10 Friendly Reminders While Networking for SA Programs (from a BB Analyst Perspective)

Analyst 2 in IB - Ind

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.

Comments (88)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020

Thanks for this. What is a staffer?

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May 21, 2020

Someone who should have eyes and ears on who is working on what. The staffer is in charge of assigning workloads essentially. They "staff" each person with work.

"Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020

Okay thanks! Do you have any advice for people trying to secure (non-diversity) sophomore analyst roles?

I've been networking heavily at a specific bank for their sophomore analyst role. I haven't made the "ask" yet regarding resume pushes, but I have been asking for references. The problem is, I almost always get referred to other analyst that the person is friends with. How can I better get referenced up rather than sideways? I feel as if asking to speak with an MD would be a little pushy.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020

I've heard that some people don't like it when you attach your resume because it can be too pushy.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020

ive heard (and prefer) the opposite, just preface it in ur email by saying "ive attached my resume for your reference" or something like that so i know what type of kid im talking to

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 21, 2020

I think the vast majority prefer a resume to be attached - otherwise seems like you've got something to hide on GPA / experience

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 21, 2020

Agree with the above two. Resume allows me to quickly assess the background of the person and decide if it makes sense to schedule a call. I don't want to waste my time or the other person's time if they are unqualified.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020

Hmmm... Alright. From now on I will attach my resume.

I've had a lot of luck with cold emailing alumni. I don't want to get specific for anonymity, but my school is known for having very helpful alumni, but then again, I usually open my emails with a very quick intro of who I am, which includes a distinguishing factor I suppose.

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May 22, 2020

Completely agree for the same reason you provided and I generally only talk to people after vetting their resume first.

I always attached a resume when networking years ago and had multiple people tell me the only reason they responded was because I had a good resume, and never had somebody tell me no to.

    • 1
May 21, 2020

bump on his advice - lot of stupid stuff on here nowadays but as someone whose been through SA recruiting, these tips are good.

Now that I'm an incoming SA (boutique), I was wondering if you have any insight after how to network within particular groups. How would those phone calls go in terms of trying to vibe with the group (what questions would I ask, how can I push myself towards a certain group, etc.). btw, interested in RX

obviously don't want to overnetwork and annoy people who are extremely busy now.

thanks, appreciate it

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 21, 2020

I can only speak to my group but I'll say since you already have the job I'd recommend finding out who the RX staffer is and reaching out to him/her directly stating your interest. Alternatively, you can definitely reach out (and it won't annoy us). Some good questions to ask are: does the group do its own M&A (if at a firm with a good M&A group), why we chose our group, what our some things unique to our group culture, how teams tend to be staffed

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Most Helpful
May 21, 2020

As a BB analyst at most likely a different BB than OP's, I think OP's advice is really well said and should definitely be followed. I wish I had these tips before I started networking for IB internships.

Here are my views on the points he brought up (to show how analysts think differently):

  1. When I recruited, I always attached my resume because I knew it was impressive enough and I knew that would always help me out. If you think your resume is too weak, I wouldn't recommend attaching it firsthand because you might get filtered out immediately. At least with those who respond to your email, you have the chance to impress them so even when they find out about your resume, they will push you along because of the great conversation you had with them. That's my point of view, but I understand people might disagree.
  2. I'm not a big fan of listing out times in the first email. It makes it seem like it's guaranteed I will talk to you and is too agressive IMO. Another way to indicate your availability is to mention that you can be very flexible and that you are happy to talk at a time that is most convenient for the other person. When I respond to your initial email, then feel free to bust out those time slots.
  3. Humble peristence is key. I will almost always get on the phone with someone who has followed up with me three times. Keep in mind, some A&A find it annoying but persistence is one of my values in life so I respect that. Also, many prospects will blast out emails to many people at all banks at once and then are never organized enough to follow up again. By following up, you are showing me you really want to talk to me (or at least are giving me that impression)
  4. The person in the "asking" position should always be calling IMO. This is because picking up the phone and calling takes that little bit of effort that you should be doing because you are implying that the other person's time is more valuable. This is why interviewers always call candidates.
  5. This is solid advice. I was never really comfortable sending Google calendar invites because I thought some problem would occur with Outlook and I would look silly. This is untrue and it looks like you are on top of your stuff if you offer to and then actually send an invite.
  6. Agreed that you can differentiate yourself by asking good questions. This is harder said than done though and I've rarely talked to anyone who was able to pull this off. I'm personally not a big fan of being asked sector-specific / unique questions that shows you've done your HW as these usually end up being something way too specific that not even my MDs couldn't answer. Be aware of how to draw the line between asking a genuinely interesting question in the sector and asking me a question that requires me to brainstorm what ASC 607 would be (if you get this joke, then there's a chance you could end up asking a complicated question that makes me thing you're trying too hard). People differentiate themselves in more ways than you think. I've pushed along a good amount of people who may not have been the best candidates but were really nice and humble people to talk to, who would be great to work with. Remember to have confidence in yourself and what you bring to the table!
  7. I love it when the other side is leading the conversation. Makes me relax more and just answer the questions rather than feeling like I'm supposed to be the one carrying the conversation. This also shows that you have the confidence to lead things (at least in a small way).
  8. Agreed. I would add that if you want to ask those generic questions that everyone asks (because many times, they are helpful to know even though everyone asks them), then rephrase them so they don't sound generic. For example, if you want to know about the culture of the firm, you can ask: "What is one thing about the group's culture that you enjoy and one thing you think can be improved?" There are better ways of saying this too but this is just a suggestion.
  9. This is unavoidable. I actually like to hear how others have been affected by it - as in it's interesting to hear how my university's students have been affected (what the college did, how they are coping with it, etc.). At the same time, I feel like most people would prefer if you don't spend too much time talking about it at the beginning of the call.
  10. This is the main way to execute your land and expand strategy and you should definitely do this to ensure you have internal support for your candidacy. However, this does not mean you should go all in and make sure you have talked to everyone in the group and their families for their approval. Ideally, you want to talk to 4-5 people max. Anymore and it'll be unproductive and inefficient for both you and the other party (you'll hear the same stories from previous conversations and talking to one more analyst or associate won't help when you already have a solid few who can go to bat for you). I went into networking thinking the more conversations in the group, the better. I figured out pretty quickly that you don't need to talk to everyone when people on the phone would outrightly tell me that the group thinks I've shown enough commitment and that I should just wait for my first round interview.

BONUS - Yes, don't ask about exit opps unless that's all the other party is talking about (and even then, it may not make sense to ask but that's your call on whether the person is chill and wants to talk about that stuff or not).

My biggest piece of advice is to remember that we've all been in your shoes before and we are rooting for you as much as we might not show it in our conversations. It's ok to get nervous about networking, but when you think about it as your time to both shine and better understand the first official place you'll ever work at for the next 10 weeks / 2 years of your life, then I hope you'll feel better about the process.

Good luck, everyone!

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 21, 2020

I would like to say thank you to you and OP for providing such great advice.

I reckon I would have had more opportunities if I had read through this last year when I recruiter for SA. I ended up getting into a BB SA program with virtually 0 networking and the only ones I have spoken with are interviewers. I have a generalist offer so there's no placement day and I don't get to know anyone before day one.

Is it OK if I now network with several current bankers at my firm by the same mechanism before the internship kicks off in July? Would it seem too aggressive?

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 24, 2020

How sway..

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020

Regarding number 10, when you say 4-5 people per group, you mean like 4-5 in LevFin, 4-5 in M&A, 4-5 in Healthcare, etc..... at the same bank? And then for every bank?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 21, 2020

No. You don't need to network with every group at a bank. Just the 1-2 you're most interested in.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 21, 2020

Do these tips change at all if you are a rising senior networking for a FT role? Not sure if there are different expectations, or if it is the same type of networking compared to an SA. Considering I've already been through the recruiting process once, does a banker expect more from me?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 21, 2020

I don't think so, but I've found that most people FT recruiting are much more polished since they've had professional experience before through previous internships. I think generally all tips would be the same

May 21, 2020

Thanks for the advice. Tanked a RX interview because my fundamentals weren't rock solid and I came out like a half-wit using words without understanding. Gonna do better next time.

Vincet Voluntas - Will shall win

May 21, 2020

Does this advice change if you're an incoming SA interested in exploring other options in case you don't like the culture/division, but don't want word to get out to your firm that you're talking to other banks? At a target so could envision a situation where Analyst A says to Analyst B, who is a friend from college, "Hey, I talked to X today because they're interested in a role at my firm, they're interning for you this summer, though?"

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020

Very interested to hear more about this

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 21, 2020

This is a great question and unfortunately I don't have an answer for you. I will say i don't think it's likely to happen, but at the same time I have a lot of friends at other banks and I've had them text me when they see someone from my group to ask my opinion.

May 22, 2020

What do you do in those situations? Does it make you second-guess the intentions of the person in your group?

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020

Thanks for this OP. Really well said imo, I tried to follow many of these during my recruiting SA.

Any advice on how to approach recruiting into a lateral position for FT? Winded up at a mid tier BB after SA recruiting but believe I am more interested in boutiques at the end of the day. Haven't even started my virtual internship, but I doubt the program will be very interactive with A&As unfortunately so I don't see myself changing perspectives as of now. How can I convince members of my target firms that I want to work there instead of the BB? Would appreciate any advice - Thanks again.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 21, 2020

I think you just tell them exactly what you said. Or that you got placed into a coverage group when you wanted M&A and know that boutiques would give you the opportunity to focus more on M&A and develop your skill set better

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  • Analyst 3+ in AM - Other
May 21, 2020

Solid advice. I'd add a qualifier to the LinkedIn stalking prior to the call though. I've had two separate instances where I actually think I weirded someone out by stalking their LinkedIn prior to the call. In the first one I was a stupid undergrad and said something like "I looked at your LinkedIn and saw you went to xxx school...blah blah blah". Definitely don't tell them that you've seen their profile. The second case was a female (probably more weird for her) that was actually browsing LinkedIn herself while we were on the phone and saw that I showed up in her recommended friends (probably because I looked at her profile beforehand). After asking some questions I already knew the answer to because I looked at her profile and then having her discover this while we were still on the phone, it was a little bit awkward after.

Long story short...just be careful about it and definitely don't volunteer to the person that you saw their profile previously. People can tell if you've looked at their profile because you'll show up in the people they may know section even if you have no connections.

May 21, 2020

Seems a little pretentious to me for someone to act weirded out by you "stalking" someone's LinkedIn beforehand. LinkedIn is literally made so you can find professional commonalities with people you'd otherwise have nothing in common with. I would expect someone has looked me up to see where I went to school and worked so they can better tailor our phone call and not waste time asking things they could've easily figured out themselves.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 21, 2020

With regards to following up, does this equally pertain to group networking? Or would it save more time to maybe not follow up as much and just reach out to someone else in the group

May 21, 2020

I've had a couple scenarios in which I've had a good call with someone, and they told me to follow up with them for another contact to talk with, but then I either follow up with no response (normally twice) or I do get a contact but then they don't respond to my emails (again normally twice). After two follow up emails, is it too much to keep reaching out?

Array

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 21, 2020

I would typically give up after 2-3. Sometimes if a call doesn't go well I say I'll connect them and then ignore follow up emails, but in general people are very busy and May just miss 2 emails. I think it can't hurt too much to follow up a 3rd time but after that better to spend energy on others

May 21, 2020

This is really good advice. For anyone networking, a few things I'd add to #6:

  • Please look at the job or profile location for the person you speak with. It's a bad look if you assume I'm in the wrong office or ask which office I'm in when the answer is literally on my page
  • Please don't ask where I worked before or what I studied when, again, it takes <5 seconds to find out on my profile. Some better ways to phrase this are asking what led me to [IB / firm], why I chose [school], or why I left [firm] for [firm]
  • Please don't list all my extracurriculars, then ask something like "Can you tell me more about that?" If you played the same sport or studied the same language, fantastic -- please mention it so we can talk about something other than finance. But it feels really awkward to have someone list things I did and ask very broad questions about something they know nothing about / have no real interest in

In summary: don't waste someone's time with questions you can answer from their LinkedIn page, and ask thoughtful questions based on shared interests, their prior experience, etc.

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May 21, 2020

That's some fantastic advice. Does anyone have pointers on how to network after landing the SA gig but before actually starting ?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 22, 2020

You should find out who the staffer is of the group you're interested in (can just email HR if you don't know) and let them know. They'll connect you with people.

May 21, 2020

Wait really attach resume? I have a strong one but was under the impression it's too forward

Array

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 21, 2020

It seems some people have mixed feelings but I personally will not respond unless a resume is attached.

May 21, 2020

Is attaching it the safer bet?

Array

May 22, 2020

Makes sense, but I've heard cautionary tales that attaching a file can trip spam filters.

May 21, 2020

This is a great post from OP. Adding to what he said, don't be afraid to reach out to upperclassmen from you school who have interned (and hopefully gotten return offers) at specific groups or banks you are interested in. You may think it seems overbearing, but it is of course an ego boost for whoever you are speaking with and as such they'll give you some of the best and most recent advice ex. questions they were asked in interviews, culture of the group, recent deal flow, analysts and associates open to speaking etc.

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 22, 2020

For any incoming freshmen reading this, the seniors will be the ones coming back for recruiting.

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May 21, 2020

.

May 22, 2020

I must be old - but why bother browsing LinkedIn in private mode?
I don't really care if interviewer, client, etc... saw that I looked at their profile. On the contrary they can then click back and look a bit at who they are talking to.

May 22, 2020

saved

Array

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 22, 2020

Great post, OP.
Is this also applicable to London? (ofc networking isn't as important here, but still).

May 22, 2020

No it's not applicable to London sorry (just to New York and LA).

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  • Prospect in Other
May 22, 2020

Can anyone speak a bit more to the reason we should include resumes in networking calls? Multiple mentors have mentioned that it looks overbearing and I should avoid it? Is this a personal preference sort of thing or a necessity that I include my resume?

  • Prospect in Other
May 22, 2020

I am in the midst of networking, and I don't like attaching my resume. So, I did a workaround where I put a link to my LinkedIn in my email signature since it's basically my resume but not so overbearing.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 22, 2020

This is not a great move for bulge brackets. Most of us have LinkedIn blocked on our work computers so we can't get to your LinkedIn even if we wanted to unless we go through our phone

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 22, 2020

I've spoken a lot about it above but out of curiosity what level are these mentors? Managing directors may not like it but for A&As it's an easy way to see if you're qualified. If you don't attach your resume I'm going to assume you're under qualified and will ignore your email.

May 22, 2020

I wouldn't go so far as to say if you didn't attach your resume, then I would think you're underqualified, but I've noticed that the people who attach their resumes usually have strong ones. Attaching a strong resume just makes gives me even more of a reason to want to talk to you. To your point though OP, if I'm pretty busy, I'll even ask the person who emailed me to send me their resume so I can vet them somewhat.

I'v never heard anyone in IB tell me in-person that they didn't want to talk to someone because they attached their resume in the intial email / they thought it was too forward.

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May 22, 2020

++Please do not email/follow-up in middle of day/night on the weekend...

May 23, 2020

Great post, thanks!

May 25, 2020

Nice post! Thank you

May 25, 2020

I understnd ahtw you are saying...

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.

May 25, 2020

I'll try to post some helpful stuff too, ok?

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
May 25, 2020

Thank you

May 27, 2020

Thanks for the advice but question. So you say talk to 4-5 people max which I agree with but is it okay if these people are all analysts and associates? I guess my question is by only networking with analysts and associates not gonna be enough to get you pushed through?

May 29, 2020

From my experiences, this should be enough if your 4-5 contacts are solid. It depends on the bank also. I remember for one of the mid-tier BBs, my semi-target was heavily recruited and they would literally gather up all the alums with a piece of paper indicating all the applicants. Each person (Analyst/Assoc/VP/etc.) would check off the people they talked to and essentially the names with the most checks would get first rounds. However if you were well connected with a VP/MD, that would be enough.

At other (smaller) places, you may just need one Associate to pull for you. Ofc it is always good to talk to more rather than less but quality over quantity generally.

May 28, 2020

Quick question, there's been a lot of debate about attaching the resume.

I've been assigned mentors for my SA position, should I attach a resume, or would they likely already have all the information of my background at their disposal?

May 28, 2020

All great advice. I would add to this:

  1. When I'm really slammed and getting lots of call requests, I have offered to do questions via email which has cut down on the number of calls significantly.
  2. When you do reach out, try to know the office and group the person is in and state your intentions. EX: I am interested in the LA Tech group, NY DCM Tech Group, etc. I just got an email from a prospective SA who didn't attach a resume, then when asked for it, asked me to simply connect him with someone in the NY office. No mention of a specific coverage or product group or any other interests. A quick way to get your email deleted.
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May 29, 2020

I personally don't mind if people ask me about exit opps. Granted, my firm and specific sub-industry are different because people tend to leave after about 3 years rather than 12-18 months, but I think its fair game. By the 2-3 year mark, my firm has got all the resources it invested in Analysts back as solid quality work (and perhaps more so). Plus, I would personally hate it if someone sold me their firm like it was the Garden of Eden to then find out you can't move out of it that easily. If for whatever personal/professional or other reason you end up hating it, its good to know you have options. Kids, if you ever meet me feel free to ask about exit opps.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 3, 2020

Very helpful stuff, thank you. Can someone explain how you end up reaching out to and talking to a staffer? Do you just tell one of the analysts you're talking to "hey could you put me in touch with the staffer"? sounds a bit awkward, no?

Jun 3, 2020

bump

Jun 3, 2020

When you've talked to at least 2-3 guys there, you'll have made enough of an impression for them to auto refer you to the staffer, who is the main decision maker.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.

  • Intern in Other
Jun 18, 2020

This is an extremely helpful post, thank you so much!

I have a question for the current IBers out there. How many networking calls will you take in a given recruiting season? Assuming you guys take 10-20 calls total (I have no idea how many calls you guys actually take), how do you go about choosing who you refer and don't refer? I'm just curious how this works.... And if you tell a kid that you will pass their resume to HR during every single call, will you actually pass X total resumes to HR, or will you just select a couple?

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 21, 2020

Also curious, despite how insure this makes me looks

  • Prospect in Other
Jun 24, 2020

Also interested in this.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Jun 24, 2020

I can speak from my regional office. We get kids from target schools resume drop and then whoever we get throughout the season that reach out to individuals. We then go down the list and discuss feedback collected and make decisions. I think I did about 15-20 calls my first year and about 10-12 calls this year.

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  • Intern in Other
Jun 24, 2020

Awesome, thanks for the info. How to you "grade" or "judge" the kids that reach out to individuals at your firm? Do you try and slip some fit questions in to see if they are serious or not? Or is it more of an airport test?

Aug 7, 2020

Thx

Aug 7, 2020
Comment
  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Aug 7, 2020
Aug 8, 2020
Comment

Array

Aug 7, 2020