Paying Own Travel Costs for Interview

Rick Bankiel's picture
Rank: Chimp | 9

I'm interviewing for an experienced position with a firm that gets the "elite boutique" title thrown its way quite often. I've had multiple phone interviews and now the VP invited me to come up to NYC next week to interview in person but he said that I would have to pay my own way. As you can guess, I don't live in NYC so on short notice, I'm looking at a ~$500 flight and possibly hotel but I should be able to crash at a friend's. I feel that this is unprofessional of them but what are my options? The interviewer stressed that this wasn't a knock on my chances but that they simply do not pay travel costs for analyst positions because there are so many NYC candidates. Has anyone encountered a similar situation? Is this a red flag for my chances or just a sign of the times (tight budgets)?

Comments (96)

Jun 22, 2010

The BBs all pay travel costs, but the small firms don't. One of the BBs I interviewed with also tried to get out of covering a hotel stay that I booked through their own travel service because they decided to fly me out the night before.

Do you live on the eastern side of the Mississippi? If you're feeling thrifty, you can take a bus and get out here in less than 24 hours. If you get the job offer, that's quite a story for the grandkids.

Jun 22, 2010

Times are changing. Tons of worthwhile candidates. What's the incentive for them to pay your way?
Great name, btw. Just don't start uncorking wild fastballs in the interview if you feel under pressure.

Jun 22, 2010

I interviewed with a BB off-cycle for a 1st-yr analyst position in an office two states away and my lodging was not covered. Banks like to look for local candidates when hiring off-cycle, so HR does not usually budget accommodations for non-locals.

Jun 22, 2010

when i interviewed at cowen they made me cover travel costs.. lame

Jun 22, 2010

I also have been interviewing for positions out of state (and off cycle). The trend is that you have to pay for your your travel accomodations.

Like Midas said, times are changing. So much so that I noticed once I took my out of state address off my resume, I started to get more call backs.

Jun 22, 2010

I also interviewed with a respectable MM bank and paid my own way. I got the offer within 2 days - they said I was one of the best candidates they've seen. Sometimes it takes an in-person meeting to know if you're good or not, and unfortunately you need to spend to show them that. But hopefully you'll free better knowing it can definitely turn into an offer.

Jun 23, 2010

I recently interviewed for an analyst gig at a boutique PE firm (not in NYC) and had to pay my own way. I told them that I got to the area every once in a while because I didn't want them to not consider meeting with me because of the travel expense, etc. I lied. I never go to this particular city and its a good drive (7-9 hours depending on traffic) but didn't want to miss out on a great opportunity because someone else lived closer...which kinda happened to me before.

So, I drove up, spent the night, met with the guys the next afternoon and drove home. Got home at nearly 2 in the morning but within a week I was asked if I could come back for a final interview. Of course I assumed they would pay for my trip since they wanted me to come back for this last interview but they didn't mention it when I spoke with them on the phone to finalize the plans and I didn't want to come across as cheap so I didn't say anything.

I flew up for the final interview met with them in the office, reviewed the model I built, went to get food and drinks and half way through the second beer they gave me an offer and said they would reimburse me for my last trip up.

I wish they would have paid for both because I was strapped for cash but they didn't...BUT, I got the job and none of it matters now. I don't regret making the long drive on my own dime because I knew I would increase my chances of getting the job exponentially if I met them in person because I am easy to get along with and fairly social, I come across as intelligent in conversation and outshine my paper resume...plus its a small office and I knew that 'fit' would be a huge deal.

It may suck to pay your way, but getting the chance to meet with someone in person is the most important thing. You have to make sacrifices in this tough job market...and paying your way is a small one. Hopefully you have the cash available or at least some freed up credit on a card. Just have to look at it as an investment. Good luck.

Additionally, paying your way shows your commitment vs the local guy who just has to show up that day and drop a few bucks on parking. That, to me, can go along way in convincing someone you really want the job and that you will work hard if you get the offer.

Regards

    • 1
Jun 23, 2010

i interviewed with a good handful of firms, and all of them pay for travel expenses, even food and taxi to and fro hotel + airport... this is quite absurd and the first time I've heard of cases like this...

Jun 24, 2010

Agree with Bravo - pay up - the first check will make it worthwhile if you get it.

I even did a 4 week placement way back when which was unpaid.

Bb.

Jun 24, 2010

Just got a job at a BB and had two rounds of interviews in NYC for which I had to pay all my travel costs both times (they don't reimburse off-cycle). Sucks but obviously worth it.

Jun 24, 2010

Exactly, it depends whether its off-cycle. If it's off-cycle, the folks who interviewed you on the phone will pull some strings with HR and attempt to get some costs covered. They may not be able to get all of them, so be prepared to pay.

You've got to be willing to get knocked tons of times trying to land an off-cycle offer in this market. The toll it takes on you is psychological, physical, and financial.

Jun 24, 2010

Wtf? they know you are a recent graduate, do they expect you to pay for this?
Screw them!
Did you ask them to buy you a ticket?

Jun 24, 2010
WallStreetStandard:

Wtf? they know you are a recent graduate, do they expect you to pay for this?
Screw them!
Did you ask them to buy you a ticket?

I asked if they are willing to cover any travel expenses. They said they will cover the cab right from the hotel and back. But that leaves the cab ride to/from hotel-airport, the plane tickets and the hotel. I've been in previous positions like this. The first 2 times I went through with it but unfortunately didn't get the position. It was one of those positions where they interview like 10 people for 1 spot, most people do well/person with most relevant experience gets job. I'm really not fond of going through this anymore. I'm thinking about asking about expenses in the initial interviews now on. I realize it is kind of risky but I can't consistently pay for all of these expenses.

Jun 24, 2010

lmao... they will cover the cab expenses?

Well, seeing how there are no receipts involved, just say you went the long way and it cost $700

Jun 24, 2010
BTbanker:

lmao... they will cover the cab expenses?

Well, seeing how there are no receipts involved, just say you went the long way and it cost $700

Hahahaha :p. That actually put a smile on my face.

Jun 24, 2010

They should cover your costs. My roommate went abroad to Singapore this semester and got an interview with a BB in IBD. They flew him from Singapore to NYC and put him up in a hotel for 2 or 3 days... You should get the same treatment.

Jun 24, 2010

Agreed that they should cover your expenses. Just explain your situation to them and they should understand. However, when push comes to shove, the $000s up front is well worth the investment if you get a job out of it. Tough decision.

Jun 24, 2010

I think you should have a sitdown with your HR contact, be honest and explain the situation you are facing. if they are decent they should understand and offer to cover those expenses. If they do not, you should really consider if you are willing to work for such a firm even if they make you an offer.

The dragon dozes off in the spirit which is its dwelling.

Jun 24, 2010

How likely are you to receive a second round interview? How selective is the firm? Is it a BB, MM? How attractive of a candidate are you? Target/non-target? Previous work experience? Academic record?

This is a difficult situation to be in. Have you looked to your career center for any advice?

Jun 24, 2010

According to the firm, there is typically only one round of interviews, consisting of four interviews. I had a short phone conversation the past week with an individual from the firm who asked me a few interview questions. The firm itself is slightly outside the BB according to this board's classifications (think UBS, CS, Bear Stearns, DB).

As far as myself, I have a 3.97 GPA, am pursuing a double major in accounting and finance, and I have prior internship experience in the operations group of a hedge fund and a decent (though by no means extraordinary) set of extra-curriculars on my resume. My school is a large public university that is a non-target for New York offices but places decently in Chicago.

Jun 24, 2010

According to some morons the companies you listed are outside the BB. Because according to people who actually work in banking EVERY single one of the companies you have listed is a BB firm, ESPECIALLY UBS which is constantly at the very top in the league tables.
If you have a chance fly. I spent $500 to go and interview with a grad school... I ended up accepting an offer at another grad school. Opportunities sometimes cost money, I was willing to spend 17000 pounds for tuition at LSE to get a job in banking. It really depends how badly you want the job...
(I am not just going to LSE to get a job, but still, it sounds better when I say I spent 17000 to get in banking)

Remember, you will always be a salesman, no matter how fancy your title is.
- My ex girlfriend

Jun 24, 2010

You don't have the mind of a successful person if you can't answer this question yourself. Obviously, go. Start thinking like a winner.

Jun 24, 2010

That happened to my friends w Citi last year. One person went, one person said they couldnt afford it and got 4 back to back phone interviews. They both got an offer. But seriously. Go. $500 is chump change compared to a career.

Jun 24, 2010

You need not to hesitate about getting on that plane because you should already have the mindset that if you interview, the job is yours! With that kind of doubt NYC will eat you alive, let alone I-banking.

Jun 24, 2010

Nothing's free, if you really don't have $500 to spend on a plane ticket sell some of your unused junk/possessions on eBay and get the money that way. It's definitely worth it assuming you really want the job... $500 is small in the grand scheme of things. That's what I spend on models and bottles every night now (kidding :).

Jun 24, 2010

You don't go, you regret rest of your life for giving up on the only chance.
You go and you don't get a job, you regret spending $500.

So either way you will regret, why won't you give it a shot?

that's how I decided for my case.

Jun 24, 2010

You've got to be kidding me. This NEVER happened to me...

Jun 24, 2010

Wow. I've never seen that happen. I'd probably talk to HR and let them know that every single one of their competitors is paying for travel.

Jun 24, 2010

What kind of po dunk bank is this?

Jun 24, 2010

also, what are your options for on campus recruiting?

Seems kinda odd that they make you pay....

Jun 24, 2010

Don't you have a credit card, this is a valid reason to charge it and pay it back on 20% interest...

Jun 24, 2010

Some people on this bored are fucking retarded...

Those who are saying "with this attitude you should not even be in banking or you are going to fail" are fucking morons. The banks you listed are not true BB, the only one which a debate can be used is UBS, but they have lost some big hitters.

Anyway, is this normal that they are making you pay? No, no way in fact. I would go as far as saying that you are starting this process with a -1. Also, I know all of those banks and I can guarantee it is none of their policies that summer intern candidates pay their own way. However, you going will show a lot of initiative and it all also gives you an opportunity.

In conclusion, if this is your best opportunity do it. If there are some comparables then don't. $500 is not that much, but to a college student it is, and if it is just a dog and pony show it makes it worse. If you feel like you have a clean shot then do it, shit I will loan you the cash at prime +4.

Jun 24, 2010

It should not cost 500. Take the greyhound and one way is less than 50. if you stay in a cheap but decent hostel, it should cost you ~80. Best case scenario is you find a friend at NYU or another college and crash for a night. All around you can do this trip in $200.

Jun 24, 2010

The firm itself is slightly outside the BB according to this board's classifications (think UBS, CS, Bear Stearns, DB).

The banks you listed are not true BB, the only one which a debate can be used is UBS, but they have lost some big hitters.

Every bank you just listed is a BB bank. I recommend brushing up on your knowledge of Wall Street or yes paying for your interview will be a waste of money. (Sounds like someone got a courtesy interview and the bank itself does not want to foot the bill).

Tbroker you do not know what you are talking about. I would say 50% of the BB banks actually foot the bill for travel expenses. Many do not until you get to later rounds, assuming non-target candidates which are the likeliest to have to travel. Also, paying for students to interview while they are abroad is a wild card.

Jun 24, 2010

I had this exact same thing happen to me when interviewing for a FT position.

I go to a non-target, but an alumni from Bear Stearns took resumes from our school and called to invite me to NYC for a first round interview. He said that I would have to pay for my flight at lodging for this trip, but that if they liked me and I was invited back for second rounds, the firm would pay for all expenses related to the second trip.

Of course I went. $300 for the flight, and I crashed on a buddy's couch (NYC hotels are expensive). I got the second round interview. Went back a week later, got the offer.

The moral of the story - go. A few hundred $$ for the flight is nothing compared to even your first year analyst salary.

Jun 24, 2010

It sounds like you have a legit interview lined up, so I would foot the bill and take the risk. Just as an example, SEO doesn't pay for transportation, but I saw people from all over the world on the "list" when I went to interview (I fortunately live on the East Coast). Maybe they're less strapped for cash than you are, but in the end, you guys are getting the same job and the same payoff.

Jun 24, 2010

just go... maybe look for cheaper hotels outside manhattan and take the subway into town in the morning.

Jun 24, 2010

i interviewd from a non target in new york and they paid for everything

Jun 24, 2010

you spend $500 now but could have an offer locked up later - just go.

Jun 24, 2010

sleep at newark airport - terminal C has some decent seats

Jun 24, 2010

Try to get some good deals on the internet. When is your interview? If it's a month later or something, you could get a good deal. Just be confident and work hard on your interview and you will be fine.

Jun 24, 2010

To the OP, I had the same exact situation, with a similar firm (probably the exact same one as you) - I am also from a non-target. I know that normally they would pay for you, except in the case of off-cycle interviews (ie. study abroad). I ended up paying and going out there - I had 4 back to back interviews and got an offer the next day (although I did not end up accepting). Just think, they wouldn't ask you to go all the way out there if they weren't really interested in you. Plus, you'll be kicking yourself wondering what would've happened if you don't go.

In conclusion, just go.

Jun 24, 2010

.

Jun 24, 2010

I must say, this is absurd for this bank not to pay. Top candidates from my humble university who interviewed at MMs and boutiques--in finance and other fields, including engineering, IT consulting and general consulting--not only had their travel paid for, but they were given lavish dinners and nice hotel rooms. The idea that a BB wouldn't pay for travel expenses is beyond unreasonable given the amount of money these firms make irrespective of common industry practice.

Jun 24, 2010

.

Jun 24, 2010

I'm in a different situation because I'm going abroad and had to come in for early Superday interviews. However, at some BB firms they paid for everything and had a structured "abroad kids" Superday. Alternatively, two other equal or better BB firms had me pay my own way. They said that they were doing us a "favor" by letting us interview early. I do understand this I suppose. However, I certainly appreciated the other BBs in paying for us. If I was someone who was not fortunate enough to be able to pay my way there I would be pretty pissed. Especially if I didn't end up getting an offer.

Jun 24, 2010

If you cant find a place to stay try this website

http://www.couchsurfing.com/

You can stay for Free! Good luck!

They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fucking smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby.

They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fucking smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby.

Jun 24, 2010

I posted a same topic just now.. same situation as yours.. I am not sure if the bank (Citi) would pay.. still waiting for the recruiter to get back..

Ling~

Ling~

Jun 24, 2010

I wipe my ass with $500. Do it.

Jun 24, 2010

lol, omega and his $500 boxers.

but seriously, just go. think about this way...................

you don't go, you save $500, but miss a decent shot of earning $400,000 or more 4 years down the line......

it's an investment in yourself like college. thats it.

Jun 24, 2010

That's low

Jun 24, 2010

Seems like a bad sign. If they won't spring 500 bucks for a plane ticket they must not be very interested in your application or have scheduled a ton of candidates for the spot. Really sucky of them, sorry man.

Jun 24, 2010

Do they want you to pay for it up front and get reimbursed or are they just not paying for anything?

Jun 24, 2010
Eric Stratton:

Do they want you to pay for it up front and get reimbursed or are they just not paying for anything?

They never mentioned me getting reimbursed, but that could be a possibility I guess. Was pretty excited to get the second round so I sort of just rolled with what they said now I'm thinking it's weird.

Jun 24, 2010

Does this ever happen? It would take me about 4 hours to drive there, but really would rather not...

Jun 24, 2010

This seems very odd...granted I was doing associate interviewing, but every BB offered to fly, and most offered a hotel even though the super day was just a few hours and the trip was short (i actually did drive because I just stayed with my parents and wanted my car).

Are you stretching the definition of BB...

Jun 24, 2010

My buddy had to pay his own way for EVERYTHING at a PE firm in NYC. He got on the plane in DC and they came over the intercom and asked if anyone wanted to get bumped for 300 bucks. He took the 300 and left.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Jun 24, 2010

I would think that HR would give you forms to fill out before you leave the interviews to get reimbursed

Jun 24, 2010

he's not stretching the definition of BB, it's citi.

Jun 24, 2010

if it's only a 4 hour drive just drive.

Jun 24, 2010

C definitely offered to fly us and put the guy who had no other super days in a hotel, as there was a dinner the night before.

There were also analysts there the day I was, so I assumed the super day was the same for everyone.

HR did give out forms...but it was via email and came with the other travel information. If you do drive they might do the same when you get there but it seems odd that they didn't even offer...

did you actually ask and they said no, or they just didn't mention it?

Jun 24, 2010

Based on my experience, it actually sounds like GS... I think they have a policy where if you're close enough to the interview location you're expected to get there on your own. When I had an 11 AM interview with them in NYC I was told I had to fly in that same morning - my flight left my city at like 5 AM.

Jun 24, 2010

I know someone at a Citi non-target who had to pay for his own flight for an SA interview last year.

Jun 24, 2010

All I will say is that this is a US based BB. It's not that big of a deal really just wanted to see how rare it was.

Jun 24, 2010

WSK, just call HR and be like I'm sorry I got so excited, I forgot to ask about my flight time, could you please send me a confirmation?

More is good, all is better

Jun 24, 2010

i had a superday with a BB for HK office. We had to pay for it first and then they reimbursed us. I'm sure they'll pay you back, even MM and boutique firms do so...

Jun 24, 2010

I've never heard of this. I had an interview with a MM bank that is about a 4 hour drive from me, and they definitely paid for my flight, and had a car pick me up. Not sure if it's necessarily a bad sign...maybe they are trying to see how bad you want it?

Jun 24, 2010

this is pretty damn rare as even all the MMs and the boutiques flew me out for superdays. Do what Argonaut said and give them a call.

Jun 24, 2010

if you're a nontarget you might have to pay

Jun 24, 2010
valencia:

if you're a nontarget you might have to pay

Go fuck yourself

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jun 24, 2010
valencia:

if you're a nontarget you might have to pay

dear god that's funny.

Jun 24, 2010

Heard a similar story for a Citi interview last week...

Jun 24, 2010

It's definitely Citi.

Jun 24, 2010
gekko2:

It's definitely Citi.

I know 3 people who have interviewed with Citi for FT and 1 for SA and Citi paid for all their flights....

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

Jun 24, 2010

I'm always awake with Citi.

Jun 24, 2010

More is good, all is better

Jun 24, 2010

^^^ definitely made that joke a few times during recruiting.

Jun 24, 2010

if it was me i'd use my savings.
then check with the other prospectives at the super day to see if they paid.
i wouldn't fuck with HR when you need a position badly.

i might go with Argonaut's response but... what if they didn't pay for anyone? i think it's cheeky to expect a flight and ask when it is when no one else did and no one else is getting one. i just assume Safety-first ratio on all these decisions... worst case might happen and you don't want to lose that superday

Jun 24, 2010

I personally know 1 non target student who had his flights not paid for at Citi's superday. Their reasoning was that they don't do OCR at his school so they are not responsible for traveling expenses.

Jun 24, 2010

To God of Wine and HPM, I had to pay for flights for banks that did not recruit at my school since we are semitarget, chill out.

Jun 24, 2010

GotBushels, if they didn't pay for anyone's they will say "you misunderstood , we don't pay for flights", at which point you say "ooooooh, my mistake then, thanks for clarifying, have a good day" and then figure out if you want to go or not.

More is good, all is better

Jun 24, 2010

I had a reputable management consulting firm offer me an internship for the winter, ostensibly for hiring purposes, except they paid 15 bucks an hour, without housing assistance. This was in a very expensive area.

Of course they weren't serious about me. I'm from a non-target. I think its the same case with you.

Jun 24, 2010

Here's what you do.

  1. Pay for the flight and go to the Superday
  2. Rock the Superday
  3. When they give you the offer, laugh in their faces and say "Shoulda paid for my flight eh?"
  4. Show them your offer from Financial Technology Partners
  5. Proceed to walk out of the office laughing all the way out.

That'll show em

Jun 24, 2010
leveragedoasis:

Here's what you do.

  1. Pay for the flight and go to the Superday
  2. Rock the Superday
  3. When they give you the offer, laugh in their faces and say "Shoulda paid for my flight eh?"
  4. Show them your offer from Financial Technology Partners
  5. Proceed to walk out of the office laughing all the way out.

That'll show em

Make sure your bring an extinguisher for all the bridges you will burn

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jun 24, 2010

When I interviewed with the BBs everyone one gave me a flight. Hell Piper Jaffray and Jefferies gave me a flight too. I got that along with 5 star accommodations, a travel stipend, etc.

Jun 24, 2010

The BB and MM banks I interviewed at for SA positions flew me in, paid for hotel, and reimbursed meals. I'm relatively non-target.

Just drive the four hours and you'll make some cash on the mileage. I drove a few hours to one of my super days and got about 60 cents/mile. Mock interview yourself while you drive.

If the bank isn't paying for your travel that's pretty low. Find another BB so you don't have to feel like a sheep when you ask for an extra pen at work or, god forbid, use the car service...

Jun 24, 2010
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Jun 24, 2010