4 interviews, 4 diff banks, no offer = failure? Your path to success.

IBBanker's picture
Rank: Baboon | 121

Hey guys,

Is it disheartening to see that a person can get 2 FT interviews, and 2 SA interviews (4 different banks total) and not be able to land a single offer for IB?

I am this person, and I am a non-target being able to get these interviews... Though they were all unsuccessful and I never heard back from them. After these 4 interviews, I seem to be hitting at an all-time low... I have no problem getting my internships through my career's school website for non-IB stuff (ie. FPA, corp deveop) positions... but comes time to recruit for IB, seems like I mess it all up.

Really hurts my dignity and morale... do you guys have the stats or have a sense (from your friends) how many tries/years do they usually take before they can break in? I admire all of you guys who manage to break into the industry from your first try at your first interview...

Curious as to all of you that are working in IB now - what was your path like and how many interviews and/or how many tries did it take you?

Thanks

Comments (61)

Jan 18, 2011

out of curiosity, how did you feel the interviews went? and by the way--all banks should definitely notify you either way...you haven't heard anything at all from any of them?

Jan 18, 2011

Broke in through the backdoor. (no pun intended) Worked for a "crappy" regional bank that no one had heard of in upstate New York. Did a year there and bounced to a bulge bracket. Of course, that was circa 2006 when I left that hell hole; pre-Lehman. Now it's all semi-models and occasional gold bottles. Word of advice: Sometimes you gotta go backward to go forward. Just throwing out options...

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

Jan 18, 2011

TBH a big part of it is luck/how the interviewer is feeling that day, who he wants to choose, your competition etc. Keep your head up.

Jan 18, 2011

Sometimes it takes 10-20 interviews, and sometimes it just takes 1. What you need to do is try and get someone to do some mock interviews with you (preferably someone who is in the business/has helped with analyst hiring) to see where you can tighten up your game. That way, the next time you go into interviews, you'll be prepared and if you don't get it - then you'll know that it's probably due to factors outside of your control (e.g., someone else was just better, culture/fit, interviewers' moods)

Jan 18, 2011

What I heard is that, in a good year, the interview --> offer rate at an Ivy is about 10%. This year is not a good year.

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Jan 18, 2011

its a numbers game. I had more than 30 SA interviews and landed one offer.

Jan 19, 2011
derivstrading:

its a numbers game. I had more than 30 SA interviews and landed one offer.

u must suck

Jan 18, 2011

Don't count how many interviews you have, it doesn't matter. The great thing about a job is that you only need one of them. Keep pushing. 4 isn't that many....you probably now have the practice you need to improve your interviewing skills etc. I think I had 50+ interviews as an undergrad, and that's below average for a lot of people here...

Jan 18, 2011

That isn't bad at all. I had a low GPA at a semi-target (3.0-3.2) so I had to do EXTENSIVE networking to land any interviews. I think I had 4-5 SA interviews last year, whiffed on all of them (not counting all the random non-IB interviews). For full-time I had 10 FT interviews, made 5 superdays and still was offerless. Still trying nevertheless even though this entire process has been ridiculously disheartening and depressing.

Jan 18, 2011

it's only four interviews man... just keep landing interviews and sooner or later you'll probably convert.

Jan 18, 2011

It's a numbers game. The more you have the better your chances are, and you only need one.

Also, why are you so willing to rule out corp dev? So many people pursue IBD like it's the only thing in the world, a talented kid in corp dev is going to enjoy a better work-life balance, fairly similar pay, and a chance at C-suite down the road without the worry of transition sell-side --> buy-side and all the volatility the Street brings.

Jan 18, 2011

Learn from them. Where did you fuck up in those interviews? work on it so you don't make the same mistakes again.

Jan 18, 2011

apply to the regional boutiques that are often forgotten about. You will have to settle for much less than street but you can use the experience to lateral to a BB.

best of luck

Jan 18, 2011

IBBanker,

Just keep interviewing. I'm currently a second year analyst at a BB. When I was interviewing during undergrad at a non-target, I had about 20 interviews at different banks before I got my offer. Practice with friends who are currently in banking and keep trying.

Jan 18, 2011
masterg:

IBBanker,

Just keep interviewing. I'm currently a second year analyst at a BB. When I was interviewing during undergrad at a non-target, I had about 20 interviews at different banks before I got my offer. Practice with friends who are currently in banking and keep trying.

Thanks for the support guys - really appreciate it.

Master - the thing is I'm located in Canada, and our big 5 is just MM. I don't want to settle for anything lower than MM but I'm running out of places to go to --> guess i got to expand my search to boutiques as well now. In your guys experiences, do you think it still works to keep in on bugging your contacts at the bank every now and then to see if they are hiring anyone even though they interviewed you before and rejected you?

Jan 18, 2011

I went thru 6 superdays for FT and finally landed an offer. Keep at it

Jan 18, 2011

wrong section.

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7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Jan 19, 2011

Only 4? Sorry bro, happens all the time.

Jan 19, 2011

4's not a lot at all.

Jan 19, 2011

If you're desperate i'd start coldcalling as it can't hurt. Boutiques as well as reaching out to alums. Just sound confident and demonstrate some intelligence/hard work ethic.

Jan 18, 2011

are you looking for an internship or FT? if it's just for SA all the BB's basically just finished up their recruiting, but the boutiques are by no means done (many have not even started). i would say that you should look in that route. contact as many boutiques as you can.

Jan 19, 2011

whenever you feel like giving up, you are closer than you think.

if you have had so many interviews, then you clearly have - for lack of a better word - an 'interesting' profile for the firms you've targeted. i would imagine that you have your technicals down, so it might be a question of fit.

have you tried contacting any of your previous interviewers and asking for feedback? most wont be responsive, but maybe 1-2 reply back with some good insight. nothing to lose at this point.

i don't have enough info on your case, but i think you'll eventually run into a firm in which you 'click' with the interviewers and the culture. if you really want it tho, don't contemplate giving up. otherwise, this isn't for you.

cheers.

Jan 19, 2011

First of all kudos on getting 18 interviews. Like leveRAGE said, start focusing on MM and boutiques and go on overdrive mode. You should get something by end of the term. Good luck and hope to see you post your success story on the board soon. Also, I hope you are video taping your mock interviews.

Jan 19, 2011
go.with.the.flow:

First of all kudos on getting 18 interviews. Like leveRAGE said, start focusing on MM and boutiques and go on overdrive mode.

Agreed, but the few larger MM firms I know people at are already done SA recruiting. I'd check out some of them, but start gunning for boutiques asap...it's starting to get late to start brand new relationships with shops. Good luck!

Jan 19, 2011

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." - DT

Jan 19, 2011

Congratulations you're probably socially inept!

Jan 19, 2011

You can do it...don't give up, keep trying...read this article

Jan 19, 2011

if you got 18 interviews, that means you have the right credentials for the job. you just couldn't seal the deal after interviewing.

work on interviewing skills... from making eye contacts to acing technicals. GL, man

    • 1
Jan 19, 2011

Definitely have the credentials as mentioned above. The only thing I would think about is how you're positioning yourself. Clearly you're qualified. But you're also interviewing for a lot of different things. We all know once you get to the interview it's about 1) how much I like you, and then 2) can you convince me you really want this.

And now you got tons of experience under your belt, so keep going at it.

Jan 19, 2011

Why the fuck are you asking if you should give up? Beast mode dude. Networking, brushing up on interview skills and technicals should be your top priorities in life right now. Good luck.

Jan 19, 2011

First, you need to network in order to get some more opportunities to interview. Second, you obviously have a lot of work to do on your interview skills. If you know someone who is an analyst, try to have them interview you because they will be able to specifically point out the things you are saying/doing wrong since they have most likely heard reasons that interviewers in their office have dinged applicants. Interview prep is good, but doing it with someone who doesn't know exactly what IB interviewers want to hear could be steering you in the wrong direction.

Jan 19, 2011

18? I had about 50 before I got the best one.

Jan 19, 2011

What esbanker said. I would def recommend reaching out to people you interviewed w/ for feedback, and if you don't feel comfortable reaching out to them directly, try going through the recruiter.

I would recommend trying to buddy up to recruiters / head hunters too. I buddied up to a few recruiters who decided they liked me and they would call me and tell me about positions opening up, give me the job ID, have me apply online and 2 days later I'd have an interview. Most times they had already passed my resume up to the hiring manager before I even applied.

Jan 19, 2011

your interviewing skills are mediocre. If people take the time to interview you, most of the time they would be willing to give you the job if you impress them/ they like you

Jan 19, 2011

Maybe you are just not commercial enough...if you know what I mean...

Jan 19, 2011

Something is wrong with the way you're coming across to your interviewers. Technicals are only part of the offer decision equation.

Bankers want to know that you have a genuine drive to do banking and that it's not a career path you just kind of chanced upon out of dumb luck. Is your case for a career in banking punchy and engaging? Does it really convince me that you're hungry and that you won't burn out after pulling consecutive 100-hour weeks? Does it really say that you're not simply following the herd? You can't say generic shit like "my dad taught me a little about investing in stocks" because many people across the broad spectrum of finance do that. What UNIQUE aspects of investment banking make you want to do it?

Do you sound robotic? Do your responses sound canned? Do you suck at talking TO the interviewer? Remember to talk TO, not talk AT. Does your tone convey confidence in your identity and your accomplishments? Are you inflecting? Are you nervous?

Are you cool? Can I get along with you when we're both tired and stressed, working into the wee hours? Or will your social ineptitude bother me? Do you play any sports? Can you hold a legit conversation?

Jan 19, 2011

bro, cheer up and keep looking!

Jan 19, 2011

You could apply at smaller shops (MM, boutiques) that may be hiring as they need analysts and you can apply next recruiting cycle again for a 1st year analyst position I believe. WSO offers a Mock Interview service which includes both a mock interview and a discussion as to how you did and where you can improve, since it seems like that's where you're lacking. In the meantime, might be worthwhile to just find a job and make some $$$

Jan 19, 2011

If your not getting an offer after 30 of them... I suggest you buy some books or take mock interviews

Jan 19, 2011

Thanks for the comments. I've already got some interview prep books and my skills did improve quite a bit. Most of the interviews were back in Sept, and recently I couldn't land many interviews. Any advice regarding moving to another new city?

Jan 19, 2011

Nah I wouldn't worry too much about moving to a new city and all the hassles associated with that. If you really were able to land 30 interviews thru networking, then obviously you have good relationship building skills to get your foot in the door. I would just focus on brushing up the interview skills and having a solid story. And when you are ready to dive in, just do what you did to land those interviews last fall. Rinse, wash & repeat and don't give up.

Jan 19, 2011

Ok, if you've had 30+ interviews and no offer yet it probably means you are really screwing up somewhere. Are you getting the technicals all right? Is your story unique? How is your body language? Take a serious look at your interviewing abilities so that you nail it next time

Jan 19, 2011

emily, you may think you've improved, but unless you've already done a mock interview with a coach (specifically for IB), I'd highly advise getting on that.

Jan 19, 2011

lets start with basics
is your hair greasy?
does your breath smell good?
do you smell good?
are you clean shaven?

Jan 19, 2011
blastoise:

lets start with basics
is your hair greasy?
does your breath smell good?
do you smell good?
are you clean shaven?

...Hi Blastoise, I'm pretty sure I look good in every interview....Of the 30 interviews, most of them were telephone interviews...Most of them were back in Sept, and I wasn't really prepared. Now my situation changed as I graduated. In this way, I couldn't land as many interviews as before. I network a lot but there're not many bankers in my area.

Jan 19, 2011

If you're getting interviews, you're likely qualified, but get help with your interpersonal skills. Interview guides and the ideas above are all good options. I would also suggest watching the movie 'Hitch' and then taking some ettiquete classes as well as getting out a bit more and studying how to interact with other people.

This is a client focused industry and unless you want to be a quant or get pushed into some corner that no one cares about, you'd better learn how to interact with people, and fast.

Jan 19, 2011

Takes time. I'd read a guide or two on here, especially the behavioral guide. Then come up with answers to all the questions, and finally rehearse the answers using a headset + audacity.

I did about 30-40 interviews before I got my offer with wells fargo. No worries, its a tough market; and most banks are only hiring 1 person at a time. Problem is, they interview upwards of 20 people for that single slot. Numbers are against you.

You'll get one eventually. Life is a numbers game, no matter how much you suck

Jan 19, 2011

Sorry, its probably because you're canadien, that sucks bro (irregardless of work Visa issues). (I'm kidding, sorry if this offends Canadiens on here haha)

Your title is sort of a misnomer... You obviously have an offer...

Sorta in the same position as you though, lots of interviews, good stats, felt my interviews all went well, no offers yet (still waiting to hear back from a few) but yeah, this process is really sucks.

Jan 19, 2011

Dubsfan,

How can you possibly have 'good stats' and write like that?

Jan 19, 2011

sorry- I meant no IB offers, best of luck to you dubsfan

Jan 19, 2011

How nervous did you get during interviews? Seems like you handled the technicals, but how do you think you came across?

Jan 19, 2011

I thought I was alright, a few of the interviews I was extremely surprised to not have gotten a second round... a bunch of my buddies ended up getting second rounds/offers at these places... some of whom had connections and stuff... and as happy as I am for them, it's f-ed because I know that I am more qualified

also, a lot of kids end up putting on a show for these recruiters... I try to be as genuine as I can, which doesn't seem to be working for me

I do end up rambling a little bit when I am nervous, but after my first few interviews I think I kicked that... it may have recurred in my final few interviews

a bunch of them I ended up talking to them as if we were friends and most of our interviews played out longer than the allocated time..... I'm not ever sure if this is a good or bad thing

Jan 19, 2011

Oh I'm sorry brotherbear I didn't realize that I was being graded on what I posted on on an online forum...

But enlighten me what was so wrong with what I wrote? lol. Sure if it was a formal essay I'd spend more time proofreading it, but still I don't see what made you think I couldn't possibly have good grades based on that 2 sentence writing sample. There might be a few minor grammar points, but again let me emphasize I didn't put a lot of work into making sure it was perfect, since it doesn't really matter... jeez relax..

Iamthedude- I'm sorry that you didn't receive any IB offers for the summer. We all know how competitive this industry is, but it sounds like you are on the right path. Getting to the final round is no easy feat and I'm sure with more practice, (also continue to cultivate those contacts you made through networking) you'll end up at a top firm. Best of luck to you in the future.

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