London undergrad unstructured internship - cold email (direct ask) or coffee chat/network?

Asking on how to go about getting an internship at a boutique before recruiting for SA next school year.

In my uninformed opinion, blasting cookie cutter emails to play the numbers game doesn't seem optimal as it would ruin my chances with the limited number of firms.

What would a better way to go about it? Do I reach out on LinkedIn to network with people working at the respective firms? Do I keep asking for referrals or do I politely make the ask upon the first call?

It would be helpful to see how others networked or cold-emailed to get an internship.

Additional information:
- I have ER experience if that's relevant
- Would be looking into any type of internship (ER, AM, IB, PE, HF) (are there ones either easier or more difficult to get an internship for)

Comments (8)

Most Helpful
  • Prospect in PE - Other
Jan 23, 2022 - 12:23pm

Few points on this, albeit not that coherent:

  • Most people won't do a summer in first year, the spring weeks are enough. However, if you can get one it does confer an advantage.
  • Assuming you're at a target, there are usually finance-related (may be in consulting but you can get modelling experience at a lot of boutiques) internships readily available through careers portals. A lot of these are ad-hoc, unstructured internships and they'll likely advertise only at a few schools.
  • Message alums on LinkedIn, that's your best bet to find stuff entirely cold.
  • Ask people in the year above who've done first year summers for ins. It's pretty common for different departments to have a few small (normally no name and local) firms that always take one or two interns informally from that same department each year; knowledge is passed on from one cohort to another re. recruitment and openings. 
  • Consider academic RA positions at your university and others, anything is better than nothing and you'll get paid. If you can tie it into something relevant to an industry you're passionate about, all the better.
Jan 26, 2022 - 8:45am
Balls to the Wallstreet, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Appreciate the response. Sb'd for the pointers. If I'm messaging alums on LinkedIn, should I be upfront about internship opportunities or reach out for a networking call first to learn about their experiences and work and ask during the call? 

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Jan 26, 2022 - 9:05am

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