1) definitely shave. err on side of conservative.
2) network as much as possible, get business cards, keep in touch with people, thank them for sharing their insights, and long shot one of them may offer you an internship if you ask, but at very least they will be helpful as you think about soph/junior opportunities.

wso --
most ppl I know did well but there are still a lot of people out there looking for jobs
it's definitely difficult but you can do a lot by knowing your stuff. most difficult part is that banking does not train you to think like an investor. key to read a lot of investing books and interview prep guides to start to know the answer to "what's a good business and why? or where would you invest sector-wise these days and why?" very difficult to effectively prep for that but if you do it right and can model, you'll put yourself in a good position.

bluecheese --
firms definitely don't feel compelled to hire all of their SA's -- it's a 2 year hiring commitment, so it is a big and costly decision for them.
the same standards for summer still apply -- you still have to do a great job and show a positive attitude to be considered for a full-time offer -- people want to know that you actually enjoy banking and could handle a 2-year program. I'd say that most summers these days accept offers if they get them, although there are definitely exceptions. it also depends highly on the firm and group though so that's a hard question for some blanket answer. a lot of these questions depend highly on your firm and group.
from what I hear (I don't know from experience) but from what I hear BBs care a lot more about face time than boutiques do -- then again, the summer is only 10 weeks, so if there's something that you can do to demonstrate that you are working extra hard on a project or want to develop your skills in modeling or becoming a better banker, that'd be viewed in a positive light I think. that being said, at least at places i know of, people don't want to see SAs hanging out in the office until 1am just to be there until 1am -- if there's nothing else productive you can do in the office you should leave -- because chances are another night you're actually going to need that energy so you should take the time to get your sleep or maybe see some friends if possible if you can. again -- varies highly based on firm and group -- use your judgment.
Socialize with your group when possible. Chances are, if you get an offer and come back, you'll be spending a lot of time with these people, so get to know them and have fun! Firms put on a lot of great summer events -- take advantage of it. You've got 10 weeks so make the most of it. Chronically avoiding group social events would probably not be viewed too positively, given that banking is a client-facing business and, if you're lucky, a small part of your job can involve working directly with senior management of very large companies. You want to show people that you can handle social situations well.

that_aston --
I mean, if a firm has a hiring freeze, then that might be an issue, but I think in general, a recommendation from an MD is a very strong recommendation and will definitely get a candidate some kind of consideration -- may not guarantee an offer but I'm sure the candidate would definitely get considered.

1/14/13

thefix -- the answer is that it varies by firm. generally a bunch of people read resumes and come up with a consensus. hard to determine timeline but analysts and associates are definitely thoughtful about the process as recruiting is an important part of attracting and maintaining top talent at the firm. For OCR, you should be able to talk to your campus recruiting office to figure out how long after you submit your app that the firm will notify you whether you were selected for an interview. That's probably about a week or two, and I'd guess that it's a similar timeline for all application submissions.

Wouldn't worry too much about it -- there are a lot of factors in the process. You just have to put yourself out there and give it your best shot. Share your resume with lots of people to make sure that your messaging is on point and it is evident that you have some interest in finance / banking.

1/14/13

What sort of excel knowledge would you recommend having pre-internship?

1/14/13

Do you like what you do?

"Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." - Jobs

1/14/13

Stryfe -- knowing shortcuts will save you time -- but it's hard to prep in advance -- it's something you learn on the job. But if you want to study shortcuts, by all means I'm sure it'd help. Just make sure you know which version of Office your firm will use.

moneymogul -- yes, I do. I really enjoy the team that I work with and I have learned an enormous amount of finance, accounting, excel, powerpoint, modeling over the past 18 months as well as having had the pleasure to work with some really smart people on some very interesting projects. Obviously not all of it is great, and some parts can be extremely grueling, for example when you don't leave the office before 4am for a full week or more, or when you haven't seen your roommate, who also does banking, in months, but I'm fortunate to say that I have had net on net an experience from which I've gained an enormous amount. The fact is that in banking you benefit a lot from the first year, because your firm invests a lot in teaching you, and the firm benefits in year 2, because they have an analyst with all of these skills that can get large amounts of work, regardless of the type of work, modeling or research or aligning logos or whatever, done very quickly and help teach first-years and summers the ropes. it's hard for anyone to learn as much in year 2 as in year 1, especially because you're right out of college in year 1, but I'm fortunate to say that I'm motivated by the people that I work with -- I want to help them succeed -- so that's what keeps me going these days. Everyone's experience in banking is different -- so you should take all of what I just wrote with a grain of salt.

1/14/13

How long should a student try (and by try I mean network, apply, prepare) before giving up breaking into IBD?

In reply to hopesanddreams
1/14/13

/

"After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper

1/14/13

hopesanddreams -- depends on your answer to the question "how much do you really want to do banking?"

In reply to oppcostofcapital
1/14/13

oppcostofcapital:
hopesanddreams -- depends on your answer to the question "how much do you really want to do banking?"

I am also interested in this subject, in a practical manner however. I am currently a senior at a terrible university (we'll leave it at that), but have decent exp and GPA. I've applied to over 200 jobs and BB or any bank with an official recruiting schedule is pretty much out of the question.

Have been looking at doing AM or something in that field, perhaps some sort of research role, however nothing yet. Is there much of a chance to get into an IB as an analyst after a few years at one of the afore mentioned roles?

Is it very likely to work in those roles, go to get MBA, and get into an associates program?

Thanks in advance.

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

1/14/13

Recommendation on books about investing and looking at companies from an investor standpoint? I work in a sector that's not particularly valued based on traditional fundamentals of business. Thanks!

1/14/13

streetwannabe -- don't have too much experience with that, unfortunately, but maybe try to get a masters or something so you can recruit in the next cycle and beef up your prep / apps etc. not that it's impossible but it's tougher to make the switch into IB after you've left school. that being said it's not impossible, you just really have to hustle to make a convincing case to your interviewers, and find a spot that's open, which will be tough and require a lot of networking. MBA could help -- I'm sure it'd help you get into an associates program -- in that case try to find a non-banking job that requires a lot of financial modeling or understanding of that stuff. maybe equity research -- although I'm not too familiar with that area. Regardless, the goal is to make yourself marketable to an investment bank once you get out of business school -- and you can do that by having the right skill set even if you didn't do banking prior to b-school.

needtodecide -- i'd be interested to know what sector that is and why you think that. regardless i'm a big fan of margin of safety, intelligent investor, security analysis, any damodaran valuation book -- am sure there tons more than these, would just use the search function on WSO to find a much more complete / meaningful list than mine.

In reply to oppcostofcapital
1/14/13

oppcostofcapital:
streetwannabe -- don't have too much experience with that, unfortunately, but maybe try to get a masters or something so you can recruit in the next cycle and beef up your prep / apps etc. not that it's impossible but it's tougher to make the switch into IB after you've left school. that being said it's not impossible, you just really have to hustle to make a convincing case to your interviewers, and find a spot that's open, which will be tough and require a lot of networking. MBA could help -- I'm sure it'd help you get into an associates program -- in that case try to find a non-banking job that requires a lot of financial modeling or understanding of that stuff. maybe equity research -- although I'm not too familiar with that area. Regardless, the goal is to make yourself marketable to an investment bank once you get out of business school -- and you can do that by having the right skill set even if you didn't do banking prior to b-school.

needtodecide -- i'd be interested to know what sector that is and why you think that. regardless i'm a big fan of margin of safety, intelligent investor, security analysis, any damodaran valuation book -- am sure there tons more than these, would just use the search function on WSO to find a much more complete / meaningful list than mine.

Thanks OP

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

1/14/13

Hey Op,

Thanks for the doing this and the detailed comments. Can you talk about the process of buyside recruiting? How difficult is it to manage this while working a full-time job? How did you firm feel about you leaving? Did you use a headhunter?

Thanks,
David

1/14/13

Generally how it works is depending on your group / firm / location, either you will reach out to headhunters or headhunters will reach out to you about opportunities. assuming you have a good meeting and they think they can help you, they'll try to get you interviews at their clients (they get paid to place you). Once that happens, you have to prep / already have prepped, and then you can go through intv process which can last as short as a few days and as long as several months for any one firm. PE tends to be shorter than HF, which is generally more lumpy as HFs don't generally have 2 year programs unless it's a bigger shop. VC probably in this range as well. It is very difficult to manage while having a FT job, as that should be your first commitment -- you have to make sure you get all of your work done and communicate effectively in order to avoid there being issues with getting work done on time. Pretty much all analysts use headhunters -- it's smart to do so, they are incentivized to show you as much as possible and find you things that you can get and you will take. Most firms understand that analysts may choose to leave after two years. How they react to it / the interview process though varies widely by firm so you should be aware of your surroundings if you are ever in this situation and choose to do so. Also helps to talk to analysts in classes above you at your firm for best practices because they usually have thoughts on potential problems you can avoid.

1/14/13

What type of compensation can I be expecting at a PE/HF? Does it matter by the fund size or is it based more on the fund performance? Would the culture be different at a 1 billion dollar fund(small
) versus 100 billion dollar(large)? Thanks again, really appreciate your time.

1/14/13

David --
Hard to "expect" anything these days given that fund / fee structures are evolving based on the markets on recent returns, but all-in comp at PE vs. HF can range from 200-300+, potentially even higher at some of the larger HF / megafunds -- a key metric to watch out for is AUM per investment professional. Culture is highly dependent on people at the fund -- can't generalize at all. Compensation at HF is generally more tied to performance than it is at PE, but at the same time there's also probably more upside as a result. Best way to figure out the answers to these questions -- highly differentiated across individual firms -- is to talk to analysts that work there. in general though, if you're doing well in banking and you have the luxury of considering a PE vs. a HF job, I'd spend more time thinking about where you think makes the most sense based on your work style, what you love about finance right now, and what you enjoy spending your time doing. in the long run, if you last in finance long enough, you'll do very well. what differentiates very successful people though, at least IMHO, is the ones who have been doing it for 10,20,30 years, and still can't wait to come to work every day -- so if you want to maximize your odds, figure out how you can maximize your odds of doing something you love in this business.

1/14/13

What are tips for managing/saving money while living in Manhattan?

1/14/13

Have you worked with any individuals who came from a non-target while in IB? Thanks for taking our questions!

1/14/13

MomentaLaugh --
Keep track of what you spend and set goals. Sounds silly but actually writing down goals and working toward spending in those areas will do a lot. In general though, in banking, at least in the first several months, you're working most of your waking hours, so saving money beyond your after living expenses disposable income is not as hard as it would seem. Having a roommate is generally the best way to save money because it can get you access to per-resident rent rates that you couldn't find elsewhere if you're creative with space.

griffs --
I have certainly worked with people who have come from non-targets on both the analyst and associate level and they are excellent at what they do. Where you go to school has nothing to do with how good you'll be in banking. Even among targets, the difference between going to a top finance program and a top liberal arts school evaporates after a few months for the vast vast majority of analysts. The whole concept of target only exists IMHO because firms have to choose places to concentrate their recruiting efforts and have decided on a certain number of schools to concentrate for whatever reason. There is obviously no definitive evidence to suggest any difference between top candidates from non-targets and top candidates from targets. Succeeding in banking is about attitude, attention to detail, hard work, and being a team player. You don't have to get a target education to learn that.

1/14/13

griffs -- by analyst and associate level I meant to say I've worked with people at all levels, not just analyst and associate, that have come from non-targets.

In reply to oppcostofcapital
1/14/13

oppcostofcapital:
hopesanddreams -- depends on your answer to the question "how much do you really want to do banking?"

Lots and lots but its been 3.5 years now... still can't break in and nobody I ask knows why...

1/14/13

Can you comment on the randomness of applicants being selected for interviews? I remember reading about how ex-military applicants were selected because the person scanning the CVs were ex-military too. This is for SA by the way.

Also, I seem to notice that a high GPA and great financial knowledge means less than being a varsity athlete and etc..

Thanks OP

"Do not pity the dead Harry. Pity the investment banker, and, above all, those who live to compute EBITDA." - Albus Dumbledore.

1/14/13

Smokey --

Strong academic records and a demonstrated interest in business / finance are always important -- beyond that though in trying to select people to interview bankers try to gauge "potential fit" in the best way they can -- each group has a different culture based on the people there, and so just by human nature bankers are forced to choose people that for whatever reason they think have a good chance of fitting in with the group. Obviously the in-person interview is a better way to judge that, but when hundreds of applicants apply for a few spots, the choices are difficult. In general though, academic qualifications and demonstrated interest in finance are the most important qualities bankers look for -- the rest is minor in the overall decision process as multiple people tend to read each resume before decisions are made. certainly common interests are a plus, but that's not something you should try to aim to match. You should be yourself in your application -- if you do that, you'll have the best shot at ending up at a place that's right for you.

Like most selection processes, it's impossible to design one that's perfectly fair and unbiased. bankers frequently respond positively to people of all backgrounds and interests who are very good at expressing themselves and describing what they care about -- it's easiest to make a connection that way and excellent communication is one of the most common traits in high-performing analysts and bankers. So I'd focus less on what you think you need to be and more on putting forward the best version of yourself. That's all you can really do. Analyst classes I've seen at my firm and across Wall Street are all pretty heterogeneous in terms of interests outside of finance.

To sum all of that up, focus on your passion for banking and expressing yourself well in your application and the rest will take care of itself. If you think that the randomness of recruiting is unfair, wait until you experience the randomness of staffing.

1/14/13

Hey man, i am currently working with trustee/corporate trust area in a bank.
I want to change my area of work to something more related to investment banking, an i am about to start a course about IB.
What are your tips and how should i proceed with all that? I am an intern Monkey, by the way :)

Thank you

1/14/13

zanychelly -- hard to answer your question without knowing how far you are out of school (or if you're doing an internship or something). General advice is to network, hustle, prep for interviews, figure out why you want to do banking, and figure out how to sell that. Use school / work / friend networks to find opportunities. You can make it happen but it's up to you. Best of luck.

In reply to anavoisp
1/14/13

anavoisp:
Thank you! What GPA do I need at a target to get a BB interview?

First of all, see Will Hunting's thread about this type of question (http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/this-is-not-...)

Second, use the search function in WSO. This question has been asked before, but here's the secret, there's no one correct answer. I've been surprised by some people with terrible GPAs that got interviews and others with great GPAs who didn't. The only hard number I can give is some banks have a 3.5 cutoff.

Ok, never again.

Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
Oh, you mean I can't count on you?
No.
Good!

1/14/13

What advice, other than to network, can you give those at non-targets with no OCR or those at semi-targets with limited OCR?

Thank you for the thread.

1/14/13

KKS -- there's not much other advice I can give. It's an extremely competitive hiring environment, even if you do come from a target or know people, so if you really truly want to do banking, you're going to have to find that entree that no one else has spotted for whatever reason, and the best way to do that is networking / keeping in contact with HR / keeping up to speed on your technicals / resume / why you want to do banking in the first place. I wish I had a better answer for you but that's all I can say. Cold calling when done right can be effective at times, so that may be another strategy. But other than that, it's really up to you to make it happen. It's about selling yourself.

1/14/13

Thank you for your response. Will you accept PM's?

1/14/13

yep I accept PMs.

1/15/13

Any last minute tips on how a first year IB analyst can play for a bigger bonus share? First bonus meeting at the end of the week, tensions are running high, feels like we are going to loose out in Europe.

In reply to oppcostofcapital
1/15/13

oppcostofcapital:
zanychelly -- hard to answer your question without knowing how far you are out of school (or if you're doing an internship or something). General advice is to network, hustle, prep for interviews, figure out why you want to do banking, and figure out how to sell that. Use school / work / friend networks to find opportunities. You can make it happen but it's up to you. Best of luck.

I am doing an internship in Trustee/corporate trust.
I will conclude the college in one year.

Thanks for your help.

1/15/13

Blink -- In short, just do your best. Too many factors in play there, many that you can't control.

Zanychelly -- same advice. Get on your hustle. Good luck.

1/15/13

Thanks - im kind of looking forward to see how I'v done compared to the rest. Do you know of a way of comparing bonus values to people in other banks/ countries? Iv asked on a few other forums. Everyone just seems to quote averages.

1/15/13

Blink --
That's outside the scope of where I can be helpful.

In reply to oppcostofcapital
1/15/13

oppcostofcapital:
Blink --
That's outside the scope of where I can be helpful.

Cool no worries - thanks

1/15/13

In case you were interested, I found a comparison 'Banker's Bonus 2013' App - could be useful.

1/15/13

What tips do you have for an incoming first year analyst in NYC in terms of spending/saving money? How much money did you save the first year and how much do you think is a good target to save? Is "spend your salary save your bonus" a good rule? What's worth splurging on and what's best to go cheap on as an analyst (i.e. worth it to splurge on clothes, appt, nights out, etc)?

1/16/13

Raptor.45 -- hard for me to answer that question because saving depends on your personal financial goals. IMHO, unless an apartment fits a specific need and is really convenient/niche/incredible, you should try to minimize rent expense so you have more flexibility around other expenditures. rent is the only expenditure that's a lot more sticky (hard to get out of), so if you can make it work so you're paying 100 or 200 less a month -- that's 1-2K after taxes you can spend on other things you want over a year.

in considering savings consider your future earnings and your future costs -- do you want to go to business school? do you want to take a vacation? how much do you need to save to make those reasonable based on your personal situation? do what's comfortable for you -- but especially in the first couple months if you can minimize rent expense, I'd try not to worry as much about other expenses -- getting through the first 6-9 months of banking is the hardest and you generally will be working the most then so I wouldn't be worried about splurging a little during this period to reward / motivate yourself to get through it. as long as you have a savings plan in place that works for you -- deviating from it is part of life -- wouldn't stress too much.

1/16/13

I am a currently a junior and looking for a financial analyst internship. So I have been really researching companies and just learning more about analyzing and investment banking, and so the next step is to start sending out my resume, and I have been do that online through the company's websites (which I was told was not really the best way). Now I have to ask you, if you can answer this, is where do you suggest I start to start landing some interviews because sending my resume over the internet has not worked the best. If you also could tell me how you did it as well.

1/16/13

I am a currently a junior and looking for a financial analyst internship. So I have been really researching companies and just learning more about analyzing and investment banking, and so the next step is to start sending out my resume, and I have been do that online through the company's websites (which I was told was not really the best way). Now I have to ask you, if you can answer this, is where do you suggest I start to start landing some interviews because sending my resume over the internet has not worked the best. If you also could tell me how you did it as well.

1/16/13

How does a non-target student turn a first round phone interview into a second round or superday?

1/16/13

anthony -- network network network.

prangs -- no one cares where you went to school once you're on the interview. impress the person over the phone with your story, your passion for banking, and knowing your technicals. that's how anyone, including non-targets, turns a phone interview into a superday.

1/18/13

what were the most random or difficult interview questions you were asked? even for strong candidates, how many phone interviews or superdays do people usually get out of all the banks they apply to?

1/18/13

what were the most random or difficult interview questions you were asked? even for strong candidates, how many phone interviews or superdays do people usually get out of all the banks they apply to?

1/18/13

also is it ever okay to reach out to a contact at a bank to ask for first round interviews if you didn't get one? even though you were a strong candidate (very high gpa, lots of banking experience, pretty good cover letter, etc)

1/18/13

emma -- the success rate is generally pretty low -- I applied to many banks and only got superdays at a few places (could fit on one hand). it's a very tough market -- it was 3 years ago and it definitely still is today.

if you want to email for intvs, you could -- but you may burn bridges for a re-application FT when you have better experience. If you have no interviews, then maybe it couldn't hurt, and maybe some ppl might help you out, but it might be smarter to try to do something meaningful this summer and try again for FT interviews. if you want to PM me for some candid advice with your resume and cover letter, happy to give feedback.

1/19/13

oppcostofcapital:
If you think that the randomness of recruiting is unfair, wait until you experience the randomness of staffing.

Thanks for fielding questions- great stuff so far. Could you elaborate on the staffing process?

1/19/13

essentially random -- in theory staffers try to spread around, but sometimes, you will be in situations where you're "on" so many projects that you can't be staffed anymore because if one of them blows up or two or three at the same time you'll be completely swamped -- because when you're the analyst on something, you are expected to be there for it until it closes or ends whenever someone needs something. so -- generally staffers try to spread projects evenly, but it can be lumpy. and also very random as new projects of all types can come in at any time based on what MDs are doing.

1/19/13

essentially random -- in theory staffers try to spread around, but sometimes, you will be in situations where you're "on" so many projects that you can't be staffed anymore because if one of them blows up or two or three at the same time you'll be completely swamped -- because when you're the analyst on something, you are expected to be there for it until it closes or ends whenever someone needs something. so -- generally staffers try to spread projects evenly, but it can be lumpy. and also very random as new projects of all types can come in at any time based on what MDs are doing.

1/19/13

essentially random -- in theory staffers try to spread around, but sometimes, you will be in situations where you're "on" so many projects that you can't be staffed anymore because if one of them blows up or two or three at the same time you'll be completely swamped -- because when you're the analyst on something, you are expected to be there for it until it closes or ends whenever someone needs something. so -- generally staffers try to spread projects evenly, but it can be lumpy. and also very random as new projects of all types can come in at any time based on what MDs are doing.

1/19/13

I know writing skill is extremely important to communicate among your peers by emails, but do you need to have the skills to write essays after essays and papers like undergraduates term paper? and if so how often do you write them?

1/19/13

tepara --

generally no -- you will need research skills to know how to efficiently find data of all kinds, and as part of a sell-side process that your firm is running for a client, you may need to write an executive summary or a longer confidential information memorandum (CIM) -- but generally most of what you're writing is either objective or subjective but supportive to points that have probably been made in other materials you have shared with the client or potential investors (a CIM is essentially a sales document -- in a sales document you have the facts, and you also share why what you're selling is really good for the buyer) -- it may take a long time as your team will be focused on dissecting every word to make sure that the right message is being shown to the potential buyers, but generally the level of analytical rigor required will be lower for than on term papers -- the thinking part is essentally the "why should you buy" part -- and that's what senior and mid-level bankers are best at, utilizing the facts to weave a story that is appropriate for the situation -- so they'll probably feed you some of the analysis and you will be able to discuss with them and with the client obviously. the number of cims that any analyst writes in a two year period can vary from none to a couple -- they generally take a very long time to write due to the editing process and working with the client to get the bankers all of the necessary information from the management team. in general, I wouldn't worry about it.

the writing skills that you generally need are for crafting emails or messages on slides -- they are still important but a lot less frequently used for writing long documents. they are only necessary in that it's important to be able to effectively communicate with your team and with clients and most bankers view good grammar and concise writing as a hallmark of effective and meaningful written communication. whether that's a valid assumption is a topic for another arena; nevertheless good grammar and concise, meaningful writing are very important skills to have for banking.

1/19/13

tepara --

generally no -- you will need research skills to know how to efficiently find data of all kinds, and as part of a sell-side process that your firm is running for a client, you may need to write an executive summary or a longer confidential information memorandum (CIM) -- but generally most of what you're writing is either objective or subjective but supportive to points that have probably been made in other materials you have shared with the client or potential investors (a CIM is essentially a sales document -- in a sales document you have the facts, and you also share why what you're selling is really good for the buyer) -- it may take a long time as your team will be focused on dissecting every word to make sure that the right message is being shown to the potential buyers, but generally the level of analytical rigor required will be lower for than on term papers -- the thinking part is essentally the "why should you buy" part -- and that's what senior and mid-level bankers are best at, utilizing the facts to weave a story that is appropriate for the situation -- so they'll probably feed you some of the analysis and you will be able to discuss with them and with the client obviously. the number of cims that any analyst writes in a two year period can vary from none to a couple -- they generally take a very long time to write due to the editing process and working with the client to get the bankers all of the necessary information from the management team. in general, I wouldn't worry about it.

the writing skills that you generally need are for crafting emails or messages on slides -- they are still important but a lot less frequently used for writing long documents. they are only necessary in that it's important to be able to effectively communicate with your team and with clients and most bankers view good grammar and concise writing as a hallmark of effective and meaningful written communication. whether that's a valid assumption is a topic for another arena; nevertheless good grammar and concise, meaningful writing are very important skills to have for banking.

In reply to oppcostofcapital
1/19/13

oppcostofcapital:
tepara --

generally no --

the writing skills that you generally need are for crafting emails or messages on slides -- they are still important but a lot less frequently used for writing long documents.

Woww thanks dude, you pretty much sum it all up. Thanks!!

1/19/13

Although it seems obvious, could you please clarifying if attaining a CFA level 1 would increase my chances of landing an IB gig than a postgrad would (Preferably MS Economics [currently studying International business])?

Considering I am in my penultimate year, I believe the earliest I can sit the exam would be December 2014. So assuming the CFA is the right choice, my second question would be: how would it affect the recruitment process. (This is all contingent on a worse case scenario)

1/19/13

a CFA is more relevant probably than an MS in Economics for investment banking -- but not sure how relevant it is or if it would make a huge difference in your candidacy. try to think about it in the context of the arc of your career, where you want to go, and how either will help you get there.

1/19/13

Wise words. However, since your the professional, you view would be much appreciated. The division I'm targeting is either Levfin or M&A in hindsight of a PE or Mezzanine Fund career. The idea of an MS Economics was recommended by a commercial banker - ideally my choice would be finance, but with the fear of a generic resume, a CFA seems the wright choice. What do you think?

1/19/13

ultimately -- an MS in Economics won't help you for your purposes unless you really want it -- esp for levfin / m&a, taking the CFA Level 1 will help much more at least in the studying process -- so all else equal I say go for CFA.

1/19/13
1/19/13
1/19/13

How did you manage to do your buyside interviews as an analyst? Did you constantly have to make up stories of being sick and all? Were you ever afraid you might "get caught" and then fired? Did you yourself reach out to headhunters or did they reach out to you?

Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.

1/19/13

i am an undergrad preparing for ib interviews, but i want to eventually end up in a VC firm. Is it a better career choice to work in ib for a few years or should i work on my startup/get a corporate job for management experience?

1/20/13

Hey man,

What do they check in the background checks? GPA, School, Past work experiences, What else? Do they check XCs?

1/20/13

Or better yet, credit history?

1/20/13

What do analysts do for a living after finishing their stint in IBD if they do not go the traditional HF/PE/MBA route?

1/20/13

thebluecheese -- it's tough -- I'm lucky to work somewhere where ppl understand that analysts recruit, so it was a little easier, but generally -- make sure you get your work done first, bc your ib job should be your first priority, and then you should be fine -- if you get into binds be sure to communicate w/ ppl you can trust that you have important interviews for firms you want to work at and make sure that the work will get done even if you're not there -- you can do this by offering to work on something else later for them

stanchiang -- hard to say b/c I don't know you, but generally VC is a tough asset class to invest in, there are a lot of considerations here and I don't have time to write an hour long post on this, but long story short I'd say that in banking you get transferrable skills that you can apply to investments in all types of companies -- probably the safer bet because net on net hard to say whether startup or corporate will actually give you more relevant vc experience. also, as a nota bene, IMHO, I'd avoid doing a startup, esp if you want to go into VC ultimately, unless you have a defensible business model and truly believe that you are filling a need that is not currently being addressed by the market. as tough as banking is -- banking will give you a "liberal arts education" in how to understand businesses from a financial perspective -- you'll ultimately have to tailor that to companies that don't necessarily generate revenue in VC, but it's an easier jump than maybe getting potentially no finance skills in startup / corporate and wanting to do vc. remember that vc is at its core an investing business.

nuttyprofessor -- no idea on background checks but in general -- be honest on your resume!!!!!!!! period. in finance your reputation is huge. you don't want to be making news for the wrong reasons.

thinkrich85 -- not sure what your personal financial solvency has to do with your ability to make provide strategic and financial advice to businesses -- esp at the age analysts are, doubt they'd check that but again I have no idea.

brainso -- corporate, startups, other jobs, non profit, gov't / public sector, family business -- lots of different things. banking is an excellent training program but finance as a career is not for everybody. imho the people who are happiest figure out what they're good at / what they love and they pursue that in their careers. not everybody lusts after the implications of the securities act of 1934, and that's perfectly ok -- it's what makes our society great. if everyone were doing the analysis no one would be doing the doing! food for thought.

In reply to oppcostofcapital
1/20/13

oppcostofcapital:

brainso -- corporate, startups, other jobs, non profit, gov't / public sector, family business -- lots of different things. banking is an excellent training program but finance as a career is not for everybody. imho the people who are happiest figure out what they're good at / what they love and they pursue that in their careers. not everybody lusts after the implications of the securities act of 1934, and that's perfectly ok -- it's what makes our society great. if everyone were doing the analysis no one would be doing the doing! food for thought.

Do you know any bankers who went down the govt route? If so, what are they doing? I mean, what positions do M&A bankers get at the govt?

1/20/13

above_and_beyond -- not sure -- probably finance related stuff and would imagine it'd either be through standard applications or through connections via banking.

1/20/13

OP, if you were to go back to college, what would you do differently?

1/20/13

iPoker -- honestly nothing. maybe taken easier classes, but I don't have any regrets.

1/20/13

I see. do you have any advice or tips for someone in college who is switching their path to finance?

1/20/13

iPoker -- most of the finance you need to know for interviews can be found in guides, books, and elsewhere. don't worry as much about switching your courseload to all finance-related classes. try to enjoy college as much as possible and do what you enjoy.

1/20/13

iPoker -- most of the finance you need to know for interviews can be found in guides, books, and elsewhere. don't worry as much about switching your courseload to all finance-related classes. try to enjoy college as much as possible and do what you enjoy.

1/21/13

I've been at a small IBank for about a 1 1/2 years now and I've begun applying to some larger places. I've been getting interviews at some good places for 2nd year positions. Do you work with anyone who started at a smaller firm/ non 1st year BB experience? If so, are there any areas where they lack or are better that you noticed?

1/21/13

ibankeri79 --

Am not able to answer your question b/c I have no data to assess the situation -- banking is generally the same across groups and firms -- just be prepared for the fact that you'll be at a firm with 10000's of employees, so you'll be expected to contribute to more internal process stuff and confirm to a global standard in a way that you didn't at your small firm. Other than that -- the work should be pretty much the same -- it's all corporate and financial advisory (and perhaps financing) for corporate clients. it is banking -- you've been doing it. the fact that you're getting interviews means that you have relevant experience. so stay positive, get pumped, and crush the interviews.

best of luck!

1/21/13

thank you for the reply and the thread oppcostofcapital

1/21/13

iPoker --

No problem -- happy to do it.

In reply to Stryfe
1/25/13

I found your situation to be quite interesting, congratulations by the way. I was wondering what books you read and which books your would recommend. Thank you for your time and best of luck!

Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.
Donald Trump

1/25/13

Josh -- my favorite books related to finance and investing would have to be margin of safety and distressed debt analysis, though I wouldn't put them in the category of books that are the best for investment banking / deals, although they are quite good. financial shenanigans is one I'm reading right now -- a great way to look at simple accounting rules and how some companies try to stretch them.

2/1/13

How much influence does attending an information day/summit in-office play into getting your first interview? I am coming from a non-target, but a few alumni have made waves in certain firms, I have expressed my passion in the specific firm, etc, so I'm hopeful in my chances.

To elaborate, if I was flagged as a "high potential candidate," could I expect to have an interview, in your experience? Besides staying in contact with their contacts at the firm, do you have any other suggestions on what could be done to improve chances of having an interview?

2/4/13

Have you seen many 1st years leave during your gig? If so, when did they leave (6 months into the job / after bonus, etc.)? Did your firm / group hire replacements right away? What was their primary method of recruiting (through headhunters / referrals / job postings, etc.)?

Thanks a lot in advance.

2/7/13

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