How hard is FT recruiting compared to SA.

Would you need people higher up MD VP to vouch for you rather than analysts because there are fewer spots. This is coming from semi-target in the midwest looking to get into NY. Many people have said to delay graduation but I can't afford. 

Should I be resaching out to MDs starting now to counter the fact that I am recruiting for FT without an SA?

Comments (34)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 21, 2020 - 5:56pm

Random SA spots do sometimes open up throughout the year, even in the spring for the same year. Keep networking and looking for IB SA opps as well as other internship opps, and worry about FT networking next year if nothing pans out

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Nov 21, 2020 - 6:32pm

I am in the similar boat. Non-target here who could not convert for 2021 SA and at this point considering FT recruiting. I am trying to get an internship at boutiques this summer since there are a few out there that do convert for FT, but I am curious to know what the process for FT is like. I would love to hear from people who have gone through it or from people who have interviewed people for FT, how different the interview prep is and when we should start really networking?

Nov 21, 2020 - 7:18pm

The bar is higher than for SA, but the real difficulty comes into the number of open positions. For SA there are a lot of positions, so while competitive, you can land a spot if you are qualified. I would imagine for FT, all the SAs who didn't get returns are competing for a handful of seats. You will have to demonstrate that you are more qualified than them which can be difficult.  

Nov 21, 2020 - 11:09pm

I would say on average it is more difficult, as you'd have higher supply given people who want to leave a bank or didnt get a SA position. However, many do give up at this point. The real challenge tho is there are less confirmed spots and so no formal process unlike SA. Usually, spots open up randomly and there is no pipeline so you will have to look out for yourself and create something a lot of times. Plus, you are second to their SAs converting to analysts so you may recruit and turns out they dont need anyone. Interviews tend to be more technical as you are expected to start with some knowledge but by far its not impossible. Its more networking based I'd say, but just applying its possible.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Nov 24, 2020 - 10:14am

but how do you know when the spots open up? I am sure our "networks" will be busy and won't go out of their ways to tell us there is an opening every time, so do we just have to check with and follow up very often? This is assuming it doesn't come up on OCR portals (non-target here) or any other job postings

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 24, 2020 - 12:16pm

I've had a lot of luck by reaching out to recruiters at banks. A lot of banks i got a first round at, were simply me reaching out to the banks recruiting team.

  • Prospect in Research - FI
Nov 25, 2020 - 1:41pm

Sorry if this is a silly question, but when you reach out to them do you just ask for updates on positions in your first message? I'm confused on how exactly to word the intro emails to HR.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 25, 2020 - 2:38pm

Introduce yourself, mention your interest and (controversial) attach a resume. I've done this and it seems to work well.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 25, 2020 - 11:31am

As someone who's involved in recruiting, I'd say it'll be a very hard hurdle to overcome not having a SA position. You'd really have to set yourself apart (technical knowledge and genuine interest in bank/group) to be competitive. It's much easier for us to hire someone who's done the job before and can be easily plugged into projects. And if they have an offer to leverage it shows they were competent enough to be hired full time. Overall the rankings we look at are 

those with FT offer making looking to move up>>SAs without FT offer >>> no SA offer 

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 25, 2020 - 1:00pm

Second this. FT with no SA is much harder than SA.

If you can't get an IB SA, you need to find something one step down. Boutique small PE or IB are fine, or corp dev/rotational internships at a F500 company (and then target that industry in FT recruiting), but don't let your summer go empty. You probably won't get into BB FT without a SA (high offer rates + too many SAs trying to move up) but you can target MMs with that background.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Nov 25, 2020 - 2:07pm

I have an offer from a tier 3 BB (French bank) in their DCM team and an offer from a MM, Imperial Capital for their M&A team. Looking to lateral to a better BB, EB or top MM. Which offer would you choose for SA? And coming from these banks, would it possible to lateral?

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 25, 2020 - 2:18pm

I mean it's better than not having a SA offer. 
If you want to  transition to a coverage group you'd have to really show why you want to be in that group and try to spin how what you did at ECM/DCM can be transferred.

Keep in mind you'll be competing with others who have spent the summer in the same industry group maybe looking to trade up so they'll have the edge. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Dec 7, 2020 - 5:33am

As someone who is involved in the recruiting process, would you say networking before FT slots open up be ineffective (don't want to say useless but hope you get the point) since you don't know if the group you networked can end up not having any slots open? Just slightly worried that if that's the case and coming from a semi-target, I may not even get a chance

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Dec 7, 2020 - 9:37am

It's not useless since there are guaranteed to be some who will network early. But keep in mind there are some who will keep in touch from networking for internships the year prior so their connection to the bank will be stronger. The most important thing is the quality of your connection. Even if no FT spots are open, if you ever want to lateral, you'll already have a foot in the door. 

Nov 25, 2020 - 3:18pm

As someone who recruited FT from a non-target, it's way harder and far less structured. About 1/20th of the spots are available and a similar number of people apply, some of which have banking SA experience looking to up-tier. Unless your school is core, it will be a massive challenge to overcome. it is not impossible, but it is stress inducing and a massive time commitment. The most maddening part is that all the networking and hustling you do may mean nothing if there are no seats to fill. Also, MD/VP will mean nothing past getting an interview (at most shops).

If I had to do it over again, I would have delayed graduation and transferred to a target. $50k means nothing when future earning potential increases by 10-20x. 

Either way, both options require a pretty big bet on yourself. Best of luck

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Nov 25, 2020 - 8:43pm

Finished up FT recruitment and signed with a LMM-MM IB recently. Treated it like a class and really obsessed over the process from August - October every waking hour of my life. By the end of my process, I memorized the 400 guide front back and another turn - bank I signed at saw my effort and loved it. Overall, it's much more unpredictable and your efforts have a slim conversion rate. I used that fact as a motivator!

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