So tired of this recruiting shit

Junior international student here at a target recruiting for summer 2021 with previous IB and PE internship experience. I couldn't remember how many first rounds I have done, but probably 15+. Had three superdays with PE and IB shops but got dinged at all of those. I felt I am gradually getting depressed and so tired of this shit. More importantly, I don't even know what I am doing wrong. The feedback I got (most don't even reply) was always the same bullshit: Your technicals were very solid, but you might not be a good fit blah blah.

Literally, I have no clue what I should be doing now. Should I prepare for GRE/GMAT to get a master's degree in UK/Europe (fuck US) or continue to recruit (not even sure where to apply)?

Any advice is appreciated. 

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Comments (92)

Oct 5, 2020 - 3:23pm

I hear you man, it gets super frustrating just hang in there and keep applying. The industry is so competitive that some of it is just a numbers game, you'll land something. If you have good technical feedback just work on coming across as a normal likeable person. Sounds easy but you only have a few questions to basically become someome's friend 

Oct 5, 2020 - 3:30pm

Thanks for your reply. There are countless times where I really thought I hit it off with the interviewers but ended up getting rejected. Feeling hopeless as I don't even know what to improve upon. 


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Oct 5, 2020 - 3:33pm

Really lol. I am originally from Asia, so I am thinking about using a master's degree as a springboard to go back if UK doesn't work out. 


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Oct 5, 2020 - 3:49pm

I've heard that London and Europe in general is way more competitive. You're facing many more young people with advanced degrees, and likely speak multiple languages. Direct quote from MD who ran my former team's london desk at JPM when I asked about recruiting over there "London is much harder, I can get a russian math phd who speaks 5 languages and is willing to be paid like an analyst"

Oct 5, 2020 - 4:12pm

But you can also interpret this in a different way in the sense that the system is much fairer and more about meritocracy. I feel in the US, it is very subjective and depends only on who you know. I have seen so many times a guy/girl got hired because he/she is in the same fraternity/sorority as the analyst or some sort of family connection.


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  • Summer Associate in VC
Oct 7, 2020 - 7:25pm

Well welcome to America asfasf, where the beers are cold and yeah, people actually prefer to work with interesting people they like and can stand seeing everyday rather than just technical robots. While your assessment is true, start networking and get to know people and use it to your advantage. Nothing I hate on this site more than people saying "I don't know why I'm not getting jobs even when I know my technicals." 98% of people applying to and getting interviews at BB and even MM roles know their technicals better than their girlfriends.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Oct 5, 2020 - 5:07pm

Lmao 15+ rounds? I didn't even know there are that many banks/shops that sponsor. I had 4 first rounds just to hear they don't sponsor

Most Helpful
Oct 5, 2020 - 5:44pm

If you hang around the barber shop long enough, sooner or later, you are going to get a hair cut.

-Keep fighting homie, many of us have been in your shoes. Push harder and you'll be so grateful you did, soon enough!


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  • Intern in IB - Cov
Oct 5, 2020 - 6:55pm

I think the feedback you were given might be the key. Clearly you are killing the technicals, which is getting you to the superday, but for the banks it came down to a lack of fit. I know for many international students its hard to thrive in a different country's social environment, but it seems like that might be the barrier. Take this with a grain of salt, as I'm an incoming SA, but I went 3/3 on superdays and I've never not moved past an interview where I've gotten to talk to a real human. Superdays are all about being likable and making your interviewer want to work 100hrs/week with you. Do your best to immerse yourself in the passions and hobbies of your interviewer. Best of luck!

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 9, 2020 - 7:09pm

Cannot overstate the importance of the fit/behavioral portion of interviews. I'm a target non-finance major and was receiving quite a few 1st/2nd round SA interviews, but hadn't locked down any offers after a few months. Ultimately realized I was so caught up in ensuring I was on top of the technical questions that I neglected to realize how little focus I'd placed on the fit and behavioral areas. Learning to enjoy the conversations and come across as a fun person to work with (rather than another average interviewee with decent technical knowledge) was crucial to finally landing a few offers. Keep learning, keep grinding, and I promise you'll get there. Well worth it in the end! 

Oct 12, 2020 - 10:01am

agreed - this is probably the reason i have yet to get an offer. i focused so hard on technicals and brushed behaviorals off bc i thought i already had prepped answers for those, but i think my responses probably came off as scripted or weren't as individualistic as they would've maybe wanted to hear. starting to get nervous though since recruiting season is wrapping up

Oct 5, 2020 - 7:54pm

Hate to be that guy but it might be time to start looking at MO/BO/F500. This is already a difficult cycle and you don't want to be jobless.


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Oct 6, 2020 - 3:21pm

Give me all the monkey shit you want, but I feel like this is some real advice.  Rather than everyone circle jerking a prospect, I feel like it maybe time to pull cord and find a new route.  Obviously don't stop searching for IB if that's what you really want to do, but there is not shame in going and getting a great F500 job and killing it with the prospects of an MBA in the future.  

  • Prospect in CorpFin
Oct 6, 2020 - 4:07pm

This is what I've done. I go to an extreme non target with good resume but I'm sure most people here would blow mine out the water. Been getting a ton of interviews for f500 type of gigs some in the top 10. Too bad there's a circle jerk of people hating on these jobs because it's lack of "sexyness" (cringe). Great pipeline programs, good pay, strong company names, amazing work/life balance (atleast with what the people I networked say), I'll take it.

Oct 5, 2020 - 9:57pm

No clue. I have no foreign accent as I basically grew up here. It just feels weird since I really thought I aced these interviews.


  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 6, 2020 - 12:27pm

Unfortunately, Americans don't realize how difficult it is for internationals to get a job (esp in finance). Tech firms are still very open about sponsoring while banks/most consulting firms including ones like JPM just flat out say they don't sponsor.

The attractiveness of the US as a destination for internationals is depleting rapidly. My only advice is not to be picky and apply for any finance position. I have heard internationals say things like "I only want BB in NYC," and those are the ones that end up ultimately being jobless. Look into smaller, less competitive opportunities. It sucks cause you know yo ucan get something better but being an international in the US at this time is a huge huge huge disadvantage esp in finance

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 6, 2020 - 12:28pm

And you are not alone. I went to a target and have multiple friends at top targets W etc. which ended up at less than ideal jobs simply cause of being international

Oct 6, 2020 - 3:30pm

I mean is it wrong for a country to make it harder for international talent. It just seems as if firms are trying to avoid dealing with problems of hiring international talent.  I think when you are looking at finance one could argue "anyone can do it" thus begging the question why should you hire international talent?  Where in tech you can make the argument that there is more specialization and thus a need for international talent? 

Also I would imagine things get easier for international recruiting, when the US is not under a Trump Admin,  so being able to get into the US an then make that transition either this election cycle or after seems to be a much more reasonable plan.  

Oct 6, 2020 - 1:40pm

I feel for internationals, really do. I have some people I think would be great at IBD, but couldn't get them through. When it comes to recommendations and connections, I think it is less sinister than people think. If I am recommending someone, I am putting my weight behind them. It is easier for the bank/group to make decisions about their work ethic, ability, character. 

I would focus on finding people who will do that for you. Don't get down over it, use it to your advantage. 

Oct 6, 2020 - 10:01pm

Hang in there! I just landed my 2021 SA position at a solid bank and am coming from a super non-target school, so I totally feel you. I send out over 600 emails and had 110 coffee chats / networking calls, and was super frustrated and depressed about not getting anything as well, until recently. 

Since you mentioned culture, I think one thing that really changed the game for me was trying to be more personable, natural, and not super intense. At the end of the day, banking isn't rocket science and there are so many candidates to choose from that people just want chill colleagues / interns to work with. Even if you missed one technical, if you hit it off, smile, are chill, and most of all, are humble, you'll get picked over the intense kid who takes himself too seriously but nailed the one basic DCF question you didn't.

Keep trucking man, persistence is key!

Oct 8, 2020 - 9:46am

Not international. but grew up in an immigrant household with parents who didn't speak English so fit was a little tricky for me too.

Based on your background in PE/IB and the fact you have technicals down but are getting dinged for "fit", sounds like you could benefit from a mock interview with someone who shares your background.

Ideally you'd want to get feedback from someone who is also international, or even better someone who is a "third culture kid" or with immigrant parents who have seen both sides of the coin. 

Do you have anyone in your network you could work on this with? WSO has some great mentors as well.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Oct 9, 2020 - 1:25pm

Same here, I know all my technicals, but come from an immigrant house and just got dinged for two banks and I know it was those fit questions. I have a problem delivering it.

Oct 9, 2020 - 6:12pm

I feel you man. I'm in the same boat and I'm also feeling dejected after a flurry of interviews that went nowhere. All I can say is that a shit ton undergrads in similar positions are dropping out of the candidate pool entirely– don't become another statistic. There are plenty of firms across the US that are still recruiting and/or yet to recruit; the last thing you want is to miss the perfect opportunity because you got discouraged too early.

Oct 10, 2020 - 10:17am

I didn't speak almost any English when I moved to the US for college (but had to learn quickly due to sports) and it was difficult for me to mesh well with the bankers culturally, but it all worked out well man. I had a ton of problems sponsoring back then, and now I hear it only got much much worse. 

I am rooting for you man. I feel for you - this is tough. Let me know if you want to talk via PM. Keep grinding now. I know my bank does not sponsor any more unfortunately, but I know a few other kids from my home country that are finding good success in their efforts. 

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Oct 11, 2020 - 3:57pm

The one thing that I would tell you, and I hope I do not sound patronizing, maybe you already do this, is to dress like a banker and present yourself like one. By this I mean expensive suit, on point shoes, immaculate presentation, because the banking culture is based on image, the imagine you portray to clients and the organization as a whole. I could not believe this is valid selection criteria but believe me it is. They flock with their own and want people that represent their ideals, code, appearance. That is the fit aspect. Might be wrong but it generally valid, banks, some big companies, law firms, big4, etc

Oct 11, 2020 - 9:08pm

Keep grinding and being persistent. Promise it'll work out. PM me if you need any specific advice or connects to specific BBs.

I wrote up this Twitter thread on specific tactics for locking in the IB offer, which should be helpful for re-orienting your approach: 

Experience is simply the name men give to their mistakes. - Oscar Wilde
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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 11, 2020 - 9:58pm

Dude, I feel you. I am a non-target non-diversity international student and it's tough for us out there. I was about to give up and try again next year but recently signed an offer from a top bank. Don't give up when the going gets tough cuz you'll find something soon. Just keep grinding and networking and talking to people with a smile on your face, no matter what the situation is. 

PS. DB sponsors and they are starting in a couple of weeks. you should try with them, start networking there if you haven't started already

Oct 13, 2020 - 7:46pm

Agreed BB FT recruiting has been a shitshow. I'm a senior FT graduating in December from a semi-target with prior ECM internship at a BB and top consulting firm, but no luck. It's ridiculous  

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Oct 20, 2020 - 11:42am

Hey OP. Also a junior international student at a target. Totally burned out this recruiting season. Had 2 superdays so far but nothing in hand. Are you thinking about doing some BO/MO positions? Or are you IB or bust? 

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May 5, 2021 - 8:14pm

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