How senior is too senior to try to network with?

If I am an upcoming sophomore and am trying to get informational interviews to get my foot in the door at a bank, is there a cut-off in terms of seniority for people to cold email? I am trying to focus on alumni, and see a lot of people that are VPs and directors, but I am hesitant to email them as I don't want to waste their time. Still, I have done fairly well talking to associates and analysts so thought it may be worth shooting some emails out there. 

Comments (12)

  • Prospect in S&T - FI
Jul 21, 2022 - 3:07pm

Unless you personally know them, work your way up. Have a lower level refer you to one level above and repeat.

Jul 21, 2022 - 6:55pm
FreedomFries1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you think it would be okay to email if they had explicitly listed in the alumni directory that they're okay with being contacted by college students or no? I wasn't sure if this changed the calculus or if I was too young for that designation to matter.

  • Summer Associate in S&T - FI
Jul 21, 2022 - 7:09pm

You could reach out but I think it's more beneficial to work your way up. That way, when you're talking to the higher up you can mention someone referred you to them so they know they're not wasting their time. First time I cold emailed an MD, he referred me right back to an Analyst. I spoke to that Analyst and worked my way right back up to him. At that point he had known about me and I got to share what I learned by talking to everyone before him.

Jul 21, 2022 - 7:03pm
Snowshield, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just work your way up. I've heard of multiple instances where people reached out to an MD and got told to speak to an associate, might as well just reach out to the associate first.

I personally just never networked with anyone higher than associate and did fine in recruiting, as did most of my friends going to BBs.

Jul 21, 2022 - 7:06pm
brah1234, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As the above poster said, definitely get your reps in with analysts and associates first. But don't be afraid to contact more senior people once you get the hang of things. They have the most sway. For sure hit up the folks in your alumni directory who indicated they're happy to talk.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 21, 2022 - 10:01pm

I reached out directly to an alumni MD and was hired within two weeks. Disagree with the above.

Jul 21, 2022 - 10:07pm
Five Star Man, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you reach out to more senior folks, you better be polished. No issues with shooting for the top, they'll refer you down the ladder if they feel it would be a waste of time.

But I would recommend you get a lot of practice in lower stakes environments (analysts, associates).

An MD is a time to shine, not stumble over your words.

Jul 21, 2022 - 10:35pm
FreedomFries1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just curious, how would you rate a VP on the networking seniority scale? I noticed a decent amount that are relatively young alums that are VPs and just got bumped up from being associates in the last year or two. While I obviously would want some polish before talking to them, do you think it's someone I should be referred up to or is a cold email a viable strategy?

Jul 21, 2022 - 10:39pm
Five Star Man, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can definitely start with them, they'll have some pull. But they may feel they're super important now, having just been promoted.

It's all hit or miss and a huge numbers game. Do don't feel discouraged if you get blown off. I would just encourage you to practice and be overly prepared.

Jul 22, 2022 - 12:32am
Arroz con Pollo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When I was a senior I got a list of all the banks in my city someone I connected with on LinkedIn made from CapIq and other resources. It had contact info for people, and I added to it all the info I found online. I was cold emailing anyone from analysts to MD's to Partners / CEO's.

I had no idea what banking actually was and it was apparent on the calls. I actually met 2 founding partners of different banks for lunch one day. They're friends and saw they got the same exact email from a kid who knew nothing about banking but was yolo'ing anyways. They were helpful in me realizing I was way out of my league but I got free food off them and they were nice.

  • Incoming Analyst in S&T - Equities
Jul 24, 2022 - 11:28pm

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