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12/31/12

Hi guys,

I figured I would give this whole free online advice thing a try and articulate my thoughts on online networking.

In my experience, the success of a "cold call" is largely determined by the communication that precedes it. I've never actually had to "cold call" in the normative sense; every unsolicited phone call I have made has always been preceded by a respective "cold email". As such, this thread is dedicated towards the drafting and sending of those emails.

Keys to a Cold Email

1) Background info - Contact people with a similar background. Don't limit yourself to alumni- think deeper. Think about what defines you on a superificial level. If you go to UCLA and want to work on Wall street, email Cal alums in New York. Williams College? Why not email alums that went to Swarthmore, or any other liberal arts college alum that might have had to teach himself the technicals? Ivy kids- you know what to do. And if you're a non-target... email other non-targets. Simple. The sky is the limit.

Emailing someone with a similar background reminds them of themselves. They are therefore that much more happy to help you. Remember though, you are entitled to nothing, and even if the guy is a complete d-bag, thank them in a dignified manner anyways.

2) Content- Keep the email short and sweet. I usually send emails explaining who I am and what my intentions are, a sentence explaining my "story, and then a graceful thank you. For what it's worth, the whole 'copy and paste' thing has never been a big problem for me at the bulge brackets. For boutiques, target carefully based on the above advice and try not to email too many people. Again, if you target the right demographic, this shouldn't be a problem.

Again, keep in mind that what you're doing essentially amounts to begging. These people have no obligation to help you. As such, unless its a very specific job, I think it's more of a numbers game and wouldn't spend too much time individually tailoring these emails.

3) Timing - http://news.cnet.com/8301-13880_3-9929823-68.html
Here is a link explaining how to send an email at a certain time using Microsoft Outlook. I personally have not tried this yet, but its worth looking into. People might have differing opinions about when the best time to send an email is, but I try to send them 9-10ish in the morning.

Now, what you actually have to do:

1) Create a list of the banks you want to email- Methods include: Search function on this site, google "investment banks [enter city]", Linkedin, etc. Not hard.

2) Locate the email addresses - If they are regional boutiques, chances are the email addresses are on the websites. If not, use the tried and true method of piecing together the email address (john.doe@GS.com) through contact information found on Linkedin. Don't forget alumni databases as well.

3) Send.

4) Remember to follow up - Bankers are busy people. Sometimes they just forget to write back. There is nothing wrong with politely sending up a follow-up email to someone that just didn't get back to you. I usually wait a couple of days to send one, but make sure that when you send this you're actually read to get on the phone. And if they don't respond to that, pick up the phone

Hope this was helpful. Happy to edit this based on user feedback and questions people might have. Will write another section on the actual cold-call conversation part if there is interest. Feel free to PM me with any questions.

Cheers,

Comments (211)

Best Response
4/1/16

Short sentences are better and more decipherable. You need more straightforward text rather than stilted, over-constructed sentences. Get to the point, man.

Suggestions below.

Hello X,

I understand you are very busy and must get these types of emails often. So I will keep this email brief.

My name is John Doe. I am a sophomore finance student currently studying at [DEGREE?] Target Uni and I am very interested in an investment banking career. I'm emailing you today to inquire about a potential intern role at [firm name - make the effort to not look like a complete form e-mail].

I have a very unconventional background. While at [Target Uni name], I started a [type of business] business from scratch and built it up to $[NUMBER] in sales per [period eg month] and 40 employees. In [time], I sold the business for $[NUMBER]. [not sure why this is unconventional, as many kids have pet businesses at university. Are you trying to say your background is unconventional because you don't have a business-related degree, but vaguely hinting at this?]

I have the modelling skill set, knowledge about finance and drive required to fulfill the role of an analyst and I believe I could add value to your firm. [this sentence needs to be re-worked, but how to do that depends on whether you are studying a business related degree or not]

I would like to discuss a summer intern role with [firm name] with you. Please let me know if we can discuss this by phone or in person.

Thank you in advance and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.

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2/4/12

Well done. The piece about beginning with a cold email is key - a decent part of the time, you'll get an emailed response about setting up a conversation, saving a lot of effort in getting through secretaries on the phone. And even if there is no reply, you have a basis to begin your conversation: "Hello Mr. X, my name is Y - I had reached out to you via email the day before last..."

Having things in common is key as well, but not just background. A contact of mine who heads a product group at a BB has absolutely nothing in common with me except I interned with an analogous group at a lesser firm that beat him out for a fairly large deal while I was working there. We were able to connect over this alone - I simply mentioned the specific group and firm I was with in the email, and when I called him two days later he said "oh, you were the intern from ABC Co, when you poached XYZ deal. I'm busy this week but let's connect next Thursday."

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."

2/4/12

Thanks for posting.
I have 2 questions:
1. When should I give them a call. I'm on the trading floor from 6:15am until 7-8pm every day. I don't exactly want to make a call like that in the hallway.
2. Would you be willing to proof read my email?

2/4/12

Culcet, Good post. A good overview of how to initiate contact with people. It's useful for when you are already at work and want to reach out to people to do business with.

2/4/12

Pretty good advice.

Do what you want not what you can!

In reply to nauprillion
2/5/12
nauprillion:

Thanks for posting.
I have 2 questions:
1. When should I give them a call. I'm on the trading floor from 6:15am until 7-8pm every day. I don't exactly want to make a call like that in the hallway.
2. Would you be willing to proof read my email?

1) That's interesting. Can you get time off for lunch? You could also try calling bankers in different time zones? Perhaps weekends?

2) Sure.

2/6/12

Culcet, any examples of those cold e-mails you send out?

I'm fairly confident in my cold e-mails, but jic.

Awesome post, man.

2/6/12

Alsatian,

I'd be happy to, but I honestly don't think it would help because the "hook" paragraph is highly individualized towards my personal story and is 99.99% likely to be impertinent towards anyone else's. For what it's worth, I'd be happy to draft a "mock" email template based on details you provide (these don't even have to be real).

2/6/12
2/6/12

Just cleaned up my post a bit. Trying to think of a catchy title...

In reply to Culcet
2/7/12
Culcet:

Just cleaned up my post a bit. Trying to think of a catchy title...

Stop changing the title name so people can refer to this thread without getting a broken link.

In reply to Relinquis
2/7/12
Relinquis:
Culcet:

Just cleaned up my post a bit. Trying to think of a catchy title...

Stop changing the title name so people can refer to this thread without getting a broken link.

My bad. The title stands.

In reply to Culcet
2/7/12
Culcet:
Relinquis:
Culcet:

Just cleaned up my post a bit. Trying to think of a catchy title...

Stop changing the title name so people can refer to this thread without getting a broken link.

My bad. The title stands.

No problem. I have a feeling lot of people are going to want to refer to this thread.

2/9/12

Better late than never. I'm pretty much in a similar situation : "non-target, subpar GPA, no finance background". I plan on cold-emailing in the future weeks and am hoping for the best.

Also, a "mock" template email would be of great help, just to get a better idea of the type of information that should/shouldn't be included.

In reply to Reloaded
2/9/12
Mat09:

Better late than never. I'm pretty much in a similar situation : "non-target, subpar GPA, no finance background". I plan on cold-emailing in the future weeks and am hoping for the best.

Also, a "mock" template email would be of great help, just to get a better idea of the type of information that should/shouldn't be included.

You might want to move quicker than "future weeks." Superdays are happening.

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."

3/8/12

Posting to check back later. Awesome information.

Nothing short of everything will really do.

3/9/12

Thanks for the post.

What do you recommend we put in the Subject line of the email?

3/9/12
In reply to lovepark
3/19/12
lovepark:

Thanks for the post.

What do you recommend we put in the Subject line of the email?

Doesn't matter that much. I usually ask for advice.

3/28/12

Hey Culcut,

great post, very informative. Is there anyway I could PM you my email so you can proof read it? I would really appreciate it.

4/3/12

*Culcet

*Proofread

Yes

6/28/12

Awesome post. Very informative!

In reply to timezone41
6/28/12
6/28/12

Do you think this will work for anyone or is it specific to certain people?

The Four E's of investment
"The greatest Enemies of the Equity investor are Expenses and Emotions."- Warren Buffet

6/28/12

Culcet,

Can I email you my content for review? I have emailed few people and I actually received one replied yesterday.

Thanks,
Onyxcap

6/28/12

wow thanks, i'm definitely going to use some of this advice. i've been cold e-mailing but the response has been less than ideal...

6/28/12

Nice stuff. I'm a rising sophomore at a non-target, I'll be sure to use this.

Thanks!

6/29/12

Wow, that's a lot of comments in one day. Sorry for anyone that's PMed me- been out of pocket (currently traveling).

I'm happy to review any emails (i.e. let you know what I think of it, whether its too forward, how I would react to it) but I can't really help you write it. This is less because I don't want to help and more because its hard to really "calibrate" the email without knowing more about you, the person you're emailing, and the nature of the relationship. Even if its a complete stranger, I would still need to know what common threads you might have, or at least something random yet compelling that would make someone want to help you. It's a bit hard to do this without revealing personal information about yourself, which you may or may not feel comfortable with. I've helped friends do this, but its because I already knew their "story".

Another question you probably want to ask yourself is "what do I really want out of this phone call?" Did you miss a resume drop and need a last minute miracle? Or are you cultivating a relationship that hopefully manifests in an internship opportunity a year from now? If its the former- call. If its the latter, there's no need to be frantic, start slow. However, if possible, I would try to send out an email regardless of the likelihood of the person having time to read it and respond. Here's why: if you send one or two emails and the guy doesn't respond, it completely changes the nature of the phone call. The underlying message of the phone call changes from "Hi, I'm some random schmuck that needs your help" to "Hi, you don't know who I am, but I sent you an email that you didn't respond to, so I have the upper hand in this phone call now".

Re: Actual structure of the email, just make sure it answers the following questions in the least amount of words:

Who are you? What do you want? Why would someone help you? (Show, not tell).

6/29/12

And thanks for the SBs

6/29/12

During what upcoming month would you suggest I send out cold emails for the upcoming recruitment season? When is too early/too late? Thanks!

In reply to Sandhurst
6/29/12
Sandhurst:
Mat09:

Better late than never. I'm pretty much in a similar situation : "non-target, subpar GPA, no finance background". I plan on cold-emailing in the future weeks and am hoping for the best.

Also, a "mock" template email would be of great help, just to get a better idea of the type of information that should/shouldn't be included.

You might want to move quicker than "future weeks." Superdays are happening.

Superdays for full time won't start till the first week in august.

6/29/12

I appreciate you putting this together, especially for people like me who are working on networking in the coming years

7/1/12

Do you know if I can use this now to get an internship as a sophmore next year?

The Four E's of investment
"The greatest Enemies of the Equity investor are Expenses and Emotions."- Warren Buffet

In reply to kmess024
7/4/12
kmess024:

Do you know if I can use this now to get an internship as a sophmore next year?

Certainly.

In reply to ewlang
7/4/12
ewlang:

During what upcoming month would you suggest I send out cold emails for the upcoming recruitment season? When is too early/too late? Thanks!

When I send emails I usually ask for "advice", so best would be today.

7/4/12

culcet, you cool if I pm you a sample of what i'm sending out. I'm having terrible response rates. Also, who do you target with these emails. Are we talking 1st/2nd analyst, or directors and MDs

7/7/12

Sure.

Re: Who to email. For bulge brackets, I would recommend sending out a wave to pretty much everyone you can (for getting your first internship, etc.) Thanks to logical email addresses and the wonders of Linkedin, this doesn't take that long at all. I would save the profiling for follow-up emails and calls.

7/7/12
ryan.stern611:
Culcet:

Wow, that's a lot of comments in one day. Sorry for anyone that's PMed me- been out of pocket (currently traveling).

I'm happy to review any emails (i.e. let you know what I think of it, whether its too forward, how I would react to it) but I can't really help you write it. This is less because I don't want to help and more because its hard to really "calibrate" the email without knowing more about you, the person you're emailing, and the nature of the relationship. Even if its a complete stranger, I would still need to know what common threads you might have, or at least something random yet compelling that would make someone want to help you. It's a bit hard to do this without revealing personal information about yourself, which you may or may not feel comfortable with. I've helped friends do this, but its because I already knew their "story".

Another question you probably want to ask yourself is "what do I really want out of this phone call?" Did you miss a resume drop and need a last minute miracle? Or are you cultivating a relationship that hopefully manifests in an internship opportunity a year from now? If its the former- call. If its the latter, there's no need to be frantic, start slow. However, if possible, I would try to send out an email regardless of the likelihood of the person having time to read it and respond. Here's why: if you send one or two emails and the guy doesn't respond, it completely changes the nature of the phone call. The underlying message of the phone call changes from "Hi, I'm some random schmuck that needs your help" to "Hi, you don't know who I am, but I sent you an email that you didn't respond to, so I have the upper hand in this phone call now".

Re: Actual structure of the email, just make sure it answers the following questions in the least amount of words:

Who are you? What do you want? Why would someone help you? (Show, not tell).

"Or are you cultivating a relationship that hopefully manifests in an internship opportunity a year from now?"
This describes me completely!!!!! I am a rising sophomore at a non target trying to use the summer time to establish connections that could lead to an internship opportunity next year! I have sent 4 cold emails to places I'm interested in interning and heard back from two of them. The rest didn't respond so I really don't know what to do. Should I reach out to them again in January? I doubt calling right now would be relevant. I feel like they didn't response cause they have more important shit to do right now than answer emails from a kid who wants to intern with them next summer? Also I got a hold of a recruiting assistant for one of the firms on the phone. We had a great conversation and she said she would email me all the info I wanted (my resume was forwarded to her) but never did. Its been 2 weeks since our phone convo and I'm not sure what to do. (I don't have her email) and I feel calling would be intrusive considering I'm looking for opportunities next summer not this one. help, what do I do lol

This is hard to assess without knowing more about what exactly you're shooting for and what the email you sent looks like. I would recommend sending more than 4 emails though.

7/29/12

Great advice!

How would you phrase the, "I want to chat with you if you have some time to spare" aspect of your email? Or is it best to just be blunt and direct like so?

In reply to oowij
7/29/12
oowij:

How would you phrase the, "I want to chat with you if you have some time to spare" aspect of your email? Or is it best to just be blunt and direct like so?

Short and sweet does the trick. There's nothing wrong with phrasing it like so.

Currently: becoming a clinical psychologist... yep, I quit finance
Previously: M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM), business research (HBS)

8/21/12
Culcet:

Will write another section on the actual cold-call conversation part if there is interest.
Cheers,

Is this still an option? There is definitively a lot of interest for this from my part.
Or did you already write this and I'm not finding it?

8/22/12

Wow, fantastic advice for noobs like me.

8/22/12

Will write out my thoughts re: calling in another thread over the next month- still thinking about how I'm going to organize it.

Cheers,

8/22/12
12/31/12

This may be useful to some people.

To find the company email address in Google try searching "email * * companyname.com" quotes included. Should be able to get the company name from just the first page.

Secondly, to check if a email address exists or not you can use this site,
http://www.mailtester.com/testmail.php

Some company set their email providers to block email address verification though so it won't for all companies, for example goldman sachs blocks it.

Happy Networking!

12/31/12

I've had a lot of success from when I was a college sophomore looking for an internship to a 2nd-year analyst trying to get a buyside gig.

1) Email title - if targeted to alumni, whom I prioritized, I would usually just write something like "Opportunities at Firm X -- [insert school here] alum/student." Otherwise, just "Opportunities at Firm X" or "Opportunities at Firm X -- experienced [inset group here] analyst."

2) Length - keep in mind many of these people are reading on their blackberry. My standard cold-email as an analyst, which I tweaked as needed (sometimes more heavily than others - but hey, if you want a job, you have to be willing to commit the time and not cut corners), is 2 paragraphs and 200-250 words. It was even shorter as a college student. Basically, who I am and why I'm interested in your firm/buyside opportunities comprises the first paragraph, while the second is my skills/experience. As a college student, I took the "I'd like to learn more and would love to talk" approach, but you can't get away with that naivete as an analyst so I was much more direct and to-the-point looking for buyside jobs. I also always attached my CV to avoid any slowdown in communication.

When I wrote why I was interested in working at Firm X or on the buyside, I didn't write crap like "You have an unparalleled track record and a great culture;" I wrote the reasons why I thought my skills/interests/abilities lined up well with hedge fund/private equity/lateral opportunities. You have to be both specific and to the point.

3) Tone - too many people write all this fake/idealistic BS in overly stilted language. I hate that and think it dilutes the sincerity.

4) As far as timing goes, I was never really able to establish a pattern in terms of which times of day seemed to work best. I would avoid sending around major holidays though. (i.e. if you are thinking about sending a cold-email, wait until Tuesday the 8th because lots of people are out this week and will need Monday to catch up). Keep Jewish holidays in mind as well, no joke.

5) Lastly, agree with following up. You have nothing to lose and nobody will find you annoying if you give it a week or two. Just don't keep bothering.

Above all, basic ways to easy cross-check things in your email to avoid surprisingly common fuck-ups: Your last step of the email before you click send should be adding the person's email address in the "To" field. Make sure the name in your "Dear [blank]" matches the name in the email address field, make sure the firm name in your subject/body match and also match the firm name in the email address field. Also, make the first thing you do to attach your CV.

12/31/12

In terms of content - the shorter, the better. Also, if you can, try to individualize/tweak it a bit beyond changing the name of the contact. I used a variable part of the message (one sentence) that could be quickly tweaked for each contact, while keeping the rest of the message intact.

In terms of putting in numbers: to get anything out of cold e-mailing, you have to send out e-mails to at least a hundred individuals. Playing the numbers is crucial. E-mails to just 4 contacts have a low chance of helping you.

Another important aspect is the contact database - this is absolutely critical. You have to have a way to track your progress and apply some strategy to the cold e-mailing process. If you have hundreds or thousands of contacts to e-mail, you will get lost without a good and well thought out database.

In reply to etherlord
12/31/12

etherlord:
In terms of content - the shorter, the better. Also, if you can, try to individualize/tweak it a bit beyond changing the name of the contact. I used a variable part of the message (one sentence) that could be quickly tweaked for each contact, while keeping the rest of the message intact.

In terms of putting in numbers: to get anything out of cold e-mailing, you have to send out e-mails to at least a hundred individuals. Playing the numbers is crucial. E-mails to just 4 contacts have a low chance of helping you.

Another important aspect is the contact database - this is absolutely critical. You have to have a way to track your progress and apply some strategy to the cold e-mailing process. If you have hundreds or thousands of contacts to e-mail, you will get lost without a good and well thought out database.

Good tips here, too. I think I reached out to 300-500 people. The key is to not hit too many at the same firm (and especially same group), to not do BS like Bcc a bunch of people, and to not fuck up and put the wrong email/name in the wrong place. Everyone's willing to help a sincere, humble college kid who seems genuinely interested and is personally reaching out to people, but lose that illusion with a lazy mistake or come off as a jackass and you end up on Dealbreaker.

Contact database is good but I would keep in a separate excel file and not in your Gmail/Hotmail/AOL/whatever service. I always breath a sigh of relief every time there's a spammer in my email account, because all of my non-personal contacts are not saved there.

12/31/12

Are you guys attaching your CV + Cover Letters (PDF files)? I think I've always done that.

12/31/12

My email is my cover letter but yeah I always attach my CV.

12/31/12

So reading this it seems to be advised to re-send an email if no response is given after 1 week or more? Is this generally agreed upon. I guess the worst thing that can happen is the person gets a little bit annoyed and again does not respond.

1/2/13

Hey guys,

I've received some PMs over the past several months asking for a follow-up to this. If anyone has any specific questions they wanted answered, or for me to elaborate on any points previously made, feel free to send me a PM and I'll address them one by one.

1/5/13

hate to pick nits but UCLA is not the same as Cal. Cal = UC Berkeley. Different school.

In reply to earthwalker7
1/5/13

earthwalker7:
hate to pick nits but UCLA is not the same as Cal. Cal = UC Berkeley. Different school.

You're not reading. Read his post again.

1/5/13

Thanks, this was some good advice.

In reply to Dreamgazing
1/5/13

fair point. I recant and retract.

4/2/13

Need some advice guys.

I saw some BBs etc having posted intern opportunities. I went to a networking event with one of the banks in question and now I was thinking of reaching out to one of the VPs who I briefly interacted with to try to build a relationship and eventually aim to get an interview to work there later sometime this year. How should I do this though? The job posting itself closes in a few days so I might as well send my CV already but to maximize my chances, I'd also like to email the VP. How should I formulate my email? I dont need to attach my CV, right?

4/2/13

Why *wouldn't* you attach your CV? So he can write you back in a week to ask for it?

4/3/13

Ok, valid point.

I currently have a telephone interview lined up for a boutique but I have no idea what to expect. I did look around on LinkedIn for previous employees there and possibly reach out to them how the recruitment process was like. However, I have no connection to these people besides maybe nationality and do not want to come off as a complete stalker or other awkward-type guy, since who knows whether he still has contacts/friends at the firm I will be interviewing at.

So should I reach out to past employees to inquire? How should I approach them? Any ideas strongly appreciated!

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4/3/13

Great advice, silver banana to you sir. I would definitely like to see the actual cold call as well.

In reply to trionfatore
4/3/13

You won't come off as a stalker if you do your homework. Phone interviews range from being very basic behavioral/fit based questions to a few basic technicals. Just be yourself and keep the focus on the position that you are applying to during the phone call. Tie everything back to relevant skills, whatever's on your resume, etc.

In reply to McEnroe
4/12/13

McEnroe:
Great advice, silver banana to you sir. I would definitely like to see the actual cold call as well.

Me too. Thanks in advance Culcet!

"Give me a fucking beer", Anonymous Genius

5/1/13

A little bit late, but great article, incredibly useful.

Thanks in advance!

3/4/14

Great new tool belongs in this write-up is Rebump. It automatically follows up if you don't get an answer. We all know that follow-ups work, this lets you set it and forget it. http://rebump.cc

3/4/14

Good stuff. Thanks for the info.

Consumption smoothing is retarded. If you stay in this game for a handful of years, money will be the least of your worries. Live it up, because this is the one time in your life where you might actually have time to spare.

3/5/14

@"SavedEmail" I would be careful using automated e-mails when they are sent more than once.
I use a similar service that shows me if my e-mail has been read and lets me send e-mails at a predetermined time and date.

Usually I would not send more than one follow-up e-mail. I once sent 2 follow-up e-mails but that was when I found out that the MD worked on the Twitter IPO. I then sent him a follow-up e-mail congratulating him and got an instant reply.

In reply to nauprillion
3/17/14

I agreed, it should be used cautiously. But it can be great for when you know the email should be seen and a reply is required.

In reply to Sandhurst
9/16/15

Spot on! I personally use Quickmail.io + yesware. Seriously, it works wonders.

3/31/16
3/31/16

Just introduce yourself, mention you're alma mater (I noticed you were a a graduate of ___ since it also my alma mater, etc", tell them you're interested in learning about their experience and industry.

Tell them you would appreciate any time they can give you.

Keep it short and sweet. They all know why you're networking, so don't act dumb or try to hide it when you actually talk to them. Be sincere, build rapport, and go from there.

3/31/16

I use "Interested in speaking" as my heading most of the time, so as to get to the point immediately and avoid wasting their time. Keep it short, I wouldn't go in to specific questions in your first email; a form letter customized with name and firm should be fine.

3/31/16
3/31/16

Subject line I use is: "Fellow ________ Alum Seeking Advice"

In reply to SAC
3/31/16
<a href=http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/sac-capital target=_blank rel=nofollow>SAC</a>:

Subject line I use is: "Fellow ________ Alum Seeking Advice"

Which the OP should modify, as he is not yet an alumni, but it's a good header

In reply to drexelalum11
3/31/16
drexelalum11:
<a href=http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/sac-capital target=_blank rel=nofollow>SAC</a>:

Subject line I use is: "Fellow ________ Alum Seeking Advice"

Which the OP should modify, as he is not yet an alumni, but it's a good header

Agreed. I thought he was a 1st year analyst.

3/31/16

Two of the best pieces of advice that I've read on the subject are:

The e-mail introduction most likely to open doors: http://www.gottamentor.com/viewAdvice.aspx?a=340
The e-mail introduction most likely to generate job leads: http://www.gottamentor.com/viewAdvice.aspx?a=339

Although, not exactly "cold-calling," the advice suggests that you try to find someone who knows the person you are trying to get in touch with to introduce you. This person could be someone more senior at the firm, more junior at the firm or just a mutual acquaintance. Having someone that the person with whom you are trying to get in touch with knows and trusts and who knows you and will put in a good word for you lets the person with whom you are trying to get in touch know that you are worth their time and not just some slouch. I've found this approach to be considerable more effective.

Good luck!

3/31/16

So when you get a hold of some alum that work in a division you'd like to work in, what do you say to them once they give you their number? Ask how they got to that position or what?

3/31/16

To lkc, once you get on the phone with them, you ask about the industry, how he/she got there, ask for advice on how to best position yourself to land a role in that division, if they like you they most likely will ask you to send over a resume that they will pass on to someone they know. If they don't bring it up, ask them for feedback on your resume, and keep politely prodding until they give you some.
I don't ask for help getting a job directly, I wait for them to offer it themselves.

3/31/16

I had one alum at a top BB tell me to call them on a certain day and at a certain time a few days ago. Obviously, I called that day and time and I was informed by his secretary that he was in a meeting, so I left a message. Should I call again next week or what? I know he's a busy dude, so I don't want to be an annoying student, but on the same token, I'd like to get a hold of the dude. :) Should I call or email?

3/31/16

Send a follow-up email saying that you are just following up on the VM that you have left. Ask for another time when he would be available.

3/31/16
In reply to lkc
3/31/16
lkc:

So when you get a hold of some alum that work in a division you'd like to work in, what do you say to them once they give you their number? Ask how they got to that position or what?

Exactly. More likely than not, they know that you are calling/ speaking to them because you want a job. Rather than asking for a job directly, try to build a "mentoring" type relationship with them - inquire about how they got to where they are, what exactly they do etc. If you develop a relationship with them and they like you, then they may take an interest in you and inquire about your job search and offer to help you or put you in touch with others. Minimally, you will learn more about the industry which will inevitably help you in interviews.

www.gottamentor.com

3/31/16

any thoughts on how this looks as a networking email to an alum? all the "introduce yourself politely" and "describe your interest" advice is helpful, but the exact wording is a little trickier

Email title: [my name] / Current Student at [name of school]

Dear ________,

My name is _______--I am a rising junior at _______ and came across your profile on the LinkedIn Network.

I am currently interning at an investment management firm in NYC, and am eager to pursue a career in finance. If possible, could I buy you a coffee or quick lunch to talk about your experience in investment banking? I would be interested in hearing about your experience at your current firm as well as your path since graduation. Any time you could spare would be greatly appreciated.

I really look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
_______

3/31/16

When you send an email like that, are you sending it through linkedin or finding that person's school email?

In reply to krypt
3/31/16
krypt:

When you send an email like that, are you sending it through linkedin or finding that person's school email?

I've done it both ways, but I've found that you're probably more likely to get a response if you e-mail them through their work e-mail. They'll probably get back to you sooner as well, as most people only check LinkedIn every so often.

In reply to SAC
3/31/16

everyone on these forums always stresses networking in order to get jobs in this business. im having a hard time having success in networking. maybe i suck but a lot of people dont ask for my resume. they usually point me to a contact where i can send my resume, but after that, nothing is different from the usual job application process. shouldnt my connection be giving an edge to my application? how do i make that happen?

3/31/16

The career advisor at my school has people on his "linked in" account that live and work in finance in NYC. Some work at some very big institutions but they're people he said he hasn't talked to in a while. He recommended I contact them and say I'm friends with him. Good idea or bad? This sounds like a horrible idea but then again I'm no networking pro.

3/31/16

"I am a rising junior at " are you just happy to see me?

Going with drexelalum11's advice.. looks quite good and I'm going to mix it up.

3/31/16

It's too hesitant. Be a little more assertive/concise.

3/31/16

Too long. I lost interest in the second sentence.

3/31/16

NEVER SAY informational interview. If i had never been on this site I would have no idea what you're one about. It's a horrible phrase, truly horrid. Bad WSO. Bad M&I

"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

3/31/16

Just say you want to chat.

3/31/16

The comments above apply: a little too long, a lot too hesitant. Never give them an out automatically by saying "if you can't make the time, I understand". Instead, phrase it in a way that if they're going to deny you they have to either tell you straight up or ignore your email. Phrase it like "I'm sure you're busy but I'd like to take you to lunch/coffee and chat. Do you have some time this week/weekend/next week/weekend?".

That's not perfect but it puts the ball in their court. It's SO easy for someone to say they don't have time when the person asking the favor has already given them an excuse.

3/31/16

How should I phrase it to be more direct? Some of the other posts I have read on here have said how it's bad to directly ask about internship/job opportunities etc. So what's the verdict?

3/31/16

I would avoid contacting randoms on LinkedIn. Most don't care about a stranger that has no affiliation to them.

Find alumni at your school. Don't bother with a long-winded email, either. Just say that you are pursuing X and Y, and was wondering if you could chat with them for a bit to discuss career paths and opportunities.

Junior bankers and analysts are best to contact informally (friends of friends at social events, etc). They are great for advice to get your foot in the door, but they offer little knowledge of career trajectories or the upper workings of a firm. Contact associates, VPs, and MDs - They are the ones that matter. They have the experience and knowledge to share, and, most importantly, they will be the ones that can help out come recruitment. Everyone you speak with at a firm will be judging you and seeing if you are a fit for the firm. If you are, then it is likely they'll put in a good word come recruitment.

4/1/16

That's good -- I might mention what $ amount you sold the company for if it is impressive, as well as the type of company. Good luck.

"They are all former investment bankers that were laid off in the economic collapse that Nancy Pelosi caused. They have no marketable skills, but by God they work hard."

In reply to CountryUnderdog
4/1/16

CountryUnderdog:

That's good -- I might mention what $ amount you sold the company for if it is impressive, as well as the type of company. Good luck.

Thanks!

In reply to CountryUnderdog
4/1/16

CountryUnderdog:

That's good -- I might mention what $ amount you sold the company for if it is impressive, as well as the type of company. Good luck.

Thanks!

4/1/16

I might add how you came across their info (linkedin, alumni database, etc.)

Disclaimer for the Kids: Any forward-looking statements are solely for informational purposes and cannot be taken as investment advice. Consult your moms before deciding where to invest.

4/1/16

I would add how you got their info, and take out the "will try to keep this short" - just keep it short. Also, you want to enquire, not inquiry

4/1/16

Modeling typically has 1 L, but I think it can be spelled both ways. You mention that you have the necessary modeling skills, but do you? Does your resume really support a statement like that? Unless you have IB experience or have taken a prep class. I'd just take that section and talk about how you sold your business in 2 sentences.

Brevity is key, and try to get someone on the phone.

In reply to packmate
4/1/16

packmate:

Modeling typically has 1 L, but I think it can be spelled both ways. You mention that you have the necessary modeling skills, but do you? Does your resume really support a statement like that? Unless you have IB experience or have taken a prep class. I'd just take that section and talk about how you sold your business in 2 sentences.

Brevity is key, and try to get someone on the phone.

For modeling, I've taken the Wall Street Prep courses and practiced by making football fields for a few companies. I cant say with I have modeling skills compared to anyone who has actually worked in IB, but I would feel comfortable with them asking me questions about excel modeling. The goal is to get someone on the phone and from there Ill figure it out.

Also, I figure talking less about the company may get them intrigued to hear more about it.

In reply to SSits
4/1/16

SSits:

Short sentences are better and more decipherable. You need more straightforward text rather than stilted, over-constructed sentences. Get to the point, man.

Suggestions below.

Hello X,

I understand you are very busy and must get these types of emails often. So I will keep this email brief.

My name is John Doe. I am a sophomore finance student currently studying at [DEGREE?] Target Uni and I am very interested in an investment banking career. I'm emailing you today to inquire about a potential intern role at [firm name - make the effort to not look like a complete form e-mail].

I have a very unconventional background. While at [Target Uni name], I started a [type of business] business from scratch and built it up to $[NUMBER] in sales per [period eg month] and 40 employees. In [time], I sold the business for $[NUMBER]. [not sure why this is unconventional, as many kids have pet businesses at university. Are you trying to say your background is unconventional because you don't have a business-related degree, but vaguely hinting at this?]

I have the modelling skill set, knowledge about finance and drive required to fulfill the role of an analyst and I believe I could add value to your firm. [this sentence needs to be re-worked, but how to do that depends on whether you are studying a business related degree or not]

I would like to discuss a summer intern role with [firm name] with you. Please let me know if we can discuss this by phone or in person.

Thank you in advance and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards

Wow! Thanks so much, this is a very helpful post. I am actually a Bachelor of Commerce student taking finance as a major. Also, I say my background is unconventional because I dropped out of school for a year to focus on my business.

In reply to SSits
4/1/16

SSits:

Short sentences are better and more decipherable. You need more straightforward text rather than stilted, over-constructed sentences. Get to the point, man.

Suggestions below.

Hello X,

I understand you are very busy and must get these types of emails often. So I will keep this email brief.

My name is John Doe. I am a sophomore finance student currently studying at [DEGREE?] Target Uni and I am very interested in an investment banking career. I'm emailing you today to inquire about a potential intern role at [firm name - make the effort to not look like a complete form e-mail].

I have a very unconventional background. While at [Target Uni name], I started a [type of business] business from scratch and built it up to $[NUMBER] in sales per [period eg month] and 40 employees. In [time], I sold the business for $[NUMBER]. [not sure why this is unconventional, as many kids have pet businesses at university. Are you trying to say your background is unconventional because you don't have a business-related degree, but vaguely hinting at this?]

I have the modelling skill set, knowledge about finance and drive required to fulfill the role of an analyst and I believe I could add value to your firm. [this sentence needs to be re-worked, but how to do that depends on whether you are studying a business related degree or not]

I would like to discuss a summer intern role with [firm name] with you. Please let me know if we can discuss this by phone or in person.

Thank you in advance and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards

Wow! Thanks so much, this is a very helpful post. I am actually a Bachelor of Commerce student taking finance as a major. Also, I say my background is unconventional because I dropped out of school for a year to focus on my business.

In reply to takenotes08
4/1/16

Revised:

Hello X,

I understand you are very busy and must get these types of emails often. So I will keep this email brief.

My name is John Doe. I am a sophomore finance student currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Target Uni. I am very interested working in investment banking after I complete my degree in [month, year]. I'm emailing you today to inquire about a potential intern role at [firm name - make the effort to not look like a complete form e-mail] over the summer of [year].

I have an unconventional background, as I deferred my studies at [Target Uni name] for a year in [year] to work full time in my own business start up. I started this [type of business] business from scratch in [year] and built it up to $[NUMBER] in sales per [period eg month] and 40 employees. In [date], I sold the business for $[NUMBER].

I believe I can add value to your firm as my university studies have given me a strong understanding of financial concepts and technical skills, while my work in my own business have given me a solid appreciation for hard work, self-discipline and business sense.

I would like to discuss a summer intern role with [firm name] with you. Please let me know if we can discuss this by phone or in person.

Thank you in advance and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.

4/1/16

Instead of cold emailing 300 firms, have you considered trying to leverage the school's network at a more reasonable number? I admire the hustle, but might it be better to work smarter rather than harder?

In reply to iConsult
4/1/16

iConsult:

Instead of cold emailing 300 firms, have you considered trying to leverage the school's network at a more reasonable number? I admire the hustle, but might it be better to work smarter rather than harder?

I'm doing both. In all honesty once you have the list, it is not that long to email everyone. I will proceed to send a follow up to each one next week and the week after call whoever didnt answer back. I think it should get me an internship

4/1/16

Typo in my para 4, should be has not have after business.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.

4/1/16

In my opinion I would absolutely get rid of the "I know you must get these all the time..." line, its just not necessary. I would also add how much $$ you sold your business for. I would be impressed/intrigued with somebody who sold their company for a substantial amount - otherwise I wouldnt find it all that interesting as many kids have businesses in college as mentioned above.

4/1/16

Wow, usually these types of posts get snarky comments but this one is definitely helpful.

4/1/16

"Inquiry," how about inquire? It just sounds off to me, I could be wrong though.

4/1/16

I would just double check that there are no errors, but aside from that it sounds food. (I think you mean inquire not inquiry?)

--Florida

4/1/16

I would just double check that there are no errors, but aside from that it sounds good. (I think you mean inquire not inquiry?)

--Florida

4/1/16

Tell them you are a junior. Boutiques don't have the resources or time to check, and if it comes up, say you're graduating early. Being a sophomore will ding you at most banks.

In reply to takenotes08
4/1/16

Truthfully, you should include solid examples. Include numbed figures and extrapolate further ion what you've done. just when you're going through it think "show me don't tell me" and write accordingly. I wish you all the best :)

4/1/16

Here's something you will only realize as you get older... these types of emails are much more effective if they are brief and less formal (but still professional). Its definitely an art and something rarely seen from a kid still in college. It can really separate you from everyone else if you can pull it off.

4/1/16

Going to use this email template over the summer!

4/1/16

I'm a bit curious, if you were able to have 40 full time employees for the business you sold, why are you still in college and want to do banking haha? I'm just thinking, 40 employees for a white collar business would prob sell for in the millions

4/1/16

Your English is quite poor in my opinion. There are small changes you could implement which would make your email read much more smoothly. I have rewritten your email with these changes in brackets (I don't know how to do bold etc.). I would also adopt the changes SSits has made.

Hello X,

My name is John Doe, I am a sophomore finance student currently studying at Target Uni with a very high strong interest in pursuing a career in investment banking. I'm emailing you today to inquiry (inquire) about any (remove any) potential internship opportunities at your firm.

I understand (that) you are very busy and must get these types (this type) of emails (change to singular) fairly often (comma) so I will try and (to) keep this email short.

I have a very unconventional background, which involves starting a business from scratch during university, building it up to 40 employees and then selling it. However, I assure you (am confident) that I have the modeling skill set (skills), knowledge about (of) finance and drive required to fulfill (succeed in) the role of an analyst (an analyst role and add value to your firm) (full stop) and I believe I could add value to your firm. (Remove all of this) I would be grateful if you (would) allowed (allow) me the opportunity to further present myself by phone or in person.

Thank you in advance and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards,

4/1/16

It's a numbers game, so good on you for casting a wide net. However, be careful that you don't fire emails out too quick and leave in another company's name, etc. you'll obviously get dinged immediately. It happens more frequently than you'd think. Best of luck.

4/1/16

Come to think of it, the whole tone of the email is wrong. You seem to mix casual with formal. You should do one or the other, and if you opt for the latter, then it needs to be significantly better than it currently is. If you try to be formal and don't pull it off, you look like a clown. Frankly, your English is not good enough for formal in my opinion, so I would not take this approach if I were you.

Something that really annoys me is your use of the word "however". It implies that you would make a good analyst in spite of your achievement in business, as if it is some sort of hindrance. If you had been building schools in Africa or working for Greenpeace, I could see how the use of the word "However" might be appropriate as you would have been very far removed from the corporate world, but in this case, it's not appropriate at all.

Further, as someone else has already pointed out, studying finance and starting a business in university doesn't really qualify as an unconventional background.

Perhaps worth taking Mr Magau's advice on this one. Casual but professional.

Good morning X,

I came across your details on XXX and wanted to get in touch.

I'm an aspiring investment banker studying XXX at XXX, and I was hoping that you might be able to spare a few minutes of your time for a chat, as I'm particularly interested in your sector and would be very grateful for some career advice from you.

Many thanks,

That might not work on Mr Magau, but it would work on me.

In reply to Mr.Magau
4/1/16

Mr.Magau:

Here's something you will only realize as you get older... these types of emails are much more effective if they are brief and less formal (but still professional). Its definitely an art and something rarely seen from a kid still in college. It can really separate you from everyone else if you can pull it off.

I want to try this approach, but I find it hard to keep it brief because I feel compelled to give them a reason to email me back. I.e. stating some achievements/skills.

In reply to packmate
4/1/16

packmate:

I'm a bit curious, if you were able to have 40 full time employees for the business you sold, why are you still in college and want to do banking haha? I'm just thinking, 40 employees for a white collar business would prob sell for in the millions

I'm a general contractor. I do mostly residential and commercial renovation contracts. The thing is that its seasonal so you lose lots of your employees during winter and also there is only about 10-15% of annual sales that are recurrent. In other words, every year you need to redo all the work to get back to the same revenue. This type of business only sells for a decent amount after being active for 10-15 years, where you don't need to cold call/canvass anymore to generate revenue. It was sold near a 1x EV/EBITDA multiple.

In reply to Ironuts
4/1/16

Ironuts:

Come to think of it, the whole tone of the email is wrong. You seem to mix casual with formal. You should do one or the other, and if you opt for the latter, then it needs to be significantly better than it currently is. If you try to be formal and don't pull it off, you look like a clown. Frankly, your English is not good enough for formal in my opinion, so I would not take this approach if I were you.

I agree with you, I think I should try and make it more casual.

In reply to Mr.Magau
4/1/16

Good instinct, but try something like this...

"Good morning, I am a junior at Target University and I am very interested in pursuing a career in investment banking once I graduate. Would you possibly have time for a quick call sometime over the next couple of weeks to discuss potential internship opportunities at your firm this summer? I have outlined a few of my relevant skills and experiences below to provide some insight. Thank you for your time, it is much appreciated.

*I've built a business from the ground up and then sold it for a healthy profit (40 employees).
*I have a robust knowledge of accounting and I can build financial/valuation models quickly and accurately
*Some other sentence that communicates motivation."

In reply to Mr.Magau
4/1/16

Mr.Magau:

Good instinct, but try something like this...

"Good morning, I am a junior at Target University and I am very interested in pursuing a career in investment banking once I graduate. Would you possibly have time for a quick call sometime over the next couple of weeks to discuss potential internship opportunities at your firm this summer? I have outlined a few of my relevant skills and experiences below to provide some insight. Thank you for your time, it is much appreciated.

*I've built a business from the ground up and then sold it for a healthy profit (40 employees).

*I have a robust knowledge of accounting and I can build financial/valuation models quickly and accurately

*Some other sentence that communicates motivation."

Hey Magau! I really like this format, but isnt it slightly weird to state bullet points in an email?

In reply to takenotes08
4/1/16

In typical formatting yes, bullet points are quite weird, but at the end of the day, at least for me, I wouldn't care! Essentially, the bullet points are easy for me to glance over and understand (and thats all I want from an email like this: MAKE IT EASY ON ME). The bullet points are like a pseudo resume without me actually having to read a full resume. I may even just glance at the bullet points after I glaze over the part about "internship opportunities".

In reply to Mr.Magau
4/1/16

Mr.Magau:

In typical formatting yes, bullet points are quite weird, but at the end of the day, at least for me, I wouldn't care! Essentially, the bullet points are easy for me to glance over and understand (and thats all I want from an email like this: MAKE IT EASY ON ME). The bullet points are like a pseudo resume without me actually having to read a full resume. I may even just glance at the bullet points after I glaze over the part about "internship opportunities".

Yeah thanks this is good advice.

Also, I was considering attaching a pitchbook I made for national investment banking competition to give them a sample of my work. I think this may reassure them that I wont require as much training as other potential interns. What do you guys think?

4/1/16

So now that Im in a position to receive cold emails I have received ~5 in the last couple weeks. I never did a template, and after getting a template cold email I hit delete. Have something in common with me or at least look at my linkedin and say something personal. Or just something to sound normal. Also keep it sweet. Bankers are professional bullshitters and turn off as soon as they see it (at least me and my circle of friends in IB). We may be the exception though

4/1/16

Hey!

I figured I'd give you guys feedback, considering you have helped me out quite a bit! After about 20 emails, I got my first interview (kinda). I cold emailed the CEO of a PE firm and he replied to give him a call on monday. I'm fairly excited and going to prepare as if it was an interview! I had a quick question regarding this.. when I sent the email I called him by his first name, so I am guessing when I talk to him on the phone I do the same?

Thanks!!

In reply to takenotes08
4/1/16

takenotes08:

Hey!

I figured I'd give you guys feedback, considering you have helped me out quite a bit! After about 20 emails, I got my first interview (kinda). I cold emailed the CEO of a PE firm and he replied to give him a call on monday. I'm fairly excited and going to prepare as if it was an interview! I had a quick question regarding this.. when I sent the email I called him by his first name, so I am guessing when I talk to him on the phone I do the same?

Thanks!!


yeah, also, don't take this harshly, but keep sending emails. When I was hunting for my first internship, I had MANY initial phone calls.
In reply to Loki777
4/1/16

Loki777:

takenotes08:

Hey!

I figured I'd give you guys feedback, considering you have helped me out quite a bit! After about 20 emails, I got my first interview (kinda). I cold emailed the CEO of a PE firm and he replied to give him a call on monday. I'm fairly excited and going to prepare as if it was an interview! I had a quick question regarding this.. when I sent the email I called him by his first name, so I am guessing when I talk to him on the phone I do the same?

Thanks!!

yeah, also, don't take this harshly, but keep sending emails. When I was hunting for my first internship, I had MANY initial phone calls.

How do these cold calls playout? Like do I elevator pitch him when I call him?

4/1/16

I reply to every person who reaches out to me. But I must say. I'm not a fan of multiparagraph emails. This template is basically a one sided convo and will make a person develop a view or opinion of you. May be positive, may be negative, may be righr or may be wayyy off base. Emails can often be read and interpretted in different ways. I pesonally use e-r semtences asking chat to learn more about the industry and get some advice. Again just my opinion, long form is obviously working for you

4/1/16

Also, meant to add.. Keep up the hustle and don't give up. All you need is 1 yes.

4/1/16
4/1/16

Awesome post, could not agree more. It doesn't happen too often but whenever I get an e-mail or Linked-In message from a college kid or someone looking for advice I always try to help. Can't just take and not give something back.

Give me a kid whose smart, poor, and hungry...............

4/1/16

Awesome post @Nefarious- +1

I've always appreciated the people who have tried to help me along my way and will continue to appreciate those who help me get where I am truly going to be happy. I have no doubt I will do what I can for the people who reach out to me in the future.

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."

4/1/16

Nefarious, Thanks for posting this on the site as I feel like that is what has been going on with me and some of the newcomers. I find it interesting that those who are new that are looking for guidance or a mentor or simply some help are brushed aside. When I stumbled onto this site, that is what I thought it was, a place where to get advice, help, or a mentor. Not a place to brushed aside. I would have expected a experienced professional to be exactly that, a professional. If I was in such a position, I would give back. I still hope to be able to contribute to this site in giving back when I reach that position.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade

4/1/16

Absolutely love this post! Thanks @Nefarious for posting..Such a great reminder to us all! Life is like a wheel that keeps rolling, sometimes you're on top, other times you're at the bottom, but you never know when you will hit rock bottom.

4/1/16

Mr.BananaB:

Nefarious, Thanks for posting this on the site as I feel like that is what has been going on with me and some of the newcomers. I find it interesting that those who are new that are looking for guidance or a mentor or simply some help are brushed aside. When I stumbled onto this site, that is what I thought it was, a place where to get advice, help, or a mentor. Not a place to brushed aside. I would have expected a experienced professional to be exactly that, a professional. If I was in such a position, I would give back. I still hope to be able to contribute to this site in giving back when I reach that position.

The thing about WSO is each user plays an evolutionary type role, if you will. Most people come here seeking help and looking for guidance, such as yourself, until they can evolve to a point where they are giving the advice and guidance.

Take what you learn here and apply it to the real world. Eventually you will build your network, make your contacts, sharpen your skills and find your path. Don't get discouraged.

Unfortunately, a lot of the "professionals" you will encounter sat through some of the most booming periods in our country's economy and were able to ride that wave to success - they don't realize how difficult it truly has been for younger generations and don't care to sympathize unless you have something that can greatly benefit them.

That is really what sparked my wanting to write this piece - to remind everyone what they had to do or are currently having to do to get to where they want to be and to not forget that once they are sitting on the power side of the desk.

You're born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you're up in the rarefied atmosphere and you've forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake, son.

4/1/16

Good stuff Nefarious, definitely been a long ride for me since I joined WSO.

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.
4/1/16

Great post. I've heard this sentiment a lot from alumni that I have reached out to over the past few months. You never know where people are going to be in 5-10 years from now, and it might just turn out that the person you helped may be in a position to help you down the line. Definitely good karma and look forward to hopefully assisting as many people as I can when I'm in a position to do so.

4/1/16

Agreed. You never know who you'll meet and who you can potentially learn from by responding to these e-mails too.

Who knows? Maybe you'll share some similar hobbies/interests, perhaps they'll be in a great position to help you out 5 years down the line.

4/1/16

What if no one ever helped me in my past and had to do everything on my own to get to where I am? I tried networking, cold calling and all of that but got rejected, ignored, and fell flat every time. I guess I'm a bit bitter about this and not sure if I can relate to this thread

4/1/16

cass:

What if no one ever helped me in my past and had to do everything on my own to get to where I am? I tried networking, cold calling and all of that but got rejected, ignored, and fell flat every time. I guess I'm a bit bitter about this and not sure if I can relate to this thread

So by all means, do nothing to change the way the game is played.

You're born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you're up in the rarefied atmosphere and you've forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake, son.

4/1/16

cass:

What if no one ever helped me in my past and had to do everything on my own to get to where I am? I tried networking, cold calling and all of that but got rejected, ignored, and fell flat every time. I guess I'm a bit bitter about this and not sure if I can relate to this thread

This is me

In reply to cass
4/1/16
4/1/16

I think there's a lot of karma in maintaining the bridge that you crossed.

That said, I wasn't from a target and I wasn't a fast talking networker. So the bridge I crossed was a different one. I got in because I was a decent programmer and I got a set of fair interviewers who didn't have a prior view about coders from state schools. And I got a fair FO hiring manager on an internal transfer who saw I knew my stuff and did a good job in analytics.

If you crossed a different bridge into banking or the FO, karma dictates you keep that bridge working, rather than someone else's bridge. It's great to help people who send you cold emails, but not at the expense of your bridge.

In reply to cass
4/1/16

I'm not trying to be a dick or anything, but...

If you really have had to do everything on your own than you should take a good, long hard look at the people you are trying to associate yourself with and/or yourself and how you present yourself. Even in an industry filled with a great deal of narcissistic assholes there are a ton of great people who are willing to go above and beyond for young guys.

patternfinder:

Of course, I would just buy in scales.

See my WSO Blog | my AMA

4/1/16

+1 and I firmly believe in "what comes around, goes around". I got my career break from a guy who became my mentor - still good friends to this day. If a cold email sounds intelligent, has potential and an touch of humility, I will give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

All the world's indeed a stage, And we are merely players, Performers and portrayers, Each another's audience, Outside the gilded cage
- Limelight (1981)

In reply to cass
4/1/16

@cass I've been there too. I think the best way of seeing it is that you have the opportunity of doing for someone what you would have liked to receive but never got the chance (lets say you couldn't find your Harvey).
One small note: Networking is also making it on your own. I come from a small city in a country in LatAm, moved to Europe for a Masters and had to make a name of my own and build contacts and friends. Nobody gave me anything for free, looked after every opportunity I got. And along the way I got advice and TIME from amazing people.
Is true that without me trying I wouldn't have got anything; but without their willingness to help and mentor I definitely wouldnt have either.
Just think about it as if you could make someones' life better and how much you would have liked if someone did it to you! Now you have the chance!

4/1/16

Amazing post. Definitely agree with everything.

As a college student at a non-core school about to go through the recruitment process this fall, I have truly appreciated all the people I have reached out to that have actually responded and been willing to help me out. These people are what is keeping the industry alive with a resemblance of humanity; without these people this industry would be completely cutthroat and inhumane.

Coming from a very modest background, I definitely agree with giving back. Even though I have yet to even get a summer analyst position yet, I have helped out the freshmen and sophomores who ask me for advice and tips on how to position themselves.

I tell myself everyday that when I am successful in the future, all the people that have helped me without expecting anything in return will be greatly benefited.

4/1/16

These are all great points and are the ones that should be focused on, but from a more selfish standpoint, it is still good to help college kids. That college kid might just need a boost or a recommendation to secure a job. After two or three years when he/she leaves for PE, HF, etc., that is a contact you have at the PE, HF, etc. shop. Even my MD takes time to network with kids who e-mail him.

4/1/16

Fantastic post. A few months ago I shared my story about how WallStreetOasis and unintentional networking has bolstered my career over the last six years. Anecdotal evidence that what Nefarious says is absolutely true. Here is the link: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/how-wso-has-en...

One thing to note though, particularly for the people that are having a hard time relating to this post, is that sometimes it can be very difficult to help everyone that reaches out to you. For those of us on this website who are active, we often get bombarded with messages from folks looking for advice. It takes a lot of time to give each person meaningful attention. If you want to minimize the amount of rejections you get, you need to put effort into each cold-email / cold-call you make. For example, today I met up live with a WSO member for an hour because he sent me a very personalized email that referenced the time we spoke at the WSO conference and demonstrated he was listening. Meanwhile, I got a PM this morning from a guy looking to meet up during his trip to NY. It isn't hard for anyone that has read my posts to know that I don't live in NY, have never worked in NY, and have purposely never applied to a job in NY. While I did respond to him, I'm certainty not going to go out of my way to help him out (sorry if you're reading this bud). I don't mean to derail this thread with networking advice, but I don't want folks to think that people who don't answer their cold-emails / cold-calls are selfish and unwilling to help others.

CompBanker

4/1/16

Simple As...:

I'm not trying to be a dick or anything, but...

If you really have had to do everything on your own than you should take a good, long hard look at the people you are trying to associate yourself with and/or yourself and how you present yourself. Even in an industry filled with a great deal of narcissistic assholes there are a ton of great people who are willing to go above and beyond for young guys.

Oh, not at all. People mentored me. But they approached me. They were so outgoing with their generosity that I didn't have to ask- I wouldn't have asked- I wouldn't have wanted to impose- but I am extremely glad they helped me.

Likewise, I found my mentees. They were usually the quietly competent people.

If you went out of your way to ask people for help, and they helped you, you need to pass on the favor to other people who ask you for help.

If you didn't go out of your way to ask people for help, but people helped you because they were good people and they figured you could benefit from it, you owe the world the same kind of help.

I ultimately didn't need to annoy people. I still got help- I am still incredibly grateful for that help. Karma means something different for everyone- and we all have to help people on the road behind us, but we have to maintain the bridges we crossed.

4/1/16

First post on WSO, but thought this was appropriate (and I believe this is what many of you are alluding to):

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head;
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!"

4/1/16
4/1/16

I am currently in the process of cold-emailing and calling and I can only hope every person who receives my emails/calls has the same outlook as you. Awesome post, gives me even more hope that there are more people out there like you.

"He profits most who serves best"

"Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage"

*Mark 11:24

4/1/16

This goes both ways as well... I had a kid recently (intern at a boutique bank, still a college student) on LinkedIn email me regarding a time to chat about my experience with my bank. I casually responded, asking him if he was interested in changing his current field of finance to mine because they are vastly different but that I was open to chatting if he was, in fact, interested... I replied with a decent length email asking a few questions, etc... he has since re-viewed my profile and ignored my email (no reply, week later). In my mind, I've now written this kid off completely. The courteous thing to do would be to kindly respond, thanking me for my response but that in the interest of not wasting each other's time, he'll now pass (or whatever). Just because I don't work in a certain field, doesn't mean I don't know others who do... he just burnt a bridge, in my opinion. Don't do that.

4/1/16

Great post Nefarious... Starting to cold call/email you could only hope to be able to get in contact with somebody that has that mind set and will help give you some direction on how to land that dream job.

In reply to CompBanker
4/1/16

@CompBanker

Thanks for posting that link - I must have missed it at some point. Good read.

You're born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you're up in the rarefied atmosphere and you've forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake, son.

4/1/16

I think it's worth mentioning that you don't have to be an "experienced professional" to pay it forward. With the exception of the guy at the end of the line, there's always someone behind you on the progression line that could use your help. Some merit it, some don't. But if you're a first year and a raw, clueless college kid asks for advice the same way you did, it's a great opportunity to pay it back. I think of all the fluke/opportunistic/surprising help I've received along the way in just two years, and I'm deeply inclined to help the next person.

Great post.

"We're not lawyers, we're investment bankers. We call you for the paperwork. We didn't go to Harvard, we went to Wharton, and we saw you coming a mile away."

4/1/16

I owe my success to my alumni who are very loyal to my alma mater. I now help kids at my target (duke, brown, Dartmouth, Yale) and even a bunch of non target kids cos I just love doing that. Give back as much as possible and you will get rewarded someday.

4/1/16

ChiTown82:

This goes both ways as well... I had a kid recently (intern at a boutique bank, still a college student) on LinkedIn email me regarding a time to chat about my experience with my bank. I casually responded, asking him if he was interested in changing his current field of finance to mine because they are vastly different but that I was open to chatting if he was, in fact, interested... I replied with a decent length email asking a few questions, etc... he has since re-viewed my profile and ignored my email (no reply, week later). In my mind, I've now written this kid off completely. The courteous thing to do would be to kindly respond, thanking me for my response but that in the interest of not wasting each other's time, he'll now pass (or whatever). Just because I don't work in a certain field, doesn't mean I don't know others who do... he just burnt a bridge, in my opinion. Don't do that.

Just to play devil's advocate, that college kid might have just been intimidated by your questions. He/she might be thinking "Oh, shit. I do not know any of that, so I will just not reply to avoid looking like an ignorant fool."

4/1/16

Awesome post

The purest form of giving is anonymous to anonymous..

4/1/16

Nefarious, thank you very much for this thread. I'm sure you'll get your Mike soon brotha! Great episode Wed too lol. Also, Great under quote. +1

" The art of good business is being a good middle man" - Eddie Temple (Layer Cake)

4/1/16