Advice On Finding a BB or Big Boutique Internship For Sophomore Summer With Freshmen IB Experience

BetaBanker's picture
Rank: Monkey | 58

Hey all,

I'm a rising sophomore from Emory University wrapping up my last few weeks working with a Boutique Investment Bank in NYC. Its a small firm that has several veterans from BB's and they have been tremendously helpful in teaching me the fundamentals of the business and I feel like I have gotten a lot out of my 6 weeks here.

My question is how do I go about securing an internship at a BB or Boutique bank. I'm pretty sure I would like to work in IBD as a summer analyst at one of these firms, but I'm open to exploring other areas such as ECM or AM as well (considering I'm now starting my sophomore year I feel I have this flexibility). I've been meeting with some alumni throughout the summer trying to get my name out there and having informational phone calls/coffee meetings.

Any advice for how to transition these types of connections into potential interviews?


United States - Northeast
United States - South

Comments (32)

Aug 5, 2015

Assuming you've built a good rapport with alumni, I'd recommend keeping in touch with them. It's a little early to be looking for things next summer, but be sure to ask when you should reach out again. If you're good about building and maintaining your relationships with alumni, you shouldn't have any problem asking them how you can best position yourself for an interview at their firm somewhere down the road.

Aug 5, 2015

I would temper expectations for sophomore summer by saying that your chances at a BB/EB are zero unless you are a diversity candidate- this is just how the programs are run. It's not impossible, per se- but it's probably out of reach unless you are truly a finance whiz kid, and this would be only for the EBs.

Reaching out to people and simply building relationships with them for your junior summer is probably the best thing you can do at this stage- go to open house events on-campus, talk to people, etc., but for next summer either take another internship where you currently are or look at another MM boutique.

Aug 5, 2015

@Kazimierz I just worry that it may be counterproductive to do something other than IB at a bigger firm after my experience this summer. What would your suggestion be for me to do? Maybe look into something like AM or PWM next summer? Maybe a bigger bank, but not exactly EB (such as BMO for example)? My firm doesn't do return offers so that is not really an option.

Also hoping anyone can speak from experience as to if they were in a similar position when they were in school.

Aug 5, 2015

For recruitment, it definitely looks better to stay in banking for the summers- I would try to hop to another boutique of a similar size. For the fall/spring, you can try to pick up a gig in another area (HF, PE, VC, PWM maybe, but you probably want something that looks better for banking). BMO would be great, same with something like Petsky Prunier.

I was in your position exactly a year ago- currently at a small boutique, preparing for recruitment in a few months.

Aug 5, 2015

You can definitely try to get a BB next summer through their sophomore programs. Not all of them are URM specific.

I know sophomores that did sophomore internships at Deutsche Bank, BAML, JPM, GS and Barclays. You should try applying for all the externships that will be happening late Fall/early Winter as well as scholarships that also give you an offer for a summer analyst position.

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Aug 5, 2015

You can definitely do IB in BB for sophomore summer. I have a friend landed on IBD after her freshman year. What year you are does not matter at all.

I'm exactly at your stage now, just finish my freshman year and finishing an IB at a boutique. I'm aiming top MM and low BB next summer. Don't think about EB, nowadays they are crazy...

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Aug 6, 2015

@cicit123 Why do you say EB are crazy?

Aug 6, 2015

At my target the prevailing opinion is that unless you're a woman, a minority, or a finance god you're not going to score BB soph. I'm in a similar position to you finishing up a pwm internship and I'm going to apply to a shitload of boutiques and small PE and Hedge funds

Aug 6, 2015

This is correct- I just didn't want to say it outright. This is why it is 'not possible' to get BB or EB as sophomore-you can, technically, but it requires you to have a particular background, and not one you can really influence at this point.

Aug 6, 2015

@Kazimierz What do you think my best "strategy" is? Focus on finding contacts at MM banks? What are some targets for next summer (possibly similar to BMO in "level" since you said that could be a great realistic option).

There doesn't seem to be as much information on how internships at MM banks work than there are with regards to the BB

Aug 6, 2015

Nowadays some EBs are on par with the top BBs. For example people are considering Lazard as comparable to GS (not TMT). Moreover EBs are insanely technical in addion to fit. With the same amount of the effort to prepare for EBs, you will very likely get a lower to middle BB

Aug 6, 2015

I think you should aim for BB next summer. Yes it is difficult to get it as sophomore. But remember, most people begin to get their first IB internship after sophomore year. You get your first IB internship after FRESHMAN year. So, you are one year earlier than other people. They use one year to get a BB; you will also use one year to get a BB. Naturally, you will get a BB next year. Remember, IB internship after freshman year will set you a thousand miles apart.

Aug 6, 2015

Don't take this the wrong way. Your chances of getting a BB/EB gig next year are next to nil. You worked at a boutique for 6 weeks and attend a "semi-target" from what I know. You'll be competing with kids who are at targets, older than you (therefore a return offer as an analyst is in play), and many of whom have worked for more than 6 weeks in a finance-related job. Plus, I'm assuming you're a non-URM or female.

The people I know who aren't diversity candidates who got BB/EB as sophomores attended top targets and had stacked resumes. Your resume is definitely good for your place right now, but I think you'll be wasting time applying to these jobs next year. Work at another boutique/MM or the same boutique next year. You'll still be in a great position and will be more than competitive come 2 years from now.

Good Luck.

Aug 7, 2015

@funnyhow Absolutely not taking it the wrong way, I know my chances are slim (which is why i have to work hard!). People told me not to bother trying to get an IB position this summer either but I didn't give up. Now I know the world isn't entirely fair so I'm not expecting to be handed something at a bigger firm, I'm really looking for advice on how to improve my chances if I can.

With regards to "diversity candidates". Full disclosure, I am neither female nor black, but I'm not white either hah. I'm a first generation born american muslim of middle eastern descent...which I doubt plays into the BB's definition of diverse candidates, but food for thought.

Aug 7, 2015

No, this works. They definitely count that as "diversity" as I have a few friends with a similar background who were able to get summers as sophomores at BBs (although from a target- not sure if this makes a difference). With your GPA you should be easily able to clinch a diversity spot- just reach out to diversity recruiting and maybe a few people at BBs.

It's extremely easy to get sophomore diversity spots if you are actually smart/have done banking before.

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Aug 7, 2015

I did give you advice. I don't know how it works at Emory, but where I go, they cut 75-80% of candidates (target school) through the resume drop. So you essentially need to be in the top quartile to even make it to the second round. Without knowing someone from the inside incredibly well, you won't even make it past the resume screen.

Most people who apply for IB "work hard." You're hardly the only person who is networking for a summer analyst position. All I was saying is that you're going to have a hard time making it past the first round of screening as a rising sophomore non-diversity candidate. If I were you, I would focus on getting another IB gig, or following up at the place you're currently at.

Aug 6, 2015

Let me give you some examples. I have a friend landed on an IBD at MS after sophomore year. He did a PWM after freshman, had a 3.9, nothing spectacular on his resume. He self studied practical finance and accounting a lot, and did very well on the interview. Another friend of mine was at GS after second year. She did a PWM during her freshman school year as well as freshman summer.

Although you are at a semi-target, compared to my friends, you have an actual IB experience. I'm sure that you got a lots of exposure to the technicals and by January, you must be a finance god with five months of self-studying.

Interviewers do not care what major you are, what year you are, as soon as you can bring value to the firm by saving their time. If you can demonstrate you have something that the junior competing with you does not have, the firm will hire you. The firm wants people to get the job done, and that does not depend on age. Why junior is the norm? Because junior are older, have more experience. The key is that you have to prove you can accomplish the same, if not more.

How exactly can you find your competitive edge? By mastering the technicals. Study all the videos and books related to investment banking. Become far more knowledgable than your junior competitors. When the summer recruiting comes, you will become a candidate that firms find it hard to say no, since you are too valuable.

Aug 7, 2015

@cicit123 I appreciate the advice and I will definitely make an effort to refine and master the technical side. Any suggestions for source material? To give you an idea about my experience here. Much of what I've done is due diligence/comps analysis as the firm's bread and butter is advisory and valuation services. However, I have gotten the chance to make one model from scratch, and have edited several models, so I feel that I have becoming fairly strong with excel (almost mouse-free!) and have an intuitive understanding of the relationship between financials even if I don't necessarily know every little detail about the formulas.

and if I may ask, which school did your friends attend?

Aug 7, 2015

Your experience is great! Make sure to learn about M&A, even LBO before the interview. Any popular online source are good. BIWS, WSO's modeling tutorial etc.

He is from Michigan, she is from Dartmouth

Aug 8, 2015