I can’t seem to network right


so I have been trying to do the whole networking thing. But my school has limited alumni and I can't seem to get any personal connections with people who are currently in the industry. 

I keep trying and it seems like everyone is so cold and I don't know what to do. I'm like panicking because I worked so hard to transfer to this stressful school and I don't want to go through this and come all this way to not end up at a good firm only gaining stress, anxiety and depression.  

I don't know what I'm supposed to do, I call, try to small talk they usually don't want to and I just end up asking questions in circles. I don't know how I can do better when it is so dependent on the person. So many of my alumni don't respond to my LinkedIn messages. I ask upper class man and they say I seem very likable and stuff but it doesn't seem to translate to the people who I need it to. I'm not sure what I can do. I literally tries so hard to make a personal connection with this alumni today but they seemed so distant and likely they just wanted it to be over. I tried so many times and this is the person they say is supposed to be likely to write a referral. I really don't know what to do anymore.

everyone in banking seems to say I should look into other fields and then so few people in consulting actually respond and I'm trying to get that personal connection. But, I just don't know what to do.

Comments (16)

Jan 25, 2021 - 4:31am

If you go to Notre Dame or Williams (Rice to a lesser extent), you should not have much trouble finding alumni that are willing to help. Both of those schools have a ton of alumni in finance and are known for supporting their school's undergrads. I can definitely see how hard it would be to network from a STEM-focused school like Caltech or JHU though.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 26, 2021 - 12:19am

Its a numbers game. Those schools have way more alumni than my school and I am able to network fine. I have had 50 chats in 3 months at a school where there are maybe 200 people in IB/PE/HF. I am now starting to run out of a network but am planning to strengthen my current relationships with these people.

Jan 25, 2021 - 9:26pm

I find with networking there's sometimes a personality mismatch. There's also situational factors - right before the call, the alumni might have gotten frustrating or irritating news throughout his work/project/meeting. I think it's also crucial to remember the basic principle of keeping it simple. Make small talk as an opening sentence, give a 90 second pitch about who you are and why you wanted the chat and then use the remaining time to dive into their story. Everyone loves talking about themselves and their story when given a chance. Make sure you never ask a question you could've found on their LinkedIn/company website since that just shows you put no thought into the call. As a close, you can ask about the recruitment process or how to best differentiate and if you're comfortable with the alumni ask to be refereed to others in the office who work in a sector you're interested in. Also, it's a small thing, but make sure to thank them and keep tabs on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Also, don't be bummed out when alumni don't reply to LinkedIn. I'd say there aren't too many people that actively check their LinkedIn if they're pulling 60-100 hour work weeks. Remember that its nothing personal - they have lives, they have problems and they also want to relax when they find time. It's also a numbers game with LinkedIn especially - I find that with emails, you have a higher chance of them responding and you can also follow up after 7 days, but with LinkedIn, they sometimes ignore it, reject or accept and ignore it. That's just how things are with the platform - some people can find the time to help a student and others are just flustered with their own situation.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jan 26, 2021 - 12:43am

I know I get they don't reply because they are busy, but sometimes they view my profile and still don't reply. I know most people don't even write notes, but they don't accept mine. An upper class man said something about people are more likely to accept messages if people they can identify with, but there are so people who could do that with me. But, I'll just keep emailing and sending messages.
I also find it hard to find good questions, I usually ask like what makes a good analyst or what are your favorite things about the industry or a specific project. They always are pre-occupied and I get that, it is just some of these people have so much power in recruiting and I know they will probably help another student because they can't connect with me but, how do I connect with someone who just wants the call to be over with? 

Jan 26, 2021 - 10:20am

One thing I think is important to note is that you might want to move away from using LinkedIn as an avenue for sending messages. I and various others I know basically ignore requests from anyone we don't personally know / have already interacted with - same with emails to my personal email (lord knows how people get this). I used to accept requests from alumni but then my feed would be clogged with random posts / internship announcements for people I had spoken to once in my life.

I would prioritize hitting up their work email, making the connection clear in the subject line of your email and attaching your resume so they can look it over / get an idea of your background. 

Jan 26, 2021 - 10:37am

if you goto a STEM focused school, then i suggest you learn to code (python, free on youtube) and then either try to get a job in tech, or a technology role at a bank....this makes the most sense.

Then if you don't like that career after 1-2 years you can try to lateral to something else.

just google it...you're welcome
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  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jan 26, 2021 - 10:50am

Except I am simply not interested in that, probably wouldn't be good at it. I'm also not interred in banking even though I'm interning in it and my school is not tech focused at all. 

Jan 26, 2021 - 11:19am

you are young...until you work in a career, you most likely don't really know if you would enjoy it.

Consulting is not to different from working in technology...there are many similarities (my old roommate worked in consulting, as did a few of my friends...then he became an ibanker....while i used to work in tech before becoming a trader).  

I STRONGLY suggest you apply to a variety of jobs, see what sticks...and then you can always change jobs once you have a job.

just google it...you're welcome
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  • Managing Director in IB-M&A
Jan 26, 2021 - 10:59am

Keep going, learn, and adapt. I remember my first networking call with a GS analyst that went horribly and I never got a shot at interviews. But I reflected and changed my approach and was able to connect and get shots at every other IB.

A few tips:

1. Don't take it personal. Anyone who replies/hops on is trying to do you a favor but sometimes they are just fucking exhausted or having a shitty day. Keep a good attitude throughout the whole call and be appreciative (don't go overboard but make sure to say thank you for hopping on).

2. Don't go in with a loser attitude. Yes they are doing you a favor but they also want to find good candidates. Believe in yourself and speak like a normal human being (vs. someone begging for help). Start with casual conversations and ask about their life and stuff along the way (e.g. oh where are you living now? Heard work has been overwhelming for a lot of people, hope you are faring better but how's COVID banking experience been vs. non COVID?)

3. Learn to move on. Some are just jerks by nature. Move on if a call goes terribly and learn to cut calls short (e.g. those were all the questions I wanted to run by and thanks again for hopping on. Unless you have any questions for me, I really appreciate your time and have a good one.). Note that short / terse calls don't mean bad calls. Some people like to keep it short and just make sure you are not a psycho.

4. Find "the one". Hopefully you will find a few that you click best with. Make sure you keep in touch with everyone but definitely give closer attention to these few (keep them updated about your recruiting process/just check in from time to time). Goal is to make sure you have these few people "pull" hard for you when the selection time comes. 

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Jan 27, 2021 - 12:38am

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