Networking/ Cold-Call Emails to break into IB

I'm a sophomore in college at a non-target school and play football there. Even though it feels like I have about 30 years of eligibility remaining (redshirt, medical redshirt, etc.) and will stay in school, most likely for another 4 years, I still feel like I should start networking with other IBs. Because of football, I don't spend as much time on this part of my career as I would like, and I'm unable to get an internship at a bank in the summer because I have to be on campus for workouts throughout the entire summer. I go to school in the Midwest, so the closest banks are in Chicago, which is about 5 hours away. I have an internship this summer for a small wealth management firm, but not being able to even apply for those bigger internships is really killing me. My question is, what's your advice on beginning to network/ cold call people who are already in this industry and are succeeding. I'm looking for maybe a mentor or just being able to connect with IB and learn how to get into the industry. I don't even know where to begin and don't want to fall too behind those who are able to get summer internships. Let me know what advice you have. 


Based on the most helpful WSO content, here's a strategic approach to networking and cold-calling for investment banking, especially tailored for someone in your position:

  1. Leverage LinkedIn: Start by creating or polishing your LinkedIn profile. Make sure it's professional, with a clear, appropriate photo and a detailed description of your academic and athletic commitments. Use LinkedIn's search tools to find alumni from your school who are currently in IB or related fields. A simple message stating your background, your interest in investment banking, and a request for advice or a brief informational interview can go a long way.

  2. Cold Emailing: Based on the WSO guide on cold contacting, draft personalized emails to investment bankers. Mention your unique situation (balancing athletics with academics), express your keen interest in IB, and ask for a short phone call or virtual meeting. Ensure your emails are concise, respectful, and personalized. You can find email templates and strategies in the WSO guide titled "Guide: Cold Contacting Investment Bankers For Non Targets."

  3. Networking Events and Seminars: Although your schedule might not allow for much travel, look for virtual networking events, webinars, and seminars related to finance and investment banking. These can be great opportunities to meet professionals and learn more about the industry.

  4. Develop a Relationship with a Mentor: As you start to connect with professionals, aim to find a mentor. Look for someone who shows a genuine interest in guiding you. This could be an alumnus from your school or someone you meet through LinkedIn or a virtual event. A mentor can provide invaluable advice, introduce you to their network, and guide you through the nuances of breaking into IB.

  5. Utilize Your School’s Resources: Even if your school is a non-target, there may be alumni or faculty who have connections to the finance industry. Reach out to your career center, professors, or even the alumni office to see if they can provide contacts or advice.

  6. Stay Persistent and Professional: The world of IB is competitive, especially for students from non-target schools. Persistence is key. Keep reaching out, follow up politely, and stay professional in all your communications.

Remember, your unique background as an athlete can also be a strong selling point, demonstrating your teamwork skills, discipline, and resilience—qualities that are highly valued in investment banking.

Sources: Want to get me on the phone? Here's how - a networking overview., How to network & get yourself a Career Mentor, How to network & get yourself a Career Mentor, Guide: Cold Contacting Investment Bankers For Non Targets, The Best Networking, Cold Calling and Cold Emailing Posts on WSO

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

I got my job through networking. Pro tip: stop emailing analysts and associates.

Target VP+, those are people who will actually help you. Every, and I really mean every interview I’ve gotten through cold emailing has been the result of me contacting a VP+.

I got my job from cold emailing a Director. It just so happened that I emailed them the same week someone quit, so it’s very much luck and timing.


Magnam error temporibus quia quae id. Aperiam odit unde impedit ut in mollitia rerum. Quas minima commodi amet commodi minus.

Est exercitationem blanditiis voluptate sit ducimus aut. Corrupti et quia qui. Voluptatum culpa dolorum esse impedit voluptatibus.

Adipisci aut et distinctio nihil at corporis quas. Ut doloremque dolores et omnis et porro alias. Minus voluptate nemo optio ut eius. Magni enim minus optio debitis rerum sed inventore.

Career Advancement Opportunities

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Lazard Freres No 98.9%
  • Perella Weinberg Partners New 98.3%
  • Harris Williams & Co. 24 97.7%
  • Goldman Sachs 16 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 18 99.4%
  • JPMorgan Chase 10 98.9%
  • William Blair 02 98.3%
  • Lazard Freres 07 97.7%
  • Morgan Stanley 03 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.9%
  • Perella Weinberg Partners 18 98.3%
  • Goldman Sachs 16 97.7%
  • Moelis & Company 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (23) $378
  • Associates (95) $261
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $181
  • 2nd Year Analyst (69) $168
  • Intern/Summer Associate (34) $167
  • 1st Year Analyst (207) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (152) $101
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”