M7 IB Associate Full-Time Recruiting

danpo's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 201

Hi fellow monkeys,

I'm headed for a non-H/S M7 MBA this summer and am trying to get a feel for recruiting, so I'll have a viable battle plan soon. Before reaching out to my school's relevant career groups, I wanted to ask here first.

I understand that generally you would need an IB internship to be considered for a full-time offer. This is supported also by many school's career reports, according to which BBs/EBs do not return on-campus for full-time recruiting. On the other hand, I do see people trade up firms going full-time, so there must be some form of recruiting.

Now, my questions are:
* Would a buy-side internship (AM/HF/PE) shut me out of full-time IB roles at BBs/EBs?
* If not, how would the recruiting process most likely look like - OCR, referrals from summer associates, school network,...?

Before anyone asks why I'd want to do this: I'm aiming for AM/HF roles, but there is a small but real chance that I don't like it; IB is the next best thing. I have seen people do PE summer -> IB full-time at the MBA level, but these could be the exceptions rather than the rules.

Comments (61)

Mar 7, 2019

Have you done banking before?

If you have not, it will be very difficult to get into banking FT without a summer internship. Most post-MBA associate roles are filled from returning interns and A2As. There is limited OCR for FT and many of those are for people looking to trade for a different firm or geography.

If you are willing to have wide options over geography and type of bank, you could do it, but it isn't easy if you haven't done banking. I am not sure what M7 means for you, but the success of placement into desirable HF opportunities are not symmetrical between those schools.

    • 3
Mar 7, 2019

Thanks for your response.

I'm at a Big 4 in their corporate finance team, so while I'm not technically at an investment bank, it is relevant experience. That being said, I don't think that's what you mean, since you mention A2A recruits; that's not a bucket that I fall into. (Not to sound arrogant, but I'm only considering BB/EB. No intentions to go back to Big 4 or regional boutiques.)

I agree with your comment regarding HF recruiting, I have discussed this in detail with current students and recent alumni and I'm aware of it.

Mar 7, 2019

No need to apologize. If you are only considering EBs and upper-tier BB groups, you are going to struggle recruiting for those roles without some serious networking and strong referrals. Anything is possible and it happens, but you will be competing for a very limited number of spots with other people who struck out in PE/HF recruiting and the occasional person who switches from consulting and the like, while also having no actual banking experience.

    • 1
Mar 8, 2019

Looking at your post history, it seems like you need some serious level setting.

A lot of people that try to do banking out of Wharton and Booth, the top two schools outside of H/S, have really challenges to get into EBs and top BB groups. Those people have backgrounds comparable to yours, some better and some worse, and focused on IB from day one. Look at the stats from both schools. Plenty of people end up at small boutiques or MM firms in 2nd/3rd tier cities like Milwaukee or Charlotte. The majority are not at GS SF TMT, Qatalyst, Evercore, etc.

To think you can target them as a back-up is just not realistic or reasonable without serious connections into the firms and an airtight story.

    • 5
Mar 7, 2019

how do people with an IB middle office background fare when doing MBA to recruit for IB Associate? does the culture of banking and tangential experience do enough to make up for not doing traditional IB before the MBA?

Mar 7, 2019

You would be fine assuming you did all of the other things right. Your background does not seem to matter much. People with all sorts of backgrounds, military, professional sports, people who worked in banking either abroad or at smaller bankers, actors, accountants, etc. all go in post-MBA. You just need to be on point with your networking and interview prep and have a good story.

    • 1
Mar 8, 2019

Should not be a huge issue if you extensively prepare and are very serious about only targeting IBD, and are open to casting a wider net w.r.t. including BB, EB, and MM opportunities. I would try to crack you open with some technicals and even fit questions (people who have spent their career not facing clients can be kind of weird or awkward) but if you survived that you'd be a serious candidate.

    • 3
Mar 7, 2019

You guys remember that kid from CBS who was on here saying he struck out on an IB internship?

This right here is how that happens.

    • 5
Mar 7, 2019

Yep. Here's the thread again for anyone who missed it: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/failed-to-b...

    • 1
Mar 11, 2019

.

    • 1
Mar 8, 2019

Read that thread before posting and I don't want to be in this person's shoes. Hence, I'm trying to go in prepared.

Most Helpful
Mar 7, 2019

You are setting yourself up for massive failure. IB is not a consolation prize or "next best thing" and you will never make it if that's your mindset. There are too many qualified people that are gunning for the job as their first choice. Just be honest with yourself and go all-out for AM/HF roles and get it. It's a loser's mindset to contingency plan before your first class. You realize you will have to actually pursue the post-MBA job you get as a career once you graduate?

Summer-FT IB Associate recruiting is comprised of about two weeks, with very few open slots being pursued by people of a very specific and relevant background. First of all, most Summer Associates get a return offer, so across all banks there are few remaining roles to fill. Then you have Summer IBD Associates that have a return offer looking to change firms - those people typically fill the gaps at all the EB and BB slots. Then you have MM and boutique bankers looking to trade up. Then you have Summer IBD Associates that did not get a return offer but can plausibly convince another bank that they deserve a second chance.

Finally, way down the line, would anyone consider a candidate from a totally different background (needless to mention would absolutely need to have a return offer). Frankly I haven't seen it happen but not saying it's impossible, but how would that story sound? "I left my career, applied to business school to get into Career X, recruited and did a summer at Career X, but the 10 week experience has caused me to rethink everything and pursue investment banking." It sounds desperate because it is desperate and it just doesn't jive.

Source: I lead Summer Associate recruiting in my group at a BB. Pre-MBA experience is Big 4 TAS Manager.

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Mar 7, 2019

IB recruiting takes place prior to buyside recruiting

The move is to get an IB internship, then see if you can network your way to buyside during 2nd year.

    • 4
Mar 7, 2019

Right but even then there's no shortage of pre-MBA PE Associates and pre-MBA BB/EB bankers who are competing for your buyside gig in the 2nd year. The IB Summer Associate (with Big 4 background) is in line behind all of those people, including e.g. pre-MBA MBB experience. Again, not impossible, I just wouldn't bet $200k and two years of my life on it.

    • 2
Mar 8, 2019

Buy-side recruiting is an entirely different discussion and one that I don't want to get into. There are many threads on WSO and I'm aware of how competitive it is.

What you're saying is true for PE and I'm not expecting to out-compete the 2+2 guys. To my best knowledge, HF/AM works a little different and an internship would be expected to break in full-time.

I'm not sure why my background would make it harder to tell a compelling story. Big 4 corporate finance -> IB is a route I have seen many times before, especially for international applicants (which I am). Working on bigger deals, being able to finance them, working on different deal types would all be perfectly fine reasons why someone would want to go from a MM M&A shop (which Big 4 typically is) to BB (and EB minus the financing). Would I be held to a higher standard and hit with harder technicals? Maybe, but given my background and experience I'm also in a position to handle that. It's not like I'm going to read Rosenbaum/Pearl for the first time 2 weeks before the interview.

    • 2
Mar 8, 2019

Thank you, @Synergy_or_Syzygy, that helps.

Just to clarify though (not only in response to your post, but also to others):
* I'm not planning to go through IB recruiting half-assed or in parallel to recruiting for other roles.
* Yes, most buy-side recruiting generally takes place after IB recruiting. That's not an issue, because, as I said, I'm not planning on doing both.
* Finally, I'm also not planning on doing a summer in marketing or similarly unrelated fields, but on the buy-side; so while it's not banking, it is not a "totally different background".

The scenario that I'm thinking about is, if I recruited for AM/HF for my internship (implying that I would not go through IB recruiting for the summer) and decided I didn't like it, would I be able to recruit for IB full-time (implying that I put my focus there in the second year)?

The answer seems to be no and that is helpful. It is my understanding that for top asset managers (PIMCO/Fidelity et. al.), an internship would also be de facto mandatory. Hence, what I'm trying to figure out is if there is a summer -> FT route that gives me a little more flexibility. So for me, the take away is that I can't try out one path and switch back to the other in case I don't like it. Obviously that's not the answer I wanted to hear, but I now have another 6 months left to reach out to people and figure out what I really want to do.

    • 1
Mar 8, 2019

A few thoughts, and I'm just trying to be constructive:

  • AM and HF are not the traditional "buyside" for groups in IB (PE is), but may be more accepted in capital markets type roles (ECM, DCM, LevFin). It's just not relevant for 80%+ of the MBA Associate type jobs in IB. Maybe a tiny chance higher if you're in a credit investing fund and recruiting for LevFin or Financial Sponsors and can convince a bank that what they do is more interesting than that (yeah, good luck).
  • If you don't recruit for IB for the summer, nobody at the bank will know who you are, so you'll be at the bottom of their list if you make it at all. IB MBA recruiting can involve literally 100+ informational interviews at around a dozen per bank. On the back end we have a master spreadsheet with every candidate we met and people's notes they took about them. You'll basically be cold emailing banks with an unrelated summer internship.
  • There is no "second year" IB recruiting unless for boutiques, there is only the summer / end of summer of the first year. Recruiting is essentially done before the second year classes actually start. This is true for EB/BB/MM but boutiques and Big 4 will stretch their recruiting out further to get more candidates.
  • Because of the above timing, if you really want to switch companies your second year (even within IB assuming summering at a different bank), you have to start recruiting and reaching out immediately during your summer, ideally to people you have met before during the recruiting process.
  • There isn't a summer internship choice that keeps doors open for you in the second year. Both AM and IB are equally persnickety about recruiting candidates who are focused on their field. You might also seriously consider quitting your current job early and trying to do a pre-MBA internship. It will be super obvious what track you're on because AM MBA candidates are in the hyper-competitive investment funds, doing credit and stock pitch competitions, etc. and the banking candidates are in the banking clubs, doing banking related competitions, etc.
  • The above considerations might, might be relaxed a little bit if you are female / URM. If banks have a slot open they will be far more open to filling a diversity quota with someone who has a high finance background. In my Associate class we had a Harvard JD/MBA URM transfer in full time who had such a background. Still, very difficult and you have the unknown commodity issue. Not a URM? Back of the line.
  • This isn't targeted at you, but in case others are reading this thread, the biggest thing people don't seem to grasp is how important the "story" part is. By far the most sneaky difficult and most important question asked in your interview. The issue you will honestly run into is that you truthfully - stepping aside from how you could spin it - you truthfully don't want to pursue IBD as a long term career. Senior bankers are going to see through your story unless you have prepared a very careful rationale for the switch and have primed the pump by networking extensively from Day 1.

Wow, that's a wall of text. Happy to clarify further or go into other aspects of the process. I want you (and everyone else here on this site) to succeed and go into any situation with two eyes open.

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Mar 8, 2019

Thanks for the great advice. I am an international from an Asian country and will be starting at a T20 MBA this fall. and will recruit for IB. Would you mind answering a few questions?

  1. How much does the ranking of the school matter? I mean 15-20th ranked school vs M7? At my school, around 25-30 people recruit and probably 8-10 end up getting offers.
  2. Do Banks have fixed no of slots per schools?
  3. I see very few internationals in IB. Is this because of visa challenges or because of any other issues? Any advice you can offer to succeed as an international?
Mar 8, 2019
  1. Wherever USNews ranks your school doesn't matter, what matters is the relationships your school has. Recruiting at schools is run by alumni at that bank and the amount they hire is more or less dictated by the total influence that alumni team holds. This is the big difference you see: while yes all the BB may recruit at say, Darden. GS will only take maybe 1 or 2. At Booth/CBS they will take around 15. Yes, I understand that class size is different but more open spots does make a difference. Furthermore, small boutiques (e.g. Raine Group) will all recruit at Wharton and probably Booth/CBS, but less so at schools with less established finance pipelines.
  2. Yes and no. Schools tend to send the same amount every year but these numbers are in no way "fixed". It comes down to the alumni MD at that bank who leads the recruiting team. This also contributes to the crazy "offer without an offer" song and dance where banks will ask you where they rank or whether you would accept an offer - the alumni team doesn't want to waste an offer on someone who doesn't accept. (I personally screwed this up pretty badly, and while I still got my dream internship, I was definitely dinged out a few times because of how i handled that conversation).
  3. Not so much visa challenges as not being able to do well in informationals. Most of who gets a 1st round (besides GS, they interview a TON of first round then cut like crazy) depends on who has built the best rapport with the alumni bankers and whose name they recognize. International students tend to not do as well with the networking and schmoozing , in general.
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Jan 8, 2020

"Then you have Summer IBD Associates that did not get a return offer but can plausibly convince another bank that they deserve a second chance."
I barely saw people make it. Do you know what tactics do they use to convince another bank? I assume the guy wouldn't even get an interview with another bank

Mar 8, 2019

Use LinkedIn to find people with as close background to yours as possible and see where they landed and how many got what YOU want. Chances are, a significant proportion might have landed back into Big 4 CF or EBs or non-BBs. This is just the brute reality. HSW/M7 MBA recruiting is EXTREMELY competitive (speaking from personal experience). Your background does NOT guarantee that you'll get what you want, so I'd advise you to have a reality check first.

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Mar 8, 2019

Thanks. I realize that there's no guarantee, that's why I'm trying to walk into the program and recruiting season well-prepared.

I have been grinding LinkedIn quite a lot, but the problem (similar to career reports/statistics) is that you only see the actual outcomes and not the intentions. If someone goes, say, EB -> M7 -> EB, for all I know that could be a sponsored student or someone who didn't get an A2A promotion without an MBA but otherwise live and breathe banking. It could also be someone who didn't make it to the buy-side, MBB or whatever their plans were. People have good stories for why things played out the way they did and enjoy talking about it; they don't enjoy talking about their failures to a stranger though.

Long story short, there's always going to be a success bias on LinkedIn, but I agree it's very helpful to assess how common certain paths are.

    • 1
Mar 8, 2019

I agree with this, but the numbers will give you an indication as to how likely you would get what you want.

Also, keep in mind that the careers office at your M7 might tell you "what you want to hear", i.e. you have a competitive profile, go for it. The truth is, that it is in their interest along with banks to have a competitive/packed/hyped recruitment process so that banking remains a highly coveted post-MBA industry due to exclusivity among its other attractive aspects. This sounds cynical of me to say this and unethical on their part (it isn't, that's life bro), but it's the truth. At the end of the day, you're a product that the school is marketing.

My $0.02 is keep a cool head, know as objectively/factually as possible what you're up against / what your odds are. This will spare you the trouble of lamenting over what in God's name went wrong, if something does. It likely might, as banking is by NO MEANS the "next best thing". It is THE thing along with other coveted, competitive and, believe it or not cutthroat, things such as buyside, MBB and cushy tech/F100 LDPs. Again, this is something that you probably don't want / like to hear, but it's a reality pill that I'm inviting you to at least consider.

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Mar 8, 2019

What about if you come from a more traditional background i.e. EB --> MF --> M7

Is associate recruiting still super competative or can it be viewed as more of a fallback?

Also anyone hear of someone going PE Associate for 2-3 years back to IB as a VP? Is it possible to skip the associate role in IB?

    • 1
Mar 8, 2019

From my anecdotal experience (tens of classmates from multiple cohorts, tens of 2nd/3rd connections on LinkedIn who I've researched/mined for datapoints), it's impossible. All post-MBAs start as Associates. You could fast track to VP in a year if you're as good as your experience says you are and if stars align, i.e. there is a justifiable need to promote you.

As I mentioned to the OP, recruitment for post-MBA banking should NOT be considered a fall back option. Again, from my own experience I had a few close classmates with MM PE experience struggle to even get internships because bankers and HR could smell that this is plan B for them. You have to have extremely tight game and go into it not only with banking or bust in mind but also in how you project it.

If you think you can fake it, you're deluding yourself. As someone who's supposedly worked in EB and MF PE, I would expect you to know that.

Just to put this out there, not trying to be a smartass. I think you'll appreciate my honesty when you realise that I wasn't far off from the truth and at least you had these posts of mine somewhere in the back of your head.

    • 1
Mar 8, 2019

Yes, and put yourselves in our shoes. Let's be 100% real. Banking kind of... well, sucks sometimes. Banks want to recruit people who are hungry, for whom banking is a real upside compared to their prior career, and who can weather the storm.

Let's play a game. Let's say I'm interviewing someone who has a sick background, let's say Moelis to Blackstone to Chicago Booth. During his first year summer he interned at Uber or something. Now this guy comes to me and tells me a story about how he wants to do banking. Wouldn't you be suspicious? I'm not trying to solve for "recruit the smartest candidates" I'm trying to solve for "who will contribute the most for the longest at my bank?"

Assuming I hire this guy, once he's on a shitty deal or staying up until 4 AM working on a pitch book, won't he be like, "Yeah now I remember why I left banking" and look to leave after his signing bonus vests? Now my group is down an Associate when I could have hired Joe Schmoe the Big 4 Audit to Tuck to IBD Associate guy who would fucking run through a wall for me.

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Mar 8, 2019

Personally know an MS analyst to M7 to PE intern back to MS full time. Stayed in same group and heard it's easy to get placed back in the same team as long as you have good relations. Others I know stayed far far away from IBD post mba.

Mar 8, 2019

I understand this perspective, but I also think the best strategy to try to hire the best talent.

If the candidate decides to leave that's a risk, but chances are they will go back to PE or become an exec at a pre-IPO company or something and your group's alumni are really important from a reputational and deal flow perspective. McKinsey, Goldman, etc. are great examples of this.

    • 1
Mar 8, 2019

Yeah it's a slight exaggeration but in general you're wrong for Associate recruiting. There is also an incredibly deep bench for IBD Associate talent where IBD is their first choice. I'm not really choosing between Blackstone and Audit. There are a hundred candidates in between - yeah including Big 4 (not only CF like OP but also Strategy, TAS, Valuations, Forensic...)

We take that approach to hire the absolute best talent and cream of the crop for the Analyst class because we expect them to leave in two years and those are the people who are "on the track" and will go on to Mega Fund PE and H/S business school and become Fortune 500 CEOs or whatever. My group is FinSpon and 100% of our Analyst class leaves for PE every year, and they become my boss / Client.

For Associate recruiting Goldman is probably the most concerned about longevity for their Associate class because they prefer to train up their senior bankers from within rather than hire external if they can avoid it. Of course there is still massive Associate attrition every single year no matter what, and no matter which bank, but that's also precisely the reason so many banks are hypersensitive about the issue.

One of our MDs shared with me that he has only one criteria for recruiting - can he envision this person as a potential MD at our bank? If no, cut. If yes, defer to the rest of the team.

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Mar 8, 2019

Damn. So then.. question for those who went to M7 business schools? What did most people who had the EB/PE background want to get out of their MBAs? Was it just for networking / to go back to PE? Did people want to work for startups? VC?

...trying to figure out if an MBA is work it.

Mar 9, 2019

Most of them in my school did it to try something that wasn't PE and see if they enjoyed work outside of the finance bubble. I found them to be 50/50 in terms of finding out PE is what they want long term vs. realizing that the more relaxed lifestyle was right for them.

The few that didn't do that were looking to start a business idea. One of these guys had it pretty fully formed and was using the MBA as a fall back plan if his first year of execution didn't go well. Most of the others used the MBA to think through their business idea.

Ofc these are purely anecdotal and I can only speak to the roughly 1/4th of PE guys who I knew well enough to talk to about their career plans

Mar 11, 2019

Everything, one friend who had JPM and PE ended up going to a sweet finance leadership position at a CPG. Others go entrepreneurship, PE, pretty diverse.

Mar 10, 2019

I can provide some color on this.

I graduated in the past few years from a top 5. Now I'm an associate and I help with MBA recruiting.

Even at my school, only 80% of people got IB jobs. Most of the ones who end up with nothing is because they were: a) awkward, b) big ego and IB was their plan B (some of them ended up with nothing), c) combination of the above and bad luck (internationals that got sick and missed a flight, just string of bad luck)

Getting a banking job is actually "easy" because it's a process -- if you follow the instructions of your banking club and you are a somewhat smart (not brilliant) person you are going to get a job. What do I mean by this? Network, don't be an ass to your classmates (pretty noticeable from outside corp circles), dress decently, don't talk about DCF in an informal interview, HAVE A BULLETPROOF STORY and study your technicals.

Now you see who fails?

Banking is not a top choice at top B schools; Tech and Consulting are gaining a lot of top candidates but it is still extremely competitive so please don't believe that just by having a top MBA on your resume any bank is going to beg you to come work for them (there are ~1,000 candidates that could do your job with good credentials).

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Mar 11, 2019

80% is a pretty insane number which I find hard to believe, but that's just me. How big was your class in total?

Mar 11, 2019

Nothing to be gained with lying. I have stats for 2015-2019 banking internship for my school. ~80% is consistent.

This is people who got an internship / people that signed up for banking recruiting with the banking club in the fall

So there are a few who dropped circa thanksgiving and didn't apply to banking interviews in the end but are still considered in the total pool.

Mar 11, 2019

Insanely high or low? Where I am it is well over 90%. The few that got nothing are people who had some sort of serious cultural gap & also needed visa or people who didn't follow the process and were generally insufferable to be around. I can't think of anybody who gave an honest effort and didn't land and I have heard the same for the majority of M7 schools and even top 20 schools.

Mar 11, 2019

Having successfully navigated the MBA associate recruiting process and read through comments from Synergy and others here, I would seriously heed their advice.

Recruit for AM/HF if you seriously think your interests lay in that space. IB recruiting is a brutal process that punishes those not committed to aspirations of working in banking.

I know of a few individuals at Wharton that do not have summer associate roles. No one is safe in the process. Banks and MBA 2's talk.

    • 2
Mar 18, 2019

Thank you everyone for your input. This developed into an interesting discussion that I very much appreciate!

If I may sum it up,
1. You have to go all-in for IB summer intership recruiting.
2. There is no FT recruiting for BB banks. No summer internship, no full-time offer.
3. Story matters. Banks are looking for an hungry associate who sticks around, not necessarily the smartest guy who leaves right after their signing bonus vests.

What that means for me and other M7 folks is that we have to decide beforehand which route we want to go, even within sought-after finance roles (IB/PE/AM/HF).

If I may add a follow-up question to the IB guys in this thread:
* In your opinion and experience, what is the difference between the candidates who get the sought-after BB/EB jobs vs. the less desired teams or, say, MM banks. Story, technicals,... general appearance and personality?
* How much of a say do candidates have in choosing their location/team? If I express a desire (backed up by an airtight story) to do, say, Natural Resources in NY, could I hypothetically be placed at Industrials or M&A? Any insights into how that process works?
* Any tips for networking events: how to prepare, what (not) to ask,...?

Thanks!

Mar 21, 2019

Having done recruiting in my prior group for MBAs for a couple of years, here are my thoughts:

  • It's hard to differentiate yourself on technicals alone because you are not being hired to make any real decisions. They are a formality.
  • People want to know that you truly want to be a banker when you grow up. So have a story and be consistent. You are allowed to have other interests but figure out an outlet for it that does not seep into the recruiting process. I did MBA recruiting with a goal of transitioning out of the job as quickly as possible once I had the name on my resume by spending time in school networking and learning investment skills. But you can't recruit for both.
  • Those who placed well found allies at their target firms and had good line of sight into placement. You receive soft offers or confirmations early on. So be strategic with your time.
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  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
May 3, 2019

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May 4, 2019

GS and MS is not gonna happen, they usually extend fewer offers than summers and that's how they fill their classes.

JPM calls candidates that they interviewed and did well but did not summer there -- have seen it happen before.

Elite Boutiques usually call even more candidates (don't know if it's because they are lean and have been growing or something else).

May 4, 2019
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May 4, 2019
  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
May 5, 2019