Help.. How do outperform @ for the Super-day??

I have had several super-days, and am not getting traction. Sure, the market is tough, sure there is less demand for bankers, sure there are more bankers applying, but honestly: What does it take? I'm a nice and friendly person, with past IBD M&A experience, demonstrated initiative, clear understanding of financial and accounting concepts, an eagerness to help with whatever is needed, willingness to have a positive attitude. But what's the hook? Everyone else has that as well, minus the odd-ball candidates who are just total jack-asses, how the heck do we differentiate ourselves?

Comments (22)

Oct 30, 2008

most places are taking less than 10% of the people who interview for superdays, and its harder than ever to merely get to a super answered your own question, its the job market.

Oct 30, 2008

honestly, i think in this environment people are looking less for the quintessential "good kid" banker that you're describing: ie has decent experience, nice and friendly, etc.

by all means, these are important, but i think maybe the problem you're running into is that people are looking for potential future superstars--everybody knows the job market is shit, and so they're looking to pick off that kid who they think they'd never have a chance with if times were normal.

so you just have to come off as smarter and better than everybody else. i don't mean be a jackass, but maybe, be very confident of yourself, and just know your shit to the point that you can answer every question they ask you in under 20 seconds.

Oct 30, 2008

Just to go back to my point, you are going to have to look for shittier positions than you think you are qualified for. The fact is theirs a trickle down of talent, and a resume that wouldve been good for like Goldman Sachs MA, will now have to settle for Citi IBanking; a resume good enough for lets see Bank of America investment banking, will have to look at MM banking. There's way too many kids, and way too few jobs, and the jobs you think your qualified for, you have numerous kids who are considerably OVER qualified for.

Oct 30, 2008

i actually don't think this is the case either. i've been seeing kids with semidecent experience hit home runs while seeing the same goldman ibd kids at round after round of shittier and shitter boutiques. yes, the talent is tough, but once you're in the interview, you've got just as much chance as the goldman guy.

so while aiming for lower positions is fine, i'd say don't give up on the ones you actually want. once you're in the interview, you can def take out the ex-goldman ibd kid

Oct 30, 2008

Okay, boutiques are different then bulge brackets. Bulge brackets want the super-stars that do a 2-year program. Boutiques are wanting someone that is hard working, someone they get along with, and someone that is interested helping to grow that firm for longer then just 2 years. More importantly, at the Analyst level your doing almost nothing analytical. Its almost entirely qualitative, maybe its binding books at 10pm, they want to make sure that your a very dedicated hard worker and also one that has a positive outlook. Lazard for example will do back to back technical questions as an elimination tactic, but almost all others its more qualitative interviewing. sure, you have to know the basic technical questions, but its just about building an inspirational story.. Again, its not rocket science. One of the firms I interviewed with had 100 resumes from Stanford and the firm rejected them all. Its about fit, not technical wiz, but who you get along with for 14 hours a day in the bull-pen. Can the Associate count on you to do his shit work?

Oct 30, 2008

i'm not in ibd, and haven't worked at a boutique, but i can be pretty certain that your belief that "at the Analyst level your doing almost nothing analytical" would be your first mistake going in to superdays. i understand it's not rocket science, but your contention that they're basically just looking for nice kids is wrong. there are a lot of nice kids in the world, but the majority of junior bankers come from top 10 schools and have very good quantitative skills. and from personal experience, i got an offer in both s+t and ibd and am far from a 'nice guy.' i do well in interviews cause i portray that i'm smart and nice enough to get along with.

also, you seem pretty certain you know what firms are looking for, why are you asking for advice?

in terms of general superday performance, the one thing i learned the hard way is that its important to put a bad answer/interview behind you. my first superday, i had a horrible first interview and was off the rest of the day. you have to compartmentalize each part of the superday.

Oct 30, 2008

dealmaker, obviously there are exceptions. i was just commenting on the impressions i've gotten through me and my friends interview processes over the past two months. i would also point out that you were asking how to outperform in superdays in this market--this is just one potential strategy.

i will take issue with your claim that analysts are doing almost nothing analytical, especially at boutiques (where analysts are always responsible for the model). to be honest, the most technical interviews i've had were at boutiques.

but seriously, why did you put this post out if all you were looking for was confirmation that what you were doing is 100% right? if you already know exactly what the banks are looking for and think you've got it down, then it should only be a matter of time (with some luck).

Oct 30, 2008

Temper your expectations about what people look for in this market

The fact is there are plenty of people who are good "fits' in general for almost anything and can get along with anyone. The internship selection process already weeded out for people who were great at interviewing and getting along with people, and quite honestly most of the people who interned at Bain Capital, Blackstone M&A, or Goldman who are shooting for your jobs are quite good at interviewing because of the self-selection bias that already exists.

To give you some clarity, here's what it has looked like for the people I know who haven't gotten FT offers from their internship and who are doing OCR:

Bain Capital ----> Credit Suisse IBD
Blackstone M&A ---> Bank of America Capital markets
Moelis ----> Lazard
Random Boutique ---> Unemployed.
Lehman S&T ---> CS IBD
Goldman IBD ---> No offers yet

This is not a market where your interviewer lacks someone from Goldman or Blackstone who has a great personality to boot. Note that the Moelis and Lehman S&T intern probably both rank in the categories of most articulate people I've ever known. Either way, you should not seriously be thinking that being a "good candidate" is enough. You should go in with the attitude that you have to be absolutely exceptional this year.

Oct 30, 2008

It's definitely possible to hit home runs, but in general unless you're one of the lucky ones with that ability to interview well I haven't seen it working out. The kids I know with semidecent experience who have hit home runs are actually people who just weren't up to speed on their preparation in the spring but still have excellent GPA's combined with much improved preparation this time around.

Oct 30, 2008

To clarify, I was partly looking for confirmation in my own belief, but also to see if someone would bring something new to my attention. I originally focused very much on the analytical side. But there is a limit to technical interviews. Above and beyond they don't want you to have the idea that your going to be modeling an M&A transaction, or working on strategy for their sell-side client. The idea is that your humble, and that your willing to do whatever is asked. Demonstrating strong analytics is a pre-requisite, but they wouldn't bother to bring you into a super-day without this prior knowledge.

Also, I never said they are "just looking for a nice kid..." but that is one component that can definitely make the difference; something that never used to be the case, but now is.. because top talent is so prevalent, its basically near impossible to distinguish yourself (at least through "fall-recruitment" by your strong analytical abilities. Unless your a 4.0 GPA/ 1600 SAT Harvard student with prior banking exerience, the guys we are all competing with are from mid-tier schools (Georgetown, Notredame, Texas, etc. with Hedge Fund experience, Prime Broker experience, maybe working at a mom-pop boutique investment bank and gaining some experience, so my point is that typically all the candidates are about the same; whats now the hook??

Oct 30, 2008

There is a difference between what gets you the interview and what gets you hired. Top school with a top GPA and prior experience means that the bank will be very interested in you, but if that were the only critera for hiring banks wouldn't interview, they would just pick resumes and hire immediately.

At the end of the day, different interviewers want people for different reasons. Some people are looking for really sharp kids, others look for a personality they can get along with. There isn't a universal hook--thats the whole point of interviewing people. You need to come up with your own hook. What separates you from the rest of the pack? Does your experience differentiate you (if so, what exactly about that experience makes you a potential superstar)? Is it your drive (why)? Listen, the interviewing process is just telling your story. If you're a good story teller, you'll get hired. At one of my super-days an MD interviewing me said, "Look, anyone who is a good salesman can get hired after the interview. We can gauge your analytical potential, but we really won't know that until you hit the line." Sell yourself, figure out what makes you different and make sure it's genuine. If you get that point across in a calm, confident (NOT cocky), and interesting way, you will get offers.

Oct 30, 2008

do the best analysts (the ones who go to the top PE/HF) usually have the best grades going into their analyst programs? just curious.

Oct 30, 2008

In my opinion, by far the effective way to differentiate yourself at Superdays is your "elevator pitch."

Every interviewer, in some form or another, will ask you to tell him/her about yourself. That is where you shine. You should have a well rehearsed, but not dry, self-promoting pitch that will blow them away.

"I'm currently balancing two full time commitments at school and my job, demonstrating my ability to multitask and put in IB hours. I would definately characterize myself as someone who always shows initiative. While at _________, I developed _______, _______, and _____ all on my own. I also have a passion for markets. I have done ________.

This experience makes me a perfect fit for the job. There is no limit to the ammount of effort I will put in to succeed. This is my number one choice and the place I really want to be. "

Said with enthusiasim, a pitch like this is very useful and memorable. Obviously, the technical knowledge has to be there. But, don't be afraid to say you don't know. A response of, "I really don't know, but I will try to come up with something reasonable," is a perfect response.

Bottom line: Be relentless. Don't leave anything unsaid. Make sure that each and everyinterviewer knows how perfect a fit you'll be for the job and, above all, how committed you are to succeeding and adding value to the firm.

Oct 30, 2008

above poster is 100% correct. it's up to you to sell yourself at any opportunity you get. i hate to compare this situation to anything from the Boiler Room, but if you fail to get an offer after getting invited to 2nd rounds, it's because you didn't sell.

Oct 31, 2008

All these comments have been great and motivating. But one last question I have is this: Has anyone with this knowledge applied it and been accepted into an investment bank for fall 2009? (without top bulge-bracket i.e. Goldman/UBS, boutique (Lazard) experience?

The key here is that you were:

1.) accepted to a publicly traded investment bank, as a fall 2009 candidate, 2.) coming from a non-ivy league school, with no prior bulge bracket/name-brand boutique banking experience?

Oct 31, 2008

I was getting dinged over and over and this strategy finally landed my a S&T spot at a large, public firm in NYC.

As for your second question, I wasn't coming from Ivy, but a target school.

Truthfully, school and experience don't even matter once you receive the superday invite. Once you're on the interviews, nothing matters. All that they care about is making sure you are driven.

Go get what you deserve man!

Oct 31, 2008

Luck is definitely a determining factor. It's all about whether you can connect with the person that's interviewing you and whether they like you.


Oct 31, 2008

There is no "magic formula." Sometimes you connect, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you fit, other times you don't. But it all works out in the end. Keep plugging away

Oct 31, 2008

I'm curious as well. I find getting to superdays is nothing compared to doing well at them. Maybe it is just luck/a numbers game after all.

Oct 31, 2008