How to get through 1st rounds for Dartmouth Partners?

I've already secured a summer position at a BB, so this question is more about trying to improve my methods in case I have to deal with similar situations again. I had an extremely challenging experience this year with my summer internship applications with Dartmouth. Initially, my approach was as follows:

  1. I talked to bankers at the firm to gain insights.
  2. I wrote decent and insightful answers to fit the questions.
  3. I had a PE internship and two spring internships at a BB and PE firm on my CV.

This approach was working fine initially. I managed to pass the first round at Raymond James, but after that, everything fell apart. In total, I had about seven different first-round interviews at Dartmouth, and I must admit that the first two were subpar. I knew personally that the first issue was my inability to articulate myself when explaining recent deals, and the second problem was my lack of deep insightful financial knowledge. 

However, I made improvements after these initial setbacks and continued to face rejection. I even received praise from one of my interviewers at DC Advisory, who said that all my answers were "perfect", yet I still got rejected. The whole process felt extremely arbitrary and frustrating because, regardless of my efforts, I couldn't progress past the first rounds for most of these firms.

Interestingly, when it came to firms not related to Dartmouth, such as Jeff, BofA, BNY, and GS, I managed to easily make it through to the AC stage so I know my interview skills are on par. However, with Dartmouth, it seemed like I was somehow blacklisted from getting past the 1st round. 

Initially, I thought that mentioning employees I had spoken to at these firms might have been the issue, but after receiving feedback from Raymond James (after being rejected in the second round, cause I wasn't able to figure out the square of 28783 or  some random fucking large number on the spot), it turned out that mentioning employees was actually viewed positively???? (Said employee even forwarded my CV to RJ HR team). 

So, I'm truly puzzled about what I might be doing wrong in the Dartmouth-related applications.

 

Had the same experience when I was recruiting with Dartmouth. Truth is that if you do well, they will put your name forward to the bank. However, it is then up to the bank to decide whether you will proceed and they will do so based on your CV - not on how the interview went. 

 

Is this for 1st rounds? Cause there still a VI that has to be done with Dartmouth before the actual AC at the firm. Would think they'll forward CVs at the 2nd round rather than the first 

 

After hearing that question about the square, makes me feel like they're taking the piss or something. I'd expect something like that to be a quant-y / maybe more maths-relevant desk on S&T question, no?

 

Interviewed for RJ in the past and it was without a doubt the worst interview I ever had. Pretty sure they purposely ask either ridiculous or irrelevant questions to startle candidates rather than focus on actual deal experience, motivations, etc. like every other bank does. Makes sense why many juniors end up leaving with nothing lined up because of the culture.

You’re right about mental math type questions being asked in S&T roles.

 
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Yeah, it completely took me off guard. Tbf, I don't think RJ had any active involvement with the types of questions asked and it seems more like Dartmouth was looking for shoddy ways to cut down on the number of applicants for the AC. Either way, I don't see how being a human calculator directly correlates to the "skill sets" required for a role that involved me spending the bulk of my time adjusting fonts on PowerPoint and toying with Excel. Pissed off the employee who recommended me to HR too. "They just don't know how to find quality candidates nowadays."

 

Icl from my experience dartmouth first rounds are pretty easy to pass. They're pretty much just screening if you are a serious candidate and are personable to talk to. If your fit questions were down it might be the latter ngl.

Second rounds are a crap shoot. They interview so many people that getting one question wrong dings you. Also as the other commenter mentioned they forward potential CVs to the firm after 2nd and they pick for AC.

 

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