Final year of master's in finance previous experience in an equity fund. 

I apply for summers in London: 

  • Got called by R&Co in Equity Advisory --> Rejected at the assessment centre. Ok, it's Rothschild it's competitive, I keep going (even tough I was dying). The offer goes to a girl. 

  • I got called by RBC in Equity Research --> 1st round went super well. I was rejected for no reason. I didn't like the position so ok.

I start applying for Offcyle:

Lots's of interviews for ECM, at minor names such as Berenberg.

  • Got called for ECM at Credit Suisse in Zurich. The technicals went so well that the MD complimented me during the interview, I know well all ECM processes and products and how to assess market etc --> Rejected for apparently no reason.

  • Got called for the Nth ECM interviews at a french bank of the like of BNP/SocGen/CA. The interview went AS ALL THE OTHERS (at that point I had a similar schedule for all the banks). It went well just like the others --> I receive an offer the day after. 

  • Got called by Morgan Stanley in London in ECM. I think I know how to do an ECM interview. The first call was super quick with the usual questions: why MS, when are you available, what did previously. NO TECHNICAL. --> Got rejected for no reason. They are welcoming for summer in ECM a girl with only experience at the finance association of her university. 

What the fuck is going on? I don't know if I should cry or laugh, to be honest. Would love to hear from you. 

EDIT: MS knew that I would have to resign from the current contract to join them. May this have influenced the decision?

Comments (31)

Most Helpful
Jun 25, 2022 - 11:55am
Abusement Park, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Welcome to the wonderful lottery of Investment Banking. A meat-grinder filled with diversity, nepotism, "unfair selection processes," and angst. 

In all seriousness, IB recruiting is a total crapshoot. The best advice I can give is keep your chin up, continue on the path, and be open to taking a more unconventional route to your end goal.

Jun 25, 2022 - 12:07pm
bigorange2000, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If MS knew you were ready to resign a current internship, and you seemed willing - how do they know you won't do the same to them? Makes sense for them to go another direction in this case I think.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 25, 2022 - 12:10pm

I dont agree with your logic. I provided that information to the HR before applying. I had the contact of the HR cause she contacted my university directly to market the offer. Yet, they still called me

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 25, 2022 - 12:15pm

This Is the type of comments I hate because are written by ignorant people. 

First of all, you are assessing my english skills on a post I wrote in 5 mins. This Is stupid.

Second, I have plenty of experience in passing first rounds, so I dont need you to tell me how to answer fit questions in this arrogant way. I already received prep at uni.

I passed first round at Rothschild, CS and all other places, at least read my post. 

Of course I dont want to sound as if I think I am Jesus Christ but still I think I know how what to avoid in fit

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 25, 2022 - 2:45pm

Hey man, sorry to hear this. I can name multiple cases of when I / acquaintances have been fucked in recruiting processes…it is what it is.

What you should takeaway is that :

1) You can make it to the final stage of a process (10+ interviews at some shops) even if they have no intention of hiring you. By the time you've reached the final stage, if they're looking for eg a female / black person and you don't fit the criteria, you're not getting the spot. An MD could wank over your interview but when they revert to HR and get told that the spot needs to be filled by someone else, it's done.

2) Don't take people too seriously. It's likely that almost all of your interviews don't know you and don't owe you anything; they have no loyalties to you. Even if they say "It was great speaking to you, hopefully I'll see you soon", this doesn't mean much these days. It's unfortunate because you want their word to be worth something but for reasons mentioned above (and others) it's simply not that simple anymore. Plus they have dozens of other things to worry about so why would they give a shit?

3) Nepotism is still very much prevalent, across the buyside and the sellside. This is really unfortunate if you can't use it to your advantage because time and time again you will see people who are no more qualified than you getting jobs that you'd be thriving in (I'm not saying they're inferior to you, I'm saying they're no better than you would be). I know several people who've used this to their advantage, not by getting the entry route through family but rather by putting themselves out there and building connections through their own accord. Find gyms, restaurants, pubs across areas and find people to meet and speak with. Once you can build these relationships and maintain them, opportunities are much easier to come across, and they will come from people who have intentions of seeing you succeed because ultimately they would've been the ones to reach out to you about xyz opportunities.

For those of you who aren't as lucky as others finding that first gig can be a very non fucking linear path, and like I've said it is what it is. If you can grind your way to the gig you want, you'll likely be better than said "lucky" people, can eventually be the more respected / trusted one and will thrive no matter what else you pursue going forward. Just gotta stay sane and have enough courage to not give up if you really think you're 100% deserving of what it is you're after.

This has been a somewhat cringe post but I'll drop one more comment which might seem trivial but is very true and we should all be mindful of at times:

"Comparison is the thief of joy"

Hope you or anyone else can resonate with some of this. Good luck!

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 25, 2022 - 3:06pm

Thanks for your message. Yeah, I agree with you. To be honest, the way I see it is that nepotism and shit always existed and I saw it from some classmates but that doesn't concern me as I can't do much. What I can do is try to get a spot as others did before me. 

I had no easy referral, but I myself used the fact that I met a general partner of Rothschild to get the first call. Same for CS. I guess everybody would have done the same in my position. It is what it is. Always leverage everything you have.

Anyway, a positive note: next week I am starting my internship at a good bank (BNP/SocGen/CA) in ECM which was my target. Will be good to get relevant experience and go through other ECM interviews for off-cycle. I will start applying this summer again. I am happy and motivated to do well, at the same time I will prepare so that if I land another interview at BB in London I will be ready to get an offer hopefully ahah. 

EDIT: we can't exclude I didn't get an offer cause I did not have IB/ECM experience, so maybe will help

Jun 26, 2022 - 3:25pm
ConfusedGuru, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not even in IB but I genuinely wonder as an ORM, do those diversity hires or nepotism cases ever feel any sort of...guilt? Like deep down, do they feel guilty that they could have taken the spot of a more qualified applicant? Or do they (I suspect) somehow justify their offer through some sort of mental gymnastics? I had a friend that got into one of HYPSM whilst being a totally mediocre candidate because of URM quota hiring and she felt super guilty and embarrassed about it, but that may have just been a one-off. One thing I enjoy about being an ORM is that I know for a fact that whatever offer I get I earned it 10 times over.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jun 26, 2022 - 9:28pm

This is such a dumb comment man -- why do you expect / want them to feel guilt for applying for a posting they were eligible for and getting it just because there are other theoretical people that potentially could have done their job better or were more "qualified" however you want to define that. 

Do you feel guilt every day that there are millions of kids in South america, africa, asia, and even america that were deprived of the right to an education and therefore could never go to high school and/or college, and have the ability to apply to or interview for the same jobs as you? Do you sincerely believe that if those millions of kids were given the same opportunity set from birth as you that you would have been more "qualified" than every single one of them? Have you ever applied for an internship or job that recruited exclusively from your school or a specific set of schools? Do you feel guilt for all the other students that don't go to one of those schools (some of whom may go to even more competitive or rigorous colleges than you) that couldn't apply under the same link as you? Do you think you would have been more "qualified" than every single one of those students?

Or do you understand that your abilities, opportunities, and outcomes are a factor not only of your hard work but also of luck, and the environments you've been raised in? That all each of us can do us is work hard, apply for the accessible opportunities available to us, and work in good faith to help others find success as well?

If anyone is doing mental gymnastics, it's you man. No matter how you define "qualified" there's no statistical chance in hell that you, or anyone else was the most "qualified" person for a job they're in. There are literally billions of people in this world. You were just in the right place at the right time and lucky enough to land your seat. Stop shitting on diversity candidates for applying through pipelines you can't access when you apply through pipelines and as a result of means that billions of other people can't access. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 27, 2022 - 2:04am

Keep grinding and hustling, OP. I was in the same situation as you, although on the IB side. I suggest you try to get a 6-month internship at a boutique investment fund in London (cold email them your resume), then apply to banks.

  • Teller in VC
Jun 27, 2022 - 3:23am

It's probably behavioural where it's going wrong to be frank. I think you would benefit from doing some introspection on how you're coming off to the people around you

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 27, 2022 - 7:52am

I do agree with you that it must be behavioural, but wtf I mean, I am not the type of weird nerdy guy. I have always been and still am considered a cool person in literally any context. Respected, people value my opinion, they think I am funny etc. I swear on god. That's why  I find it strange to argue that I look like a weird guy that is good in technical but misses the chance cause he's shy or anything else.

  • Teller in VC
Jun 27, 2022 - 9:32am

Don't take this the wrong way, but you sound a bit overconfident which can be pretty off putting, especially for a junior/intern - more so than someone introverted/humble

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 27, 2022 - 5:30am

Hey man,

Are you only applying to full time and off cycles in ECM

The issue is that

1) if you have only 1 Internship experience it's quite under par vs. The French/Germans that have >1 yr exp sometimes  

2) If you're only applying to FT and Off Cycles, the bar is significantly higher and also there are SIGNIFICANTLY less spots open 

3) The equity markets are fucked right now so I'm not surprised it's harder to get last minute positions

4) You didn't mention your school. If you're not at the likes or LSE/LBS/Oxbridge/HEC/ESADE etc it's going to be a bit harder for FT recruiting (due to higher standards for more limited spots)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 27, 2022 - 6:16am


I applied for SA positions mainly and offcycle but to a lower extent. Only CS and MS were offcycle. 

I do have only one internship, not in IB but in an equity fund and I worked my story in a way that works: i get called for interviews. Yet, I do agree with you that might weight on the final decision, It's quite probable. As I said, starting soon an offcycle in ECM at a bank like BNP/SocGen/CA, which might help in this regard. 

This summer, while working, I will start applying to FT and Offcycles again. 

Thanks for your comment, not polemical and straight to the point 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 27, 2022 - 6:55am

Ok got it! (I did not read the other comments).

A bit surprising for SA but actually I'm a bit surprised, what roles are you interviewing for right now? Off cycles ?

ECM at a French bank is a fairly decent stepping stone, what I would advise is while you're there network hardcore to get a second off cycle at the likes of UBS / CS etc. (Realistically I don't think you'll get BAML / MS / GS, although you should definitely try as ECM is less in demand than M&A) - and then either convert or try and move up again to your "dream bank" (not than any of the other banks mentioned are bad at all). 

some of my friends did that (although in M&A) - off cycle at French bank -> off cycle at US bank -> convert -> did 2 years and now associate at PE fund

Jun 28, 2022 - 7:50am
hklevfinbanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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