5 Things You Can Do Now To Help With Recruiting

To the sophomores out there, a news flash: you don't necessarily have to land a FO finance position during the summer to have a good shot at IBD SA recruiting the following year.

Many people work under the misconception that, with things as competitive as they are now, one has to have an IBD SA (MM or boutique) after sophomore year. This belief, while helpful, is simply untrue. I know several people who had no issues with SA recruiting junior year who didn't have an MM or boutique internship sophomore summer.

For those who aren't working FO this summer, here's what you can do to get ahead of the game for next time.

1. Do something interesting during the summer

Interesting can be used broadly here -- the most important part is whether YOU can make it interesting. There was a poster on WSO known by the name of IlliniPride who worked blue-collar jobs during his freshman and sophomore summers...he was able to spin that into why he's interested in IB, and bam presto!

Otherwise, try to get out of the country to do something that others will find interesting, but can still be turned into "relevant experience". Teaching English abroad, volunteering, working on an organic farm -- whatever, just show that you're either 1) scrappy and have a get-it-done attitude, or 2) you're willing to try new things and step out of your comfort zone.

2. Start networking with alumni

You can start doing this during the tail-end of your summer, but hit up a friend in NYC, see if you can crash for a few nights, and try to meet up with alumni who are in the industry. There are literally a billion threads about "informational interviews" on WSO, so check those out.

Alternatively, if you're unable to travel to NYC (or wherever it is that you wish to work), setting up calls with people is also fairly simple. Take advantage of LinkedIn, your alumni directory, and WSO (yes, you can network with members on an anonymous forum too!) and turn these resources into opportunities. It's not about wow-ing people, but it is about making sure they remember you.

3. Make sure you're up to speed on finance

Wall Street Training, WSO guides, Rosenbaum & Pearl, and other internet resources (M&I, ibankingfaq, etc.) are your friends here. Don't kill yourself learning stuff -- you don't need to run 15 DCFs just for fun to land a Summer Analyst position, but you should definitely know your stuff. A lot of it comes pretty intuitively.

4. Turn the "old" resume into the "new"

I thought my resume was godlike before I started applying for IB positions -- in reality, it was awful. Plenty of resources online, and helpful WSO readers, to help you take it from a steaming pile and turn into something that will grab someone's attention for even 30 seconds. And 30 seconds is often all it takes.

One problem folks tend to have with resumes is that people can be wordy but end up saying little to nothing. Make sure every bullet point is as concise and to-the-point as possible -- if the person reading it has to spend time figuring out what exactly you mean, you're fighting a losing battle.

5. Get involved in something that improves your presentation skills or public speaking abilities

Being comfortable around people is probably the most important quality in the business world. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, networking is awkward, interviews are forced and strange, and the workplace isn't exactly fun -- generally because they get a little anxious when they're not in their comfort zone.

Getting involved in theater, for example, would be a great way to get over such a hump. Or really any activity that requires presentation skills (if it requires negotiation tactics, all the better!). Theater, I think, is probably the best example due to the dedication necessary in memorizing lines, rehearsing, and finally acting (pun intended) under pressure. It's also quite fun, even though it might not *seem* like it to a lot of people.

What would you guys add to this list? What else can sophomores do to improve the odds during their summers if they're not already FO?

Thanks for reading.

Comments (5)

Mar 7, 2013

Thanks for a great post DonVon. It was close to what I was looking for recently.
If I had the option to do whatever I wanted, I would work as a field intern for World Wildlife Fund helping protect some exotic animal in India, Kenya or Australia. What do you think?

Mar 7, 2013

All really good point. I just started a thread asking for advice about whether or not I should take an acting class next semester so I guess that question has been answered haha. I'd say the biggest advantage to starting earlier than your peers as that you will be more polished when recruiting really starts to pick up and people will remember you for that. Also, 2/5 of your SA application GPA is left undecided at the moment so hard work in the classroom will really pay off here, especially for the sub 3.5 guys here. Reaching out to alumni now and improving your grades really shows hustle and people will respect you for that.

Mar 7, 2013

There are literally a billion threads about "informational interviews" on WSO

Literally? I doubt it. You're such a liar and a poopy pants.

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Mar 7, 2013

I agree with all of this, but I would still put a lot of emphasis on trying to get boutique/MM IBD, AM, or some relevant finance experience sophomore summer. I go to a target and having spoken to and interviewed with the kids who scored SA positions this recruiting season, here were some of there backgrounds: GS or UBS or BlackRock AM/MM or boutique IBD/HF/PE/boutique ER/Federal reserve. Truth is, it's super competitive out there but I do believe having a good knowledge of the industry and finance in general, coupled with a strong personality can go a long way in offsetting a lack of experience in ugrad.

Mar 7, 2013