Recently attended the Berkeleyforum (not as a student ;) ) . Very well done event - great turn out from banks and students. Very humbled by the quality of resumes we saw.
I will however make a few observations for students that might be helpful as they go through the job hunt and attend other similar events and career fairs.
- Dress the part - the people not dressed in suits looked like idiots and should have immediately gotten a clue, left, and changed. Also black shirts and black ties are unacceptable under any circumstances, especially when worn together
- Give resumes when asked - Nothing is more awkward then saying "sooo...can I give you my resume?," especially as a conversation opener. It will come down to the personal preference of the bank/recruiters whether they want to collect resumes or not. If they want it, they will ask you for it. However, your resume is only truly "submitted" for consideration through the online resume drop - that is far more important. .Also, please print them on nice resume-stock paper to help them stand out.
- Dont ask stupid questions. Dont ask about pay. Dont ask about the hours. Dont ask if i can critique you resume. Dont ask about my plans after banking.
- Ask specific questions. Ask questions specific to my background or my bank. This is why we are here - we assume you know something about / are interested in investment banking in general, but we would like to market and answer questions about our firm specifically. We would also like to get to have conversations and get to know candidates and have candidates get to know us. General questions about banking are unproductive and best left to the search function ;)
- Do your homework ahead of time - If you tell me your interested in, and Ive told you all we do is M&A advisory, a) why are you still talking to me b) why did you come talk to me in the first place? Its also always very impressive if you can mention something specific about the company and why you are interested in it or a recent deal, as the vast majority of people there know nothing
- Subtly wipe your palms before you shake hands with someone. seriously - nothing grosser than sweaty palms.
- Dont be afraid to ask for business cards, however dont be pushy if someone doesnt have them or seems reluctant to give out contact information. Grabbing a couple of business cards and emailing a follow up is probably the best thing you can do.
and my two most important pieces of advice...
- BE OPEN MINDED - Yes all the's had tables and they were swarmed all night - but lets face it, this is going to be a very challenging recruitment season and those banks probably already have an idea of who they are taking through connections and , espc in a city like SF with such small offices. A FAR better use of your time at an event like this is to learn about other banks you have perhaps not heard as much about and try to build up connections there. Why even come to an event with like 15+ banks if you are only going to / 's table?
- SOCIAL SKILLS WILL BE THE DIFFERENTIATOR - Being able to act normal ("cool?") and strike up an interesting conversation instead of asking a list of boilerplate questions will go a lot longer for you than having a 3.8+and advanced coursework in differential equations. Bankers dont need any math other than addition and subtraction anyway. Believe me, I would much rather hear some cool story about you traveling or partying then about your finance courses or internship. If you want to be memorable / stick out from such a competitive crowd, just be social.
Anyway thats just my advice, others are free to disagree. Im sure most WSO readers are savvy enough to know most of these already.
Also Cal seriously needs to raise tuition - the student center was kind of a dump although it was sweet they had a bar on campus.