Comments (52)

Most Helpful
Jun 30, 2019

Lol chill, networking isn't an easy thing to do and it takes guts for a kid to put him/herself out there to be scrutinized by hundreds of people just to learn a thing or two about the industry.

If you want to give advice, maybe accept some of those connections and tell these aspiring investment bankers about this faux-pas instead of ignoring them and unleashing your rage on an anonymous WSO post. The only thing posts like this accomplish is that they discourage kids from networking and make IB an even more secretive and hostile industry to work in.

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Funniest
Jul 2, 2019

Everybody gets a trophy, right?

Jul 2, 2019

Lol +SB

Jul 6, 2019

Simply pressing "connect" does not take guts. An unsolicited LinkedIn invite that don't have any personalized message attached just shows me the person doesn't care enough to be worth responding to.

Let's be honest, invites like that are usually asking the other person for something (time, advice, referral, internship, etc.) - if somebody can't take the time to put in a minuscule amount of effort to establish some common ground / rationale for why they are reaching out (same school, same sport, same hobbies, also a non-target, from the same area, blah blah blah - all stuff that should be readily available on LinkedIn), then I'm going to put in the same amount of effort in return, which is simply clicking "ignore."

I talk to college students all the time, whether they're reaching out through the alumni network, LinkedIn, or WSO - but come on, there has to be a baseline amount of effort / homework done ahead of time.

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Jul 9, 2019

Unfortunately, given how abysmally low response rates tend to be in IB (versus other industries like consulting or tech), sometimes students have to bang out hundreds of emails just to get a few calls. Sure, it's always a bad look if the invitation seems copy-pasted and generic, but the entire networking process is such a crapshoot it's unfair to expect students to put delicate time and effort into invitations that they know won't yield a response anyways.

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Jul 6, 2019

good point...I totally agree with this!

Jun 30, 2019

I talk to a bunch of kids on a weekly basis. A lot of undergrads use this as a resource - I'm going to be blunt about it and tell them what they should / should not do. It's always better to learn about it here than wasting a chance at a solid chat. My time is also limited, so I'd take the polished kids that reach out through school networks first any day.

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Jul 1, 2019

I'll say something that I think really sucks but maybe isn't a pet peeve. Lying about what you know or can do with a pretty clear understanding that you're lying. For example, an undergrad reached out and was making some clear claims about LBO modeling. Excellent if it's true. I ask him to just walk me through a basic LBO model. Silence. He plays it like he doesn't understand what I'm asking. I reiterate and say just throw out anything about the process that you know about, can be as basic as you want. Nothing. Not a damn thing. That's one thing I miss about my music performance days where people didn't "talk" all the time, they showed what they had then and there.

Something another undergrad did: tried to find ways to undercut his peers and make it seem like he was really passionate about the industry like me..... but he didn't really ever take the initiative to actually teach himself even just the foundations.

This one is my actual pet peeve, and it kinda fits under the networking narrative, some times more than others: Not taking advantage of killer resources that are dropped in your lap and then complaining about not getting anywhere being from a nontarget.

A major example: I was in music in undergrad, and I transitioned late, giving me one semester to be in the student investment fund. I taught myself how to model and built complete projections along with DCF's. It was far above their standard; no one else did that at my school. I tried to help them make that the standard and even gave them tons of resources such as all my bootleg copies of the analyst training slides and books from several banks. I even walked groups of students through the process and the intuition behind why you do certain things in the model. Not a damn thing has changed. On top of that, a friend that had started at a BB PB in town tried to help the students get interviews for the summer. One out of like 50 even put in the damn application, and that one was completely unprepared. Everyone complains about a lack of resources when it's really a lack of resourcefulness a lot of the time.

JUST DO IT. Don't let your memes be dreams.

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Jul 1, 2019

Could not agree more!!!

Jul 1, 2019

I'm in a very similar situation at my nontarget alma mater. There is 1 student in the 3 classes behind me that actually wants to take advantage of the knowledge I've learned through my many mistakes. If it weren't for him, everything I have to say would've fallen on deaf ears.

Jul 1, 2019

At least it's good to know that those we're mentioning can at least throw ms across the thread. Would be way more interesting to see a single counter argument, but they come up short yet again.

JUST DO IT. Don't let your memes be dreams.

Jul 1, 2019

How would someone get bootleg copies of analyst training? I am an undergrad at a non target in my summer before senior year

Jul 1, 2019

deleting comment i ranted too much

Jul 1, 2019

I'd second it anyway. We have no clue what people have or haven't learned. Most haven't learned whatever, but I always give them a chance to wow me. I want them to do that. Did I really think that kid understood LBO modeling? No way, he was way off on the smell test. But I wanted him to prove that instinct wrong, even to just mention the very basics. Still, me just telling him he clearly didn't know stuff before being totally sure would have been completely asinine. Risk management 101...

JUST DO IT. Don't let your memes be dreams.

Jul 1, 2019

The best advice I can give to any kids reading this thread is just chill and "be normal" when you're reaching out to somebody. I know why you're e-mailing me, you don't have to ramble on about how passionate you are about finance/m&a (you're 20 years old, just stop). As a courtesy, you should also spell my name correctly, know which firm I work at, and where I'm based since you already found me via linkedin and all of that information is readily available.

Unsolicited linkedin invites are weird too and should be saved for after you establish contact with the person.

Jul 1, 2019
Hugh Myron:

The best advice I can give to any kids reading this thread is just chill and "be normal" when you're reaching out to somebody. I know why you're e-mailing me, you don't have to ramble on about how passionate you are about finance/m&a (you're 20 years old, just stop). As a courtesy, you should also spell my name correctly, know which firm I work at, and where I'm based since you already found me via linkedin and all of that information is readily available.

Unsolicited linkedin invites are weird too and should be saved for after you establish contact with the person.

This and what @rubicon367 said. I understand the awkwardness and being scared since I was once in those shoes and it was not that long ago. Try to be "normal" when you approach people, since, well, despite their jobs, people are people. I talk to lots of people and enjoy trying to help out in general. So please get back to me in a timely fashion (doesn't have to be immediate). The odd message after you have made said jump to whatever position would be nice. What would be nicer is if you took the positive experience that I gave you and then passed it down with your wisdom to other potential newbies to the industry.. You know, keep the cycle of good karma and positivity (which is in very short supply in our industry) going.

Funnily enough on LinkedIn, I will accept most requests, but please add a note in why you want to connect so that I can try to help (I know you probably want a job or some help, and that's cool). I do the same and so often I get rejected (and that's totally fine) since I know I won't be able to meet the people otherwise and LinkedIn may be the only way to reach out to said person in the near immediate future.

A pet peeve... When I give you a contact, please REACH OUT TO THEM. I have told said contact you will be reaching out and why you will be doing so and have some some prepping or have given you some ideas.. So DO IT ASAP, rather than "Oh I have not gotten around to it" or whatever. You want a job and contacts right? That's why you pinged me, right?

Good Luck

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Jul 1, 2019

the entire networking process is my pet peeve.
The very fact that it is unavoidable that we must ask for "informational interviews" to "find out about the industry" is a pain in the ass.
Honestly, it's a very contrived, unequal power dynamic, and I chafe at it.
It's uncomfortable for both sides, and I've not seen any way to make it otherwise.
But maybe that means I'm doing it wrong, and some of you smarter monkeys can enlighten me.

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Jul 1, 2019
earthwalker7:

the entire networking process is my pet peeve.
The very fact that it is unavoidable that we must ask for "informational interviews" to "find out about the industry" is a pain in the ass.
Honestly, it's a very contrived, unequal power dynamic, and I chafe at it.
It's uncomfortable for both sides, and I've not seen any way to make it otherwise.
But maybe that means I'm doing it wrong, and some of you smarter monkeys can enlighten me.

I'm a social guy but in many ways I agree with you. Its especially big in our industry which really bugs me.. That said I have met some awesome people who became friends (often these people were not really able to help me much jobwise - and that's ok. So I try to look at it from the bright side.

If I get a sense that I actually like the person I try to keep it much more focused on non-job stuff to build an actual rapport.

In short I hear you and totally agree in many ways.

Good Luck

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Jul 3, 2019

Thanks.
I'm mostly bitching about the fact that we have to do this dance called "informational interviews."
And we have to ask a bunch of questions, etc.
Why can't it be "hey, let's just chat. You know I want a job, and you MAY need someone to hire - now or later - to solve some problem you have. Let's get to know each other, and be straight about our respective pros and cons."
Nope.
We have to keep coming up w/ questions, and we are posturing at the same time.
And heavens forbid we mention we are looking for a job / ask for a job - which is a no-no in informational interviewing.

Anyone know a different / better way?
Seriously asking.

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Jul 2, 2019

not sure if someone has already has addressed this. i don't appreciate when someone reaches out to me and tells me they're confused as to which path within finance they should pursue (Sales, IB, equity research, dcm / ecm)...for me, it's an auto-ding...figure that stuff out on your own before asking me to explain the differences and subtleties to you

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Jul 3, 2019

yeah, agreed.
Figure it out, then we'll talk.
Ask your friends, not a stranger.

Now, if my buddy or even an alumn (or upcoming grad from my school) comes to me, and asks for the difference, I've got all the time in the world.

Jul 2, 2019
Justuravgjoe:

The best move is to just act normal

Lol a tall order for many.

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Jul 2, 2019

This made me laugh out loud

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Jul 3, 2019

OP, would you respond to a student's networking attempt if they are not alumni?
I'm a freshman from a non-target and on LinkedIn that only about 30 people working a boutique or bank went to my school. Could you offer me some advice on networking? Thanks.

Jul 3, 2019

Yes, I do that all the time. I'd say usually reaching out to the alumni yields the highest success rate, at least that's what I experienced when I was in your shoes. I'd say for you look for any commonality - even look for people who went to your high school. Honestly the safest bet is finding someone from your hometown and then raving about local sports. Just don't give up - your success rate is probably going to be like 1/20, but that one person might very well be able to help you land your dream job.

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Jul 3, 2019
Kronstadt:

OP, would you respond to a student's networking attempt if they are not alumni?
I'm a freshman from a non-target and on LinkedIn that only about 30 people working a boutique or bank went to my school. Could you offer me some advice on networking? Thanks.

I'm not the OP but I do my best to respond to everyone. Got to keep the good karma juju going.

In short even spamming is ok (in my eyes) since you should get a hit from someone... Everyone has to start somewhere (and not everyone falls into their seat the summer after freshman year of college...) and we would all do well to remember that.

Good Luck

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Jul 4, 2019

Think of networking like this- A really attractive girl with thousands of followers on Instagram will get hundreds and thousands of likes, comments, follows, and direct messages from all sorts of different types of guys. Why should she care about you? Thats the type of mentality you need to have with networking esp talking to recruiters. They are going to see through your BS(its literally their job to read people). If you want to try and network with someone who has your dream job, you need to have something to say and go about it the right way. Powerful people know the way others look at them. Most likely your some 20-25 year old white kid who went to a good school and your going to be easy to read. Show them you have an edge and that you can learn and take direction.

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Jul 4, 2019

you're* ha! grammar police!

Jul 4, 2019
MRBIGBUCKS95:

Think of networking like this- A really attractive girl with thousands of followers on Instagram will get hundreds and thousands of likes, comments, follows, and direct messages from all sorts of different types of guys. Why should she care about you? Thats the type of mentality you need to have with networking esp talking to recruiters. They are going to see through your BS(its literally their job to read people). If you want to try and network with someone who has your dream job, you need to have something to say and go about it the right way. Powerful people know the way others look at them. Most likely your some 20-25 year old white kid who went to a good school and your going to be easy to read. Show them you have an edge and that you can learn and take direction.

In short. Take a risk and try to be different. I have found that treating bigshots like humans usually works. Ie. Ask them where they grew up and how they got into the business rather than how they made tons of money or the last deal they did or whatever (since that's what 99% of people talk to them about). Ask them how they balance their life with their work, their hobbies, other paths they thought about taking...

In short, treat them like people.

The other thing you can do is respectfully challenge them on something. "You know a lot more than me about this but wouldn't x or y be a big risk? You probably know about it better than I do, but how did you account for it, or did you think of z?"

The arrogant DBags (who would be of no help anyway) might rip you a new one (and you may learn something), the nice ones will answer your question or be impressed that you aren't like the other 99% of sycophants and you can take it from there..

TLDR: be respectful, treat people like people and remember, its a numbers game.

Good Luck

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Jul 4, 2019

My pet peeve is when people reach out to me as if they are texting me like I am their classmate or friend. I don't even bother responding to those people.

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Jul 6, 2019

I think most of the important stuff has been covered, but my quick thoughts:

1) always include a note with a LinkedIn invitation if you don't know the person. It can be 1-2 lines but quickly introduce yourself

2) do your research before reaching out and definitely before talking to the person. You don't need to fake understanding of a topic but if you say you want to work at a HF and that's the topic we go down then it is useful to know why. This isn't because I test people but because within HFs there are so many different types that I actually want to help you find what you are looking for. It usually feels like a waste of time if I'm answering factual questions you can get from the firms website.

3) be honest. Similar to the point above, I'm trying to help you understand the industry, my firm, etc. Pretending everything I say is interesting probably means you are missing out on asking the actual things you want to know. I don't care if you say "wow that sounds awful, I actually think I'd enjoy XYZ more". I'm happy to explain any areas of the industry I know and put people in contact with people within that area.

4) have perspective. Networking isn't a magic bullet, in some cases it can help a lot, but know that it can be an uphill battle if you are coming from a non target with an OK academic record and just OK extracurriculars, especially if you are trying to get into the top roles/firms/etc. That's ok, try to learn how to get there, how to position yourself for the best chance, etc. But if you think that a subpar resume + networking will magically get you the role, you will most likely be disappointed

5) be respectful of the persons time. This one is probably the most "pet peeve like" of my comments. I've gone to college, I know what it is like, so if you email someone asking for their time and when they are available, don't respond to their response about how a certain time won't work because "you have a big test in a week" or "finals are coming soon". If that is the case try to work that into your intro on timing, but like I said we've all been there, but at the end of the day I'm trying to help out with my time, I really prefer not to also have to work around your schedule.

Oh and thank the person, short email will do

I'm sure I'm missing other stuff but that's the stuff off the top of my head.

Jul 6, 2019

One of my biggest pet peeves: People who act way too gung ho about being investment bankers, "been their dream", "want the grind", etc.

Example: Our firm just put in a new intern hours policy (summer after my internship of course) and I was meeting with 2 of our summers for the first time and asked how things have been going with that to which they say "Honestly we wish we didn't have it, we really just want to grind it out and get the full investment banking experience" ... No you don't. No one wants to be in the office at 2am, and if you do, you're not someone I want coming back full time weirdo

Show you can handle the hours, sure, but don't act like you want them. Especially when you haven't worked them

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Jul 6, 2019

I get where they're coming from though. I'd rather have as close to the real experience during my internship so I can know what I'm getting into before I agree to do it full time. I know people who had easy internships (because of bank policy or just because deal flow was light); then they came back for full time and got absolutely wrecked and felt a little blindsided.

Jul 6, 2019

I agree that is valid, may have been a had to be there type thing but these guys were cringeworthy hardos about it. Didn't come across as "I wish we got the experience so we knew what we are getting ourselves into" came across as "wish we could get the experience so I can tell everyone I work 100 hours a week"

Jul 7, 2019

We did the same thing in our group one summer before this became a thing! One of the senior bankers thought that it would result in happier interns and higher retention. So, that summer, we sent our interns home at a reasonable hour, did our best not to have them pull all nighters, limited weekend hours, etc. The craziest thing was that we started hearing complaints from the interns! Some interns had friends at name-your-sweatshop who were working until 4am every night and our interns thought that they were not getting "real" investment banking experience. They complained that our group was soft. I was an associate at the time, and helping to manage the interns in our group, and had to sit down explain to them that that was not what they wanted. It did not help. At the end of that summer, we had one of our lowest yielding classes. We never did that again.

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Jul 8, 2019

damn that seems so backwards

Jul 6, 2019

OP - pathetic

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Jul 6, 2019

Thx for the value add

Jul 8, 2019
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Jul 9, 2019