With the school year ending and SA applications opening up, A&A's this time of year get inundated with networking emails from prospective students. I personally try to respond to every student from my school and athletic conference because I remember all too well the struggles of recruiting and getting a 10% hit ratio in a good week. Recently though I've felt that the students reaching out are making a lot of mistakes (maybe because the process has moved up so significantly) and figured I would provide some very quick tips to navigate networking during these "strange and uncertain times". I'm also happy to respond to any questions or disagreements people may have in the comments section.
1) Attach your resume.
This one speaks for itself - many A&A's auto-delete all networking emails where a resume is not attached
2) Suggest times you're available in your initial email (but acknowledge you have additional availability)
It makes it much easier for analysts to pick a time from a list then suggest a time when we don't have calls or deliverables
3) Don't be afraid to follow up
Analysts are busy and frequently we accidentally ignore emails which don't involve VP's screaming at us for going to sleep at 3am. Don't be afraid to follow up again when it may be a better time for us to respond
4) Ask what number is best to reach us
Eliminates the awkwardness of figuring out who will call who, and of having to send reminder emails if we forget to call
5) Send an email calendar invite once the meeting is scheduled
This makes it exponentially easier for us to block off the time in our calendar so that we don't double-book with other meetings that pop up throughout the week
6) Linkedin stalk the person you're going to be speaking with (in private mode) in advance.
One of the best ways to differentiate yourself in this process is to ask good questions. One easy one is about the specific vertical that the person you're speaking with works in. If a product group, ask what drew them to that product or to the generalist model, and ask if there's a favorite sector they've worked in thus far. If a coverage group, ask why they chose it and ask about something unique to that sector that shows you've done your homework - for Tech it can be 20x+ NTM revenue multiples or ARPU analyses / spreading CAC, if REGL / Industrials / FIG can be about the balance-sheet based modeling and the more technical focus than other groups. If healthcare can be about DCFs for pre-revenue biotech companies. You get the idea
7) Don't be afraid to lead the call.
Don't be demanding or bossy but feel free (after customary chit chat) to suggest "If it's alright with you I think it'd be helpful to introduce myself and then I'd love to hear about your background and ask you some questions about your role within [ ] group" - this avoids the pregnant pauses on calls and shows a level of preparedness
8) Ask smart questions
This ties in with #6 but rather than asking "what's a typical day in the life like at [ ] bank?" it's usually better to say "How much of your time do you typically split between modeling, comps analyses, conducting industry research and due diligence?". And if we answer a question before it's ask, don't ask the question again - otherwise it becomes clear you're just reading from a list of questions rather than engaging in conversation. To that end, feel free to ask follow-up questions when the opportunity presents itself. There's plenty of questions that could trail down a long road - feel free to explore those questions - the more conversational the call the better.
9) Avoid talking about Coronavirus
Every person talks about it all day long on all of our conference calls - it is nice to have conversations where we can get away from that.
10) ALWAYS ask if there's anyone we recommend you speak with.
Your goal should be to eventually talk to the staffer (at BB's at least) since they're the ones that are in charge of recruiting
BONUS - NEVER ask us about exit opportunities.
I am always shocked when this comes up as a question. Why would an employer hire someone who tells them before day 1 they're going to quit? Yes, many analysts leave banking for the buyside. And yes, many never planned on spending a career in banking. But they all knew how to pretend to, and so should you.