Networking Is Paradise
It's January 1st of your sophomore year. You finally got into that prestigious investing club at your school you've been trying to get into for 2 semesters. "New year, new me!" you exclaim, deciding that this is the year things will go your way.
After a lot of reflecting, you decide to go against your peers and pursue S&T. You don't see the appeal in editing the axis's on an excel chart to perfection only for Chad, your Harvard grad MD, to request that you to redo it in a way that makes Gordon Ramsey look like Ghandi.
Besides, markets are your passion. You did a research report freshman year on COVID's effects on the price of avocados and now you're hooked. You eat, sleep, and breathe WSJ and SeekingAlpha articles. You need to differentiate yourself though. There are hundreds of other kids from much better schools gunning for YOUR spot onequities desk.
You hop on LinkedIn, and search up your school and "trading". It's 1 am, but that doesn't stop you. You schedule send 13 emails for tomorrow at 7:37 am, casting your net to see if you can get someone on the phone. You copy and paste the emails but change up some punctuation and the salutation so they aren't identical. "Perfect" you think to yourself, as you wait Asia markets to open so you can go to bed.
3 days later, it finally happens. Jill Swanson from that prestigious BB emails you back. She is available to talk tomorrow at 3:30. You have your introductory accounting quiz then, but it doesn't matter. It's your first response and you know better than to ask to reschedule.
You skip class the next day, eyes glued to thetape and Bloomberg News. At exactly 3:30, you give Jill a call.
"Hey Jill! It's me, Leroy! How are ya today?" you enthusiastically ask, hoping she can't hear you trembling over the phone. You shoot the shit for a while before she finally asks that all important question…
"What's your market outlook?"
It's go time. You finally have the chance to differentiate yourself. You dive right into it, talking about the price of crude (making sure to specify that it's brent) and Japanese body pillow exports.
"7.5%, do you think that it's transitory?"
You smile and start to explain that Daddy Powell (as you affectionately call him) is behind the curve. You express that you see rates rising by 300 bps by the end of the year to curb the double-digiton the horizon.
You end the call by thanking Jill for her time, making sure that the follow up email drops into her inbox exactly 5 minutes later. You did it. You talked to an actual.
The next 6 months are a blur of emails,, and applications. Despite networking with nearly 150 different traders, you only managed to get 2 first round interviews, neither which resulted in a .
Then, out of the blue, you get a first round interview at a bank you sent a cold application. Not a. You fly through your interview, making sure to send a follow up after it's over.
3 days later, they reach out to you. You made it to the superday. You can't believe it. You still haven't talked to anyone there, so you desperately start looking on LinkedIn for anyone to reach out to. You find someone in FP&A and set up a call 2 days before your final interview. You don't care about FP&A. "What a low-life" you think to yourself. The guy obviously isn't the high caliber banking you were seeking. You cut the call short after just 5 minutes, frustrated that you gained nothing from the conversation.
It's the morning of your superday. Time to pull out all the tricks in your book. You look up your interviewers on LinkedIn, making sure you know everything that happened in their asset class in the last month.
A week later, you see "Congratulations!" in your inbox. You initially move the email to your junk folder, thinking that you won yet another free iPhone 13. But then you double check, and see it's from the bank. You got the offer.
You should be excited. You finally did it. You got yourself an offer. But your initial surprise quickly turns to rage as you remember the hours and hours spent networking at numerous banks. "Does none of it even matter?!?" you think to yourself. You post your offer on LinkedIn. You get a couple of "Congrats!", but that's it.
It finally hits you. None of the 100+ people you talked to care about you. You slowly fall into a pit of despair as you realize you wasted an unimaginable portion of your golden college years. It's all just a facade.