8/27/15

Mod Note (Andy): #TBT Throwback Thursday - this is the 2011 Finance-forum post of the year (from Jan 28, 2011). Thanks @Marcus_Halberstram for a great post!

Since it is recruiting season, Im posting a multi-part series on how the whole process works to help the prospective monkeys better navigate the process, hopefully with a higher degree of success.

Lets start with the first time a bank sees resumes.

HR takes each target school and sets up resume drops. Each of those schools are then assigned a basket of analysts and associates to review resumes, decide who gets an interview and to conduct first round interviews.

I recently got 75 resumes from a target school of which, at most, 20 will get interviews. Of those 20, 8-12 will get superdays. Of those 8-12, 3-5 will get internship offers, of those 3-5, 1-3 will get full time offers. So of the 75 resumes, 1-3 will actually get a FT offer. To give yourself the best shot, it helps to know the way the process works and how a resume turns into an interview. Obviously those are approximations.

Part 1:

Resume Selection

A team of 6 of us (4 associates, 2 analysts) receives an interview pack of cover letters and resumes neatly indexed and sorted in alphabetical orders. From the 70-80 resumes, we're to come up with a list of 20-30 interview candidates. 20 we'd like to interview and 10 back-up and to rank the 10 back-ups from 1 to 10, so if a slot opens up, the top ranked alternate candidate will get an interview.

These are all Ivy league kids... resumes as low as 3.2 as high as 3.9 with a dual major in some ridiculous combination (think applied mathematics and chemistry). Almost every student was HS valedictorian or something along those lines. I quickly flip through the book circling GPA and majors... and ding any GPA under a 3.4, 3.4 to 3.5 I look at for an extra 4 seconds before before deciding if they have something else to make them well rounded (+2 senior level positions in clubs, varsity athletics, obvious interest in finance). I also immediately kill any resume with a typo. I only look at cover letters very briefly to see catch any obvious typos as a reason to ding. (i.e. cover letters do NOTHING for you). I will note, I saw some shorter cover letters that had numbered bullet points, no more than 3. Why I want to work in banking, why I think Ill excel at Your Firm, etc... I actually skimmed through these, and this format/style is very effective in actually getting read (for better or for worse). And found that the other people in my recruiting team had the same reaction.

I only dinged about 15... still need to ding another 30 to get to the 20+10 back-ups. I go back again, too many asians, too many guys, I narrow the field down a bit more. Ding another 5-10. Still need to cut another 20 resumes. Now I read the resumes a bit closer... finance case competitions, internships, club-involvement, does this resume tell me he/she wants to be a banker? I end up not finishing before our recruiting committee meeting, but I have starred the resumes I like (high GPA 3.7+, some sort of past finance intership, varsity sports, and/or any other uniquely impressive/interesting aspect (e.q. interests: Thai slap boxing).

In the meeting

We like candidates with high GPAs that communicate a strong interest in finance even if they are comparative lit majors with no finance experience, did they do case competitions? Do they list interests in-line with an inclination to banking?

We cut candidates with high GPAs irrespective of major who have no aspect of an interest in banking on their resume. We cut candidates who can't highlight/explain their experience properly/impressively. We cut candidates who don't list interests outside of working/studying. We cut candidates with low GPAs (sub-3.3-ish). We cut candidates who are on the line and could have arranged/presented their resume in a more impactful manner... the thinking being #1- you're probably using one resume for all internship, which means you didn't tailor your resume for this position, which means you dont want this internship enough to warrant spending extra time making your resume as attractive to us as possible; #2- poor judgment call to list your 3 RA stints as independent experiences and place them above your finance case competition runner-up.

Candidates we're lukewarm on, or one person likes and everyone else is indifferent on, we look at like this: we say this person has X, Y and Z that we really like. If we can't get an X, a Y and a Z (i.e. 3 strong, compelling points) we cut them. We don't even read poorly formatted resumes, they are auto-dings. We end up getting to 18 interview candidates and 10 alternates. From time to time I hear a "this format is just horrible, I didn't even want to read it, its a shame though because they were a pretty strong candidate content-wise."

So if you want to give yourself a leg-up in getting an interview

- it helps but is not a guarantee if you have a high GPA
- you SHOULD absolutely address the question of "is he/she interested in banking?"; if you've never interned in finance and are a non-traditional major, you should be actively involved (pref. at a senior level) in the finance clubs, you should participate in finance/modeling training seminars sponsored by your school, you should have a section under interests with "Readings" or "Favorite Books" that have a finance tinge to them (more When Genius Failed or Fooled by Randomness or Barbarians at the Gate, less Monkey Business or Liars Poker)... Wall Street Journal, DealBook, FT, etc... I wouldn't advise adding that section if the rest of your resume already sells your finance interest... otherwise its overkill and you seem uninteresting and boringly uni-dimensional. You want to be well rounded.
- formatting is EVERYTHING and there is absolutely NO excuse for typos or inconsistencies in formatting
- cover letters, if at all, should be minimalist, the main purpose of a cover letter is to address an obvious shortcoming that is apparent from your resume
- a few other takeaways, if there is an over arching theme in applicants from your school... i.e. asian, indian, male-heavy (more-so than usual), etc... it helps if your last name starts with an A... since by the time we get half way through the pack, if we saw 10 male, indian Economics majors with 3.8 GPAs with heavy finance-oriented club involvement and varsity athletics and you're the 11th, you probably wont get an interview... it was impressive the first one or 2 times, less so the 11th. So some of it is, just the luck of the draw.

Get a Pro to Review Your Resume

Comments (130)

1/28/11

Excellent perspective overall! Thanks for your contribution!

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1/28/11

Its really nice to see the interview selection process in depth. Thank you so much!
I only wish that last takeaway wasn't true.
I fit that description to the T and my last name starts with an S...

1/28/11

FML my last name starts with an R.

I'm going to officially change my last name to one that starts with an A, hopefully this is will get me into GS IBD TMT group.

1/28/11

@Marcus: If you ding any candidate below a 3.4, what about candidates who had 3.35 to 3.4 but didn't round? Do you think a 3.35 vs a 3.4 makes a difference?

Also, for on campus, do you have to target a specific number? e.g. if there are 25 great resumes but only 24 on-campus interview spots for your company, do you add one more spot for that candidate or just drop the weakest of the 25

1/28/11
machinegunfunk:

@Marcus: If you ding any candidate below a 3.4, what about candidates who had 3.35 to 3.4 but didn't round? Do you think a 3.35 vs a 3.4 makes a difference?

Also, for on campus, do you have to target a specific number? e.g. if there are 25 great resumes but only 24 on-campus interview spots for your company, do you add one more spot for that candidate or just drop the weakest of the 25

If you put a 3.35 instead of a 3.4 and the person looking at your resume happens to cut-off at 3.4, then you deserve it. I don't know why you wouldnt present yourself in the best light possible. You deserve to be dinged.

Second, not that its that much of a big deal... but it takes time to widdle the resumes down... and its not worth the headache at that initial weeding stage.

1/28/11
Marcus_Halberstram:
machinegunfunk:

@Marcus: If you ding any candidate below a 3.4, what about candidates who had 3.35 to 3.4 but didn't round? Do you think a 3.35 vs a 3.4 makes a difference?

Also, for on campus, do you have to target a specific number? e.g. if there are 25 great resumes but only 24 on-campus interview spots for your company, do you add one more spot for that candidate or just drop the weakest of the 25

If you put a 3.35 instead of a 3.4 and the person looking at your resume happens to cut-off at 3.4, then you deserve it. I don't know why you wouldnt present yourself in the best light possible. You deserve to be dinged.

Second, not that its that much of a big deal... but it takes time to widdle the resumes down... and its not worth the headache at that initial weeding stage.

Marcus -- what if your school doesn't allow for rounding (I know Wharton and some others don't) and everyone had 2 decimal places, and you had a 3.35 vs. a 3.4. Is a 3.35 still an autoding?

1/28/11

Please get this on the front page. Required read for all undergrads.

Thanks!

"I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine."

1/28/11

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

1/28/11
A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

It's cuz your black. You're a minority, ever heard of affirmative action?

1/28/11
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

It's cuz your black. You're a minority, ever heard of affirmative action?

LOL, either that or you're a chick with a huge rack...was this for IBD or S&T though, cuz the barrier to entry into S&T, from my experience, is MUCH lower...

1/29/11
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

It's cuz your black. You're a minority, ever heard of affirmative action?

Affirmative action my fucking ass. Nice try though.

Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

1/29/11
A Posse Ad Esse:
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

It's cuz your black. You're a minority, ever heard of affirmative action?

Affirmative action my fucking ass. Nice try though.

Don't act oblivious. You're the black kid in Stern who went through the sophomore diversity recruiting with Barclays, MS, GS e etc, and ultimately chose MS. There's nothing wrong with using your skin color to your advantage - actually it is a huge bonus that many (including I) are envious of. But don't mistake your BB internship offers as a sign of pure merit - a large part of it had to do with the fact that your black, and the fact that Stern only has a handful of black minorities.

*PS. Don't forget your GPA was <3.4 during recruiting season. Do you honestly think those bulge bracket banks would have noticed you if you weren't a minority?

1/29/11
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

It's cuz your black. You're a minority, ever heard of affirmative action?

Affirmative action my fucking ass. Nice try though.

Don't act oblivious. You're the black kid in Stern who went through the sophomore diversity recruiting with Barclays, MS, GS e etc, and ultimately chose MS. There's nothing wrong with using your skin color to your advantage - actually it is a huge bonus that many (including I) are envious of. But don't mistake your BB internship offers as a sign of pure merit - a large part of it had to do with the fact that your black, and the fact that Stern only has a handful of black minorities.

*PS. Don't forget your GPA was <3.4 during recruiting season. Do you honestly think those bulge bracket banks would have noticed you if you weren't a minority?

[email protected] fightzzzz

Best Response
1/29/11
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

It's cuz your black. You're a minority, ever heard of affirmative action?

Affirmative action my fucking ass. Nice try though.

Don't act oblivious. You're the black kid in Stern who went through the sophomore diversity recruiting with Barclays, MS, GS e etc, and ultimately chose MS. There's nothing wrong with using your skin color to your advantage - actually it is a huge bonus that many (including I) are envious of. But don't mistake your BB internship offers as a sign of pure merit - a large part of it had to do with the fact that your black, and the fact that Stern only has a handful of black minorities.

*PS. Don't forget your GPA was <3.4 during recruiting season. Do you honestly think those bulge bracket banks would have noticed you if you weren't a minority?

*sigh* If only your facts were straight, you'd be right. I have never been one to leverage my ethnicity as an advantage for jack shit.

Did I do Goldman's SFE/diversity recruiting? Nope. Does Morgan even have a diversity recruiting initiative? Not that I know of. BarCap's Generation Next? Okay, but in all frankness, I would have applied regardless of who I am because in terms of fit, it's probably at the top of my list, so I simply wanted it most and would've ignored that it "encourages African-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American, female, and disabled applicants."

I don't mistake my offers as a mark of merit. There are thousands of kids out there who could probably do a better job than I will right away, who have a higher GPA/SAT/class rank/any other metric, with better ECs ... But I don't think there's many more who wanted it more. I pay for school fully on my own. I took a risk going where I went, paying what I pay, and I wanted something so I pursued it. I networked my fucking ass off, emailed/called/visited people, participated in panels and seminars and preprofessional programs and anything else I could get myself into. And you know what? It paid off. Whether the amount of melanin in my skin or my determination and ability to carry myself in an interview got me where I've gotten is something you can debate until you're blue in the face. All I know is that I didn't do Goldman's SFE when I could've, I didn't do diversity with Morgan or Citi or JPM or CS when they all offered it along with scholarships, I went through the general applicant pool like any other schmuck and just went ham in interviews.

Personally, and I had a conversation about this with ANT when I met him, I think it's complete horseshit that someone's race is a factor in recruiting. I would be offended if someone wanted me simply as a statistic, and for that reason I'm strongly against affirmative action as most people think of it. The problem lies in hard policies, i.e. the 1990s UMich policies where x-percentage of students HAD to be black. Soft policies where a firm/school simply explores the possibility of hiring people from a broader pool of talent than they've previously looked at is a mark of social responsibility (i.e. perhaps stepping outside HYP for a second or looking past Exeter/Deerfield) and something I think is appropriate. If someone wants me for ME, for the experiences and life story and traits I can bring to the job, brilliant; ethnicity was a huge defining factor in the formation of my self-identity and made me who I am today, so I suppose indirectly it could net me a job, but not for anything as superficial as you're claiming.

I'm the kid who refused to list his ethnicity on his SATs, on any job app growing up, and any part of recruiting I've done in school. So fuck you for telling me I got something simply by sitting back and flying on the laurels of diversity when that's actually quite far from the case. If it were, all 16 black sophomores and 18 juniors and 34 Hispanic sophomores and 36 juniors from Stern would have BB offers just like I do. Wait, they don't.

*PS. Don't ever say "black minorities" out loud, it's just dumb ignorant and makes you sound like more of a tool than you already did.

Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

1/30/11
A Posse Ad Esse:
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

It's cuz your black. You're a minority, ever heard of affirmative action?

Affirmative action my fucking ass. Nice try though.

Don't act oblivious. You're the black kid in Stern who went through the sophomore diversity recruiting with Barclays, MS, GS e etc, and ultimately chose MS. There's nothing wrong with using your skin color to your advantage - actually it is a huge bonus that many (including I) are envious of. But don't mistake your BB internship offers as a sign of pure merit - a large part of it had to do with the fact that your black, and the fact that Stern only has a handful of black minorities.

*PS. Don't forget your GPA was <3.4 during recruiting season. Do you honestly think those bulge bracket banks would have noticed you if you weren't a minority?

*sigh* If only your facts were straight, you'd be right. I have never been one to leverage my ethnicity as an advantage for jack shit.

Did I do Goldman's SFE/diversity recruiting? Nope. Does Morgan even have a diversity recruiting initiative? Not that I know of. BarCap's Generation Next? Okay, but in all frankness, I would have applied regardless of who I am because in terms of fit, it's probably at the top of my list, so I simply wanted it most and would've ignored that it "encourages African-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American, female, and disabled applicants."

I don't mistake my offers as a mark of merit. There are thousands of kids out there who could probably do a better job than I will right away, who have a higher GPA/SAT/class rank/any other metric, with better ECs ... But I don't think there's many more who wanted it more. I pay for school fully on my own. I took a risk going where I went, paying what I pay, and I wanted something so I pursued it. I networked my fucking ass off, emailed/called/visited people, participated in panels and seminars and preprofessional programs and anything else I could get myself into. And you know what? It paid off. Whether the amount of melanin in my skin or my determination and ability to carry myself in an interview got me where I've gotten is something you can debate until you're blue in the face. All I know is that I didn't do Goldman's SFE when I could've, I didn't do diversity with Morgan or Citi or JPM or CS when they all offered it along with scholarships, I went through the general applicant pool like any other schmuck and just went ham in interviews.

Personally, and I had a conversation about this with ANT when I met him, I think it's complete horseshit that someone's race is a factor in recruiting. I would be offended if someone wanted me simply as a statistic, and for that reason I'm strongly against affirmative action as most people think of it. The problem lies in hard policies, i.e. the 1990s UMich policies where x-percentage of students HAD to be black. Soft policies where a firm/school simply explores the possibility of hiring people from a broader pool of talent than they've previously looked at is a mark of social responsibility (i.e. perhaps stepping outside HYP for a second or looking past Exeter/Deerfield) and something I think is appropriate. If someone wants me for ME, for the experiences and life story and traits I can bring to the job, brilliant; ethnicity was a huge defining factor in the formation of my self-identity and made me who I am today, so I suppose indirectly it could net me a job, but not for anything as superficial as you're claiming.

I'm the kid who refused to list his ethnicity on his SATs, on any job app growing up, and any part of recruiting I've done in school. So fuck you for telling me I got something simply by sitting back and flying on the laurels of diversity when that's actually quite far from the case. If it were, all 16 black sophomores and 18 juniors and 34 Hispanic sophomores and 36 juniors from Stern would have BB offers just like I do. Wait, they don't.

*PS. Don't ever say "black minorities" out loud, it's just dumb ignorant and makes you sound like more of a tool than you already did.

Dude you are a fuckin' G. Would give you a silver banana if I had any left.

1/31/11
A Posse Ad Esse:
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:
chubbybunny:
A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

It's cuz your black. You're a minority, ever heard of affirmative action?

Affirmative action my fucking ass. Nice try though.

Don't act oblivious. You're the black kid in Stern who went through the sophomore diversity recruiting with Barclays, MS, GS e etc, and ultimately chose MS. There's nothing wrong with using your skin color to your advantage - actually it is a huge bonus that many (including I) are envious of. But don't mistake your BB internship offers as a sign of pure merit - a large part of it had to do with the fact that your black, and the fact that Stern only has a handful of black minorities.

*PS. Don't forget your GPA was <3.4 during recruiting season. Do you honestly think those bulge bracket banks would have noticed you if you weren't a minority?

*sigh* If only your facts were straight, you'd be right. I have never been one to leverage my ethnicity as an advantage for jack shit.

Did I do Goldman's SFE/diversity recruiting? Nope. Does Morgan even have a diversity recruiting initiative? Not that I know of. BarCap's Generation Next? Okay, but in all frankness, I would have applied regardless of who I am because in terms of fit, it's probably at the top of my list, so I simply wanted it most and would've ignored that it "encourages African-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American, female, and disabled applicants."

I don't mistake my offers as a mark of merit. There are thousands of kids out there who could probably do a better job than I will right away, who have a higher GPA/SAT/class rank/any other metric, with better ECs ... But I don't think there's many more who wanted it more. I pay for school fully on my own. I took a risk going where I went, paying what I pay, and I wanted something so I pursued it. I networked my fucking ass off, emailed/called/visited people, participated in panels and seminars and preprofessional programs and anything else I could get myself into. And you know what? It paid off. Whether the amount of melanin in my skin or my determination and ability to carry myself in an interview got me where I've gotten is something you can debate until you're blue in the face. All I know is that I didn't do Goldman's SFE when I could've, I didn't do diversity with Morgan or Citi or JPM or CS when they all offered it along with scholarships, I went through the general applicant pool like any other schmuck and just went ham in interviews.

Personally, and I had a conversation about this with ANT when I met him, I think it's complete horseshit that someone's race is a factor in recruiting. I would be offended if someone wanted me simply as a statistic, and for that reason I'm strongly against affirmative action as most people think of it. The problem lies in hard policies, i.e. the 1990s UMich policies where x-percentage of students HAD to be black. Soft policies where a firm/school simply explores the possibility of hiring people from a broader pool of talent than they've previously looked at is a mark of social responsibility (i.e. perhaps stepping outside HYP for a second or looking past Exeter/Deerfield) and something I think is appropriate. If someone wants me for ME, for the experiences and life story and traits I can bring to the job, brilliant; ethnicity was a huge defining factor in the formation of my self-identity and made me who I am today, so I suppose indirectly it could net me a job, but not for anything as superficial as you're claiming.

I'm the kid who refused to list his ethnicity on his SATs, on any job app growing up, and any part of recruiting I've done in school. So fuck you for telling me I got something simply by sitting back and flying on the laurels of diversity when that's actually quite far from the case. If it were, all 16 black sophomores and 18 juniors and 34 Hispanic sophomores and 36 juniors from Stern would have BB offers just like I do. Wait, they don't.

*PS. Don't ever say "black minorities" out loud, it's just dumb ignorant and makes you sound like more of a tool than you already did.

Props. SB.

http://ayainsight.co/ Curating the best advice and making it actionable.

1/28/11

Thanks for the nuts & bolts perspective

Leadership can be defined in two words: "Follow Me"

1/28/11

fuck, I'm an asian male with a last name starting with Y. No wonder why I did so poorly for OCR

1/28/11

low gpa, good & relevant exp = ding?

1/28/11
kmzz:

low gpa, good & relevant exp = ding?

If you can't be a top performer in an environment as soft and forgiving as undergraduate program, why would anyone want to hire you alongside people who were capable of being a top performer in that same environment, regardless of your experience?

1/28/11
Marcus_Halberstram:
kmzz:

low gpa, good & relevant exp = ding?

If you can't be a top performer in an environment as soft and forgiving as undergraduate program, why would anyone want to hire you alongside people who were capable of being a top performer in that same environment, regardless of your experience?

I appreciate your analysis in the original post. I may not agree with such weeding out tactics, but I'm not on the hiring end. A lot more to a person than their gpa, which is where networking comes in.

1/28/11

SB. Of no use to me since I'm a senior at a non-target, but posts like these are really helpful to anyone in such a position.

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
1/28/11

What about FT positions? Is the online application process basically worthless?

1/28/11

I had a 3.40 last semester. Now I have a 3.32. I am even more tempted to keep the 3.40 on my resume now....

I am 900% sure that my GPA will be above a 3.4 this semester. This sucks.

1/28/11

So if all of these apps are ivy league kids, who picks the non-ivy kids? Do they just split up different types of schools between different screeners?

Good read though, nice to hear the full process from the perspective of the screener.

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

1/28/11

These cutoffs are largely arbitrary and relative. I graduated with about a 3.6 GPA while working full-time. I had a 3.4 until my senior year of college, so I typically consider 3.5 the soft cutoff and usually scan through a 3.4 to see if I can find an excuse for the lower GPA... if not, its a ding.

If your school doesn't allow rounding... then thats just the way the world works. Not much you can do about that. A 3.38 <> 3.40 BTW.

Lastly, you're right there is more to a candidate than a GPA... but if a jr. banker is trying to narrow 80 resumes to 20, and thats the quickest screening criteria, then thats what you have to live with. The whole purpose for me sharing all this info is so you do realize that "ok, I have a 3.2 from a non-target, I can't go the traditional route, I need to try something different, network etc..." or "I have good grades from a target, but thats not enough, I need to really communicate that what I'm really after is a career in banking" etc...

1/28/11

If a 3.38<>a 3.40, does that means you'll take a look at a 3.37-3.40 as well, or are those autodings too?

Also what do you do if a candidate has a low GPA like a 3.2, but prior M&A investment banking experience and substantial leadership?

1/28/11
machinegunfunk:

If a 3.38<>a 3.40, does that means you'll take a look at a 3.37-3.40 as well, or are those autodings too?

Also what do you do if a candidate has a low GPA like a 3.2, but prior M&A investment banking experience and substantial leadership?

My point was that if your school requires 2 decimal places, you can't round a 3.38 to a 3.40 and consider it to be honest.

To be completely honest, if I saw a 3.2 GPA, I wouldnt even get to looking at the other stuff. But if a co-worker sent me someone's resume and said "hey I know you're doing UG recruiting, this is someone I know, I would absolutely look through the entire resume and look for a way to make a case on their behalf.

This stuff is largely subjective. So to all of you crying because you have 3.3's... everyone has a different process. Maybe some people love reading cover letters before they go to sleep at night, maybe some reviewers dont think GPA is an adequate gauge, I know some who like looking at SAT scores... etc... some (myself included) allow some leniency to lower (still needs to be atleast north of 3.3) for difficult majors, etc...

1/28/11

This is an extremely useful post, thank you.

1/28/11

Is the books suggestion really a good idea? I feel like that wouldn't look right on a resume. If it is I'll consider it since I don't necessarily have tons of finance experience.

1/29/11

Say your overall gpa is on the low side (3.2ish)...but your major (finance/economics) gpa is 3.7+. How does that work? auto ding? do you even bother looking at the rest of the resume?

1/29/11
General Disarray:

Say your overall gpa is on the low side (3.2ish)...but your major (finance/economics) gpa is 3.7+. How does that work? auto ding? do you even bother looking at the rest of the resume?

You guys are missing the point. If these are your hang ups then it starts to be obvious why you have so much trouble landing interviews/getting offers. You are still trying to find circumstantial answers to "what if" scenarios... Marcus just provided a valuable bit of information but questions like this make me even wanna bash my head against a wall. He just told you how he goes through a resume drop, right? So you now know that if you don't meet the criteria that it's imperative for you to get in front of people, get your name out there, and network your ass off. Clearly the situation is different if he is reviewing resumes and he comes across the resume of someone he has met or who someone he works for can vouch for (he plainly stated this). This is why it's important to get as good of grades as you possibly can and to network. A lot of people don't get interviews the traditional route (through target school resume drops), but you need to figure out what is going to work for you and what you need to do to get to where you want to be. Your situation is akin to some girl whining about how Charlie Sheen won't sleep with her because she isn't a blonde porn star who weighs 105 lbs... does this mean that if you are a brunette with a fairly decent rack and you show up with a suitcase of blow that you won't get your shot? Not necessarily but you have to put in the extra effort and a lot of it may come down to his mood that day.

Marcus: SB for you man, this was a very valuable post... all you prospective monkeys out there take note of the suggestions on here and tighten up the res...

1/29/11
Marcus_Halberstram:

....

rufiolove:

...

+2

great posts guys thanks for that

1/29/11

+1

Nice to see you back, Marcus.

1/29/11

too bad for me Asian male last name starts with Z. I should join INTERPOL instead.

1/29/11

does completing a Bsc 1 year later than the expected time with a GPA of 4.0 and other relevant stuff imply a ding?

1/29/11

Very interesting post, thanks for the insight.

1/29/11

Thanks for this. That crazy fuck Bateman was wrong to have called you a dickhead.

Interview -> internship -> FT stats are startling. The 75 resumes weren't the entire pool for this Ivy, were they?

Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

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1/29/11

I am an associate and have been very involved with recruiting. I am part of my alma-maters "recruiting team", which consists of a handful of guys (all levels, but associate heavy). The process there is similar, but different. Networking counts for a lot, and I was one of the interviewers at the super day.

I was also involved in undergrad recruiting recently, and will get my first undergrad intern (we run a small winter internship for a school that does not participate in the summer process; i think a senior md or something must have gone to school there or something). Anyway the process is very much like what is described above.

I will say one more thing.....if you don't respond to my emails....you are not going to get an offer.

A few anecdotes: We do this thing where we will bring the MBAs into a room and ask the group very difficult questions, rapid fire. There was this one dude who had the balls to answer some tough math type questions which were asked by the guy who ran the entire floor.....guess what he got the offer.

We also had an alternate who *barely* made it to the interview process. MD didn't like him. We didn't like him. Nobody liked him...too nerdy...maybe annoying we thought. But this guy KILLED the interview, and he got the offer that evening.

As for undergrads honesly I'm looking for 1) interest in finance 2) some level of academic achievement 3) somebody who i would enjoy working with. I'm a believer in *fit*...but that's just me. I don't want to have to manage some douchebag.

Oh and if you are a new intern with an offer, and you don't respond promptly to my fucking emails you are on my shit list and everybody elses. My last intern didn't think he needed to respond to my emails for a few days at a time, (this was before he started) and we destroyed him when he finally arrived.

Final thought: I get 100 emails by 9am. Don't write me anything lengthy, and it needs to fit on my bberry screen.

1/30/11
gamenumbers:

We also had an alternate who *barely* made it to the interview process. MD didn't like him. We didn't like him. Nobody liked him...too nerdy...maybe annoying we thought. But this guy KILLED the interview, and he got the offer that evening.

He killed at nailing the technicals or did he have a good story or both?

1/30/11
TheHungryOne:
gamenumbers:

We also had an alternate who *barely* made it to the interview process. MD didn't like him. We didn't like him. Nobody liked him...too nerdy...maybe annoying we thought. But this guy KILLED the interview, and he got the offer that evening.

He killed at nailing the technicals or did he have a good story or both?

Generally when someone says they 'KILLED' an interview...its both

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

1/30/11
happypantsmcgee:
TheHungryOne:
gamenumbers:

We also had an alternate who *barely* made it to the interview process. MD didn't like him. We didn't like him. Nobody liked him...too nerdy...maybe annoying we thought. But this guy KILLED the interview, and he got the offer that evening.

He killed at nailing the technicals or did he have a good story or both?

Generally when someone says they 'KILLED' an interview...its both

The reason I cited that story is to demonstrate that you always have an opportunity to change people's minds.

Internally sometimes, we feel like we "know" who is going to get offers because of the amount of networking involved in recruiting. We have this perception within the bank that we know who is doing well and who is not doing well in the recruiting process. (yes we share notes)

As part of my school's recruiting team, I got to know the candidates on a personal level over the course of a few months. Anyway this guy came across as very intelligent and well spoken in his final round, and had great answers and insight for every question (Fit and technicals) and just seemed like a much more sophisticated guy than we imagined.

I cannot stress how important networking is at my shop to landing an interview. Bottom line.

9/14/11
gamenumbers:

Oh and if you are a new intern with an offer, and you don't respond promptly to my fucking emails you are on my shit list and everybody elses. My last intern didn't think he needed to respond to my emails for a few days at a time, (this was before he started) and we destroyed him when he finally arrived.

This bothers me. Basically what you're saying is that instead of pulling your intern aside, letting him know there is an issue and giving that intern an opportunity to rectify the issue, you would rather screw him. That's unprofessional and immature.

In the context of the corporate world, interns are like children who don't know better, they need guidance and should be expected to make mistakes. Instead of mentoring your intern (which BTW is part of your fucking job), you thought it would be a better idea to fuck with him. Nice managment skills, guy. You would be a thrill to work with.

Other than that, great post.

Man made money, money never made the man

8/27/15
gamenumbers:

I am an associate and have been very involved with recruiting. I am part of my alma-maters "recruiting team", which consists of a handful of guys (all levels, but associate heavy). The process there is similar, but different. Networking counts for a lot, and I was one of the interviewers at the super day.
I was also involved in undergrad recruiting recently, and will get my first undergrad intern (we run a small winter internship for a school that does not participate in the summer process; i think a senior md or something must have gone to school there or something). Anyway the process is very much like what is described above.
I will say one more thing.....if you don't respond to my emails....you are not going to get an offer.
A few anecdotes: We do this thing where we will bring the MBAs into a room and ask the group very difficult questions, rapid fire. There was this one dude who had the balls to answer some tough math type questions which were asked by the guy who ran the entire floor.....guess what he got the offer.
We also had an alternate who *barely* made it to the interview process. MD didn't like him. We didn't like him. Nobody liked him...too nerdy...maybe annoying we thought. But this guy KILLED the interview, and he got the offer that evening.
As for undergrads honesly I'm looking for 1) interest in finance 2) some level of academic achievement 3) somebody who i would enjoy working with. I'm a believer in *fit*...but that's just me. I don't want to have to manage some douchebag.
Oh and if you are a new intern with an offer, and you don't respond promptly to my fucking emails you are on my shit list and everybody elses. My last intern didn't think he needed to respond to my emails for a few days at a time, (this was before he started) and we destroyed him when he finally arrived.
Final thought: I get 100 emails by 9am. Don't write me anything lengthy, and it needs to fit on my bberry screen.

Calm down cupcake

1/29/11

gamenumbers,

If the email you send to the intern only requires him to say "Thanks," do you still want him to reply with the thanks even if it adds to your inbox? I've had this problem a number of times, would like some clarification.

1/29/11

Great post.

1/29/11

A lot of you need to realize that a resume simply gets you in the door, then they realize how much of a robotic/asian/indian economics major you really are, thats when they decided to go with the caucasian frat star because he can drink his weight in an hour and still make error-fre models and can talk to the BSD about how many sailboats he owns.

In my opinion, every candidate is the same cookie-cutter copy until you get to personality and intangibles.

C.R.E.A.M.

6/12/11
SunTzu:

A lot of you need to realize that a resume simply gets you in the door, then they realize how much of a robotic/asian/indian economics major you really are, thats when they decided to go with the caucasian frat star because he can drink his weight in an hour and still make error-fre models and can talk to the BSD about how many sailboats he owns.

In my opinion, every candidate is the same cookie-cutter copy until you get to personality and intangibles.

@SunTzu: True words mah dude. Unfortunately for people like myself, a mediocre 3.2 GPA, but with decent experience and in my opinion all the intangibles plus personality, I am not one of the asians or indians with a crazy high GPA and enough spare time in their lives to do 8 related internships and the closest they get to sunlight or a life is in front of their computer screen.

" 'Cause when ya meals appear; ya errybodys silverware" L.B.

1/29/11

THIS IS AWESOME! Based on my interviews this week, I have some questions for you.

Once you get an interview( I know this is for part two but I have superdays next week and I need more advice), should I try to impressive the interviewer with my market knowledge and prepared fit responses that really demonstrate my interest in the markets/trading or just go where the conversation takes us.

I've also had superdays where NONE of the candidates had tech questions beyond what do you think the market is going to do this year... so how do they decide who gets the summer offers? I felt like I did pretty well and connected with my interviewers but still didn't get the offer in the end, while someone from my school who did not have as much experience inside and outside of finance got offers. Not trying to be a dick here but just trying to figure out how everything works. What criteria are they rating people on? Is it a democratic vote or is it more based on senior management? If one person hates you, can you still get an offer?

I've been told getting an interviewer to talk about him/herself is a good strategy but I find myself talking a lot more in interviews, telling the interviewer my story, expressing my interest, and giving them my view on the market. Do you think that I should just relax, kiss ass some more and ask the interviewers more about their jobs, advice and interests?

1/29/11
ambition56:

THIS IS AWESOME! Based on my interviews this week, I have some questions for you.

Once you get an interview( I know this is for part two but I have superdays next week and I need more advice), should I try to impressive the interviewer with my market knowledge and prepared fit responses that really demonstrate my interest in the markets/trading or just go where the conversation takes us.

I've also had superdays where NONE of the candidates had tech questions beyond what do you think the market is going to do this year... so how do they decide who gets the summer offers? I felt like I did pretty well and connected with my interviewers but still didn't get the offer in the end, while someone from my school who did not have as much experience inside and outside of finance got offers. Not trying to be a dick here but just trying to figure out how everything works. What criteria are they rating people on? Is it a democratic vote or is it more based on senior management? If one person hates you, can you still get an offer?

I've been told getting an interviewer to talk about him/herself is a good strategy but I find myself talking a lot more in interviews, telling the interviewer my story, expressing my interest, and giving them my view on the market. Do you think that I should just relax, kiss ass some more and ask the interviewers more about their jobs, advice and interests?

Don't try to impress anybody. You are a college student and more likely than not will know next to nothing. If you tell somebody your view off the market, they will assume you memorized this from some sort of reading you. They will ask you follow up questions and if you are not able to answer you will look incredibly stupid.

1/29/11

ambition were you interviewed by traders or sales people? some interviews I had with traders at BBs (especially derivatives traders) where pretty technical (i.e discuss the greeks of a calendar spread position OTM, ATM, ITM etc)....otherwise yea most people get the same bs questions....the barrier to entry to S&T seems pretty low (relatively) once you're actually at a target..

1/29/11

I've only had one technical interview by a trader all my other interviews were fit and they were all with traders and sales people.

1/29/11

In most of my interviews, I talk about following the markets. They ask me for my views and I express my general optimism with possible housing and inflation threats supported by a few data points. I think this is standard and demonstrates that I not only follow the markets but am able to generate and express a view.
I'm just interested in what kind of criteria interviewers actually use to select candidates, if it's a subjective scale/rating or more objective.

1/30/11

Not to be a dick, but why did MS give you a 15k scholarship?

1/30/11

Wow did you forget what your original post was?

A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

You were surprised? Are you fucking serious? You're like the black kid who got a 1900 on his SATs and got in Yale who is "surprised" that his asian classmates with 2300s got rejected. Just answer this one question: Do you REALLY think MS would have taken a Stern kid with a 3.3 GPA seriously, if it wasn't for a hook (ex. being AFRICAN AMERICAN?)

I think Marcus forgot to mention the part where he deals with minorities. "Wow a 3.3 kid from Stern? What an idio..... WAIT OMG! He's black! Let's give him an interview for diversity's sake."

A Posse Ad Esse:

I'm the kid who refused to list his ethnicity on his SATs

Good job! Do you want a cookie?

1/30/11
chubbybunny:

Wow did you forget what your original post was?

A Posse Ad Esse:

Interesting to read, surprised given my candidacy I made it into the number of superdays I did if all this holds true.

You were surprised? Are you fucking serious? You're like the black kid who got a 1900 on his SATs and got in Yale who is "surprised" that his asian classmates with 2300s got rejected. Just answer this one question: Do you REALLY think MS would have taken a Stern kid with a 3.3 GPA seriously, if it wasn't for a hook (ex. being AFRICAN AMERICAN?)

I think Marcus forgot to mention the part where he deals with minorities. "Wow a 3.3 kid from Stern? What an idio..... WAIT WTF? He's black! Let's give him an interview for diversity's sake."

A Posse Ad Esse:

I'm the kid who refused to list his ethnicity on his SATs

Good fucking job! Do you want a cookie?

You are an idiot buddy. People seem to think that diversity initiatives somehow qualify as allowing less worthy candidates. You do realize that diversity pools tend to have higher GPA averages and from very qualified schools. It's not as though there is a lack of quality minority talent at HYPS and the rest that they have to reach and take just anyone. At my BB, the diversity program had a higher GPA and higher SAT score - by simple fact that its a small program and a tough applicant pool.

And yes people with low GPA's often have something else - usually they've networked their way into people liking them. Or someone who reads their resume connects with them on something, varsity sports, debating. Not sure why you have so much anger but I would suggest you get rid of it, if you want to have a shot in this industry.

10/2/11

Nope, I don't want a cookie. Don't be a dickwad, I simply disproved your claim.

Or you know what? Maybe it's all just pieces in a puzzle and it simply worked for me, along with coming across as a relatable human being in my interviews instead of some monster with hidden rage who likes to lurk forums and try to paint mental pictures of other people based on what they say ONLINE.

At the end of the day though, does it really matter? Probably not, because if we ever end up at the same bank you will definitely be one of the people across the desk glaring at me with a shit-ton of preconceived notions in your head that I got in through some loophole ... and I still won't give a fuck.

Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

1/30/11

chubbybunny just got owned

1/30/11

I don't mean to offend anyone but I know a lot of URM candidates who are not nearly as strong as other candidates who get way more interviews, superdays and offers. Many firms also host special networking events and tours just for minorities and women, so by this fact they definitely at least have some kind of advantage. From what I've seen and heard, not from actually compiling the statistics, I believe URMs overall in top universities and buldge brackets will have statistically significantly lower GPAs SAT scores and less impressive extracurriculars. Sure, there may be exceptions but we can't deny the fact that diversity recruiting helps to some degree.
Also, A Posse, there are many non-URM many kids in my school that have 3.8+ GPAs, top 5 in their high school, extracurricular leadership, diverse interests, a varsity sport or a entrepreneurialship and strong networking and interest who have not had nearly as much success in the process as you have. Your stats are very impressive, but don't underestimate your competition or the fact that being a URM helps. Don't get defensive about it, embrace it! If you have a trait that helps you out in life, be proud of it. I think it's much more fair that the qualified non-asian minority gets the job over the unqualified daughter of the CFO.

1/30/11
ambition56:

I don't mean to offend anyone but I know a lot of URM candidates who are not nearly as strong as other candidates who get way more interviews, superdays and offers. Many firms also host special networking events and tours just for minorities and women, so by this fact they definitely at least have some kind of advantage. From what I've seen and heard, not from actually compiling the statistics, I believe URMs overall in top universities and buldge brackets will have statistically significantly lower GPAs SAT scores and less impressive extracurriculars. Sure, there may be exceptions but we can't deny the fact that diversity recruiting helps to some degree.
Also, A Posse, there are many non-URM many kids in my school that have 3.8+ GPAs, top 5 in their high school, extracurricular leadership, diverse interests, a varsity sport or a entrepreneurialship and strong networking and interest who have not had nearly as much success in the process as you have. Your stats are very impressive, but don't underestimate your competition or the fact that being a URM helps. Don't get defensive about it, embrace it! If you have a trait that helps you out in life, be proud of it. I think it's much more fair that the qualified non-asian minority gets the job over the unqualified daughter of the CFO.

I'm not saying there isn't a networking advantage. It's the same advantage my brother gives when he goes to his school and hosts an event for the Crew team because he was on the team. Or the advantage I give to kids who are on my old debate team or play varsity basketball at my school or old rivals of mine. What I am saying is that you are dumb for saying "From what I've seen and heard, not from actually compiling the statistics, I believe URMs overall in top universities and bulge brackets will have statistically significantly lower GPAs SAT scores and less impressive extracurriculars" I would like to know where you see and hear this statistic (or is it how you feel from the 3 people you know). Because I can tell you with almost 100% certainty that it is untrue. I know our banks stats and I know other banks stats, that's part of helping with recruiting. Because you have a chip on your shoulder that a woman, or black kid got a job you didn't doesn't mean you can justify it by saying they had less impressive scores, that's BS. If it makes you feel better about why people have jobs above you, then that's fine but don't go spewing your garbage all over the forum.

People get hired because a whole panel of people decided they were interesting enough and sometimes out of sheer dumb luck. We once had a situation where an OCR system messed up and gave 3 kids we didn't initially want interviews. 2 of them blew away everyone and got the job over kids we selected on paper.

1/31/11
ambition56:

Also, A Posse, there are many non-URM many kids in my school that have 3.8+ GPAs, top 5 in their high school, extracurricular leadership, diverse interests, a varsity sport or a entrepreneurialship and strong networking and interest who have not had nearly as much success in the process as you have. Your stats are very impressive, but don't underestimate your competition or the fact that being a URM helps. Don't get defensive about it, embrace it! If you have a trait that helps you out in life, be proud of it. I think it's much more fair that the qualified non-asian minority gets the job over the unqualified daughter of the CFO.

That's great. That sounds like those kids are kinda machines though, robots who excelled in high school simply by combining raw intelligence with the willingness to put in mad hours at everything they did. And yet isn't the longstanding quote on this site "never overestimate your competition?" I've had one interview where I completely fucked up, at least by my book. It was one small mistake, but it was mental and subjective and because of it my demeanor and attitude was different in every question I answered. I felt completely different walking out of the interview there than with any other firm, and it turned out to be the only offer I didn't receive, which is why I'm not in BarCap's sophomore program but at Morgan where there isn't even a sophomore program.

Look at all the professionals here saying the same thing over and over, networking is the key. If you've positioned yourself, you take yourself out of the pack so to speak and net an interview with less emphasis on your stats. And if you can come across as a likable, reasonable, hardworking, and remotely smart individual, chances are you'll walk away with something while the uber-driven-to-succeed robot who churned out a sum cum at an Ivy and thinks he deserves simply because he's himself might not.

And again, I'm not ashamed of my ethnicity. I am embracing it, read what I wrote. I'm completely for soft policies, if a firm wants to look further past the parameters they and everyone else have always limited themselves to, I'm all for it. Just think though, think of all the white/Hispanic/other kids who get holed up in a shithole high school in an inner city besides the black kids. If you take a black kid who pulled 2100+ on SATs and has a 3.6 in college, chances are he came from a well-to-do black family who was entirely part of the suburban flight movement, never saw hardship in his life, was one of the select few to have a stable family, and is at a great school already. Diversity is larger than race, it includes life experience, ideological worldview, and economic status to name a few. If you're gonna do diversity recruiting, you'd be better off going by socioeconomic indicators. White kids in certain zip codes are far worse off than a ton of black kids who firms chase solely for diversity metrics.

Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

1/30/11

To all the people asking ridiculously detailed questions related to GPA/whatever, you ought to read Marcus' post as a guideline rather than a strict set of rules that all resume screeners abide by. Some people care a lot about GPA, others don't. Some people care about major, others don't. Some people care for diversity, others don't. So save yourself the time asking Marcus what he would do in your situation and just walk away with the following:

1 - GPA matters, a LOT. No one cares if you think this is fair. There is also no definitive "cut-off."
2 - Interest in finance can be important.
3 - Networking can solve the woes of someone with a sub-par resume.

CompBanker

1/30/11
CompBanker:

To all the people asking ridiculously detailed questions related to GPA/whatever, you ought to read Marcus' post as a guideline rather than a strict set of rules that all resume screeners abide by. Some people care a lot about GPA, others don't. Some people care about major, others don't. Some people care for diversity, others don't. So save yourself the time asking Marcus what he would do in your situation and just walk away with the following:

1 - GPA matters, a LOT. No one cares if you think this is fair. There is also no definitive "cut-off."
2 - Interest in finance can be important.
3 - Networking can solve the woes of someone with a sub-par resume.

Agree here in entirety. Especially on the fact that it matters what the person reading is looking for. I like higher GPA's because it shows some semblance of work ethic in my opinion. But I will always pick a more interesting extracurricular background. I'm not a stickler for finance experience because I think interest can be varied (I never had any finance experience before my BB) but my associate loves past finance experience.

And universally networking is your ticket. Before we sit down to read, we have almost 25% of spots already guaranteed to kids who networked through various avenues. And now their paper merit just has to match the in person merit.

1/30/11

I can bet my life on the fact that if you average the SAT scores of black hispanics and native americans in all the Ivies and you average the non URMs you will find a statistically significant difference with the non URMs having higher SAT scores. Likewise with the BBs and their URM and non-URM SAT scores. I am not comparing GPAs because that depends on the school's grading system, grade inflation. But if you look at historical recruitment from all the BBs on a school by school basis, I guarantee you will find the same trend. I am not saying that ALL non-URMs are strong candidates than URMs but I am saying that the bar is set lower for the URMs so on average, they will be weaker candidates.

1/30/11

wow, thanks for the insight

1/30/11

what are some examples of a strong extra-curricular activity that stands out?

1/30/11

any varsity sports, entrepreneurship, military experience, being the best or being world class at anything, world travel experience
it could be something as simple as bartending or skydiving

2/2/11

-deleted-

great posts Marcus and Compbanker

5/25/12
ambition56:

any varsity sports, entrepreneurship, military experience, being the best or being world class at anything, world travel experience
it could be something as simple as bartending or skydiving

I know it has been a while since you posted this, but I'm just catching up.

How would you incorporate world travel experience into a resume in a way that makes it relevant or increases your odds of getting an interview?
Also, is it wise to include sports like boxing, or muay thai if you practice them? I don't feel like anyone would want to hire someone who enjoys fighting, even if it is done simply as a form of working out and not because you like getting into fights or because you are aggressive.

1/31/11

Great stuff Marcus

2/1/11

Just have a quick question, don't know if it's been answered - my first post on WSO. I am an Asian male at Stern and so what I'm really worried about is standing out with my extracurriculars. My GPA is average (3.5), my work experience involves some work at an environmental consulting firm and an investor relations firm, so nothing special there. However, I'm both the President of my fraternity, which is, of course, an Asian-interest fraternity, and the treasurer an Asian cultural club with the largest budget of any club at NYU. Do you think it will look bad that I didn't try to expand my extracurricular leadership activities beyond my own culture, especially seeing as Wall Street is already so saturated with Asian males? Like, would it have been better for me to pursue a non-cultural extracurricular, say debate or political activism or habitat for humanity etc.?

Thanks for your guys' input in advance! =)

2/1/11
lrh253:

Just have a quick question, don't know if it's been answered - my first post on WSO. I am an Asian male at Stern and so what I'm really worried about is standing out with my extracurriculars. My GPA is average (3.5), my work experience involves some work at an environmental consulting firm and an investor relations firm, so nothing special there. However, I'm both the President of my fraternity, which is, of course, an Asian-interest fraternity, and the treasurer an Asian cultural club with the largest budget of any club at NYU. Do you think it will look bad that I didn't try to expand my extracurricular leadership activities beyond my own culture, especially seeing as Wall Street is already so saturated with Asian males? Like, would it have been better for me to pursue a non-cultural extracurricular, say debate or political activism or habitat for humanity etc.?

Thanks for your guys' input in advance! =)

To be perfectly honest - you wouldn't stand out in the pile. And not because your EC isn't strong but because it doesn't show me how you can work with everyone or show me diverse interest. And the Stern pile is absolutely tough because it seems like GPA's are on that average 3.5 and everyone who's involved is applying for Financial Services.

You're going to need to add some more experience involving other interests or even other types of leadership.

2/1/11

You're gonna need to stand out in more than just ECs...

10/2/11

.

Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

2/1/11

I wouldn't join clubs just to make myself appear "more interesting"

2/1/11
ambition56:

I wouldn't join clubs just to make myself appear "more interesting"

Sounds like a personal problem. People are doing it whether you would or wouldn't.

2/3/11

Regarding networking, I just screened a whole stack of resumes from a target school and had to pick 10 - 1 person in the stack had approached me at the on-campus event and followed up by email. No rockstar stats, but they instantly went into the first round interview pile - let's face it, if you have 3.5 or higher in a quantitative-ish area, I'd rather know that you're a cool person to talk to than know that you got an 800 on the math SAT. You'll both be able to handle the work just fine, but I also know that one of you will be enjoyable to work with.

2/3/11

I've met so many of my interviewers at info sessions haha

3/28/11

This is one of the most useful post I have read on this forum. Thanks a lot Marcus.

If you ain't buy side what are you doing on Wall St.? Gimme something good sport...

4/3/11

great post, thanks for the insight!

4/3/11

Very informative post. Thanks for sharing, Marcus and others.

Proboscis

6/12/11

Nice thread, thank you.

6/13/11

.

6/15/11

Great post. On resumes, would it be advised to list Cumulative GPA or Annual GPA of the most recently completed year?

6/16/11

cumulative - it's the universal convention, so if you just put annual, they'll assume you're hiding a terrible cumulative. the people reading these resumes are smart and were in your shoes not too long ago, so don't try anything too tricky - they'll pick up on it.

6/25/11

Great post, but I have a question regarding your point about correctly positioning things on your resume. I understand that work experience is something that firms usually value, but should non-finance work experience (think 4 years of a summer job) still be placed above activities like the highest possible leadership position in a very prestigious organization? As someone who will be applying for SA internships next year, I feel like those things are more important, and thus should be placed higher, especially for people will fairly short resumes. Thoughts?

6/30/11

That is a good fact to point out, i must use these points and your facts in My Resume to avoid any mistake, hope your suggest improve my Resume....

9/13/11

feel compelled to post a thank you. very thorough

9/13/11

i'm fucked

9/20/11
gamenumbers:

am an associate and have been very involved with recruiting. I am part of my alma-maters "recruiting team", which consists of a handful of guys (all levels, but associate heavy). The process there is similar, but different. Networking counts for a lot, and I was one of the interviewers at the super day.
I was also involved in undergrad recruiting recently, and will get my first undergrad intern (we run a small winter internship for a school that does not participate in the summer process; i think a senior md or something must have gone to school there or something). Anyway the process is very much like what is described above.
I will say one more thing.....if you don't respond to my emails....you are not going to get an offer.
A few anecdotes: We do this thing where we will bring the MBAs into a room and ask the group very difficult questions, rapid fire. There was this one dude who had the balls to answer some tough math type questions which were asked by the guy who ran the entire floor.....guess what he got the offer.
We also had an alternate who *barely* made it to the interview process. MD didn't like him. We didn't like him. Nobody liked him...too nerdy...maybe annoying we thought. But this guy KILLED the interview, and he got the offer that evening.
As for undergrads honesly I'm looking for 1) interest in finance 2) some level of academic achievement 3) somebody who i would enjoy working with. I'm a believer in *fit*...but that's just me. I don't want to have to manage some douchebag.
Oh and if you are a new intern with an offer, and you don't respond promptly to my fucking emails you are on my shit list and everybody elses. My last intern didn't think he needed to respond to my emails for a few days at a time, (this was before he started) and we destroyed him when he finally arrived.
Final thought: I get 100 emails by 9am. Don't write me anything lengthy, and it needs to fit on my bberry screen.

Wow, is this for real?

If I read this correct, you're saying it is now after the summer, your intern is back at school and is obligated to snap to attention anytime you e-mail him? If thats what you're saying, thats fuckin pathetic. You sound like a typical small man complex douchey banker.. and like a bitter, resentful, mean spirited douche that gets shit on and is dying to get someone else under him he can make miserable. I could have completely misunderstood what you said... but if I didn't you're pathetic.

IMO, once you leave your internship, you're not getting paid to work here (i.e., you have no claim on my time) until I officially start working here. Thats not to say ppl should just ignoring e-mails/calls, that talks to being polite and professional.

Also, I have never needed to contact interns after their stint for anything other than giving offers/congratulations, getting insight on other candidates or just catching up. Why are you even e-mailing interns while their at school? Maybe you don't have a life, they do. Leave them the fuck alone.

You sound like a huge self important douche bag.

9/20/11

Edit: unnecessary comment

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

10/1/11

+1
Nice to see you back!
---

10/1/11

Alphabetical order by last name right?

10/2/11
mk0000:

Alphabetical order by last name right?

I tested it myself actually. I have a hyphenated double-barreled surname but usually only use the last one which start with a letter late in the alphabet. But one day I've decided to use my formal name and then magically started getting interviews everywhere. Could be just a coincidence though.

10/1/11

I'm a freshman so I don't have much shit in terms of non-high school activities, but if I'm doing seminars and the like, where should I fit that into my resume?

12/25/11

Thank you for the insight!

1/12/12

You mentioned you look at SAT scores if people put them on, what do you consider a score that should be put on a resume?

1/12/12
Quaneaser:

You mentioned you look at SAT scores if people put them on, what do you consider a score that should be put on a resume?

A high one.

1/12/12

This is extremely insightful. I needed to see the thought process that goes behind the recruiters decision making. What happens to the candidate that has a high GPA, and relevant involvement but did not attend an Ivy League institution? Is he weeded out?

When luck shuts the door you gotta come in through the window - Doyle Brunson

1/12/12
upod01:

This is extremely insightful. I needed to see the thought process that goes behind the recruiters decision making. What happens to the candidate that has a high GPA, and relevant involvement but did not attend an Ivy League institution? Is he weeded out?

If you're not from an Ivy League or Target school than you're not included in this process and not compared to these candidates. Which means you should be trying to get short-listed for an interview through networking or even cold-calling bankers.

1/17/12
Marcus_Halberstram:
upod01:

This is extremely insightful. I needed to see the thought process that goes behind the recruiters decision making. What happens to the candidate that has a high GPA, and relevant involvement but did not attend an Ivy League institution? Is he weeded out?

If you're not from an Ivy League or Target school than you're not included in this process and not compared to these candidates. Which means you should be trying to get short-listed for an interview through networking or even cold-calling bankers.

How expansive would you say this list of "targets" is? Is it what WSO considers targets or would semi-targets (i.e Ross, Tepper, even Baruch) count as well?

Thanks for your great post.

1/12/12

Is the process same for MBA level hires?

1/13/12

Obama needs to create IB job training on-line whereby people can learn Powerpoint and Excel modeling

1/17/12

There isn't a list of target schools inscribed on the cavern walls where all bankers go to exchange recruiting stories and gulp down steins of mead.

A target school is a quite practical term. If a bank targets your school for recruiting than you're a target school. So if Wells Fargo and BAML do on campus recruiting at your school then you're a target school for each of those firms. The confusion arises because a handful or two schools are targeted by atleast half a dozen major Wall Street investment banks and are accordingly referred to as target schools (much like the device you use to clean your ears is called a q-tip, whether or not it is in fact of the Q-Tip brand).

1/17/12

I see, thank you very much for your answer.
I guess what I'm concerned with is that all the banks recruit here but not necessarily for IBD FO. For a bank that doesnt put such a position on the school's career website, I would be considered as a non-target applicant, yes? Even if that same bank puts, say, a S&T FO position on the college's career website?

Sorry if I sound retarded right now, I'm on a phone.

7/21/12

Marcus, are resume drops something that is done via their schools career services center? Or do you simply mean that a resume drop is any student that applies from x target school through the bank website.

7/26/12
Marcus_Halberstram:

too many asians, too many guys, I narrow the field down a bit more.

How is this not discrimination? And the banks all say they don't do this when you apply online...

7/26/12
Marcus_Halberstram:

Mod (Andy) note: elected by you - the monkeys of WSO, this is the 2011 Finance-forum post of the year (from Jan 28, 2011). I'm reposting it here on the homepage for any monkeys who have yet to see it. Thanks Marcus_Halberstram for a great post!
...
- a few other takeaways, if there is an over arching theme in applicants from your school... i.e. asian, indian, male-heavy (more-so than usual), etc... it helps if your last name starts with an A... since by the time we get half way through the pack, if we saw 10 male, indian Economics majors with 3.8 GPAs with heavy finance-oriented club involvement and varsity athletics and you're the 11th, you probably wont get an interview... it was impressive the first one or 2 times, less so the 11th. So some of it is, just the luck of the draw.

Why don't you read from Z to A sometimes? People can't help with their last names!!

The Auto Show

7/31/12

Does this process differ for semi/non targets?

7/31/12

Thanks for starting this thread, very useful advice. I'm in a unique situation, as I'm doing my masters in finance this year, and will be going through the recruiting process this fall. So my question is: How would you evaluate candidates who are doing a masters in finance? I'm sure there would be more technical questions, as a grad students should know the basics and more, but would you pay more or less attention towards their graduate GPA, FT work experience (BO/MO) before pursuing the masters and pursuit of certifications (CFA) compared to their undergrad stats (GPA, internships etc.)?

8/17/12
Marcus_Halberstram:

I go back again, too many asians, too many guys, I narrow the field down a bit more. Ding another 5-10. Still need to cut another 20 resumes.

So on a scale of 1-10, (10 being the most), how illegal is that?

10/25/12

Wow, you ding Asians because there's too many Asians in the pile? I see dumbing down of America (skin color over competence) is happening in the workplace as well, not just in schools.

p.s. No I'm not an angry Asian complaining, so don't bother bringing that up.

10/26/12
Bruce Wayne:

Wow, you ding Asians because there's too many Asians in the pile? I see dumbing down of America (skin color over competence) is happening in the workplace as well, not just in schools.

p.s. No I'm not an angry Asian complaining, so don't bother bringing that up.

That's because youre assuming a high gpa = competence, which it certainly does not. Some of the most useless souls I've come across on wall street had nearly flawless gpa's from some of the worlds most elite institutions.... and I'm talking complete fucking idiots.

10/26/12
Marcus_Halberstram:
Bruce Wayne:

Wow, you ding Asians because there's too many Asians in the pile? I see dumbing down of America (skin color over competence) is happening in the workplace as well, not just in schools.

p.s. No I'm not an angry Asian complaining, so don't bother bringing that up.

That's because youre assuming a high gpa = competence, which it certainly does not. Some of the most useless souls I've come across on wall street had nearly flawless gpa's from some of the worlds most elite institutions.... and I'm talking complete fucking idiots.

That still doesn't justify throwing out someone's application because of their race.

10/26/12
Bruce Wayne:
Marcus_Halberstram:
Bruce Wayne:

Wow, you ding Asians because there's too many Asians in the pile? I see dumbing down of America (skin color over competence) is happening in the workplace as well, not just in schools.

p.s. No I'm not an angry Asian complaining, so don't bother bringing that up.

That's because youre assuming a high gpa = competence, which it certainly does not. Some of the most useless souls I've come across on wall street had nearly flawless gpa's from some of the worlds most elite institutions.... and I'm talking complete fucking idiots.

That still doesn't justify throwing out someone's application because of their race.

So write to your congressman, wtf do you want me to do about it. That's human nature and that's just how the world works.

10/29/12
Marcus_Halberstram:
Bruce Wayne:
Marcus_Halberstram:
Bruce Wayne:

Wow, you ding Asians because there's too many Asians in the pile? I see dumbing down of America (skin color over competence) is happening in the workplace as well, not just in schools.

p.s. No I'm not an angry Asian complaining, so don't bother bringing that up.

That's because youre assuming a high gpa = competence, which it certainly does not. Some of the most useless souls I've come across on wall street had nearly flawless gpa's from some of the worlds most elite institutions.... and I'm talking complete fucking idiots.

That still doesn't justify throwing out someone's application because of their race.

So write to your congressman, wtf do you want me to do about it. That's human nature and that's just how the world works.

Nope, that's not human nature and not the way the rest of the world works. That's the point.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

10/25/12

What about those of us who meet all these criteria but don't go to a target school?

10/25/12

Damn it, my 3.7+ GPA seems meaningless because of my last name W

Stay hungry, stay smart.

10/26/12

Informative post. Looks like the recruiting process is even more fucked up then I thought (I'm seconding Bruce.Wayne's comment, throwing out resumes because there's too many Asians/Indians? really?). Amazing how you need to be such a super-nerd rock star or proactive ass kisser (ie. do a lot of networking) in order to get a job that (from what I've read) a high-school graduate could do.

10/26/12

Are there really too many Indian econ people applying? I don't see many get through though....

With regards to ECs yea I kind of see why recruiters find it hard to choose people... Everyone's 'the same'. Hard to stand out though... business ventures/case competitions, sports, societies, military, travelling - all becoming standard stuff. I know I would be bored reading it after 10 resumes haha

11/1/12

Networking does help ALOT! Landed my gig through a random linkedin message and had lunch with the guy. But I had a lucky niche and worked for my step dad's IB during and from school as an "intern" for a year to gain experience (and did not get or ask for any referrals from my step dad either, just put it on my resume). I also had to have another job to pay the bills (roughnecking in the oil fields on weekends). I had no financial background and payed for the WSP seminars and IB institute to gain "experience" if you call it. I had a 2.6 GPA and did not go to a target school. I killed the interview (and believe me they grilled my accounting skills), and landed the job because I proved in my interview that I will, and still do, work harder deal harder and put my balls on the line every fucking day! I said "give me 90 days to prove myself and if your not satisfied with my work, you don't have to fire me I will fire myself because I will know." I didn't give up! Giving up on your dream job proves your a pussy.

11/2/12

Hey Marcus,

As many others have said, great thread with some great insight. Thank you for taking the time to write this up. SB'd you.

I'm curious - does HR vets the initial pile of resumes at all before tossing them over to the analysts to take a look at them?

12/17/12

Marcus_Halberstram:
Mod (Andy) note: We cut candidates who don't list interests outside of working/studying.

When I talk about my interest in reading SEC filings during interviews I usually get a, "we don't really have time for that," type of response. Furthermore, the only people who seem to share my interest in reading in academic journals in monetary and financial economics are PhDs in the subject. Should I put this on my resume, or would I get more interviews if I mention bodybuilding?

8/10/14
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8/27/15

Fortes fortuna adiuvat.

8/28/15
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9/15/15

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

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