I'm so pathetic--I can't get past 1st round Interviews

Pizz's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,769

Background:

A Finance Major at an Ivy League. 3.8 GPA. Junior Year right now. Had two solid internships at botiques (one unrelated, one equity research at investment management last year) in the past.

Goldman Investment Management Interview: rejected after 1st round
Hedge fund Summer analyst Interview: rejected after 1st round
PE Summer Analyst: rejected after 1st round
Management Consulting summer internship: rejected after 1st round

Not sure what I'm doing wrong. I've done well in interviews in the past. Are my rejections just simply due to the extreme competitiveness? I feel like, at this pace, I won't get anything this critical junior year :'-(

Comments (81)

Jan 9, 2015

yerrrr maybe don't set your sights so high, try Piper Jaffray to get a foot in the door.

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Best Response
Jan 9, 2015

Dude at least you are getting first rounds. I know I didn't get that many (well back in the day), and most don't get a lot of first rounds. So first of all, congrats on at least getting to the dance. It's competitive.

Three things...

1. It could be you. The way you dress. The way you come off. The way you answer questions etc. Have you talked to your career offices to give you mock interviews? Maybe they can help. Have you reached out to those who have interviewed? They might not be frank with you but they might give you some advice. Email those people. And then when they don't respond, call them. Seriously. You didn't get the gig, so how much can it hurt, especially if you are polite about it.

2. It could be them. Maybe they don't like your race, your accent, are having a bad day, chose the hot guy/girl, chose the athlete, chose the client's kid, chose no one and the whole process was a sham to show colleges/kids some face, etc etc etc. Who knows. You cannot control any of this. No one really can.

3. A combination of both.

I think most of us forget about how No. 2 shapes so many job decisions and everything else. Stuff that we literally have no control over at all.

So - OP, take a look at number 1 and see if there is anything you can do to work on some stuff (if you need it). Otherwise, head up and keep going.

Good Luck

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Jan 9, 2015

Thanks for the response. I guess you're right on the practice interview with the career center. The things that hurts the most is that I didn't make second round on ANY of the interviews. :'-(. I can't get past this. I know that the GS interview was the worst--but all of the my other ones were fine. I rehearsed with my friends, sibling, and they thought I was good going in.

Jan 12, 2015

friends / siblings, etc are good for practice, but not for helping make sure your story is credible and sounds genuine.

Also, sorry to say that while the career center mocks are a step up from there, the actual career center counselor has likely never been close to interviewing for a Wall St analyst position. Do you really trust these people when they say "yeah, you're good to go!"...these are likely the same people still telling you to put an "objective" statement at the top of your resume. These chances are valuable and few/far between. You have the school, you have the GPA, now you need the interview skills.

@"Jamoldo" is right, you might not be doing anything wrong, but you also might not be doing ENOUGH right. If you have the cash, do at least one hour with one of our mentors or someone IN THE INDUSTRY...our guys/gals will be brutally honest with you which is what you need right now.

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/wall-street-mentors...

Good luck,
Patrick

Jan 9, 2015

did you apply to any other Banks? Buy-side internships roles are always difficult to get.

Jan 9, 2015

I applied to all big Big banks, but Goldman is the only interview I've gotten. Just found out today I didn't get interview for Morgan Stanley for IBD.

Jan 9, 2015

Is the consulting one MBB? You can ask for feedback.

Jan 9, 2015

Sorry for the lack of knowledge--whats MBB? Anyways, it was a Management Consulting position summer internship.

Jan 9, 2015

McKinsey, Bain, BCG

Top three consulting firms

Jan 9, 2015

I am in a similar situation as you, I got dinged by multiple BB's, MM's, and tech firms. The BB's are insanely competitive and the smallest things can ding you. I would just keep grinding, if you think about it like this: you have a 10% chance of landing a great job, even someone your caliber. If you have 10 interviews at good places, you should get an offer.

If your feedback is that you're fine, than you are probably fine, just keep grinding and don't stop. I would start applying to places online. My school's OCR is awful, but I got 4 interviews with IBs just by applying online. It isn't a black hole as many people say.

Jan 9, 2015

It's a black hole when you don't go to an Ivy or other top 15 school.

OP, I would go on vault and apply to all of the summer analyst programs for the top IB's. Lazard, Morgan Stanley, ect.

Jan 9, 2015
Withoutapaddle:

It's a black hole when you don't go to an Ivy or other top 15 school.

OP, I would go on vault and apply to all of the summer analyst programs for the top IB's. Lazard, Morgan Stanley, ect.

I go to a top 75 school. I've had basically a 20% online app to interview rate of well known MM's and BBs. The other ones I had to get through alumni or fraternity connections.

Like I said OP, just keep grinding. I have probably sent out ~80 applications since the start of the Fall semester (obviously not just IBD, but virtually all are IBD or investments related). Just now are they really starting to convert to interviews.

1. Hit up your network, Ivy League finance major = a ton of people with similiar backgrounds at all sorts of firms, hit them up, and network.
2. Keep online applying. Use LinkedIn and Simplyhired to scour for jobs, try to aim for jobs newer than 30 days. When you do so, try a variety of different keywords.
3. Keep practicing

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Jan 12, 2015

People don't recommend applying online but I actually had success with that at a top BB and received a phone interview. And for people who think only top schools will have any luck, my school isn't even a top 100.

Jan 9, 2015

Also, coming from a non-target, nothing is more frustrating than when HR tells you that the hiring manager is looking for someone with more quantitative ability. Especially when you have an economics degree and can financial model.

I swear HR is the profession for the most incompetent people.

Jan 9, 2015

I think the main reasons why one get's rejected by the first round is because your answers ain't good enough...
If your suit is black instead of navy, if your hairstyle is bad... is probably not the primary reason..

Jan 9, 2015

I always found first round interviews to be the easiest. It's the four 30 minute interviews that are rough.

Jan 10, 2015

So I have RBC capital markets TECHNOLOGY summer analyst interview in three days: Here are the qualificaitons:

Each candidate will be evaluated on their individual merit; however, it is a definite asset to possess the following qualifications:

* Entering the final year of a four-year US college or university program
* Proven interest in financial markets
* History of academic excellence
* Strong analytical and interpersonal skills
* Preferably pursuing a degree in Computer Science, Engineering , or Mathematics
* Knowledge/experience and interest in one more of the following areas a plus:
o Programming- Knowledge of Java, C#, C/C++ a plus for development assignments. Proficiency with an application framework such as .Net, J2EE. Middleware programming; Perl or/and Shell scripting.
o Data Base Management- Knowledge of Database administration; Knowledge of SQL compliant database platform such as Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase. SQL Quieries.
o Network Administration- Linux, Unix Administration
o Financial Business Analysis- Strong financial acumen, ability to gather general business and technical requirements
o Business Analysis- Requirements gathering and program management

I don't have much programming experience. Am I screwed for this too? :/ But it does say it's a PLUS,,,,

Jan 10, 2015

it seems to me that you are shooting but not aiming. you mentioned investment management, PE, HF, consulting... next month you will try VC, PWM and startup... i do not see focus in your approach... this creates large inefficiencies when you are preparing for the interviews... maybe focusing on 2 areas rather than 4+ would improve your performance and thus chances

Jan 11, 2015

Can someone help me on the RBC capital markets interview question I had above?

Jan 11, 2015
Pizz:

Can someone help me on the RBC capital markets interview question I had above?

What's the point? Someone telling you yes or no has no bearing on what will happen in that interview and nor can you learn those skills in time.

Jan 12, 2015

judging by the wide range of positions... you probably just need to work on having a more compelling story (i.e., you need to be more genuine with what your interests are). good luck this spring.

Jan 13, 2015

PM me, was in a similar situation my junior year (didn't get past very many first rounds) and I fixed it for senior year (got 7 superdays). The issue is probably your story and the fact that you're shooting for some big buy-side names that probably want to see more experience.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

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Jan 13, 2015

Im sorry -- but your numbers don't add up -- you can't be IVY, 3.8, BOUTIQUE IB experience AND still get dinged on a first rounder -- especially for SA???? which can often be fit -- I could use a little information before determining if you are trolling or not.....seems silly somebody who does so well in a target school with strong work experience fails at 1st round. Suspicious..... -- Have you read the BITWS guides? WSO guides? R&P? Did you prepare -- or just the hit the books every semester? -- Was the interview fit or technical? WHERE do you think you got dinged? WHY did you get dinged?

LA Bull

Jan 13, 2015

First off I apologize for saying this, but have some damn confidence! You have a solid background and the first thing I read about you was "I am so pathetic." With that kind of attitude why would anyone hire you? With that being said, pick yourself up and get back to work.

Jan 13, 2015

what would you like to say to all the non Ivy kids out there who think they have no chance?

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

Jan 13, 2015

i think it would help if you can actually spell 'boutique' right

Jan 13, 2015

Guys, I can assure you I'm not wasting my time and trolling....there's always one question that trips me up in an interview and its all down hill from there.

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Jan 13, 2015

What's the question? Is it why banking or why firm x?

Incoming Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Master
Literally a problem, solve for both X and Y, please and thank you.
Hugh Myron: "Are there any guides on here for getting a top girlfriend? Think banker/lawyer/doctor. I really don't want to go mid-tier"

Jan 13, 2015

For my HF interview: "someone on the street asks for $100--what do you do"?

I said to collateralize the agreement (i,e, take something worth $100+ from him such as his wrist watch). Ask for the money back within a week. Apparently, answer was this was a game theory and probability question with expected payoffs. WTF

I better start applying to McDonalds because obviously I'm of no value to anybody.

Jan 13, 2015

Well McDonalds received 1mil. application for 50k job positions so it's also competitive, you should practice before that.

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.

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Jan 13, 2015

100% guarantee it's your haircut

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Jan 13, 2015

It was a phone interview, plus, I have great hair BTW

Jan 13, 2015

I am going to tell you my honest opinion: you may just come off as a little weird. The first thing that the interviewer thinks is, "Do I want to work with this guy?". That being said, your lack of confidence, and some of the things you have said in this thread make you come off as weird, to me at least. Maybe just lay off a bit, and read Carnegie's book How to Influence People.

Jan 13, 2015

I am going to tell you my honest opinion: you may just come off as a little weird. The first thing that the interviewer thinks is, "Do I want to work with this guy?". That being said, your lack of confidence, and some of the things you have said in this thread make you come off as weird, to me at least. Maybe just lay off a bit, and read Carnegie's book How to Influence People.

Jan 13, 2015

@"milehigh" mentioned this, but playing the numbers game is really important. The prescribed advice at my school (non-target state school) is to apply to 30 investment banks minimum, and that's if you're interested in only IB. This could be applied to any type of opportunity. Get as many interviews as you can. Your success/offer rate doesn't have to be high; it just has to be non-zero (you only need one internship)

Jan 14, 2015

Stop trolling you a$$

LA Bull

Jan 14, 2015

Im kidding -- you troll so good i am so impressed -- thats why I put the $$$ signs -- cause you can make good money with your con!!! i wish i had your skillz :(((( I love you -- best of luck with the first rounders

LA Bull

Jan 14, 2015

You might be right. This is the perfect storm of bad luck for a target kid,

Incoming Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Master
Literally a problem, solve for both X and Y, please and thank you.
Hugh Myron: "Are there any guides on here for getting a top girlfriend? Think banker/lawyer/doctor. I really don't want to go mid-tier"

Jan 14, 2015

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why a top 25 school and a high GPA mean fuck all when it comes to actually judging someone's ability to perform on the job.

OP, you sound like you need to work on your confidence. I can almost guarantee that this is your problem. From lack of confidence stems many other issues in non-technical interviews. And technical ones too, for that matter, but sounds like you're not making it that far. Someone mentioned Dale Carnegie, this is a good start. But, also, spend more time trying to just be confident in your choices. Own your actions. Be yourself. Lighten up. Freaking out, apologizing for everything, saying things like "god doesn't want me to have an internship this summer" all indicate someone who is very passive and doesn't have a high opinion of themselves.

I know it's easy for me to sit here and critique, but if you really and truly want to advance in this industry, you need to change those things. It will change your entire life for the better.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Jan 14, 2015

Hey.... I had two previous internships before...let's not forget about that. The past hurts, and throughout my life I've always held myself to it--probably why I'm struggling so much in this process. But good advice^. I'll take it to heart.

Jan 14, 2015

Okay, now I'm positive you're a troll. Who lumps Penn and Columbia together?! And your responses are just unbelievable D:

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

Jan 14, 2015

Well I can only hope you speak to people in the industry (at least banking and consulting before buy-side firms) to get your approach to interviews right. A few basic things you can get right before applying to any firm before interviewing:

1. Get your resume right: Have separate resumes for investment banking/ investment management and consulting firms. I know this might sound crazy, but a lot of firms look very closely to hobbies and previous internships as a way to judge a candidates intention to apply for a position. Secondly never fear to tone down your resume if its too loud, my best guess being that your Ivy league and GPA combined help you to get through the resume screening process (IB's & Consults, most buy-side firms require a track record before they can judge you) but you might fall short of their expectations in an interview.

2. Network and mock interviews: This is especially relevant for consulting & IB. Keeping in mind that you would have a decent alumni base in both the industries, it always helps to talk to a few junior people and ask them for a mock interview or forwarding your resume

3. Prepare: Never underestimate the importance of preparing well for an interview. Remember that once you have a call, for most firms having a stellar GPA and good school actually sets the barrier to success very high. It is always easier to UNDERPROMISE & OVERDELIVER rather than doing the opposite. Form a study/ peer group to solve case guides for consulting; for banking I would suggest you read up on accounting and try building a basic financial model from scratch. For buy-side firms directly after college, its more of luck than hard work in my opinion.

Hope this helps!

P.S: I got into a large family office fund a few months out of college by sheer luck and probably did not go through the grind as everyone else, but I did prepare very hard to get a summer gig @Big 4 operations consulting and later in a BB M&A team.

Jan 14, 2015

I agree with what others have said in their responses, especially the ones that acknowledged it's tough just to get a first round interview. There are so many things that go into the hiring process that are out of an interviewee's control. Here are some things I'd suggest because they worked for me:

I went to a small liberal arts school that has a few middle market and boutique banks recruit each year on campus. However, the bulge brackets and high-end boutiques / middle market firms (i.e. Harris Williams, Guggenheim) do not come. I had an accounting internship at a Big Four (by the way I got rejected for about five internships before getting that), but my GPA wasn't anything that was setting me apart and my competition for full time banking jobs included kids who landed internships in banking, some had internships at the big banks through connections and whatnot.

Anyway, to get to the point, the summer before senior year I sent cold emails to every PE firm in the city where I went to school (probably about 15 emails or so), and landed two interviews. I told them straight up that I'd work for free in between classes a few days a week if they wanted an intern. I did this for two reasons: 1) I knew I would learn a lot, and PE was something that interested me so I figured it would be valuable getting some exposure 2) It would be something I could put on my resume, or at least mention during interviews.

When I mentioned that I worked for free during my ib interviews, just about every time the interviewer really appreciated it. Long story short, I landed an full time analyst position at a middle market bank. Still being interested in the buy-side, I ended up finding an alum from my school who works at a VC fund. I cold emailed him after about a year and a half in banking, and after about a month of phone screens with people at the firm and an in-person interview / modeling test, I got an offer.

So in summary, I'd compile a list of alums from your school who work in the field you're interested in and then really study those firms and narrow down the list of people to cold email. Cold emailing is old school, but it can go a long way. I'd also Google around and try to find any small boutiques, PE shops, whatever it is you're most interested in, in the city where you go to school and tell them you'll intern in between classes. But pick a firm where you'll actually want to intern, not a place to just fill space on your resume. The interviewer will be impressed that you took initiative, but if you can't speak to the experience / work you're actually doing they'll know you did this just as a marketing tactic.

Best of luck

Feb 13, 2015

UPDATE: Exactly One month later.

I now have 4 super days. My interviewing skills grew incredibly this past monthOne for IB, portfolio management, and 2 for Asset Management.

I've done 2 superdays (one today, and one last saturday). I'm really worried I didn't get the Position from the superday last saturday because I haven't heard back, right?

Feb 13, 2015

Unfortunately, this is the reality for large number of 3.8 + kids at Wharton. The process is so competitive that it honestly just comes down to how well you can click with your interviewer.

Feb 13, 2015

:*-( . I worked so hard.

Feb 14, 2015

Have you tried doing anything others have suggested in this topic?
There may be social or confidence issues preventing you from getting a job at one of these companies.

Instead of feeling bad about not getting a position you want you should work on improving yourself and continuing to apply to other jobs. Continue doing mock interviews and prepare as best you can. The simple fact that you go to a top school is not enough to get the job you want. I don't know what jobs you have applied for but you should definitely branch out and apply to companies that you may not have at the top of your list. Not everyone can become an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. There are tons of other opportunities worth pursing.

Feb 14, 2015

I am a senior at Columbia. I found myself struggling in the similar situation: getting dinged in the first rounds.

I don't have a 3.8 GPA, or any previous experience in finance. Since I was dreaming to work for a thinktank until the end of my junior year. So far I had interviews from BlackRock, S&T and Investment Management at MS, Nomura (and a few other BBs), and a number of boutique consulting firms, but I never got any second round offer. To sum it up I had 12 interviews within last semester and I made zero second round.

I think I was getting dinged because I didn't practice for the interviews hard enough. I didn't display enough enthusiasm to offset the lacking of prior experience. Also the contacts I have been networking with are all junior level analysts who have virtually no pull other than some "employee referred" flags.

At this point, I'm afraid that I have already exhausted my chances and I'll be flipping beef patties in the summer.

Feb 14, 2015

You need to really hear yourself interviewing - in other words, whether you use a service, like my interview prep or someone else's, or just ask a friend to critique your general interview skills and answers, you need to have someone analyze your ability to interview. If you are getting the red light after the first round, the problem isn't your resume. Sure, the process is ultra-competitive, especially in the current environment, but if you are getting numerous first rounds, but never any further, the answer is in your interview skills. Whether it is an issue of missing technical questions, screwing up the behavioral questions, or just not showing enough enthusiasm/interest/personality - you need to run some mock interviews and figure it out. Your resume can only get you so far - if you are getting stuck after round 1, the problem is beyond the resume and into your interview skills/answers.

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Feb 14, 2015

Feedback from the interviewers is nice, but they're rarely honest enough or willing to take the time to provide anything better than a "cookie-cutter" analysis of what you're doing right and wrong.

Whether it's my service, Mergers & Inquisitions, or some of the other sites around, I'd highly recommend you get a mock interview done by someone who's both worked previously in investment banking and is going to be ruthless in their feedback and will also advise you on how to fix your problems.

Getting a high number of first rounds indicates your resume is solid. Not getting a decent hit-rate for follow-up rounds indicates to me that you're either messing up on fit, technicals, or both. Unlike resumes, there is no "one size fits all" approach to acing interviews. It depends heavily on what kind of personality you have, your communication style, general knowledge, background, etc. (hence why you need mock interview practice and feedback)

Although I haven't gotten around to making any posts on technical questions on our site (partially because I don't intend to target this market when we publicly launch), we do have some decently helpful posts on basic fit questions that you can view freely on the blog. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions as well.

-Advisor

Academic & Corporate Interview Preparation

http://elitecollegeandinterviewprep.blogspot.com

Academic & Corporate Interview Preparation

http://elitecollegeandinterviewprep.blogspot.com

Feb 14, 2015

definitely get a friend's opinion (a friend that actually makes it to final rounds / has offers). It is a bit nerve wrecking at first, but you will be surprised how much your added value a friend's opinion can give.

Also, I would like to reiterate all the above comments; dish out some cash and get a professional review of your interviewing skills, specifically about your 'story' and how you handle behavioral questions. From personal exp., M&I provides a really good service.

Feb 14, 2015

also be aware of the firms u are interviewing for (BB vs. MM, midsize vs. big4) to tailor your interviews

Feb 14, 2015

If you make it to the first interview you have shown the technical ability so it is your interviewing skill and/or personality.

Feb 14, 2015

You could be fine, but there are other people interviewing that the firm thinks are better.

Feb 14, 2015

How's your tone and demeanor when you talk to these people? That also counts for a lot, I've been going into interviews lately just focusing on fit and seeming more confident than I used to. Mine were not as technical as yours and also for smaller IB shops, and so far I've made it to second rounds and made a good impression. That's the only advice I have, seems you have the technical questions down, and if they don't ask you fit, maybe you need to squeeze that in there somehow, try to integrate into conversation somehow. Good luck with hearing back from the other two places!

Feb 14, 2015

I'm a pretty relaxed person and I think I handle well during interviews.. I like to treat them more as conversations though still maintaining a professional demeanor. Are fit questions still particularly important for someone who has a summers worth of investment banking experience? I've had good answers for "why us" type of questions too.

Feb 14, 2015
parahx:

I'm a pretty relaxed person and I think I handle well during interviews.. I like to treat them more as conversations though still maintaining a professional demeanor. Are fit questions still particularly important for someone who has a summers worth of investment banking experience? I've had good answers for "why us" type of questions too.

make sure your tone is not 'too relaxed' that it sounds like you are indifferent to getting the job. It is important to sound enthusiastic as well (of course to a reasonable degree)

Feb 14, 2015

Competitive and few spots this year man, keep plugging, you'll get something. Think about how screwed the nontarget kids are who don't even have on campus interviews, and need to network their way in.

Feb 14, 2015
GutShot:

Competitive and few spots this year man, keep plugging, you'll get something. Think about how screwed the nontarget kids are who don't even have on campus interviews, and need to network their way in.

tell me about it....

Feb 14, 2015
parahx:

I answered all/most technical stuff very well, going beyond what they asked for, discussed in detail DCF and LBO model I had created during my last internship... very little fit questions asked. But I'm not advancing past 1st rounds (well, did not advance for 3/5 interviews, waiting to hear back from the other 2). I don't know what I'm doing wrong and it frustrates me..

Have you tried getting feedback on your interviews where you didn't pass the 1st round? If you've gotten nothing but technicals, and few fit questions - either you're not answering them correctly, or it's a fit issue. Since you seem pretty confident on the technicals - it's probably fit.

It could be a lot of things with fit - you could get dinged for things like taking too long to answer questions. You mentioned going into detail about the models you made. I find that it's better to discuss such things on a high level first (keep it short and simple). And if they prompt you for more details, you can provide it then.

Feb 14, 2015

I've had the opposite luck. Keep getting to Superdays but have been put on hold or waitlisted for 3 so far and waiting to hear back on the other. Hopefully some kids don't accept or do consulting or something.

Feb 14, 2015

Ask for feedback if you can get it. The official policy might be not to give it but if you ask the person who interviewed you directly there's a reasonable change they'll oblige (assuming your interviews were recent enough that they actually remember who you are).

Also from what you've written I'm going to guess that you might well seem nervous/lacking in confidence when it comes to the interviews. I would imagine that these companies don't want someone 'nice' and 'humble', they want someone confident who can get shit done.

Feb 14, 2015

I see, I'll try to ask for feedback from now on.

I might have been a little nervous in the first 3-4, but I wouldn't say I was lacking confidence. I was quite confident that I could get the job done. I could try being more aggressive but I don't want to push it to arrogance.

Feb 14, 2015
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Feb 14, 2015