Pre-Interview Dinner - Questions, 3 Tips & What to Expect

I have a pre-interview dinner coming up the night before an interview for an internship position. I have never been to something like this before so I am not totally sure what to be expecting. I am aware of appropriate table etiquette and the like but I am unsure about the social atmosphere i will be getting myself into.I would definitely appreciate any tips you guys/gals can throw my way. Also, is this something that every candidate who gets an interview also gets a dinner invite? Thanks.

Pre-Dinner Interview Reception Drinks

As for drinks, it is ultimately your decision whether or not you decide to drink. A good note is to see if others are ordering drinks, and if they are, order a mixed drink (or non-alcoholic if you're underage) and sip on it throughout the night. First impressions are key and it would be unwise to drink excessively in front of your potential co-workers.

Potential Questions To Expect For The Dinner

These dinner interviews are firm's way to understand who you are as a person outside of your resume. Each firm has their own unique cultures which the interviewer wants to ensure that you are likeable and a quality fit to get along with full time employees.
You should also expect both behavioral and straightforward questions such as: your experiences, why XXX firm, and about the position. @F. Ro Jo gives beautiful advice on how to turn the dinner to your advantage:

if anything you should be using this as an opportunity to build your answers for the interview. You won't get an offer at the dinner but you can most certainly lose one.

Conversational Tips For The Interview Dinner

Before even heading to the dinner, there are a few recommendations you can do to prepare yourself:

  • Use LinkedIn/contacts to find your interviewer's hobbies/sports team preferences
  • Check latest sports results and gossip
  • Brush up on proper dining etiquette
  • Stay up to date about current market news/trends
  • Be sociable, keep the conversation going
  • Be genuine and prepared to talk about yourself honestly
  • Smile and be engaged

What To Wear For The Interview Dinner

As with the dinner interview, it is better to be over dressed (tie and jacket) as you can dress down depending on the situation. Some tips in preparing your outfit:

  • White shirt + dark tie
  • Nice suit and pants
  • Black or Brown shoes that match your belt

As for women @Mis Ind" gives some good advice

Mis Ind:
  • Evening handbags
  • Dressier heels instead of day pumps or loafers
  • Blouses instead of dress shirts
  • More room for jewelry and personal style

Tips For Ordering Food During The Business Dinner Portion

Now onto the dinner itself, this comes down to either if the dinner is a la carte or if entrees are ordered. However, overall there are several guidelines and helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Let your Interviewer order first. Try to order food at the same price or slightly less.
  • Try to eat light as you will be doing more talking than eating throughout the night
  • Order easy to eat foods (try to take small bites and do not talk with food in your mouth)
  • Do not order messy to eat food or "finger food"

Is It Acceptable To Skip The Pre-Dinner Interview?

General rule of thumb is no. Although the dinner is considered an optional event, unless there is a prior commitment such as a wedding or funeral, the firm will think that this position is not a high enough priority for you. It is recommended that you do everything in your power to have extra face time with your potential co-workers to increase your chances of getting an offer.

This all sounds difficult and stressful, but these dinners are informal and have an overall relaxed tone. Putting yourself out there with a professional but personable aura will give you a better shot with an offer. This is your opportunity to get to know higher ups on a more personal level as well as pick their brain a little.

While this dinner is still considered part of your interview process, it's important that you also enjoy yourself and the evening all together.

If you have another piece of advice please comment below!

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Comments (213)

Oct 7, 2012 - 9:04am

order easy to eat foods (no french onion soup) and don't drink excessively. also check our gossip and sports results before. they will probably want to see if you are a bearable person, so you neither want to come across as a weird nerd, nor like somebody whos arbing their expense account.

Oct 7, 2012 - 11:28am

Just be normal. They just want to get to you know and make sure you're not the most awkward person on the planet.

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Oct 7, 2012 - 11:33am

Don't check gossip. Lol...

I hate victims who respect their executioners
Oct 7, 2012 - 12:06pm

Actually, I had a pre interview dinner for a big 4 this past week, and its really chill. You basically are just meeting everybody and they all try to make you as comfortable as possible for the following day

Oct 7, 2012 - 3:51pm

Should I expect questions like why our firm and things like that or is that reserved for the next day?

Also, is this something that every candidate who gets an interview also gets a dinner invite?

Oct 7, 2012 - 8:05pm
Higheck123:
Should I expect questions like why our firm and things like that or is that reserved for the next day?

Also, is this something that every candidate who gets an interview also gets a dinner invite?

You shouldn't be expecting any questions... if anything you should be using this as an opportunity to build your answers for the interview. Pretty straightforward questions like "how do you like your experiences at XXX so far?" can feed into your answer for "Why XXX?" Same with "what have your project experiences been like?" and "What do you think you'll be doing as a YYY at XXX"?"

Also, I know it's tempting but try to go easy on the drinks. You won't get an offer at the dinner but you can most certainly lose one.

Oct 7, 2012 - 7:38pm

Talk to the people who don't get swarmed by overeager undergrads. I did this at a pre-interview dinner, ended up spending the whole night hanging out with a VP and an Analyst. Guess who ended up interviewing me the next day. Got the offer.

Oct 7, 2012 - 9:29pm
asiamoney:
Don't focus too much on work/work-related questions: be a likable, relatable, normal person who the full-timers feel they can get along well with.

This. Like I said before, I also had a pre-interview dinner and I got an offer. Just be likable, the dinner is for you to get to know the interviewers so you aren't a nervous wreck the next day
Best Response
Oct 7, 2012 - 8:37pm
  1. Let your interviewers order first. Order drink/food at the same price or slightly less so you're not considered a cheapskate or a leech.

  2. Using LinkedIn/contacts, see if you can find out your interviewers hobbies/sports team preferences. If you're not familiar with those hobbies, do some research and be prepared to to start talking about those hobbies. Let them take the lead and take a genuine interest in those hobbies.

  3. Be funny. E.g., for Finance interviews ask: What does an accountant use for birth control? His personality. For Accounting interviews: What do you call 1000 bankers/traders at the bottom of the ocean? A good start, etc.

  4. Ballsy, but very effective if pulled off right (it worked for me when I started in the industry years ago): if you know your interviewers' politics and they all fall on the same side, go with it.

These might seem extreme, but hey, if you really want the job and in this shitty economy all's fair when it comes to douchebaggery (a.k.a. Finance industry) . You need to stand out from the rest of the lemmings and this dinner's your chance. Every entry-level kid looks like the same boring automaton on paper.

Oct 7, 2012 - 8:44pm
Potable Alpha:
1. Let your interviewers order first. Order drink/food at the same price or slightly less so you're not considered a cheapskate or a leech.
  1. Using LinkedIn/contacts, see if you can find out your interviewers hobbies/sports team preferences. If you're not familiar with those hobbies, do some research and be prepared to to start talking about those hobbies. Let them take the lead and take a genuine interest in those hobbies.

  2. Be funny. E.g., for Finance interviews ask: What does an accountant use for birth control? His personality. For Accounting interviews: What do you call 1000 bankers/traders at the bottom of the ocean? A good start, etc.

  3. Ballsy, but very effective if pulled off right (it worked for me when I started in the industry years ago): if you know your interviewers' politics and they all fall on the same side, go with it.

These might seem extreme, but hey, if you really want the job and in this shitty economy all's fair when it comes to douchebaggery (a.k.a. Finance industry) . You need to stand out from the rest of the lemmings and this dinner's your chance. Every entry-level kid looks like the same boring automaton on paper.

Re: #2 check out their profiles in Google incognito so you don't appear creepy.

Oct 7, 2012 - 8:37pm

I was having dinner this past weekend and saw something like this happening. If your not 21 be carefully with the waitstaff! I watched a kid try and order a scotch in front of a VP and got carded, turns out he wasn't 21. VP laughed and walked away, the kid became the joke of the dinner.

Oct 7, 2012 - 11:52pm

This is just a chance for you to show that you are a normal person who isn't some closet nerd and is capable of interacting with people in a casual setting. Big 4 is all about client service...these people want to see if you can be presentable to clients and how well you can interact with them. Just act normal like you would if you were going to lunch/dinner with a faculty member. Just be yourself and ask some good questions. Feel free to talk about what interests you (but stay professional: do not talk politics, religion, etc).

This is a great time to ask questions which will help you answer the two most important questions in your interview: 1) Why audit/tax/advisory/etc 2) Why E&Y? Ask the people you met what made them chose their firm, what they like best about working there, etc. Speak to as many people as you can to get multiple perspectives and focus on the parts of their answers that you agree with.

Whatever you do..just don't be a "yes man asskisser" these are the type of people who basically say a supporting/agreeing statement after anything the professionals say. I had a girl do this at one of the pre-interview dinners and she looked like an idiot.

Student question: How do you determine which professionals from your office are best fit for a certain engagement
Partner: Whoever is available. Goes on to explain regarding everyone in the firm being well equipped, etc.
Yesman-asskicker: Wow that really shows the flexibility of the firm
Partner: Not really....

She did this about 10 times that evening.

If someone says something you agree with, then you can speak to your personal experience briefly and build some common ground with the people you met. Psychologically - people like those who are similar to them. This is a good technique but you can find better ways to do this than spitting out retarded one liners.

Oct 8, 2012 - 1:57pm

Did a 1 on 1 dinner once for a networking opportunity. It sounds like this is a bit different but in my case the VP was downing drinks. I kept up with him and drank sip for sip with him. In the end, both of us were quite drunk. End of story, he had the best time with me and had no problem helping me out. I've heard you drink and eat the amount they do, but I've also heard you lay low on drinking, I think it all depends on who you are meeting, what for, and how the situation feels.

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."
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Oct 8, 2012 - 10:16pm
yeahright:
Did a 1 on 1 dinner once for a networking opportunity. It sounds like this is a bit different but in my case the VP was downing drinks. I kept up with him and drank sip for sip with him. In the end, both of us were quite drunk. End of story, he had the best time with me and had no problem helping me out. I've heard you drink and eat the amount they do, but I've also heard you lay low on drinking, I think it all depends on who you are meeting, what for, and how the situation feels.

if you have the propensity to be an assclown after one too many, lay low. if you can handle yourself when drunk, bottoms up. if you have no idea, lay low.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:19pm

dinner before final round (Originally Posted: 01/23/2007)

I just got invited to a final round with a BB's Asia Pac division.

The unusual thing is that I'm also invited to a so-called pre-interview dinner with some of the directors, as well as some full-time analysts, from both New York and Hong Kong. The time slot for this dinner is over 3 hours.

Anyone sit through one of these pre-interview dinners before? What are some things to watch out for?

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Oct 13, 2012 - 2:21pm

Don't drink too much, don't order clumsy things if it's served a la carte (no messy finger food or things that you don't look good eating), make sure you relax enough to let your personality come through, and let your behavior be guided by the most senior person at the table.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:23pm

That is if you like to drink. Just be yourself (taking into account the situation, of course).

Had a dinner with UBS, but they actually made sure that we finish early (9ish or so), cause we had an early start the next day. The HR stressed "Don't you dare to go out after this!"

Well, I kinda had a few drinks after the dinner with my buddies (until 1 or so). Was a bit late the next day (HR was "You went out, didn't you?" - kind of). This didn't stand on my way of getting the offer.

Be genuinly yourself. Know why you want to go into ibanking. What attracts you to UBS (even if you don't know anything about the bank, be sincere abou it). Have a good personal sales pitch 'why me'... Things like this helped me get a job.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:24pm

Drink a little - don't ruin the party for others. This implies you have some sort of decent tolerance.

Bottom line: grow some balls, go to sleep whenever you have to and wake up whenever you need to.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:26pm

I'm not sure if it was a twisted will-power test or what, but one bank I interviewed with had the basement of a bar shut down and ran an open bar until 1 AM the night before superday. As a college student, free booze ranks up there with naked supermodels, almost too good to be true...

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:27pm

What if I have a prior commitment for that evening. Is this the kind of thing where they'll say, "omg, this kid couldn't even cancel his other commitments for us, what is he going to do when he's actually hired."

Or is it not a big deal to miss it?

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:28pm

The only prior commitment that might be overlooked is a funeral or wedding. Otherwise, they will think that it isn't important enough for you. Remember, banking requires that you skip vacations and work holidays, if you can't make one lousy dinner before an interview, you will be instantly dinged.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:29pm

You won't be instantly dinged for missing what is (usually) an optional pre-interview dinner. As long as you aren't skipping it for a keg party (and you have a respectable answer if they ask you in the interview), nobody will think negatively of you.

Having said that, it does help to get that extra face time in front of the bankers. If the bankers like you in a casual setting, they will likely pull for you come decision time. I certainly have done this in the past.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:30pm

When we have a pre-superday dinner, we expect people to show unless they have a rock-solid excuse. If they ask, "Can I miss it", we say "sure", but what we just learned is that we are a low priority - so why give an offer to someone who might reject it? Good candidates often have multiple offers.

I'll add that in three rounds of hiring, we have never given an offer to anyone that missed the dinner. (of course, only a handful skipped it over that time period)

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Oct 13, 2012 - 2:31pm

We also expect people to show up, but I guess our standards for "an acceptable excuse" are lower. Students have missed these dinners because they are involved in campus groups, have 2 exams the next day etc. Where I work, that is an adequate excuse.

The only time, in my experience, where not attending led to an instant ding was when we went bar hopping after the dinner and ran into a candidate and her group of friends at another bar.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:34pm

The dinner has a huge impact. Make sure you are very sociable, ask questions, listen (and don't interrupt) and don't order messy food.

I didn't drink at all when I had a pre-interview dinner, and it didn't count against me. Just don't make yourself out to be an uptight teatotaller about it - politely decline or only order one wine.

I have a suspicion that a few people that were at the dinner got "failed" for it - they were too boisterous, too quiet, a bad culture fit, shocked at the hours etc.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:38pm

Dress code? Personally, I call it "business evening". For boys it's not that different from business daytime. For girls it can involve the following:

Evening handbags
Dressier heels instead of day pumps or loafers
Blouses instead of dress shirts
More room for jewelry and personal style

Bear in mind that it's still conservative and suit-based, so don't go out there in a black satin skirt and rhinestone-studded stilettos.

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Oct 13, 2012 - 2:40pm

Order a god damn coke and tell them you've gotta be on your A game tomorrow. It may look like you're not being the most fun person, but you have a full night to make yourself seem like a reasonably fun person. On the other hand, you have the opportunity to make it seem as if this job is your #1 priority. It really should not be this hard to order yourself a coke and not seem like a tool.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:41pm

Wannabebanker, get a clue. After accepting my FT ofer, I sent thank you's to the people who I met with on my sell day. Everyone from MD down to analyst told me to party a ton and enjoy my second semester and just don't fail any classes. For many of these people the most important thing once you get to a final round is your fit, and no one wants to work with an uptight ultraserious person. Have a drink, relax and enjoy yourself while not talking too much. Ask intelligent questions and you will be good to go.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:42pm
jws43yale:
Wannabebanker, get a clue. After accepting my FT ofer, I sent thank you's to the people who I met with on my sell day. Everyone from MD down to analyst told me to party a ton and enjoy my second semester and just don't fail any classes. For many of these people the most important thing once you get to a final round is your fit, and no one wants to work with an uptight ultraserious person. Have a drink, relax and enjoy yourself while not talking too much. Ask intelligent questions and you will be good to go.

My point was more that you can exude a "fun" and relaxed demeanor without necessarily drinking. Also, if you have even decent social skills, you can easily avoid the potential awkwardness caused by not drinking. Finally, I wouldn't be opposed to drinking during this dinner. My comment was for those that aren't sure if they can handle the glass of wine or for those who don't drink for other reasons.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:43pm

A lot of good stuff has been said.. my 2 cents to add:

When I went for a pre-interview dinner for a MM, it was a mix of relaxed, non-business chit chat (asking about school, New York life, etc.)...

but also be on your A-game for these dinners. When an Associate sat down next to me, her first words out of her mouth was:

"Why are you interested in (our bank's specialty industry)?"

Needless to say, I was a little taken aback as the last hour was devoted to really getting to know folks personally and not business-wise.

Prepare, prepare, prepare, I guess.

As for drinks:
See what everyone else is doing. If people are ordering alcohol, I usually go for a mixed drink (read: Whiskey and Coke, Gin and Tonic) and sip it slowly throughout the night. I'm not a stiff, but I'm also not going to get drunk in front of potential co-workers the first time I meet them.

And for dress:
Depends on what sort of restaurant it is. If it's a true "dinner" at a fancy restaurant (which it typically will be), I go in jacket and tie even if it says business casual. Most males I see do the same.

If it's a "reception/happy hour/drinks and appetizers dinner" at a bar/standard restaurant, and the email says business casual, I go button down and khakis or slacks.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:46pm

Well, if you're not 21 you have two choices as I see it...

1) Get a drink anyways (I've never been carded either at bars or at fancy restaurants at a pre-night function). Highly doubtful anyone is going to bother to spend to time to match your age to your drink choice down the road (although it would be freaky if it did happen and you were called out on it.

2) Get a water or other non-alcoholic beverage. A lot of people do, you won't stand out for having a water. Don't make a comment about your age.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:48pm

Thats funny because I remember back when I had dinner for a sophomore BB SA position, they took all of us out to dinner, and the bankers ordered wine knowing damn well our age...but I guess play it safe...or just play it by ear

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:49pm

Pre-Interview Dinner Questions/Advice (Originally Posted: 01/30/2007)

I got asked (via email) to go to dinner with the MD and some analysts on-campus before the first round interview for a summer intern (which is the next day). Is this common? Other than don't get drunk, any advice on dress code (suit/tie), what to eat, questions to ask, what to do/not to do?

Thanks

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:53pm

Dress conservatively - white shirt, dark tone tie.

Order something light - you won't really be eating. Also, order something that is easy to eat - you don't wanna have difficulty slicing your meat or have veggie stuck between your teeth.

Ask questions about the firm, their experiences and their interest. People love to talk about themselves.

Don't be overly friendly. Remember, they ain't your friends. Be conversational and professional, not fratty with them.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:54pm

You can consider biz casual if the bank is biz casual. White, grey, tan, or blue shirt works.

I've heard chicken is a good choice. Stay away from French Onion soup.

Ask about their stories.

Don't be eager to please.

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:56pm

Order the most expensive meal on the menu. Really. Like if all entrees are at around 20$, but there is this 60$ plate, take it. Establish your BSD status. Also, be sure start off with double vodka on ice when the waiter asks you for drinks.

Yeah, don't forget to wear suspenders.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:00pm
mean_reversion:
Order the most expensive meal on the menu. Really. Like if all entrees are at around 20$, but there is this 60$ plate, take it. Establish your BSD status. Also, be sure start off with double vodka on ice when the waiter asks you for drinks.

Yeah, don't forget to wear suspenders.

I agree. Also, towards the end of the meal, if there's an awkward silence where noone is saying anything, break the tension by poking your neighbor's half eaten chicken/steak and say "You gonna eat that?"

Oct 13, 2012 - 2:58pm

I'd say drink something (assuming you're of age)..you don't want to be the uptight loser. Just make sure to get a manly drink..no fruity mixed cocktails. I'd go with vodka tonic. Wear a suit without a tie if they say biz casual..you can always take off the jacket when you get there if you're over-dressed. Most of the banks will say it's biz casual, but most people still wear a jacket.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:08pm

 Har har har...but really, anyone know anything about these kinds of events? Is it a *really* good thing to be invited to or does it not mean much? Are they looking to hire sophomores for SA positions in 2008, or just 'keeping an eye on us' until 2009? I couldn't quite understand how the guy was explaining it and didn't want to ask him to clarify a second time (since I had already asked once). It is the night before SA interviews, he said, so that seems pretty soon to actually get hired for 2008, though he did say he'd be getting back to me with more info.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:09pm

Well it is definitely a good sign. From my own experience, they will a hire sizeable amount of people from those attending the dinner. However, being invited doesn't mean the deal is sealed. You still have to impress them during the dinner.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:12pm

That's interesting. I got turned down by MS for SA 08 and they also mentioned a similar event to me. Not sure how much it will help for FT 09 though. Which office contacted you?

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:14pm

share stories about superday DINNERS (Originally Posted: 01/17/2008)

I've got a superday dinner coming up on Sunday with 25 other kids from my school. Anyone got any good stories to tell or things to do at dinner? Should it be a selling point or should I just sit back, chill out, and enjoy the evening while listening to others?

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:15pm

every part of your interview day/weekend is a selling point.  that is one thing i noticed a lot of kids who interviewed with me doing incorrectly.  they would prep for the physical interviews, but then let their guard down completely during dinner.  obviously, i don't want to make the dinner/drinks segment sound difficult/stressful, etc.  it is very informal and relaxed.  you should have fun and enjoy yourself.  however, at the same time, it is still part of your interview.  otherwise half the guys from the office wouldn't be tagging along.  don't be too "nerdy," and bother all the analysts with questions like, "so when you say double-declining, you mean...".  no one likes that kid.  and it's not b/c he's curious and wants to learn, but because you're out drinking, and need to appreciate the difference between work and play.  you need to have fun, and they want to see you can let go a little bit.  i'm not saying not to bring up work-related subject matter at all; just use your judgment when it comes to that.  at the same time, don't get too much Patron in ya and start making hand puppets, laughing uncontrollably at your own jokes.  i've seen that (well, not that, but similar) happen, and the fellow obviously did not fare too well.  the point is to show your lighter side, show you are not socially retarded or awkward, can have fun with people you just met.  i would not recommend just sitting back and "letting it all sink in;" be active and talk to people.  make sure that your face sticks, and that the next morning, while making up their minds, they say, "i really liked that kid."

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:16pm

you don't have to be the ring leader or w/e. just shoot the shit with the other kids, but always keep that professional air. that is key. think about it from their perspective. they are going to be putting you in front of clients in very important, but casual situations such as this. do they want someone who acts like a clown? be outgoing, but reserved, if that makes sense.  i know this will sound ridiculous, but have a few good stories to tell.  treat it like you would an interview, but don't give off that formal vibe. 

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:18pm

Appropriate Conversation for PE Lunch/Dinner Interview (Originally Posted: 04/03/2008)

What would be considered appropriate conversation at a lunch interview? I know fit is a deal breaker/maker for a small fund. But should the conversation be kept professional with me asking a ton of questions or should I get more personal? Any advice appreciated.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:19pm

Just let the conversation run naturely and not over-rehearsed. Be prepared to discuss the current state of the debt markets, macro perspectives on the economy, deal flow etc. but also be prepared to discuss how awesome the Yanks/Giants/ etc. are, what books/mags are your favorite, how you spend your free time, etc. I have run several of these interviews and I always most interested in whether or not the kid applying for the job is bright, interesting, interested, and willing to work hard.

Try to obviously stay away from religion and politics unless you find out right off the bat that your interviewer is a staunch conservative at which time let the Hilary/Obama bashing begin.

Good luck

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:20pm

NEVER EVER EVER DISCUSS BUSINESS (ie PE Inverview/Plans/Models/Ideas/Etc.) OVER DINNER. I'm talking about during the period from between when you order to Aps until they take away your main courses. Don't be the jerk that initiates that discussion. Even further, don't bring it up unless they do assuming your the interviewee. Use that time to have "trivial" discussion, such as sports, pop culture (always a favorite if the people you're with are young), music, whatever floats your boat.

After dinner, during coffee and desert is fine, and from what I've seen, prefered than discussing it over the main course. Everyone is more relaxed during that portion of the meal and it is a much better atmosphere to talk over. The other thing is that you don't have knives and other thing that can be used as weapons during desert. Hey, I'm just saying...

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Oct 13, 2012 - 3:21pm

Dinner with MDs (Originally Posted: 05/21/2008)

College sophomore. Was invited to a dinner with managing directors from various banks (BB and MM), private equity MDs. I went, and it was rather difficult on my part speaking with them and finding common ground. Food was extremely good but was not able to enjoy it.

How should I do this next time? It was difficult because most of them were talking about the private tours and receptions they attended in Europe and Africa. I wanted to join in but also felt undereducated when they started talking more about business.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:22pm

I had this problem last summer, when I attended several "private equity breakfasts" hosted by law firms. I learned to stick by whoever invited me (presumably your boss or somebody experienced in the field) and just shut up and listen. Believe me, you're not going to wow them with any insight anyways, so just learn as much as you can.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:24pm
models_and_bottles:
I had this problem last summer, when I attended several "private equity breakfasts" hosted by law firms. I learned to stick by whoever invited me (presumably your boss or somebody experienced in the field) and just shut up and listen. Believe me, you're not going to wow them with any insight anyways, so just learn as much as you can.

You're right. MD's are ridiculously insightful. You should just sit like a mute, absorb their wisdom. In a few years after standing dumbly by, you can say a sentence or two. You don't want to damage your career by speaking or anything. These are risks you can't afford.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:25pm

You're not going to wow them with your market acumen and predictions, but I think you can leave an impression by asking some intelligent questions. That way you're contributing and learning at the same time, shows interest.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:27pm

In my experience in alot of these situations, the MD's will make an effort to reach out to the undergrad and ask about where they go to school, what they are studying, what their career aspirations are, college sports, etc. Granted, there is a fair amount of business banter and shop talk, vacation talk, etc. But seeing as how there is someone significantly younger at the table, I'm surprised they didn't reach out to include you knowing it was an intimidating situation.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:28pm

Just sit and listen, don't try and add any input. I would agree that asking some intelligent questions would be the best bet, or if in the proper setting, just ask one of the MDs how they ended up in PE or what was a motivating factor that drove them to the top. Something semi cheesy like that.

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so." - Ronald Reagan
  • 1
Oct 13, 2012 - 3:30pm

thanks guys. by the way, a goldman md i met at the dinner invited me to have lunch with him. naturally, i said yes. how should i approach the lunch? should i attempt to pay for it and what should i talk about?

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 13, 2012 - 3:31pm

Well, don't insist on paying for it. This guy will know that he is better equipped to pay for the meal, not to mention that he invited you. If the waiter/server asks whether the check should be together or separate, just say together with the intention of paying for it. This is by far the best way to show some class. However, I wouldn't worry, when I eat out with any of my partners they always pay but I never go with the intention they will.

Congrats on the lunch invite and good luck.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:35pm

actually nothing that i didn't know already. just a bit about the markets, and that hardwork and a bit of luck and friendliness is necessary for success. yeah, i know, but it sure sounds a lot more brilliant coming from a BB MD.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:36pm

"OO you went to Italy, did you see the Colosseum?"
"My, what an insightful question, young man, however did you know?"

We're Italian, "WACC" means something else to us.
Oct 13, 2012 - 3:37pm

MD asking you to lunch already. Nice. Seems like you've done a bang-up job of positioning yourself for a spot at an ibank already. Keep those grades up and don't be afraid to email a question or two down the road to the MD.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:38pm

2nd Round Dinners??? Advice needed. (Originally Posted: 11/03/2008)

Hey guys I have a dinner / 2nd round coming up and I'm looking for some advice, specifically on the dinner aspect. Obviously the dinner is part of the interview, so how do I kill in this more informal setting. I guessing I still wear suit and tie (it's at a nicer restaurant), should I talk about IB or leave that for the next day, valet or no valet, wine or no wine, who should I focus my conversations to associates / MDs / the other candidates? I'm pretty good at this sort of shit but I've never had dinner as part of the process before. What are they looking for?

Thanks for any help gentlemen.

Take it for all it's worth.
  • 1
Oct 13, 2012 - 3:39pm

The best thing you can do is relax and be yourself. The senior guys want to ensure that you are capable of handling yourself in these types of environments so that you will not embarass them in front of clients.

Wear a suit, valet or not who cares, have some wine but be responsible, focus your efforts on interacting with everyone at the table as these multiple connections will allow you to ingratiate yourself more quickly and collectively.

Let the conversation flow naturally but stay apprised of current events both within the industry but also as far as sports, entertainment, etc. and also be prepared to discuss IB.

Demonstrate that you are a likeable and intelligent guy and you should be fine.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:41pm

Sounds good, thanks for the heads up guys.

Take it for all it's worth.
Oct 13, 2012 - 3:42pm

Try to listen more than you talk. Don't try to impress anyone by your 'finance knowledge' or your 'passion'. Just be yourself, dont ask too many questions, laugh at stupid humor and have manners.

Don't order alcohol until everyone else does. Do not have more drinks than the others.

Good luck

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:43pm

I've been through a couple of these, and to reiterate the above, be self-aware and relaxed and be able to smoothly handle your end of the conversation. Additionally, what tends to be overlooked is etiquette. Know where to place your napkin, knife/fork placement to signify that you're done, which forks to use, how to butter your bread etc. Especially in a more formal setting, those interviewees with social grace will have a leg up on the competition, and given the current market conditions any extra points will go a long way.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:44pm

Some quick advice based on how my firm evaluates candidates at final round dinners.

1.) Don't talk about finance the whole time, if at all, for the love of god. I just spent all day at work, I don't want to talk about fucking work. This leads into...

2.) Be able to talk about sports, entertainment, etc. Just make conversation. You need to prove to the analysts that you'll be fun to hang out with in the bullpen, and prove to the senior guys that they can put you in front of clients.

3.) Drink and have fun. Don't be the drunkest one at the event, but feel free to get a buzz if it helps you converse.

4.) Don't be the first to leave. After other candidates start to trickle out is when you'll get your best shots at one-on-one conversations with the people who matter. Also by this point, everyone's had a few drinks and has loosened up.

5.) Don't waste your time talking to other candidates or people from your school. You need to talk to the people that are hiring you. This may seem obvious, but I've seen so many kids hole up in the corner with their buddies from school, and it torpedoes all of them.

In summary, just treat it as a networking dinner out. You want to make friends with the people that will be interviewing you the next day, so they remember you on a personal level, not just an interview level.

  • Capt K
- Capt K - "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham
  • 3
Oct 13, 2012 - 3:45pm

Lunch/Dinner Interview Advice (Originally Posted: 08/03/2010)

I am currently in the final stages of interviewing for a sell-side equity research position. I was told that the final interview will take place over lunch or dinner. Any advice on making a good impression during a lunch/dinner interview where they will be assessing personality/fit? I tend to be on the quieter side and get somewhat nervous during these informal situations. Any advice on conversation topics, things to avoid, etc?

Thank you in advance.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:46pm

Eat something before hand, so you're concentrating more on conversation than the steak. Also, many people will disagree but if you tend to be the nervous type, take a shot of vodka before the interview. You'll be golden. =D

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:53pm

dinner attire (Originally Posted: 10/24/2010)

hey everyone, so i have an interview with Ernst and Young (DC office) for their advisory services and we are having a dinner the night before the interview. my question (couldnt find a direct answer to this, so curious what you guys thought), would khakis, shirt and navy blue dinner blazer w/ or w/o tie be ok? bad? good? i have charcoal suit with brown shoes, brown belt, white shirt and blue tie for the interview...but wasnt sure if i need to wear a suit for dinner as well? my dinner wardrobe is most reflective of my country club attire

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” - Albert Einstein
  • 1
Oct 13, 2012 - 3:54pm

Khakis, shirt and navy blue dinner blazer with an appropriate tie would be really good. however, wearing a tie at a dinner is a lil bit too formal - in my opinion. i think you should wear it.

I'm not sure why you are wearing brown on your interview. I don't this it goes well with your suit and tie.

Oct 13, 2012 - 3:57pm

.

One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.
Oct 13, 2012 - 3:59pm
New Yorker:
what you want to wear is:

gucci bit loafers, sockless.

nantucket reds from Murrays Toggery shop.

smathers and Branson pink elephant martini belt

blazer

hermes pocket square.

thought about it.

wearing that.

thanks for the input guys, ill bring an extra tie just incase. as for the brown shoes, i personally think it looks good...personally, im not crazy about black shoes and black belt (but i have both!)..i think the brown colors just fit me better and they are pretty conservative

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” - Albert Einstein
  • 1
Oct 13, 2012 - 4:02pm

bulge bracket dinners at targets (Originally Posted: 11/17/2010)

I go to a target and I noticed that some BB have come to recruiting sessions and invited certain people to private dinners for further networking. I was wondering does anyone have any experience with this and how does one stand out enough to get selected for these dinners? I noticed that there were a surprising amount of Sophomores at these things.

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:04pm

Nothing you can really do. I applied to some similar events, sometimes I was invited sometimes not. Totally random.

Put fine dining and cooking under interests.

"too good to be true"

See my WSO Blog

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:10pm

I've attended these recently at the MBA level. Some were pre-select...got an email a few days before the info session inviting me to the dinner. In another instance they called my cell phone after I had left the info session and asked if I'd like to meet them for dinner.

Combination of resume + being normal, expressing previous interest, etc.

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:12pm

Skipping firm dinner? (Originally Posted: 01/22/2011)

Ok so I have an interview this week with a small MM bank (8 people), there is a dinner Monday night, and the interview is in their office is Wednesday. Only problem is that I'm pretty sick right now, not Malaria sick but I got the aches pretty bad. I think I'll be good to go by Wed for the intv, but probably not for the Dinner. How bad would it be if I bailed on the Dinner?

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:15pm

If it is at all possible for you to be there (i.e. you aren't going to get others sick, and you won't look deathly ill and awkward) I would make every effort to attend ESPECIALLY given the small size of the firm. If there are only 8 people there and they don't see you at the dinner, they are going to wonder why you weren't there and may ask in the interview...

Note: If you still feel horrible, it isn't the end of the world if you miss... it is just favorable if you are there as your fellow candidates will be there...

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:16pm

Maybe try explaining it to one of them that you hope to feel as well as you can for Wednesday and just want to rest as much as possible . . . or take your balls in your hand and do what needs to be done.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:17pm

You have to try and suck this one up. Like someone above mentioned, if you don't look like death warmed over and you aren't contagious then tough this one out. Given that it's such a smaller firm, fit is going to be crucial and not attending the dinner could potentially put you at a huge disadvantage. The caveat there, however, is if you don't have a personality then it might be best to miss it, lol.

Slam a shit ton of OJ and get as much rest as you can and maybe it will pass by then. Good luck man.

Regards

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so." - Ronald Reagan
  • 1
Oct 13, 2012 - 4:21pm

Just greet them with a smile and explain that you're feeling a bit under the weather and wanted to make it to the event but aren't sure exactly how sick you are and want to take precautions in their favor. They'll get it.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:22pm

Bank of America pre-interview dinner (Originally Posted: 02/01/2011)

Hello everyone, i have a interview with BOA this Thursday. I have been invited to a pre-interview dinner with the interviewers the night before. What can i expect from this event. Is there anything i should say or try to communicate to the recruiters? any advice would be greatly appreciate. Thank you.

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:23pm
  1. Show Off Your Ability to Multitask: Blindfold yourself with your napkin and proceed to eat your whole dinner while blind. Do this all while networking and effectively passing the bread/butter.

  2. Eliminate Your Competition: Another tactic I've used a la wedding crashers is to jerk off the guy/or girl next to you under the table, making him extremely comfortable, also causing him or her to leave the table and disqualify themselves from consideration

  3. Please Your Employers: Depending on your hand skills/technique, do the above to your interviewer and make him know you are really DTF

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:25pm
SaberRider:
Just be yourself. Usually the atmosphere is pretty relaxed, depends on the bank though. Asking questions like "Why did you choose to work for BOA?" could be of great help when having to answer this questions the next day.

I disagree. I think for these night before dinners its best to just shoot the shit and save the serious stuff for the next day. If they want to talk business they'll steer the conversation in that direction.

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:28pm

Definitely ask why boa and get to know the individuals at your table. In case they are your interviewers it helps, in case they aren't you have ammo and info about BOA that you can reiterate during your interview.

Interviewer: "Why BOA?"
You: " Well I spoke to xxxx yesterday at the dinner and he was telling me about xxxx, which really interests / intrigues me"

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:29pm

If you know which group some of the interviewers are from, try to have something relevant to their industry that would be a decent talking point but not be too technical. It will definitely set you apart from the other candidates and show that you have a unique interest, plus I have noticed that the interviewers that I have done this with pre-interview have tossed me softball technical questions because they assume I have done just as much preparation for those as I have on the industry in general. You knock the 2 or 3 technicals out of the park and the rest of the interview turns into a pretty laid-back conversation.

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:35pm

be ready to talk about yourself, your college, and your interests.

I've been to some where during the networking and drinking free for all session I've been asked point blank "why xyz?" "what departments interest you?"

be on your toes.

also try to meet many people; a few times I talked for wayyy too long with a couple guys and never ended up having them as an interviewer. I've also talked way too long with people that I was in front of the next day..(i.e. don't use all your stories and stuff)

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:36pm

Pre-superday dinner attire and dinner etiquette (Originally Posted: 10/09/2011)

So I've been lucky enough to get invited to a superday with an MM bank and the night before there will be a dinner. This is on the west coast by the way.

Few questions:

  1. What do I wear? Business casual or go all-out with Business professional?

  2. What do I order? I've read around before that it's usually best to avoid things like spaghetti since it's messy and it's smarter to just stick with a nice steak.

  3. Other tips?

I realise some of these questions are pretty amateur, but I haven't been put into this type of situation before growing up in a lower middle class household so I don't want to screw this up. So any tips would be appreciated.

Thanks all.

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:43pm

superday Dinner (Originally Posted: 02/27/2012)

Hi all,

I searched the website and haven't formed an answer to my problem. I have recently bought a fairly nice 2-button plain black suit for my upcoming formal event. I have been wearing a dark navy suit to my interviews and plan on wearing this to my superday. However, I want to avoid wearing the same suit two days in a row and was wondering if it is appropriate to wear the black suit to the dinner? I know black suits are meant for formal occasions or funerals, but I was thinking maybe wearing this without a tie would tone it down a bit? Or should I stick with the navy suit two days in a row?

Thanks in advance!

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:44pm

No one will ding you for wearing the same suit twice. They understand you are still in college and on a student's budget. Black suits aren't an auto-ding, but they're widely considered a faux pas. You seem to know that, so I'm not sure what the question is here.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:46pm

wear the the navy one two days in a row...no one will notice. As long as you don't wear the same shirt and tie you will be fine.

XX
Oct 13, 2012 - 4:48pm

BB Pre-Recruitment Dinner (Originally Posted: 08/06/2012)

Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

I have been invited to a BB pre-recruitment (FT) dinner. Sources tell me it will be 15 potential candidates, and 15 bankers (combo of associates, VPs and Directors). For those of you whom have been in my position in the past, what is the best strategy to convert this into an interview? What would be some meaningful questions to ask?

Thank you!

Oct 13, 2012 - 4:56pm
melvvvar:
you're exactly the kind of hustling little rube that would spoil my dinner. do them all a favor and don't go.

In all seriousness: chill the fuck out. Everyone knows why you guys are there, no need to rub it in their faces with rehearsed questions and not-so-subtlely mentioning your desire to work at their firm.
Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P) Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)
  • 1
Oct 13, 2012 - 4:53pm

Be SURE to not only ask them their favorite excel shortcut, but also their 2nd favorite excel shortcut, 3rd favorite, 4th favorite, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, etc.

bankers (especially VPs and MD's) love this, really displays your curiosity

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
Oct 13, 2012 - 4:54pm
rshelef13:
Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

I have been invited to a BB pre-recruitment (FT) dinner. Sources tell me it will be 15 potential candidates, and 15 bankers (combo of associates, VPs and Directors). For those of you whom have been in my position in the past, what is the best strategy to convert this into an interview? What would be some meaningful questions to ask?

Thank you!


Out of curiosity, how did you get this?
Oct 13, 2012 - 4:55pm
rshelef13:
Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

I have been invited to a BB pre-recruitment (FT) dinner. Sources tell me it will be 15 potential candidates, and 15 bankers (combo of associates, VPs and Directors). For those of you whom have been in my position in the past, what is the best strategy to convert this into an interview? What would be some meaningful questions to ask?

Thank you!

See you there!

I hate victims who respect their executioners
  • 1
Oct 13, 2012 - 4:58pm

How common are pre-superday dinners? (Originally Posted: 01/06/2013)

I only have one suit at the moment and don't want to have to buy another if I don't have to yet. If I do have dinners, I don't want to wear the same suit twice in a row though. Is a blazer and dark slacks okay, or is a suit necessary?

Oct 13, 2012 - 5:01pm

What's wrong with wearing the same suit twice?
I know people who've done this over the course of their entire SA.

Array
Oct 13, 2012 - 5:02pm

Nothing wrong with wearing a suit twice, but honestly with pre-superday dinners, avoid the tie. Wear a blazer on top of a decent oxford shirt. Wear khakis. You will look perfectly fine. You don't want to be overdressed as you will look out of place, but you still want to look decent.

Array

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Oct 13, 2012 - 5:03pm

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Array

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