MBA full-time Associate recruiting without a summer IB internship - is it possible?

Here's my situation: currently a 2nd year MBA student at a top 15 program. I have a background in finance and accounting before business school - worked in public accounting for 2ish years and then worked in an FP&A/Strategy type of role at a large financial institution. Spent my MBA summer internship at a large tech company, got the offer to return full-time but dont want to return because i realized tech wasn't really for me.

Got really interested in IB over the summer and now i'm wondering if it's possible to get a full-time Associate role without having done an IB internship. I have a very strong foundation in accounting and finance so as far as technicals go, i feel like i would do well in an interview. i guess it's more about getting the interview to begin with. there are just a few banks (all MM) that come recruit for FT roles at my school, but the way i understand it, IB recruiting puts a lot of emphasis on networking and i didnt do any sort of networking last year at all so i have like no contacts at these banks.

has anyone gone through a similar experience and/or have any advice? i have a couple friends that did IB summer internships that are sending my resume around their banks in case a FT spot opens up, but other than that I'm kind of just blind applying to roles i see on company career sites

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Comments (24)

Dec 3, 2016 - 8:52am
clashdude:

bump - would love to hear if this is possible

It's not unheard of, but it's very unlikely and it's mostly at MM or no name boutiques. Most of the FT recruiting at BB and EB are people moving from one firm they spent the summer at to another firm, whether because of a no offer or wanting a different experience (BB to EB, vice versa, etc).

And if you mean is it possible now, then the answer is no, because FT recruiting ended in september and SA recruiting is finishing in the next month and a half.

Dec 3, 2016 - 10:45am

As mentioned above, the window passed like 3-4 months ago for any reasonable BB, EB or MM. Not sure if worth going to some no name boutique place.

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Dec 3, 2016 - 1:04pm

I'm currently a first-year, was not looking at banking going in but reconsidering my options now - I'm coming from a buy-side fixed income background. If I intern elsewhere this summer, is banking recruiting a reasonable option next year?

Dec 4, 2016 - 9:00pm

Is it possible...yes....though it's an uphill climb. I think my class of about 60 had maybe 2 people tops that didn't intern at least somewhere in banking over the summer. You should start networking in the summer as most full time recruiting happens in about a 2 to 3 week span in September and basically amounts to banks filling in the last few spots they didn't fill out through their internship class (either they have hire demands than they thought or lower yield). Many banks won't recruit full time at all, particularly with a greater emphasis being placed on A to A promotes.

You'll need a convincing story as to why you didn't pursue banking as an intern (or at least going to the initial firm wide presentations) and even if you get past that, you'll be competing against others that not only networked with the banks all first year, but also have demonstrated interest and gained experience. Again it's possible, but you've put yourself at a distinct disadvantage and have work to do to catch up.

As another bit of advice, I'd suggest trying to get an internship at one of the "less desireable" banks (the mid market or regional shops). They're still great firms but tend not to be the focus point of people at top B schools when recruiting. At least at my school, there were 5 or 6 firms that really weren't on campus at all but still did interviews--here you may be able to still get a slot as most of your classmates' networking has been focused on BB or elite boutiques and it won't be so obvious that you didn't network with them all fall. This would then make it a lot easier for you to be taken seriously in full time recruiting if you wanted to make the shift after the summer.

Best Response
Dec 5, 2016 - 9:58am
clashdude:

bump - wondering if anyone has thoughts on this.

To echo what clashdude said above, it's possible but unlikely. The first thing I'd ask is what school you are at? If it's HBS it's MUCH more likely than Stern. It'll also depend on what you do over the summer and your ability to network. Like I said above, a lot of BB and EB banks do 0 FT recruiting. Whatever they don't get during their summer program they try and focus on the following class, A to A, or a lateral. The top ones that do mostly fill those FT spots with people who did banking elsewhere for the summer and move. The ones who are more forgiving are MM and non elite boutiques.

Networking, where you attend school, prestige of what you did before school, and appetite for moving down the banking hierarchy will determine this. Whereas the lower half kids at my M7 looking for internships still end up at BBs if they did the whole recruiting process.

Dec 6, 2016 - 11:31am

Post-MBA FT Associate Offer w/o an Internship? (Originally Posted: 04/16/2014)

I'm at an M7 and interning in consulting this summer. I'm wondering if it's possible to get a FT offer from a BB/boutique in the fall. I actually did do a summer associate IB internship with a "no-name" regional boutique in Chicago for 4 months before starting business school, but did no IB recruiting/networking this year. I feel prepared to do the job and know all the technicals, etc, think it's possible? Thanks

Dec 6, 2016 - 11:32am

Yes it is possible. I know quite a few who did it so just focus on the same steps you would to secure an internship but think long-term. I know one who got an offer for FT with a elite boutique and another who got a BB FT offer.

Your story better be tight as to why you are interesting in I-Banking and why you missed out on the internship last summer. More of an uphill battle but not impossible.

Good luck.

Dec 6, 2016 - 11:33am

Thanks very much, appreciate the insight. Do you happen to know if these people were pursuing IB internships the year before and missed out? I never attended a single recruiting event.

Dec 6, 2016 - 11:34am

Glad to see someone else in a similar situation as me. I attended the company presentations but didn't end up applying for internships or doing any further networking. I'll be doing Finance and Strategy at a F10 company and hoping to recruit for full time. From what some on WSO told me, it's a good idea to keep in touch with your classmates who are going into banking for the summer, and once summer stars nearing the end, start reaching out to your classmates and alums.

Dec 6, 2016 - 11:35am

From what I've seen I don't think it's as common as bootsnapper made it sound. Yes there are certainly some people that have done it so give it a shot, but I don't think anyone did this year at my school (also M7). Unlike consulting which picks up a ton of people for the FT recruiting, banking is much more selective and limited and mostly hires exclusively from the internships or people trading up banks. Logically it makes sense. IB recruiting is time intensive and they get to know the applicants well during the 4-5 month recruiting process. If for some reason their interns don't work out, they're more likely to go and try to pick up the people next in line that they liked, rather than chance it with someone they've never met before and didn't express any interest in banking during recruiting. I know this isn't what you were hoping to hear but I think it's true. That said, give it a shot, it could work out.

Dec 6, 2016 - 11:36am

mba2014:

From what I've seen I don't think it's as common as bootsnapper made it sound. Yes there are certainly some people that have done it so give it a shot, but I don't think anyone did this year at my school (also M7). Unlike consulting which picks up a ton of people for the FT recruiting, banking is much more selective and limited and mostly hires exclusively from the internships or people trading up banks. Logically it makes sense. IB recruiting is time intensive and they get to know the applicants well during the 4-5 month recruiting process. If for some reason their interns don't work out, they're more likely to go and try to pick up the people next in line that they liked, rather than chance it with someone they've never met before and didn't express any interest in banking during recruiting. I know this isn't what you were hoping to hear but I think it's true. That said, give it a shot, it could work out.


this is true however I know of at least 2-3 at my school (just outside M7) who made the switch this year for FT. This definitely depends on many factors and can just be an anomaly.
Dec 6, 2016 - 11:37am

Makes sense and appreciate the insight. Still don't know what my plans will be but I would try to start networking early through my classmates and try to form some relationships as well as possible. Understood it would be challenging, thanks for the comment

Dec 6, 2016 - 11:38am

FT Associate (MBA) recruitment, no internship = no FT offer? (Originally Posted: 08/09/2016)

Hi everyone,

Current MBA here, with no previous IB experience, failed to get an IB summer internship (doing it currently in a small hedge fund). Previous industry is IT&Tech, also worked in an IT focused VC fund.
Still, as I understand my chances to break-in to FT IB are slim to none as almost all banks hire from their summer programs and for those few positions in autumn I will be bloodbathing with other students who already have some IB/PE/other relevant experience.
So, the question is if there are some banks which still hire FT without prior exp. and/or interested in strong industry knowledge (TMT preferred)?
Any other sensible advice is pretty much appreciated.

Dec 6, 2016 - 11:41am
Guest1655:

Was in same boat last year and ended up with 2 IBD offers at mm & boutique after a LOT of effort. You are probably in better shape because you're at a hf instead of f500 corp fin. Get an off cycle internship during the next semester and start reaching out to to alumni. Are you at a top 20 MBA program?

INSEAD. Not much time to network and not a great record of placing into IB with no prior background unfortunately. Trying to network with alumni like crazy, but still...

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