Completely ignored by MD during Superday lunch

This happened a few weeks ago and it's still quite disturbing to me so I decided to make this thread. I was having a superday with this group and everything went pretty well. After we finished, I and two other candidates had lunch with the whole team. The lunch was pretty casual and we were just chit chatting. Then, after 15 minutes, I started to realize that when the MD talked, he never made any eye contact with me while he made eye contact very often with the other two candidates. It was like he was talking to them and not to me at all. He was the main talker during the lunch and probably the decision maker for the recruitment as well, so I felt quite uncomfortable and kind of disappointed as I felt like I was left out of his conversation. I tried to add some small talks to get his attention but they didn't work, making me feel more uncomfortable. I didn't get an offer from the group.

Now thinking back, I still don't really understand why I was ignored by the MD. I thought that during the interview, I connected with him pretty well and we had some good conversations. But even if the MD wasn't very interested in me, he should still have made some eye contact with me as a basic conversation etiquette. The only thing I can think of is that I'm the only Asian/international student in the lunch (everyone else, including the candidates are white) and somehow, that led to the whole situation. Not sure if that makes any sense.

Any thoughts/comments/advice?

Also, I want to ask how important a post-superday casual lunch/dinner is? Will people in the team still use that time to evaluate each candidate? Since the group I interviewed with was very small, I thought fit was the most important factor so I tried to talk quite often and have some fake laughs during the lunch in an effort to get people to like me. I myself felt I was pretty fake at that moment since normally, I am not very talkative. Is there a better approach on how I should deliver myself?

Comments (31)

duyhoang, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well, it was a month ago so I can't remember exactly. 15 is simply a random number that I think is reasonable. Could be 10 or 5.

pecr0e, what's your opinion? Comment below:

He could have already made his decision from the interviews and wrote you off. You said it yourself, you were being fake. That is one thing that will completely turn me off to someone. I would much rather you be real and an asshole than fake and nice. Next time be yourself. I'm not saying to be quiet, but don't do the fake laugh shit and try to be what you think they want.

duyhoang, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks guys for the comments. Just to clarify, I was myself during all the interviews and the beginning of the lunch. Only after I felt I was left out that I started to do those shits.

Best Response
SSits, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The MD probably feels more guilt that your average banker and, having already made his decision, couldn't make eye contact with you due to that guilt.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
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Disjoint, what's your opinion? Comment below:
"SSits" wrote:
The MD probably feels more guilt that your average banker and, having already made his decision, couldn't make eye contact with you due to that guilt.

This for sure.

yes - he made his decision already and you weren't part of the package. Nothing with being Asian etc... Don't sweat it. Keep going at it.
looping56, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It was because you're Asian, especially since you're an international student. He probably didn't feel like he could really connect with you or at least felt like he couldn't have a chill time with you. He views you to be inferior and not worth his attention. It's how the world works, but what can you do...

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duyhoang, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So what should I do? I mean, that's the whole purpose of me making this thread - to find a better approach in case I am in a similar situation in the future.

brooksfit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I hate saying this, but if you really wanted to address this problem, try to be more 'American'.

The signs of an international student that I've come across are accents while speaking and poor speaking abilities (esp. Asian), foreign name on the resume, overall awkwardness and lack of social skills - inability to sound like you're not in an interview and talk genuinely about your interests and yourself, and look ( for some reason, I can tell if a kid is int'l by his hairstyle, suit, etc.)

The things that often rub me the wrong way are the accent, not being 110% fluent in English, and just awkwardness. They can't seem to relax and give me too much of a 'try-hard' vibe. Everything they mention sounds like they're in an interview and can't talk about anything else. If I can't understand you or if I genuinely don't feel comfortable around you and connect with you, you're behind the 8ball already.

Perhaps some of these apply to you or perhaps they don't. I'm just providing my thoughts.

duyhoang, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think what you said is spot on. I've been in the U.S. for 4 years and I was aware that I needed to improve my English skills since the first day. While I found improving English fluency doable, getting a good accent was difficult for me since it's something you need to work on at a young age. Nevertheless, I still continuously work on my speaking skills.

This is a sample of my speaking: . I would very appreciate if you guys can tell me where I am in comparison with the international students that you have met, regarding the accent, proper use of language, fluency, etc. Also, let's say there's a speaking level that you find acceptable/bearable (I'm not saying perfect), how far do you think I am from that level? I don't get offended easily so please be straightforward.

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astfin-juki, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I will address some of my observations here. They are, but not limited to

  1. Tone is flat and uninteresting. You sound like that kid who was picked by the teacher to tell an interesting story, except that it was not.

  2. Hesitant at some points and inarticulate in general.

  3. Usage of some phrases seems rather contrived.

  4. Grammar and pronunciation - e.g. "to give an idea about my speaking skill"

  5. Accent - Off point.

Accent is hard to change I'd admit, but at least sound like you aren't in IB just for the money. Solely based on what I've heard, just the thought of spending a day at the pub with you makes me cringe.

Hope this helps.

Redacted, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was definitely expecting much worse. I'd give it an 8/10 compared to most international asian students I've met. Only critique-be careful with your "r's." They sound like w's.

Listen to how you said "real" near the very end. Practice those. You're in good shape.

"I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

Esuric, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You should probably move on and not dwell on it. Focus on improving your English.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
CheddarBunny, what's your opinion? Comment below:

God damn this is a good thread. Kid has a question, people give good thoughtful responses on a kind of awkward/blunt topic. Very constructive. Where's the like button?

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OnGBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Also, I want to ask how important a post-superday casual lunch/dinner is? Will people in the team still use that time to evaluate each candidate?

First, yes, the team will still be evaluating you after the super day. You are being evaluated as a candidate until you sign the offer. Between signing the offer and starting, you're being evaluated to confirm they made the right choice. Once you start, you're being evaluated as a team member. Your performance is constantly being evaluated, this doesn't stop once you get that magical offer letter.
Since the group I interviewed with was very small, I thought fit was the most important factor so I tried to talk quite often and have some fake laughs during the lunch in an effort to get people to like me. I myself felt I was pretty fake at that moment since normally, I am not very talkative. Is there a better approach on how I should deliver myself?

Trying to fit in by being fake will never work. It is generally painfully obvious when someone is faking it. Your discomfort will shine through. Be yourself, that's the "you" that needs to fit in anyway. If you're a "square peg" pretending to be round just to fit in, you won't fit in the round or square hole. Take your time and find the environment where you match.

da chief, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Maybe it was because of your race, lack of fluency, whatever... who knows? Dwelling on it a month later certainly won't do you any good. I had a similar experience where the MD (an arrogant pos) made more than a few comments at a dinner which both hurt my feelings and were insulting to my family. I literally contemplated turning down the internship offer because of it but decided against it because I loved everything else about the company. I took the bad experience as motivation, busted my ass that summer and earned a FT offer. Now he respects me and I have both a better understanding of him along with a good working relationship.

You're going to meet people who leave a bad taste in your mouth and maybe make unfair opinions on you regardless of where you go or what you do. Point is, you need to take the experience, turn it to motivation, keep your head down and continue getting after it.

And for the record I'm a WASP so this happens to everyone regardless of race.

marcellusgreen, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Your biggest problem is the self doubt that seems to have creeped in. You better nip it in the bud or else your self confidence (which is 80% of a bankers skill set) is going to take a beating.

Don't ever listen to people who tell you that the way you speak (enunciating words so that people can understand is important though) isn't good enough, that you are not a cultural fit etc. The people who tell you these things are probably insecure people themselves.

If you are interviewing for an IB position learn to be comfortable in your own skin. You don't have to try to be 'American' - the co head of M&A in one of the BBs is an Indian lady from India. She was told she was the wrong gender, the wrong color, the wrong whatever - ask her if she took any advice from people who asked her to be more 'American'. Be yourself and if people can't handle it, find a place that can and learn to dominate. I get that being humble is good for a youngster starting out but fear masquerading as humility serves no one any good - so get the fear out. You really aren't defined by the work you do or the job you get. I didn't listen to the audio (I don't know where you're from) but i'm sure that with your credentials and with your new found confidence you can get a job anywhere in the world.

Let thine own self be true
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Dhanam, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Personal anecdote - I had an international student friend from Dubai who also wanted to work on the accent. No amount of 'practice', 'coaching', or forced exercises worked at all.

What did work? He began to follow football (American football) with raw ferocity. He picked the '49ers as his team and devoured highlights, watched segments of ESPN I had never even seen, never missed a single NFL game for four years (even pre-season), and in the off-season was rattling off moves that GMs were making every few hours. This guy could name Joe Montana's kicker in each of 49ers superbowl wins.

His accent is nearly 70-80% the same as mine now. Plus you learn something that'll enable you to relate to literally any American male out there. Win-win.

More importantly - I think it has to do something with the people you surround yourself with. Nothing wrong with being Asian (I am myself - grew up in Texas) - but don't migrate in those packs that I tend to always see around campus. I know Koreans from LA who can't speak English properly because they only ran in Korean exclusive communities.

Gotta bust out of the comfort zone.

northdakota, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A bunch of trolls with no banking experience. OP can improve social skills and language skills and blah blah blah. Sure. But bottom line is the MD is an asshole (not unusual in banking) and this should be treated as an exception rather than norm. It's basic effing human decency. Can't believe everyone is bashing the candidate here. How many here can break into one of the most competitive industries in a non-English speaking country?

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Blockbuster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great thread. I am an international student from SE Asia and despite having lived here for 3 years, I always feel like I am making little to none progress in becoming more adapted to the U.S. culture.

This may be a totally random question but can anyone share how many international guys are there in your group/division? And what are their backgrounds?

MoneyTalksMonkeysWalk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Working on your english is fine for the long run. Short term though, there won't be enough improvement to make a big difference in getting hired.

1 I would say is confidence. If you sat down at the lunch or interview and were more confident than the other candidates, the fact that you are a different race would not matter. Actually, it might help because he might think, you are a super smart and hardworking asian and the others are lazy entitled white kids. I know, not politically correct, but fuck it, this is about hiring the best person for the job. The MD isn't going to be stuck in a fucking elevator with you, but he will be waiting on you for a book or presenting the book you put together to clients, and he wants it fast and accurate. Don't act like a white frat boy, let them do that. Act like the smart hardworking person you are, except ditch the being quiet part, because you need to show him you are smart and hardworking. They don't know you. If you are quiet, they will never know you. They will also equate being quiet with being stupid. Unless there is a case, there is no way for them to learn about your intelligence and work ethic unless you verbalize it to them.

Be confident and impress them with your finance knowledge, raw intelligence, and work ethic. Assuming you have these things, you must COMMUNICATE these things. Pre scripted answers aren't going to cut it. Use anecdotes when you speak. This is crucial. I repeat, USE ANECDOTES. Be arrogant. I say this because, I know with your accent and level of english, that it will not come off as arrogant, but confident. If a white frat boy acted arrogant, he would come off as a douche. But if you attempt to act arrogant, I would wager that it would simply come off as confident. So don't be submissive. Dominate the conversation (relative to the other candidates), literally fuck them over by acting as if your stories and ideas are more valuable than theirs...because they are! If they aren't, then they deserve the jobs and not you. It's a mindset.

MAKE the MD make eye contact with you by speaking up and using his name when you speak to him. Keep your chin up, for some reason I picture you with your head tilted down at the lunch table. Also use the other candidates names and incorporate them into your stories. "Well MD Douchebag, candidate Fuckstick over here's story is actually really interesting because it reminds of this project I worked on at my last internship where we were in a real crunch and everyone else was freaking out and dropping the ball, while I busted my ass all night to get the project done and we ended up winning the business". Not the best example, I'm writing fast, you get the point though. Take control. You don't have to be american, just BE BETTER than the other candidates. Do this by saying stuff that has impact "At my last internship, by combing through financials, I noticed that a lot of the biotech companies outsource their R&D effectively by continuously buying smaller players with new discoveries. I really like companies in this space because blah blah blah" Show them that you have the ability to become an expert. People want experts.

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Quizzibo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

From fellow international student,


entitlement problem: it's not their problem that you are not 'likeable' by their standards. (Which leads to my second point.)


At the end of the day, I think IB is about selling yourself & your ideas to others. Why not polish up your soft skills and force the attention [that you think] you deserve?

(e.g.) I read an article sometime ago "Brits entering U.S. for ib position picks up NFL or NBA." Idea is that it's not enough to get in, but to fit in the culture. I think the problem is, not that you are Asian, your inability of selling yourself.

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Small Cape Valeyou, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't know you personally but im getting the vibe you have some sort of "entitlement" or "holier-than-thou" mentality. Perhaps at one point you did not show respect to the MD and therefore got on his bad side. Maybe your first impression was less than stellar. who knows. Point is, you mentioned yourself that you felt "fake". People can usually see right through that.

I'm just here echoing what some of the others are saying, always act yourself. It may not get you the job at that moment, but it will be a recipe for disaster somewhere down the road, either you will be unhappy because you convinced yourself this job is for you, and management will feel stupid because they hired someone different at the start.

regardless, best of luck.

Black Star, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Was not there so can't comment on his behaviour/rationale. You obviously made a good impression to get to that, don't make a big deal out of it otherwise doubts will start to creep in and your lack of self-confidence will start to show.

Secondly, don't try to make yourself more American...being fake can easily be spotted a mile away.

It's like yesterday, I started chatting with this 9/10. Mate, you should have seen her...brunette, nice eyes and a good shape with curves only matched in Latin-America. So, there I am trying to work my game on this beauty and she's just giving nothing back. Did I say or do anything wrong? May be I did, may be I didn't. Who knows? Anyways, ended up picking this even hotter chick later that night.

Morale of the story, be confident and don't let anyone else make you feel worthless. I'm sure you're a cool guy!

Bitch please, I love bananas! If you found my advice useful, hit me up with one.
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DickFuld, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Black Star, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Bitch please, I love bananas! If you found my advice useful, hit me up with one.
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