Something wrong with my cold email?

Intern in IB-M&A

Over the past two weeks, I have sent out around 30 emails and only got one response. This could just be bad luck, but I want to see if perhaps my emails are the problem.

Background: I am a rising senior at a semi-target interning in a big 4 valuation group. Since full time IB recruiting will likely be nonexistent, I will likely have to lateral from big 4. I will try to break in through FT recruiting if it exist.

I have been contacting analyst/associates who broke into IB without a summer internship and analyst/associates who broke into IB from valuation (big 4 and independent shops like Duff).

When sending to people who broke into IB FT without SA,

Subject: Career Advise for a Semi-Target Student Interested in IB

Hello x,

I am a rising senior at semi-target and am currently interning at a boutique bank. I am enjoying the work so much that I want to start in IB after graduation. I would love to learn about your experience recruiting for FT IB roles. Are you free to do a 10-25 minute phone call? I am free most weekdays between x am - y pm.

Lastly, no worries if I caught you at a bad time. If there is someone else who is helpful to speak with, I would appreciate it if you could forward this email to them. I also attached my resume if you would like to learn more about my background.

Thank you,

prospective monkey

When sending to people who lateraled into IB,

Subject: Career Advise for Switching from Big 4 Valuation (or just Valuation if not from big 4) to IB

I am a rising senior at semi-target and am interning in x's valuation group in Z location this summer and will likely start there full time. I want to switch to IB and would like to learn how you moved from Y valuation group to IB. Are you free to do a 10-25 minute phone call? I am free most weekdays from x am-y pm.

Lastly, no worries if I caught you at a bad time. If there is someone else who is helpful to speak with, I would appreciate it if you could forward this email to them. I also attached my resume if you would like to learn more about my background.

Thank you,

prospective monkey

I would appreciate any feedback. I also send one follow up email after a week. Thank you in advance.

Comments (66)

Jun 24, 2020

you spelled advice wrong my G

Array

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Jun 24, 2020

Misspelled word in subject SMH

Jun 24, 2020

Yep, that's going to be an auto delete for a ton of people (myself included).

Biggest issue I think is the emails come across as very pushy and the overall tone just strikes me as off - don't really know how to describe it but there's very little chance I would've responded.

OP does nothing to connect to the people they are emailing, when they are asking for others' time / help. Then doubling down on asking the recipient to forward the email... yeah no thanks.
OP at least needs to appeal to the shared experience they have and frame things such as "I noticed you also..."

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Jun 25, 2020

The whole format is weird. I personally kept my cold emails, short and to the point. The whole second paragraph is very unnecessary. No person would forward you along to their colleague just because you sent them an email. I got more responses with a significantly worse profile than OP and a more generic message.

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Jun 29, 2020

Agreed. Honestly the key to reaching me 3/4 lines. Short, sweet, and to the point. Stop with the Sir/Madam Mr.Smith bullshit too please! Anytime i read a "MR." or "Madam" i goes into the autodelete bucket.

Array

Jul 1, 2020

Agreed. Add more of a personal appeal to both your subject header and body focusing on your recipient. I helped build an outbound playbook at a startup sending thousands of cold emails. Direct, personal, a clear call to action, and as convenient for the recipient as possible.

Jun 25, 2020

Surprised that he even got one response

Instagram: @dickthesellsider

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  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jun 26, 2020

deleted

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 26, 2020

Not really. First result in google: "Advise is a verb that means to suggest what should be done, to recommend, or to give information to someone. The S of advise sounds like a Z. Advice is a noun that means a suggestion about what you should do. The C of advice sounds like S"

Jun 26, 2020

In British English yes.

Jun 26, 2020

Advise is the UK spelling - if this guy is a foreign student from the UK, sure, use an S. If you're from the US you should use the US spelling.

Array

  • Associate 2 in IB - Ind
Jun 24, 2020

You are naming your school and not referring to it as a semi-target in these e-mails, correct?

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 24, 2020

Yes, I use my actual school name

Jun 24, 2020

BB IB SA here - Although I see the rationale for contacting people that lateraled into IB or got their from Big 4 Valuation etc. I think you should still reach out to people IB who broke in through traditional internship pipeline. This will give you more people to email and increase your chances of getting referrals, which is what youre after to land interviews. Use your college email especially for alumni!

I would say "Hi" instead of "Hello" and rephrase your email after the first two lines with something like "I would be really grateful if you would have 10-15 minutes to chat about your experience in investment banking at X firm. I've attached my resume for reference. Looking forward to hearing from you."

Create an Excel sheet to track your contacts, target alumni, used Linkedin to find people, and dont be afraid to shoot follow up emails (3 at most) if a week passes and you dont hear from them. Good luck!

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Jun 25, 2020

Oh, here comes the big I got an offer from a BB so I am a freaking force of nature SA....

riley reid

Good advice though regardless. Can see why you got the BB offer and I didn't

I have left this site peacefully. The >1.5x MS / SB ratio is interesting. Once my computer updates and removes me from Incognito, I will be washed away like all humans eventually. I don't know when that will happen.

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Jun 25, 2020

lmao good GIF...and actress

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Controversial
  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 24, 2020

lol you sent me this email

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Funniest
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 24, 2020

Well? Did you respond?

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Jun 24, 2020

I guess his lack of response means that's a no.

Array

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Jun 25, 2020

Savage

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Jun 26, 2020

CLASSIC, BOUGIE, SAVAGA

I have left this site peacefully. The >1.5x MS / SB ratio is interesting. Once my computer updates and removes me from Incognito, I will be washed away like all humans eventually. I don't know when that will happen.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 24, 2020

As an analyst (although take my opinion with a grain of salt)

1) say hi not hello
2) advice not advise
3) don't ask me to forward your resume to someone else in the firm if I don't even know you almost 0% chance I'm going to stick my neck out for you and ask someone to spend their time (who is probably equally as busy as me) to talk to you. You can ask after we actually talk
4) I get that you want to do IB and odds are that even if you did your big 4 internship you'll still want to do IB. But on the flip side if I were to get your email I would think "wow this kid has such a hardon for IB he doesn't even want to give his current internship a fair chance"
5) don't say love that's unprofessional

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 29, 2020

Hey, i was wondering if you could perhaps explain why hi would be perferred over hello?
It is my current understanding that Hello is more formal than hi. Thank you in advance.

Jun 29, 2020

'Hello' makes you sound like a boner

Jun 24, 2020

"Lastly, no worries if I caught you at a bad time" doesn't sit well with me, and I'm struggling to articulate why unfortunately. Junior bankers, especially, analysts are always busy. Maybe the suggestion that the junior banker forward your resume along without knowing you is the issue? In theory, you'll most always be catching analysts at a "bad time" too.

I also think the subject line is too long as well. Almost spam-like.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Restr
Jun 26, 2020

Would be a two part issue of (i) no way am I going to forward your email to my associate/VP and risk the possibility of them saying "why are you offloading networking requests from college kids on me?" or "I talked w/ that kid whose info you sent me. He's retarded. Thanks for wasting a half hour of my life" and (ii) that's creating work for me, so I'm not going to do it for that reason either.

Most Helpful
Jun 24, 2020

Subject: [Semi-Target] Student Seeking Advice

Hi [Analyst],

My name is [Intern], and I'm a rising senior at [Semi-Target] currently interning in [Big 4]'s valuation group. I noticed you [recruited for full-time IB without a summer analyst internship / lateraled from valuation to IB]. As someone in a similar situation, I'd appreciate hearing how you approached it and learning about your experience at [Firm]. Are you available for a 15-minute call in the next few weeks?

Thanks,
[Intern]

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 24, 2020

Great to see helpful responses like this. (Not OP)

Jun 24, 2020

Glad I could help. Keep in mind this is just one analyst's perspective, but I think keeping it short and direct (without being pushy) will give you a better hit rate.

I'd also suggest personalizing it when possible. For example, if you both played high school soccer, you could revise the second sentence to say "I noticed you also played soccer growing up and...". This could (1) lead someone to reply who otherwise wouldn't or (2) make you more memorable among all the kids networking with that banker.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jun 25, 2020

This is a great example. In my experience (from both sending these and receiving) it's best to keep the emails short and to the point. You're not going to get hired because of some beautifully crafted, wordy email. You need to 1) introduce yourself 2) mention your connection (alumni, non-target, shared previous employer, etc.) 3) politely ask for 15 minutes of their time. That's 3-4 sentences. Anything else is a waste of both your time and the recipients. At the end of the phone call that's when you ask if there's anyone they think you should talk. Most of the time you won't even have to ask as most people I talk to mention "hey you should talk to my friends at xxx bank and xxx bank, I'll shoot them a note and introduce you". One step at a time. No one will stick their neck out for you without vetting you. In my experience the biggest mistakes people make are being too pushy, too wordy or too apologetic (it comes off weird when a person spends a whole paragraph apologizing for taking up my time). Networking won't get you hired so remember that when you're crafting an email. No reason to try and give examples of why you would be a great analyst blah blah blah. You network so you have the opportunity to interview where you wouldn't have with just applying online. Still need to impress in the interviews with the rest of the team. Good luck

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Jun 25, 2020

Que every IB analyst receiving this email in this exact same format on Monday morning from prospective IB'ers haha.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jun 25, 2020

Better to swim down stream than against it for cold emails. No one stands out in a good way with a creative/different cold emails. In my opinion, there's a group of people that will respond and help and there's a group of people that will never respond no matter what so wouldn't waste your time. Just how it goes, nothing personal

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  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 26, 2020

Solid email format, to the point and reads well. Not sure what anyone else's take is on this but I would omit "rising", to me it sounds like the same d-bags who put "incoming analyst" on LinkedIn. If I were to receive this email and see "rising" I wouldn't read any farther and delete it, just my 2 cents though.

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  • Prospect in 
Jun 26, 2020

Isn't saying "rising" [yr] an accepted thing during the summer. eg. a rising jr is neither a soph not a jr, so I don't see how this is arrogant? On the other hand, I saw "incoming junior" on somebody's Linkedin and that's just ridiculous.

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Jun 26, 2020

I find "rising" helpful if someone reaches out during the summertime without providing a resume. For example, if they say they're a junior, I'm not sure whether that means they're going into their junior year (and looking for an internship) or going into their senior year (and looking for full-time). I ask for their resume anyway, so guess it doesn't matter and is simply personal preference.

Totally with you on the "incoming analyst" though -- almost as bad the humblebrag posts about Forbes Under 30, Oracle sales rep certifications, etc. that I see everyday now.

Jun 30, 2020

I'd say it's very helpful for clarity. Has been common terminology at least since I was in high school 10+ years ago.

Jun 24, 2020

Probably don't need to put the lastly section, keep it short and simple, a lot won't reply, myself included, especially when we're swamped, but you will hear back from some if you are persistent

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Jun 25, 2020

Is a week later follow up persistent and appropriate enough?

Jun 24, 2020

My advice is spice it up. I was falling asleep reading your email.

Array

Jun 24, 2020

Try to keep it short and simple!

Hi [X],

My name is Y, and I am a rising senior at [School]. Going forward, I am very interested in pursuing a career in investment banking. I wanted to reach out to you to talk about [Bank] and your experiences in the industry. If you have 5-10 minutes coming up, I would love to set up a time to chat with you. Please let me know if this works, and I hope you have been able to stay safe during these unprecedented times.

Best,
[You]

This has been more or less the template I've been using with relative success. If reaching out to alum, maybe throw in the smallest sentence referring to your school. I used to have something fairly verbose, and, while I was able to tell more about myself, I definitely learned that the best way to navigate the networking aspect of things is to come from a humble grounds as someone who simply wants to learn. Once on these calls, make sure you are the one one asking questions, which should be well thought out and specifically pointed to the individual. Through this process, the person on the other end will more than likely feel good and THEN maybe ask you about yourself (sometimes this may be the first thing they ask).

All these networking calls vary - some bankers I've noticed like to lead the discussion, where as others may be looking for you to take the lead / are also concurrently working on a project of the sorts. Nonetheless, your experiences definitely offer an incredibly valuable basis to make the move into IB, and I'm sure the main question of the sorts for you will be 'why not take your return', 'why IB', etc etc. Get ready for those types of questions and be able to talk about the skills you developed during your internship and I have no doubt you'll be killing it.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 25, 2020

isn't 5-10 minutes very short? I always send calendar invites for 30 minutes and they always last 25 minutes minimum and usually hover around 35. Small talk for me seems to be 2-3 minutes, their story is 2, mine is 2.5, and then I ask targeted questions. would welcome any advice here if I am going about this incorrently

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Jun 25, 2020

Yeah, I never understood this but I think it's too make the other person feel like it's a short convo when both sides know it's oging to be more than 45 mins if it's goign well lolly polly

as

I have left this site peacefully. The >1.5x MS / SB ratio is interesting. Once my computer updates and removes me from Incognito, I will be washed away like all humans eventually. I don't know when that will happen.

Jun 24, 2020

The typo in the subject is a death sentence (or really anywhere, it is a 1 paragraph email).

Also to all cold emailers - make sure you are standardizing the format (font type, size, color, etc.) of the email if you are using programs like gmail. Sometimes if you copy and paste from another email and then just change a word it will look normal in your edit box but have the changed word and the pasted part look different in the sent version. Another death sentence.

Don't say the part about forwarding the email to another person. Gives the impression that you aren't interested in talking to this person in particular and will talk to anyone (even if this is true in 99% of situations, it just comes off as disingenuous)

Also never use "I am enjoying the work so much that...", hyper cringe. Just say a 15min phone call, don't need to give a big range

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Jun 25, 2020

u spelled advice wrong mate

Jun 25, 2020

u right

Jun 25, 2020

I echo everything above but additionally I think you should try to personalize it a bit more and you don't need to add that last part. Especially take out the part about if there is someone else because it sounds like you are just emailing out randomly.

Array

Jun 25, 2020

Besides all the above input, really try to up your numbers of emails sent without being spammy. I worked in tech sales for about two years and your ~3% open rate is pretty good tbh (all things being equal).
I have no pedigree so your situation may be different but I had to send over 100 before I got an internship. Big key here: don't double up with people in the same firm at the same time!!! Even if there's a particular bank you want to work at, I'd send an email to someone and then if they don't respond in two weeks, strategically target someone else.
People at one bank can also warm intro you to someone at another (that's how I landed my gig) so cast a wide net.
Again I cannot stress it enough PERSONALIZE THE EMAILS.

Jun 25, 2020

PSA: Never lay your own availability

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Jun 25, 2020

If I were you I would be sending 30+ emails a day. 30 emails in 2 weeks seems really small to me. I just talked to a guy today and he said he appreciates me taking the time to actually pick up the phone and call him instead of emailing. Maybe that can help you too.

Jun 26, 2020

so u just called them? how u got their numbers doe

Jun 26, 2020

I'm in a small area not nyc or Chicago so a lot of the companies that I call go right to the partner's/owner's phones. If a secretary answers I ask to be transferred to the HR department where I give my pitch (which is aimed to sound as non-internship like as possible and more so I'm just looking for a learning opportunity).

Jun 26, 2020

High risk, high reward play. That would be an auto kill if somebody called me out of the blue and didn't try emailing or LinkedIn connecting first.

Jun 25, 2020

Personally I hated when undergrads would say they are only available x hours and were so busy. We've been there and know it's not true. You should put the time opening on the person you're asking

Jun 26, 2020

Honestly, there's no set guidebook. That's what I prefer to do, and except when I was actually doing internships, it was mostly true but half the advice I have ever gotten has told me to suggest what times are available so that I am "taking this seriously." In any case, its not like undergrads are free 24/7 but I always put in mine, "if these times are inconvenient, please let me know what works for you and I shall try to accommodate." Just because I could skip work or class doesn't mean I'd want to.

Array

Jun 25, 2020

"Lastly, no worries if I caught you at a bad time"

This sentence irked me a lot. What is that supposed to mean? Are you saying that I shouldn't be worried that I didn't respond to you?

I would avoid using the "no worries" phrase, because that's what that implies. You would never want to use that with a client or someone senior. It sounds extremely unpolished.

Array

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Jun 26, 2020

generally not a huge fan of cold emails. Look for connected intros on Linkedin

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Jun 26, 2020

If someone connects to me on LinkedIn with a reasonable message, I will respond. When people send an email directly to my work email, I report it as phishing.

Jun 29, 2020
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Jun 30, 2020
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I have left this site peacefully. The >1.5x MS / SB ratio is interesting. Once my computer updates and removes me from Incognito, I will be washed away like all humans eventually. I don't know when that will happen.

Jun 30, 2020