Second/third/fourth Networking Calls

Probably going to come off superbly socially inept for asking this but oh well.

For those that have been through the whole IB networking thing already, what do you say on your second/third/fourth calls with a person? The first call is usually pretty easy where you can just sort of get to know the person, ask about the job, group, time in college, etc. and if they're up for it talk a bit about yourself and your progression, but after that first call, how do you follow up without it seeming like a desperate attempt to talk to them? And what do you say? Once you get the follow up call, what do you talk about given that you've already sort of covered all the surface level stuff in the first call? Like would you ask how things have been progressing since you last talked and stuff like that or what?

It's pretty hard to build personal connections over the phone, so not really sure how to go about it. Thanks for the help!

Comments (32)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
8mo 

I really struggle with this too, 1st and 2nd call are pretty easy but I always feel like I just annoy the other person if I reach out again or I'm not sure what to talk about

  • Intern in IB - Gen
8mo 

I had this same question too and never really found a good answer for this on WSO when I was going through recruiting. It felt weird sending them an article for no reason.

Looking back, this is what I did. There's nothing wrong with networking in a somewhat transactional way and they know that you're not trying to be their best friend.

First call: 1st semester of sophomore year. Like you said, the call was generally pretty straightforward. I talked about school, work, and just found a way to connect.

Second call: 2nd semester of sophomore year (usually right after applications opened). I emailed them with a short update and basically told them that I got an internship for the upcoming summer and was getting more interested in whatever group they worked in so I was looking to speak again. 

If you had a good call with them last time, I found that they always set up another call or (if they were busy) just told me that they would push my resume. Since they already remember you, the second call is even easier than the first. I would just give my update again over the phone, ask them how the group was (usually they would say something about how the deal environment changed, doesn't really matter what they say), and then I would ask them how to get into the process and if they have any advice for interviews given that recruiting has started. 

The second call is just to make sure that they remember who you are so they can vouch for you. I usually spent >30 min on the first call and 10-15 min on the second. I never did a 3rd/4th call because like you said, there's only so much you can talk to them about.

  • 7
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
8mo 

Really helpful stuff thanks! Were you able to land an offer only having two calls with each person? Given the volume of calls alumni get from students, did they really remember you after two?

  • Intern in IB - Gen
8mo 

Yes, I honestly don't know anyone who did 4 calls with a single analyst/associate. Your time is probably better spent talking to other people at that point.

Everyone says this but it's actually true - the quality of conversations is more important than the number of calls. I talked to 3 people at the bank (EB) I'm at but 2 of those calls were probably the best calls I ever had and ultimately they vouched for me. The third call I had was terrible but the benefit of networking in the fall is that you can find the people who will vouch for you early on and only reach out to them again in the spring. 

  • 2
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
8mo 

Generally agree - here's what I thought worked best being on the other side.

  • intro call a few months before recruiting kicks off. Learn about the bank and group, can even ask high level banking questions. Just be sure to beat the rush on networking calls. I took every call I got emails for in December of this year, even if the kid had a 2.5 from a nontarget. By March when my bank opened apps, I was ignoring kids with 4.0s from my alma mater. Make sure to get in front of analysts before the floods of others.
  • second call / even an email either right before apps open or right around then. This is when you can hint at a resume push / any other more tangible application tips. If you've already spoken, you can be more direct here - "how can I best position myself with applications opening next week" etc
  • if you get an interview invite / super day I'd follow up as well. Many analysts will hop on the phone and give you tips / straight up tell you the questions if they like you.

The answer is also you shouldn't really be having 4 networking calls for an SA position. Don't start networking so early that it's required to keep following up, and be efficient with the calls. We're busy and we know what you want, so just do one nice networking call and then cut to the chase

8mo 
jahridz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When would you say is the earliest someone should reach out if they are non-diverse?

I was thinking about reaching out around August, sending a progress email around October/November, and maybe even follow up call around January before emailing for "how I can best position myself" about 1 week before apps open?

I was wondering if that was too early in your opinion?

jahridz
2mo 
rangerfan243, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What if I'm a senior at this point? Been networking since September and Idk how it works for the spring whether their will be availabilities 

2mo 
rangerfan243, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What if its for full time in December ?

Most Helpful
8mo 
Quaneaser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You don't need four calls - it starts to get annoying when people keep reaching out, especially if they aren't strong candidates. The reality is, I'd say this cycle about 30 students reached out to me (and if it wasn't like 2 weeks before the application deadline then I probably gave them a call) but I don't have infinite pull with HR and the selection committee so I can't recommend everyone. Max I'll put my credibility on the line for 2-3 candidates in a cycle otherwise if I recommend someone who bombs then it reflects poorly on me.

At least for me, the best candidates:

1) Exude confidence - not like a Chad-like confidence, but the confidence that you know what you are talking about, have a goal with the call, and are conversational rather than shooting off questions. There is an extremely high correlation between candidates who show confidence in these early calls and ones that perform under pressure on the job. BTW, The best way to gain this confidence is to actually know what you are talking about and prepare

Don't be timid in the email - cut all the stuff about "I know you are extremely busy", don't say "Mr./Mrs. Smith," or other overly formal and apologetic things. Be direct, say who you are, what's your background, what you'd like to get from the call, and when you're free.

2) On the call don't come with a laundry list of robotic questions. It's much better to have like 5 questions that at least follow a semblance of a pattern than fire off "what is the culture like" and then "what is your favorite deal". Ask a question, listen to the response and then ask follow-up questions - it's like a date, you don't want to be in interview mode, it has to feel conversational

3) After that call feel free to send me updates about what you have been up to. Did you just get a sophomore internship? Do something relevant to what we talked about on the phone? Just send a short note - 99% of the all time I'll just respond 'Great to hear, thanks for the update' but at least you're keeping yourself top of mind

4) when it starts getting closer to the application deadline I'd recommend reaching out again and setting up a call under the guise of interview prep and advice. If you had a good first call, have been keeping yourself top of mind with updates, then good chance I'll take another call to give advice. 

And that's it, repeat that with a ton of bankers because it is a numbers game. Maybe you aren't in my top 3 but if you do this with enough people you'll end up in other people's and that will convert to interviews

8mo 
jahridz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When would you say is the earliest someone should reach out? Also, I'm a bit confused about what you would tell a student on the 2nd call other than read the guides, mock with others, and have your story down cold? How could a student maintain at least a 10-15 min call for the 2nd one?

jahridz
8mo 
Quaneaser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If I do a second call with a candidate then there is a good chance we connected well on the first call and I could see them as a potential interview candidate. So for me it's a good time to preview the two of the more important qualitative questions; 'walk me through your resume' and 'why x firm'. As a candidate this is a good time to recite both and I'm happy to give candid feedback on each. Remember, our incentives are aligned at this stage because I want you to sound good in the interview because it reflects well on both of us.

You can also use the call to just generally catch-up on what you've been up to, what's happening on campus (more relevant if same school), etc.

I think earliest is probably fall timeframe (say September/October) after summer is over, the summer analysts have left, and the new class has settled in. I think any earlier and it becomes harder to mantain contact over time and stay relevant.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
8mo 

How should a prospect approach the interview prep call? What are good questions to ask to pry out some actual good tips/advice and maybe get a couple of questions?

8mo 
Quaneaser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

See my response above - practice the 'walk me through your resume', 'why x firm', and 'why investment banking' portions of your story and ask for feedback. For me, I see no issue with being direct. Feel free to ask questions about what the interview process looks like, what's the format (2 on 1, mostly technical, etc.), and if you're feeling bolder ask how the resume selection occurs (if it is three particular analysts/associates from your school selecting then you need to figure out who they are and network with them ASAP - ask for a referral to them. If you're a good candidate I'm happy to provide it)

2mo 
rangerfan243, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What if I'm a senior at this point? Been networking since September and Idk how it works for the spring whether their will be availabilities. Should I stop for now?

2mo 
Quaneaser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

rangerfan243

What if I'm a senior at this point? Been networking since September and Idk how it works for the spring whether their will be availabilities. Should I stop for now?

FT recruiting is always very tough, even in very good markets. Likely most all banks have filled their analyst classes starting next summer, at least in the traditional sense. That said there are always things that happen that will open up adhoc spots - analysts decides to do consulting/TFA/tech/etc. or even better the market gets hot.

We are in a very bad market so that works against you currently and if anything most banks are downsizing. That said, keep networking and staying in front of people so that you are on the call list when there actually is an opening. Who knows, inflation comes under control over the next 3-6 months, financing markets steady, and suddenly banks realize they need a lot more people (happened in a big way in 2021)

Have to stay in front of people though consistently or you'll be on no ones radar come next summer

2mo 
rangerfan243, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What if its for full time in December ? Been networking in the fall and a I got a bunch of were full 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
8mo 

Thanks for all of the answers so far!

I'm wondering whether you keep in touch with the people you networked with after you already got the offer until the beginning of the internship, which is usually about a year away.

How often should you reach out and what topics should you be talking to them about?

8mo 
AstoundedMonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I got a notification that my comment received silver bananas--when I get back here, I found my COMMENT WAS GONE! OYV EY! what's going on here? did I gets shadowbanned?

8mo 
Dick Steele, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Above answers basically covered everything. In my experience, first calls are easy. You're just getting to know them, ask some questions and try to build a good connection. I only followed up with if I had a real reason to follow up. Like getting an internships, getting their opinion on different offers, things like that. I never bothered sending them articles or anything, I feel like that's awkward.

If it was a really good connection than I'd ask to meet for coffee when I was in their city instead of doing a second call. Really good way to get to know them and also build a much better connection. I've never done a fourth call and rarely a third. After we meet, I generally keep in touch through email and send updates along the way (say 3-6 months) though there were a few random times I sent an update after like a 10 months and they still remembered me somehow. Don't do that though.

8mo 
AstoundedMonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
8mo 

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