Why is this Quant so Angry and So Out of Touch?

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So all new users to WSO get 6 free financial modeling lessons, 5 of my best tips for networking and my best tips for interviewing over the first month of being a user.

Tonght I got a response from one of my networking tips e-mails from a slightly older gentleman that is a "financial consultant" with a bit of a quant background that surprised me...here is is:

Thanks for the old networking idea.

Since the hiring world seems to be dominated by beer drinking extroverts, who want to be begged for an interview by Quants and C++ programming introverts in networking events, I believe companies will get what they deserve - more beer drinking working buddies. Market bubbles will burst again, the beer drinkers will regurgitate Jim Cramer and the rest of the crowd, CFAs and economists will disappear into the crowd and make fewer phone calls to their clients.

Screw networking - it is below my intelligence.

I'm not sure if this was a joke, but clearly this guy is out of touch...my reply was:

Thank you for the response. It's not the hiring world that is dominated by "beer-drinking extroverts" that is the problem - it's the tendency that beer-drinking extroverts are more likeable and usually better at sales. So if companies are looking to grow sales and the job doesn't require programming knowledge, who should they hire?

What about my friend who is a phD at MIT and loves beer? I think you may have a warped perspective on what networking is ...sure it's the cold call, the cold email and the informational interview, but at it's core, (when it's done right), you are making true friendships. What about your [redacted]- don't you meet friends doing that? If you met a friend there and you lost your job, he wouldn't try to help you out?

Last time I checked, it was the "beer-drinking extroverts" that are getting laid off and the quants are the ones in high demand. So I'm not sure what networking sessions you've been attending with desperate "quants", but maybe, just maybe, developing some people skills may help you in your consulting business. After all, I'd argue that is just as much sales as it is analytical (at least if you want anyone to know about your superior intellectual capabilities and your ability to deliver alpha).

-Patrick

ps - you can unsubscribe from the e-mails so you don't have to be put through my networking tips :-)

...so I thought I'd open it up to the community because I was so surprised to get an email like that when I've seen the benefits of networking first hand so many times.

Is this guy angry because he has been telling his clients to stay out of the market since the beginning of 2013 and he's pissed at the "dumb money"? That's what my $s are on :-)

Any guesses or does anyone else think like this?

Comments (36)

Jun 18, 2013

I'll be honest and say that I kind of see the Quants point of view, that networking for networking's sake is very numbers game, shotgun approach to getting a job. Put this in comparison to becoming a doctor, the MCATS are the first test and if you pass that hurdle with a solid GPA you have a solid chance to getting admission etc.

Networking in my experience has been a waste of time whenever I went out of my way to network specifically. SO much effort expended, and so little to show for it.

Yet I will not discount the saying "its not what you know but who you know" I know its very true. That having having a strong person on the inside is very powerful.

But whats frustrating is that most people don't know powerful people who can actually help. Its the actual forming of these relationships that is the hard part.

First you need to go to a location where you can meet them, then you need to engage them in a way that gives them a reason to help you, either through forming an emotional connection (alumni, jokes, passion) or through a skills based, value add connection, help me, Ill help you ( i have xyz skill set you need, I have xyz connections give me a job)

Most undergrads will try the strategy of forming an emotional connection to try to get the other person to try and help you. This makes sense because if I was a MD and I received an email about a kid wanting to intern in my firm I would most likely go "who the hell is this kid wasting my time....delete" but if I knew you from a family party or from some random encounter and i liked you and I remembered you, Id respond differently "oh thats john i remember him fun kid, whats he up to"

As an undergrad you cant really offer anything to and MD other than an emotional bond of some sorts.

The problem is that forming this emotional bond is very hit or miss and often you dont get lots of time to when you do get a minute or two with the person.

There are just so many pieces:
1) First locating said valued people to contact who have potential to help so we can make sure they are worth the time investing trying to meet
2) That we are able to create a bond and connect with them so that they feel motivated to help us

I went to the investment banking conference one year that Wall street oasis hosts and I will never forget how much networking was trumpeted almost 80% of the presentation was networking so like a good monkey I approached and was very friendly and met with every presenter, had my resume etc.

I used to be in sales btw so I was very polished to say the least and I know this for a fact, the others there were out my league. I managed to get some cards and good smiles.

But in the end almost all of them in one way or another told me "Sorry we really only hire from target schools" which was my ding non target. One presenter took me aside and said "listen kid, all this stuff is mostly BS, go back to school and get a mba from a target and thats how it works, I struggled for a long time until i went back and got my degree"

I will say this, that when you have a good resume target, good gpa etc then networking will help you get the nest job, but without the target and good gpa etc networking turns into a terrible numbers game.

Like cold calling 400 people a day to sell them xyz mutual fund, yup I did that and I hated it.

I've noticed when people dont really have the heart to tell a kid "hey your fked" they tell him to go network.

Not saying you shouldn't network but the odds of a job are low.

Yet at the same time if you think about it networking is almost free, it costs you no time to send an email or go to a conference etc so there is no reason not to do it.

But its the worst strategy with the lowest payoff but its free, so go ahead try to form an emotional bond with people hoping they help you, most probably he wont.

Thats all Im saying keep networking in perspective and understand its limitations.

    • 2
Jun 18, 2013

"Financial consultant" is a euphimism for unemployed. So, you're dealing with a bitter, unemployed, and probably unemployable person with zero people skills. Those characteristics don't usually coincide with happiness.

What other questions do you have? I'll be here all night. (don't forget to tip your waitress)

Jun 18, 2013
rangerdanger 12:

I'll be honest and say that I kind of see the Quants point of view, that networking for networking's sake is very numbers game, shotgun approach to getting a job. Put this in comparison to becoming a doctor, the MCATS are the first test and if you pass that hurdle with a solid GPA you have a solid chance to getting admission etc.

Networking in my experience has been a waste of time whenever I went out of my way to network specifically. SO much effort expended, and so little to show for it.

Yet I will not discount the saying "its not what you know but who you know" I know its very true. That having having a strong person on the inside is very powerful.

But whats frustrating is that most people don't know powerful people who can actually help. Its the actual forming of these relationships that is the hard part.

First you need to go to a location where you can meet them, then you need to engage them in a way that gives them a reason to help you, either through forming an emotional connection (alumni, jokes, passion) or through a skills based, value add connection, help me, Ill help you ( i have xyz skill set you need, I have xyz connections give me a job)

Most undergrads will try the strategy of forming an emotional connection to try to get the other person to try and help you. This makes sense because if I was a MD and I received an email about a kid wanting to intern in my firm I would most likely go "who the hell is this kid wasting my time....delete" but if I knew you from a family party or from some random encounter and i liked you and I remembered you, Id respond differently "oh thats john i remember him fun kid, whats he up to"

As an undergrad you cant really offer anything to and MD other than an emotional bond of some sorts.

The problem is that forming this emotional bond is very hit or miss and often you dont get lots of time to when you do get a minute or two with the person.

There are just so many pieces:

1) First locating said valued people to contact who have potential to help so we can make sure they are worth the time investing trying to meet

2) That we are able to create a bond and connect with them so that they feel motivated to help us

I went to the investment banking conference one year that Wall street oasis hosts and I will never forget how much networking was trumpeted almost 80% of the presentation was networking so like a good monkey I approached and was very friendly and met with every presenter, had my resume etc.

I used to be in sales btw so I was very polished to say the least and I know this for a fact, the others there were out my league. I managed to get some cards and good smiles.

But in the end almost all of them in one way or another told me "Sorry we really only hire from target schools" which was my ding non target. One presenter took me aside and said "listen kid, all this stuff is mostly BS, go back to school and get a mba from a target and thats how it works, I struggled for a long time until i went back and got my degree"

I will say this, that when you have a good resume target, good gpa etc then networking will help you get the nest job, but without the target and good gpa etc networking turns into a terrible numbers game.

Like cold calling 400 people a day to sell them xyz mutual fund, yup I did that and I hated it.

I've noticed when people dont really have the heart to tell a kid "hey your fked" they tell him to go network.

Not saying you shouldn't network but the odds of a job are low.

Yet at the same time if you think about it networking is almost free, it costs you no time to send an email or go to a conference etc so there is no reason not to do it.

But its the worst strategy with the lowest payoff but its free, so go ahead try to form an emotional bond with people hoping they help you, most probably he wont.

Thats all Im saying keep networking in perspective and understand its limitations.

You're doing it wrong.

Jun 18, 2013
SirTradesaLot:
rangerdanger 12:

I'll be honest and say that I kind of see the Quants point of view, that networking for networking's sake is very numbers game, shotgun approach to getting a job. Put this in comparison to becoming a doctor, the MCATS are the first test and if you pass that hurdle with a solid GPA you have a solid chance to getting admission etc.

Networking in my experience has been a waste of time whenever I went out of my way to network specifically. SO much effort expended, and so little to show for it.

Yet I will not discount the saying "its not what you know but who you know" I know its very true. That having having a strong person on the inside is very powerful.

But whats frustrating is that most people don't know powerful people who can actually help. Its the actual forming of these relationships that is the hard part.

First you need to go to a location where you can meet them, then you need to engage them in a way that gives them a reason to help you, either through forming an emotional connection (alumni, jokes, passion) or through a skills based, value add connection, help me, Ill help you ( i have xyz skill set you need, I have xyz connections give me a job)

Most undergrads will try the strategy of forming an emotional connection to try to get the other person to try and help you. This makes sense because if I was a MD and I received an email about a kid wanting to intern in my firm I would most likely go "who the hell is this kid wasting my time....delete" but if I knew you from a family party or from some random encounter and i liked you and I remembered you, Id respond differently "oh thats john i remember him fun kid, whats he up to"

As an undergrad you cant really offer anything to and MD other than an emotional bond of some sorts.

The problem is that forming this emotional bond is very hit or miss and often you dont get lots of time to when you do get a minute or two with the person.

There are just so many pieces:

1) First locating said valued people to contact who have potential to help so we can make sure they are worth the time investing trying to meet

2) That we are able to create a bond and connect with them so that they feel motivated to help us

I went to the investment banking conference one year that Wall street oasis hosts and I will never forget how much networking was trumpeted almost 80% of the presentation was networking so like a good monkey I approached and was very friendly and met with every presenter, had my resume etc.

I used to be in sales btw so I was very polished to say the least and I know this for a fact, the others there were out my league. I managed to get some cards and good smiles.

But in the end almost all of them in one way or another told me "Sorry we really only hire from target schools" which was my ding non target. One presenter took me aside and said "listen kid, all this stuff is mostly BS, go back to school and get a mba from a target and thats how it works, I struggled for a long time until i went back and got my degree"

I will say this, that when you have a good resume target, good gpa etc then networking will help you get the nest job, but without the target and good gpa etc networking turns into a terrible numbers game.

Like cold calling 400 people a day to sell them xyz mutual fund, yup I did that and I hated it.

I've noticed when people dont really have the heart to tell a kid "hey your fked" they tell him to go network.

Not saying you shouldn't network but the odds of a job are low.

Yet at the same time if you think about it networking is almost free, it costs you no time to send an email or go to a conference etc so there is no reason not to do it.

But its the worst strategy with the lowest payoff but its free, so go ahead try to form an emotional bond with people hoping they help you, most probably he wont.

Thats all Im saying keep networking in perspective and understand its limitations.

You're doing it wrong.

hmm.....how so....maybe I am, what should I be doing differently? (asking sincerely)

Jun 18, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

"Financial consultant" is a euphimism for unemployed. So, you're dealing with a bitter, unemployed, and probably unemployable person with zero people skills. Those characteristics don't usually coincide with happiness.

What other questions do you have? I'll be here all night. (don't forget to tip your waitress)

LOL. I think the quant guy is bitter because a lot of people who are professional networkers are super fake, but it probably works out for them. I'd also like to delicately point out that extroversion and beverage consumption are unrelated.

Jun 18, 2013
rangerdanger 12:

You're doing it wrong.

hmm.....how so....maybe I am, what should I be doing differently? (asking sincerely)

You're trying too hard and not trying hard enough.

You are likely coming across as someone who is just trying to get something out of others, with little to nothing in return. You aren't in touch with enough people.

I can't give you a step by step guide. Networking at my age means kicking ass through every step of your career and making sure you have people who can vouch for you every step of the way. They can only vouch if they know what you've done and know who you are, so you need to stay in contact with people. Help everyone when you can and ask people how you can help them. They owe you after you help them. When you ask for your favor, you will have a lot of advocates.

Jun 18, 2013
Going Concern:
SirTradesaLot:

"Financial consultant" is a euphimism for unemployed. So, you're dealing with a bitter, unemployed, and probably unemployable person with zero people skills. Those characteristics don't usually coincide with happiness.

What other questions do you have? I'll be here all night. (don't forget to tip your waitress)

LOL. I think the quant guy is bitter because a lot of people who are professional networkers are super fake, but it probably works out for them. I'd also like to delicately point out that extroversion and beverage consumption are unrelated.

"Professional Networker" isn't even a euphimism for unemployed, it's just obviously unemployed.

Jun 18, 2013

The guy sounds absolutely miserable. Doesn't sound like much of a quant either, just a dude that lives under a rock.

Jun 18, 2013
SirTradesaLot:
rangerdanger 12:

You're doing it wrong.

hmm.....how so....maybe I am, what should I be doing differently? (asking sincerely)

You're trying too hard and not trying hard enough.

You are likely coming across as someone who is just trying to get something out of others, with little to nothing in return. You aren't in touch with enough people.

I can't give you a step by step guide. Networking at my age means kicking ass through every step of your career and making sure you have people who can vouch for you every step of the way. They can only vouch if they know what you've done and know who you are, so you need to stay in contact with people. Help everyone when you can and ask people how you can help them. They owe you after you help them. When you ask for your favor, you will have a lot of advocates.

I see, but what if I am not in touch with people on a day to day basis, as I am unemployed currently. I understand that in your stage it makes sense, and you have a base to build from. But I dont really have any traction and the only things I do have at my disposal is cold call and cold email.

I think if you have a job, or have contacts to begin with its naturally easier to network.

Jun 18, 2013
rangerdanger 12:
SirTradesaLot:
rangerdanger 12:

You're doing it wrong.

hmm.....how so....maybe I am, what should I be doing differently? (asking sincerely)

You're trying too hard and not trying hard enough.

You are likely coming across as someone who is just trying to get something out of others, with little to nothing in return. You aren't in touch with enough people.

I can't give you a step by step guide. Networking at my age means kicking ass through every step of your career and making sure you have people who can vouch for you every step of the way. They can only vouch if they know what you've done and know who you are, so you need to stay in contact with people. Help everyone when you can and ask people how you can help them. They owe you after you help them. When you ask for your favor, you will have a lot of advocates.

I see, but what if I am not in touch with people on a day to day basis, as I am unemployed currently. I understand that in your stage it makes sense, and you have a base to build from. But I dont really have any traction and the only things I do have at my disposal is cold call and cold email.

I think if you have a job, or have contacts to begin with its naturally easier to network.

I would probably just give up, if I was you. You're doing it so wrong, I don't think you'll ever get it.

Why are you not in touch with people on a daily basis? That's the entire problem. I just got a job from someone who I hadn't spoken to in over 5 years. I called him, even though we had a very weak connection, asked about opportunities, and a job that never existed before was discussed with me to gauge my interest. My network was called to verify my capabilities. Got an offer within a week.

Jun 19, 2013
SirTradesaLot:
rangerdanger 12:
SirTradesaLot:
rangerdanger 12:

You're doing it wrong.

hmm.....how so....maybe I am, what should I be doing differently? (asking sincerely)

You're trying too hard and not trying hard enough.

You are likely coming across as someone who is just trying to get something out of others, with little to nothing in return. You aren't in touch with enough people.

I can't give you a step by step guide. Networking at my age means kicking ass through every step of your career and making sure you have people who can vouch for you every step of the way. They can only vouch if they know what you've done and know who you are, so you need to stay in contact with people. Help everyone when you can and ask people how you can help them. They owe you after you help them. When you ask for your favor, you will have a lot of advocates.

I see, but what if I am not in touch with people on a day to day basis, as I am unemployed currently. I understand that in your stage it makes sense, and you have a base to build from. But I dont really have any traction and the only things I do have at my disposal is cold call and cold email.

I think if you have a job, or have contacts to begin with its naturally easier to network.

I would probably just give up, if I was you. You're doing it so wrong, I don't think you'll ever get it.

Why are you not in touch with people on a daily basis? That's the entire problem. I just got a job from someone who I hadn't spoken to in over 5 years. I called him, even though we had a very weak connection, asked about opportunities, and a job that never existed before was discussed with me to gauge my interest. My network was called to verify my capabilities. Got an offer within a week.

I dont have any people to really stay in touch with in the first place, maybe two co-workers from my last job, and a manager at the last job, a few personal friends and thats it.

If I have only three or four people in my "rolodex" who am I going to contact to begin with and keep in touch.

I think you're forgetting that I am in an entirely different situation than you. My college really doesnt have an alumni following, they dont even have a list. So thats gone as well.

If I had a network then it would be easy, I need help building that network. And there really arent any concrete steps I can take that will deliver me to my result.

If I wanted to study for the GMAT there are numbers of books out there that I know will deliver results, but where I need some steps that I can follow so I can meet people.

Jun 19, 2013

From your previous post, it's clear you're trying and well-intentioned. But you need to keep getting after it. And whatever you did before wasn't working, so you need to adapt. I've seen some pretty crazy success stories on WSO from people in situations worse than your own. Good luck.

Jun 19, 2013

I'd be willing to bet that you could drop a guy like SirTrades or myself into a foreign country where we don't know anybody and we could develop a network from scratch and achieve what this forum would objectively consider professional success.

I think the thing that is holding you back is fear. You are afraid that if you do everything in your power to get to where you want to be you will fail, so rather than fighting to take what you want, you would rather make a half attempt so that when you inevitably fail (due to a lack of effort, or a doomed approach from the start) you can say "I didn't try very hard.. If I wanted to do it I could... I just don't want to."

The good news is that action cures fear. Everyone has self doubt, but how you respond to that doubt is what will determine your success. Keep after it if you really want to see the results. Be relentless and constantly challenge yourself to talk to more people.

Jun 19, 2013
rufiolove:

I'd be willing to bet that you could drop a guy like SirTrades or myself into a foreign country where we don't know anybody and we could develop a network from scratch and achieve what this forum would objectively consider professional success.

To be fair--speaking from my personal experience only--these kinds of people are few and far between. IMO, being able to do something like this is as much innate as it is a developed skill. Again, speaking only from what I know, these types of personalities represent

Jun 19, 2013

The skills can be learned... I agree with you that the attitude and strength of will to strive every day to passionately fight for your dreams exists in

Jun 19, 2013

I was speaking more from the innate charisma/ability to connect/empathy/etc... aspect. I liken it to college football recruiting...if you're a head coach at a decent football program, you've obviously got hustle and charisma. However, there are recruiters....and then there are Recruiters. Certainly, the skills can be learned. But some people are simply better at applying those skills than others. That was the

Developing a network from scratch in a foreign country/culture and forging a successful career--IMO, that requires both skill and innate ability. Some combination of balls and finesse that is very hard to attain. Perhaps I'm wrong. But anyhow, I'm glad you got that...because I definitely don't, lol. Maybe I could build a mediocre network and get by...

Jun 19, 2013
rangerdanger 12:

I dont have any people to really stay in touch with in the first place, maybe two co-workers from my last job, and a manager at the last job, a few personal friends and thats it.

Excuse.

rangerdanger 12:

I have only three or four people in my "rolodex" who am I going to contact to begin with and keep in touch.

Excuse.

rangerdanger 12:

I think you're forgetting that I am in an entirely different situation than you.

Excuse.

rangerdanger 12:

My college really doesnt have an alumni following, they dont even have a list. So thats gone as well.

Excuse.

rangerdanger 12:

If I had a network then it would be easy, I need help building that network.

Excuse.

rangerdanger 12:

And there really arent any concrete steps I can take that will deliver me to my result.

Excuse.

rangerdanger 12:

If I wanted to study for the GMAT there are numbers of books out there that I know will deliver results, but where I need some steps that I can follow so I can meet people.

Excuse.

You need to change your attitude if you want to achieve what you are saying you want to achieve. You can't keep throwing out excuses because every single one of the above excuses is bs. You can overcome all of these things and tons of kids do it every day.

You only have a rolodex of 4 people who are you going to contact to begin to keep in touch? Well for starters, you are presently on a thread with a former hedge fund partner, the CEO and founder of this online community (which has over 150k members, three quarters of a million posts worth of content, and how many Certified Users Patrick? Over 400? All of whom have verified employment in varying capacities within the financial services industry and related fields) who worked in both private equity and investment banking and went to one of the top business schools in the country.

So right there, you have access to an insane amount of content and an enormous network of individuals who are willing to answer questions and provide advice free of charge... but you're sitting here whining about how your situation. Take advantage of this community and try to start asking "how can I meet more people?" "how can I change my situation?" "what are the steps that will deliver me to my result?" "who can I reach out to in order to grow my network?"

But even assuming you didn't know about Wall Street Oasis... or even what banking was, you could still get a job on the Street by changing your attitude.

I could link to dozens of motivational videos or recommend a plethora of books designed to assist you in the exact situation you are in, but that would probably just lead to more excuses... "The book is too long." "This doesn't sound like it would work" "People who went to the right schools don't have to do this."

Figure out what you want to accomplish, write it down in detail, and then start asking people what you need to do to make it happen.

Life is all about attitude and asking the right questions.

Good talk.

    • 1
Jun 19, 2013
rangerdanger 12:
SirTradesaLot:
rangerdanger 12:

You're doing it wrong.

hmm.....how so....maybe I am, what should I be doing differently? (asking sincerely)

You're trying too hard and not trying hard enough.

You are likely coming across as someone who is just trying to get something out of others, with little to nothing in return. You aren't in touch with enough people.

I can't give you a step by step guide. Networking at my age means kicking ass through every step of your career and making sure you have people who can vouch for you every step of the way. They can only vouch if they know what you've done and know who you are, so you need to stay in contact with people. Help everyone when you can and ask people how you can help them. They owe you after you help them. When you ask for your favor, you will have a lot of advocates.

I see, but what if I am not in touch with people on a day to day basis, as I am unemployed currently. I understand that in your stage it makes sense, and you have a base to build from. But I dont really have any traction and the only things I do have at my disposal is cold call and cold email.

I think if you have a job, or have contacts to begin with its naturally easier to network.

If you were the one guy that was cornering our panelists and speakers and shoving your resume into their faces before they had even left the room, you are not just doing it wrong, you are doing it ALL wrong. I also think that must have been you because there was only 1 guy that I remember that even had his resume in his hand. :-) Being the most aggressive may have worked well with you in sales, but when you are first meeting someone, having a resume in your hands and pointing out different points is a bit too aggressive (to the point where I had several people talk about "the guy with the resume", just an fyi)

so, with that being said, your point about coming from a non-target and having low odds is absolutely true. It is even more true if you approach networking like you did (or if it wasn't you, how that other guy did). However, if you are good at networking (not all about #s, but the quality of your pitch and a lack of desperation), then you can catch a break and get interviews .... Even without the "target MBA".

I think people with high IQ and low EQ get especially frustrated when their networking efforts don't pay off...and this is what we're seeing here.

Jun 19, 2013
Ipso facto:

I was speaking more from the innate charisma/ability to connect/empathy/etc... aspect. I liken it to college football recruiting...if you're a head coach at a decent football program, you've obviously got hustle and charisma. However, there are recruiters....and then there are Recruiters. Certainly, the skills can be learned. But some people are simply better at applying those skills than others. That was the <10% I was referring to.

I believe that extroversion can be improved, and is made of several other skills, like hustle, following up, charisma, that have the capacity to be developed.

I grew up believing that working diligently and quietly was the key to success - my parents are IT professionals who aren't very social. After undergrad I worked in professional services and saw firsthand how business is sourced and done. I had worked retail during my youth, but this was an active selling - meeting new people and selling your ideas - and I realized that my introversion would deprive me of the ability to generate revenue in the future.

I decided to take some time off to improve my extroversion skills. I quit my job, interned in the US, went to business school in HK and actively improved my skills - I talked to locals in coffee shops, bars, etc (relatively taboo in HK) and asked people out for drinks/dinner. After 2 years of active development, I visited my home and my friends remarked that I was much more confident and took the small step to start small talk, something I didn't used to do. While I'll probably never be as good as a hustler, I became above average.

Ipso facto:

Developing a network from scratch in a foreign country/culture and forging a successful career--IMO, that requires both skill and innate ability. Some combination of balls and finesse that is very hard to attain. Perhaps I'm wrong. But anyhow, I'm glad you got that...because I definitely don't, lol. Maybe I could build a mediocre network and get by...

I think living for an extended period of time in different cultures does help. I previously lived with family in Canada, US, UK and was insulated by family and friends. It wasn't until I was alone in the US, Beijing and HK that I had to make my own friends. It was difficult, but I'm happy I did it. You learn about what is normal and atypical; unique stories are fun to tell.

    • 1
Best Response
Jun 19, 2013

Interesting conversation. I'm going to have to agree with rufiolove here. I think you're approaching networking the wrong way -- everyone can do it and there are different ways to do it that play to your strengths. I went to a complete non-target. I've probably only made about three cold calls / cold emails in my life. I hate active networking and the awkward feeling of only talking to someone because I want something from them. However, I have still managed to develop a pretty expansive network. I'll give you an example based on rufiolove's comment above about being dropped in a foreign country and explain the relevance after:

Story Time: I've spent the past two weeks in a small town in the middle of nowhere Italy. Population 5,000, rounded up. I don't know anywhere here but I've managed to make good friends with a handful of strangers. One of these strangers invited me to join her and her husband at church one day because it was a holiday here in Italy. I went, and after the ceremony we were hanging out and overheard a couple of people speaking English. So I went up to them, introduced myself, and started up a conversation about how they were the first English speakers I'd encountered since I showed up. It was just some culinary student and his dad on vacation visiting family in this small town. We exchange contact information and I end up meeting up with him and his family. As the outsider of the group, the family starts quizzing me about what I'm doing in Italy, what I think of the people, etc. and we're conversing in an awkward mix of my terrible Italian and their poor English. It's 1am but they're loving it and we're all having a good time. An hour into the conversation the Italian grandfather comments about how my father must be funding all my travel, and I respond that I've been working for many years and have saved up the funds myself. So I tell them what I do (Buyouts PE) and one of the Italian family members lights-up. Turns out he (mid-30s) works for a Venture Capital firm here in Italy. Long story short, I established a connection and accidentally added an Italian VC guy to my network through a pure set of random coincidences.

The Point: There are many ways for someone to develop a network that don't involve "forcing it." The occurrence I described above has happened to me innumerable times where I made a connection with someone without ever knowing that they could potentially influence my career. These are the connections that count and these people are the ones that will go the extra mile to help you get a job. Despite my complete lack of active networking, I'm still able to build such a network by doing it in a way that is appeals to my interests and my strengths.

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Jun 19, 2013
WallStreetOasis.com:

If you were the one guy that was cornering our panelists and speakers and shoving your resume into their faces before they had even left the room, you are not just doing it wrong, you are doing it ALL wrong. I also think that must have been you because there was only 1 guy that I remember that even had his resume in his hand. :-) Being the most aggressive may have worked well with you in sales, but when you are first meeting someone, having a resume in your hands and pointing out different points is a bit too aggressive (to the point where I had several people talk about "the guy with the resume", just an fyi)

As Patrick mentions here, there was a guy at the conference who approached panelists before they were even off the stage and asked them to take a look at his resume. Whether or not this was you, no one should bring their resume to a conference. Resumes are for evaluating someone's candidacy for a job, not for establishing a conversation or a network. Many schools host "job fairs" in which it is normal to network with a professional and give them your resume afterwards. Stick to business cards at conferences.

Jun 19, 2013

ok, I stand corrected. Which frankly, I'm happy to hear. I guess anybody--given the right attitude, approach, and heart--can pound the pavement, network, and get it done.

As far as ranger danger, even if he were "that guy" harassing panelists at the WSO conference, it seems he has the right mindset/hustle/heart. He simply needs to revamp the approach.

Jun 19, 2013
CompBanker:

Interesting conversation. I'm going to have to agree with rufiolove here. I think you're approaching networking the wrong way -- everyone can do it and there are different ways to do it that play to your strengths. I went to a complete non-target. I've probably only made about three cold calls / cold emails in my life. I hate active networking and the awkward feeling of only talking to someone because I want something from them. However, I have still managed to develop a pretty expansive network. I'll give you an example based on rufiolove's comment above about being dropped in a foreign country and explain the relevance after:

Story Time: I've spent the past two weeks in a small town in the middle of nowhere Italy. Population 5,000, rounded up. I don't know anywhere here but I've managed to make good friends with a handful of strangers. One of these strangers invited me to join her and her husband at church one day because it was a holiday here in Italy. I went, and after the ceremony we were hanging out and overheard a couple of people speaking English. So I went up to them, introduced myself, and started up a conversation about how they were the first English speakers I'd encountered since I showed up. It was just some culinary student and his dad on vacation visiting family in this small town. We exchange contact information and I end up meeting up with him and his family. As the outsider of the group, the family starts quizzing me about what I'm doing in Italy, what I think of the people, etc. and we're conversing in an awkward mix of my terrible Italian and their poor English. It's 1am but they're loving it and we're all having a good time. An hour into the conversation the Italian grandfather comments about how my father must be funding all my travel, and I respond that I've been working for many years and have saved up the funds myself. So I tell them what I do (Buyouts PE) and one of the Italian family members lights-up. Turns out he (mid-30s) works for a Venture Capital firm here in Italy. Long story short, I established a connection and accidentally added an Italian VC guy to my network through a pure set of random coincidences.

The Point: There are many ways for someone to develop a network that don't involve "forcing it." The occurrence I described above has happened to me innumerable times where I made a connection with someone without ever knowing that they could potentially influence my career. These are the connections that count and these people are the ones that will go the extra mile to help you get a job. Despite my complete lack of active networking, I'm still able to build such a network by doing it in a way that is appeals to my interests and my strengths.

Great post. Though as you've already pointed out, this sounds more of just being friendly/social than the kind of targeted "networking" that many folks on here hint at. You were talking to these people with no professional motive whatsoever. You weren't thinking five steps ahead, in terms of how these random folks could one day benefit your career.

Jun 19, 2013

Perhaps I have a different perspective than the rest of you. The ways in which sirtradesalot and rufiolove categorize networking in my mind are ideal, however having recently graduated, I can say from my experience that it is not alway as practical as it seems.

Mind you, I did get my current position through networking, so hopefully that is some sort of testament to that fact that I'm not a complete social retard. That being said, from my position coming from a non target on the opposite end of the country of where I was raised, networking was something of a challenge and I feel that I was figuratively dropped in a foreign country and had to start from scratch.

Initially, I had a few good internships I was proud of yet actually after finding this website, realized how far adrift I still was in comparison to my peers at targets etc. The most important tool I think I had was definitely Linkedin. It allowed me to track down alumns from my school (had to go back to class of '86 to find any in banking), which ended up branching out into other networking opportunities. While I did create meaningful connections with these people, many of them were generations ahead of me, which created a sort of disconnect when trying to speak with them on a regularly basis and led me to feel that I was annoying them at times.

Linkedin helped me branch off of these established professional and reach out to people in their network that I had never even met. While it may sound a little removed from actual networking, many of the people recognized my intentions and resourcefullness and were more than helpful in speaking with me and referring me to open positions their firm. I actually found my current position by seeing it on the company career page, looking the company up on Linkedin to see if I had any relevant connections (only had a few 2nd degree connections) and ended up getting in touch with a very helpful VP that passed my resume along.

I guess the bottom line of what I'm saying is that if I can do it, I think nearly everyone can. While it may seem hopeless when you think you have "no connections", there are actually many more people in this profession who are willing to help a struggling student or potential employee get into the industry, purely on the grounds that they are happy and willing to give back to their own professional community.

I'm not afraid to admit that perhaps I'm not as socially apt as many of the other users on here, but if you are persistent and resourceful, it will be sure to pay off as it did for me. Now that I've gotten my foot in the door, I hope to be able to make many more meaningful connections with those I come in contact with.

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Jun 19, 2013

Very good stuff guys, lots to learn and some good prospective challenging my thinking.

Jun 19, 2013
rufiolove:

I think the thing that is holding you back is fear. You are afraid that if you do everything in your power to get to where you want to be you will fail, so rather than fighting to take what you want, you would rather make a half attempt so that when you inevitably fail (due to a lack of effort, or a doomed approach from the start) you can say "I didn't try very hard.. If I wanted to do it I could... I just don't want to."

The good news is that action cures fear. Everyone has self doubt, but how you respond to that doubt is what will determine your success. Keep after it if you really want to see the results. Be relentless and constantly challenge yourself to talk to more people.

This is by one of my favorite WSO posts. Fear of failure breeds mediocrity across multiple endeavors including trading, entrepreneurship, academics and even networking.

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Jun 22, 2013

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Jun 26, 2013

Quite amazing that he would paint it black and white like he did. I have a quant background, like alcohol/beer, and am somewhere in between an extrovert/introvert -- yet I would never make the statement that he just did.

Jun 28, 2013

Below his intelligence?

Intelligence as in parroting math formulas & concepts that actual intelligent people discovered?

Let it be a lesson for you engineers, physicists, mathematicians etc. Unless you discovered something, you ain't shit. You're just a good parrot.

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Jun 28, 2013

^so ignorant...

Jun 28, 2013
bengigi:

^so ignorant...

Well, if you had facts that showed that people who don't discover shit are as smart as the people who discover things, then you'd be right.

For now, you're claim is invalid.

Jun 28, 2013
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