Protips: Not Being Awkward

misscurious's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 131

As a fair warning, I just got home from a networking event - mostly college kids, like myself - and I don't know if I should be extremely pleased or extremely irritated. I'm currently both.

Approx. 60% of the people I talked to were horribly, horribly awkward. Unable to carry on a conversation awkward. Borderline offensive awkward. It was bad. Which could be great, because these people are finance/accounting majors at my school (non-target, ya'll) and are potential competition, so the more socially inept they are, the more likely they are to tank in interviews. Excellent. On the other hand, networking with awkward people is generally an unpleasant experience.

I just thought I'd compile a list of things not to do, and maybe some things to do, so that the awkward children out there can better navigate the world of networking.

1. Know how to

introduce yourself. I mean for crying out loud, it is not that difficult. Name. Major. School. Current internship position (if applicable) and one very succinct sentence on what you do. If in doubt, finish with "What about you?" If that person already told you, try finding a commonality. If you can't think of anything, ask how they got into whatever they're doing and go from there.

Literally, a kid tonight started out with the world's worst handshake (weak, freezing cold hands that were also sweaty, wtf?) and couldn't get through his own goddamn introduction without stuttering 14 times. He's getting his masters in accounting and just landed his first internship at PWM branch office somewhere in the 'burbs. Don't be this kid.

2. Know the atmosphere. This cannot be more important. For example, tonight's event was informal; it was at a bar/restaurant, no dress shirts in sight. In this type of a setting, it's okay to talk about work, but move on. Talk about your life, ask people about their lives, bond over football and beer pong. Don't just blather on and on what Excel model you just learned how to run or your master plans to break into investment banking, because it makes you look like you literally have no other interests. And guess what. No one is going to be your friend because you know how to calculate WACC. And guess what else. If they're not your friend, they're not going to pass along that helpful tidbit of information, or get you that contact info from their internship's internal server.

One guy just about talked my ear off about studying DCF models and drilling other technicals so that he'd be in perfect shape for full-time recruiting. Literally asked me what my favorite valuation method was. And it wasn't just me, that's all he talked about to everyone. Don't be this guy.

3. Know your audience. At work, everyone is about 20 years older than me. When we small talk, I talk about current events, like interesting articles in this morning's Journal (nothing political or super controversial, obviously) or general things I'm working on (yeah, I'm doing some client prospecting, got some calls coming up, how's your workload?). Depending on the relationship, I also go with "How's the family," or "How'd the weekend trip up north go," or whatever. I have a pretty good memory when it comes to personal mumbo jumbo, so I usually have a good arsenal of life-related small talk.

At this event, I talked about college stuff. Because most college kids don't give two fucks about economic conditions in China, and don't have kids. I try and stick to topics that aren't likely to start fights. For example, one person brought up the Trayvon Martin case (in his defense, one TV at the venue ran a news clip about it) and suddenly, five people were gritting their teeth trying not to punch each other in the face. Smooth. Don't be those guys, and definitely don't lose your bearings at a networking event, even if you've put down a few.

4. Listen to people. Don't shove your two cents in on every single thing that every single person has to say. Listen and ask follow-up questions. Like this. Person 1: "Oh yeah, I'm in the kayaking club." Non-awkward person 2: "Really? I didn't even know we had one of those. What do you guys do?" And so on and so forth. Obviously, there are good times to volunteer information about yourself - the conversation shouldn't be entirely one-sided - but don't just wait for your turn to talk because you love the sound of your own voice. No one likes those people. No one. And if you get people to open up to you, you can establish a connection. People like to talk about themselves, and they like to be listened to, so take advantage of it.

PRO TIP: Make a point to remember one thing (main point, topic, or interest) that person said, and use that in your follow up (assuming they're good for a follow up...I will be following up with approximately 3 people of the 60 at this event). If you have a shitty memory (I'm good with names/faces and can remember arbitrary facts pretty easily) then jot them down in your phone or padfolio, depending on the type of event. And, if the point you choose to remember is a business thing, or you talked about a WSJ article or something (for more formal events), send the article over to them.

5. Don't be a blatantly selfish moron. This should go without saying, but it doesn't. I landed an SA gig at a BB (not IB, but the name still gets people going) and I was getting all sorts of bizarre requests. "Can I get your bosses email? Can you get me more connections/info on XYZ? What are your BBs processes for this and that?" The answers were as follows: No. No. And I'm not going to tell you. Why? Because guess what, my boss doesn't want a random email from Skippy McGee saying "I met your intern, can I have a job too?" and there's no way I'm vouching for someone I don't even know. And I'm definitely not going to do anything against the rules for you. And I'm absofuckinglutely not going to go out on a limb for someone who has less than no tact, because (1) I don't have that kind of pull and (2) if you come off as extremely desperate now, you probably won't do much better in an interview setting, and I don't back losers.

Instead, consider flipping the proposition and thinking about how you can add value to them. This one is a bit trickier at networking events with experienced professionals (when you're a measly college kid), but don't think you can't be of use. And especially at an event like this, it's so easy to add value. Doesn't even have to be professional in nature. "Your bike has a flat? My friend works at the bike shop, here's where it is. I'll text him now & ask what he thinks of the problem, shouldn't be too expensive to fix."

PRO TIP: If someone's having a problem and you can help them solve it, they're more likely to be on their side. Plus, being perceived as helpful is much, much better than being perceived as desperate.

Now that I've gotten this all out, I feel much better, though in retrospect, it might not be worth posting. Most people should know this by now. At least, I hope so. It's hammered on this website over and over, but tonight's debacle really made me question how people can function in life without developing basic communication skills.

I guess I'll end with this. The real key is to be personable and relate to people on a human level. Apparently this concept blows some people away, but guess what. People are people are people and if you can find out what they like and get the conversation rolling in that direction, you will have successfully alleviated any awkwardness.

LAST PRO TIP: If conversation stalls or there get's to be a silence, you have two options. Fill it with a question about the other person or fill it by talking about yourself.

Starter questions include:

So, where did you say you were from? (For people you don't know)
What classes (or clubs or extracurriculars) are you in? (For people who go to your school)
Outside of finance, what are you into? (For casual settings)
How did you get into banking? (For professionals)
What do you do day-to-day? (For professionals)
What type of projects are you working on? (For professionals)
Do you have a favorite deal or story? (For professionals)
What advice do you have for college kids looking to get into the industry? Alternatively: What do you wish you knew going into the professional world? (For professionals)

So, what are your thoughts on (relevant topics here)?

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Comments (91)

Jul 17, 2013

Holy shit, that's a long post. Too many glasses of wine, getting a little carried away apparently.

Jul 17, 2013

It is just sad that people who have supposedly made it into adulthood require a step by step guide to have a basic conversation. Can anyone here tell me how that happens?

That being said, I thought this was a good post.

    • 2
Jul 17, 2013

It's just sad that people who have supposedly made it into adulthood can't have a basic conversation, even when alcohol is involved.

I mean, I know I go to a non-target and we may not be the best and the brightest, but come on. And I'm usually a champion for the underdog.

    • 1
Jul 17, 2013

In general I usually like to just start off with a joking comment that's basically some sort of semi-witty irrelevant quasi-nonsense, and see how that goes. Kind of just testing the waters.

If it's well received, it's likely I'm going to end up getting to know the person a bit. If it wasn't well received, I just assume they weren't worth knowing anyway. Win-win.

Jul 17, 2013

This is great! Just gave a silver banana!!

"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."

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Jul 17, 2013

Just finished a networking function too. You're spot on about the lack of tact some kids have. I do like your 'Favourite deal or story question.'

Jul 18, 2013

Was just at a networking event too and this post is spot on. One kid actually came up to me and started with "This is so awkward, but my name is..."

"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

Jul 18, 2013

Seriously, I feel that most kids nowadays don't know how to be "cool" anymore. Guess that helps me stand out like the OP said.

Like really? Where was the social development that they were supposed to experience from like age 8-20?

Jul 20, 2013

They were glued to the computer screen, where everything can be edited and crafted to perfection before submitting, so they never developed the real-time interpersonal and social skills. I'm glad that I wasn't born in the 90s or later.

Jul 18, 2013

I'm good in casual settings but its professional settings that where I suck at. I wish there was a place where it was a casual setting yet people still get their shit done. Professional settings just seems so fake to me (e.g. So how was your trip up north?) In actually, do you really give a shit? I know I wouldn't and it would come off extra fake. Any advice for finding a balance?

Jul 18, 2013
misscurious:

As a fair warning, I just got home from a networking event - mostly college kids, like myself - and I don't know if I should be extremely pleased or extremely irritated. I'm currently both.

Approx. 60% of the people I talked to were horribly, horribly awkward. Unable to carry on a conversation awkward. Borderline offensive awkward. It was bad. Which could be great, because these people are finance/accounting majors at my school (non-target, ya'll) and are potential competition, so the more socially inept they are, the more likely they are to tank in interviews. Excellent. On the other hand, networking with awkward people is generally an unpleasant experience.

I just thought I'd compile a list of things not to do, and maybe some things to do, so that the awkward children out there can better navigate the world of networking.

1. Know how to introduce yourself. I mean for crying out loud, it is not that difficult. Name. Major. School. Current internship position (if applicable) and one very succinct sentence on what you do. If in doubt, finish with "What about you?" If that person already told you, try finding a commonality. If you can't think of anything, ask how they got into whatever they're doing and go from there.

Literally, a kid tonight started out with the world's worst handshake (weak, freezing cold hands that were also sweaty, wtf?) and couldn't get through his own goddamn introduction without stuttering 14 times. He's getting his masters in accounting and just landed his first internship at PWM branch office somewhere in the 'burbs. Don't be this kid.

2. Know the atmosphere. This cannot be more important. For example, tonight's event was informal; it was at a bar/restaurant, no dress shirts in sight. In this type of a setting, it's okay to talk about work, but move on. Talk about your life, ask people about their lives, bond over football and beer pong. Don't just blather on and on what Excel model you just learned how to run or your master plans to break into investment banking, because it makes you look like you literally have no other interests. And guess what. No one is going to be your friend because you know how to calculate WACC. And guess what else. If they're not your friend, they're not going to pass along that helpful tidbit of information, or get you that contact info from their internship's internal server.

One guy just about talked my ear off about studying DCF models and drilling other technicals so that he'd be in perfect shape for full-time recruiting. Literally asked me what my favorite valuation method was. And it wasn't just me, that's all he talked about to everyone. Don't be this guy.

3. Know your audience. At work, everyone is about 20 years older than me. When we small talk, I talk about current events, like interesting articles in this morning's Journal (nothing political or super controversial, obviously) or general things I'm working on (yeah, I'm doing some client prospecting, got some calls coming up, how's your workload?). Depending on the relationship, I also go with "How's the family," or "How'd the weekend trip up north go," or whatever. I have a pretty good memory when it comes to personal mumbo jumbo, so I usually have a good arsenal of life-related small talk.

At this event, I talked about college stuff. Because most college kids don't give two fucks about economic conditions in China, and don't have kids. I try and stick to topics that aren't likely to start fights. For example, one person brought up the Trayvon Martin case (in his defense, one TV at the venue ran a news clip about it) and suddenly, five people were gritting their teeth trying not to punch each other in the face. Smooth. Don't be those guys, and definitely don't lose your bearings at a networking event, even if you've put down a few.

4. Listen to people. Don't shove your two cents in on every single thing that every single person has to say. Listen and ask follow-up questions. Like this. Person 1: "Oh yeah, I'm in the kayaking club." Non-awkward person 2: "Really? I didn't even know we had one of those. What do you guys do?" And so on and so forth. Obviously, there are good times to volunteer information about yourself - the conversation shouldn't be entirely one-sided - but don't just wait for your turn to talk because you love the sound of your own voice. No one likes those people. No one. And if you get people to open up to you, you can establish a connection. People like to talk about themselves, and they like to be listened to, so take advantage of it.

PRO TIP: Make a point to remember one thing (main point, topic, or interest) that person said, and use that in your follow up (assuming they're good for a follow up...I will be following up with approximately 3 people of the 60 at this event). If you have a shitty memory (I'm good with names/faces and can remember arbitrary facts pretty easily) then jot them down in your phone or padfolio, depending on the type of event. And, if the point you choose to remember is a business thing, or you talked about a WSJ article or something (for more formal events), send the article over to them.

5. Don't be a blatantly selfish moron. This should go without saying, but it doesn't. I landed an SA gig at a BB (not IB, but the name still gets people going) and I was getting all sorts of bizarre requests. "Can I get your bosses email? Can you get me more connections/info on XYZ? What are your BBs processes for this and that?" The answers were as follows: No. No. And I'm not going to tell you. Why? Because guess what, my boss doesn't want a random email from Skippy McGee saying "I met your intern, can I have a job too?" and there's no way I'm vouching for someone I don't even know. And I'm definitely not going to do anything against the rules for you. And I'm absofuckinglutely not going to go out on a limb for someone who has less than no tact, because (1) I don't have that kind of pull and (2) if you come off as extremely desperate now, you probably won't do much better in an interview setting, and I don't back losers.

Instead, consider flipping the proposition and thinking about how you can add value to them. This one is a bit trickier at networking events with experienced professionals (when you're a measly college kid), but don't think you can't be of use. And especially at an event like this, it's so easy to add value. Doesn't even have to be professional in nature. "Your bike has a flat? My friend works at the bike shop, here's where it is. I'll text him now & ask what he thinks of the problem, shouldn't be too expensive to fix."

PRO TIP: If someone's having a problem and you can help them solve it, they're more likely to be on their side. Plus, being perceived as helpful is much, much better than being perceived as desperate.

Now that I've gotten this all out, I feel much better, though in retrospect, it might not be worth posting. Most people should know this by now. At least, I hope so. It's hammered on this website over and over, but tonight's debacle really made me question how people can function in life without developing basic communication skills.

I guess I'll end with this. The real key is to be personable and relate to people on a human level. Apparently this concept blows some people away, but guess what. People are people are people and if you can find out what they like and get the conversation rolling in that direction, you will have successfully alleviated any awkwardness.

LAST PRO TIP: If conversation stalls or there get's to be a silence, you have two options. Fill it with a question about the other person or fill it by talking about yourself.

Starter questions include:

So, where did you say you were from? (For people you don't know)

What classes (or clubs or extracurriculars) are you in? (For people who go to your school)

Outside of finance, what are you into? (For casual settings)

How did you get into banking? (For professionals)

What do you do day-to-day? (For professionals)

What type of projects are you working on? (For professionals)

Do you have a favorite deal or story? (For professionals)

What advice do you have for college kids looking to get into the industry? Alternatively: What do you wish you knew going into the professional world? (For professionals)

So, what are your thoughts on (relevant topics here)?

Ha, I was thinking to myself "this is what it looks like when a first year analyst tries to put themselves above college seniors." But then I saw that you say you're a college kid, so what... You are 3 weeks into a summer internship or something and all of a sudden you're Lloyd Blankfein?

Thank you for gracing us with your in-depth knowledge of the extremely important world of finance-related cocktail events. I know I, for one, will do my best to only ask your brilliantly written cliches to everybody I meet from now on, lest I, god forbid, insult someone of your eminent stature.

I mean - "how did you get into banking?" That's fucking genius! How did you ever come up with that? So original, yet subtle at the same time. I've never heard that at a recruiting event, that's for sure.

And my personal favorite (and this one's only for professionals kids, don't try this at home) "what type of projects are you working on?" Yes, show your blatant disregard of federal securities law by asking private side employees to discuss ongoing projects. That will show them you've got what it takes to be the next Raj Rajaratnam! Genius!

    • 6
Jul 18, 2013
NYCbandar:

Ha, I was thinking to myself "this is what it looks like when a first year analyst tries to put themselves above college seniors." But then I saw that you say you're a college kid, so what... You are 3 weeks into a summer internship or something and all of a sudden you're Lloyd Blankfein?

Thank you for gracing us with your in-depth knowledge of the extremely important world of finance-related cocktail events. I know I, for one, will do my best to only ask your brilliantly written cliches to everybody I meet from now on, lest I, god forbid, insult someone of your eminent stature.

I mean - "how did you get into banking?" That's fucking genius! How did you ever come up with that? So original, yet subtle at the same time. I've never heard that at a recruiting event, that's for sure.

And my personal favorite (and this one's only for professionals kids, don't try this at home) "what type of projects are you working on?" Yes, show your blatant disregard of federal securities law by asking private side employees to discuss ongoing projects. That will show them you've got what it takes to be the next Raj Rajaratnam! Genius!

Just spat out my green tea. Once again you're at the top of your game, man.

Jul 18, 2013

Sweaty hands guy? Is that you? Sorry if I offended you by exiting the conversation shortly after your introduction. I wasn't trying to be rude, I just really had to wash my hands.

And, you know, it's funny that you bring up Lloyd, because just last night he called me up, on my cell, to tell me how impressed he is with my first six weeks as an intern. He was so blown away to see a sharp young mind like mine, with such conversational expertise, that he wanted to take me on as a protoge and train me to take over his position. He won't be around forever you know, and a man like that needs a strong successor to mold into his image.

Unfortunately, I had to turn the offer down, I'm really not interested in joining cults. But PM me, maybe I can put in a good word.

    • 6
Jul 18, 2013

You're spot on.

Just an FYI - I'm not referring to the OP.

Jul 18, 2013

lol OP did a troll post and all you guys are feeding the troll.

Jul 18, 2013

Very well written, but please, Please, PLEASE tell me you're exaggerating just a bit. It's hard to imagine young people being this clueless and tone deaf in a social setting.

Jul 18, 2013
NYCbandar:

.

Always a critic, never the critiqued.

Jul 18, 2013
madmoney15:

I'm good in casual settings but its professional settings that where I suck at. I wish there was a place where it was a casual setting yet people still get their shit done. Professional settings just seems so fake to me (e.g. So how was your trip up north?) In actually, do you really give a shit? I know I wouldn't and it would come off extra fake. Any advice for finding a balance?

To be honest, I might be an outlier here, but yeah, I do care. I mean, I don't spend every waking moment of my life monitoring the personal lives of my coworkers, but I like hearing them talk about their kids going to college or how they just got into a fender bender. I'm going into my third year as an RA, so that's probably part of it (I've literally been trained to give a shit), but it's also a good way to get a sense for people's moods (which can directly affect you), or potentially add value in other areas of their life. For example, my bosses kids are taking Chinese in school and she was looking for summer programs for them. I recommended the Chinese summer school/language camp I went to as a kid. Her kids are there now, and they love it, so it all worked out.

As for how not to be fake about it, if you genuinely don't care, it will always seem fake. If you don't give two shits about their trip up north, try talking about stuff that you enjoy. Them getting to know you is just as important as you getting to know them. Watch/play a lot of sports? Try that. Like to read? Travel a lot? Play in a band? Volunteer at a shelter? Mind you, this doesn't work as well for people who don't have interests. For them, there's always good old current events. "Did you see what was happening over in XYZ?" Even if they didn't, you can still talk about it.

Don't know if that helps at all, but it's what works for me.

Jul 18, 2013

It all comes down to social and emotional intelligence. Most people that I meet in college don't even know these words exist...... good post, but it could have been revised and shorter imo.

Jul 18, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

Very well written, but please, Please, PLEASE tell me you're exaggerating just a bit. It's hard to imagine young people being this clueless and tone deaf in a social setting.

Nope. I'm sorry to report that somewhere between the internet and smartphones, a chunk of my generation forgot how to be face to face normal. I didn't even mention the guy that questioned my taste in significant others, because I'm dating a non-finance major. "So what don't you like about finance guys?" Like, gee, I can't tell you about all finance guys, but you in particular: you seem to think that a person can be defined by a job or a major, and you come off as so ambitious you'd throw your mom under a bus for a chance at BB IB.

Jul 18, 2013

Don't worry. A vast majority of these people get filtered out by HR.

Jul 18, 2013

Is he at least in a hard science or engineering? Please don't tell us he's a Liberal Arts major.....

Jul 18, 2013

Well written thread OP.

I've been to a few networking events and have encountered similar people. These are the people that are so concerned with getting an 'in' with the employee/recruiter that they totally forget how to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner. Seriously, they're the ones already on their knees in front of the employees before anyone else even got up from their seat.

A competitive attitude is damn important in this field but so is having a likable personality. Be the chill mofo that people want to talk to because of his/her social skills, not the nerd who can only think of finance topics to talk about.

Prospective Banker. Gentleman. Bodybuilder.

    • 1
Jul 18, 2013

Great post. Thanks!

Jul 18, 2013

sucks that you get extremely irritated over seeing awkward people at a networking event and have to write a book about it to get some relief

    • 1
Jul 18, 2013
misscurious:

It's just sad that people who have supposedly made it into adulthood can't have a basic conversation, even when alcohol is involved.

I mean, I know I go to a non-target and we may not be the best and the brightest, but come on. And I'm usually a champion for the underdog.

To the contrary, I'd bet the non-targets would be better atmospheres, because they're fucking REGULAR PEOPLE. I went to a target and went to a ton of these events, and it's just how the OP describes. Very nerdy. I can't imagine it'd be as awkward at, say, Arizona State.

    • 1
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Jul 18, 2013

Great read! Thanks for sharing.

Jul 18, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

It is just sad that people who have supposedly made it into adulthood require a step by step guide to have a basic conversation. Can anyone here tell me how that happens?

That being said, I thought this was a good post.

Couldn't have said it any better. Sadly, these guys are everywhere and its fucking pathetic.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Jul 18, 2013

Don't understand all the negativity around the topic - OP makes a good point. The amount of awkwardness around some of these events is astounding, it's like some people just totally forgot how to be human.

Jul 18, 2013

Honesty I skimmed your post, but I take it you're still in college? Just from the general tone, I gather you may come off as that prick who landed an iffy internship position at an established firm, and will do anything it takes to steer a conversation towards you saying, "Ya, I interned at XYZ." From there you likely talk about your past, your triumphs, and offer some decent advice to an underclassmen, finish your drink, and repeat the process.

After about an hour, everyone will have seemed to talk to you or at least heard about you, and you'll continue about yourself, still mentioning your firm at every opportunity. Soon enough, you'll just be that dickhead who somehow is admired by underclassmen, and that dickhead that people older than you (recent grads, seniors?) would do almost anything to have the chance to troll/haze the shit out of you.

To top it off, you come to WSO to post your "networking advice." Non-target, non-IBD, and common cliches/basic intuition does not equal, "Pro-Tips."

I'd rather deal with an unassuming, awkward, Korean kid than try to network with you.

EDIT: I read the whole thing and the comments. My conclusion: you are indeed a dickhead with the social skills of an RA. Please tell me you're a troll.

    • 6
Jul 19, 2013
droking7:

Honesty I skimmed your post, but I take it you're still in college? Just from the general tone, I gather you may come off as that prick who landed an iffy internship position at an established firm, and will do anything it takes to steer a conversation towards you saying, "Ya, I interned at XYZ." From there you likely talk about your past, your triumphs, and offer some decent advice to an underclassmen, finish your drink, and repeat the process.

After about an hour, everyone will have seemed to talk to you or at least heard about you, and you'll continue about yourself, still mentioning your firm at every opportunity. Soon enough, you'll just be that dickhead who somehow is admired by underclassmen, and that dickhead that people older than you (recent grads, seniors?) would do almost anything to have the chance to troll/haze the shit out of you.

To top it off, you come to WSO to post your "networking advice." Non-target, non-IBD, and common cliches/basic intuition does not equal, "Pro-Tips."

I'd rather deal with an unassuming, awkward, Korean kid than try to network with you.

EDIT: I read the whole thing and the comments. My conclusion: you are indeed a dickhead with the social skills of an RA. Please tell me you're a troll.

I sense some long-buried resentment toward popularity here...

Jul 18, 2013

Instructions too long; got my dick caught in the ceiling fan.

Jul 18, 2013

i suggest showing up drunk and immediately steering the conversation toward controversial, and preferably racially charged, political topics.

    • 2
Jul 18, 2013

Soft tips. When I network, I network with my pants down and music in my ears.

Jul 18, 2013

Some of these kids are so awkward that they think they should be giving you PRO tips themselves. See below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl47PwM7fqg

Jul 18, 2013

Maybe you're just the awkward one

Jul 18, 2013

Rofl. That one time you come home from work and some nonsense you posted on an online forum got people all sassed up. Impressed by the number of people who read the novel and were so touched that they wanted to comment.

Two questions -
(1) What are people doing on WSO at like, 2 in the afternoon?
(2) Given that "miss" is in my username, why would anyone assume I'm a dude?

Jul 18, 2013

i once saw this guy (non asian) approach a group of asians. he gave his introduction to each one of the asians with his eyes relaxed and more squinted. he thought he was fitting in, it was the most ridiculous thing ive seen.

"The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter"

    • 1
Jul 18, 2013

Just laughed out loud. So prime. If I had an sb, is give it to you.

    • 1
Jul 18, 2013

check out what this weird person did at a networking event, that is sooo not me l-o-l

Jul 18, 2013

Sorry for the bad handshake, but why you so mad?

Jul 18, 2013

To be honest, I wasn't mad. Awkward and/or unpleasant encounters happen. I once had a lady cuss me out for working at a bank, because "banks are ripping the heart and soul out of America." The thing is, if these are the top kids at my school, the more of them on the street the better. Makes my school look better, makes our alumni network stronger, all generally good things for me. But, if more than a handful of my peers are messing up on basic things like making small talk, they're never gonna make it corporate, and there won't be any network build out. Worse, if students from our school consistently tank out in interviews, its not great for the limited reputation of our non-target. We've just started to get some solid finance OCR going and I'd like to see that stick around/grow, which is only going to happen if we can deliver quality candidates that know how to handle social interaction. That's the part that irritated me; it's one thing to get dinged because you were up against a better candidate, it's another thing to get dinged for being a doofus.

So I came home and worked off my buzz by giving my unsolicited advice to a bunch of strangers. I've probably made better decisions, but hey, I do what I can.

Also, to clarify, not everyone was a huge goon. If 60% are iffy, that still leaves 40% at decent or better. It was just more than I would have expected, especially because it should be super easy to chat with people from your own school who have similar interests.

Jul 19, 2013

Funny post, funnier comments I can definitely relate to - I'll blame those dang interwebs for keeping kids locked in their own prisons (read: basements/bedrooms) for their first 18 years of pitiful existence and you wonder why they struggle to have a conversation with a human being.

Jul 19, 2013

I'm sorry but in all honesty, if you actually have to tell people how to be sociable and amiable, you are wasting your breath.

Jul 19, 2013

One thing that always irks me, is when I'm at an event and I'm talking with a group of people and someone is mid sentence, (i don't care what the person is saying. It could be how they just climbed everest, or how great their frosted flakes were this morning) and someone walks up to the group and interrupts who ever is talking with their introduction of who they are. At this point I've given up on you. You are no longer John Smith, Graduate from XYZ, SA at ABC. you are John the Interrupter. Walk up to the group, seem interested in what is being talked about, and then when the time is right, introduce yourself.

Jul 19, 2013

Anyone who attended the WSO conference probably had a few awkward encounters. It can be awkward for some people because networking events may seem a little forward/forced, especially for underclassmen who are self-conscious about making a fool of themselves or just not comfortable with it yet. I do give credit for at least attending these events and making an attempt because I know for every student that attends there are probably 20 others that didn't.

Jul 19, 2013
droking7:

Honesty I skimmed your post, but I take it you're still in college? Just from the general tone, I gather you may come off as that prick who landed an iffy internship position at an established firm, and will do anything it takes to steer a conversation towards you saying, "Ya, I interned at XYZ." From there you likely talk about your past, your triumphs, and offer some decent advice to an underclassmen, finish your drink, and repeat the process.

After about an hour, everyone will have seemed to talk to you or at least heard about you, and you'll continue about yourself, still mentioning your firm at every opportunity. Soon enough, you'll just be that dickhead who somehow is admired by underclassmen, and that dickhead that people older than you (recent grads, seniors?) would do almost anything to have the chance to troll/haze the shit out of you.

To top it off, you come to WSO to post your "networking advice." Non-target, non-IBD, and common cliches/basic intuition does not equal, "Pro-Tips."

I'd rather deal with an unassuming, awkward, Korean kid than try to network with you.

EDIT: I read the whole thing and the comments. My conclusion: you are indeed a dickhead with the social skills of an RA. Please tell me you're a troll.

Ha... I love this response. Thanks

Jul 19, 2013
Skinnayyy:

One thing that always irks me, is when I'm at an event and I'm talking with a group of people and someone is mid sentence, (i don't care what the person is saying. It could be how they just climbed everest, or how great their frosted flakes were this morning) and someone walks up to the group and interrupts who ever is talking with their introduction of who they are. At this point I've given up on you. You are no longer John Smith, Graduate from XYZ, SA at ABC. you are John the Interrupter. Walk up to the group, seem interested in what is being talked about, and then when the time is right, introduce yourself.

This. When approaching a group, at least have the courtesy to let people finish their sentence. This is not a bar where you can just jump into one interaction after another.

Jul 19, 2013
SirTradesaLot:
NYCbandar:

.

Always a critic, never the critiqued.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride...

:'(

Jul 20, 2013

I'll be honest with you, I didn't read past the 2nd paragraph(cliffs?), but you're a college student at a non-target school. Between those two things, you're probably not the best socializer/networker either. IMO, just the fact that you all went to a networking event is good. Most people are too timid to do it. Of course, they rationalize it to make it seem like anything other than being timid.

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Oct 21, 2013
Vinsanity:

I'll be honest with you, I didn't read past the 2nd paragraph(cliffs?), but you're a college student at a non-target school. Between those two things, you're probably not the best socializer/networker either.

What the hell did you just write? Did your target ask you take Myers-Briggs test? Did they ask you how many girls you've mounted before you got into your target too? I'm certain I read somewhere that the minimum vagina's a male student has had to have smashed for admission into Harvard is twenty, no exceptions.

So many angry target school nerds throwing monkey shit at the girl who started this thread. I thought it was a good write up. She did sound condescending at times but in the end her heart was in a good place since she wanted to help her fellow students.

The truth is, there are going to be more awkward kids at targets for the simple fact that they spent more time in academics than socializing. I realize that's a generalization but for the most part it's true. Of course your going to have your super social people everywhere, even at targets but to say that a target student is more likely to be socially adept than a non target is asinine.

Dec 13, 2013

...spoken like a raging, ranting peon. Let me guess; you MAD? That's a lot of useless words for someone who's not MAD. Enjoy your 2nd (3rd?) tier rollercoaster ride and the monkey shit :-)

Jul 20, 2013

Ironically, I found some of the advice and conversational pieces above a little awkward, but I generally agree with the message. I kind of understand if you're an immigrant who's got limited English proficiency, but there are a lot of U.S. born white americans who are just painfully awkward.

People tend to think life is a race with other people. They don't realize that every moment they spend sprinting towards the finish line is a moment they lose permanently, and a moment closer to their death.

Jul 23, 2013

To be honest, I consider myself socially awkward, but your post makes me seem like a networking wizard xP. I totally agree about the lack of people who give firm handshakes. Most of the people I've met just slide their hand out and shake their arm up and down. Have they never shook someone's hand before? This just really bugs me because it makes them seem so unfriendly...

I like your tips on what to talk about with older people. Like I said before, I'm pretty awkward, so I have a hard time figuring out what to talk about with old people. Someone once told me to bring up sports, but my only problem is that I'm only interested in soccer and running, which are not exactly American favorites haha. Anyway thanks for the post!

Jul 28, 2013
Vinsanity:

I'll be honest with you, I didn't read past the 2nd paragraph(cliffs?), but you're a college student at a non-target school. Between those two things, you're probably not the best socializer/networker either. IMO, just the fact that you all went to a networking event is good. Most people are too timid to do it. Of course, they rationalize it to make it seem like anything other than being timid.

Going to a non-target has nothing to do with being able to socialize or having the ability to network. The issue with going to a non target is the lack of alumnus that did anything with their lives to get in contact with. I know some Ivy kids that are awkward as shit and practically wet themselves in fear every time they are forced to talk to someone they dont know.

Jul 28, 2013

Yea, if anything thing most non-targets students I have met are much more social/easy to talk to than target students. Oftentimes, non-target students have to network harder to get similar positions, so they have to learn how to shoot the shit and be likeable. Some target students are ridiculously hard to have a conversation, but honestly, it is much more dependent to on the person. Even as an introvert, I believe there are ways to make conversation not be so awkward.

Jul 28, 2013

This topic is just wrong.

Why don't you get a job before you start spitting on your uni peers ?

Looks like you are just so insecure that you need to show random folks on the internet how you are somewhat less awkward than other clueless geeks.

Jul 29, 2013

This is so freaking true !!!! Just gave my first silver banana ever.

"You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right."

-Warren Buffett

Jul 31, 2013

Lmao this was great, I loved it!

Mps721

Jul 31, 2013

ITT: a bunch of spergy nerds who got way too angry about this guy's post

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Jul 31, 2013
Vinsanity:

you're a college student at a non-target school. Between those two things, you're probably not the best socializer/networker either

This has been stated before, but what in the actual fuck does going to a non-target have to do with social skills? Are you that arrogant?

Dec 13, 2013
Art.Vandelay:
Vinsanity:

you're a college student at a non-target school. Between those two things, you're probably not the best socializer/networker either

This has been stated before, but what in the actual fuck does going to a non-target have to do with social skills? Are you that arrogant?

The truth hurts. You're just trying to convince yourself that your non-target's "not so bad."

Dec 13, 2013

Was an SA this past summer and was seated right outside one of the meeting rooms where they interviewed the fall interns - I cannot believe the self-esteem boost I got from seeing how awkward most of them were. I think if you can hold a normal conversation, even under the duress of interviewing/networking, you have a huge leg up on the competition.

yea, yea, yea

Dec 13, 2013

Oh and also at networking events - try not to sweat like you are in hot yoga class.

yea, yea, yea

Sep 14, 2014

There is a lot of negative critics on this thread, however I find that the OP made a good point indeed.
Leaving aside the "glory" of talking about self and creating a topic; this is actually the truth happening in lots of networking events (same in Europe, since I attended many events there).

I guess that part of the content here can help some people starting out who're just not so used to behave at such events yet; taking apart those who're totally out of scope. That being said, it's true anyway that the "Pro-tips" listed above should just be common sense for anyone over 18 seriously aiming to break into a competitive industry.

Oct 20, 2014

lol

Best Response
Oct 20, 2014

There's no magic to this. Key points are just learn to read body language and have a conversation. Some bankers love finance, some don't. If someone hates it don't try and get their opinion on EMH, if they love it go with the flow. It's more difficult on the phone so try and grab coffee, offer to pay, but recognize if a banker says I've got it the appropriate response if you've already offered to pay is thank you.

Never bring up salary, I had one student reach out and they asked it during an informational interview, their resume wound up in the trash for that. We recognize this is a somewhat awkward process for students and ultimately I'm trying to determine 3 things: the airport test; professionalism and intelligence. If I'm going to recommend someone I'll work long hours with they need to be likeable. I want to know they can be professional and deal with clients or more senior banker requests and following through. They also need to be smart enough to learn on the job, being a junior banker is an apprenticeship.

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Oct 20, 2014

Hello @guyfromct Thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it! If I had SB, I would have given you one.

Oct 20, 2014

this is a big part of why i advocate networking so much - even more than actually having people push your resume, it's actually learning how to talk to / connect to adults. learning how to be likeable in a professional setting is a lot different from college / high school.

Oct 20, 2014

Everyone and I mean everyone is shitty and awkward at networking in the beginning. It is like learning to ride a bike your first few attempts are going to end up with skinned knees. You need to practice, find shitty boutiques that you don't have much of an interest in, so that when you screw up it's nbd.

I think back to my first awkward, ham handed attempts and it was bad. I screwed up every way possible. The good news is you will get better at it and soon it will eventually come naturally.

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Oct 20, 2014

is jbc a real acronym or did you just make that up?

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

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Oct 20, 2014

I think after that one intern made a post using "JBC", it apparently caught fire.

Which is ironic because saying "JBC" is definitely not cool.

Oct 20, 2014

Hello @AndyLouis , tbh, I have read several posts about networking in the IB forum and encountered that acronym couple of times. I am assuming that is not a real acronym.

Oct 20, 2014

As an international student who got SA IBD offers, I found it helped to genuinely follow American sports & culture. I had things to talk about while I was networking & during interviews. Of course it helps a lot if you are naturally interested (as I was).

Oct 20, 2014

Hello @nontargetmonkey96 do you mind if I PM you? I would like to learn more about your story if you don't mind.

Oct 20, 2014

Have an opinion but dont feel the need to blurt it out or push it. I second the comment about liking american sports, movies, something.

Also, if you're the type with a lot of energy and talks fast, just slow yourself down and reserve yourself as much as possible. Listen, then talk. and talk briefly.

Oct 20, 2014

Try Linkedin, if possible.

Oct 20, 2014

You should do some detective work for someone who has at least SOMETHING in common with you. That way when you e-mail them there's already a small connection between the two of you.

Oct 20, 2014

You are just absolutely wrong here. How is cold-emailing someone "awkward"? Want to know what is awkward?... Cold-calling people without a mutual connection whatsoever. That is nerve racking.. If you think cold emailing is awkward and makes you feel uncomfortable, maybe finance isn't for you.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Oct 20, 2014

@Value
I don't think it's awkward personally, but I just wanted to get a 2nd opinion so I don't give off an impression I don't want to give off.
@other commenters
I honestly have no connections where I'm at to anyone near me so I'm out of luck there.

Oct 20, 2014

I apologize if my comment sounded douchey. I had a one of those days today...

Cold-emailing in my opinion is your best option. I do it all the time, and I would not have the MM IB internship that I have now if I didn't do this. Look, you can send two cold-emails a day, which basically takes up no time, which will let you reach out to so many people on weeks end. Once the initial reach-out has been done, it is easy from there if you get a response.

Its like an IOI in banking dude.. If they email you back (assuming you are very brief and you know the correct format for the initial email) then they are interested in speaking with you. Then just set up the phone call, or even better, a 30-45 minute face to face meet for Coffee. I am sure you know this by now, but seriously, the email is definitely the start of the process. Plus the last thing an analyst having a bad day wants is some kid calling him at 2:00 asking about his job. You have no idea if they are having a shit ass day and don't want to talk to you, or anyone, for that matter. Emailing completely avoids this crucial variable. By emailing, the analyst or whomever can open it/read it whenever their schedule permits or whenever they can. By calling, you do not get this, and timing is the most important thing when you smile and dial. I am sure you get what I am saying here, but I truly believe proper, short, concise and convincing cold-emailing at the initial phase is the most essential tool one aspiring financier can utilize.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Oct 20, 2014
ValueAdder68:

I apologize if my comment sounded douchey. I had a one of those days today...

Cold-emailing in my opinion is your best option. I do it all the time, and I would not have the MM IB internship that I have now if I didn't do this. Look, you can send two cold-emails a day, which basically takes up no time, which will let you reach out to so many people on weeks end. Once the initial reach-out has been done, it is easy from there if you get a response.

Its like an IOI in banking dude.. If they email you back (assuming you are very brief and you know the correct format for the initial email) then they are interested in speaking with you. Then just set up the phone call, or even better, a 30-45 minute face to face meet for Coffee. I am sure you know this by now, but seriously, the email is definitely the start of the process. Plus the last thing an analyst having a bad day wants is some kid calling him at 2:00 asking about his job. You have no idea if they are having a shit ass day and don't want to talk to you, or anyone, for that matter. Emailing completely avoids this crucial variable. By emailing, the analyst or whomever can open it/read it whenever their schedule permits or whenever they can. By calling, you do not get this, and timing is the most important thing when you smile and dial. I am sure you get what I am saying here, but I truly believe proper, short, concise and convincing cold-emailing at the initial phase is the most essential tool one aspiring financier can utilize.

couldnt have said it any better.. please do not call unless you can have as much swag as Ari Gold

Oct 20, 2014

@Value
Thanks for your insight! I'm sure the day you had must have been... great... One last thing thought, I should be aiming for Senior Analyst/Portfolio Manager-ish level correct?

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