Is it ever too early to start networking? College freshman here.

XX55XX's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 15

Hi,

I am currently a first year university student. My school isn't exactly a top school, but it is known, and ranks within the top forty schools in the United States, according to the USNWR. Additionally, I plan to major in finance.

In the past few months or so, I have been reading some blogs about the finance industry - more particularly, the investment banking business. I have read some more books on the subject, and I find investment banking to be a possibly palatable career choice for me in the future. That said, I am not exactly down for i-banking, but I do want to work in some capacity in finance somewhere - be it corporate finance, investment banking, etc.

So, my question is: Is it too early to start networking with alumni who are currently working in the finance industry? I haven't taken any courses in finance or accounting yet, and will not do so until my sophomore year. That said, I haven't been able to find any real finance internships for freshmen either.

I am not exactly begging for a job right now (I work 15 hours a week at a local supermarket, and it pays reasonably well), but I am wondering if starting early with the networking process might give me a leg up over my classmates when it comes to searching for internships junior year.

And also, if I do network with alumni - how should I start the conversation?

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Comments (186)

Feb 16, 2010

The earlier you start networking, the better. Join some clubs on campus (like the finance club), do informational interviews, look for internships, etc. You will be miles ahead of the game if you start doing this stuff as a freshman.

Feb 16, 2010

It is never....ever....to early to start networking.
Just introduce yourself, be polite, and kindly ask them whatever you are wondering.

Feb 16, 2010

Agree 100% with econ.

Dude I didn't even know what investment banking was when I was a freshman. You have a major advantage, if you could get any finance related type of internship for the summer, it would be a great advantage for many reasons.
You could get a sense of the professional world.... even if it simply the feeling of wearing a suit and getting up really early and talking to people that are older than you.. It is a great experience. And since you are only a freshman, if you get any type of finance experience now, it will put you in a extremely awesome advantage..

Good luck dude

Feb 16, 2010

Ok, cool. Should I do it by phone or email? I have a list of contacts from my university's alumni lists, particularly those who are currently in the finance industry.

I even see an MD at Goldman... But most of them seem to lower-level/mid-level people working at some obscure firms I haven't even heard of.

Feb 16, 2010

If you could contact all of them somehow, that would be good. You might not know of the obscure firms, but trust me the more you look into investment banking, trading and finance. Those firms start to sound familiar.

You can do it by phone if you would like, but it really comes down to what your comfortable with.. I think since you are younger, I say go with emailing them. Just introduce yourself, tell them that you are so and so and you are attending X college and you would like to speak with them about potential internships or even just info. Something like that would work.

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Feb 16, 2010

As a freshman, I'd also start with lower level people and lower tier firms..not just for practice talking with bankers and making good impressions, but also because you are much more likely to get an ib internship from a local boutique than a BB as a freshman/sophomore. Even offer to work for free if they are open to it.

Feb 16, 2010

I would be cautious about using up the best ones this early.

You are never going to be worse at networking than you are right now (considering that you are just beginning), so I would start with ones that are a bit less appealing.

Feb 16, 2010
CashCow:

I would be cautious about using up the best ones this early.

You are never going to be worse at networking than you are right now (considering that you are just beginning), so I would start with ones that are a bit less appealing.

Good point. I don't see too many senior people on these alumni lists, but it seems that there are plenty of entry-level people (even some people from the Class of 2002!) working for small private equity firms/hedge funds that have no websites to speak of.

How should I approach these entry-level people? I don't want to sound as if I am looking for an internship, but I don't want to start up random conversations that go nowhere either.

Feb 16, 2010

just say ur interested in learning about careers in finance and go from there.

one of the great things about networking as a freshman is that no one expects you to be committed to anything. you can leverage the contacts you make to put you in touch with their friends who work in different areas (sales/trading, corporate finance, banking, etc.)

I'm making it up as I go along.

Feb 16, 2010

While I don't have much experience in networking, I'd be cautious of trying to network as a freshman. If you choose to go that route, make sure you've done your homework before reaching out to folks. It is frustrating to try to provide guidance to someone who hasn't taken the initiative to learn the business. Also, it is likely that as a freshman, you won't realy be eligible for a job for another 2-3 years. My guess is a lot of your networking contacts will give you some high level advice and then tell you to reach back out to them in a couple of years. Someone said it above, you definitely don't want to ruin your chance to network with alumni a few years down the road because you reached out to them too early.

Feb 16, 2010
CompBanker:

While I don't have much experience in networking, I'd be cautious of trying to network as a freshman. If you choose to go that route, make sure you've done your homework before reaching out to folks. It is frustrating to try to provide guidance to someone who hasn't taken the initiative to learn the business. Also, it is likely that as a freshman, you won't realy be eligible for a job for another 2-3 years. My guess is a lot of your networking contacts will give you some high level advice and then tell you to reach back out to them in a couple of years. Someone said it above, you definitely don't want to ruin your chance to network with alumni a few years down the road because you reached out to them too early.

Thanks for the tip. I'll be honest; I only have a vague inkling of what investment banks exactly do - so I have ordered a book on the technical side of investment banking off of Amazon. I presume that should be first step - learning about investment banking on a basic level, before contacting alumni. Got it.

Feb 16, 2010

Honestly, a good place to start would be to read the Wall Street Journal and try to find articles relating to investment banking. The problem with technical books is that they are too technical. What you need is a high level summary of the services provided by an investment bank. Besides reading this website, which is a great place to start, I suggest you also try to click around on the websites of some of the better known investment banks.

Feb 16, 2010

I would agree with what CompBanker said. Reading the WSJ is a great place to start and reaching out to alumni could be a good idea after at least understanding a little more about the industry. I wouldn't say that there is a time that is too early to start networking, but that being said, reaching out to an alumnus of your school and not having much to talk about or being able to contribute much to a conversation may not be the best idea. As someone mentioned above, having a little precursory knowledge of the industry is definitely helpful when speaking to someone in Banking.

You'd definitely also have to be willing to keep a relationship with someone you find as a mentor. The worst possible thing to do would be either to reach out with no knowledge of the industry or to find someone willing to act as a sort of mentor to you and then to let the relationship fall aside.

Feb 16, 2010

Well, as a pilot test, I just sent an email out to a recent graduate who is currently working at a local botique bank as an analyst (it seems like he's just few years older than me - he graduated in 2009).

I don't know if he will ever respond, but I hope he does. If not, I'll send a follow up in a few days if he doesn't. He's probably pretty busy, being a first year analyst.

Feb 17, 2010

Honestly if I were you I would be worried about slaying chicks, and drinking beer.

Feb 17, 2010

Honestly if I were you I would be worried about slaying chicks, and drinking beer.

Feb 17, 2010

Also, guys, on the subject of unofficial unpaid internships for freshmen like me, should I bother cold-calling all the local botiques and hedge funds, express my interest in finance and offer to be an unpaid intern to get some exposure/experience? I have been reading some blogs on the subject - some say that cold calling does work, others say that it is better to contact alumni instead.

I feel as though I am wading in unknown waters... Never quite liked to rock the boat, but apparently the most successful people did rock the boat.

Feb 17, 2010

It's never too early IMO

Prospective Banker. Gentleman. Bodybuilder.

Feb 17, 2010
afroman99:

It's never too early IMO

This. I didn't stop cold emailing throughout the summer.

Feb 17, 2010

No, not too early. Any jump ahead on the competition helps...

Feb 17, 2010

you've got nothing to lose, go for it

Feb 17, 2010

delete

Feb 17, 2010

It's never too early to cold call or network...maybe you want to rather network though with the boutiques you plan on cold calling. You have the time.

Feb 17, 2010

bump so that someone could help answer my last question.

Once again thanks for the feedback everyone.

Feb 17, 2010

You should just look around Google or WSO for modeling files. I was able to learn what I was doing with models from pulling up a completed model and then trying to make my own going off it. Just make sure to pay attention to what the formulas mean and you'll be fine.

Feb 17, 2010

you're still in uni yet have "CFA" after your name? que?

Feb 17, 2010

Not my actual name. He's a quarterback that was a huge bust and is broke about 5 years after making a shitload of money. Probably not somebody that is going to be passing CFA exams any time soon.

Feb 17, 2010

Not exactly what Oreos meant...

Feb 17, 2010

Nit-picking aside, network now, do it in earnest, with commitment, and most importantly, with a desire to learn, not to get an internship.

Feb 17, 2010

It's never too early. Try to meet people who are 2 years your senior - those people will be 1st year analysts when you're a junior.

Feb 17, 2010

Start networking as soon as you get out of the womb. It can't hurt.

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Feb 17, 2010

My two cents. If you don't have the credentials to get a sophomore BB internship, it's not worth it to exhaust your contacts. It's also a waste of time. If you are a non-URM male and have no family connections or military experience, you have no shot. Instead, look for boutique/MM internships, and work on those grades and EC's.

Feb 17, 2010

well said

Feb 17, 2010

Thanks for your input. Anyone else have thoughts on this? Would it be better to reach out this early if I want to try to build an actual, organic relationship; or is that too unorthodox and likely to backfire?

Feb 17, 2010

Well, I think it depends on who you connect with. If you're connecting with analysts, it's possible they'll have left the firm by the time you start junior recruiting. I would just start networking before/during the summer before your junior year.

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Feb 17, 2010

Sorry for the multiple posts; still getting the hang of posting here...

Feb 17, 2010

Double post sorry

Feb 17, 2010

What demographic do you fit in? M/F? Race? Current relationships? Etc.?

Feb 17, 2010

Way too early. Many would not even respond to something from a freshman

Feb 17, 2010

Deleted

Feb 17, 2010

What demographics do you fit in? I'm not asking to cause a problem - I'm asking because it makes a difference.

Feb 17, 2010

Deleted

Feb 17, 2010

Do you have an immediate family member/friend who's high-up at a BB? If not -- like I said, it's a complete waste of time. I went through several BB sophomore interviews. None of the BB programs are for non-URM. While banks such as JPM and GS are rumored to take people on merit, that's not actually true. At best, you will get a phone interview (if you're very well qualified) and they'll keep you on their radar for junior year recruiting. At the end of the day, the closest they'll take to a non-URM are White/Asian females.

Feb 17, 2010

You can get a BB sophomore internship if and only if you start now. The only way to get it if you don't have any connections is by starting now. If you have any specific questions on what to do, PM me.

Edit: This doesn't mean you are guaranteed - far, far, far from it. I'm just saying you have a minute chance if you start now.

    • 1
Feb 17, 2010

If you think you are mature enough to handle a conversation with a senior associate / VP, then sure, you should reach out to start networking early.

It is NEVER too late to network.

But if you are going to sound like an idiot, you definitely should wait.

Feb 17, 2010

I'm in the same boat as you man. I'm a freshman and I personally feel that if you are mature enough to handle it go right ahead. I believe you gotta take every opportunity you get and never burn any bridges. Maybe try not to push too hard for an internship, unless you're well qualified, but at least get yourself on the radar.

Feb 17, 2010

Agree with the sentiment that it's impossible/not worth trying to get a sophomore IBD internship. However, I still think it could be worth sending a couple emails out as feelers to develop "organic" relationships. Just keep in mind that you shouldn't be pushy/annoying because juniors will have higher priority over you in the eyes of current employees. I think now would actually be a good time to email out because SA recruiting is over, so there's no big networking push and you're more likely to get a response. The best way to network early on is to ask for advice. Do a quick intro then say something like: "hey, I think I might be interested in IB, I know these internships are hard to get as a freshman, but do you have any advice on any relevant experiences I could pursue to get an idea of what IB is like?" If you send a follow up email once every ~3 months giving them an update on your progress and asking legitimate questions, you'll be well on your way to having a great network behind you for future SA jobs. Spacing your emails out by ~3 months should be long enough so you're not annoying, yet frequent enough so you're not completely forgotten. This is coming from the perspective of a graduating senior - I ended up doing fine and getting BB IB SA/FT offer, but that's what I would do if I could go back and do it over. Hope this helps!

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Feb 17, 2010

In theory, it's never too early as long as you legitimately keep in contact with them until recruiting season. Most people struggle with the art of keeping in contact for an extended period of time. Therefore, it depends on if you think you can keep in contact with them regularly or not.

Feb 17, 2010

It's never too early, just keep in touch. Set reminders in your calendar to send them an email every few months with updates on your progress or do some research and ask a question. If they're in TMT M&A for example, look at recently closed or announced deals and come up with a few intelligent questions or comments about comcast or AT&T deals. Even better if their firm is working on them. If they're not advising T and are a MM shop do a little more digging in their space. Or say I'm going to be in NYC soon, can you spare 15 minutes to grab coffee. You don't need to pester them every few weeks and even if they don't reply, at least you're keeping your name in front of them. I work with a boutique debt firm that does a bang up job for the lower MM and they send out a monthly newsletter just to stay in touch. I read it sometimes when I have the time but I at least think about them monthly because I see their name.

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Best Response
Feb 17, 2010

with such a stellar GPA at a prestigious university, I probably wouldn't even apply - they should just reach out to you

    • 6
Feb 17, 2010
mr.b:

with such a stellar GPA at a prestigious university, I probably wouldn't even apply - they should just reach out to you

Lol

Feb 17, 2010
mr.b:

with such a stellar GPA at a prestigious university, I probably wouldn't even apply - they should just reach out to you

+1. See what your boss thinks about not doing any work unless it absolutely needs to be done.

Feb 17, 2010

^^ Actually they practically come from their office to your dorm room. All you gotta do is throw on some slippers and a robe, and head on down.

Feb 17, 2010

Lmfao

Feb 17, 2010

Man, if you want to bank, succeed in banking, move up in your company, be a rainmaker etc... you better learn to network.
It's more than kissing ass, it's knowing someone, or several someones at as many shops as you can. Step two, and what most people miss about having a network, is putting it to use, re: you know a trader at shop A that needs something. You know a guy from shop B can that can get it. You make the transaction happen, and you're now valuable to each one of them. If you just know a lot of people and all you do is ask for things, you're no fucking use to anyone.

    • 2
Feb 17, 2010

Okay... after brushing off my initial annoyance w/ this post in all honesty to get an SA role you probably don't NEED to network. Would it increase the probability of landing an offer? Absolutely, b/c your peers at your school are doing it... so you might shine a little less brightly next to them. But, honestly target students for the most part are practically given all the opportunities in IBD, unless of course you've fucked up and have a crap GPA or no ECs etc. This is not a knock at target students all of you guys had to work hard to get where you are for sure, but for the most part opportunities are for you to lose.

Edit: After re-reading this post, seems like a troll post to start a shit-show between targets and non-targets.. hmm, well played.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Feb 17, 2010

You are a freshman? That explains it... You have a long way go champ.
Your network could determine the differnce between an 70k IBD Generalist role and a 130k Prop Trading job.
Don't kiss any ass. You want people to see you as a younger version of them. They need to see your potential and like you enough to help you maximize your potential.

Don't think of it as kissing ass for a job; You're making rich friends you can share private jets and split 8 balls with.

Make opportunities. Not excuses.

    • 1
Feb 17, 2010
WSRenaissanceMan:

You are a freshman? That explains it... You have a long way go champ.
Your network could determine the differnce between an 70k IBD Generalist role and a 130k Prop Trading job.
Don't kiss any ass. You want people to see you as a younger version of them. They need to see your potential and like you enough to help you maximize your potential.

Don't think of it as kissing ass for a job; You're making rich friends you can share private jets and split 8 balls with.

sad to hear that shit man, 70k IBD generalist or 130k prop trading job?

Nowadays engineers earn so much more than that with a fat tail of IPO lottery... But then I guess not everyone is good with math and science.

Feb 17, 2010
vitaminc:
WSRenaissanceMan:

You are a freshman? That explains it... You have a long way go champ.
Your network could determine the differnce between an 70k IBD Generalist role and a 130k Prop Trading job.
Don't kiss any ass. You want people to see you as a younger version of them. They need to see your potential and like you enough to help you maximize your potential.

Don't think of it as kissing ass for a job; You're making rich friends you can share private jets and split 8 balls with.

sad to hear that shit man, 70k IBD generalist or 130k prop trading job?

Nowadays engineers earn so much more than that with a fat tail of IPO lottery... But then I guess not everyone is good with math and science.

lol yeah dude you are so right the average engineer does SO much better than someone in IBD right out of school

Feb 17, 2010

Always, always network. It is a life skill, and is more important than anything you learn in the classroom.

    • 1
Feb 17, 2010

If your family/families friends arent in a position to get you a job, then I would have to agree with the other commenters who said that you will be competing against other people at your school who have comparable records who DID network. That said, I am not the biggest fan of it either.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

  • Schopenhauer
Feb 17, 2010
mafurious:

I'm a freshman at a top 10 university in the U.S.

I agree. You are, in fact, a freshman at a top 10 university in the U.S. Good day.

Feb 17, 2010

Networking can be overrated. Most of my friends who went through my top-10 school's OCR ended up with jobs that did not come from networking, but instead came from strong resumes and good interviewing skills.

Feb 17, 2010

I didn't "network" in the traditional sense (I hate what word) - but I made lifelong friends in the process. Very happy I did.

Feb 17, 2010

If you don't like kissing ass now, wait till you start working. It's a daily dick suck.

    • 1
Feb 17, 2010

Yes, networking is like talking to people and showing them you're a nice person. Pretty much what you have to do every day at work. So it's good thing to get used to it as early as possible. Just let people get to know you. If you're a shy type you won't last in IBD long. To me networking just means making sure I know plenty of people in the industry I want to work with. I don't have to be best friends with them, just make sure they know who I am and they have a good opinion of me. It will come in handy sooner or later.

Feb 17, 2010

would still network, these days a GPA at a top school doesn't always guarantee a look from top banks. also, since it sounds like you are an ultra competitive candidate, may be good to network for the most competitive positions that WILL require networking (BX PE Analyst, Citadel, Soros, TPG PE Analyst, Bain Capital PE Analyst, etc)

Feb 17, 2010

OP here, I think I need to clarify where I am coming from. I love talking to people, but simply getting to know someone because they might be able to help you get a job seems like you are almost using them. I would rather focus on stuff I like doing at the moment rather then having to calculatedly talk to people. I feel like my time could be better spent studying, among other things.

And no I am not a troll.

Feb 17, 2010

You don't have to network solely for the sake of networking. Actually had this discussion with my parents and younger brother (he didn't want to network, just go have fun at a holiday party).

The thing is, going out, meeting people, and having fun IS networking. Talk to people about what you do and what you want to do. You don't have to "target" people for networking, just remember that anyone COULD be your potential next in to your dream job.

Oh, and networking isn't just to get a good job. You have to network if you expect to go anywhere in the finance world. They don't give a shit about how great your model building skills are, you are a salesperson and they want you bringing in business after the associate level. If you don't want to hang around an investment bank or whatever firm that long, keep in mind that "networking" is an easy way to find your next job opportunity.

Feb 17, 2010

Newsflash: a ton of kids attend a "top 10" university and will be competing with you for top jobs. Tons of kids also have 3.8+ GPAs. And, tons of these kids are already hard at work networking. So, yes, you need to network.

Feb 17, 2010

You might not NEED to network to get the job (though it would certainly help....and you'll need it to get the best job) but you won't go much further in your career if you don't get good at it.

90% of analysts/consultants/shit kickers have the technical skills to make MD/Partner/PM/Chief Monkey.....the ones that make it are the ones that build the personal relationships and sales skills to get there. It's not ass kissing....it's just life.

Feb 17, 2010

I don't understand how you can claim that you "will maintain a steady 3.8 GPA" when you are just a freshman. Are you certain that the next 4 semesters will be exactly like the one you just finished?

As far as networking, go to info sessions and all that jazz, but I wouldn't spend hours emailing alums, etc. Better to back that GPA claim up and just go to info sessions than to tank your classes because you emailed a ton of people.

Feb 17, 2010

90% of the job is getting stuff done.

10% is marketing.

You need to market yourself. That may be networking or it may be building your reputation or it may be something different.

I have also had a dim view of networking, but it has its place. The trick is knowing when it's selling yourself and your abilities and when it's kissing ass.

    • 1
Feb 17, 2010

Hubris makes people weak and vulnerable, remember that.

Money Never Sleeps

Feb 17, 2010

Is a 3.8 suppose to really impress anyone?

Show maybe a 4.0, top 3% of your class and a rhodes applicant. Then yes you probably do not need to network. A 3.8 is like what these days, top 15% of your class?

Feb 17, 2010

OP is proof that being at a top uni, and having a 3.8, doesn't disqualify you from being an idiot.

Good job kid.

PS, The following pic is for you op. :)

Feb 17, 2010

Also I get the sense that some (not all) people posting responses don't have a great deal of industry experience.

I can only speak to the quant roles. In the quant roles, networking doesn't get you the job. Brilliance, social skills, and a *decent* soft sell get you the job. We don't kiss ass, and if we wanted a job that treated us like kings, we'd go to Google or academia. We come to banking because we genuinely enjoy finance.

There is something to be said for networking. Let me rephrase that- Wall Street is a small place and it's good to have friends. There is also something to be said for standing on your own two feet. Both are extremely important. Someone who will have a successful career will be able to do both, but in the long run it's better to be excellent at your job and good at networking than to be excellent at networking and good at your job. There is no substitute for producing value.

OP, get a PhD and do a startup first. Create something of actual value. Then tell all of us "networking" schmucks to go to hell when we find ourselves needing to "network" you.

Again, I take a dim view of networking. It is a necessary evil. Like hiring salespeople. It produces nothing of substance, yet it is a requirement.

Feb 17, 2010

Most of the OCR positions at my school have anywhere from 7 to 20~ interview slots. I'm willing to bet there are at least a couple dozen kids applying to those roles who look at least as good, if not better, than me on paper. I really think networking is still important.

Feb 17, 2010
mafurious:

So I'm a freshman at a top 10 university in the U.S. and am going to maintain a steady 3.8 GPA. To me, "networking" sounds a lot like kissing ass and isn't something that I want to do unless it needs to be done. With my situation in mind, do I need to start actively networking in the near future or just hand in a resume when recruiters come to my school and send it around.

Give me you're email address. You're hired! No need for resume check or superday! Pls we really want to sign you before the other top banks get you. Im going to send you your offer letter now!!!! Congrats

Feb 17, 2010

So what is this other obsession on WSO with Rhodes Scholars, HBS grads, and dare I say students from certain MFin programs just walking into jobs and getting hired? One cannot be both obsessed with networking and with prestige.

Here's my view:

Spend most of your four years in school learning how to create value. Be it as a programmer or as a quant or as a a trader, banker, or research guy. As a trader or quant, you can develop a portfolio of strategies.

Learn to use Bloomberg, Compustat, and the other market data databases. Learn how to do a legitimate backtest and run legitimate analytics.

Spend some of the rest of your time making friends. Genuine friends are infinitely more valuable than fake friends, but it's ok to lean a little more towards friends in industries you want to work in.

Also, never forget that there are thousands of UC Berkeley, UMich, and UVA alumns who are probably smarter than you.

Finally it's always best to be hired for your competence than for your networking or prestige. Let's be clear- sales ability can be a form of competence; my point is that it's WAAY better to be in a job you're excellent at than to be in a job you're just ok at.

Feb 17, 2010

Mitt Romney networked his ass off and he didn't get the job he wanted. No one is too good for networking

Feb 17, 2010
turtles:

Mitt Romney networked his ass off and he didn't get the job he wanted. No one is too good for networking

Mitt Romney didn't have competence. At least when it came to politics.

Part of **political** competence is empathy. Neither candidate had very good empathy for the median voter, but Obama had it better. I say this as a Republican.

Networking is important, but competence trumps networking in the end. And prestige is the least important of the three.

Feb 17, 2010

I can't believe this thread has gotten so many responses!

Yes, network. It's not hard and important. Done.

Feb 17, 2010

Networking can be as simple as asking seniors as your school about their summer experiences. During recruiting time, just tell them to keep an eye out for you. I agree that for certain schools the networking aspect is grossly overrated. I know kids in my school that entered third year without knowledge of what banking is and have a SA offer in hand 5-6 months later. Yes that does happen, and no he/she was not connected.

Feb 17, 2010

Disregard most of the responses on here. They're simply blowing off steam because networking is critical for some people. Still, you gotta network some dude. Networking can never hurt (unless you're an idiot) and can definitely help in some cases. At the bare minimum, do what westsidewolf suggested and attend the information sessions (you can do this junior year), but don't spend too much time randomly emailing people if you don't feel it's necessary (and it's not if you do well at a target). This advice assumes you keep that 3.8 GPA.

Feb 17, 2010

For someone in a similar situation (top school, 3.7-3.8 GPA, econ/cs major), how DO you network?

Do you all simply mean make friends with my class mates, which is fine by me, or do you mean get to know people already on Wall Street, i.e analysts, associates, etc? The latter seems much more mysterious to me, as in I don't really know how to do it (though I absolutely understand it's valuable). Do I just send friendly emails to people at banks asking questions? How would I "use" this network later to land a job? Or am I missing the point of this?

I apologize if these questions seems naive... they don't teach you how to get a job in high school/college. And yes, I understand that going to a "top school" means practically nothing - that's why I am asking, because I don't want to be unemployed in 2 and 1/2 years!

Thanks!

Feb 17, 2010

Do you even lift?

Feb 17, 2010
mafurious:

So I'm a freshman...and am going to maintain a steady 3.8 GPA.

You say that now.

Feb 17, 2010

Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

Feb 17, 2010

For what it's worth, when I was in school I saw some people with such ridiculous resumes that they were basically going around just scooping up job offer after job offer and half the time they didn't even know what they were applying for! So if your resume is really that ridiculous (and the bar is set pretty high there) then you probably don't need to do much "networking". It probably won't hurt though, unless you have the EQ of a chihuahua (like me). Even then, just talk to the people that come to the info sessions and make them remember you. I remember doing that to get interviews for jobs I was not competitive for.

Feb 17, 2010

Yea. Don't network. I don't see 675743 resumes from top ten university students with 3.8gpas. I'd rather hire the driven kid from a no name school with a 3.2 than someone with a 3.8 who thinks he/she is gods gift to man.

Feb 17, 2010

Technicals are easy in this biz, learning the "ropes" through networking will help with being likable and ultimately that is THE deciding factor. No one hires someone they dislike working with.

Feb 17, 2010

Sometimes I have a hard time believing what I read here.

Feb 17, 2010
SenhorFinance:

Sometimes I have a hard time believing what I read here.

Just sometimes?

Feb 17, 2010

Wow this thread has really taken off! I'm still unsure exactly what I'm supposed to do though. Should I just apply for positions when the time comes, or do I contact people in the relevant company before hand so that my name gets looked at a little more closely? I guess that is how I am viewing networking at the moment.

Feb 17, 2010
mafurious:

Wow this thread has really taken off! I'm still unsure exactly what I'm supposed to do though. Should I just apply for positions when the time comes, or do I contact people in the relevant company before hand so that my name gets looked at a little more closely? I guess that is how I am viewing networking at the moment.

i would probably just withdraw from school if i were you in order to avoid heart-breaking disappointment

Feb 17, 2010
mafurious:

Wow this thread has really taken off! I'm still unsure exactly what I'm supposed to do though. Should I just apply for positions when the time comes, or do I contact people in the relevant company before hand so that my name gets looked at a little more closely? I guess that is how I am viewing networking at the moment.

Have you grown any pub hair yet?

Feb 17, 2010
mafurious:

Wow this thread has really taken off!

Mention how happy you are that an ivy leaguer gets so much attention on these forums if you really want to irritate people.

To answer the question, it's tricky. Go to the recruiting events and go for the soft sell.

Feb 17, 2010

Just show up to the recruiting events. No need for more.
- Top target grad now at top BB

Feb 17, 2010
mxc:

Just show up to the recruiting events. No need for more.
- Top target grad now at top BB

Top group?

Feb 17, 2010
DonVon:
mxc:

Just show up to the recruiting events. No need for more.
- Top target grad now at top BB

Top group?

Yes but in S&T.

Feb 17, 2010

mafurious -- you're a freshman so right now your priorities are to keep up your GPA, take your econ courses, belong to the investment club, try not to blackout more than necessary, etc. all the basics.

re networking -- it may seem goofy now but once you're in the business you'll naturally click with some folks and respect others, etc. so you'll grow your own network just by being yourself... don't doubt the importance of meeting folks since they could introduce you to the next best opportunity, become a great friend / mentor / teacher, etc.... there's a lot of socializing that goes on in S+T and even IBD in the senior positions... embrace the idea of talking to someone and learning from them. it's important.

the easiest* path is to lockdown a junior-senior summer internship -- and lockdown a job from that internship... your GPA and school sound great, but you may be a dime a dozen if you're not also someone a person wants to sit next to 24/7, grab drinks with, count on during high stress situations, crack jokes with, etc... having a friend in the institutions can definitely help... either way, stay humble, stay hungry, and be yourself.

if you want to be proactive now i'd recommend applying anywhere that will take freshman-sophomores... and if you have a family member or family friend that would actually hook you up, then work it... otherwise i'd recommend you work on getting a summer grant to study abroad, etc.... you'll be an adult working 24/7 soon enough... enjoy college.

* i say "easiest" for a reason... if the summer intern to post-college job doesn't work out, that shouldn't stop you... big banks come and recruit at your schools and it can be a bit haphazard how everything works out at the end of the day... just find your opportunity and make the most of it.

good luck

who is john galt?

Feb 17, 2010

Buy a decent suit, regardless of whether or not you go on the trip. You'll need one for countless reasons throughout college (formals, interviews, networking, classy drinking night).

Feb 17, 2010

I was definitely planning on purchasing one in the near future, however I feel like this deadline is too soon for me to meet. Anyone have a ballpark figure on how much I should spend for my first suit? Also if anyone has any suggestions for inexpensive canadian retailers I'd really appreciate it.

Feb 17, 2010
Misclyfe:

I was definitely planning on purchasing one in the near future, however I feel like this deadline is too soon for me to meet. Anyone have a ballpark figure on how much I should spend for my first suit? Also if anyone has any suggestions for inexpensive canadian retailers I'd really appreciate it.

I don't know any canadian retailers, but just get a suit that fits really well. An low-quality/decent suit that fits is better than any baggy/ill-fitting suit. Probably like $200-300USD for a decent first suit?

Feb 17, 2010

You can also go to any decent department store and ask the sales clerk for help. They'll also almost always do alterations for you as well, so it will actually fit you.

Feb 17, 2010

Probably too early. Remember the saying "a bird in hand is worth two in the bush"? It applies here too. Congrats on your CB offer - I'd work at it diligently for some time to get the hang of it and make good impressions on your colleagues, and who knows? Maybe you'll really like it - I have a buddy in corporate banking who has no intention of leaving anytime soon.

Also, if you try to start networking now, people may wonder what your level of commitment/sincerity is.

Later on, if you do decide to go IBD anyway, I wouldn't limit myself to networking internally at the bank - talk to headhunters and alumni at other banks too.

Feb 17, 2010

I agree that it's a bit early. If you're in the area though, then absolutely contact your soon-to-be boss and ask if you can bring in coffee or get a tour or meet a few of the folks. That's going through proper channels so you'll be safe.

If the firm isn't too far from you, or you're able to be in the area, then just say you'll be in the area on x days and would like to stop in for _____. If they don't bite then later on after some time passes touch base again and say you'll be in the area on y days. So what if you aren't really planning on being there --- you can always make the trip if the answer is "yes, happy to see you and introduce you around early".

In one form or another life is about networking / selling...and having fun. Always be closing!

Feb 17, 2010

Network your balls off by starting as soon as you can and focus on getting good grades your freshman year. Could also consider reaching out to the elite finance clubs from your University ahead of time so that you are prepared to participate when the semester begins.

Feb 17, 2010

Thanks @hightheta01 I'm really trying to position myself for a great 2018 summer internship. I'm going to Northeastern, and we start co-ops sophomore year. I want to gain some valuable experience in a firm to leverage myself for competitive co-ops. How would I best position myself for something like this?

Feb 17, 2010

I think you should focus on getting an investment banking offer first. I don't think people at PE will take you seriously as a freshman unless it's a firm that specifically has a summer analyst program for undergrads (like Silver Lake or Audax)

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Feb 17, 2010

Hello my fellow future competition for 2020 BB SA recruiting. Hope ya hitting the ground running on campus loading up on your technicals, finance clubs, and networking bud! Already doing an internship rn should set me up for PWM BB atleast for freshmen summer. Hope you're in a target btw because you and the rest of my peers will be destroyed. The BO is wide open for the slackers hehe!

P.S the fact that I'm writing this on the night of the Fourth of July is a testament to my determination to destroy my competition! Good luck ya gonna need it!!

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Feb 17, 2010

Easy place to start is go on linkedin and have a decent profile setup. Be genuine and message up some connections with alumni from your school who went in banking/VC/PE. Hopefully some will offer to have a phone call or coffee chat

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Feb 17, 2010

Thanks, that sounds like a good way to get started. Is there anything specifically that you think we be beneficial to have on my linkedin profile?

Feb 17, 2010

Well make sure you're not coming off as some mysterious person. Make it clear what school you went to/are going to and what you plan on studying. List your previous work experience (but don't be a jackoff about it, no one is going to take you seriously if you bullshit), extracurricular involvement. From my experience, ur going to be likely brushed aside if you act overly ambitious and arrogant... so approach connections humbly... never brag. When adding connections, make sure to "add a note" and include a msg that's short and sweet.

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Feb 17, 2010

awesome! Thanks so much

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Feb 17, 2010

Np and gl my friend

Feb 17, 2010

I would second everything you said except for "likely to be brushed aside if you act overly ambitious". Arrogant, absolutely. Ambitious? No way. 1) be willing to learn absolutely everything and be driven as hell and they will love you. If you act ambitious because it's genuine, they will want to help you more. But don't let it make you a cock- perhaps that's where you were getting at.

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Feb 17, 2010

What year are you

Feb 17, 2010

it doesn't hurt to start building relationships at any point in time

Feb 17, 2010

Ending my sophomore year.

I'd also like to point out I may be transferring universities this year, which may require me an extra semester. Thus, If I do end up transferring, next summer will not be my FINAL summer of college. could this hurt or help me you guys think?

Feb 17, 2010

Not too early. Keep calling.

Feb 17, 2010

damn. you're a beast. GOOD JOB MAN!

Feb 17, 2010

Can you cold call/network too early?

i dont think so

Feb 17, 2010

You could never start too early. Maintaining is a whole different ball game.

Feb 17, 2010

deleted

Feb 17, 2010

Thanks guys. I moved from LA to NYC to be able to learn about finance/investing and bring it back to cali upon graduation. My biggest fear is all these cold winters and lack of family events will go in vein.

Lastly, do you all recommend I use linkedin professional (the paid subscription, which is like $30 a month)? I am able to get access to names and try and figure out their email address ([email protected]), but I'm assuming this may be easier if I have a full blown account. any input?

Thanks guys!

Feb 17, 2010

call when you are born, it is NEVER too early

Feb 17, 2010

The earlier the better dude. Just means you have plenty of time to solidify those relationships

Feb 17, 2010

although i'd ask them more for advice, as opposed to just telling them who you are, and trying to "network" with them. i mean, that is more useful too, and you are reaching out to them for a reason, as opposed to just telling them who you are and what you're doing. i'm sure this is obvious, but just thought it's worth iterating

Feb 17, 2010

You're too late to the game. You need to start contacting alums as soon as you get accepted to college. I think you might be able to lateral after an MBA though. Try contacting some HBS alums.

Feb 17, 2010
curiousmonkey:

You're too late to the game. You need to start contacting alums as soon as you get accepted to college. I think you might be able to lateral after an MBA though. Try contacting some HBS alums.

True that he's too late, but he really should have started networking when he was attending one of the elite private grade schools. What, you didn't go to one? I guess your parents should have networked better when you were in the cradle...

Feb 17, 2010

...you don't even REALLY know if you're going to enjoy finance yet. Work hard, learn as much as you can, and figure out if this is REALLY what you want to do with your life.....then you can worry about PE/HF/"insert masturbatory finance term here." Networking is important, but settle down. Enjoy your summer of freedom (you'll never have it again) and be ready to work hard.

Feb 17, 2010

Never too early.

Feb 17, 2010

This is by far the easiest question ever on this...never too early. One trick though is to make sure you follow up periodically and make it a point to get personal with them. I always ask about any plans/vacations coming up, how's the weather etc and get what kind of hobbies they're into and always reference them. If you don't give a shit they will notice, and return the favor.

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

Feb 17, 2010

Well actually it can sometimes be too early... I have heard this before because people on the street join and leave jobs in 2-3 years if u network with people from your target shop and they leave then that was pointless because he is out of the firm. I know somebody who started networking with an alum from GS and the GS guy went to MBA before he could help him out.

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

Feb 17, 2010

I would say If u are networking early then maybe try networking with more so associates + now than analysts because they could leave and you would not be able to leverage it.

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

Feb 17, 2010
Ambition:

I would say If u are networking early then maybe try networking with more so associates + now than analysts because they could leave and you would not be able to leverage it.

I personally would prefer to have a relationship with the guy who's been through it and moved on than the guy who just moved up. Also networking isn't mutually exlusive by rank, so I suggest both are worthwhile which ultimately means it is never too early. The guy in MBA program will most likely still know some good introductions or will have a better job than analyst waiting for you...

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

Feb 17, 2010

Never too early. Always a good idea to know more and do more.

Feb 17, 2010

^^^ this is a valid point, and actually you are not that early so yea I would say that you could start because like the above poster said an analyst prolly still knows an associate at the firm ( since he is prolly trying to get in the firm after MBA) even if he is doing his MBA.

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

Feb 17, 2010

Thanks guys. My only reservation was showing that I was looking to leave banking before even getting into it really, and that can sometimes reflect poorly. I guess they know they way things work though?

Feb 17, 2010

Yeah, and just give off the vibe of "At this stage I'm just trying to learn as much as I can about the industry, what's out there, etc, so would be great to chat" - don't make it sound like you're tactically planning your escape at this stage

Feb 17, 2010

Always be networking. Always

Feb 17, 2010

as a quote from someone else, "it is never/always too late to start networking"

Feb 17, 2010

That's kinda what I figured.

Hows this for a general template?

Hey Mr. XXX

I found you while searching the FRATERNITY group here on LinkedIn and I saw that you worked at XXX.

I'm currently a sophomore at XXX and I want to talk to you about IB. I'm really interested in getting a head-start and I would appreciate it if we could talk for 10 to 15 minutes in the next week or two.

Regards,

John

Feb 17, 2010

.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Feb 17, 2010

Don't say anything about wanting to get a head start. Mention that you're interested in the industry and would like to speak with him and hear about his experience.

Feb 17, 2010

Better?

Hello XXXX,

I found your profile while browsing the XXXXX Fraternity group and I noticed that you work at XXXX.

Right now I'm a sophomore at the XXXX and I'm really interested in investment banking sector. I'd appreciate it if I could talk to you on the phone for 10 to 15 minutes in the next week or two about your experience in the industry.

In Hoc Signo Vinces,

John Kirby
Email: XXXXX

Feb 17, 2010

The e-mail does not matter. As long as it is professional, short, and to the point, it does not matter. Just do not curse or anything :)

Feb 17, 2010

I actually just started to network with my fraternity. So far I have had a 100% success rate although I am mostly targeting associate/AVP level people right now. Although 80% of what they say can be found here (day to day work, career path, network, follow the markets), the other 20% is very useful and it is always good to know the person is very qualified.

Feb 17, 2010

Sigma Chi ...

Feb 17, 2010
APAE:

Sigma Chi ...

Gotta problem?

Feb 17, 2010

If some non-target kid from my fraternity solicited me on LinkedIn, my advice for breaking into IB would be transfer out

Feb 17, 2010
JohnKirby:
APAE:

Sigma Chi ...

Gotta problem?

Ah, JIs. Always so feisty.

Feb 17, 2010
JohnKirby:

In Hoc Signo Vinces,

I'm not a Sigma Chi, but they do admittedly have a lot of guys on the street.

One thing I have found while networking while leveraging my fraternity is that chapters of the same fraternity differ so vastly from region to region, and even within the state. You'll get some very close-minded guys that will probably never respond. Focus on the guys that still care about the "Sigma Chi" bond.

Feb 17, 2010

Sig here as well and to echo some of the posters above, I've had more success at getting a response from associates/VP level people than MDs. I'm not saying don't even bother messaging them, but from experience not a lot of them have given me the time of day. Also, I've found that if I took out the part of my message saying I wanted to set up a phone call with them, I've gotten more responses. Just say you want to hear more about their experiences and perspective on the industry and if they want to set up a phone call, they will let you know but usually it's more convenient for them to email since you're not taking time out of their day.

My advice is to start networking as early as you can and to as many people as you can in your target field. For me, I am both in the Air Force ROTC and Sigma Chi so the possible connections I can make are twice as many as to someone in just one group, so join more organizations/clubs etc. if you can to widen your reach. I just recently started and I wish I did it much earlier (I'm a rising senior now).

IH

Feb 17, 2010
so1id:

Sig here as well and to echo some of the posters above, I've had more success at getting a response from associates/VP level people than MDs. I'm not saying don't even bother messaging them, but from experience not a lot of them have given me the time of day. Also, I've found that if I took out the part of my message saying I wanted to set up a phone call with them, I've gotten more responses. Just say you want to hear more about their experiences and perspective on the industry and if they want to set up a phone call, they will let you know but usually it's more convenient for them to email since you're not taking time out of their day.

My advice is to start networking as early as you can and to as many people as you can in your target field. For me, I am both in the Air Force ROTC and Sigma Chi so the possible connections I can make are twice as many as to someone in just one group, so join more organizations/clubs etc. if you can to widen your reach. I just recently started and I wish I did it much earlier (I'm a rising senior now).

IH

Well it's been a while...

But I've been able to secure a phone interview with a MD, who is also a Sig, at a pretty large bank.

So hopefully that'll go well and I can leverage it into something down the road.