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So I'm a freshman at a top 10 university in the U.S. and am going to maintain a steady 3.8 GPA. To me, "networking" sounds a lot like kissing ass and isn't something that I want to do unless it needs to be done. With my situation in mind, do I need to start actively networking in the near future or just hand in a resume when recruiters come to my school and send it around.

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Comments (53)

  • mr.b's picture

    with such a stellar GPA at a prestigious university, I probably wouldn't even apply - they should just reach out to you

  • In reply to mr.b
    captainkoolaid's picture

    mr.b:
    with such a stellar GPA at a prestigious university, I probably wouldn't even apply - they should just reach out to you

    Lol

    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.

  • In reply to mr.b
    Champs46's picture

    mr.b:
    with such a stellar GPA at a prestigious university, I probably wouldn't even apply - they should just reach out to you

    +1. See what your boss thinks about not doing any work unless it absolutely needs to be done.

  • BTbanker's picture

    ^^ Actually they practically come from their office to your dorm room. All you gotta do is throw on some slippers and a robe, and head on down.

  • overpaid_overworked's picture

    Man, if you want to bank, succeed in banking, move up in your company, be a rainmaker etc... you better learn to network.
    It's more than kissing ass, it's knowing someone, or several someones at as many shops as you can. Step two, and what most people miss about having a network, is putting it to use, re: you know a trader at shop A that needs something. You know a guy from shop B can that can get it. You make the transaction happen, and you're now valuable to each one of them. If you just know a lot of people and all you do is ask for things, you're no fucking use to anyone.

  • BepBep12's picture

    Okay... after brushing off my initial annoyance w/ this post in all honesty to get an SA role you probably don't NEED to network. Would it increase the probability of landing an offer? Absolutely, b/c your peers at your school are doing it... so you might shine a little less brightly next to them. But, honestly target students for the most part are practically given all the opportunities in IBD, unless of course you've fucked up and have a crap GPA or no ECs etc. This is not a knock at target students all of you guys had to work hard to get where you are for sure, but for the most part opportunities are for you to lose.

    Edit: After re-reading this post, seems like a troll post to start a shit-show between targets and non-targets.. hmm, well played.

    'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

  • WSRenaissanceMan's picture

    You are a freshman? That explains it... You have a long way go champ.
    Your network could determine the differnce between an 70k IBD Generalist role and a 130k Prop Trading job.
    Don't kiss any ass. You want people to see you as a younger version of them. They need to see your potential and like you enough to help you maximize your potential.

    Don't think of it as kissing ass for a job; You're making rich friends you can share private jets and split 8 balls with.

    Make opportunities. Not excuses.

  • West Coast rainmaker's picture

    Always, always network. It is a life skill, and is more important than anything you learn in the classroom.

  • seabird's picture

    If your family/families friends arent in a position to get you a job, then I would have to agree with the other commenters who said that you will be competing against other people at your school who have comparable records who DID network. That said, I am not the biggest fan of it either.

    "...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

    - Schopenhauer

  • D M's picture

    mafurious:
    I'm a freshman at a top 10 university in the U.S.

    I agree. You are, in fact, a freshman at a top 10 university in the U.S. Good day.

    "You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
    "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

  • Markov's picture

    Networking can be overrated. Most of my friends who went through my top-10 school's OCR ended up with jobs that did not come from networking, but instead came from strong resumes and good interviewing skills.

  • Value Sleuth's picture

    I didn't "network" in the traditional sense (I hate what word) - but I made lifelong friends in the process. Very happy I did.

  • Walkio's picture

    If you don't like kissing ass now, wait till you start working. It's a daily dick suck.

  • anonymous02's picture

    Yes, networking is like talking to people and showing them you're a nice person. Pretty much what you have to do every day at work. So it's good thing to get used to it as early as possible. Just let people get to know you. If you're a shy type you won't last in IBD long. To me networking just means making sure I know plenty of people in the industry I want to work with. I don't have to be best friends with them, just make sure they know who I am and they have a good opinion of me. It will come in handy sooner or later.

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  • ricottacheese's picture

    would still network, these days a GPA at a top school doesn't always guarantee a look from top banks. also, since it sounds like you are an ultra competitive candidate, may be good to network for the most competitive positions that WILL require networking (BX PE Analyst, Citadel, Soros, TPG PE Analyst, Bain Capital PE Analyst, etc)

  • mafurious's picture

    OP here, I think I need to clarify where I am coming from. I love talking to people, but simply getting to know someone because they might be able to help you get a job seems like you are almost using them. I would rather focus on stuff I like doing at the moment rather then having to calculatedly talk to people. I feel like my time could be better spent studying, among other things.

    And no I am not a troll.

  • D M's picture

    You don't have to network solely for the sake of networking. Actually had this discussion with my parents and younger brother (he didn't want to network, just go have fun at a holiday party).

    The thing is, going out, meeting people, and having fun IS networking. Talk to people about what you do and what you want to do. You don't have to "target" people for networking, just remember that anyone COULD be your potential next in to your dream job.

    Oh, and networking isn't just to get a good job. You have to network if you expect to go anywhere in the finance world. They don't give a shit about how great your model building skills are, you are a salesperson and they want you bringing in business after the associate level. If you don't want to hang around an investment bank or whatever firm that long, keep in mind that "networking" is an easy way to find your next job opportunity.

    "You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
    "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

  • asiamoney's picture

    Newsflash: a ton of kids attend a "top 10" university and will be competing with you for top jobs. Tons of kids also have 3.8+ GPAs. And, tons of these kids are already hard at work networking. So, yes, you need to network.

  • Bismarck's picture

    You might not NEED to network to get the job (though it would certainly help....and you'll need it to get the best job) but you won't go much further in your career if you don't get good at it.

    90% of analysts/consultants/shit kickers have the technical skills to make MD/Partner/PM/Chief Monkey.....the ones that make it are the ones that build the personal relationships and sales skills to get there. It's not ass kissing....it's just life.

  • westsidewolf1989's picture

    I don't understand how you can claim that you "will maintain a steady 3.8 GPA" when you are just a freshman. Are you certain that the next 4 semesters will be exactly like the one you just finished?

    As far as networking, go to info sessions and all that jazz, but I wouldn't spend hours emailing alums, etc. Better to back that GPA claim up and just go to info sessions than to tank your classes because you emailed a ton of people.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    90% of the job is getting stuff done.

    10% is marketing.

    You need to market yourself. That may be networking or it may be building your reputation or it may be something different.

    I have also had a dim view of networking, but it has its place. The trick is knowing when it's selling yourself and your abilities and when it's kissing ass.

  • Lehman's Brother's picture

    Hubris makes people weak and vulnerable, remember that.

    Money Never Sleeps

  • marcellus_wallace's picture

    Is a 3.8 suppose to really impress anyone?

    Show maybe a 4.0, top 3% of your class and a rhodes applicant. Then yes you probably do not need to network. A 3.8 is like what these days, top 15% of your class?

  • therealweinstein's picture

    OP is proof that being at a top uni, and having a 3.8, doesn't disqualify you from being an idiot.

    Good job kid.

    PS, The following pic is for you op. :)

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Also I get the sense that some (not all) people posting responses don't have a great deal of industry experience.

    I can only speak to the quant roles. In the quant roles, networking doesn't get you the job. Brilliance, social skills, and a *decent* soft sell get you the job. We don't kiss ass, and if we wanted a job that treated us like kings, we'd go to Google or academia. We come to banking because we genuinely enjoy finance.

    There is something to be said for networking. Let me rephrase that- Wall Street is a small place and it's good to have friends. There is also something to be said for standing on your own two feet. Both are extremely important. Someone who will have a successful career will be able to do both, but in the long run it's better to be excellent at your job and good at networking than to be excellent at networking and good at your job. There is no substitute for producing value.

    OP, get a PhD and do a startup first. Create something of actual value. Then tell all of us "networking" schmucks to go to hell when we find ourselves needing to "network" you.

    Again, I take a dim view of networking. It is a necessary evil. Like hiring salespeople. It produces nothing of substance, yet it is a requirement.

  • Ravena's picture

    Most of the OCR positions at my school have anywhere from 7 to 20~ interview slots. I'm willing to bet there are at least a couple dozen kids applying to those roles who look at least as good, if not better, than me on paper. I really think networking is still important.

  • AnalystMonkey2769's picture

    mafurious:
    So I'm a freshman at a top 10 university in the U.S. and am going to maintain a steady 3.8 GPA. To me, "networking" sounds a lot like kissing ass and isn't something that I want to do unless it needs to be done. With my situation in mind, do I need to start actively networking in the near future or just hand in a resume when recruiters come to my school and send it around.

    Give me you're email address. You're hired! No need for resume check or superday! Pls we really want to sign you before the other top banks get you. Im going to send you your offer letter now!!!! Congrats

    I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things. Read Sun-tzu, The Art of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought- GG

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    So what is this other obsession on WSO with Rhodes Scholars, HBS grads, and dare I say students from certain MFin programs just walking into jobs and getting hired? One cannot be both obsessed with networking and with prestige.

    Here's my view:

    Spend most of your four years in school learning how to create value. Be it as a programmer or as a quant or as a a trader, banker, or research guy. As a trader or quant, you can develop a portfolio of strategies.

    Learn to use Bloomberg, Compustat, and the other market data databases. Learn how to do a legitimate backtest and run legitimate analytics.

    Spend some of the rest of your time making friends. Genuine friends are infinitely more valuable than fake friends, but it's ok to lean a little more towards friends in industries you want to work in.

    Also, never forget that there are thousands of UC Berkeley, UMich, and UVA alumns who are probably smarter than you.

    Finally it's always best to be hired for your competence than for your networking or prestige. Let's be clear- sales ability can be a form of competence; my point is that it's WAAY better to be in a job you're excellent at than to be in a job you're just ok at.

  • In reply to turtles
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    turtles:
    Mitt Romney networked his ass off and he didn't get the job he wanted. No one is too good for networking

    Mitt Romney didn't have competence. At least when it came to politics.

    Part of **political** competence is empathy. Neither candidate had very good empathy for the median voter, but Obama had it better. I say this as a Republican.

    Networking is important, but competence trumps networking in the end. And prestige is the least important of the three.

  • DonVon's picture

    I can't believe this thread has gotten so many responses!

    Yes, network. It's not hard and important. Done.

    "An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Check out my blog!

  • Powa23's picture

    Networking can be as simple as asking seniors as your school about their summer experiences. During recruiting time, just tell them to keep an eye out for you. I agree that for certain schools the networking aspect is grossly overrated. I know kids in my school that entered third year without knowledge of what banking is and have a SA offer in hand 5-6 months later. Yes that does happen, and no he/she was not connected.

  • sdxdtx's picture

    Disregard most of the responses on here. They're simply blowing off steam because networking is critical for some people. Still, you gotta network some dude. Networking can never hurt (unless you're an idiot) and can definitely help in some cases. At the bare minimum, do what westsidewolf suggested and attend the information sessions (you can do this junior year), but don't spend too much time randomly emailing people if you don't feel it's necessary (and it's not if you do well at a target). This advice assumes you keep that 3.8 GPA.

  • cityandcolour's picture

    For someone in a similar situation (top school, 3.7-3.8 GPA, econ/cs major), how DO you network?

    Do you all simply mean make friends with my class mates, which is fine by me, or do you mean get to know people already on Wall Street, i.e analysts, associates, etc? The latter seems much more mysterious to me, as in I don't really know how to do it (though I absolutely understand it's valuable). Do I just send friendly emails to people at banks asking questions? How would I "use" this network later to land a job? Or am I missing the point of this?

    I apologize if these questions seems naive... they don't teach you how to get a job in high school/college. And yes, I understand that going to a "top school" means practically nothing - that's why I am asking, because I don't want to be unemployed in 2 and 1/2 years!

    Thanks!

  • GrandJury's picture

    mafurious:
    So I'm a freshman...and am going to maintain a steady 3.8 GPA.

    You say that now.

  • rogersterling59's picture

    Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

  • Going Concern's picture

    For what it's worth, when I was in school I saw some people with such ridiculous resumes that they were basically going around just scooping up job offer after job offer and half the time they didn't even know what they were applying for! So if your resume is really that ridiculous (and the bar is set pretty high there) then you probably don't need to do much "networking". It probably won't hurt though, unless you have the EQ of a chihuahua (like me). Even then, just talk to the people that come to the info sessions and make them remember you. I remember doing that to get interviews for jobs I was not competitive for.

  • In reply to BTbanker
    ogofnyc's picture

    Lmfao

    To fade me its gonna take more than guts, you need the eye of the tiger, heart of a lion and King Kong's nuts

  • In reply to WSRenaissanceMan
    vitaminc's picture

    WSRenaissanceMan:
    You are a freshman? That explains it... You have a long way go champ.
    Your network could determine the differnce between an 70k IBD Generalist role and a 130k Prop Trading job.
    Don't kiss any ass. You want people to see you as a younger version of them. They need to see your potential and like you enough to help you maximize your potential.

    Don't think of it as kissing ass for a job; You're making rich friends you can share private jets and split 8 balls with.

    sad to hear that shit man, 70k IBD generalist or 130k prop trading job?

    Nowadays engineers earn so much more than that with a fat tail of IPO lottery... But then I guess not everyone is good with math and science.

  • In reply to vitaminc
    mr.b's picture

    vitaminc:
    WSRenaissanceMan:
    You are a freshman? That explains it... You have a long way go champ.
    Your network could determine the differnce between an 70k IBD Generalist role and a 130k Prop Trading job.
    Don't kiss any ass. You want people to see you as a younger version of them. They need to see your potential and like you enough to help you maximize your potential.

    Don't think of it as kissing ass for a job; You're making rich friends you can share private jets and split 8 balls with.

    sad to hear that shit man, 70k IBD generalist or 130k prop trading job?

    Nowadays engineers earn so much more than that with a fat tail of IPO lottery... But then I guess not everyone is good with math and science.

    lol yeah dude you are so right the average engineer does SO much better than someone in IBD right out of school

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  • In reply to SenhorFinance
    DonVon's picture

    "An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Check out my blog!

  • mafurious's picture
  • mxc's picture
  • In reply to mxc
    DonVon's picture

    "An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Check out my blog!

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