Networking as a woman - my experience and questions

I started a throwaway account as I feel that this is quite a sensitive topic.

I've been networking heavily since my final year in university. I'm now almost 2 years into my first job in finance. It's always been easy for me to get the attention of an M.D. from a well-known bank. I was not afraid to cold call, cold email, I would take a 6-hr round trip journey just to meet the guy. I target both female and male. However, I never got to talk a female MD through cold calling.

My problem is, once I got to build a more longer term relationship with an M.D., things happened. I'm starting to question if it's them or my approach is wrong.

Case 1:

Friend introduced me to this MD at a B.B. He was all friendly and stuff. Very passionate about mentoring. Even looked at my cv at great deets. I thought I hit the jackpot. Then he started to ring me during the weekend. Asked to skype. One day when I was with him in his office, he kissed me and talked about my bra (he said if cleavages help). I couldn't believe what he was telling me. I ran and blocked his number.

Case 2:

I met this Ex-MD of a B.B. and now PE in a coffee shop round his office. He invited me to sit down for a coffee and we chatted about our travelling experience. I thought why not, you can meet your next best mentor anywhere right? Then he started to invite me out on dinner and drinks. Said he's married but he's in a open relationship.

Case 3:

This one is the most upset one cos he was a great mentor to me and I valued our friendship a lot. We would probably catch up only two or three times max every year but we keep in touch through email or texts. He was always very respectful and gave me not only good career but personal life advice. Until one day we went for lunch, caught up and he held my hand .. I haven't seen him since.

I'm not sure if this is a common problem for women in finance who are passionate about networking. Or if there were things that I did which gave them the wrong impression to do those things. I find it very hard to build long lasting professional and friendly relationship with guys in the industry (and god knows how many more of them there are than women), especially when I don't work with them in the first place.

What has been your experience and what is your advice?

Comments (141)

 
Jan 11, 2018 - 6:11pm

Act as if you were not noticing what they want. Of course they are just interested in a relationship but just act as if you were not noticing it and remain professional and perseverant. Know what you want, stick to it and when they are starting to cross the border ignore it ie. do not answer the weekend calls, the skype and act as if nothing had happened but write a follow up email on Monday morning. You are the one who needs to put them back in the right place.

Let them try, do not offend them (they have to think she finds me attractive but for x or x reasons she cannot accept my offers) and get what you want. If the guy tried to hold your hand act as if nothing had happened, if you still need advice do not hesitate to write to him again

 
Jan 11, 2018 - 6:35pm

My experience as a woman in finance has more or less been the same. Once, I went out in a nightclub with the rest of my team after a Christmas party, and a VP tried repeatedly to dance with me while trying to grab my hips with his filthy paws. I was an intern at the time. An associate of the same team, while teaching me how to bind books efficiently, explained that it was like fitting male genitals into tiny holes and insisted to make it a hands-on teaching experience. I am really nothing special but I always feel self-conscious when talking with male seniors, and try to be extra-professional, to the risk of coming across as shy or cold .
There's no solution but to try to limit the context of repeated interactions with them (always phone rather than meet, try not to meet alone with them, ignore all attempts). But you also have to do it very gently so that they won't be angry at you. It's a very fine line to walk but there are also advantages to being a female and you should enjoy them. A female analyst in my previous team was staffed on a major deal for no other reason than the MDs wanted a token female face on the deal team slide.

 
Jan 26, 2018 - 7:10am

Shame really that this crap happens. We had a group head that would only recommend his team take on the really cute / hot interns every year. The juniors in the group started out thinking it was great, because they got to hire the cute chicks, but eventually figured out what was going on.

I'm imagining now that OP says something like "I really respect your opinions and advice, it feels very fatherly", and the greaseball she is talking to just hears "she wants to call me daddy".

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 12:22am

OP, while I do not advice to add - as a woman about to start full time at a BB - this makes me very sad. I'm sorry to hear that this has happeded to you and appreciate you opening the thread for conversation as I would love advice on how to handle this issue if I come across it down the line.

 
Best Response
Jan 12, 2018 - 1:18am

Also posting from a throwaway account, since this forum generally isn't the friendliest to girls, so don't want to reveal my gender with my main account (I'm female and in banking too).

First off, I know this might come across as "victim blaming-y", but I have to point out a couple of things in your post. Note: I'm almost 4 years into my banking career, and have wonderful relationships with many guys in banking, from analyst to MD level. Sure, I was hit on once by an analyst in my group who could not take a hint, and he crossed a line when he started walking up behind my chair and giving me unwanted massages late at night, but other than that, it is 100% possible to have professional - yet meaningful and deep - connections with males more senior than you.

Now...

Why are you cold networking with MD's in banking? Are you in banking? You say "finance." Frankly, I think it's kind of wierd to be trying to make connections with MD's at other banks. Shoot for associates, maybe early VP's. What are you going to possibly connect with MD's about? Also, it's a little strange that you put "M.D.". I've never seen someone with real finance experience mistake Managing Director for Medical Degree.

About your situations:

  1. Why were you in the office of an MD at a bank you don't work for, in such a position that he would feel comfortable kissing you and not having everyone notice? Unless the walls were literally all wood and no glass (weird office...)? This means it must have been the weekend or late at night (late at night? Why was an MD the last one in the office? What magical bank is this?) Or, the weekend. You say it was a BB, but you don't work there - so you went through the hassle of getting security to give you a temp ID badge so you could join this MD in his office on the weekend? This all just seems really wierd to me.

  2. Let me get this straight: you ran into a random guy in a coffee shop (it sounds like this wasn't a planned meeting; you literally just met a guy), he asked you to sit and chat, you spoke about travel, and then he made a move. Here is the same situation from the perspective of this man (probably): 'Met cute girl in coffee shop. Mentioned I work in finance at some point in our conversation. We spoke about travel. She seemed really interested in getting to know me, and I'm flattered. I made a move.' Frankly, I'm not surprised this person didn't take you seriously as a 'finance mentee.' Where would that have come into this conversation? Were you asking pointed questions about career and work? Sounds like a guy and a girl met in a coffee shop and one was interested in sleeping together, the other was not.

  3. "he was a great mentor to me ... We would probably catch up only two or three times max every year... gave me not only good career but personal life advice." When did you actually meet/work with this person? What did you "catch up" about if your relationship maxed out at speaking/texting a handful of times per year, and you never previously worked with each other? And despite never working together you felt comfortable texting and talking about "personal life advice"? Personal stuff shouldn't, in my opinion, come into discussion until you have built a solid trust bank with a person - and that doesn't come into play when you only catch up "twice" per year. That happens after several years of working together. Then, and only then, does personal stuff come into discussions (I'm talking about working with senior men here; obviously your girlfriends/other analysts it's a totally different story).

I find it hard to feel bad for you, because first I have difficulty believing you are not just a troll trying to make women look bad on this forum and second because if you really are serious here and this all happened, then I think it's kind of clear why your networking ends up down the toilet. Accepting Skype calls? Texting? Meeting MD's in their office when you have no reason to be there (maybe even after hours)?

I've found if you treat the senior men you work with as "older brothers" then everything works great. Don't flounce around; keep your head down, and impress them with the quality of your work, then build a relationship on top of that. Not by cold emailing senior MD's and treating the relationship like you are texting a potential hook up in college.

Also, "passionate about networking"? Who on earth are you? I like people but c'mon...

In summary: if you are a troll, stop trying to make women look bad, because harassment is a real and serious thing, and it is awful when it happens, and making light of it with this post is a crap thing to do. If you are not a troll, then, if you'll excuse me but from one girl to another... honey, put your freaking head on and stop making our gender look like brainless wombats.

Sincerely,

A girl also several years into her finance career with many healthy, normal relationships with men she works with in her banking career.

 
Controversial
Jan 19, 2018 - 2:17pm

Why are you so aggressive and arrogant?

  • People can contact senior people, it is entirely their right and it can be more effective than the number 50 associate. I already contacted the head of a division and she was super responsive. It is totally ok to cold email/call people and anyone should be entitled to do so and try to network with who they want. If a guy is doing so you will think that it is totally okay but because this is a girl you are accusing her of being too direct

  • Generally you do not text everyday with someone who is quite senior and yes, if someone is a mentor he/she can give personal life advice as well

  • Who cares about the spelling of MD? Who cares about whether she works in a BB, in a boutique or in a supermarket? Who cares if the walls were in wood or not? Seriously, this is really not the most important thing in this conversation

  • Maybe she was a bit naïve and should have kept more distance in order to avoid any ambiguity but this will come with more experience. Tons of examples like this happen and at any stage of a woman's career. Sometimes you can behave appropriately but the other person will not. It is totally normal to go to have a coffee with someone when you are networking, where else would you go? Are you going to book a meeting room?

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 10:18am

Hi financefairy,

Thanks for your responses. A couple thoughts in response:

  • Sure, anyone can reach out to senior people. But she asked for advice from other women in the industry on how to more effectively network; and from someone who fits that description, I shared my advice - which is try and connect with people you might actually be likely to connect on a person level with. MD's are really tough for that; it doesn't surprise me she is struggling here...

  • Of course, again, they can give personal life advice. But my own advice to her is to not go down that route. This is work - if you treat others like colleagues and professional mentors, I've found they treat you the same. Exceptions abound, but like I said, I would wait until you have build a 'trust bank' first. Trust has to be earned, and should be in place before going down any personal conversation routes.

  • I'm questioning the legitimacy of this account/post with this comment. If she actually doesn't know how to spell MD, that's one thing. I just find it hard to believe someone in banking/finance (and not a troll/student) would do this.

  • I think you may have missed my point on my the coffee thing and the wooden walls thing. I totally agree with you - coffee is actually the best place to network with people! However, there's a difference between meeting someone you know for coffee and bumping into a random man in a coffee shop, which it looks like it was the latter. And about the wooden walls - again, questioning the legitimacy of the story. As someone who's worked in banking for a bit now, I can't imagine any senior banker kissing someone in their office in the middle of the day (let alone someone in their early 20's!) without everyone on the floor's jaws falling to the ground. Unless they had no windows in their office (still, someone would see her walking in....).

I'm 100% on board with your advice about putting them back in the right place! My point is to add that there's some fairly low-hanging fruit for this person to tackle in their life/strategy to keep senior men from even leaving the 'right place' in the first place. Assuming this is even a legit post!

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 10:32am

Of course you're going to get SB'ed by the regular WSO user. It's very convenient that you won't post with your first account because you're afraid to get outed as a "female". What are you so afraid of? Is it that shameful to be born with a vagina and knowing some Excel? What kind of logical consistency is this - you're willing to admit that WSO suffers from an awful culture ("not the friendliest to girls") but you're pouncing on a post that only exposes the same failings in real life.

Moreover, it's not because you pre-emptively state yourself that you're victim blaming that you're absolved from it. Victim-blaming will and always be a shitty and uncharitable attitude to have, female or not.

There are a billion posts a month here of young male wannabes talking about how to cold network with MDs. Why would you be asking why she wants to reach out to senior people? It's completely reasonable to want to have exposure with people with the power to help you. I've done it - a lot - and it has tremendously helped my career. It's deplorable that as a woman you would be limiting yourself to who you're reaching out to because of your gender. That in itself should justify posting such a thread.

He/she may be a troll (I also find some things in this post are worthy of doubt) but you're immediately jumping from the unreliability of the source of this thread to victim-blaming with dubious motives. He/she may be lying - it does not change a single thing to the substance of the matter. That because horny seniors cannot behave professionaly, some young women feel preyed upon and are limited in their ability to form meaningful relationships in their networks. Why would she not be able to cold email MDs when any high school teenager is encouraged to do it here? Oh, you mean, she should just "keep her head down" and not assert herself?

Sincerely,

A girl in finance with many healthy, normal relationships with men she works with in her banking career AND with some troublesome experiences with creeps in a professional setting that has now learned to not be too friendly or have as much fun as her fellow male analysts when going out because she's afraid that one of the bad apples will take advantage of it or that she's sending "bad signals".

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 12:15pm

Hi Monkeyrella,

Thanks for the response. A couple quick points -

Advising her not to network with MD's, rather to target associates and VP's, is unrelated to her gender. It's just hard to connect with MD's as a 20 something. I would advise this to any male or female.

About the victim-blaming: the reason I started off by saying this was that any response to a post saying "I keep getting hit on by men/harassed; what can I do to prevent it?" is going to come off as a little "stop doing XYZ, that could be giving off the wrong impression". In short, victim blaming. Take the earlier response to "dress extra professionally." That's almost the professional equivalent of "to not get raped, don't wear a short skirt!" But the reality is that there are, as you say, "bad apples" and you have learned "not to be too friendly or have as much fun." And it sucks. But that is my advice, unfortunately. I wish it were a world where it were not the case that it's often on us to not "send bad signals" but we're obviously not quite there yet. And since she asked for advice on what do change about her actions... here it was.

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 1:32pm

I don't know what I said to have made you so angry but I'll try and explain as much as I can because your comment is rather lengthy.
And yes, you were victim blaming. Unfortunately you're one of the reason #metoo took so long to happen. I was actually inspired by an article about why #metoo has not happened in finance yet.

  1. I met this MD during the week during the day in his office. It was a meeting room with white walls. It was a big room and we were sat in the cornor. It'd be impossible to see unless you look close.

  2. No we started off with the travelling then I asked him loads about his career then asked for his business card. I don't believe anyone can build a good rapport with someone, if you don't work with them already, by just talking about work. I was in university back then. I wasn't in a target school. I needed to build my network. I believe it was a good opportunity. I seized it. Even tho it didn't work out in the end, I did what I should've done; talk to the guy and asked for his business card.

  3. He was one of those guys who is just so down to earth and can talk about anything. I started to talk about personal stuff only after we known each other for a year. Why is it so hard to understand we can keep in contacjt while only sheeing each other 3 times a year? Do you not have friends that you only see 3 times a year? Seeing each other less actually gives us more topics to talk about.

I cold called because I needed a job in the industry. I spelled MD incorrectly? MD or M.D. who cares. iPhone takes charge. I said I work in finance because I don't want to reveal exactly what sector.

It's amazing how cold calling can turn into "finding someone to hook up with" when a woman does it. Your comment really upsets me and the number of likes you speaks volume of how women will get treated if they open up.

Edit: sorry for spelling and grammar. Typed it on my phone and the mobile version is really dodgy.

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 4:00pm

Hi,

It looks like we just have a fundamentally different way of approaching interactions with senior men in the professional setting. I don't want to re-hash all of my suggestions above, but perhaps we're just going to agree to disagree on this one.

You asked for other females' "experience and advice" , particularly around how to stop this happening. I gave you my experience (this doesn't happen to me, generally except for some bad apples), as well as my advice to make it stop happening (without re-hashing it here: dramatically change how you approach relationships with senior men). If you did not want suggestions on what you can do to stop this happening, I'm confused why you asked for it. If you wanted sympathy about how it sucks to be a female in finance and we do have to sometimes regulate our interactions, then that's a separate story/pity party I'm happy to join at another time.

Asking for suggestions on how to change your behavior to prevent this, then damning those suggestions as "victim blaming"? Again, I wish it were different, but... there were my suggestions. Take them or leave them!

Lastly, calling me out as aggressive and "angry"? Really... Everyone knows the "double bind" women find themselves in at work (don't speak up and you're written off as useless; speak up with the men and you're labeled aggressive and bitchy). I didn't know that I had to wrap up my advice in sparkles and a tea cozy before gently handing it to you with lots of ~hugs~...

 
Jan 19, 2018 - 12:16am

This is probably one of the most old fashioned/backwards responses I have ever seen. You should be ashamed of yourself for giving advice like this.

Regardless of seniority/gender/experience, anyone can pick up the phone to anyone - it's a basic human interaction. If a male was to be making these cold calls, you'd think nothing of it.

The people you should be questioning here are mentioned in note 1, 2 and 3.

Also, the only people that I can imagine "liking" your comment are jealous of the high level interactions gained.

I understand that you are completely brainwashed but you are degenerative to the human race.

Tom Betteridge - Corporate Finance/Advisory Recruiter - Everything M&A www.linkedin.com/in/betteridge Sydney - 02 8234 3577
 
Jan 12, 2018 - 6:08pm

Not a woman, and not about to weigh in on the victim-blaming vs #metoo conversation, but I'll comment on your third interaction.

There's wisdom in keeping professional relationships professional, and personal relationships private. This applies to men in business as well, but your experience shows why it's especially true for young women. Once you started talking about "personal stuff," the lines of your relationship were blurred. I'm not saying it's fair or how it should be, but it's reality.

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 3:15pm

Advice for any gender reading this thread - stop networking with MDs unless you are already at VP level or above. It's the most incorrect method of networking in finance that has somehow spread like wildfire.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
 
Jan 12, 2018 - 8:33pm

I actually got two placements from these people I met. Another guy who was the head of FIG for a few B.B. also talked to me and was happy to refer me to interview. I didn't pass the interview nor did he try it on me. We also didn't keep in touch afterwards.

I was so thankful for these cold calling guides. It built up my confidence massively by getting myself out there as a uni student and talked to these senior people one on one, not having worked with them or even known them previously. Why would you start with VPs when you could get the top dog?

 
Jan 15, 2018 - 11:36pm

Agreed. People more than ~10 years older than you are getting too old to relate, and often can't be that much use to you. I think people push this idea of 'networking with mds" in hopes that they'll just snap their fingers and give you a job/interview/ w/e. However, if they are in that position they likely have stronger obligations to many people (prior analysts, their friend's kids, their kids friends). You're just unlikely to be particularly important to them.

Honestly, I've found this is starting to become true for me as a mid - career professional where I just can't relate to/ really help all the college sophomores that think I'm going to get them a job somewhere

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 6:19pm

Yuck, I'm sorry you had to deal with all of that.

I think you could have managed things a little better, but I don't think you should beat yourself up about it - we're only human. I've had to deal with similar stuff and it is incredibly demoralizing and in one of my experiences, it meant that I declined an offer to return as an intern somewhere.

Could you do some stuff to signal you're off the market (even if it's not true)? I know people who wear fake wedding bands and that generally shuts people up. As others have said, it's probably best to actively restrict conversation to work going forward.

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 8:28pm

I'm sure there are men who would try on married women. And I don't wanna build a relationship based on lies. I understand where you're coming from tho. I just find it hard to strike the balance between "hey, look, I'm a credible candidate and I'm not just a boring fuck in the industry, like me as a person!" and "back off! I'm not interested in knowing you that way!"

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 6:24pm

I have the same experience with a gay head of a billion dollar pe firm. But there gay so get more direct. Wish gays and straights partied together more. But it's fun going to parties and getting told I'm beautiful. Actually could probably be a kept man if I liked the "D".
Here's the thing people are not robotic professionals. We have personal lives. We have professional lives. Would be kind of fun having houses all over.
If you were a guy analysts they likely wouldn't have paid attention to you at all. The only reason you had that networking opportunity was because you were cute. If you are smart and promiscuous might be able to use it to leverage career advancement and skip some years of 100 hour work weeks. Why do you think guys try to accumulate fortunes?

If you want a cheat code use it. Don't be some cunt who uses sexuality to advance her career and then sues. If not grind it out the old fashion way and hope you make it on your own talent.

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 7:07pm

My general rule of thumb is: "if you do something in an unorthodox manner, expect unorthodox results"

I have never once met anyone in banking (or university) who's idea of networking is cold calling/emailing MDs (especially MDs from banks they dont work at). Everyone has the wherewithal to know that MDs are too busy to help junior people land positions, and aren't usually involved at all with Analyst/Associate recruitment. Hell, most MDs have been in the industry for so long that recruiting was completely different when they got in, so it wouldn't even make sense to ask them for advice.

Unfortunately, the world we live in is sexist and when a man gets unusual/unexpected attention from a woman (how many men do you think cold called these MDs?) they immediately default to assuming its sexual. In a perfect world this would not happen, but its the world we live in now.

I struggle to give you advice because the truth is an anonymous online forum really isn't the best place to talk about "sensitive topic[s]." The best I can think of is, in the future, try to approach networking in a more traditional route, ie finding analyst/associate alumni (or with similar backgrounds and interests, ie grew up same area, same organizations, etc.) on LinkedIn and sending them a standard format networking email (you can find tons of these online). From there, stick to the usual script. Predominately communicate by email. Suggest phone calls/coffee shop meet ups. Keep the conversations professional networking styled. This doesn't mean only talk about finance and banking, it just means the non-work talk should be about hobbies and interests, not your/his or her personal life. Hope this helps.

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 8:23pm

I totally get what you're saying. However, I saw this guy more than just someone who can give me great career advice. I trusted him as a friend. I'm not someone who would reveal my personal life just like that.

There are so many people I would've never met had I not started networking. And it's so narrow minded for someone to think we should only network with people we work with. And when you don't work with them, it's hard to keep their attention by being strictly professional. You have to give out a bit of personality to build the rapport. And I feel that there's always a fine line for women. When we try to show a bit of personality, guys could take the wrong way.

I cold emailed and met up with thia VC guy before. He started off nothing and he built up his network through cold calling. His advice was to be personable and cheeky. Make them like you.

From the advice here, I don't know what to feel. I feel like I'm being advised to do things differently from guys just because of my gender.

Initially I wanted to get advice on if my approach was wrong. Now I feel that I digged myself a big hole by practically asking how women should behave in the industry.

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 8:53pm

ksouza:

From the advice here, I don't know what to feel. I feel like I'm being advised to do things differently from guys just because of my gender.

I think you're misreading my comment ... my advice was exactly how guys network.

xxx-ThrowAway-xxx:

in the future, try to approach networking in a more traditional route, ie finding analyst/associate alumni (or with similar backgrounds and interests, ie grew up same area, same organizations, etc.) on LinkedIn and sending them a standard format networking email (you can find tons of these online). From there, stick to the usual script. Predominately communicate by email. Suggest phone calls/coffee shop meet ups. Keep the conversations professional networking styled. This doesn't mean only talk about finance and banking, it just means the non-work talk should be about hobbies and interests, not your/his or her personal life.

As I said before, cold calling MDs is highly unorthodox. There may be an off story or two of people who did it an it worked out - personally everyone I know (guys and girls) networked with the approach i mentioned above. I can understand your frustration right now, you were unsure how to approach something and did what you were told do by one person (by the VC guy) and now people are telling you to do something different. I think if you try the approach I suggested with an open mind you'll get better results.

Sorry again if you feel like you're being attacked, that was not my intention (and hopefully not the intention of anyone else who commented).

Edit: re-read your post and a few other things I forget to respond to:

ksouza:

And it's so narrow minded for someone to think we should only network with people we work with. And when you don't work with them, it's hard to keep their attention by being strictly professional. You have to give out a bit of personality to build the rapport. And I feel that there's always a fine line for women. When we try to show a bit of personality, guys could take the wrong way.

I apologize if my initial post was vague - I was no suggesting that you should only network with people at your own company, obviously networking with people from other companies is the only way to break into banking - rather that networking with MDs from other banks is unusual at the junior level. Also, the balance between "showing personality" and "being strictly professional" is a fine line for guys too - obviously the consequences usually aren't the same (the professional thinking you're into them), but its a similar concept.

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 7:40pm

I only started cold calling cos I didn't get an internship at a bank in the first place. I actually got my first two placements through cold calling and being referred for interviews.

I also know a few guy friends who got in EB through networking / cold calling. It's somehow wrong when a female does it and some guy decided to take advantage of her. What a world we live in.

 
Jan 12, 2018 - 10:41pm

MD checking in here.

Interesting and disturbing thread. I get some emails/LinkedIn/calls from college or MBA students, but rarely.

When I do, I almost always respond, as long as there are not egregious spelling or grammar issues. Nobody ever tried to flirt with me. And I never tried to fuck any of them......not even close.

I have been good friends with many women from work. It's really not that hard to not cross a line. I would hire banking876 based upon the comments. This whole thing makes me sad.....can I not invite a female out to lunch or drinks anymore? It's never been a problem for me and I invite men and women all the time.

Not to sound like the guy who walked two miles uphill in the snow both ways to get to and from school everyday......it wasn't this way back in the day. I wish young ladies felt comfortable reaching out to me for advice/jobs, because I love having those conversations and helping however I can. Apparently, given the Hollywood bullshit, that won't happen anymore.

Anyway....good luck people. This world is starting to disappoint more often than not.

 
Jan 13, 2018 - 10:51am

Monkeyrella:

Why would you hire banking876? She's the one saying that young women should check themselves and not cold call MDs.

It's probably good advice. I guess what I like was how quickly she analyzed the situation of OP. Whether true or not, it seemed true. Plus, i'm Not super analytical when I'm hammered.
 
Jan 13, 2018 - 9:35pm

Speechless... reading this makes me understand even more why some women need to embrace a "bitchy" attitude to climb the corporate ladder.

"Drill, Baby, Drill" - Sarah Palin
 
Jan 13, 2018 - 10:16pm

1 is weird.

2 nothing wrong. Sounds like you bumped into each other, hit it off, and he stated his intentions without forcing anything.

3 nothing wrong. You guys were at texting level, he saw an opportunity to test the waters, and initiated tame hand contact.

So 2 and 3 are just guys who were unsure where your relationship stood, and took the initiative/risk to see if it was mutual. Girls like being able to sit back, not initiate, and just decide yes/no, right?

 
Jan 14, 2018 - 8:16am

For the first two examples, I'm sorry things went south. Networking is nerve wracking in and of itself so it sucks that you had to have that nonsense added into it. For case 3 though, it sounds like you might have a strong enough relationship to address what he did head on and move past it. Don't be angry but be assertive in saying that it made you uncomfortable but you value the professional relationship you've built. He'll either be a dick about it, in which case you can move on, or recognize that he misread signals and carry on your mentor/mentee relationship. He probably feels worse than you assume and is looking for an opportunity to apologize and move on. Best of luck.

 
Jan 17, 2018 - 1:14am

Not sure I want to add to the noise, but I feel strongly about the issue. While on the sell side, I had a female junior trader and with time I did realize that the business is structurally difficult for women. Literally, in sales and trading, even without anything inappropriate, the deck is stacked against women.

The business is dominated by men and actually suffers because of it, or at least that has been my experience. Women, in my experience, tend to be more measured and, in many ways, make better traders than men.

I have a friend who lives in the country, and it's supposed to be an hour from 42nd Street. A lie! The only thing that's an hour from 42nd Street is 43rd Street!
 
Jan 17, 2018 - 9:53am

I've seen it over my 15 years on the sell side, but it takes a certain effort to grok it, as it's not readily apparent. It's a tacit structural bias that can not be overcome by simple means like affirmative actions.

Starting at the very very junior level. When an young woman starts on a trading desk, it's much harder for her to form a strong mentor/apprentice relationship. To begin with, she's culturally disadvantaged (i.e. not a bro). She's frequently perceived as "diversity hire". Last, but not least, there is always a healthy fear in the senior people of any close relationship being viewed as inappropriate.

Let's imagine now that said young woman managed to find the right desk and get good training despite these issues. Unless she manages to grow into a management role internally, it's harder for her to find a job laterally. As a senior hire, she's facing a crisis-trust type of issue. Almost all senior spots are filled under pressure - either someone has resigned (oh, shit!) or someone was fired (oh, SHIT!). In a crisis any manager will go to something he'd trust and that, invariably, would be another guy.

Anyways, that's my experience, people might have a different view.

I have a friend who lives in the country, and it's supposed to be an hour from 42nd Street. A lie! The only thing that's an hour from 42nd Street is 43rd Street!
 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:23pm

On a serious note, if this is a serious question, you want to shake her hand the same way you would shake a man's hand - don't be a bone crusher, and don't treat it like a d*ck measuring contest - she won't be impressed if you hurt her hand anymore than I would if you were shaking my hand. Give a firm handshake that shows your in the room and confident, but don't hurt the person (yes person, male or female). A relaxed, firm handshake goes a long way - use it.

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Mar 29, 2018 - 10:24pm

BankonBanking:
On a serious note, if this is a serious question, you want to shake her hand the same way you would shake a man's hand - don't be a bone crusher, and don't treat it like a d*ck measuring contest - she won't be impressed if you hurt her hand anymore than I would if you were shaking my hand. Give a firm handshake that shows your in the room and confident, but don't hurt the person (yes person, male or female). A relaxed, firm handshake goes a long way - use it.

I choose my doctors based on their handshake

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:26pm

Networking With a Female (Originally Posted: 07/18/2009)

As a male intern, is there any difference in the way I should approach networking with a female? Whenever I meet another guy for coffee, he usually offers and really insists on paying. Will this be the same with a woman? I'd feel like a punk letting her pay but, at the same time, if I pay I'd feel almost like it's a date.

"Give me guys that are poor, smart, and hungry. And no feelings." - Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street"
 
Jan 18, 2018 - 8:29pm

FAKE. NEWS.

But honestly, do not believe this happened.

"well thank god your feelings aren't a fucking priority here"
 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:31pm

I'm talking about someone more senior.

"Give me guys that are poor, smart, and hungry. And no feelings." - Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street"

"Give me guys that are poor, smart, and hungry. And no feelings." - Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street"
 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:35pm

There should be no difference at all (except don't refer to her as a Mr. when you first meet, and don't call her "sir" during the convo - insert any other remarks that calls her a male and don't do those either). But seriously, you should be treating the woman the same was as you would treat a male in IB who holds the same position. A meeting is just that, a chance to network, meet the banker (the person who holds a position you are ultimately interested in), and learn what you can - possibly groom it into a rec down the line. That said, you being awkward, uncertain, feeling like it's a date if you pay, trying to pay just because the employee is a woman, etc, are all things that will get you dinged - simply because you will be coming off awkward and disconnected. You are reading way too much into this - I'm sure she doesn't see it as any more of a date than the male banker does - be yourself, relax, and treat the situation the same regardless of gender - anything else, and that is more likely to get you dinged (than not paying or closing a door in her face just so that you didn't hold the door for her and make it out to be a date - yes I'm exaggerating, but it could have been someone's next question).

IBanker
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Mar 29, 2018 - 10:36pm

What if the said female in question is only a couple years older than you and very attractive? Would you select to do drinks or dinner over something like coffee? How would you ensure that you get to the point and treat it as an informational and a foot in the door rather than a date?

This is much easier when a woman is in her 30s or 40s... not as simple when she's just a couple years out of college.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:37pm

Point blank - get your rocks off elsewhere. It doesn't matter if she's smoking hot, or not, ask the same questions and act in the same manner as if she were a dude. Don't be flirty, don't get yourself into awkward situations where the line becomes blurry. There are plenty of women in the city, so save your flirtation, mannerisms, and interest for any of them. Believe me, I know it's hard - I've met a few very attractive women at networking events (who were bankers already), and it is tough - at times, it's almost as if we are flirting automatically, on instinct, but you've just got to get a lid on it, and keep your eyes on the ultimate goal.

IBanker
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Mar 29, 2018 - 10:40pm

BankonBanking:
Point blank - get your rocks off elsewhere. It doesn't matter if she's smoking hot, or not, ask the same questions and act in the same manner as if she were a dude. Don't be flirty, don't get yourself into awkward situations where the line becomes blurry. There are plenty of women in the city, so save your flirtation, mannerisms, and interest for any of them. Believe me, I know it's hard - I've met a few very attractive women at networking events (who were bankers already), and it is tough - at times, it's almost as if we are flirting automatically, on instinct, but you've just got to get a lid on it, and keep your eyes on the ultimate goal.

IBanker
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Very good points. Thanks.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:51pm

hol3:
piitb

lkc, you Misc'in brahh?

Will rep on recharge

FreeMarketer331:
As a male intern, is there any difference in the way I should approach networking with a female? Whenever I meet another guy for coffee, he usually offers and really insists on paying. Will this be the same with a woman? I'd feel like a punk letting her pay but, at the same time, if I pay I'd feel almost like it's a date.

Pics or neg, bro

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:43pm

peterg:
Why don't you just arrive early and buy something before she gets there?

Thats fucking absurd. And rude.

Offer to pay when it comes up, most likely she'll pay and you should let her since she's more senior and offering.

Nothing has a connotation of a date, unless you:
- go to some dimly lit restaurant
- tell her you'll meet at 8, because you want to go home to shower first
- reach into your pocket for your wallet, and 2 condoms fall out onto the floor (which has happened to me in the past)

If you're nervous about non-platonic awkwardness, don't go to dinner/drinks.... grab some coffee or lunch.

Also, this seems like a no brainer, but don't check out her rack, not even for a second... even if they're spilling out of her shirt.

Array
 
Jan 20, 2018 - 9:17am

Not going to rehash all the other posts but as a female in finance as well, I agree that you don't network with MDs. Network with VPs or Associates, they can help you just as much. Despite that, you're obviously not going to run away if an MD wants to talk to you. Just make yourself unavailable for a relationship with them by talking about your wonderful husband or boyfriend. I think it's naive to say that if you're attractive and smart and in finance, where women make up maybe 5% of the workforce, you're never ever going to get hit on. Like someone already said, make them feel like you like them but are unfortunately off the market. I could be wrong, but I think older men sometimes just like the idea of thinking that in another time or place something could have happened.

 
Jan 20, 2018 - 4:28pm

I like luv2speed's advice on mentioning you have a boyfriend (even if you don't). Try to mention this occasionally. For example, on your second meeting with an MD, when he asks you how your weekend was, you could tell him your boyfriend took you to a restaurant.

When you say this, you should also carefully see the reaction. Their reactions will many times give you a hint of what their intentions were.

Mentioning a boyfriend (imaginary or real) is a common way for girls to signal to men that they are either taken or not interested in them.

 
Jan 20, 2018 - 6:23pm

Mentioning you have a bf won't matter if their interest is dating and not mentor ship.

Most successful guys won't care if you have a bf. You think a successful guy thinks the 22 year college kid is competition.

Truth is if a female is getting attention from a 30+ male it's likely dating interest and not work interests. And don't call this sexists. If she was a male the chance he wants to meet is 98% lower.

But with skill this can be done.

 
Jan 20, 2018 - 7:50pm

I don't get all the hate that @banking876 is getting or see how she's "one of those women contributing to the problem". I thought her points on networking, and how the OP can consider other tactics, were quite sound. And she outlined that it's unfortunate the finance world is sexist, but that you have to navigate through it all the same, is true. This is coming from another female in finance.

Fortunately, I have not experienced any sexual harassment or awkward unprofessional behavior from male peers and seniors. Actually, the majority of my most supportive mentors have been male (if anything, my experience w/ Sr women has been a bit hit or miss - maybe my personality and interests just don't jive with them, but that's a separate conversation). It could be that I've just been lucky in that I've only connected with the good ones. But I make sure I'm very professional and focus convos on work and career. I don't even get into anything about my personal life or invite knowledge of his (and by this I mean mostly superficial surface level stuff like "how was your family vacay at so and so")... unless I've worked with this person for some time and we've all gotten used to shooting the shit. And even then there's no skype. It's communication via emails, or LinkedIn messenger.

But anyway - I would echo the advice to network with associates, VPs, or maybe even EDs. It's easier to relate to them given a smaller age gap, and they'll have more recent experience dealing with junior bankers - so they'll have more relevant career advice. OP - you could consider shooting out what your cold emails look like just so wso can see if it can be tweaked. While meeting for coffees or at their offices for the first time, I would ask them to share more about their career stories - how they got into the field, and having gone through it, what kind of advice can they provide you. I would set the tone of "informational interview" early.

One other thing to consider is a capital markets women network of some kind. Depending on your city, there are usually large organizations that are great for networking and focus on women career development. Some even pair jr women with Sr professionals that have applied to be mentors (men and women alike). If you really want exposure to MDs, this could also be a way to get it.

 
Jan 20, 2018 - 10:15pm

These were good points. I want to highlight what you said about senior women that it can be a hit or miss, as I have felt the same way. Sometimes I find it much more difficult to develop relationships with senior women and I would like to know if you have any tips around this. Are senior women much more reserved or what? It's a bit surprising sometimes because you would expect them to be understanding of what women face in finance and therefore more open to mentorship/guidance, but I have felt that's not the case.

 
Jan 21, 2018 - 12:39pm

I seriously have no advice on how to talk to senior women in finance. For one, I think a good chunk of this is on me - my personality (I'm very straightforward) and personal interests (I like sports, watches, talking about tv shows, etc), are probably not a great match with waspy Sr women. I tend to get along great with most women who are close to my age, my peers or juniors, and men across all levels. I think it's because I don't act or look like them, nor am I from their world. What can we talk about? Conversely, I have more talking points with men, and even if I don't share their similarities in their ethnicity/background - maybe they find a straightforward, no nonsense, career-oriented and hustling female with no daddykins connections interesting. I really don't know. I've just found men easier to talk to and understand. I've found a lot of women to be passive aggressive, and sometimes it feels like they treat other women worse.

I find the successful Sr women I have gotten along with (and a few I am really happy to have as role models/mentors) are more similar to me in personality or approach to work - they are also straightforward, no nonsense, very hard working types that weren't born into their wealth. I think it's the whole "birds of a feather flock together" type thing - you're more likely to guide or help people that are similar or remind you of yourself (if it's someone of your gender).

This is by no means a criticism towards powerful ladies from upper class. I'm sure there are women that are from rich backgrounds, but also happen to have no nonsense personalities and I just haven't met them yet. But I personally have yet to be able to establish a very meaningful relationship with Wasp ladies and I think part of that is simply my personality

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