Recruiting Tips for Summer Analyst Prospects

So our (regional BB) office just wrapped up recruiting for Summer 2020 Analysts, and I thought to provide some stream-of-consciousness feedback on what candidates did right, and what they did not do right.

Candidates we hired exhibited the following traits:

  1. Acting normal, humble, passing the "airport test." We don't just want maximum intellectual horsepower but a well-rounded candidate that is mature beyond their age, which is tough being 19/20 but I digress
  2. Fluent communication. This extends to crisp, professional emails, pleasant informational interviews, and fluid answers during first round and superday interviews. On the last point, the best candidates were able to talk through their thought process concisely while answering questions -- too silent is not great, and neither is rambling. Memorized "500 question" answers did not seem memorized but were answered in a way that I could stop them halfway through and know they got the rest of the answer.
  3. Ability to deal with tough / case study style questions. Beyond the standard guide questions as above, we always give some case studies or other situational style interview questions. Some candidates that did really well were able to stop, think, and walk us through their logic. It's not all about getting the "right answer" but really more about taking a position and doing your best to support it (just like the real job)

Some deal-killers throughout the process were:

  1. Too stiff (delivering a jilted, not smooth performance) as well as too casual (don't tell us about how you get after it on weekday nights at the Bungalow until after you get hired)
  2. Amazingly, still not being able to walk through the standard interview questions well (at this point in time, you really should know how to walk through a paper LBO or DCF and actually do the calculations by hand)
  3. Thoughtless case study answers. Beyond numbers, you should be thinking about business fundamentals and rationale. Perhaps some candidates could benefit from watching how management consulting or private equity interviews work, in that you should be thinking about the market, competition, business model of the company in a simple way (how do they make money, who are their customers, etc) and how this connects to the fundamentals. Not rocket science.

And the biggest deal killer of all was ... not following up!

Comments (35)

Jun 7, 2019

could you talk a bit more about why "not following up" is the biggest deal killer?

Jun 7, 2019

Good question. First, not following up as in not checking in during the recruiting process. Some people dropped out of our top-of-mind interview list simply because they hadn't been checking in with us and our recruiting timeline started abruptly.

Secondly, it's a nice gesture to follow up via email after an interview. Short, simple note. It gets noticed and remembered.

Jun 14, 2019

What type of short follow-ups are nice besides a thank you? I don't want to "harass" them.

    • 1
Jun 14, 2019

I will say I have dinged many candidates for no follow ups. I think its just a standard practice if I take the time to pick you out for an interview thank me for my time. I could of been doing other things than listening to a generic "Walk me through your resume"

    • 1
Jun 7, 2019

Any tips on getting to the point where I can easily walk through an LBO or DCF? Any website or videos I can watch to learn it 100%?

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Jun 7, 2019

I like the BIWS (Breaking into Wall Street) YouTube series. Brian from the website Mergers and Inquisitions walks through models in a calm and clear way.

Jun 7, 2019

I'll look into those. Thank you!

Jun 14, 2019

Calm? As opposed to angry?

    • 1
Jun 10, 2019

Am I reading this right, SA recruiting ended a year before the actual internship starts?

Jun 7, 2019

Yes, and before they started their sophomore summer internships. Nowadays you have to know you want to do IB in your freshman year so you can get the right kind of freshman summer internship...

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Jun 10, 2019

fuckkkkk

    • 10
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Jun 14, 2019

So this post is both sobering and enlightening.

Sobering due to the fact that we are speaking of next summer.. you know June 2020 lol and the fact that your firm is already done means they started even probably in April/May while students are wrapping up said academic year.

Enlightening due to the fact that WSO users get an insider view as to the main points that both sold them and hurt them.

Glad I secured my FT offer when I did but something about the rapid acceleration makes me wonder, will interviewers realize students will care less about the job interview and treat it more like a test? Memorizing information because in Freshman/Sophomore year, most aren't thinking at this deep level, but I digress.

SB sir.

    • 1
Most Helpful
Jun 7, 2019

Great post, and I completely agree. I have outlined in great detail in the past how much I hate the current recruiting cycle and regime.

At least speaking for our office, we definitely can feel the difference between when we recruited juniors for the upcoming summer, after their sophomore internship and after some more advanced finance classes, compared to what it is like now.

The real unspoken question that isn't being talked about here, but that we definitely discuss in depth when considering candidates, is if you want to hire the freshman, uhhhh "hardos" that have known they wanted to do banking in the womb. There is a strong correlation with also being weird / overly nerdy (and I say this as a nerd) people who are not very well rounded. Some of the very best candidates may not realize they want to do banking until e.g. after a summer internship in computer science or asset management.

We in the finance community are doing ourselves a tremendous disservice by perpetuating this stupid, early recruiting cycle. And this has knock-on effects down the line when these hardos become Associates and beyond, and need to manage other people. It's also why I strongly support MBA Associate hiring, even though technically a lot more useless, they are much more normal people and bring in a fresh outside perspective to managing people that is incredibly healthy for our organization.

    • 13
Jun 22, 2019
Synergy_or_Syzygy:

Great post, and I completely agree. I have outlined in great detail in the past how much I hate the current recruiting cycle and regime.

At least speaking for our office, we definitely can feel the difference between when we recruited juniors for the upcoming summer, after their sophomore internship and after some more advanced finance classes, compared to what it is like now.

The real unspoken question that isn't being talked about here, but that we definitely discuss in depth when considering candidates, is if you want to hire the freshman, uhhhh "hardos" that have known they wanted to do banking in the womb. There is a strong correlation with also being weird / overly nerdy (and I say this as a nerd) people who are not very well rounded. Some of the very best candidates may not realize they want to do banking until e.g. after a summer internship in computer science or asset management.

We in the finance community are doing ourselves a tremendous disservice by perpetuating this stupid, early recruiting cycle. And this has knock-on effects down the line when these hardos become Associates and beyond, and need to manage other people. It's also why I strongly support MBA Associate hiring, even though technically a lot more useless, they are much more normal people and bring in a fresh outside perspective to managing people that is incredibly healthy for our organization.

This. The other thing is that many of the skills or traits that get you into the door at junior levels are not the ones that get you promoted beyond a certain point. In the end, banking (and so much of finance in general) is a sales job (in various shapes and forms).

    • 2
Jun 23, 2019

Just wanted to add on to this great post since I was on the opposite end of the stick these past few months. I finished recruiting for SA2020 with my first super day in March, and it was definitely like being thrown into the deep end of the pool right from the get go. Firms came to our school saying "We would like to push back the timeline as far as possible," but the moment one bank accelerates, they all go. Though, I would argue that many firms I spoke with were looking for those students that could demonstrate junior level knowledge or more as a sophomore; otherwise, why not just wait? There was also a big emphasis on culture - I knew tons of students that were bright and killed it in technicals, but they came off as "too smart."

I also wanted to get your thoughts on future generations for summer 2021 and beyond. Similar to another comment in this thread, I hear freshman freaking out because they didn't nab some good finance internship. I personally don't think it's a great idea to fine tune your work to a career path, especially since it's just your first year of college, but that's what often times differentiates candidates. Do you think that your firm and others will push back to the old fall/winter or will they start accelerating it earlier and earlier (imagine BB EB superdays for high schoolers)?

    • 1
Jun 14, 2019

Could not have agreed more with your points. I could understand if these "hardos" did the whole Freshman diversity days + sophomore springboards, etc.. but how many incoming college students are sitting there framing out exactly what they want to do with the other 80% of their life to be lived?

Although I respect the nature of the beast and the idea of what the recruiting cycle is trying to do (retain the individuals that truly want banking), you're also weeding out the ones whom you have mentioned; the students whom have changed their majors and realized that banking is a thrilling career or the students who maybe spent time in corporate finance but can hold a great conversation and are guys/gals who you wouldn't mind spending 8+ hours with.

Sure "hardos" are cool and peep the username, but even as you mentioned with the MBA Associate hiring, these are more well-rounded individuals who 9/10 would make better long term bankers than the students who are socially awkward but planned their life out since day 1 of birth.

Just disheartening to try and send back the timelines to my alma-mater and all the kids sit there dazed like "wait, they're already starting for next year...?"

    • 1
Jun 7, 2019

Yes, and even in the cases of people who know they want to do banking, you can go into a lot more depth about deals etc. and their responsibilities when they're already had a fulsome sophomore internship under their belts.

Would recommend messaging back to your alma mater that this recruiting timeline is unlikely to change any time soon. With diversity recruiting needing to be earlier than normal recruiting, a lot of firms are choosing to just do all recruiting at around the same time or immediately after the diversity recruiting finishes rather than wait another 6-9 months.

    • 1
Jun 15, 2019

Thank you for your post! Very helpful. Do you have any idea when the MBA Summer Associate recruiting begins?

Jun 7, 2019

MBA recruiting is still done on a pretty normal timeline most places:

  • Diversity recruiting now starts before the MBA program starts, and people can be hired during the summer and before they start their program (I personally think this is nuts but this is the timeline)
  • Standard recruiting starts basically the first day of school, when firms will come to campus and your journey to do a hundred informational interviews will begin.
  • For most firms, the first round interviews and superdays are in January, and all compressed within a few weeks. There are a couple firms who try and pre-empt recruiting, or actually make their decision before the formal interview for candidates. Therefore, it behooves you to reach out and stay connected as much as possible to as many firms and people as possible, as early as possible.
    • 1
Jun 19, 2019

Well, I'm in my freshman summer with a "bad" finance internship. I guess I'll have no chance for sophomore banking opportunities then. What do you think OP?

Jun 22, 2019

I'm at a nontarget. I got a few interviews for my freshman summer, but ultimately ended up with nothing. Networked like crazy for a sophomore boutique IB internship. Got that and doing that now. Have multiple junior summer offers. I've even seen a couple people from my nontarget get a junior summer internship at a BB with no prior internships.

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Jun 22, 2019
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