Many of the questions that have come in surround recruiting forWall Street careers from a non-target so we'll start with some ideas for recruiting, move on to interviewing, preparing for the job and finally long-term career management advice.
Before we begin, it has been beaten like a dead horse many times, but whatever you do, attempt to transfer to a target school if possible. Do anything and everything to get into a target school if you truly want to work in aWall Street job as it is the best way to improve your chances. 1) Get a 4.0 and apply to a different major not offered at your current school, 2) get job experience, 3) write outstanding entrance letters. Everyone knows the basics laid out above and with the importance of attending a target school out of the way lets go ahead and run with the assumption that you are at a non-target and want to recruit.
Attend Wall Street Events:
Even if no banks recruit at your school one of your best options to at least speak with a bank is to go ahead and attend target school events. Many schools close these events off however, many firms also hold informational sessions and you can likely find the rooms and attend them. In fact when you recruit at target schools, you will likely see a few non-targets at the event floating around the room. So it is certainly a viable option, particularly if you have strong salesmanship.
Find Niche Banks: Notably, your best bet to obtain interviews is to gain access to a banker's time and attention. What this means is you likely have a much lower chance of making a strong impressionor MS event as hundreds of people will be in attendance and you may get lost in the pile. Instead find small to mid cap banks as well where a minimal number of students will attend (think 10-20). Here you will have more time to make a positive impression, make sure every person in the room you speak to remembers you - in a positive light.
Making a Positive Impression: After the above remarks this is an obvious next question which can be summarized in five key items: 1) Job Experience, 2) Knowledge of the Job, 3) Knowledge of the sector, 4) knowledge of the bank and 5) Coursework/Academia. An example of a decent greeting would run something like this.
"Hi I'm [name] from [university] graduating in [date] and I am interested in working for [specific] group within [specific] sector because of [reason]. I think I'd be a good fit because of [reason - usually job experience related] and was wondering if you could provide more information on [specific question regarding the bank]."
By phrasing your intro in two quick sentences you can quickly convey that you know exactly what the bank does and why you want to work for them. If the Company is a boutique medical device M&A shop and you have a degree that is medical related and have worked in private wealth management, you could be a good fit for their internship program. Essentially your job is to shine the spotlight on your positive experiences, if you are asked why you did not go to a target school have a strong back story and do not apologize for it, good back stories include: 1) Financial reasons, 2) Family reasons, 3) Change of interest post college (example went into medical but then decided you wanted to do finance your junior year).
Cold Email: We already posted an email example of how to cold approach banks so use the template located below and tailor it for your personal experience internship/full time recruiting:
You should again find niche banks in your area and use the same pitch 1) Who you are, 2) Why they should hire you, 3) What you can bring and 4) Exactly what position you hope to obtain. Again keep this short, 3 sentences or so and send them out on a Friday.
Pitfalls: With the basics out of the way here are some key things to avoid when you are recruiting as a non-target (a lot of this can be applied to targets as well).
1) Do not ask questions that can be obtained via a simple internet search. As a simple example you should know at least 2-3 product groups or sectors within each firm for each city you are applying to so asking if a bank covers financials when you are speaking to abank would be an immediate ding. Instead focus in on **specific** questions such as completed deals and offerings at the bank.
2) Do not have a single error on your resume, while verbage is debatable mis-spelling words and poor formatting is quite common, a simple example is using periods for bullet points on some line items and not including periods on other bullets (we recommend excluding all periods).
3) No bragging. This is the most common of all mistakes on resumes and during the recruiting process, achievements are vastly overstated. We already expect an exaggeration factor but writing down accomplishments that are over the top will prevent many interviews. Here are a few examples: 1) C-level of [insert] company, 2) CFA Level 1 Candidate, 3) Returned X% above market for X years straight (while still a college student).
The problem is if you are a true C-level executive you're not going to interview for an
investment banking analyst or associate position so it is better to stick with the duties such as "helped design a website for X company".
CFA level 1 candidate means you nothing was accomplished (yet) and anyone with a CFA charter is going to immediately ding you for placing that on your resume, CFA level 2 candidate is certainly acceptable.
Finally, the stock portfolio performance comes off as too confident so it is best to say "investing" and when you receive questions during the interview simply let them know you do invest in stocks and they will likely ask you to pitch one.
4) Veer on the side of professionalism/conservatism during any interaction. Better to give a correct response that can pass than an incorrect response that will ding you immediately. A good example would be your hobbies, unless you are certain you have made a friendly relationship with the person choose interests that won't get you dinged such as "played football for the college you are attending for the past 3 years".
Part Two is Now Up: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/stand-out-as-a-non-...