Cold emailing alumni during earnings season: terrible idea?

Hi everyone,

I'm about to enter my senior year and am trying to secure an off-cycle equity research internship since I missed the boat for summer internships. Nearly impossible, I know, but I plan to at least try. I have the benefit of going to school in the city.

Would it be a terrible idea to reach out to alumni given that it's earnings season? Under other circumstances I would wait, but I'm worried that the clock is ticking.

Also, in light of my less-than-ideal timeline, should I skip the informational interviews and just ask about internships? I hesitate only because the connection won't be as strong, which means they'll be that much less inclined to do me a favor (and let's be real, it's a favor).

Any and all advice is appreciated. Reality checks are welcome as well.


I wouldn't ask for internships without having a conversation. Especially for off-cycle internships at smaller places, things can often move pretty quickly, so I wouldn't stress too much about timeline there.

I can't speak to exactly how they'd be received/if they'd be read by ER people during earning season, but I think you should just email them now, and just email the people who don't get back to you again in a couple weeks when things are quieter. Then you might have an issue of people being on summer vacations, but guess what: you email them again if they don't get back to you!

As long as you're waiting a couple of weeks between emails and stay polite, there's no harm in keeping trying.

Best Response

While it is certainly a busy time during earning season, certain teams are nearly finished with earnings while some are just starting, just the way some coverage lists work out. I think that it is worth a shot. While they may not respond right away because they're obviously busy, they'll still see it - and you are right about the clock ticking.

However, I would still recommend having an informational interview first. If you come in hot just asking about internships when they don't have any idea who you are, I think it will be more challenging. I would also recommend asking more about them, their team, their firm, and their own personal experiences than trying to talk about yourself for most of the interview. People love to talk about themselves and their successes and the more you get them rolling on that, the more they'll associate you with positive thoughts.

Potential questions to ask: How did you get into ER? What is your favorite aspect of it? Who has been the biggest success story underneath you as an analyst? What qualities made them so great? What is the most important quality/characteristic that makes young analysts succeed? What does it take to make a great stock call? What is your best one? Why? What is the most underrated part of the job?


Definitely still worth a call. Often times it's when you least expect that networking actually pays off.

Be relentless and don't stop until you secure an internship, because regardless of whether it's earnings season or not, you have nothing to lose.

Good luck

  • Fridays are better, but it depends on the mood of the person reading the email. To maximize chances, send all the emails you can, because it's a numbers game.
  • Absolutely try your best to tailor the email to the receiver. Don't copy and paste. It makes people who answer the copy and paste emails feel like schmucks with nothing to do.
  • DO send the emails again at a later time. If you do this politely and wait a week or two in between, it will come across as persistent and most likely favorably looked upon since now the person reading it will feel that you're different from the pack.
  • For foreign kids out there, PLEASE, look at yourself in the mirror and try to honestly answer this: can you speak English? I mean truly speak and write fluent English? I say this because I have gotten so many well meaning kids email me, and when I pick up the phone to talk to them, their accent is so thick that I just know it's not gonna work.
  • Equity Research is a communications job. Being able to communicate ideas to clients is the number one priority. If the English is incomprehensible, you don't have a chance.

There really is no best time. I wouldn't send it early in the morning or on a Sunday, since it would likely get buried in their inbox.

Like somebody mentioned earlier, sell side folks are constantly busy with earnings, client meeting, roadshows, etc., so there's no way to predict whether you'll ping them at the right time. Just email them and follow up after a week or two.


I'd limit my networking to local boutiques as getting into a BB or even MM with no prior internship experience will be next to impossible. My firm hires only a small fraction from their SA program.

ER is a small world and thus breaking in can be difficult. It won't be the end of the world if post-grad you work somewhere else for one to two years and then break in. Just make sure you are working somewhere where you're dealing with financial statements.

As far as networking goes, I would not ask for an internship upfront. Look up some local boutiques in your city, go to their website, and compile a list of all their analysts, alumni or not. Email them, develop a relationship, and after a while tell them you are interested in working in the field. Ask if you can get a taste of what the job looks like. Some will be glad to have an extra helping hand when the next slate of earnings is out, especially that at boutiques their aren't as many associates to help out.

That way you can get a feel for whether you like ER or not. Trust me, the first few years on the job as an associate are not all that glamorous.


I delete all emails that don't give me anything during earnings season.

CNBC sucks "This financial crisis is worse than a divorce. I've lost all my money, but the wife is still here." - Client after getting blown up

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