Worst Cold Outreach Message?

What is the worst cold outreach you've ever received? Mine is as follows:

"Deal Team Six,

Yo, I saw you previously interned at [insert generic IB], do you know who heads up recruiting there? Can you pass along their contact information?


For context, I was no longer interning nor working FT at this bank, and had no prior connection to this kid (went to a different school and we had zero mutual connections). 

I really respect starting the message with "Yo", and then the complete oversight of asking me to just DM him the contact info of the head of recruiting. This prospect was on addy and wanted to get down to brass tacks asap. Why bother wasting his time with scheduling a call to learn about my experience or the firm when he could simply hurdle right over that part of the process?

Finally, ending it with a "Thanks" because this hardo just knew I was gonna simp and pass him along the contact info. Absolute alpha move. He had early VP promote written all over him. 

Needless to say, I leveraged past relations with the bank that I no longer worked for and insisted they grant this kid an offer while skipping the interview process altogether. I simply explained this big dog's time was far too valuable to be burdened by some rudimentary interview, chalked full of walk me through a DCF and tell me about yourself. 

A few years later, I checked up on where this absolute enigma was off to, and it turns out he was enrolled in large state school's JD program. Guess finance isn't for everyone.  

Comments (20)

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

Anything that is more than a few sentences for an outreach often becomes cringe and you come off as a huge tryhard.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen

I think it's fine if there's relevant content there (it's not fluff and is written in a way that I read it) depending on the context

If you're from my school and it's relevant, it helps. if you're not from my school and it makes me interested? also helps

But I'm not a fan of 3 paragraphs that essentially boil down to various ways to say 'i want to learn what banking is' that they clearly pulled out the thesaurus for. If you have so many sentences that you have to use 8 different synonyms for 'interested' then it's probably too long

But if it's more along the lines of 'I interned with x small firm, covering xyz, and when I was staffed on a deal I really enjoyed xyz component of it and saw that you focus on that specifically' I can be appreciative. Because I'm more likely to think this person is actually interested in what my team does specifically and is more likely to have done background research

I think a better way of putting it is I'm fine with more detail if it helps demonstrate that you've done a bit of background research / have a real interest in the job. Not paragraphs upon paragraphs

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A

Had this kid address 20 alumni at my bank in one email asking for a job and he attached his resume as a word doc (he got emails from info session flyer)

Thought people that dumb only existed in movies

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen

Attaching your resume as PDF is something that does need to be told to a lot of nontargets students at least once. (myself included)

Didn't even get that advice from our career counselors, they were trying to understand why I wasn't interested in roles they were showing me most of the time

But emailing all with one email I hope is just them thinking they could send 20 separate emails all at once that way and just didn't know how outlook worked.

Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've gotten some really lazy ones that translate as "I want a job, I'm asking for coffee because society told me to, so this is my obligatory coffee email."

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying you need to write a thoughtful email.  A robotic standard email is fine.  Networking is annoying bullshit, I wouldn't ask for more than that.

But here are some actual complete emails I've gotten:

1. "Please let me know if you'd be willing to connect over coffee.  I find your firm fascinating."  

2. "Hope to connect with a fellow alum.  I'm interested in private equity so I'd like to hear more about your shop, career etc."

Those are entire emails (plus a hi at the beginning).  And yes the "shop, career etc." is a quote.

Either suffer through the bullshit (i.e. pretend to be interested in learning about the firm because that's what the bullshit is all about), or be a full rebel and send me your resume with an email that says "I don't want to chat, I don't want to learn about your firm, I just want a job and you should interview me because I'm great." 

Be one or the other.  Don't be the lazy half-rebel who couldn't be bothered to even feign interest, yet still plays the coffee game.

Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

See now that reads like a good one.  Why does that one read so well and the others don't . . I guess for starters, you're a student looking to learn about IB, which is a situation everyone in IB & post-IB knows.  It's also a smaller ask (15 mins on the phone).  

I should've mentioned in my examples, these are post-college people looking for a PE-style role (family office in the case of my firm) and it's not any type of structured recruiting cycle.  So the coffee request needs a purpose . . like, you want to tell that firm how your experience is a good fit or whatever . .  and so the email really shouldn't sound like a box checking exercise.

  • 1
jenkinscooper, what's your opinion? Comment below:
[Comment removed by mod team]
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

funny post, thanks for sharing.

on a related note, how do you guys think, why is networking so important for this job in US? why do we need to reach out to strangers and schedule calls and pretend like we want to hear about your experience at a bank and learn about banking? like if I'm interested in IB, then I already know that it's a well-paid excel/ppt job with grueling hours. I don't really need to know more and ask the same questions (what were your day to day activities, how was culture as if I don't know that banking culture is hell) to tens of strangers. I just need a referral so my resume doesn't go straight to trash but instead gets seen. so why do we need to play this game and waste each other's very limited and very valuable time?

other jobs don't have this networking thing. doctors, engineers, software developers, etc. don't send hundreds of cold emails to schedule a call to ask about culture in order to get a job application referral.

even for banking in other countries people don't do it. like you don't do it in Europe/London. specifically banking in US has this weird game.

  • 4
  • Associate 2 in CorpDev

OP here, I can answer as to why networking was so critical for me. In short, I went to an UG that most either A. hadnt heard of, or B. didnt think highly of (relative to competitive business programs). I agree to your primary point though, it is odd when someone with a 3.8 from U Penn needs to reach out to a bank to try and incentivize them to hire them for an internship position.

I would assume this is part of the outdated banking recruitment model, where if you do not have a pre-existing connection, you need to develop one on your own in order to prove you're a good fit. In other words, being a top student at a top school with relevant past experience is somehow deemed "not enough", despite the fact that you have quite literally done everything in your power to make yourself a qualified candidate for the position

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

it's important just bc of tradition. I'd argue it hardly makes a difference for most people. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen

I once emailed a senior banker who worked at a boutique shop on the M&A side saying I thought RX was fascinating and that I wanted to learn more.

To my defense, she presented at our school, spent 70% of the time speaking about the RX side, and this shop is famous for RX. Also nothing on her LinkedIn.

Her response was the perfect bend of cordial and sarcastic - a true master of Corporate America.

I deserved it tho, so not bitter.

  • 1
s921, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lmao I did the same over LinkedIn. Blocked/unblocked them after I realized the mistake thinking it would unsend (it did not) and then panicked and left it.

Did not get the interview

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen

Anything with too many full on paragraphs and I'm like bruhhhhhh 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov

A college kid once emailed me saying he's interested in working in my group and to call him then proceeded to list his cell

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov

I think a better approach may have been: brief intro, mention you're interested in learning more, ask if I would like to connect, say you can chat whenever is most convenient…You don't just email someone telling them to call you lol…. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

Deserunt quo sit harum dignissimos. Cum et aliquid optio libero laudantium omnis exercitationem. Sit sapiente voluptatem est eum quos non ex consectetur.

SportsVC, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dolores neque possimus sequi velit voluptas. Eius corrupti cupiditate est eligendi.

Provident aut laudantium ut quae ex facere quam. Et eaque et porro modi ab provident inventore. Rerum quos qui deserunt possimus odit error eos. Praesentium ratione qui totam libero autem similique repellat et.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

January 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (+ +) 99.5%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽01) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International (▽01) 98.6%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▽01) 98.1%
  • William Blair (▲08) 97.7%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

January 2023 Investment Banking

  • Canaccord Genuity (▲04) 99.5%
  • William Blair (▲04) 99.0%
  • Lincoln International (▲09) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▲06) 98.1%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲09) 97.6%

Professional Growth Opportunities

January 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (▲15) 99.5%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲09) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽03) 98.1%
  • William Blair (▲01) 97.7%

Total Avg Compensation

January 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (23) $401
  • Associates (134) $264
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (9) $194
  • 2nd Year Analyst (80) $172
  • 1st Year Analyst (257) $171
  • Intern/Summer Associate (41) $167
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (185) $91