I'm so lost

Was a summer intern at a MM IB and didn't get a return offer, come from a no-name school what the fuck do I do now. Feel like my life is falling apart

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Comments (96)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 5, 2020 - 5:22pm

following. Curious as to what advice people have to give now since people used to always say you'll be fine just re-recruit for a FT offer and things will work out. Doesn't seem that easy now.

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Aug 5, 2020 - 5:38pm

Just wanted to say that I feel bad and know you'll get through it. The experience you gained through your summer isn't wasted and can translate well to non-ib ft roles if you choose to do so but here are my thoughts.

FT recruiting for non-ib roles have yet to begin and while you might not be best positioned for the most competitive roles in every industry, you'll definitely be a competitive candidate for whatever you do choose to pursue.

FT recruiting fo IB this year might be a bit difficult but I know of people who didn't get return offers and were able to do ft recruiting for the following cycle.

Best of luck OP

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 5, 2020 - 5:40pm

Get wasted tonight, watch a movie and sleep a lot. Tomorrow will be the time to snort an Adderall pill and get planning. That is, listing all the banks you know, calling/emailing all your contacts in the industry, cold emailing new people. You got this king

Aug 5, 2020 - 11:10pm

Piggy backing off this - the day after that, continue the drug abuse. Take a line (or two) of cocaine and go to the nearest GNC. Buy the strongest pre workout you can get and take two scoops. Next stop - gym. Hit chest and immediately leave. Next step is finding prescription painkillers - percs, oxy, anything will work. Take all that you can and put on a 1986 Def Leppard concert. Watch the entire thing and pass out. After doing all of this, you will have the answer

Aug 7, 2020 - 6:34pm

Really disappointed with the team's performance tonight vs Lyon. Been a Juve fan since I was a kid and it's sad to see how far we've fallen from our 2015-2017 peak. Good luck with the injury though.

Aug 8, 2020 - 8:01am

Definitely. It was pathetic. Fortunately, though, this also means Sarri will most likely leave, and there will be a massive squad overhaul. This team requires a new midfield and dynamic fullbacks. In terms of the UCL itself, I see Bayern making it all the way which is great because I've been a fan of both of these teams for quite some time albeit Juve a bit more.

Aug 11, 2020 - 8:42am

I don't know what you are referring to. If anything, Juventus - especially after the lockdown restart - have thrived with the Dybala and Ronaldo partnership as evidenced by their respective goal contributions either through assists or scoring the goals themselves.

Aug 11, 2020 - 11:47pm

Would appreciate having this list as well if possible


  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 5, 2020 - 8:58pm

They made offers desk specific. You could only get considered for a desk if you ranked it. So a few desks were high in demand and those that missed the mark ended up not getting offers at all. This led to ~50% offer rates.

Tobin > [your bank]

  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Aug 5, 2020 - 7:55pm

This is a tough position and I'm sorry to hear. Were you able to get any feedback on why you didn't receive a return offer? That's the first thing I would try and understand, whether there are things you can improve on for future interviewing.

Recruiting will be hard, with everything going on with covid and guaranteed return offers, etc spots will be limited.

That being said you should start thinking about what careers you think you are interested in (in and out of finance) and make sure you have a good understanding of the opportunities that are out there. Start with the problems you enjoy solving, what you want the work environment to be, etc. don't get sucked into the finance or bust mentality.

If you think finance is still the long term career path that will make you happy (probabilistic since at this point in your life few people really know what they'll want to do) then think of the path to get you there. Obviously there is recruiting at all the banks, smaller firms, and related industries. Then branch out, see if there are paths that'll get you "back on track" either a couple years down the road or after an mba.

I won't lie, it is a bit of an uphill battle, especially if coming from a less known school, but there are many paths back to finance if you do well. I know many people (and did so myself) who didn't follow the traditional path into finance. Make sure you crush your next job, learn from what you messed up, and learn about what you want to do, and if you enjoy it, you'll find your way back into finance

Aug 5, 2020 - 8:47pm

I can't relate exactly but I can understand the rejection. I'm an international student trying to break in IBD/PE, everyday is a new set of rejections. I see many people here getting SA positions while I'm still on hold or rejected already. It's scary, sad & disheartening especially since I've student debt which is even more expensive back in India.

This process has taught me something which might help you.

No matter what happens, the only thing we can control is our effort. Most of us have good intent & are willing to work hard. But if stuff doesn't work out even then after graduation, FUCK IT.

The knowledge, will & effort we possess can translate into a beautiful startup.

Remember, we gotta be right only once. But to get there, we gotta fail many times & you just got a step closer to your success. Celebrate, move on & get back at it mate.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 5, 2020 - 8:55pm

Sorry to hear about this.

Just want to say fuck rich handler. Maybe if the dude spent less time trying to be funny on Instagram his bank could have a >50% return offer rate

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Aug 6, 2020 - 12:26am


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Aug 5, 2020 - 9:51pm

As we all know it's a difficult time for everybody. I have generally got a lot of great advice from the WSO community so, to pay it forward. If OP pm me with resume, I can help land you a "interview" for 2021 IB Credit full time analyst at my BB. Note: IB credit isn't the same as IBD, but base pay should be relatively on par with IB.

Aug 5, 2020 - 11:29pm

Reading this thread makes me feel lost as well.

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • Intern in IB - Cov
Aug 5, 2020 - 11:30pm

I had a friend in the exact same position as you last summer - no return except he's from a semi-target.

The guy didn't blame himself but rather the culture that he didn't get the return offer (totally agree with him after hearing his story), he went on to interview for a handful of banks and product management positions at FT50s. Couldn't get anything then switch up and went to one of the big 3 restructuring consulting firms, he graduated recently and likes his new job a lot. Explore other options, things will work out fine.

  • Intern in RE - Comm
Aug 6, 2020 - 12:10am

I know everyone likes to make their own name but it might be time to ask your dad to make a few calls... I was timid and waited too long to ask my own family and they punished me for waiting with comments like "what's investment banking?" and "we saw you're on academic probation - how do you plan to get a high paying job?"

It's extra sad cuz my family is comprised of high fliers in the industrials vertical (third generation plumber) so I thought I could at least pull that at a BB or M&A at MM at the very least.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 6, 2020 - 12:42am

First, I am very sorry to hear what happened. Nobody deserves to get tossed on the street like that, especially in an environment that COVID has created. I am not sure I would be able to mentally handle the situation well if I were in your position (I may be; I am still waiting to hear back as to whether or not I get an offer), but here is my suggestion, cherrypicking some things I read on other threads offering advice for similar outcomes:

Someone on here mentioned this, but I would reach out to your team, definitely get feedback and if there is anything to genuinely improve on, make those changes.

It's possible that their hands were forced, and that the firm was deliberately targeting a lower offer rate this year around. Your team may recognize that they could not have taken all of you, yourself included, and may have pity. As such, they may be willing to connect you with someone they know and recommend you, or offer to write some sort of recommendation letter/email to a potential contact of yours who you may be interviewing with.

Definitely don't give up, as there may still be some slots to recruit for into full time, and if banking is still something you are gunning for, consider going through a back channel (Big 4, back office, etc.) to get to IB.

Take care.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Aug 6, 2020 - 12:47am

Did you build decent relationships with any analysts during the internship? Try to get as much feedback as possible even if it feels awkward. 50% not converting into FT is a wide range so maybe you were good but not at the top, or maybe you really underperformed. If you're in the former category, I would hope that at least one or two of the analysts/associates you worked with feel some sympathy for you given the situation and can connect you to other opportunities in the industry or offer to give you a rec.

Aug 6, 2020 - 2:17am

Hey man - I know you'll find no shortage of support on this thread, but I want to reach out and emphasize that you'll be okay. Having been in the same situation, getting a no-offer can can tough especially in this environment, but you'll be okay and there's even a chance this can spur you to do even greater things down the line.

Feel free to PM me if you're interested in media and entertainment roles or want to talk about options you may have moving forward. Happy to help however I can

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 6, 2020 - 9:47am

Trying to be positive and optimistic here -- when you land an interview it will be much easier to explain your lack of return offer (COVID +virtual setting + abnormally low return rate). I think interviewers will be understanding and receptive to this given the circumstances. You got this!

  • Investment Analyst in PE - Other
Aug 6, 2020 - 12:19pm

Why is everyone acting like its [the banks'] fault for not giving this kid a return? It's an internship, there never is and never was a guarantee of a full time job. Quit playing the victim card here, this is likely your fault more than anything else.

Now pick yourself up and do the same thing you did to get that job and come up with a damn good story as to why YOU didn't make the cut, and not why they betrayed you or some bullshit nonsense like that.

It's ridiculous that these kids think they automatically have the right to get a return offer to a company. The company is doing you a favor by giving you an internship in the first place, don't get such a sense of entitlement.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 7, 2020 - 7:51pm

Eh. You're right that interns shouldn't expect a guaranteed return, but a 50% return offer rate? If HR didn't warn the interns about that in advance, that's a pretty staggering difference from the previous years where it's been ~90%. Expectations and timing here are important since FT IB recruiting requires building relationships.

I echo what other people have said about Big 4 valuation/consulting. Maybe try a good business development program at a Proctor & Gamble or something.

Aug 9, 2020 - 4:34pm

It's ridiculous to put 100% of the blame on the guy for not getting the return offer. Dropping your return offer rate from 90%+ to 50%+ (even <20% in certain groups) after a "heartfelt" chat from the CEO due to the pandemic sucks. Especially when they haven't seen a huge drop in profits and you have to watch other banks basically guarantee return offers while going through the exact same pandemic challenges. It sucks. And yes life isn't fair and companies don't have souls, but stop being a hardo for one second and just let people be upset and be supportive? I think a comment around the lines of "Consider what you could've done better to be one of the kids who got the offer etc." would've been useful but there's absolutely no reason to be rude to someone in an unfortunate situation during a tough time. Don't take the cheap shot of kicking someone when they're down, and maybe give some useful advice to someone who is in desperate need of it.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 6, 2020 - 12:23pm

Do you know how many times I've said to myself "my career is fucked" and have pulled out of it? Several times. This is life. Situations like this will happen to all of us, repeatedly. Be glad it's happening while you're young and not married w/ kids and a mortgage. Use all your angry energy into networking like a madman and having a million conversations with anybody willing to talk to you about how to pull out of this jam. Work on crafting a perfect story. Reflect on your time in IB, did you even like it? Could you leverage this into say, consulting for a couple years? Your life is just beginning my friend, it really is. Realize there are MILLIONS of paths to success and the cookie cutter way isn't the only one. Read books about failure. Read books about careers and passion. Use this time to become a better person. You will look back on this time and laugh about how fucked you thought you were. Life has just begun.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 6, 2020 - 12:23pm

I was in your same spot last year (no return offer, 33% return offer rate from my firm). It's not going to be easy but i was able to land at BB. Reach out to your team and see if they have any feedback, it will be very important for them to vouch for you for FT recruiting. Do not stop networking (24/7, I slept 5 hours a day for months keeping my grades up, networking and working). If I can do it so can you.

Aug 6, 2020 - 12:41pm

Relax man. Life definitely not falling apart.

FT employers (whether IB or otherwise) will value that internship experience, not to mention whatever other strengths (grades, hustle etc) you must've had in order to land a summer at a decent bank from a no-name school.

Once you take a deep breath and look at the overall situation, you'll realize its not a big deal. Rising senior with some good stats & experience is looking for a post-grad job. Completely normal situation. In fact, it doesn't get more normal than that.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 6, 2020 - 2:24pm

Just a quick comment for everyone saying that they were in the same shoes last year with no return offer and ended up successfully recruiting for a full time IB gig, assuring that everything will work out

Please acknowledge that the current market conditions are completely different than your summer and its going to be significantly harder to recruit FT this year. Apologies if this comes across the wrong way, but I just wanted to express that these type of comments/advice on this thread is not very applicable as the recruiting landscape this year can in no way be compared to previous years pre-covid

Aug 6, 2020 - 3:29pm

If you are deadset on IB, then consider this a detour.

The good news: you have a very valuable and worthwhile internship experience to headline your resume.

What I would consider is what others have mentioned on here a few time: Big 4 consulting. If possible, consider going into the Corporate Finance group. It's investment banking, just a lot smaller due to the issues the Big 4 have with compliance. You should be able to snag one of those jobs in a years time with your resume. Do that for the first couple of years, and once the economy picks back up, you should be able to lateral into a 2-year analyst program at the least, a mid-size bank.

Take a deep breath. It is dissapointing. No one will deny that. Take a week, let it bleed out a while, then get back at it. Let this failure fuel you! Think about what you could have done differently. Did you not network enough? Was your work product not up to par? There is likely something you can take with this that is MUCH better learned now, than later on in life.

Best of luck, and congrats on your future success.

Aug 6, 2020 - 3:36pm

My roomate just finished SA, says FT offer decisions didn't even come out yet - take a chill pill and wait for your call. It's not time to panic yet

Edit: I don't understand the MS, I'm telling the guy not to freak out which is obviously positive. Compared to other comments I'm seeing that recommend taking a year off from school (????) instead of just applying jobs (???), this seems like more sound advice. Idk

Interested in code, market mechanics, and trading strategies!
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Aug 7, 2020 - 1:29pm

Okay I guess I hadn't considered this lol. Sorry to all

Interested in code, market mechanics, and trading strategies!
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Aug 6, 2020 - 3:38pm

Another alternative to consider if you are able is taking a gap year off school. Recruit for Summer 2021 and say that due to online learning/heath risks etc you wanted to take a year off school. Spend that year working in whatever you can get your hands on or if you're financially able, volunteering etc. You could even recruit fulltime and Summer 2021 at the same time

Aug 9, 2020 - 6:01am

That would mean recruiting and attending (networking sessions?) during the spring of your gap year.


Aug 9, 2020 - 6:04am

I don't think so? The spring internship recruiting would've already taken place and you would've unfortunately missed that. You would have to recruit RIGHT NOW aggresively for both FT and SA. If you get SA, take a year off. If you get FT, stay the course

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Aug 9, 2020 - 9:40am

I think this is viable. I did something similar but worked at a PE firm for the 8 months instead of school.

Aug 9, 2020 - 12:26pm

Another alternative to consider if you are able is taking a gap year off school. Recruit for Summer 2021 and say that due to online learning/heath risks etc you wanted to take a year off school. Spend that year working in whatever you can get your hands on or if you're financially able, volunteering etc. You could even recruit fulltime and Summer 2021 at the same time

I wouldn't recommend this - at least at my EB we finished 2021 summer analyst recruiting a couple months ago (and assume many others have as well). OP needs to be thinking about FT slots now

Aug 6, 2020 - 3:53pm

Hey man,

Really tough situation and sorry to hear it. I was in the exact same position, so totally understand your situation. I was very lucky to land a BB for IB (BAML / Citi level), but it was certainly an uphill battle. I'd structure your next couple of weeks as follows in terms of preparation to optimize your recruiting process:

- Email absolutely every person that you've contacted before and go on LinkedIn to find people's names and infer their emails based off of the firm email format. Shoot them a note asking to hop on the phone - it'll be much easier to explain your situation with your own voice as opposed to via email.

Technical Prep
- I personally blew this in the beginning of full-time recruiting. Your summer internship experiences don't necessarily translate into answering interview questions (ie $10 of depreciation through the 3 statements), so make sure you know your technicals down cold. For full time recruiting, they'll grill you more on technicals over more rounds of interviews, and there will likely be more rounds since they sign you on for 2 years instead of a 10 week summer. Know your deals cold, and understand your role in each deal that you have listed on your resume and its implication.

Resume Review
- Make sure your resume is perfect. First impressions aren't everything, but they certainly mean a lot. If your resume looks clean and you check off other boxes (eg. finance experience, GPA, ECs), it'll be easier for them to forget that you didn't get a return.

- Absolutely apply to everything under the sun. Don't count anything out at all. Apply to small banks, regional banks, unknown boutiques. Simply put, after you get your first offer at any investment bank, you instantly become much more attractive a candidate to other banks, and you'll likely see yourself land more offers shortly.

Anyone without a return offer, feel free to shoot me a PM, and I will gladly help you review your resume and get together a game plan to approach full time recruiting. Really wish I had a mentor when I went through FT recruiting without a return offer, so figured I might as well pay it forward.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 6, 2020 - 7:15pm

This post is amazing!! I was in the same shoes my summer, thought I crushed it at an EB and heard that I had no offer waiting for me at the end. Ended up getting another EB offer in 10 days because I grinded my butt off (went to a semi target)

Here was my process, take one night off - decompress, meet some friends and prepare yourself to continue that grind (I had to cancel a vacation just so I could extend my stay in NYC - do whatever it takes so you can devote 100% of your time to recruiting)

Networking - Second above poster, literally email everyone you've ever talked to. If you are even relatively close, ask if they can share your resume with alumni from their school or friends on the street. Beyond this, cold email EVERYONE. Every bank in every city that does something remotely related to M&A w a decent name brand (EB/BB/MM)

Location - Don't be picky here. Be willing to leave NYC - Houston, SF, LA and Chicago are all tier 1/2 locations for banking where you can reach out and have a somewhat easier chance of breaking in.

Technicals - This is huge, by the end of the summer I could build a basic LBO but I had forgotten the most basic banking ones or had to think a little bit longer than I should have which came off poorly. Go through all your old technical prep, and take it to the next level. A lot of times if you didn't get a return, firms will push technicals a notch forward to make sure you're capable. The bar is higher.

Introspection - Maybe think about your experience this summer, what did you like and dislike? Does it make sense to apply to investing roles, asset management, consulting etc that might be a better fit? If you're set on banking, just grind and something will hit.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 6, 2020 - 4:05pm

I will add that having worked at [this bank] and knowing what a shithole it is, people seem to respect it (literally no idea why) when you interview ONLY AT middle market firms/funds. So you will be taken seriously which is a good thing. Again, I have no idea why this is the case considering what a toxic shithole filled with incompotent MDs that place is.

Aug 6, 2020 - 4:08pm

what makes it a shithole? have talked to some douchey bankers there + heard some groups are poor, but thought it was otherwise a top MM

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 6, 2020 - 4:12pm

Because, again having worked there, every MD is a former MD from another shop who was forced out for some reason or worked at some sub-par middle market IB. I can speak confidently about one group in particular where 3 of the 5 MDs were either fired or forced out of their prior firms. Due to that, the quality of pitches/deals sucks. They love to hire super desperate MDs that are on the way out of a better institution so they can hire them cheaply and claw back their bonuses if they leave. I think I saw one home grown MD there who was actually legit.

Aug 6, 2020 - 10:34pm

I, too, am following this thread as this man is having a mental breakdown

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 6, 2020 - 11:49pm

Not sure why this hasn't been mentioned yet (unless I missed it), you have a great resume for a MSF program. Considering that FT will be especially tough this year due to headcount, I would start a plan B and take the GMAT. Gives you another year to recruit and hopefully a better recruiting platform to go off of. Best of luck.

Aug 7, 2020 - 12:37am

Sorry to hear :/

Myself and another intern also didn't get a return offer last year at a top shop GS/MS/JP.

I went to a no name school but re-recruited and landed an offer somewhere else.

Feel free to message me for advice or happy to chat with anyone else re-recruiting

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 7, 2020 - 1:38pm

wish i could offer advice, but also feeling these feelings while recruiting SA. Landed a superday with top BB and blew it due to nerves. Assessing my options now, and they seem limited. Extremely scary, uncertain and lonely.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 10, 2020 - 8:59am

just posted something similar below. It really fucking sucks dude, I'm really feeling for you and you should know that you're not alone.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 8, 2020 - 2:12am

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