AMA: Investment Banking Intern Season

monkeyking722's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,079

It's that time of the year again... Intern Season

My background

Graduated from a semi-target. Networked my way into banking and was lucky enough to secure an IB internship my sophomore year. Returned for my junior summer; realized I liked IB but not the firm. Went through the FT IB analyst recruiting cycle and moved over to my current firm after undergrad. Promoted A2A.

Ask me anything

Current and prospective IB interns: feel free to ask any questions about your summer, dos and don'ts, performance, advice, securing an offer, getting something next summer, etc.

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Comments (72)

Jun 14, 2019

What was your biggest misconception you had during recruiting (for SA or FT)?

Jun 14, 2019

I think that one of the biggest misconceptions is that there is a true application deadline. It's first come, first serve. Even if the website says they are accepting applications until September 30, it's still first come, first serve. Most banks will have already selected their candidates well before that date. The war for talent between banks is brutal, and we aren't waiting until the last minute for a rockstar candidate.

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Jun 14, 2019

Do interviews ever happen before the postings come out?

Jun 14, 2019

Biggest mistake kids make in interviews?

Jun 14, 2019

I had a super day at a BB in NY. Had six rounds of back-to-back interviews (they were all 2 on 1's). Honestly, I thought I knocked it out of the park. I got all the technical questions right, and I got along with the team very well. On the last round, the MD gets up, takes all of the business cards on my side of the table (the bankers hand it out when they walk in and say hi), and says "Tell me all of the names of the people you met with today". I was so caught up on making sure I delivered great answers and completely blanked out. Fuck....

I didn't get that job lol

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Jun 14, 2019

So.... remember their names. One other big mistake I have seen kids make is that they focus 100% on their technicals, and forget that there is a behavioral aspect too. We know you're smart, but if you can't share your story flawlessly and get along with the team, someone else will. We are looking for both (financials and behavioral), not just one. At the end of the day, IB is also a people business. We need you to know your financials, and to be a great fit for the team, especially if we are going to spend 70 hours a week with you.

Don't get me wrong, technicals are super important too. Yes, you need to get them right, but if you don't know the financial concepts now, you're not going to be able to cram tonight and explain it to me like a professional tomorrow at 9AM for your interview. You need to already know them.

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Jun 16, 2019

Sorry to hear that. Honestly, that is super douchey. What an ass. Who does he think he is? Everyone knows how smart the applicants are, and how hard they work. That proves nothing except pretending to show his colleagues that he has power. Obvi, he doesn't -

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Jun 14, 2019

How did you go about FT recruiting when coming from another bank? For reference, I'm currently interning at a MM bank at one of their regional offices, but I'd like to recruit for FT at other MM / BB's for their NY offices.

Jun 14, 2019

In a nutshell, FT recruiting is more competitive and harder than SA recruiting. The main reason is because you are competing with more experienced students (even prior IB SAs), and because the bar is higher - you've had an extra year to study and sharpen your interview skills. I highly recommend leveraging your alumni network as well as your school's career center. They have direct connections with the decision makers.

You need to have a very good reason why you're looking elsewhere, or why an offer wasn't extended. When I was an intern, my focus was M&A in the emerging markets - it wasn't for me, and most banks understood that. One thing to keep in mind is do not let your team know that you are looking at other banks. Wall Street is smaller than you think.

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Jun 14, 2019

Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, an alumni network doesn't really exist for me. I go to a complete non-target. But, I have managed to maintain some connections from SA recruiting last year

Jun 14, 2019

when did you start reaching out to alums / showing them ur interest in ft recruiting? half way through the summer? or even before the summer started

Jun 14, 2019

What other work experiences did you have before getting an IB internship for your sophomore year?

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Jun 14, 2019

Before that first IB internship, I used to work in retail at a small footwear company. Then, I learned how to code and grasped the concept of Ecommerce. I brought the business to the world wide web and connected them to the Asian markets (honestly, I had no idea what I was doing, but I met the right people at the right time). I loved the business aspect, and how money was coming in and out of the business - more so than the coding. That's when I first got interested in finance.

During my sophomore year, I networked pretty aggressively and ended up in IB. It's history from there.

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Jun 14, 2019

Sounds like you have a well crafted story for the "why finance/why IB".

Q:
What do you recommend to others for crafting a story if theirs isn't as intriguing?

Figure this questions would bring value to some people.

"Out the garage is how you end up in charge
It's how you end up in penthouses, end up in cars, it's how you
Start off a curb servin', end up a boss"

Jun 15, 2019

Thank you

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Jun 14, 2019

When you lateraled from the firm you interned at for 2 years into your current one for FT, how did your former firm react to that? Were bridges burned or did they respect your decision?

Jun 14, 2019

It was definitely disappointing for them to hear, but it just wasn't for me. They were very mature and understood that even if I did good work and got my job done, I would never give it my 110% because I was just not interested in the space (we only did emerging markets IB). I was always professional, worked really hard, and delivered. I think that played a large role in why they respected my decision. We are on great terms. I actually had dinner with one of the Directors (was a VP when I worked there) a couple weeks ago.

People come and go all the time, but bridges that were built to last will not burn. If you're looking elsewhere, be smart and professional about it - and never slam the door on your way out.

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Jun 14, 2019

Did you receive your lateral offer after the internship was over? If so, I imagine they had a pretty tight deadline after the internship to accept the full-time offer, so what was the timing like with that process/decision?

...If you received the lateral offer beforehand, were you ever transparent about the offer during the internship, or did you keep quiet until the end?

Jun 14, 2019

thanks so much for doing the ama! how do you become better at excel? especially with all the shortcuts and stuff? google--> practice?

Jun 15, 2019

Excel / financial modeling is one of those things that you only get better at with more reps. You can read about it as much as you want, but if you're not actively modeling and practicing, you won't get much better.

There are a lot of sources (the vault guide, WSO, YouTube, even courses at your school) that offer hands-on practice. I learned through the above sources, as well as through my internships. You just have to jump in and go for it.

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Jun 15, 2019

'ASimpleModel' is an awesome, free website that has a very basic financial modeling course. Only takes a few hours in total to watch all the videos and build the model. The instructor says all the shortcuts as he is using them. Doing that course alone taught me more about excel than an entire 3 credit hour class on it.

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Jun 15, 2019

Tips on gettig a return offer in a competitive intern group?

Most Helpful
Jun 15, 2019

Every group and every bank is different, but there are a few things that seem to work everywhere (even outside of finance)

Reliability: Be the intern that can be counted on. Can your senior bankers count on you? Minimize the errors you make, and try not to make the same mistake twice. Write EVERYTHING down, and make sure that you're getting your work done on time, and correctly.

Punctuality: Try to get to the office earlier than your seniors, and be ready to go. You may not get work immediately, but the fact that you're there if needed is important. It's also not a great look coming in with your iced coffee 30 minutes after your Associates have already started their day.

Professionalism: Don't think I need to explain this one... Double check all of your emails, and fill the body of the email too - don't send emails with just an attachment. Nothing says I didn't really give a crap about this assignment than an empty email.

Intellect: This is an easy one.

Print Everything Out: Errors stick out like sore thumbs on paper. You don't want to look stupid or careless because you wanted to save a few sheets of paper. I'm all for taking care of the planet, but fuck the trees - you're trying to secure a FT offer. Just recycle it lol

Don't be Annoying: I know you're willing to work super hard and through the night if that's what it takes, but don't come up to me every 15 minutes with "Is there anything I can help with?" Definitely offer your help, just not every 15 minutes... And don't just say "Is there anything I can help with?" It looks like you haven't lifted a finger all morning. Say something like "Hey Chad, I was looking at the investment memo for XYZ transaction and thought ABC was really interesting. Let me know if there's anything I can take off your plate, I'm here and ready if you need me". It shows that even if you're not actively working on a deliverable, you're not just sitting there rotting.

Find out who the decision makers are and make their lives easier. Show them that you can handle the work and pressure of a FT analyst. Be reliable, and someone they can count on. Be on good terms with the entire group. You're wasting your time if you're putting all your energy into pleasing the first year analyst that just joined.

And if there is ever alcohol involved, you should consider joining in if invited (some folks get offended if you decline, but they also invited you for a reason) - don't drink too much (don't need to explain that one). When there's a bonding event, or drinks outside of work - try not to talk about work, it makes you look boring and it kills the vibe.

Those are just a handful. There isn't one formula to securing that offer, but there are universal qualities that are appreciated.

And dress well too. A lot more people than you'd think strike out on this one.

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Jun 20, 2019

How to find out who the decision makers are? I have interned for a few weeks already but have no clue who they are. We work with analysts and associates most of the time and the interaction with senior bankers like VPs and MDs are limited. I am not sure who the decision makers are.

Jun 15, 2019

hello

Array

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Jun 15, 2019

Currently an intern at an EB, how do you stand out (in a positive way) and get that return offer?

Jun 16, 2019

See above post. Something I would add is attitude and the ability to get along with your team. The smartest person in the room doesn't always get the job or promotion, but the person that the team likes will always get the look. A great, can-do attitude goes a long way. Be likable and reliable, and I am sure you will be fine.

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Jun 15, 2019

Would love to know more in full time recruiting - currently interning at BB but for some reason want to switch to EB/another BB. Could I PM you?

Jun 16, 2019

I am a rising Junior at a non target school, interning at MS this summer working on Wealth Management. I am trying to get a SA position for 2020, the school I am at currently is not really providing many resources for me. What would you suggest I should try and do moving forward?

Jun 16, 2019

Do a quick search to see if there are any alumni in IB. Those in IB that went to non-target schools are more willing to help someone that went to their school - because they understand the challenges. Network effectively, and apply for the social events that some of the banks host for college students. Meet as many people you can in the industry and do your best to leave a great impression.

While you are still employed at MS, you can literally reach out to anyone within the firm and ask for coffee. I think your response rate will be quite high if you approach it correctly, solely because you already work at the same firm. It will be a lot harder once you go back to school.

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Jun 16, 2019

Why did you choose A2A as opposed to buy side/b-school/other exit opp?

Jun 16, 2019

A2A was my ultimate decision even though I received offers from PE firms (think HIG Capital, Carlyle) for the following reasons:

  1. I have a strong and supportive team here. I work directly with the Group Head, and he goes to bat for me. He pushes for me and I would go as far as calling him a mentor. Even as an analyst, I was in meetings with CEOs and UHNW individuals. It felt weird being the youngest guy in the room, but people respected me for it and I eventually got used to it. I don't think you'll find that at many shops, even on the buy side.
  2. My work-life balance is pretty good now, especially for IB. To be honest, it's largely due to management style. My Director or MD rarely ever sends me a last minute 9PM email asking to see something the next morning. I'm looped into emails and know exactly what is expected and when. Having this has made my day so much more productive (I'm not sitting around waiting) and easier. I really do believe there aren't as many 2AM nights because of this. Of course, there's the occasional fire drill, but I think I'm in a great spot. I felt that I would give this up if I moved to a new shop, and probably have to work longer hours too.
  3. Compensation. You will be paid very well in IB and PE. I am a very simple guy and my lifestyle isn't going to change much if I make $500K, $1M, or $10M+. My firm paid me well during my analyst years (~150, ~180, ~215). There is a very significant bump for A2A, and a lot of the buy side shops weren't paying as much as I would make if I stayed on (I was surprised), and those that were, I wasn't sure I would have a team of analysts helping me, as well as the 60 hours work week there.

Overall, I stayed for the people, my boss, and my team. A lot of people move to PE because it's "prestigious" (honestly, prestige stops being important after you turn 23), because everyone else is doing it, the potential for carry, or they hate their IB jobs. I feel that I'm one of the few that got lucky and figured it out. I'm very happy with where I am and have zero regrets.

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Jun 16, 2019

Are you at a BB or a boutique? It seems like you have really good exposure to senior people and was wondering if it was a product of being at a boutique with a smaller team or if you are just killing it and people trust you.

Also, what are your plans for the next 3-5 years? Do you want to stay on and move up the ranks at your current IB or are you still keeping options open for exits to other fields?

Thanks for the AMA.

Jun 16, 2019

I am a SA at a mid-tier IB in London this summer, what are your advice when it comes to networking both within and outside of the firm?

My goal would be to move to BB/EB

Jun 16, 2019

In your experience, what's the best way to prepare for internship season as a rising sophomore? Resources, reading, networking tips?

Jun 16, 2019

Use your school's career center to its full potential. They usually hold direct relationships with the financial firms that come to campus, and can keep you full updated on available opportunities.

Know your technicals. Assume everyone that is also interviewing will get them all right.

Know your story, and stand out. Every single candidate has taken finance classes, reads the news, has a role model in finance, had some sort of work experience related to finance last summer, etc. Gotta make yourself memorable.

Reach out to people in the industry (alumni are the most helpful). When you send out emails, don't go with the quantity-over-quantity approach. You will be better off reaching out to 10 bankers with high quality emails, than 100 bankers with a plain, cookie-cutter template. *Side Note - Please spell the firm name correctly. If you spell my firm's name wrong, it looks terrible on your part. *

Start Early. The deadlines are earlier every single year.

There are a ton of guides out there (WSO, The Vault Guide, etc.). Use them as intended - a guide. The interviewers will ask questions not found in those books, so you want to be prepared for that too.

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Jun 17, 2019

I'm coming from a non-target with almost no ties to banks, especially at our career center. This also runs with the "quality over quantity" approach, but are there any tips for establishing relationships (preferably as a potential mentor) with someone at a bank that might not be from my school?

Jun 16, 2019

Have you thought about going to business school? Irrespective of your personal plans, what value do you see an MBA having in today's IB and PE environments?

Jun 16, 2019

I don't think business school will be a fit for me (already A2A and plan to stay in finance). Most MBA grads come on as Associates anyway. It's also a huge time/financial commitment that I don't believe will be worth it for me personally. Usually, if an IB promotes you to Associate, they also believe you have what it takes to climb the ranks.

Most folks that I know with an MBA did not start out in IB/PE. Some firms have preferred to hire MBA grads, but I think over the recent years, it has lost its glamour. The network you have after getting your MBA (depending on your school), can be super valuable. It's really a personal choice if you ask me.

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Jun 17, 2019

Two questions on this:

  1. Do MBA associates get paid more than associates that were promoted from analyst years?
  2. Will firms pay for business school and to what extent?
Jun 17, 2019

should I wait to listen to a bank's webinar in a couple of weeks for tips on applying or just apply ASAP?

Jun 17, 2019

Webinar's are standard and don't really learn much if you did the research already. Apply ASAP

Jun 18, 2019

Tips on getting an IB internship sophomore summer? I know there aren't too many banks that offer non-diversity SA positions to sophomores, do you recommend that I try to network mainly with the ones that do now, and hold off on the ones that don't until fall?

Jun 18, 2019

I think banks have gotten hesitant on hiring sophomore SAs. Recently, one of the BBs (I think it was JPM, but could very well be wrong) stopped hiring sophomore interns. I would recommend applying anyway, as well as networking (you may run into the same people in the fall). I would also target smaller firms (MM and boutiques) as they are more likely to hire sophomores.

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Jun 18, 2019

no bank does a formal non-diversity SA sophomore program

Jun 20, 2019

How would you go about networking with people outside your bank during your SA stint when you have to work for the whole day? Do you think people would be open to talking on the weekends or late at night ect?

Thank you for the AMA!

Jun 22, 2019

I would try to keep it during the weekday. Some people prefer not to, or won't make time for networking late nights and during the weekend.

Hop out for a quick coffee with the person you're trying to network with. They most likely have other things to do as well, so they'll try to keep it 30 minutes tops anyway. I would try to be discrete and try not to let your colleagues (especially those that decide if you're getting an offer) that you're speaking to others outside the bank.

Jun 20, 2019

Hey,

I'm from a non-target and would love to get into IB. I am a rising Junior at Auburn University and just wanted to know if you had some advice for the interview prep like what to look for specifically and how to approach it? Also, I'd like to know what skills and knowledge I need to have for actually performing at the job?

Thank you

Jun 22, 2019

The first few things that come to mind are:

  1. Know your technicals. Assume every other person interviewing for the same spot will get them right. Because you're from a non-target, knowing your technicals is even more important. You need to know them well enough to explain it intelligently. You also want to be able to answer any follow up questions to your answers. The Vault, WSO, Breaking Into Wall Street all have great guides, but you should still try know as much as you can.
  2. Reach out to people in the industry. Spend some time with your approach too - find some sort of connection to the person you're reaching out to. No cookie-cutter emails. And do not copy and paste emails. I've gotten emails where students accidentally copy and paste with the wrong firm name, position title, even my name. You also don't want to copy and paste because the text can show up all weird on iPhones. I've gotten emails where the firm name is a different format/font than the rest of the email - you can immediately tell it was a copy-paste email going out to tons of people. Just type a fresh email. Always thank them for their time after you meet/call them.
  3. Some firms host events that are not school specific (diversity events, happy hours, networking events). Attend those.
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Jul 8, 2019

Thank you. I've been trying to nail the technicals, but I am still nervous about them even though I haven't secured many interviews yet. I guess it just takes repetition.

Jun 20, 2019

This is a great ama, thank you!

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Jun 22, 2019

Thanks Andy. My pleasure!

Jun 20, 2019

Question for summer analysts - why are you inclined to talk about your deals loudly on crowded streets such as Broadway or Park? (aside from the clout; yes referring to the interns with blue JEF bags)

Jul 7, 2019
TheBuellerBanker:

Question for summer analysts - why are you inclined to talk about your deals loudly on crowded streets such as Broadway or Park? (aside from the clout; yes referring to the interns with blue JEF bags)

Yikes. There are names assigned to deals in Salesforce for this specific reason. Isn't hard to connect two-and-two as an intern I'd hope.

Jun 21, 2019

Anyone you've known or heard of that eventually break into IB with an MS in Finance? Currently in such a program after graduating last year. Will spend summer at a family office MM PE firm and would like to eventually break into IB. Thanks.

Jun 23, 2019

In the top msf programs it is very doable

Jun 23, 2019

I don't even know if there is a "top MSF program", excluding the MS in Financial Engineering type. But I'll try my best.

Jun 25, 2019
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Jun 23, 2019
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Jun 25, 2019