Can't land an offer. In need of advice

Hi everyone - i am a senior at a large public non-target. I have done FT interviews at large MM firms, BBs, well-known boutiques, large hedge funds, corporate finance, etc and have gone 0/14 so far with 8 superdays. I am slowly getting extremely depressed. I feel like everything I worked so hard on to get, is going away. I grinded my ass off to get every line on my resume and if I cant a good offer it will all go to waste. I don't know if getting an MSF is the next step for me or if I should give up on finance which has been a true passion of mine. My family doesn't have much money and I cant bum around until I find a job. If I get one more rejection I feel like I'm gonna lose my shit

If anyone has any advice about how to proceed, it would be very helpful.

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Comments (55)

  • VP in S&T - FI
Dec 20, 2019 - 4:56pm

look to get a job in tech, or mgmt consulting, or even accounting (they recruit later than finance)...you can always lateral from any of these into finance later on if you really want to.

Having a job (perhaps not your ideal target...but still, a job) is much better than wasting time and money. Masters degrees aren't worth the money until after you have at least 1-2 years of work experience. Even if its a FLDP, or any other corp finance role...you can then apply for IB, ER, and a variety of other roles. heck, even insurance would be better than nothing, and pays decent.

I would strongly suggest you apply to the big4....they always need people.

Most Helpful
Dec 20, 2019 - 5:50pm
wontsettle:

I grinded my ass off to get every line on my resume and if I cant a good offer it will all go to waste.

This is wrong. And it is the problem. Dare I say, its not only the primary cause of your anxiety (I'll try to fix that in a sec) but it lies at the heart of everything that's wrong with our education system today, from the angst to the crushing debt to the misplaced economic policies that keep it going.

You went to college to get an education, which it appears you successfully got. You didn't go to college because its a cartel that exists to serve as the only entry point to a specific set of jobs that are accessible only upon graduation. That is a myth and thus the "all a waste" thinking is also a myth.

8 superdays is a pretty high number. It proves you are qualified for these highly competitive roles. That's rare company to be in. Do you think that someone who's qualified for those roles can never get there because the ball didn't bounce his way in the recruiting process? It's that black and white? The ship has sailed?

It's not black and white at all. Like anything else, its a spectrum. Sounds like you were in a borderline group of folks where some got lucky and landed something, and some didn't. There will be other opportunities down the road. Get the most challenging job you can and keep working on your skills. It's not realistic to think that someone who nearly made it at 21 y/o and keeps getting more knowledgable/skilled is just going spend the rest of his life doing mediocre jobs because he "missed the boat". There is no boat and no evidence to support that theory.

Dec 20, 2019 - 10:02pm

In order to have access to the top jobs, you have to lateral from the best banks. Every boutique i've talked to said they are full, every BB i've talked to said they are full, every MM is full. If I do anything like REPE or LMM PE jumping to a bank that will give me access to the jobs that I eventually want will be very difficult. Even in the interviews i've had where I was clearly the best candidate, they picked the kid who knows the head of the group (I have friend within the bank).

Array
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Dec 20, 2019 - 10:19pm

It's a marathon. Who is the person who's all set after college? In fact, who's the person who's all set by their late 20's? The most coveted path we're all aware of is to go to a top IB after college and then go to a megafund after that. Then what? Off to HBS where you're in the same class as 800 other people, many of whom took a less vaunted path. Big deal.

Now granted, I'm not suggesting HBS would be some reset button where everyone is on a level playing field. No doubt, your pre-HBS megafund experience gives you a leg up to end up at a megafund, hedge fund or other highly coveted role after HBS.

But its just a leg up. And once you get that coveted role, then what . . easy street to greatness? How about you go back 10 years and find out who from HBS got the most coveted post MBA roles and look at them now 10 years later. No doubt you'll see some very happy 40 year olds, many of whom stayed at their fancy post-MBA job and made partner. But they're 40 and you're 22 . . pretty sure there's a lot of pathways you can take in the next 18 years that you can leave you in a pretty impressive place. In fact, when they go to their HBS 10 year reunion they will be sharing the winner's circle with other classmates who took less classic routes to baller status, like starting a business or fast-tracking up a F500 or even crushing it at a small boutique bank.

I'm not saying you shouldn't want the easiest road, I'm all for it. But its only the easiest road. You seem to think its the only road. From my observation that's not the case at all.

Dec 20, 2019 - 6:03pm

Hi OP

I was in your shoes 3 years ago just keep trying use the rejection as motivation! I know it's hard but all it takes is one. Also when I was in your shoes I was acting desperate in the interviews and it showed. I went to our resident mock interviewer and she told even if you are desperate make sure not to show it. I got rejected from jobs that should have been easy to land. I ended up in a top notch FLDP program. keep your head up my interview didn't even happen until January.

Funniest
Dec 21, 2019 - 2:22am

It's a numbers game. Keep your head up and keep grinding. Diversify as well, like everyone else is saying.

Array

  • 7
Dec 21, 2019 - 11:45am

Not adding much to the already excellent comments / feedback only to say it's not a race. The race is internal and quite common for achievers. That's why you're successful. You are intelligebt and mtivated and used to acheiving.

Unfortunately translation of the recruiting process is misunderstood by many. Most feel as if this is their one shot. That's ridiculous. You have your whole life ahead of you. There are many many MANY people who have these great gigs that started off in non-traditional roles. It may take them longer, but who cares? Along the way you pick up insight, experience, additional skills, perspective, etc. Forget about that straight line. It can work that way, but it doens't have to.

You will find something. I have no doubt of that. WHatever it is, put your best foot forward. Do your best work. Take on as much responsibility as possible. Be the go to guy/gal. You'll be surprised how much credibility that lends you for other endeavors. That's actually how the world really works, not this get into BB from UG or your screwed.

Oh yeah, btw, be open to actually enjoying the starting role / company / industry. You never know, you may want to continue the climb in that world.

You'll do great!

Dec 22, 2019 - 12:35am

Follow up with everyone you sent thank you notes, or at least out of the 14 interviews a half dozen people you may have hit it off with. say you hope they had a great holiday and that you are still looking, keep you in mind, etc

Dec 22, 2019 - 12:27pm

Should I wait until the New Years or do it Monday?

Array
Dec 23, 2019 - 12:04pm

I was in a similar situation. Lots of final round/super days but nothing to show for it. I did two things- decided there were plenty of firms out there so it was not yet time to call it. And second, and probably more important, I spent a lot of time playing the interviews in my head and noting down things that I thought may have played against me. But more importantly, I reached out to my interviewers through LinkedIn and Email (most firms gave me their details during the interview process) and asked politely - want to improve, still interested in the firm and would like to learn from my experience so that I can work on them for the future. Not many, but some interviewers who liked me responded and gave me some advice and insights on why I didn't make the cut. Reasons included things like they had better candidates from more prestigious schools to items like "your approach to calculate the X was not direct, took one step too many to get there" and such. So that gave me some real, tangible things to work on.
Mind you, this will only work if you decide mentally to be relentless and always be critical of what you hear. Sometimes I absolutely discarded the feedback I got because it was more their preconceived perceptions than a real thing that I had to work on. So have to be head strong, decide you will keep at it and be brave enough to hear some feedback. After all, law of averages says that if you keep going one of those super days will have to be a positive result. Good luck.

Jan 30, 2020 - 7:15am

Great and very mature response. I highly suggest following up with interviewers and getting feedback. Be genuine. Something like , " Mr./Mrs. X , thanks again for the opportunity to interview with your company. Although I wasn't selected, I'm still quite interested in your firm and would appreciate any feedback as to how I can become more competitive for positions in the future..."

This doesn't stop when you're 22. I'm 55 and just asked a prospect something similar when she decided to go with another firm. I wanted to know if there was something we did or weren't doing that swayed her, blah blah blah. Turns out she was the wrong rock for us. That's OK but I definitely wanted to know after investing quite a bit of time.

Also, be honest with yourself and have the ability to digest and truly consider the feedback. This isn't a ploy, but rather a sincere attempt to learn, analyze, and consider alternatives. Also, it doesn't mean you have to change based on the critique. it may be that you just weren't right for the firm, or them for you.

Dec 26, 2019 - 1:53pm

it's not over until you decide it's over. many places will be hiring right up until graduation, and many great places will still have some open spots even after that. it's all about staying persistent and using every interview as practice to become better for the next one. all it takes is good timing and for one person to see potential in you. it will come.

Dec 27, 2019 - 9:27am

What hasn't been working? Getting the superdays means you're qualified, going 0/8 means you're not doing something well. Reach out to anyone you connected well with and ask for feedback if possible. Dont give up either. You're obviously hardworking, which in the long run will get you where you want to be.

Dec 27, 2019 - 10:16am

I have received quite a lot of rejections as well. I would like to stress something unpopular here. Race, Culture, and Geography is very important here. If you're not from an upper class suburb in the Midwest and White, you're not gonna get into William Blair or Baird. If you're not of the elite prep school culture, you won't get into an EB. BBs are the most easiest places to interview if you are a diversity candidate. If you're white and not at an elite school, BBs are very hard to get into. Regarding corporate finance, if you're IQ is above 130, it is unlikely you'll get an offer at an old economy Fortune 500 (Research has been done that extremely high IQ people are excluded from the workplace). Try tech companies. Banking is not the end all be all please understand that.

Dec 30, 2019 - 1:09pm

Are they still recruiting this late? I know the ones that recruit at my school are full

Array
Dec 27, 2019 - 10:37am

Dude I think its confidence at this point man/woman/other. It sounds like you know enough to get in front of whomever you need to, so at this point it is probably the depression and fatigue that comes with constant rejection effecting your execution. My family is not wealthy and I go to a SUPER non-target in the Midwest so I empathize with you. It was not until I made peace with my situation and stopped freaking out so much that I started killing interviews and I landed at a top tier BB doing IB in a strong location. Its possible! You are still dope and all the stuff on your resume matters, don't give up on what you want to do and go with confidence into those interviews because 9/10 times, its probably not what you're saying, its just how you're saying it. I know its hard (especially when you seem to have an IV drip of humble pie) but try to stay up. You're making the right moves, you just gotta tweak a little.

Dec 27, 2019 - 11:48am

If you're looking for help in changing your outcomes in competitive interviews you might take a look at the services of Endeavor Agency.
Endeavor executive dot com

We've helped quite a few talented financial professionals land the jobs they truly want. The good news is that we partner with our clients so they don't pay for the bulk of the services until they land the new job Happy to set up a time to visit.

Dec 27, 2019 - 2:15pm

I feel your pain, as do many on this site. First and foremost, keep at it, don't give up hope.

Based on your post, it seems like you have a good resume, at least good enough to get your foot in the door. Your problem arises once you actually get in the interview room. You need to pinpoint whats going wrong and figure out how to overcome the issue. I would suggest the following
1. sign up for WSO's mentoring service to do a mock interview and get some feedback.
2. take interviews for positions that you know you would never take the job offer. Its free practice and will bolster your confidence.
3. if you had a descent rapport with any of the interviewers from the firms that shut you down, you could email them and say you were disappointed not to get the offer but wanted to get some honest feedback on why they didn't pick you.
4. find other safe avenues to practice and get feedback: reach out to friends of your parents (or the parents of your friends), people at your religious establishment if you have one, etc. and set up mock interviews with them. Not necessarily people who have jobs to offer you, but people who are professionals.
5. flip the table around. offer to mock interview your friends. being the interviewer actually provides a lot of insight into being an interviewee.

practice, practice, practice.

Dec 30, 2019 - 3:21pm

I think my problem is building rapport with my interviewers. Do you have any advice about how to better connect with them? I think I come off as a workhorse not someone who you would want to sit next to for 16 hours a day

Array
Dec 31, 2019 - 8:54am

That's a tough one, basically the same thing as "how do i pick up a girl". But some thoughts:

Part of it is mindset and confidence. If you did get the job, these would be your future teammates. Approach them as an equal, not as a supplicant. Think of the conversation as one with a good friend of a good friend. Of course, don't take this to mean being cocky or overly familiar.

Another is to ask good questions: don't try to impress them by being impressive yourself, try to impress them by being impressed by them. In a way, ask questions that allow them to feel good about themselves and the conversation. You want them to feel positive about your time together, and people love talking about themselves. Again, this is a sensitive art, don't sound like a used car salesman or resort to cheap flattery.

Net net, sincerity of interest, confidence, "being yourself" all show through.
Lame, but applicable, quote to finish: "Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying" - Emerson

Jan 2, 2020 - 7:38pm

I paste my answer in a thread about seeming genuine in interviews:

It is difficult, because it depends on your social skills; if you naturally have them, it is really easy, you only have to be yourself. If you do not have good social skills, it is more difficult because maybe it is not enough by being yourself.

Try to be conversative, smile, give long answers (but not too long), show genuine interest in the role, and as someone said above, try to answer with stories; don't give the generic answers that any candidate can give. Those companies have a big pool of tremendously qualified and inteligent people; what differentiates you from the rest of the candidates (in final rounds) is how likeable you are.

For me is easy, I am very easy going and I feel comfortable meeting new people, regardless of who they are or the context. You don't have to think of the interview as you vs the interviewer, but as a "first date": you have to seem interesting and the interviewer has to leave the interview thinking that he wants a "second date". The best scenario possible is that the interview evolves more into a conversation, where you also ask questions and there is real dialogue than a questionnarie.

If you are shy and it is difficult for you to meet new people, you could try to take a shot (or more than one depending on your tolerance) before the interview. Given a certain technical level, what makes the difference is how you say the things and how you communicate with the interviewer, and alcohol can help you with that, so in some cases maybe it is worth to give it a try. I have never done it, but I think that it can help."

Array

  • 1
Dec 27, 2019 - 4:47pm

Hey dude. I want to start of by saying that I really appreciate your tenacity-I was in your shoes 2 weeks ago before I got my FT IBD offer, and that was after 15 interviews, with 14 rejections. I wish there was some secret sauce to this, because my consulting buddies were chilling 2 weeks into school with multiple Big 3 strategy consulting offers, but the only advice that I can give you is to keep trying. It will work out. You still have an entire semester before you graduate. There are tons of boutiques that hire off-cycle and you can lateral up from there, or rise through the ranks organically. Additionally, I still get job notifications from reputable MM's even now-Jefferies recently posted a NYC position on Indeed and Handshake. Keep trying, pray if you're religious, maintain hope, and try to relax as much as possible. Good luck.

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Dec 27, 2019 - 7:02pm

What type of firm if you don't mind me asking? How many people were invited to the super day? I have 2 BB superdays for FT 2020 coming up

Dec 27, 2019 - 7:09pm

I'll be working at a MM IB at Chicago. I think they may have had multiple super days? Mine had 6 ppl invited.

But congrats on getting 2 BB super days. Getting looped into BB super days, and that to this late in the game, is a major accomplishment.

Dec 30, 2019 - 3:14pm

How did you go about getting feedback to see why you weren't picked?

Array
Jan 2, 2020 - 5:39pm

If anyone knows of any firms still looking for 2020 Analysts, please feel free to PM me. I would greatly appreciate it.

Array
Jan 2, 2020 - 8:06pm

I know Python well. I coded an algo that can read handwriting and a bot that can play the game snake. I also know MATLAB and R at a intermediate level

Array
  • 1
  • 1
Jan 12, 2020 - 1:35am

For those who have worked in IB, what things stand out when looking at candidates during interviews? I have great technical knowledge but I seem to lack the "it" factor in interviews. I'm not giving up but no firm is willing to give feedback.

Array
Jan 12, 2020 - 1:48am

i went 0/15 last year and then went and worked for my cousin for the summer. when i got back in my college town i started looking for an internship with a local company and got the first one i interviewed for, just went into it way more loose/pleasant and didn't try and bs.

good advice someone else posted in another thread:

I always make sure I have a pleasant demeanor when I'm interviewing. I smile naturally when I speak to people in general, and not only in interviews. It exudes a sense of relaxation and confidence. In this business, good appearance is a powerful supplement to good intellect. Body language counts as much as the words you speak.

You should try working on the body language component. So often, there's a preoccupation with the "techincal" skills on this board that people forget about what really matters, which is personal presentation. You guys are so serious when you're interviewing for jobs. I can relate to your situation because I used to be that way in college -- I had thought to myself, "Wow, I'm interviewing at an investment bank -- this is some serious sh!t." But really, it is and it isn't. It is serious, and you want to maintain composure; but at the same time, it isn't that serious because both you and the person interviewing you are most likely ordniary people. You need to learn how to live, breathe, and smile like a normal person if you want to get the job.

The smile actually works most effectively when you're faced with a question you don't know the answer to. Oftentimes, people freak out when they're stumped; next time you're asked a question that you don't know how to answer, try smiling and saying, "I really have no idea since I haven't seen anything like it before, but maybe you can help me walk through this because I'd like to at least give your question a shot." The strategy has always worked well for me; either the interviewer will take their time to walk you through so they can see what your thought process is, or they'll ease up on you and not haze you because you're being such a pleasant person about things.

As a final tip, the smile seems to work best with female interviewers. Don't be cheesy about it -- just be yourself.

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Jan 12, 2020 - 11:21am

OP is a senior. It's kinda crunch time give it's January and OP is probably gonna graduate in a few months.

Jan 12, 2020 - 12:08pm

I have a friend that every first rounds and super days with every firm under the sun. Anything from boutiques to GS. He was rolling at about a 0/12 clip before landing a mid level BB equivalent. He went to a target , but still had trouble. I work more in dcm/Corp banking but I had gone about 0/5 before landing a couple and I'm from a non target. You just have to keep pushing , people get lucky in different positions, but there's a lot of competition.

Instead of focusing on landing IB right away, just land something like fp&a and lateral or higher education

Array
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