Lateral Internally From S&T FT to IBD FT (BB): Tips, Story, and Advice

Don't see a lot of information on the internal lateral process from S&T to IBD, so I will share my recent experience. Heads up, it's very hard IMO, would really network and perform in your current seat to help your case.

Background

I come from a non-target with a sub 3.3 GPA. I was an athlete in college and all I wanted to do after college was to pay off my student loans. I didn't know a thing about a stock, bond, the markets etc; but I knew the street paid well so I ran after it. Got an internship my sophomore year at a WM shop (MS, JPM, UBS) by cold emailing the right guy. He was a football alumni and he basically handed me the job because he ran the group. A lot of people laughed at me because "everyone" was at a BB their sophomore year and WM didn't have any "exit opps." I was commuting 1hr everyday to work, making $10hr, but I was learning the basics of the markets and vanilla securities. I knew I wanted to be at a BB so I was cold emailing everyone internally; ended up emailing the Global Head of GCM and he gave me a superday. I legit had no clue he was the global head, just pure luck. I thought I did perfectly in the interview but i didn't get it, so lets move on. I ended up interviewing at AB, Citi (2x), MS, EY, and did not convert one single offer my junior fall. I was so embarrassed. Everyone is calling me and telling me they got MS IBD, BX, blah blah blah. Impostor syndrome was setting in, I was this black kid who worked 3 to 4 jobs on campus just to stay afloat, while everyone who I met at these diversity conferences were well seasoned, derived from target schools, and came from upper-class homes. Out of nowhere, one of my cold emails got me a winter internship at a BB in CRE (DB, GS, BAML). Had a great time and I was learning so much about modeling, real estate, securitization, and the IC process. Got the offer for the summer, but it got pulled in late March, so now I am at peak stress again. Ended up cold emailing a MD at a European bank and got into their markets program. That's where I met my best friend and my current roommate, and I was on a derivative desk which taught me how to make money. Life works in mysterious ways. Got the return offer but I ended up meeting a country officer at a BB who got me into the markets program at his bank. Moreover, the country officer invited me to stay with him for a while in his region. This is my first time in a different time zone. Now that I am in markets, I started to see the massive consolidation and headcount was decreasing by the second.

I ended up meeting a few MD's at the fitness center who took me under their wing, they prepped me on the weekends to make the transition over. (Everyone wants to be friends with the huge black dude benching 300+ 6am in the morning). This was challenging, I am on a markets seat and these MD's want me to go over a merger model at 3:30pm on a Monday; lol the market is open homie. Here's the thing, these guys can't give you a job from my experience, you have to wait until headcount is open in a group and then you apply through the internal portal.

Interview

The lateral interview is easy IMO, nothing was too technical. The hard part is that a million kids are applying for an internal IB role, so a little political backing is imperative. I see a lot that people say follow-up emails and questions are kind of pointless, but I think they helped get me the offer. I got color from a guy from GIC that the staffer worked on a deal that dealt with my home state, so I asked him about it and he talked for ~30 minutes. Lastly, I kind of felt that a few guys didn't think I could adapt to the curve because COVID has us working remote, and they mentioned that they had a lot of people from the CB/IB interviewing. This made me uneasy so I emailed the staffer and a few other people a paragraph about how I would be committed to the seat and I would be focused on the job, and not even take a sniff of the buyside recruiting. Once I sent the email, I got calls from the group members who mentioned that they sent the email around with high praise.

Advice

If you want to lateral internally, I think the biggest thing is having a strong network. These staffers get so many applications, you need to have some sort of sponsor to get you through the door. Next piece of advice is to perform on your current desk. People talk, so don't slack off on your current seat just because you think you have something better in the bag. It turned out that my sponsors, actually got involved in my Associate promotion process for Markets. They didn't say I was trying to lateral, but they mentioned that I was working with them for a year to improve my corp finance skills.
Lastly, fuck what people think. Life is a marathon, and you have no idea what is going to happen. I was so depressed when I went through 6+ superdays my junior year and I wasn't converting. People laughed at me because I was at a small Euro bank, turned out, I met my best friend there and I learned options(made ~100k in COVID by buying TQQQ leaps at the trough). Moreover, if I wasn't at the Euro bank, I probably would have never met a country officer who I can text "wassup bruh" at anytime. TBH he will prob be at my wedding because he's got me through some tough mental times. Remain humble guys, I know a lot of people who were at MS, GS, JPM, BX as interns, and now they are out of the industry. My grandma always said, "God gives, and he takes away."

If a young guy who went to 5 different high schools (expulsion) and went to jail before college can figure it out, so can you.

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Comments (23)

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  • Prospect in S&T - Equities
Jul 16, 2020 - 10:20pm

wow great story. when you were networking with people from IB, did you tell your markets team? how did your manager take it?

Jul 16, 2020 - 11:17pm

No, tbh keep it to the chest. One thing about this industry IMO, keep your mouth closed. Once I got the offer, I told my manager and he was highly impressed, said it is almost impossible to lateral internally to such a technical seat (IBD). Remember, I had to do these modeling courses at my desk so I kind of keep it hidden; can't be working on a LBO and trying to trade HY bonds at the same time.

  • Prospect in S&T - Equities
Jul 16, 2020 - 11:26pm

it sounds risky if one of them knew your manager haha didn't they ask you which group you work and ask for your boss' referral or something. congrats tho it's hard

Jul 16, 2020 - 11:35pm

Fair assessment. I would treat it on a case by case basis. Funny, the group head actually spoke to my head a few days before I did my final round with him, but they spoke about a potential private credit financing ordeal. The IBD group head never asked my manager his opinion. In all honesty, I don't think IBD people really care what markets people have to say. One thing I think people need to learn on their own because it's so nuisance, is the politics of using references. People have Ego's, so just because someone is willing to write you a reference doesn't mean you deploy it. Trust me, some people don't like to feel belittled.

Most Helpful
Jul 16, 2020 - 11:41pm

And I would also add, due to headcount being so paper thin, nobody would really blame you to recruit elsewhere. Only people that can hire whoever they want without much approval are the quants. One of my best friends who's a quant in markets legit works maybe 5 hours a day, and he got the biggest bonus in our class (almost 100k). Moreover, has 6 job offers internally. If you are a senior in college reading this, take comp sci courses pass/fail or learn the stuff on your own.

  • Prospect in AM - FI
Jul 18, 2020 - 7:59am

Great story and for those that thing WM is a bad sophomore year internship its NOT. Much easier to get that your sophomore year than IB and it shows that you have interest within the industry, so good job on that. I am wondering tho, why did your offer get pulled in late March? I was thinking bc of Covid, but the banks you named did not cancel any internships. Just wondering, any way great job

Jul 18, 2020 - 11:09am

Hey, so the winter internship in CRE was 2016, so the summer offer got pulled in March. Now I had no other offer for my junior summer. Ended up getting a small bank and Nasdaq real estate on the fly. Performed at my internship and ended up getting a BB FT. I've worked for the BB for 2yrs now in markets and just switched over.

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