AMA: 1st Year Analyst at MM IB

SlimTrady's picture
Rank: Baboon | 145

-Analyst at MM IB (DCM and derivative products)
-Graduated with a 3.9 from an very non-target uni, studied finance & econ
-Public school kid, grew up far away (literally and figuratively) from the finance world
-interned every summer (though none IB), very involved in extracurriculars, and studied abroad
-lady banker

Obviously have significantly less experience than many others offering AMAs on here, but happy to answer any questions

Comments (27)

Oct 24, 2019

did you recruit FT for ib? How did you get to Ib with no ib experience?

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Most Helpful
Oct 26, 2019

Sorry to answer you a bit late, wanted to make sure I gave you a proper response. Ended up a bit long but wanted to give lots of color as this is generally a common question. Follow on questions welcome.

Yes, recruited for FT IB (as well as many other functions, see my comment below on the thread with Late 2 the Party) for employment after graduation.

As far as actually getting in, I think its important to evaluate my experience of getting the interview vs actually being selected for the job. I want to caveat that this was my experience; everyone has a different story.

For my current job, I applied online. I had one phone interview and then the main set of interviews before receiving an offer.

Getting an interview:

My school didn't offer OCR for any roles I was gunning for; this may have been small barrier but was ultimately fine. OCR is not a process I am very familiar with, so I can't offer much commentary on it.

Most of the connections I had were made possible through our school's investment fund. I probably could have flexed these more than I did which maybe would have resulted in a different recruiting outcome (good or bad, I'll never know and frankly don't care). I was thinking long-term, and decided that I would rather take the time to develop those relationships before asking them to stick their neck out for me. That being said, a few connections were willing to help me in the job market; I had a senior person in wealth management at a US BB who was actively helping me (but I wasn't really looking to be in WM), and another senior person in trading at a US BB who was willing to push my resume (timing didn't quite line up). Other peripheral connections did help me sort my brain out and put some feelers out for me to certain funds/ banks/ institutions/ asset managers, but nothing materialized and I didn't push it. I do feel that because I have stayed connected with these people and been mindful of the relationship, I am in a better position to carefully leverage and contribute to the network throughout my life. There were a handful of jobs where I reached out to alumni at the firm, talked to them, and they said they would push my resume along; saw a bit of success with this but nothing really to write home about.

I was primarily sourcing jobs online, so selection for interviews came down to my application. While I didn't have any IB experience on the resume, I think having a wide variety of experiences (for an undergrad) helped employers triangulate a pretty good picture of who I was and my work ethic. Some points were very soft (ie study abroad, tutoring, leadership positions, sports/hobbies, etc), some were very analytical (econometric research, financial modelling, investment fund, strong academic performance), some showed drive and interest in the field (doing the SIE and CFA L1), and some were explicitly applicable to finance in some way (ie internships, other things stated above). No idea where I fell relative to peers, but hey, I got a phone interview.

Doing well in the interviews and earning the job:

Before interviews, I made a point to reach out to junior people in the role/group for which I was applying. Even if I had no connection whatsoever, I would email them or message them on LinkedIn. Because my pitch was NOT "can you help me get this job" or even explicitly "help me prepare for the interview", the response rate was actually pretty good. I just wanted to understand the role better before the interview so I could make a better judgement on whether I would like the job. This also allowed me to prepare for the interview and have more thoughtful questions to ask. No idea if those people then turned around and helped push me through the process, but at minimum I doubt it was a ding on my application.

My strategy for interviews has always been to ask loads of thoughtful questions. I think this showed employers that I was genuinely interested in the work and whether it would be a good mutual fit, rather than just wanting a job. Of course I asked about tasks and responsibilities, but also asked about the trajectory/growth strategy, deal flow, their expectations of a good analyst, what I could do before starting to be able to hit the ground running, etc.

Across all of my interviews-internships and full time recruiting-I seem to have largely dodged the dreaded technical questions everyone on here seems to have. My strategy for the few technical questions I did get was pragmatic; If I knew the answer, great. If I didn't, rather than saying "I don't know", I would say something to the effect of, "I don't know, but let me think through this" and would go through my thought process out loud to land at an answer. No doubt I answered a lot of technical questions incorrectly, but I think it was probably valuable for them to see how I think through things (and that I was 100% willing to say I don't know).

TLDR: My strategy focused on (and continues to be):
1. Being very genuine throughout the entire process, both with my relationships with my network and with the hiring decisionmakers
2. Asking loads of questions
3. Being very honest with everyone on what I was looking for (and obviously, not lying about stupid things like GPA)
4. Being very honest with myself about what I wanted and what I was realistically able to achieve given resources and timeline

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  • Analyst 2 in Other
Oct 28, 2019

Good luck with school and your career!!

Oct 29, 2019

You missed the part where she says she is a "Lady Banker."


Oct 24, 2019

What type of roles did you intern in? What was your story behind why IB?

Oct 25, 2019

My internships were a mixed bag. First summer I did financial planning, second summer was corporate finance/ tax advisory, third summer was PE FoF (which I actually quite enjoyed and did receive a return offer). Important to note here though that I did other things (research assistantships, school investment fund, studying abroad, modeling programs, etc). All in all, I think it's much more important to build a case around the fact that you are both interested AND interesting, have a strong work ethic, and are actively trying to make a career as opposed to just saying you'd be a good fit because you "know finance things".

It has been my experience, between summer and full-time recruitment, that 5-15% of time was spent on "knowing finance things", and the remaining 85-95% spent on cultural fit. I'm sure others have had different experiences, but I can only speak to the narrow set of my own personal experiences

As far as "why IB", I didn't wake up one day and realize my life purpose was to be in banking, and would be skeptical of someone who romanticizes the industry in that way. I seriously considered a variety of jobs within the field, and when I interviewed for my current role, I recognized that the exposure, responsibility, challenge, and team matched what I was looking for. Banking has its pros and cons, but it is my perception that if you join the right group and dig in, you will have considerable optionality later on if or when you choose to step into a new job due to the variety of skills you develop, And if you're lucky, hopefully you enjoy the journey/process rather than resenting your choice.

Hope that is helpful, feel free to reply if I didn't answer your question!

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Oct 24, 2019

Got into IB following graduation or fall of your senior year? Either way, congratulations! Best of luck as you start this next chapter in life.

Oct 25, 2019

Traditional timing; recruited early autumn of senior year to start after graduation. Thanks so much!

Oct 24, 2019

Whats the weather like in Minneapolis?

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Oct 24, 2019

Wouldn't know, I've never been! NYC all the way, but I appreciate your attempted roast. SB to you, King Jamie

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Oct 25, 2019

Did networking play a big role in you landing the position or were you part of a graduate / diversity program?

Oct 25, 2019

Wouldn't know, I've never been! NYC all the way, but I appreciate the roast. SB to you, JD

Oct 24, 2019

Was it worth it?

Oct 25, 2019

Not sure what you mean here by "it" but I enjoy the new gig, so, yes?

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 24, 2019

common exits from your group? do you see yourself leaving or going A2A?

Oct 26, 2019

Our group is smaller and has semi-recently seen some structural change, so I don't know if I can discern a "common exit" due to the small sample size that is probably not quite representative of the current state. From the bits I understand, the people who no longer work in our office have gone to do similar functions at other banks, back to school, or have transferred internally to other locations.

My current plan is to stay with the group for a minimum of 2-3 years. I understand many others begin recruiting immediately for their next role; seems a bit myopic to me but not my concern. I can't make a call about where I'll be after that (2-3 years is a long way away!), but if things continue on their current trajectory, I do think I would stay with the firm.

Would boil down to a couple/ primarily one reason why I see myself spending (at least) my analyst years here:
1. The most important reason is that I like my group very much. I am getting considerable exposure across products and, due to the structure of our group, get to see most deals/mandates that come across the desk in some way (of course, some of these are very low maintenance and require minimal effort while some are very involved). This keeps me very engaged which I love. While no team is perfect, I genuinely do respect and enjoy working with mine. Because we are smaller, I feel (and it seems that others as well feel) a very strong connection to the tangible performance of the group. I have never worked at a giant firm before so I can't speak from experience, but from my perception it may be easy for juniors at big funds or big banks to feel disconnected from the real revenue-driving decisions of the business. While I'm of course still very junior, I do feel a connection to those. I am encouraged to question how/why we do things the way we do, to challenge these/make changes if necessary, and to add original/creative thought when problem solving, pitching, interacting internally, and building relationships with clients. My hours are manageable. Because we are on a growth trajectory, I do feel (and hope) there will be room for me to stay past analyst years. I am developing some loyalty to the group, and while I understand some people think that is a bad approach, I think it is healthy to feel invested. Maybe a bit off topic, but food for thought.

  1. Less important, but training and onboarding are cumbersome. Getting systems in place, familiarizing yourself with processes and conventions and models etc takes time away from real work. Just would seem like a buzzkill to have to do that again so soon. Maybe that's superficial but take it as you'd like
  2. I am growing increasingly conscious of the interconnectedness of the industry, and the last thing I would ever want is to be a job hopper. Feeding off the point above, but if I was in the hiring decisionmaker's seat, why would I hire someone who has worked for only a few months and wants to immediately leave, knowing that I have to spend significant resources training them before they maybe move again? I do not doubt some people have a compelling case for lateralling or leaving jobs quickly and by all means if there is a serious problem get the heck out. But for me, I do see considerable value in planting in a group, soaking up as much information as possible, learning how to add value there, developing strong relationships, and later being able to make a more well-rounded decision.

Hope that helps, happy to answer any follows ons if I can

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Oct 27, 2019

Thank you for this AMA.

I'm a lot like you (public school, non-target university, etc. a great GPA).

I'm currently a junior at Kean University, majoring in Business Management; I'm a transfer student who graduated from Union County College with an Associate of Arts in Business in May 2019.

I have a strong desire to have an investment banking career after graduation, and from what I have searched on this website and online articles, it is essential and very helpful to have a summer internship as a securities analyst with boutique or middle-management firm in order to boost your resume as well as get the corporate experience so you have a feel for what it will be like.

I have previous work experience at Walgreens, and did a paid internship with the Visiting Nurse Service for a good hourly rate of $15 an hour. However, I have never worked at a bank or anything like that.

The Career Fair already came to my school, and I currently have an interview scheduled for tomorrow with Sherwin-Williams for an internship position; the recruiter was impressed with my resume, I have no doubt I'll get the intership. But while I'll take what I can get, I would much rather have an analyst internship.

So my questions are as follows

1.) Besides the obvious LinkedIn networking, what are some good places to look for analyst internships near me in New Jersey? Should I just call some small banks and firms randomly (cold-calling?) and shoot them my resume with an email, to see who is interested?

2.) In your experience, are most of these internships paid or unpaid? I am not interested in unpaid internships.


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Oct 27, 2019

Sure thing! Best of luck with school and career prospects

Oct 28, 2019

Sorry, just seeing the rest of your post (think there was a glitch)


1- Not sure where you are in NJ and I know next to nothing about the job market there. If you aren't in the NY-metro-area NJ, then I would imagine it would be challenging to find an IB job due to those jobs simply not being located there, but again I really don't know the NJ market. If it were me, I would not randomly shoot resumes out; rather, would thoughtfully reach out to a few people at a time who you think would be interesting and helpful to speak with (and even if it seems like their job isn't something you actually want to do, you can't assume who or what they know). Try using your alumni network. They may be willing to help you recruit or they may not, but you will probably learn something if you ask the right questions. Also, recognize the fact that your internship doesn't define your career prospects for the rest of your life, and as long as you can find some sort of experience where you can learn and develop something you can pitch as a marketable skill, you'll be just fine. I would recommend opening your mind to non-IB roles as well (and other locations, always fun to hang out in a new city for a summer) as well. You may find something you thoroughly enjoy; at minimum, you'll at least be a more interesting IB candidate in the future. For example, many regional banks have respectable credit or portfolio analyst programs, lots of companies hire for corporate financial analyst positions, and sometimes real estate development firms have availability. Other things that may be interesting could include working with the credit agencies or a GSE (Freddie/Sallie/etc), All in all, would commit to/enjoy the process rather than having an IB-or-bust mindset. Enjoy college, you'll be just fine.

2- I haven't a clue of the breakdown between paid/unpaid internships and I am sure it varies by the nature of the firm you're working with. Of my 3 summer internships, 2 were paid and 1 was not (the unpaid one was in Asia; I went though a placement program, kind of nontraditional but wouldn't change a thing). Generally, I would say that larger/more institutional employers (ie banks, large asset management firms, more corporates) more certainly have paid internships. You may run into unpaid internships if you look around the small family office or small business space. While I am personally not a fan of unpaid internships, if you have the financial means to survive without pay for a summer in exchange for an experience you think will dramatically change your recruiting outcome, by all means go for it.

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Oct 29, 2019

Thank you for this.

Just so you know, I live in Hillside, NJ, right next to Elizabeth and 3 minutes from Newark, so thankfully, I am in the metropolitan area.

I am in my junior year of college right now, and have had excellent grades thus far this semester, so I will keep that up, and maybe talk to Kean Business alumni and Career Services advisers to see who they can set me up with. I appreciate it.

Investment banking interests me, but I'd also be willing to do asset management, private wealth management, credit analysis, etc. I know that would also help me as well. Thank you!

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Oct 30, 2019

Why do I have a strange feeling that you went to Warrington.

Oct 30, 2019

What's a Warrington?

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Oct 30, 2019
Oct 30, 2019