How to go about getting internship at boutique?

Quaneaser's picture
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,392

Just looking at some of the website for boutique IB's it seems like very few offer a formal place to apply to internships. So what would be the best way to ask for an internship? Should I just email them and attach my resume or what?

Thanks, and hopefully some who have gone through the process can speak to their experience too.

Comments (82)

Dec 26, 2011

Have you tried talking to your career services office on campus? They typically can help you in finding internships as well as preparation for interviews.

Sincerely,

Katie Ye

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Dec 26, 2011

Many boutiques have contact info of the people who work there on their websites (smaller ones sometimes do). You should email the person who is dealing with hiring or anyone and indicate your interested and ask how you should go about applying.

Or you can find contact info of someone who works there by other means and contact them and ask for the same thing,

Dec 26, 2011

Most of these firms have a general careers email. It should be "[email protected]" or "[email protected]" Send out an email with your resume.

Dec 26, 2011

When emailing your resume do you think a cover letter should be attached as well or is it unnecessary?

Dec 26, 2011

I wouldn't recommend sending emails to HR or [email protected]. I think it's a waste of time to be honest. My suggestion would be getting in touch with mid/upper level bankers. Either network with informational interviews and over time, ask if there is any possibility of doing an internship at that particular boutique bank. Or, straight up cold call bankers, ask who's in charge of hiring/recruiting, and ask that person whether or not they'd be interested in hiring an intern.

I just finished my internship at a boutique bank in NYC. And I did a bit of both, coldcalling and networking with senior bankers. I luckily landed an internship by a senior MD referring me to another bank. Feel free to PM me too if you have more questions.

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Dec 26, 2011

Never send your resume with your initial email. Send a cold email to analyst, associate, vp, anyoneyou think you can connect with, request an informational interview, talk to them about their experiences and firm, and they will likely ask you to send your resume.

Dec 26, 2011

Thanks for the advice so far!

Today I have been cold-emailing small boutiques asking if they had summer internships. I've been emailing mostly higher up people (senior advisors, MD, etc), who are alumni of my university. Should I not contact such high up people even if the firm has only like 10-15 senior people and the person is an alum? Also is it too direct to ask right away if the firm has summer internships available for undergraduate juniors?

Dec 26, 2011

Think of it this way...they know why you are emailing them, but they want you to play the game. Ask to talk with them for 10-15 minutes about the firm and their experience. They will likely ask what year you're in and I'm certain the word internship will come up. Try to make it a natural conversation. Takes a bit of practice to perfect.

Dec 26, 2011

focus on reaching out to people who are alumni if your school. level doesnt really matter - when i networked i got good responses from people all up and down the foodchain, i think its more about the individual.

boutiques have target campuses too, just like BBs, so if you are at a school with a resume drop your odds are probably better.

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Dec 26, 2011

With a boutique it's best to email the most senior person you can. If will be near impossible for them to respond, so give them a call.

Dec 26, 2011

Personally I'd try to email an analyst/associate (preferably from same school) first and talk to them about the firm and their experience. If they are receptive I'd ask for advice on how to go around getting an internship. Then I'd email the senior person. You have good experience already so that should help a lot.
That's my strategy to hopefully get my first internship this summer (I'm a freshman).

Spring is fairly close, so good luck.

Dec 26, 2011

Don't be afraid to cold call if you're looking at local boutiques, but with a 3.6 from Duke econ, you should be applying to BB soph programs in LA / SF.

Dec 26, 2011
Solidarity:

Don't be afraid to cold call if you're looking at local boutiques, but with a 3.6 from Duke econ, you should be applying to BB soph programs in LA / SF.

Definitely agree with the BB soph programs. Take a look into those. But a boutique internship will definitely help. Pick up the phone and start calling. And expect to be told no many many times...

Dec 26, 2011

California isn't a town.

Dec 26, 2011

I met a guy who landed a summer gig at Oaktree as a soph via networking

While your friends are rotating through NJA fx and emerging markets you could be kicking it at Apollo... just a thought

Dec 26, 2011

Any input on BB sophomore programs around the United States? I've only been able to find diversity ones. I'm a sophomore with a 4.0 at a target looking for hopefully a BB this summer but I'd be happy with anything in investment banking.

Dec 26, 2011

Small places mostly do not advertise internships, and do not have formal recruiting process. People usually cold call/network into it. Boutique will create an intern position for you if they like you and think you can contribute. However, there is also a high chance it is going to be unpaid, or paid bare minimum - just enough to cover rent.

Dec 26, 2011

Yeah, I don't really care if it's paid or not. I just want something to give me experience/put on my resume come next year.

Dec 26, 2011

Surely you have read a tonne of posts about top Boutique, smaller boutiques and solid MM firms on this site. Do a search and you will get all the info u need.

The application for most is in general - the same

Dec 26, 2011

but when i go to most of their websites they dont really have internship programs for undergraduates.

Dec 26, 2011

serious - I think that it may require you to do a lot of cold calling! and email sending! State you want a internship and you would prefer to gain hands on experience in a smaller firm with smaller deal sizes! Be aggressive.

Dec 26, 2011

Talk to all your friends in the industry, speak with alumni to get meetings set up. I guarantee there are some people from your school who work at middle-market/boutique banks.

If that fails, then yes, try cold-calling these banks and speaking with them directly.

Headhunters are likely to be useless for summer internships and especially useless if you haven't worked in the industry before.

Dec 26, 2011

in all honesty, it's a little bit on the late side even for boutiques - i know quite a few people who had final rounds at the usual places over a month ago, but go for it you never know..

if what you are looking for is experience to position you for a FT offer somewhere else,
it might be worth contact alumni working at smaller hedge funds or Asset Management shops also. if you come from a decent sized school there are bound to be a couple of alums in senior positions in small places where they can simply offer you an internship if they like you. it helps if you don't mind not getting paid. it sucks... but i know a sophomore at my school who got himself a MM merchant banking gig this way while juniors and seniors are going jobless. he's going to spend alot this summer but it's going to help in the long run.

good luck

Dec 26, 2011

Go to Vault's top 50 banks and apply to the ones you haven't to already. Also cold calling seems like a good idea.

Dec 26, 2011

how about something like wealth management at a BB so that your foot is in the door, and then try IBD for FT? i feel that it is pretty late for internships already, as this past week was the last week of interviews for everyone i know.

of course u can definitely get something good, by reaching out to people and doing something like GWM and making those networks.

goodluck

Dec 26, 2011

I don't think its late at all for boutiques/MM (anyone with experience care to comment?). I guess it'll depend on the MM, if you're talking Jefferies or Thomas Weisel then maybe, but I'm sure a bunch of no name boutiques are available.

They may not have formal internships so you should network in order to get have them make a spot for you. Maybe offer to work for free?

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Dec 26, 2011

Wow, totally wrong title. I was originally going to post something regarding an internship. Sorry for the misleading title.

Dec 26, 2011

No point getting the cpa if youre not going to be an accountant.GMAT and biz school if you really want to go...but a 3.5 is fine. I got multiple ibd interviews with a 3.4-3.5. This was from ocr though

Dec 26, 2011
RonaldBacon:

I got multiple ibd interviews with a 3.4-3.5. This was from ocr though

What year was this?

Dec 26, 2011
RonaldBacon:

No point getting the cpa if youre not going to be an accountant.GMAT and biz school if you really want to go...but a 3.5 is fine. I got multiple ibd interviews with a 3.4-3.5. This was from ocr though

Sorry, I'm a total noob - what does ocr mean? (tried looking it up on google, couldn't find it.)

Anyway, the only reason I was considering the cpa is because it would cut off a year of school (and I'm already at an age where I should be working.) So, then it becomes - should I change my major to finance?

Although I have an associate's with the community college, and those extra credits from the other two semesters, the CUNY didn't recognize them all - hence, me taking another 3 semesters. Well, next semester I go into the "business school" part of the bachelors. And so, it's not to late to change my major.

Do you think it really matters what my major is from a non-target? Do you think I should still major in accounting, thus providing me with some knowledge in how to read financials and understand business from that perspective? I'm sure there are a few other concerns I'm leaving out, so feel free to just write whatever.

Also, do they really just count the gpa from the last 3 semesters? Or do they add everything up from all of the previous schools. I haven't done the math, but I'm sure I'm not a cumulative 3.5. Only because the associates was a 2.6. Do you think boutiques look into all of that? Or just want the current school stats.

Sorry about the long post again. And thanks for the replies.

Dec 26, 2011

I'm stuck in the same boat. Even with Penn's extensive alumni network -- and I've probably emailed over 100 alumni at nearly as many IB/PE/HF/VCs -- everybody either says they don't hire sophomores or don't take interns, period.

Dec 26, 2011

have you guys tried actually meeting up with them in person before straight away inquiring about positions in emails and phone calls. Face to face seems to be alot more effective then over the phone or by email.

Dec 26, 2011

Agreed.

Email to see if you can call them -> Impress them through the phone -> Set up in-person meeting. If you play it right, you won't even have to ask for a job. They will bring it up.

Dec 26, 2011
oasising:

Agreed.

Email to see if you can call them -> Impress them through the phone -> Set up in-person meeting. If you play it right, you won't even have to ask for a job. They will bring it up.

I feel like a total newbie.. but what do you mean by "play it right"?
How do you um, heavily hint that you really really want them to hire you for the summer? :/

Currently batting 0/12 for summer 08.

Dec 26, 2011
oasising:

Agreed.

Email to see if you can call them -> Impress them through the phone -> Set up in-person meeting. If you play it right, you won't even have to ask for a job. They will bring it up.

This strategy will get you nowhere. In my experience with this type of deal, noone is just going to hand out an internship no matter how good your record is. You're going to have to fight hard for it. Here's how I landed a private equity internship my junior summer...

  1. Always call them first
  2. If you can't get past the secretary (ie so and so is in a "meeting" right now) call back the next day, and then the next day, and then the next day. DO NOT give them your contact details and wait for someone to call you back because it wont happen.
  3. Call before noon
  4. If they give you the "we dont do interns" spiel just outwardly lie and say that you saw a recruitment ad in your school's career website. No one really knows what the hell is going on at these firms and "we dont hire interns" is usually just their way of saying "I'm busy today, don't bother me". I can't tell you how many times this strategy worked for me.
  5. The real trick is to be able to work for free; money will come later, this is an investment in your future

No one will give you the time of day unless you show uber persistence. You have to make these people notice you, which basically means the only way you can over-do it is by showing up to HQ waving a gun around. The very idea that someone is going to notice your email and take the time to lead you by the hand to your boutique internship is a fantasy.

Dec 26, 2011
Schumacher][quote=oasising:

4. If they give you the "we dont do interns" spiel just outwardly lie and say that you saw a recruitment ad in your school's career website. No one really knows what the hell is going on at these firms and "we dont hire interns" is usually just their way of saying "I'm busy today, don't bother me". I can't tell you how many times this strategy worked for me.

Well, I tend to trust them on this one because I'm emailing 30-employee PE firms where the MDs tend to know what's up...

In any case, I know what I'm doing -- I got myself interviews at Bear and MS for front-office internships (but I was nervous as shit...although MS gave me a spot in some three-day summer program for sophs out of which they supposedly hire for summer 09) from networking. I guess I blew my good chances at those two...though I luckily have an investment consulting internship in hand, although I'd rather nail down something in IB/PE/HF (seems like it'd carry more weight).

Dec 26, 2011

But what should you say over the phone or during in-person meeting? Is there any specific topic that you need to bring up other than your interest in an internship position???

Dec 26, 2011

keep trying.. is my best advice to you. don't be afriad to look at regional banks as well, there is always a chance to interview FT at a MM/BB (after all any banking internship is better than none).

as for hinting for the summer internship...

tell them your interest, ask them about their path to banking, talk about why you want banking and why you are qualified as an analyst, tell them you are looking for a paid or unpaid internship

and cross your fingers

you have to give them a reason to want to help you, otherwise they won't go out of the way to do so!

0/12 is not that bad that would be ~8% chance which would be amazing if you ask me

as for the 0/100 person.. are you targeting the right firms? and fyi cold emailing isn't the best way to go. an email is EASY to ignore, a phone call is NOT. be persistant. you will get what you want if you want it bad enough!

Dec 26, 2011

If you are sophomores looking for internships, don't pigeon-hole yourself by looking for only internships in investment banking. Look for sales and trading, PWM and Asset Management or even corporate finance with a F500 will serve you well.

Dec 26, 2011

First, the advice to CALL rather than email is spot on. Although I personally reply to emails from anyone who cold-emails me, many of the busy senior people don't.

With phone calls you have to deal with gatekeepers... aka secretaries. Beyond just persistence, try calling before 8:30 AM or after 4:30 PM as senior people are often around before/after that but secretaries are not.

For the person who tried 100 banks: you are either targeting the wrong ones or are just sending out cold emails, which never really works well.

Face to face meeting is best, if that's impractical then definitely push for a phone call.

Offering to work for free is a great idea, they have tons of work that needs to get done and if you offer to do it for free you get a great-looking internship and they will like you because you were so cheap and effective.

More on networking your way into investment banking.

Overall persistence is the most important attribute, but you also have to be careful to approach them in the right way or you'll waste a lot of time. Face-to-face > Phone > Email.

Also, aside from just your alumni network, go after networks of any other organization you're in - a frat/sorority is always a good bet, as are student groups etc.

Dec 26, 2011

I agree that cold-calling is much more effective, but I think that emailing first is still a courtesy that should be observed when reaching out to an alumni or anyone else. If they don't respond after 1-2 emails, I say that it's fair game to just call them. That way, you can bring up the fact that you tried emailing them (which shows initiative) as well as possibly making them feel bad.

Also, practice cold calling firms that you aren't as interested in first, and ramp up to the more desirable ones as you get better. However it is pretty late in the year so you might not have time for that. Either way, listen to the other people on this thread, dosk17's blog and his advice are excellent. Best of luck.

Dec 26, 2011

Hmm, I always emailed as a courtesy first (to set up a phone call)...I was always under the impression that busy people didn't want to be unexpectedly bothered by students.

Also, face-to-face meetings are not very cheap/convenient considering I go to school in Philly...and I don't have always have a day to go to New York to meet someone who may or may not help me get an interview.

Dec 26, 2011

sometimes you just have to get lucky...even apply to local firms or small firms that don't necessarily have alumni. i'm a freshman, cold e-mailed about 30-40 boutique IBs/PE shops in the philly area, got quite a few responses at least...4 interviews, 2 offers.

Dec 26, 2011

bump

Dec 26, 2011

There are Excel spreadsheets on google somewhere with massive lists of IBs throughout the US. Find one and just contact firms. If you find very local small-time boutiques, just straight up ask if they are looking for interns. Try to intern during the school year. Flip that into a better boutique/MM for the summer. Reach out to those firms the same way and talk about the fact that while you are technically interning at an IB shop now, it is a very small shop and you want to learn more as a sophomore etc etc.

Dec 26, 2011

Generally, the smaller the bank the more receptive they are to e-mails inquiring about internships. That's all I can add.

Dec 26, 2011

Or just pick up the phone and call them, duh

Dec 27, 2011

You might consider finding your local chapter of The Association for Corporate Growth, which often has members which are from MM and boutique IBs. I think their website is www.acg.org. Another great resource for jobs that aren't widely announced is www.career-accelerator.com. They charge you a nominal fee, but their product is great. I'm a satisfied customer. Lastly, begin to read The Deal if you can get your hands on it either online or through your school library. I hope this helps.

Dec 27, 2011

-

Best Response
Dec 27, 2011

Your template has numerous errors.

Dear [First name for Analyst/Associate, Mr. XYZ for VP/Director/MD],

My name is "_________". [Period not a comma] I am a sophomore studying ______________ at [no "the"] _______________ with an [remove "very high", sounds awkward] interest in pursuing a career in investment banking. [Remove the "I am specifically interested" sentence, also reads as awkward].

"to inquiry about" is a typo. Can't believe you blasted that many emails without realizing it should have been "to inquire about". Inquiry is a noun, inquire is the verb.

You also shouldn't be stating it in that direct fashion. It's a faux pas to ask for something directly when you haven't made a connection in person. You should say, "I was hoping I could get 15 minutes of your time to discuss your experiences at [firm X]. Do you have time on Tuesday or Wednesday morning next week?"

    • 2
Dec 27, 2011

I found the template on a different thread on WSO so I mistakenly assumed there would be no errors. Just a really stupid mistake on my part. Thanks for correcting it.

    • 1
Dec 27, 2011

Lack of attention to detail equals insta-ding. Seriously, focus on grabbing coffee and getting informational interviews. Then stay in touch, send the occasional "interesting article", connect on LinkedIn and follow up, that is what would be the best approach.

    • 1
Dec 27, 2011

First of all, you should definitely expand your search. As a sophomore, you don't need an IB position now. Anything decent in finance (i.e not PWM) should be fine. Target search funds, small PE and VC shops, mutual funds, asset managers, and other niche industries. As for finding a list of these firms, Google is your best bet.

Second of all, DO NOT ask for an internship in your cold email. Think about it from the perspective of whoever is reading the email. "Why would I even consider this kid I don't know for an internship position?" Ask to schedule a phone call or meet for coffee. After you establish a good relationship, then you can ask about an internship. I know you are fairly late in the game for finding an internship, but I know of people who only landed something at the end of May. Keep trying.

Finally, if all else fails, that position at the small retail bank should still help. Over the summer, you should network your ass off to get to a position where you will be competitive for IB.

Dec 27, 2011

I thought about not including my resume and asking for a phone call instead of an internship but I felt like that is something that should be done before winter break since building a relationship is more of a long term thing.

Dec 27, 2011

You already have an internship and multiple conferences/resume building experiences coming up. Get your resume together, take the internship you have, and start figuring out your "why IB" story for recruiting next year. Also, you should be asking for informational interviews and not internships. It's a slow process. If you start building relationships now, you'll be the first person on their list next year.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

Dec 27, 2011

I am waiting for the start of summer to reach out to alumni in the elite boutiques, MM or BB firms in Chicago to start building relationships. I feel like it is too early to start asking alumni/connections for coffee or phone calls. I had a phone call with an alumni at HL around December and it felt like I wasted his time since I did not have much to talk about and I did not get much info about the recruiting process at that firm since it was too early for soph. Also, I did not have the greatest credentials to talk about, which I now have.

Dec 27, 2011

Don't let that one experience distort your perspective. Any time of the year is a great to be networking. Don't worry about selling your credentials or scoring an internship immediately. Its a slow and steady process, and eventually, you'll get what you want.

    • 1
Dec 27, 2011

Show that your willing to go above and beyond. Maybe offer to do an unpaid internship.

Dec 27, 2011

Id suggest contacting any fin services organization like consulting, crop bank, insurance companies and anything related to fin

Dec 27, 2011

Guys, a quick follow-up on this thread. I got a call tomorrow with an MD at a local boutique shop. What questions should I expect? Why us, Why IB, tell me about yourself, past experience. Technicals? DCF? Do I need to review 3 statements? It's been a while since my last interview so I forgot a lot of them...

Dec 27, 2011

Is this an interview or just an informational one? If informational don't worry about the technicals

Dec 27, 2011

Nevermind

Dec 27, 2011

Cold call them and ask if their is a internship program available

Dec 27, 2011

I'm talking about boutiques that are a bit larger than that. They have an application portal online it's just that none of the analysts go to my school. It's too early in the year to see if they will be posting on my school's career site

Dec 27, 2011

Damn I hate to say but you should start connecting to people on Linkedin

Dec 27, 2011

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