Bad networking experience - MD/Partner - coffee chat - went wrong?

So, I feel pretty bad about a coffee chat networking experience I had with an MD/Partner at a BB. I was connected through a friend and met this person at their office.

I went in with the mindset just to introduce myself/why interested/ get to know the person - not trying to just ask for a referral or whatever. The person seemed very aloof and seemed like they did not really want to meet with me. The division I know I want to be in is not theirs, S&T vs. IB- and I said I like X division (not their division) very much I think my skills/interests line up with such division a lot better-and I emphasized I liked their firm a lot.

I didn't even get much of a chance to say oh let me tell you about myself (I should have just said that but I am an idiot and f'ed up and was a bit nervous) - told them an abbreviated version-the person was basically just asking me some basic questions...But I told the person i'm open to opportunities at the firm not just one division, but emphasized one as my top and the one I like the most (not their one).

The person seemed to fault me on the basis that I did not come in saying the division I want to be in is their one etc... I did not even ask for a referral or whatever but they called their person in HR while I was sitting in front of them. Nothing was open for an SA...but i'm still young and hoping to get SA for a diff summer. The person also sort of said I should have a clear story and some other stuff to show them etc- but I did and I told them but they kept asking questions regarding suitability in their division- I also did not even really get a chance to say what I wanted because they just started off asking questions. Ultimately, ik it is prob my fault and I should have tried to spin this convo in a better way but idk. Usually in my past experiences chatting with Mds/Partners it is more conversational and getting to know the person-this person did not seem to care about that.

Did I f up? I feel like an idiot and as if I did something wrong. I felt like the chat did not go that well at all. I don't want to lose the person as a contact though but they prob. won't even respond to me now and think I am useless so idk even what to do now. Should I not even try to keep in touch with the person if they are not in the division I want to be in (think as different as person is in IB and I want S&T etc.. Vice versa).

Also- this person did not even have my resume etc... or even asked for it. I also should have been more direct with saying I am hoping to follow up with you in X time is that okay? They sort of mentioned yeah let me know if I can be of help etc... but obv do not know if they meant that vs. just saying.

Advice/thoughts on this would really be appreciated. I want to still try to build a relationship w/ this person.

Comments (21)

Best Response
Feb 5, 2018

If the "chat" went anything like this post, it was probably a clusterfuck.

With that being said, don't sweat it and simply use it as a learning experience. Take some time to review how it went down, recognize areas where you think you can improve (introduction, remaining calm, being more specific about what you want, etc.), and recognize areas where you felt you left a strong impression.

At the end of the day, who knows if you did anything wrong. Maybe he was just an awkward guy and should have facilitated the convo more. Maybe not. I've had a few of uncomfortable encounters in my networking efforts...it just comes with the territory.

The one positive seems to be that he called HR inquiring about any open positions, seemingly to refer you for the spot. Don't over-analyze and keep communication open with him as you say you want to.

Last note: To you, this coffee chat was huge; you probably thought about it for days beforehand and are sweating it days after. To him, his morning shit was probably more important than a chat with a kid. With that being said, realize that you may be putting too much pressure on yourself in these situations. Remember that and it should help you stay calm. It definitely helped me. Best of luck.

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    • 2
Feb 5, 2018

Thanks for the response /insight

    • 2
Feb 5, 2018

Prob no point in trying to build relationship. Sounds like it went completely disorganized and you also made it....perhaps clear or hinted that you're meeting this person cause you like their firm. And you don't like their division so...

    • 4
Feb 5, 2018

I guess, I still want to keep in touch w/ them though even though doubt they will ever respond lol

What do you mean completely disorganized?

    • 2
Feb 5, 2018

maybe disorganized might be wrong word but basically there was no real connection or relationship being built there. And if you try to keep it touch, I doubt much will come out of it. you didn't really give a story or line that caught his or her attention and they probably don't care to hear from you again.

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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.

Feb 5, 2018

Take this mishap as a learning experience. Focus on what you can do now, which is to continue networking and send this person an email thanking them for their time and adding in what you wanted to originally say. However, don't be longwinded.

If the relationship is salvageable, you will be able to tell from the tone of the reply. If not, it's not the end of the world. There are many; many more people out there for you to meet.

Feb 5, 2018

I would be annoyed if I took time out of my day to talk to a kid who set up a coffee chat to "get to know me" and subsequently took zero interest in what I actually do, blatantly using me as nothing more than a stepping stone to another, quite different part of the firm. If you're only interested in IB, why waste an S&T MD's time? Or vice versa

They also literally called HR and recommended you in front of you and you're still complaining? wtf

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Feb 5, 2018

This.

Feb 5, 2018

Okay whatever - yes I know I f'edu up a bit - but I was just trying to be positive, rekindle a relationship, make it better etc... So what am I supposed to do? Act as if his is the division I love and want to be in? It is not - I love their firm and expressed interest in his division and firm in general. I didn't just say urs sucks I like the other one..... I am not even complaining dude

    • 2
Feb 5, 2018

I wouldn't have brought the other division up at all. People want to talk about themselves. Imagine you took a girl on a date and she showed interest in you, but kept bringing up your best-friend. How would you feel, if clearly, she were only talking to you with the goal of getting an introduction to your friend?

Take it as a lesson and move on. Follow up with him and express how much you enjoyed meeting them, etc. and ask if it's okay to remain in touch. The next time don't bring up your interest in the other division until you've developed a relationship first. Nobody likes to be used.

I'm speaking from experience here, as I once had the opportunity to shadow a senior professional and I didn't know much about the different divisions [I was a freshman]. I blatantly said "I'm not really interested in [insert their division]" when they asked about my interests, and I felt terrible afterwards. I made it a point to always go into meetings with a solid review on the work they do, and research on the person. They ended up not responding to my email after but you have nothing to lose by following up. Just move on and learn from it. Hope that helps.

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Feb 5, 2018

We have all had bad coffee chats or networking events. Roll on to the next one. Contrary to what this site pimps, bankers are often awkward as fuck.

In 5 years you will have so many coffee chats under your belt, you will be able to pivot, change topic, interject relevant and funny comments, etc and you'll have less of these. Networking is very much like dating.

Feb 5, 2018

Thanks. I know you say this but idk how I will ever meet someone at this person's level again who had so much sway to just call head HR-which is why i'm trying to fix it but understand from what others say maybe just move on ^

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Feb 6, 2018

You either will or you won't, plain and simple. Either way you'll find a great referral is just that, and you still have to earn your spot once you're in the room. It won't be any easier just because one BB MD knew you, I am sure there are 2-3 MDs who know half the kids. The key is to keep networking with the right people. You forced this meeting, that is fuck up number one. Why meet with someone in IB if you want S&T? That is literally retarded. And then you proceed to tell him how he doesn't work in the division of your interest? It is all about how you spin it. If you take the time to meet with someone at a firm that interests you, impress him by showing industry knowledge related to what he does. After a successful meeting whereby you speak to his experience in IB and the specific BB, then you can open up about how you have also been considering S&T, and would appreciate his thoughts. Good luck man, I have fucked numerous networking chats, but just assessing what you did wrong is key. Own it, learn from it, more on.

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Feb 5, 2018

Thanks for the insight, appreciate it.

Feb 6, 2018

You're going to run into awkward people who make conversations suck but if you're trying to get into banking and network with a S&T guy, you're pretty much wasting your time. Not saying that this guy doesn't have any friends in IB but in almost all cases interviews come from employee referrals from people in the group.

That being said, if he knew you had no interest in S&T and wanted to go for banking, it seems weird on his part that he would take the meeting.