Rejection Season!

Hey guys, this topic has been beaten to death on the forums, but just wanted a place to vent/share and see what the community is saying. 

For background, I'm from a semi-target (mid-tier Ivy), 4.0GPA, some internships in HF, PE, VC but nothing banking related. I understand on paper I am an okay candidate but I'm feeling a bit discouraged. 

Received rejections from most banking diversity/veteran (I'm a vet) programs - got into one through some army/highschool connections and just received a superday rejection call today. It was my top choice firm, and I've been networking here for two years so it was pretty discouraging. 

Anyway, I know the solution is to keep my head up and continue, but just wanted to hear everyone's stories about how it turned out all okay in the end.   

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Comments (35)

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 26, 2021 - 7:56pm

Kinda confused by this. There isn't a "semi-target" Ivy, they're all targets. You have a 4.0 and you're a vet and you're getting dinged? Something isn't adding up here.

How long were you in the military? Only thing I can think of is people being confused by an Associate aged person looking at analyst positions, but military usually erases age issues for employers.

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 26, 2021 - 9:52pm

Interning at a top BB this year - applied to lots of diversity programs, had good internship experience, good GPA, etc.

On paper I was a great candidate. I ended up interviewing at ~20 firms last year and had superdays at about half of them. I had a cycle of putting all my eggs in one basket, getting rejected by a firm, and being absolutely depressed for a couple of days after because I was feeling so rough.

At some point I changed the way I thought about everything. Kept pushing through, kept believing in myself, etc.

Wound up with a few offers to pick from in the end. It's depressing when you feel really strongly about a bank and you put a lot of time into it, but honestly man you've just gotta keep pushing through.

I was crushing all of my interviews after the first couple but for some reason wasn't landing any offers. It just didn't line up until it all did. Sometimes it's honestly just about luck. Work to become the best interviewee that you can, and then trust the process after that. 

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Mar 26, 2021 - 10:13pm

Thanks for ur input and congrats on the BB internship. I was wondering in the interviews you've crushed it but didn't get the offer, do you know why that is or what areas you think u could have improve on? Getting similar vibes but not sure where exactly to fix.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 26, 2021 - 11:05pm

I was always ranked highly in technicals. It mostly came down to who was interviewing me - I hit it off with some people extremely well, others not quite as well. I never got lucky and had 4 superday interviewers who I just absolutely hit it off with, mostly 2-3 each time, so I was being held back by not knowing how to present myself with people who were being hardos.

Interviewing is a skill that you have to learn through trial and error unfortunately. Eventually when you get to the point where you win an offer, you're at the point where you can win almost any offer you want. Try to be personable but professional in interviews, and do a bunch of mock interviews with anyone you are close with in the industry.

My biggest tip would be to practice interviewing and learn how to read the room so that you know how to present yourself personably + professionally in any interaction. 

Mar 26, 2021 - 11:39pm

Do you have any idea what might be going wrong? You go to a good school, have a great GPA, and are a vet, which is one of the biggest positives I see on a resume because several people on my "short list" of best people I've worked with, or been mentored by, are vets. Are you having a hard time in the interviews themselves?

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Mar 27, 2021 - 2:53am

Hi OP here - I've had to work through a couple technicals but other than that I feel like they go great. Reached out for feedback, will let you know what they say.

Mar 31, 2021 - 12:31am

Thanks--I missed your response, or I would have answered sooner. Please feel free to PM me if that is helpful.

Mar 27, 2021 - 5:06pm

Not sure if you're looking for advice or sympathy, but advice is probably more useful. Everyone understands it is a grind to get in the door. Most everyone has been snuffed by more than one firm during the process. Among qualified candidates, it is a bit of a crap shoot. It is a good sign that you are highly ranked on technicals - this shows you can do the work and you have been diligent in preparation.


Kids often focus on technicals to the detriment of their behaviorals. How polished is your intro resume pitch? Are you totally slick, or do you occasionally fumble with words/start a dead end sentence? Do you practice behaviorals/write out talking points to the common ones?

Regarding "personality fit" as part of the recruitment process: you aren't rushing a fraternity. It is far more likely that someone dinged you for the way you were speaking and how that presented or betrayed your general intelligence, rather than someone saying, "oh I think this kid would be annoying/boring on the team" (unless you're the kind of person who could put a crack-head to sleep).

Based on your formidable background, my no BS assessment is that you should do some practice behavioral interviews with anyone relevant who can give sound advice. Your resume isn't holding you back and your technicals (you say) are strong. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Mar 30, 2021 - 2:07pm

Op here - thanks for the advice - I'll definitely brush up on my behaviorals - esp my story. 

Mar 27, 2021 - 7:23pm

also vet(enlisted) here, my advice is to do a little experiment: try  send in your resume without your military experience and see how they respond. I'm in a very technical field working with mostly phds or ivy grads. My experience is that when military experience is erased and left only with my gpa and school/internship on the resume, I will get interviews from some top companies quickly. Discrimination against vet/age is real in this industry, some people will automatically assume that you are not from a good background if you're vet, because the majority of ppl in the industry are born in middle class families.

Mar 27, 2021 - 7:27pm

including your military experience could be a plus once you got good company names on your CV, but when you are applying for your first job from a "prestige", odds are that they will prefer younger kids with "cleaner" background, its an uphill battle 

Mar 30, 2021 - 2:50pm

I got into stern but could not afford to go. I have a lot of friend's there and I highly recommend it. They are like the epitome of a super target. Right in nyc and have ocr from a boat load of firms. I would honestly take it over some lower ivys like brown. As long as you maintain above a 3.5 and have some basic internships banking is pretty much guaranteed. Also some of my friends went straight to the buy side out of undergrad at places like star wood and black stone.

Wrong thread lol

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 30, 2021 - 3:42pm

I really hate that people like OP, who served the country, are in lower priority at any job than those rich people who just happened to be POC.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Mar 30, 2021 - 10:36pm

The truth is being a veteran even at a top tier school isn't as great as some people here make it out to be. I believe that some banks/bankers prefer to hire SA's that have traditional backgrounds and being a vet actually hurts your chances. They are probably worried about whether we can fit in with a bunch of 21 year old interns and I understand the hesitation. I applied to ~15-20 banks last summer, got 3 first rounds (got to super day with all 3) and got one offer. My advice is to avoid talking about your military experience unless they specifically ask about it and try to resemble a college student as best you can, even if you have to fake it. Also, if you have actual combat experience, do not talk about it. Even though doing your job while being shot at is the epitome of working under pressure, it will scare them away. 

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Mar 31, 2021 - 12:15am

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Mar 31, 2021 - 12:38am

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