One Cold Email to Change Your Life (Result right here)

wolfy's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 639

For those needing a bit of inspiration:

How I passed an internship offer for top 10 strategy consulting to my best friend, who had been looking for a job for 2 years.

People involved:

  1. SENIOR MD in charge of country's group, who forwarded my email.
  2. BEST VP ever who received my email and passed my email to his wife that night.
  3. VP'S WIFE who is management at the strategy firm and emailed me next morning.

I received an internship offer at my current employer in Singapore (not this one); thus, recommended my best friend to the VP's wife. He is now Hong Kong's first intern at her strategy firm.

This is exactly how you should approach cold-emails. Be humble, be open-minded, and as luck may have it, someone will notice.

Good luck.

-James

Dear James,

Congratulations on your new role in Singapore. All the best for that.

Thank you very much for referring XXXBEST FRIENDXXX - I will get in touch with him directly.

Best regards,

VP'S WIFE XXXX

From: James XXXX
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 8:03 PM
To: XXXXX VP'S WIFE
Cc: XXXXX BEST FRIEND
Subject: Re: XXXX Internship - Good News/Referral from James

Dear XXXXVP'S WIFE,

I wanted to thank you for offering to speak about XXXXX. My good news is I will be joining XXXX's Global Strategy Group in Singapore this fall before graduate school applications.

I lucked out through a friend and wanted to pass on the goodwill. XXXX BEST VP XXX told me you are looking for interns with Western-trained minds; my friend XXX BEST FRIENDXXX is an asset I'd like to introduce.

XXX BEST FRIEND XXX is a recent graduate from IVY TARGET, currently in Hong Kong. He has a very unique narrative (translator for the Beijing Olympics, heavyweight crew, great grades, recession survivor). He is a better candidate than I in many ways; I am certain he can help your team as a part-time intern.

I am leaving his contact information and credentials.
Thanks again to you and your husband for giving me a shot, and please do keep in touch.

Much appreciated,
James

On 8/27/2010 9:49 AM, VP'S WIFE wrote:

Dear James,

I received your resume via my husband, who works at XXXXELITE BOUTIQUE. I would be interested in talking with you to gauge your interest in being a part-time intern for our firm, TOP STRATEGY FIRM. I can tell you more about what we do and see if there's mutual interest.

Please let me know if you'd like to discuss on Monday.

Thank you,
VP'S WIFE

--

VP'S WIFE
Senior Manager

TOP STRATEGY FIRM
Hong Kong Office
XXXXXXX

--------------> This is when I thanked the BEST VP for VP WIFE's referral/offer.

I am an M&A guy, so always trying to put deals together.

XXXXX's consulting firm does use interns and needs more western-trained minds. Perhaps there could be a fit.

XXXXXXXXXXX
Vice President
Elite Boutique Bank
Office XXXXXX
Mobile XXXXX

From: James XXXX
To: XXXX
Sent: XXXXX
Subject: Re: Off-cycles for BlackRock/XXXXX

Hi XXXXX - Best VP Ever,

Never thought my email would make it to Hong Kong. Thanks so much for your response--it gives me only good things to say about XXXXX. I was just packing up my belongings for my last day at XXXX when I received an email from Mrs. XXXX.
I will definitely follow up with her.

The way we do internships here is a very small stipend (hence, paid) and academic credit for American students. Interns are a driving force in XXX in XXX and XXXX, where it's understood that there will be no conversion--just brand exchange for execution assistance. That's the model for American businesses in the future.

Thanks again for lending an ear. Very rarely do we receive emails back; I tell all my mentees to go ahead and email anyway.

All the best,
James

On 8/26/2010 8:08 PM, XXXXXX
>

James,

You sound like a great guy and I am sure that you would be a positive contributor to XXXXXX. We do not have an internship program or the flexibility to hire unpaid interns (I have looked into this several time). We are also out of desks.

Therefore, we are not able to offer you any position here, but I do wish you the best of luck and think that you are in the right place to find a job.

Regards,

XXXXXX

XXXXX

XXXX

XXXX

From: XXXXX
To: Managing Director in Charge of Elite Boutique
Sent: Mon Aug 23 21:43:13 2010
Subject: Off-cycles for BlackRock/XXX Alum

Hi XXX--Managing Director in Charge of Elite Boutique whose email I found on the website,

Saw your name as the Beijing contact and wanted to see if you would pass me along as a candidate looking for an off-cycle internship.

State school kid from Umass Amherst who bought a one-way to Beijing--willing to learn and grind out work.

This is my last week at XXXXX, where I am XXXXX. I did 3 at BlackRock, where I XXXX and worked on their XXXXXX investment suite.

I will be straight and say it's been a while for finance, but I am great at decks, run pitchbooks without fail, and I've done amazing/dirty work with a willingness to learn.

Let me know if you're interested in an intern to make everyone's life easier. Unpaid, immediate availability. Thanks for reading my cold-email.

Cheers,
James

Related thread: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/networking-a...

Comments (23)

Nov 21, 2010

congrats! are these paraphrased or actual emails? they sound pretty casual, but also very natural

Nov 21, 2010

Hey machinegun,

These are actual emails, not paraphrased at all. I used the same language and tone bankers use with me.

They should be casual, as it's between friends not enemies.

Nov 21, 2010

hey james,

A little confused over the email exchange there. So you're now interning at BlackRock in Singapore? Or the consulting firm? Congrats again btw

Nov 21, 2010

Nah, the subject line was my previous experience at BlackRock, to catch their attention. The work I referenced though was my previous internship this summer at a top 3 ad agency. Thanks for the congrats, but that goes to my friend who's currently killing it at excel till 6am. I wanted to show everyone the process of how an interview is started, especially if you,

  1. Graduated already (off-cycle)
  2. Are a non-target state school kid in an irrelevant major (3 strikes)
  3. Believe you can get it, because you can.

In conclusion: START EMAILING. It's free and will take 10 minutes your time and 5 minutes of theirs.

Nov 21, 2010

So even Ivy targets are having this much trouble getting a job right now? I'm fucked.

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Nov 21, 2010

He was c/o 2008 Ivy Target with a 3.93 -- but he was out of cycle and decided the start-up route without the Junior [insert PWM/MM IBD/middle office at BB here]. It's very difficult to get back on cycle. Most firms say, you have 12 months until after graduation to be in the OCR pool before "Experienced Hire [without experience]."

You're not fucked. We can all help each other, but the rate of attrition is... well everyone's trying to fuck everyone, that's what I learned in Beijing, China.

Random fact: Morgan Stanley Asia Ex-Japan internships are all off-cycle.

Nov 21, 2010

Hey wolfyserver - I'm glad to hear things have worked out for you, and also with your help your buddy got an internship too. Good man. This is another great Success Story for the WSO boards.

Nov 22, 2010

Thanks Kanon--definitely appreciated the advance and support you + others have given me.
It's not over yet, since I'm applying for an accounting masters, and I have to go through the process again.

I owe a lot to WSO.

=)

Book to come out next year. 99 cents, donated to charity.

Nov 21, 2010

So let me get this straight..you were never in contact with the MD before this event and the email you sent him was

Hi XXX--Managing Director in Charge of Elite Boutique whose email I found on the website,

Saw your name as the Beijing contact and wanted to see if you would pass me along as a candidate looking for an off-cycle internship.

State school kid from Umass Amherst who bought a one-way to Beijing--willing to learn and grind out work.

This is my last week at XXXXX, where I am XXXXX. I did 3 at BlackRock, where I XXXX and worked on their XXXXXX investment suite.

I will be straight and say it's been a while for finance, but I am great at decks, run pitchbooks without fail, and I've done amazing/dirty work with a willingness to learn.

Let me know if you're interested in an intern to make everyone's life easier. Unpaid, immediate availability. Thanks for reading my cold-email.

Cheers,
James

word for word? Good job man. I am extremely impressed

Dec 1, 2010
Nikhiln25:

So let me get this straight..you were never in contact with the MD before this event and the email you sent him was

Hi XXX--Managing Director in Charge of Elite Boutique whose email I found on the website,

Saw your name as the Beijing contact and wanted to see if you would pass me along as a candidate looking for an off-cycle internship.

State school kid from Umass Amherst who bought a one-way to Beijing--willing to learn and grind out work.

This is my last week at XXXXX, where I am XXXXX. I did 3 at BlackRock, where I XXXX and worked on their XXXXXX investment suite.

word for word? Good job man. I am extremely impressed

I don't know - threads with content like this make me feel like guys on here are trying to sabotage inquiring minds (wouldn't be too far off probably.. it's a public forum after all)

Nov 21, 2010

That is awesome, kudos to you wolfyserver, that was definitely impressive.

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Nov 22, 2010

Thanks Jorge and Nikhiln: word for word.

The bank is think: Houlihan, Evercore, Greenhill, Rothschild. Based on offices, you can guess which.

The MD forwarded my email to his HK VP, and the HK VP declined me--but I sent him a profuse thank you anyway (instead of NOT WRITING ANYTHING IN DEFEAT), saying wow, thanks for actually responding. Because not all banks do.

Good luck!

Nov 22, 2010

Did you include your resume in the first e-mail?

Nov 23, 2010
Nikhiln25:

Did you include your resume in the first e-mail?

bump for this

Best Response
Nov 24, 2010
Barcadia:
Nikhiln25:

Did you include your resume in the first e-mail?

bump for this

Absolutely. I asked if he could pass "me," personification for my resume. Otherwise, it would just be mildly amusing sentences.

If you're honest and humble, and you have something to add: I think it's ok.

But Hi I'm an Economics major at X, and I write to express my passion about investment banking--is surely a ding. Esp. if you end, "Attached is my resume. I look forward to hearing from you soon."

I read cover letters with that unfortunately ending all the time. No call backs.

Try,

"I'd appreciate a bit of your valuable time to chat. 5-10 minutes, you give me the time. Talk soon, James"

Actually for the mentor program I posted, a lot of people have sent me impressive stories about themselves and thanks, making me want to talk to them. Being polite is not enough. You have to be my friend.

That's key.

Dec 1, 2010

I think the OP's tone is great. It doesn't surprise me in the least that he got friendly replies.

The problem with that style is that it's easy to have it come off the wrong way - either too sloppy, or too "buddy buddy."

Being a straightlaced tool has less of a downside, but also a hell of a lot less upside.

Dec 1, 2010

Agreed. This style can be great if the person reading it is of a certain nature, but some people would definitely instantly delete it. I don't doubt that it has ad some very good results.

Dec 1, 2010

I actually wish the norm for cover letters was more informal. I feel as though candidates are encouraged to surpress their personalities and make very little effort to come across as an individual other than how your GPA/internships/school set you apart. Not that those factors aren't important. But if such a large part of an interview is whether or not the interviewers like you, why shouldn't you be able to let your personality show through a cover letter as wolfyserver did? Kudos to you my man

Dec 1, 2010

Great post. This should boost the confidence and morale of those that are looking for an internship/job.

Dec 5, 2010

Very interesting.

How have you been finding these prospective MD's and so forth to contact? A problem for me has been finding opportunities or ways for me to put myself in a position to make an opportunity. Applying online to careers pages is...well, you know how the game is played; it is what it is.

How have you been finding these decision makers? I remember a long time ago there was a thread posted on boutique firms, and I copy/pasted it into an Excel sheet...that database needs some sanitation since post-2008 many of those firms no longer exist. Are you literally just Googling "Managing Director for (research, IB, whatever) at (firm)"?

Dec 5, 2010
JulianRobertson:

Very interesting.

How have you been finding these prospective MD's and so forth to contact? A problem for me has been finding opportunities or ways for me to put myself in a position to make an opportunity. Applying online to careers pages is...well, you know how the game is played; it is what it is.

How have you been finding these decision makers? I remember a long time ago there was a thread posted on boutique firms, and I copy/pasted it into an Excel sheet...that database needs some sanitation since post-2008 many of those firms no longer exist. Are you literally just Googling "Managing Director for (research, IB, whatever) at (firm)"?

Hey Julian,

I simply went to the elite boutique's website, found the Beijing office, and the MD's name. Then I ate a yogurt and opened Outlook. This was not a regional, but a Greenhill, Lazard, Evercore, Rothschild, Houlihan type.

Dec 5, 2010
Comment
Dec 5, 2010