Interesting Ways to Meet Bankers?

I am a junior at a non-target in NYC. I also work in the back office at BB. I'm looking to get into investment banking (I'm looking for FT; I didn't even bother for SA since I had few contacts and come from a non-target). In addition to networking with alumni, I'm looking for other ways to meet current bankers. I've got some ideas listed below, and I'm looking for some advice on the best ways to go about each of these methods.

Since I work at a BB, I can email anyone within the company. I've had moderate success with this. Should I email junior level people, or try for MD's? Or will my emails just be ignored?

Another email method I've tried (with no success) is emailing a banker who was quoted in a newspaper article (it isnt very difficult to guess an email address). Any opinions on this method.

I have yet to try cold calling, but again, I have access to the directory, so I can call anyone. Is this a more effective method than emailing? Again, should I target any group (analysts, vps, mds), in particular?

One method that crossed my mind (and probably sounds ridiculous) is going to the floor or office that a banker works on, and asking them if I can meet with them at a time that is convenient. Is this just plain creepy?

Finally, is LinkedIn an effective way to meet people? If you were (are) a banker, and I randomly messaged you on LinkedIn asking to meet you, what would you say?

Thanks for all the help.

Comments (33)

Best Response
Apr 12, 2010 - 6:36pm
Marcus_Halberstram, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ummm... most of your ideas are not very good, especially the 'just walk onto the floor' and annoy people who don't know you or give a rats ass about you.

You're better off trying use the firms social networks. Many BB harp on 'internal mobility', see if they have a network/mentoring program setup. Also, scour the internal firm wide directory for people (senior people) to contact. Even better if you can search for specific terms (i.e. someone from your school, or someone's who lists their pasts experience in the back office).

99% of people will probably ignore you... so e-mailing the most effective means of communication since you can boil down the few that will actually give you the time of day.

Array
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Apr 12, 2010 - 6:58pm
Stringer Bell, what's your opinion? Comment below:

e harmony

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
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Apr 12, 2010 - 11:18pm
Marcus_Halberstram, what's your opinion? Comment below:
lg0718:
No random calls or emails. Luckily I fly under the radar since I haven't made it rain at the Bank but even if I did, if some college kid looked me up, I would forward the email to HR and ask to have my email alias changed lol

Thats why you don't e-mail junior guys and stick to the MDs. Cuz the junior guys are all shit stains. And they can't do shit for you.

Although thats not limited to junior guys. I know someone who e-mailed someone else in the firm in another division looking for a job and the MD looked up the guy's MD, FWD'ed the email to him with something along the lines of "you might want to keep your people in check, they don't seem to be too happy and I don't appreciate being solicited for a job by your people. There are appropriate channels for hiring and the company directory is not one of them."

Obviously the guy was a major dick, but just a word of caution.

Array
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Apr 13, 2010 - 9:02am
veritas14, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Marcus_Halberstram:
lg0718:
No random calls or emails. Luckily I fly under the radar since I haven't made it rain at the Bank but even if I did, if some college kid looked me up, I would forward the email to HR and ask to have my email alias changed lol

Thats why you don't e-mail junior guys and stick to the MDs. Cuz the junior guys are all shit stains. And they can't do shit for you.

Although thats not limited to junior guys. I know someone who e-mailed someone else in the firm in another division looking for a job and the MD looked up the guy's MD, FWD'ed the email to him with something along the lines of "you might want to keep your people in check, they don't seem to be too happy and I don't appreciate being solicited for a job by your people. There are appropriate channels for hiring and the company directory is not one of them."

Obviously the guy was a major dick, but just a word of caution.

F*ck that guy.

********************************* “The American father is never seen in London. He passes his life entirely in Wall Street and communicates with his family once a month by means of a telegram in cipher.” - Oscar Wilde
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Apr 13, 2010 - 12:26pm
beastly214, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Marcus_Halberstram:
lg0718:
No random calls or emails. Luckily I fly under the radar since I haven't made it rain at the Bank but even if I did, if some college kid looked me up, I would forward the email to HR and ask to have my email alias changed lol

Thats why you don't e-mail junior guys and stick to the MDs. Cuz the junior guys are all shit stains. And they can't do shit for you.

Although thats not limited to junior guys. I know someone who e-mailed someone else in the firm in another division looking for a job and the MD looked up the guy's MD, FWD'ed the email to him with something along the lines of "you might want to keep your people in check, they don't seem to be too happy and I don't appreciate being solicited for a job by your people. There are appropriate channels for hiring and the company directory is not one of them."

Obviously the guy was a major dick, but just a word of caution.

It really depends on your firm's culture. I work at a large IB (also in ops) and my friend and I have both been directly contacting hiring managers for postings on the internal job board; yes, they do post up open IB Analyst positions on the board. I have scored a few upcoming interviews using this method instead of just applying through HR, and my friend was able to get a job within Private Banking sales by networking like this. You have to be able to get a feel for your firm's culture and I would also speak to your manager about your interests so that nothing comes as a surprise to him/her if they're contacted

MDs and Directors are much more understanding and open to discussion than you think, however I wouldn't go out contacting people without a good reason.

Apr 13, 2010 - 2:11pm
MoneyKingdom, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Marcus_Halberstram:
lg0718:
No random calls or emails. Luckily I fly under the radar since I haven't made it rain at the Bank but even if I did, if some college kid looked me up, I would forward the email to HR and ask to have my email alias changed lol

Thats why you don't e-mail junior guys and stick to the MDs. Cuz the junior guys are all shit stains. And they can't do shit for you.

Although thats not limited to junior guys. I know someone who e-mailed someone else in the firm in another division looking for a job and the MD looked up the guy's MD, FWD'ed the email to him with something along the lines of "you might want to keep your people in check, they don't seem to be too happy and I don't appreciate being solicited for a job by your people. There are appropriate channels for hiring and the company directory is not one of them."

Obviously the guy was a major dick, but just a word of caution.

This is a ridiculous example. I cannot think of anyone who would ever do this.

Apr 12, 2010 - 10:07pm
LIBOR, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the help. I'll stick with meeting alumni, and just ask them to introduce me to other people.

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
Apr 13, 2010 - 2:10pm
hosacanseco, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Contact HR rep for the groups you're interested. You want to move within the bank which HR is responsible for facilitating. I'd think that the ambition/motivation whatever to call should at least get you a few meetings.

Best of luck. JC

Professional Bro, J. Cans
Apr 12, 2010 - 10:45pm
LookingForHelp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

^ true story. A friend of mine worked in PWM at a BB and emailed his HR contact & BUM letting them know that he was interested in speaking with a few bankers at the bank. She hooked him up with several contacts and meetings. Never underestimate HR, especially since they all know one another

Apr 13, 2010 - 7:45pm
IlliniProgrammer, what's your opinion? Comment below:
LookingForHelp:
^ true story. A friend of mine worked in PWM at a BB and emailed his HR contact & BUM letting them know that he was interested in speaking with a few bankers at the bank. She hooked him up with several contacts and meetings. Never underestimate HR, especially since they all know one another
+1. Another good approach.

There's nothing wrong with using the official lines you have open to you. Maybe you are nervous your manager will find out and there will be an awkward conversation. If that is the case, you might not be able to come off as aggressive enough in a front-office interview, yet. When you're willing to take a moderate but calculated risk to try and get into the front office, you can probably at least check off the "aggressiveness" box on the requirements for the job.

FWIW, I went for an internal transfer from middle-office to front-office. My manager wasn't always one of the open and straightforward types- he held his cards very close to his vest and I was terrified of him finding out. He figured out what was going on while I was in the middle of interviews, but didn't make a big deal of it- he actually offered to bump my pay if I didn't get the transfer and wanted to stay! And yes, I did finally get the offer- though I've got two years of experience on you and had a lot of friends at the VP and SVP level in the middle-office pulling for me. :D

If it doesn't work out now, that's OK- it doesn't mean you'll never be cut out for trading, research, or IBD- it just means you're not ready at this very moment. When I was 21, I was barely cut out to be an analytics guy let alone a trading strategies guy. As you grow older, wiser, and more confident in your abilities, you'll interview a lot better. And having a cash cushion built up makes it a lot easier to be brave.

Apr 12, 2010 - 10:53pm
froyo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can also ask your direct manager or equivalent to introduce you to other contacts within the firm under the premise of interest. I've been able to meet traders, portfolio managers, etc. through my own team over my summer internship. I'm not sure how easily this would apply to someone working full time though.

Apr 12, 2010 - 11:29pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Email school alumni, hit up dudes off linked in, try and be interesting rather than an IB sycophant. I have emailed a lot of people in my day and I usually keep it short and sweet. Most people respond and are pleasant. I think the key is to be intelligent about it, but be utterly unapologetic. If someone gets pissy because you took up 10 seconds of their precious time by being a proactive, aggressive male then they are not someone you want to work for or with.

I don't know, I have emailed and have received emails and they common response has always been positive. The easiest way to ensure that you never get into banking is to be shy and wait for things to happen. You want it, go out and get it.

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Apr 13, 2010 - 9:42am
AdamTheAnalyst, what's your opinion? Comment below:

ahh yes meeting bankers....was not so fun for me

http://beedeekay.com/2010/04/10/a-day-in-the-life-of-an-analyst/

Apr 13, 2010 - 10:18am
tbcthk, what's your opinion? Comment below:
BDK:
ahh yes meeting bankers....was not so fun for me

http://beedeekay.com/2010/04/10/a-day-in-the-life-of-an-analyst/

This is great.

Apr 13, 2010 - 2:15pm
hosacanseco, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I love it! There was a line in there, "You are so profound." FANTASTIC!!!

Professional Bro, J. Cans
Apr 13, 2010 - 11:10am
someotherguy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When reaching out to people, try to bring something to the table. I work in an area that is quite hot at the moment, and a few times a month I get requests on linked in asking if I can talk to them and give them advice, etc. The first few times I was flattered and took them up on it and even spoke with them for about a half hour each, but it quickly got annoying, especially since it seems that some of these guys are just wannabes with dollar signs in their eyes and no skills that are applicable whatsoever.

So what to bring to the table if you don't really have anything to offer professionally? Offer to meet them after work and buy them a beer or maybe even breakfast/lunch (control costs by you picking the place). I will be a lot more likely to talk to you if I am getting something out of it as well (in case you were wondering, I always enjoy beer, especially free beer, and I think everyone except the prickiest nose-in-the-air MD that will only drink veuve cliquot dripping off some fake tatas at 1Oak does too).

I hear you saying "but I am a college student/recent grad, I don't have any money!" It takes money to make money, and while I don't recommend you get in credit card debt to do this, a few beers shouldn't bust your budget and the upside potential is well worth it. Keep in mind that time is money, and even if the guy in question is only pulling 45-50 hour weeks, he would rather be home hanging out w/ his signifcant other, dog, friends or xbox than you.

Apr 13, 2010 - 1:00pm
moneyneversleeps2, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@Beastly. I think this user is asking if it's good to read the news for the latest rainmakers, figure out their bank's email aliases and email them directly. IE Figuring out Andrew Halls citi email and contacting him. Personally I don't find that a good idea. Now if it's looking someone up internally, that is completely different because it's much less invasive.

Apr 13, 2010 - 1:13pm
LIBOR, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Again, thanks for the help.

I turn 21 in one month, so I will definitely take up the 'buy them beer' trick.

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
Apr 13, 2010 - 1:15pm
beastly214, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Question to the OP:

How are you a junior at a non-target all the while working in back-office at a BB??

Apr 13, 2010 - 1:19pm
LIBOR, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Its a part time job in the back office. 20 hours a week at work and class on my off days.

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
Apr 13, 2010 - 1:44pm
UncleKevin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You know I like where your coming from. I'd be a little more conservative with your approach. Don't straight cold call / email people. Instead make connections/network your way in. Find your target person (the MD). Ask one of his associate to lunch. Let them know you are interested. Ask about the MD. Ask if it's ok if you talk to the MD.

Ask the MD to lunch or a quick coffee. Tell him that he came up in a conversation with his associate. Do this w/ a few different MDs and if you hit it off w/ one or two you are in. Also, this method assumes that you know your shit and can talk banking enough to not embarrass yourself during the coffee run.

Apr 13, 2010 - 6:40pm
hangingvalley, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I "crashed" target school cocktail parties of nearby schools, when I was at non-target. (went to UMASS, got my job via Smith College--all girls school, i'm not a girl). Then again, this was 10 years ago but ended up in SSB (pre Citi name change) Telecom banking, #1 on wall street at the time.

Also, make friends with people who run other school's career centers, that was key in my case as well.

Apr 13, 2010 - 7:41pm
IlliniProgrammer, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't forget the internal hire website.

You've got a huge advantage here- a track record within the firm (If this were a disadvantage, you wouldn't be with the firm anymore) When you apply for an internal transfer, your hiring manager will get access to stuff that he doesn't get access to even for the H/Y/P/W guys. He will get a chance to look at your personnel record and maybe even talk to the people who've worked with you. Maybe the hiring manager already runs one of the groups you support.

How supportive is your manager? Who's interests is he looking out for? A decent manager looks out for mostly his responsibilities, but a really good manager (maybe the kind you may want to think carefully about before leaving) will be looking out for his employees' and will want you to get that internal transfer if it will help your career. If he's one of those guys who's pretty open and straightforward, it would be good to give him a heads-up. It will be a little awkward, but I'm pretty sure he will understand.

Stop being timid; go in for the kill. Go on the internal transfer website and start applying. You know you can land another job on the 5% chance your manager finds out and somehow decides to fire you for it. And you probably know there's at least a 30-40% chance you'll get the offer if you decide to go for it. I spent two years worrying what would happen if I applied for an internal transfer. One day I finally said to myself, "If I lose this job, it only means my manager is an idiot because I know I can find another paying me 50% more in less than a month. It's time to go for it."

It's good if you have friends and internal contacts you can talk to about potential positions, strategies for approaching them, etc. But junior-level friends won't be able to help you get the job beyond maybe getting a resume in someone's face and (if they've worked there for a few years) maybe get you a first-round interview.

Apr 14, 2010 - 12:56am
PaperTrail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I find it ironic to see this post immediately following the one about that "gorgeous" broad from Craig's List. Get in touch with her to see if she's received any good feedback as to where to meet bankers and maybe that will do the job for you also.

Seriously though, I'd use the internal network as much as possible. This can be touchy, but get feelers from HR and your superiors on their thoughts.

LinkedIn definitely can work. Consider maybe just trying to start with a phone call/e-mail exchange at first and then eventually set-up a meeting after that.

Alumni at the bank you work at is your best option. Alumni anywhere is probably your second best bet.

And finally, I wouldn't worry a ton about trying to take someone out for dinner or drinks. Most professionals probably would prefer not to have a college kid paying for them. If they are willing to take the time to meet with you, they are doing it because they want to help, not because they'll get a free beer. Try to pick up the tab, but don't be surprised if they don't let you.

Apr 14, 2010 - 8:17am
Tier2Sta, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I actually think emailing or calling is fine. If the guy at the other end chooses to ignore you, no loss as such. If he / she responds - score; if he / she chooses to be crappy about it then I think it is a good indicator of personality (and then you can use it to judge whether you would want to work with someone like that anyway.....)

From the ghetto....
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Apr 14, 2010 - 8:40am
IlliniProgrammer, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Tier2Sta:
I actually think emailing or calling is fine. If the guy at the other end chooses to ignore you, no loss as such. If he / she responds - score; if he / she chooses to be crappy about it then I think it is a good indicator of personality (and then you can use it to judge whether you would want to work with someone like that anyway.....)
People say I'm a nice guy to work with. But if I were always getting calls from people at random private schools asking for a job, it would get annoying fast. And frankly, people who are TOO ambitious sometimes make me a little nervous. Sometimes I wonder if they've also bought into the whole mess about "If you're not cheating, you're not trying hard enough."

There's a very fine line between showing some initiative and irritating people or making them nervous. Two years of living in NYC and dealing with panhandlers on a daily basis has made a lot of us more jaded than we should be, so just be careful about your approach. It's best if you try and go through the regular channels-that way, the person on the other end of the line will be a lot more likely to want to help you.

I "crashed" target school cocktail parties of nearby schools, when I was at non-target. (went to UMASS, got my job via Smith College--all girls school, i'm not a girl).
There's smart people everywhere, but Smith isn't necessarily considered a target school by many banks. (Frankly, I think the school targeting system is a huge waste, but I am still in the small but growing minority.)
Apr 18, 2010 - 3:12pm
coffeebateman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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