Blew a Coffee Chat...

Hey monkeys. I just wanted to vent about a "coffee chat" I had recently with an Associate at a boutique firm.

Some background, I'm a recent STEM grad living in NYC and have been trying to network for a possible off-cycle hiring. I don't have any strictly relevant IB internships under my belt, so clearly have to hustle for what I want. I've had 1 interview for corporate banking that went well, but other than that I haven't gotten any bites.

Continuing the story, I reached out to the individual, who's not an alumni, and asked for a coffee chat. The first two times I proposed didn't work out but we were able to finally meet today. I got there about 10 minutes early and waited for the person to arrive. As they walked through the doors I saw my resume in their hand; I instantly knew this wasn't just an informational chat about the firm and industry. My palms got a bit sweaty and my knees felt heavy. It ended up being a full blown interview and I dropped the ball on some of the technical questions that were asked... They were generally basic technical questions, with 1 or 2 tailored to the specific industry vertical the firm is in.

I'm pissed at myself for not keeping sharp with my technicals and blowing that interaction out of the water. It's certainly a wake up call for the need to be 110% on myself for recruiting, especially off-cycle.

Also, the damn coffee shop wasn't serving so I didn't have anything to parch my dry mouth.. So much for coffee.

Any of you ever dropped the ball on an interaction?

Comments (27)

Nov 15, 2019 - 7:24pm

I'm sure all of us have messed up more than a few times.

I certainly have. Just get back at it, send out more stuff today instead of re-living it.


  • 7
Nov 16, 2019 - 11:49am
Analyst 1 in Other:

My palms got a bit sweaty and my knees felt heavy.

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti

  • 39
Nov 18, 2019 - 10:39am

Yes. Thank you. Came here to ask if on the surface, he looked calm and ready to drop bombs.

"Son, life is hard. But it's harder if you're stupid." - my dad
  • 3
Nov 16, 2019 - 3:00pm

Every time you make a mistake, acknowledge it and make an effort so it does not happen again. It's important to realize each mistake gets you closer to where you want to be.

It's a numbers game, kind of like a funnel, continue to hustle and reach out to people and do not become discouraged.

  • 2
Nov 16, 2019 - 5:27pm

I had one like yours. This was during "Bank Week" which MBAs will be familiar with . . its a week of networking in NYC right before the interview lists come out. Sort of a final chance to make an impression before the holidays.

It went pretty much like yours, I was expecting something more informal and instead I got some straight up technicals. I had planned on learning that shit over the holidays so I was fuzzy when asked. Gave mostly shitty answers. Still made the interview list.

Also, I was on the other end once. This interaction was even closer to yours, but I was the banker. Was contacted by a lawyer who wanted to switch to IB. I liked talking to him, so in an effort to help him I asked a few basic technicals that he bombed really badly. I was just trying to prepare him. I told him to brush up. Still pushed for him to get an interview; I wasn't able to get him in, but the point is, I didn't ding him for fucking up the technicals.

Moral of the story is don't worry about it, there's some chance it cost you but a better chance that it wasn't riding on that.

Nov 18, 2019 - 10:18pm

Props to someone who is willing to take a more fostering approach with an individual who does not know his technicals. I can't stand it when people drop the hammer on others in the first meeting and if the person is caught off-guard, it's over.

"Love doesn't exist, that's what I'm trying to tell you guys. And I'm not picking on love, 'cause I don't think friendship exists either" - Owen Wilson

  • 1
Nov 18, 2019 - 11:09am

If you get this nervous definitely don't add caffeine to the mix. Try taking some CBD (a normal dosage but try first before using to see how it affects you) plus curcumin to calm down and steady the nerves. Just as caffeine is habitually used to amp up, there are other legal drugs used to calm down and it has helped me in the past while interviewing during stressful periods of life.

Nov 18, 2019 - 3:33pm

To tack onto this, as stupid as it sounds, I've found that making sure I'm hydrated before I take an important meeting/call is huge. Nothing worse than sounding like a dog who just ate peanut butter or your throat getting squeaky to get you self-concious/inside your own head instead of being engaging.

Nov 19, 2019 - 10:35am

You sound ignorant on this topic. If you only get 4 hours of sleep and need to be alert for an 8am conference call you might drink some coffee, correct? Coffee is a stimulant and restricts blood flow to the brain. CBD, when used, can calm the adrenal system and settle the mind. Side effects are still being studied but it is an all natural unadulterated plant oil... Curcumin is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory that is derived from turmeric, which is somewhat of a miracle drug with countless health benefits.

Nov 24, 2019 - 3:15pm

I'd recommend taking l theanine with caffeine. Apparently it helps you absorb caffeine with less of the jittery effects. I took like ten capsules of l theanine with a caffeine pill the other week and I felt like a fucking God

Nov 19, 2019 - 12:21pm

In addition to all of the great advice here suggesting you learn from your mistakes and keep your head up for the next one, I think you should also take this as an opportunity to study your technical skills to a greater degree than what you probably think you need.

Reason being, if the thought of technical questions makes you nervous right now with the feeling of "if only I had the night before to study", then odds are you still would've been weak even if you did have the opportunity to study. You will be most successful with technicals when you understand the logic and flow of concepts to a degree where it should really just be a casual conversation about finance. My guess (and I could be wrong) is that in an interview setting you may be hoping the questions resemble practice ones you studied so its just a matter of memorization rather than organically understanding the material.

Having a mastery of the concepts will go a longer way towards calming your nerves than taking some CBD would.

Nov 19, 2019 - 3:32pm

I'm in the same situation as you,however; I'm currently shooting for an internship in IB or ER instead of a full time job. Linked up with couple of ppl in the industry with STEM background, who put me forward in their company (mostly boutique firms as a potential candidate). Haven't heard back from any firm tho.... so maybe they tricked me :/

Nov 23, 2019 - 7:24am

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