[Networking] Secured a phone call with an MD...

This will be my first call/contact with anyone at that level. I've spoken to analysts before, but nothing higher ranking. I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't slightly nervous because I want to be 100% on my game. It was effortless to get to this point and I'm actually shocked that the MD (or anyone at the level) would be willing to talk to a complete stranger not even in the field...

Anyways, I have an idea of what I need to ask/say, but if I could get some recommendations from those of you who have been there/done that, I would be greatly appreciative.

Comments (59)

Best Response
Mar 16, 2015

Ask him about how to calculate WACC, etc.

Any real MD would appreciate a good old technical question.

    • 2
Mar 16, 2015
Random Name:

Ask him about how to calculate WACC, etc.

Any real MD would appreciate a good old technical question.

Not sheriff serious. I know how to do that already.

My goal is to talk to as many higher-ups as I can in an informative format. Ask them what they look for in ideal candidates, how they started out, etc.. and eventually, if the conversation goes well, either ask to meet them for a quick coffee and or ask if they could be a referral.

Bad or sound strat?

Mar 16, 2015
ChicagoCT:
Random Name:

Ask him about how to calculate WACC, etc.

Any real MD would appreciate a good old technical question.

Not sheriff serious. I know how to do that already.

My goal is to talk to as many higher-ups as I can in an informative format. Ask them what they look for in ideal candidates, how they started out, etc.. and eventually, if the conversation goes well, either ask to meet them for a quick coffee and or ask if they could be a referral.

Bad or sound strat?

Perfectly fine. Just don't be a nerd and its all good. If you can talk to teachers and people normally you won't really have to worry much.

Mar 16, 2015
ChicagoCT:
Random Name:

Ask him about how to calculate WACC, etc.

Any real MD would appreciate a good old technical question.

Not sheriff serious. I know how to do that already.

My goal is to talk to as many higher-ups as I can in an informative format. Ask them what they look for in ideal candidates, how they started out, etc.. and eventually, if the conversation goes well, either ask to meet them for a quick coffee and or ask if they could be a referral.

Bad or sound strat?

This is good. Definitely ask about their story and how they got started. Finish the conversation with asking if they know anyone who may also give you some time.

Mar 16, 2015

Trust me it won't be that bad. I spoke to my first MD over winter break, and as a sophomore from a non-target with a non-finance major and no experience, I was shitting my pants. However, what I expected to be a 10-15 minute conversation turned into 1+ hr long phone call and I learned a ton from the guy and he gave excellent advice. If you've got decent social skills, just act normal and they'll do most of the talking.

Mar 16, 2015

Lol relax MDs are some of the chillest people you can talk to in banking srs.

~High GPA Crew~
~Firms Reach Out to Me Crew~
~Round Down My GPA to Look Modest Crew~
~Never Use 'Incoming' on LinkedIn Crew~

Mar 16, 2015

I found MDs the easiest to talk to in the past. They have so much experience and insight that you can ask a few questions and keep them talking for half an hour no problem. Only worked at one bank? What has kept them there? Worked at 3-4? How does their current bank compare in terms of culture to their previous banks. What's been the most interesting aspects to some of the deals they've worked on (Google their name, see if they've advised on any big deals). Shoot the breeze for 30 minutes and try have them talk for it as much as possible.

If they're willing to take time out of their schedule to help some kid they don't know, they're probably a pretty helpful person.

    • 2
Mar 17, 2015

Be transparent, don't be fake.

Mention something along the lines of, "I recently became very interested in banking and would love to learn more about your background and how you came to work in the industry."

The MD will lead the conversation but it's your job to ask him meaningful questions that will help you in the long run. Keep it professional, don't crack jokes. And at the end of the conversation, ask him if you can keep in touch as you make progress with recruiting.

Best of luck and remember, This MD was once in your shoes.

    • 1
Mar 17, 2015

There's a 99% chance he doesn't ask you any technical (or even interview) questions. That's because it's not a job interview; it's an informational interview, and that's how you should treat it - a chance to pick a senior banker's brain on what he likes about his job and his firm.

Is there a chance that this could open doors for you? Certainly, but I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket. There are a lot of factors that go into play with regard to off cycle recruiting, and you should anything you get from this guy beyond just a simple conversation as a bonus. Good luck!

Mar 17, 2015
MangoBanker:

Hey guys,

Long story short. Got in touch with a MD at one of the hottests elite boutiques who happened to have graduated from my school. He told me to set up a time and also send him my resume. Is this going to be like a test? Or should I expect a laid back interview? I"m sure its different for every MD but just wanted to see how everyone else's was. Sorry for this redundant question perhaps.

Also, I got response from his email today so should I respond within the next 24 hours? Or more like 12 hours?

Thank you for any advice. I'm embarrassed to say that despite going through BB interviews as a sophomore never spoke to an MD and am quite nervous.

MDs are usually the easiest to talk with. Most likely, it will be a fit/culture informational session. Just be ready to discuss/ have macro opinions.

Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

Mar 17, 2015

An MD is a person, he's not a god, speak to him as if you would normally...

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

Mar 17, 2015

Why not respond within a few hours??? This isn't a girl your trying to hook up with.

Speak normally and tell him your interests in finance.

Mar 17, 2015

Reply quickly. Treat him like you would one of your dad's friends or any other older dude that you have respect for. As Sonny said he isn't a God. Be polite, don't interrupt and see where it goes.

Mar 17, 2015

One thing I've learned over the years is that people love to speak about themselves/their work. Like the others said, speak to him like you would anyone else but have some questions in mind if the conversation starts to slacken.

Mar 17, 2015

Above comments pick up on some key stuff:

1) He doesn't care about technicals, he wants to know if you're a fun guy to work with

2) He is just a normal guy, treat him as you would any older non-related male

3) Get him to talk about himself as much as possible, this will make him think you are truly interested in him and bring out his ego, as well as giving you less time to say something stupid

Mar 17, 2015

Tell us how it went, good luck. I hate talking on the phone, I like talking to people in person.

The difference between successful people and others is largely a habit - a controlled habit of doing every task better, faster and more efficiently.

Mar 17, 2015

I actually was in the same position as you. Funny thing is took many tries to get in contact, but always suggest to be ready to interview anytime you speak to someone in IB. My call turned into a phone screen for the bank (A MM IB where an alumni is very high MD within division) and he digged into my experience this summer in banking. It went well (said I would get into interview process). I would suggest treat it like a conversation but always be prepared to interview. PM if any specific questions.

Mar 17, 2015

Be prepared for anything. The best way to go about this is to look him up on linkedin or your school's alumni database and check out his background. If he started out in as an analyst at DLJ and the likes, you can bet that he'll ask you some technicals. If he was a lawyer and lateraled to banking last year, I doubt he'll focus on fin/acc concepts. Also look at his interests so you have something to talk about (sports, etc.)

Honestly, MD's love talking about themselves, so try to lead the conversation and ask him a lot of questions. Lastly, don't forget to ask him to refer you to an analyst you can talk to get a "different color on the firm's culture". That shit works like a charm... especially if it's a referral from an MD.

Mar 17, 2015

never seen MDs ask any sort of technical question, especially during an informal phone meeting.

Mar 17, 2015

The MD I spoke with started going into valuation techniques I used on a pitch and financial model I developed in IB summer role. Fortunately, he stopped me after a while and said to make sure I knew about LBOs and gave me well wishes. Got to make sure to you know your stuff when speaking to someone in IB and especially if you have industry experience.

Mar 17, 2015

He probably just wanted to see your resume to learn a bit about you before the call. Don't worry about it

Mar 17, 2015

My advice: don't think too much, just don't. The harder you try to please him, the faster you will lose yourself.

--Money can't buy happiness. it can only buy orgasms.
--Who the hell says I want happiness? Orgasms all I need.

Mar 17, 2015
Misspartiesalot:

My advice: don't think too much, just don't. The harder you try to please him, the faster you will lose yourself.

This. I never understood why people think interviewing with upper-level execs are somehow scary or different. I've spoken to numerous partners/directors/C-level execs and I normally find that those interviews are actually easier than talking to analysts/associates.

Mar 17, 2015

.

Mar 17, 2015

Ask questions about their career, how they got started etc etc. People love talking about themselves. Be aware whats going on with their company and the markets. Be able to shoot the shit and have a normal conversation

Mar 17, 2015
Bobb:

Ask questions about their career, how they got started etc etc. People love talking about themselves. Be aware whats going on with their company and the markets. Be able to shoot the shit and have a normal conversation

what does "shoot the sh*t" mean i dun think he understands

"so i herd u liek mudkipz" - sum kid
"I'd watergun the **** outta that." - Kassad

Mar 17, 2015

I just had a phone call with a MD at Boutique IB last week.

It was easier than I thought; asking simple but genuine questions are easy for you and (usually) result in fruitful responses. Just act respectful and interested, and come off as likable. Getting a job is the end result but don't be discouraged if after the call, the person doesn't mention your resume or employment opportunities at the firm; instead, keep following up every so often (only if you have something significant to say) and build the relationship. Doing this may lead to good opportunities down the road.

Prospective Banker. Gentleman. Bodybuilder.

Mar 17, 2015

Ask questions, ask questions and then ask a few more questions. People absolutely love to talk about themselves.

Before the call, do your research on the MD. Jot down a list of questions and talking points. This will help keep the convo flowing

Example:

You: "I see that you got your MBA from Duke, what was it like going to school there?"
MD: Talks about MBA program and landing first job out of B-School
You: "That sounds like a great experience but my biggest question is, do you think Duke's basketball team will make it back to the Final Four this year?"

As long as the MD is not a total douche, he will enjoy talking about something other than business. This shows that you are a human and will help open up the MD and make him more comfortable which will open the door to more complex/personal questions.

Mar 17, 2015

Relax. You've got a long time until internship recruiting season. You should be looking to cultivate a relationship with him over the next few months to the point where once recruiting happens you don't even need to ask him to forward your resume. Just be friendly, ask genuine questions, and articulate your story/career goals. Also try and see if he can get you in touch with some junior guys at his firm to give you a better perspective.

Mar 17, 2015

Hey thanks for the reply and advice.

I was trying to go for an internship during the school year (if at all possible), that's why I was asking about the resume. And I will try my best to get in touch with some other guys; do I ask him for their contact info? Or get in touch with them directly?

Also could you give me some examples of 'genuine questions'? Much appreciated Raptor.

Prospective Banker. Gentleman. Bodybuilder.

Mar 17, 2015

Agreed with Raptor. Wish I had begun reaching out my sophomore year.

I would go ahead and ask him for contact info. It will show him that you are willing to reach out to others in the group and hopefully get your name circling around the group if you are persistant (but not annoying). I assume he is expecting you to ask for some sort of internship request so he will be willing to get your foot in the door early, even if the opportunity will be light in terms of work relative to a junior year summer internship.

Mar 17, 2015

Thanks man, I'll do that then.

Does anyone have examples of questions to ask? Also how often do Boutique IB's hire sophomores (with limited experience) for a school-year internship?

Prospective Banker. Gentleman. Bodybuilder.

Mar 17, 2015

Bump - If anyone who has experience with this could share some info, it would really help me out.

Prospective Banker. Gentleman. Bodybuilder.

Mar 17, 2015

Also, it worked out that a friend from high school did analyst work for him last year. He said he was one of the nicest senior level bankers he has encountered so I'm not expecting anything daunting, just an MD networking virgin.

Mar 17, 2015

MD's are usually very to the point. Don't beat around the bush, give him straight answers, and make sure you have good reasons as to why you want to do what you want to do.

Don't waste his time, and try to connect on a personal level.

Mar 17, 2015

I also go to a Non-Vandy SEC school, we should hangout brah. But MDs are my FAVORITE level of banker to talk to. They're not really interested in grilling you on technicals, and from my experiences all of my conversations have been way more fit based, and your goal should be to A) Have a nice conversation with him and B) Convince him that you're passionate.

Mar 17, 2015

MD's are generally going to ask questions that surround the following:

1. Do you know what type of job you're interviewing for (they want to be certain you are committed to his line of work - never say you're interested in a different line of work)
2. Why their bank?
3. Have you researched the bank, showing you know of recent deals etc will win points
4. Is this guy someone I can work with

You will not get technical questions such as: how to run an accretion dilution model.

Pretty straight forward, 1) knowledge of job, 2) knowledge of bank, 3) be personable, 4) always veer on the side of professionalism + humbleness if push comes to shove on a question.

You'll be fine if well prepared

Mar 17, 2015

Thanks for all the responses. Generally at the end of previous networking calls, I have asked for them to critique resume or send it to HR or something of that nature, does the same logic apply here?

Mar 17, 2015

Do not ask for feedback unless you get turned down. (Unclear based on post if this is an interview or not). Basically, only ask for feedback if you get turned down.

Mar 17, 2015

He framed it in his email as an "Investment Banking Discussion".

Mar 17, 2015

Same idea, try to sell yourself as a potential candidate and try to get a job. If you're certain you didn't get the job and they are not interested in hiring you then you can ask for feedback.

Asking for feedback when he has not made a decision on you being a potential employee would be equivalent to quitting.

Mar 17, 2015

Look up their deals and be able to talk about them rather than asking them about the deal

Mar 17, 2015

I don't have access to Capital IQ. Apart from google, any free resource that anyone would recommend?

Mar 17, 2015

^^^^^^^^^ you want them to LIKE you. If you can impress them somehow, great, but it's unlikely that you will. Always try and turn them into a friend as much as you can so that they are willing to help you even if they can't hire you.

Just ma' 2 sents

Mar 17, 2015
UFOinsider:

^^^^^^^^^ you want them to LIKE you. If you can impress them somehow, great, but it's unlikely that you will. Always try and turn them into a friend as much as you can so that they are willing to help you even if they can't hire you.

Just ma' 2 sents

you mean to remain in touch, right? just to be on their radar

Mar 17, 2015

Talk about their career path. I found this to be a highly effective topic when talking to people at the top. After that you can also ask for career advice, and what they think you can do with the background you have. If they like you, they will offer you help, and that weights a lot when you are trying to get recruited.

Also, what UFOinsider said.

Mar 17, 2015
etherlord:

Talk about their career path. I found this to be a highly effective topic when talking to people at the top. After that you can also ask for career advice, and what they think you can do with the background you have. If they like you, they will offer you help, and that weights a lot when you are trying to get recruited.

Also, what UFOinsider said.

^^^ What he said.

Mar 17, 2015

I may be contrarian on this, but I think the "career path" question is not helpful.

When talking to people (either in the Q&A part of an interview, or outside of an interview), you are trying to do one or both of the following things:
1. Impress them / make them want to help you or vouch for you
2. Gather information to help you in the remainder of the recruiting process, or else to make a decision should you get multiple offers

I would submit that the "career path" question does neither.
- It doesn't do #1. If anything, it does the opposite. It is a question either grounded in laziness (people did not research a company so they have nothing better to ask, or else they ran out of questions to ask, so they asked this) or else grounded in a belief that allowing people to talk about themselves.
- It doesn't do #2, unless you happened to know something specific about their background and you have a particularly interesting question about that aspect of their background.

Mar 17, 2015
NYC:

I may be contrarian on this, but I think the "career path" question is not helpful.

When talking to people (either in the Q&A part of an interview, or outside of an interview), you are trying to do one or both of the following things:
1. Impress them / make them want to help you or vouch for you
2. Gather information to help you in the remainder of the recruiting process, or else to make a decision should you get multiple offers

I would submit that the "career path" question does neither.
- It doesn't do #1. If anything, it does the opposite. It is a question either grounded in laziness (people did not research a company so they have nothing better to ask, or else they ran out of questions to ask, so they asked this) or else grounded in a belief that allowing people to talk about themselves.
- It doesn't do #2, unless you happened to know something specific about their background and you have a particularly interesting question about that aspect of their background.

I agree to an extent...if you ask about career path and there is any change, such as corp dev to LevFin, one can become curious and maybe hit a personal level with MD.

Can anyone share their successful experiences with MDs and how they go about it

Mar 17, 2015
NYC:

I may be contrarian on this, but I think the "career path" question is not helpful.

When talking to people (either in the Q&A part of an interview, or outside of an interview), you are trying to do one or both of the following things:
1. Impress them / make them want to help you or vouch for you
2. Gather information to help you in the remainder of the recruiting process, or else to make a decision should you get multiple offers

I would submit that the "career path" question does neither.
- It doesn't do #1. If anything, it does the opposite. It is a question either grounded in laziness (people did not research a company so they have nothing better to ask, or else they ran out of questions to ask, so they asked this) or else grounded in a belief that allowing people to talk about themselves.
- It doesn't do #2, unless you happened to know something specific about their background and you have a particularly interesting question about that aspect of their background.

I agree to an extent...if you ask about career path and there is any change, such as corp dev to LevFin, one can become curious and maybe hit a personal level with MD.

Can anyone share their successful experiences with MDs and how they go about it

Mar 17, 2015
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