How to cope with rejection/difficult feedback?

I have been applying for summer IB internships for over a year. After many rejections, I received an offer from a wonderful investment bank that I see myself being very happy at.

However, I also recently had the opportunity to interview with one of the most "prestigious" firms in banking. I never cared about prestige - it was completely meaningless to me. But, in the process of having a genuine shot at one of the "best" banks, I really fell in love with the idea of having it on my resume and the opportunities and training it would provide me with.

I thought the superday went well. Unfortunately, I did not get an offer. The feedback was that I performed well, but I apparently was too bubbly (I am a woman and someone who is naturally very high energy and bouncy, but I understand and accept how this doesn't fit the stereotypical banker vibe).

I feel really horrible right now for missing such an incredible opportunity. I was told by one of my interviewers, the most senior person I interacted with, that he did not agree with this feedback and that he really fought for me to be there. He has also encouraged me to stay in contact with him and to reach out for coffee meets and advice.

I just feel very sad right now, though, even though I should be over the moon that I finally get to intern in IB. I would really appreciate any advice you please had for me on how not to take this rejection so goddamn personally. Thank you.

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Nov 15, 2021 - 9:40pm

Hey. Please don't do this. The only reason I mentioned this is to provide more context to the feedback, as it would typically be strange if a man was described as bubbly. You wouldn't single out someone over mentioning they are gay or an ethnic minority, so please don't do it just because I mentioned my sex. Thank you. 

Nov 15, 2021 - 9:56pm

You must be new here, electric-eel-666. Pizz is WSO's village pervert. No offense was meant by my comment, and I'm sorry to hear about your rejection. In all honesty, it sounds like something that will most likely take time to get over, similar to a break-up. As cliche as it sounds, no amount of rationalizing will help you get over it, but once you start at the bank you received an offer from, I think you should slowly start to put things into perspective. Believe me, I know it's easier said than done, but the way I see it you have two valid options moving forward, both of which are acceptable: either slowly let time help you forget about it, or use it as fuel to perform better during your summer internship. What you cannot do is allow it to drag you down perpetually; be sad about it for a day, a week, whatever, that makes it easier to compartmentalize and let you get all of your frustration out in that short time period, almost like a catharsis. So eat junk food, binge watch TV, whatever you do when you're sad for the next few days and I promise you if you take it in stride you'll come out realizing that your problem is much less important than you initially realize. And if you still need some perspective, head over to the IB forum and take a look at some of the threads of the kids who got zero offers and then get back to us. Best of luck.

Most Helpful
Nov 15, 2021 - 8:22pm

Rejections are just a part of the game. I would say first and foremost, you shouldn't let your happiness be contingent on the decisions of others or any labels for that matter; at the end of the day, who cares if you got into bank ABC or XYZ. You should take pride in what you've risen above in your journey and finally landing yourself an offer. There's also a few takeaways you can get from this: 1. you've now learned that being "too bubbly" (and I'm not implying this is a bad thing) isn't very optimal in these interview settings apparently. Now you know this and won't make this mistake again, that's called experience. 2. There are so many factors, that may very well have nothing to do with you being bubbly, that are out of your control or knowledge. I've seen firsthand many ridiculous accounts you wouldn't believe - one manager simply didn't like the guy's tie and dinged him even though he answered all the questions correctly. Another thought a candidate was "too cookie cutter" even though he had all the qualities we were looking for in the job posting. Don't get me started on "we're gonna hire candidate A cause I have a first/second degree connection with him even though Candidate B is more qualified/a great fit for our team". Maybe you had a resemblance to a MD's bitter ex for all you know. Probably more extreme examples, but it does happen. 

Bottom line: I'm sure you've heard of the saying "one door closes another opens". Use this time to reflect what you can learn from this and how you can use this experience to your advantage should you want to apply to another role in the future. I've personally found these "failures" to be the most valuable for growth - when everything's going super well, you get complacent and don't really focus too much on what you can be doing better. I would also suggest utilizing the contact who vouched for you. Assuming he has all good intentions, you showing that you're not willing to give up, continue to grind on will demonstrate good character/resilience and he could probably speak for you even more if another opportunity arises ever. 

It's fine to feel and react the way you do, just don't let it consume you too long. 

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity"
  • 15
Nov 15, 2021 - 9:32pm

Thank you so much for your really sincere and well-written reply. That really helps. And, you are correct. I can imagine that so many of these hiring decisions can come down to completely arbitrary decisions, and there is often a stroke of good fortune - amongst other things - related to getting an offer. Or, maybe at the end of the day, hiring decisions made are fair, and me not getting the offer has resulted in some genuinely good advice that I can use to work on myself. 

Thanks for the advice. 

Nov 16, 2021 - 9:19pm

ActuarialQuant

Rejections are just a part of the game. I would say first and foremost, you shouldn't let your happiness be contingent on the decisions of others or any labels for that matter; at the end of the day, who cares if you got into bank ABC or XYZ. You should take pride in what you've risen above in your journey and finally landing yourself an offer. There's also a few takeaways you can get from this: 1. you've now learned that being "too bubbly" (and I'm not implying this is a bad thing) isn't very optimal in these interview settings apparently. Now you know this and won't make this mistake again, that's called experience. 2. There are so many factors, that may very well have nothing to do with you being bubbly, that are out of your control or knowledge. I've seen firsthand many ridiculous accounts you wouldn't believe - one manager simply didn't like the guy's tie and dinged him even though he answered all the questions correctly. Another thought a candidate was "too cookie cutter" even though he had all the qualities we were looking for in the job posting. Don't get me started on "we're gonna hire candidate A cause I have a first/second degree connection with him even though Candidate B is more qualified/a great fit for our team". Maybe you had a resemblance to a MD's bitter ex for all you know. Probably more extreme examples, but it does happen. 

Bottom line: I'm sure you've heard of the saying "one door closes another opens". Use this time to reflect what you can learn from this and how you can use this experience to your advantage should you want to apply to another role in the future. I've personally found these "failures" to be the most valuable for growth - when everything's going super well, you get complacent and don't really focus too much on what you can be doing better. I would also suggest utilizing the contact who vouched for you. Assuming he has all good intentions, you showing that you're not willing to give up, continue to grind on will demonstrate good character/resilience and he could probably speak for you even more if another opportunity arises ever. 

It's fine to feel and react the way you do, just don't let it consume you too long. 

This.

Also, as someone older on this forum, I will tell you that as much as it sucks right now, that you may have dodged a bullet. If you were dinged for being "too bubbly" then perhaps there was not a personality fit with the team/people and you would have been miserable. There are lots of bitter, sad, unhappy people in this industry across all verticals and many like nothing better than to take others down because it makes them feel better (on a relative basis) rather than focusing on their issues.

In short you can probably tune it down just a little, take a breath and slow down but maintain like 90% of your spirit and do just great in whatever it is that you will do. Don't let the industry kill your personality and who you are, like it kills many others. By being good at your job, energetic, helpful and (hopefully) with senior support you can go far in whatever it is that you do.

Chin up.

Good Luck

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
  • 9
Nov 15, 2021 - 8:24pm

Tbh honest OP, you get so many rejections in life (from jobs you wanted, girls you liked,etc.) that you eventually become numb to them (and become slightly dead inside) and you learn to move on. This is the first of many, get used to them sista 

  • Intern in PropTrad
Nov 16, 2021 - 3:39pm

electric-eel-666

I have been applying for summer IB internships for over a year. After many rejections, I received an offer from a wonderful investment bank that I see myself being very happy at.

However, I also recently had the opportunity to interview with one of the most "prestigious" firms in banking. I never cared about prestige - it was completely meaningless to me. But, in the process of having a genuine shot at one of the "best" banks, I really fell in love with the idea of having it on my resume and the opportunities and training it would provide me with.

I just feel very sad right now, though, even though I should be over the moon that I finally get to intern in IB. I would really appreciate any advice you please had for me on how not to take this rejection so goddamn personally. Thank you.

Replace IB/bank with "guy" and replace "prestigious" with "hotter". Important lesson for all the guys out here - this is how women think. She might say she's happy with you, She might say you're wonderful. She might claim that she "never cared about other guys". But the moment a hotter/richer guy comes around you bet your ass she's ditching you. And even if she comes back, you know she'll never be satisfied. Don't get too attached.

  • Intern in PropTrad
Nov 16, 2021 - 10:56pm

Naa don't worry I can get can a mail order bride like you. 

Nov 17, 2021 - 4:28pm

But if you're already in a major finance market isn't it true that any 7+ could get someone richer and hotter than an average IBD analyst? Why even bother with the initial date if if maximization of looks and money was the goal? 

Array

Nov 16, 2021 - 3:56pm

now you know how it feels to be a man. guys get rejected/ghosted by girls who are much lower quality than they are twice a day every day. imagine being an MIT alum applying to no-name boutiques and getting endlessly rejected - that's the life of a dude.

Nov 16, 2021 - 6:26pm

I think there are two types of missed opportunities: 1) you were given a once in a lifetime opportunity that won't come around again and were unsuccessful and 2) you were given a great opportunity for a role that you know you had the skills and ability to get and excel in and were unsuccessful. Thankfully for you OP, the vast majority of corporate jobs fall into bucket #2 even if now it feels like you'll never recover.

For example, early on in my lateral search coming from a no-name boutique I got an interview with JPM and messed up a few of the interviews during the superday. For a while I felt like you probably do now and kicked myself for missing an opportunity that I thought would never come around again. Not long after I landed interviews with MS, and a handful of the EBs and converted one of them. You come to realize that corporate opportunities are plentiful (especially in high finance) and if you have the confidence to keep believing in your abilities then you will ultimately get to where you wanted to be. 

#1 is stuff like paying for a burrito with 100 bitcoin in 2013 and realizing you could have been a millionaire. To be honest, not sure how people recover from stuff like that!

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Nov 16, 2021 - 8:07pm

This is good advice. OP, you'll have lots of chances at this bank, or at top banks. Luckily IB has a lot of turnover, and a lot of opportunities to break in. Can't land SA? Try again for FT. That doesn't work either? Lateral at 1 year, they'll be begging for you by that point. It stings now but you will find something and this isn't a one time opportunity at all. 

Also, as someone who runs recruiting and talks to a lot of female candidates, I'd advise you to take advantage of your personality but slow down your talking and body language a bit. It's honestly helpful to you if you come across expressive and high-energy but just need to tamp it down a touch, especially with MDs who are more old guard. Imagine you're meeting your boyfriend's wealthy grandparents - be friendly and bubbly, people like that, but just make sure to keep yourself professional. 

Nov 16, 2021 - 10:02pm

I know how awesome it can feel to finally secure that internship. You've spent a whole year recruiting, putting every ounce of your effort into your studies and networking and you've finally gotten what you've been working for. Excellent work! Treat yourself for your incredible efforts and having an awesome start to your career. 

At the same time, rejection is challenging, and it will happen at all stages of your career. It took me until my eighth super-day to convert an SA offer, and I didn't even get a FT offer into the group I was working in there, so I left the company. I felt bitter, especially hearing that, like you, a piece of why I was rejected was due to my personality. I was "too robotic" or even "too nerdy" as I was told by many. 

I focused the rest of my interviewing process into being a successful interviewer, and only after significant practice was I able to get an SA offer. Fortunately, this practice did allow me to with relative ease secure FT offers. I eventually realized that I just needed to meld with my interviewers, and gave off a chill, relaxed, calm vibe. Acting professional, collected, and direct is something that I do think helped me get the interviews, without completely changing my own personality directly. 

At the same time, I do want to say, if they told you that they don't want you because you're too bubbly, you definitely don't want to be working with them, no matter how good the opportunity is. They honestly sound like a bunch of assholes for telling you something like that, and while I do understand that even the most minor things lead people to be chosen in interviews over others, it's just super dickish on their part. 

The best part about this outcome is, as an above poster mentioned, that nearly all corporate jobs are either attainable in the near future. Don't let this outcome discourage your efforts. If you are adamant about working at a place of that caliber, put your head down and continue to work. I assure you that your upcoming summer will be enjoyable (well, hopefully if you're not too overworked, lol) and a great boost to your career. Apply for FT positions, study hard, get the interview and the job if that's what you want. 

Lastly, sometimes, you'll find awesome opportunities where you never expected them. Keep on the lookout for things that come up and that you are interested in if you are adamant about switching. I was admittedly apprehensive about my current position instead of working in IB, but after some time in my current job, I couldn't imagine going back to the sell-side. Let me know if you need any help, and I'll be happy to reply!

Nov 16, 2021 - 11:26pm

As someone who encourages my friends to criticize me when applicable, I usually do this the following way:

1. I think about the criticism. Was it constructive ? Imagine you now change towards the direction others said. Would it be good for you as a person ? If yes, then take their advice. If no, realize that those people are ducking douchebags. 
 

2. Work harder and get better, and show those douchebags you are a better person now.

You don't work hard to have a coffee chat with some guy who doesn't know shit about the industry but pretends to contribute real value. You are better than that. 

  • Partner in RE - Comm
Nov 17, 2021 - 3:10am

A bank rejected you.  An effing bank.  Get a grip. Tell them to go F themselves, go work someplace else, and make them regret their decision.  If any of them read and recognized this post, I guarantee you they probably felt they dodge a bullet.  

Nov 17, 2021 - 11:11am

Expectation is the thief of joy.

This one of those, grass is always greener situations. For example, if you are unemployed, all your friends are making $60K, and you only applied to one job paying $100k, and you got it, you'd be pretty happy.  However, same situation where you got the 100K job, but you interviewed for a job paying $500k, you'd feel lesser, because of all a sudden you'd feel like you could have done better. 

Also, don't take the "bubbly" thing too personal. Most stuff has to be so legally tight now from HR/legal that they have to give you a reason so you don't assume its because of your gender/race/sexual orientation. So you get these "fake" reasons. But also, truthfully, sometimes they're right in that you might not be a good fit in their group, meaning, on a scale of 1-10 you might be a 1.5 in the bubbly department, but the people working there want no bubbly. Not for nothing (everyone over looks this in the age of diversity), if you're at work for 12 hours, you probably want to work with someone who you could see as a friend, or similar interest. Or potentially they already had the position filled, they just had to interview other qualified people. 

At the end of the day, interviewing is basically like auditioning for a movie. You could be Daniel Day Lewis, doesn't mean he's a fit for every single part. Sometimes its a Jack Black part.  

Nov 17, 2021 - 2:36pm

Just to add to all the thoughtful comments above - this feedback is bullshit. Ignore it. Recruitment is very very subjective. Our MD has a problem that the "candidate doesn't have enough energy" despite having proven their motivation to work with us . He told me one quarter that I don't "speak up enough" and in the next that "I am confident enough to put my opinions across". I had changed nothing about my behavior. You'll do great and don't let the suit robots get to you.

Array

Nov 17, 2021 - 6:16pm

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