I know summer recruiting is winding down and a few of you are probably freaking out. There was another thread a few weeks ago called On Losing & Failure that I would recommend reading if you haven't already.
Like you, I was in precisely the same situation last year, and through persistence, networking, self-reflection and improvement (probably the most important), practice, and studying, I secured an offer at athrough full-time recruiting. I'll provide my advice to you guys as the bulk of this post, and then my personal story will follow in the comments section.
-You may not have secured that coveted BB/EB banking internship, but now is not the time to sit around and feel sorry for yourself. I know it sucks - I can completely relate - but you need to refocus your recruiting efforts on securing the next best option. Are there any strategy/corporate development listings available?for that. Do you live in a city where there are boutique investment banks? Contact them, and ask if they have any possible summer internships. Can't get any of those? Then job, or even a Big 4 Valuation Services internship. Getting good experience on your resume is the most important thing at this point.
-While you shouldn't sit around moping, it is important that you take a day of self-reflection to determine precisely where you're coming up short. As well, I would recommend taking a night off, going out with your friends and getting drunk and just having a blast. It absolutely sucks getting rejected, and it only takes so many "No's" before you begin to question yourself. Just remember that getting a rejection is in no way an indication of your self-worth, and that many people fail. It is how you rebound from these adverse circumstances that is truly more telling about your character, your drive, your determination and your desire to succeed.
-In the same vein, were you coming up short because you missed your technical questions? Was it because your story and your why banking? answers weren't good enough? I know for me, my "Tell me about yourself" answer was unnecessarily long-winded, boring, and altogether uninteresting. I basically cut it in half, focused on the key points, and it paid dividends in my full-time recruiting. Unless you were born into slavery in Mauritania, snuck your way onto an Atlantic tanker, and came to America and have worked your ass off since, your interviewer likely doesn't care THAT much about your background. Keep it short and simple.
-In addition, this semester is going to be huge for you. Work your ass off to get the best GPA you can. You want to make yourself as attractive as possible for FT recruiting. Yeah, I get it, you ARE trying. But unless you're going to get a 4.0 this semester, you're not trying hard enough. I buckled down, studied a ton, had to pass up a couple of parties (note: not all of them!) and ended up with a 3.95 that semester. It felt good, and it made me look good for my resume.
-If you want to get interviews for fulltime, you're going to need to network, network, network. Create an excel spreadsheet of all the banks you're targeting, find alumni at each one, and reach out to them. If you didn't do that yesterday, then you're already behind. Contact them and begin forming relationships. There will be a ton of people who ignore your emails altogether - who cares? Move on to the next person, because there are some alumni who are absolutely wonderful. There was one woman I contacted who was a VP at one of the EBs. She was immeasurably helpful. I sent her my resume, we talked on the phone, and then she set me up for interviews at her bank and put me in contact with a friend of hers at another EB (that one didn't pan out, but it's the thought that count). Getting that first interview - at one of the best banks in the world no less (think EVR/LAZ/Centerview) - did wonders for my confidence.
-If you are working at a Fortune 500 company in Corp. Fin for your internship, reach out to some of your coworkers in Corp. Dev/Strat and ask to set upwhen you start working. A lot of them come from banking/top-tier consulting backgrounds. Let them know you are an intern looking to hear more about the background, listen to their story, and if you guys connect, ask them to put you in contact with some of their banking friends. This helped me a ton over the summer. Just be careful to not burn any bridges, as you'll want to get a return offer at your internship.
-Which brings me to my next point - GET THAT RETURN OFFER!! Even though you likely can't leverage it into getting you interviews, it'll at least make you look competent. It demonstrates that people like working with you enough that they'll extend you an opportunity to come aboard full time. A lot of the people you'll be competing against for full-time recruiting DIDN'T get the return offer from their BB banking internship. You'll want as many advantages as you can get because these people certainly have a leg up both in terms of brand name and experience.
Lastly, know that it's an uphill battle but that attitude is everything. You HAVE TO stay positive. Seriously, take some time to self-reflect on both your story and what's going wrong in your interviews. Learn from your mistakes. You are fallible, and you are not entitled to anything. It's a bitter pill to swallow, and I was in the same position as you, but the sooner you learn this the better. I'm sure you've seen classmates who you KNOW are inferior walk away with amazing internship offers this summer. Ignore it. Louis CK's got some great advice that he gives to his kids, believe it or not. "You're never gonna get the same things as other people, it'll never be equal. It's not gonna happen in your life, so you must learn that now, ok?" He also says "Listen. The only time you should look in your neighbor's bowl is to make sure they have enough. You don't look in your neighbor's bowl to see if you have as much as them."
Take this time to become a better person, work hard, play hard, and become more interesting. If I can do it, then you can too.
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