Tips for Securing Round 1?

I am currently a Sophomore @ Berkeley (Haas), but I'm having a ridiculously hard time getting any internship this semester. I've taken accounting and finance classes, have a strong GPA (3.75), had many internships before including a full time summer internship in financial markets, and have a solid resume/ cover letter. However, I've been having no luck getting any sort of interview. I've hit up BBs, boutiques, tech firms, equity research, and basically anything that has even a slight relation to finance, but have not heard back from a single one.

What do you guys think I should do to boost my chances? Do you think it is a good idea to cold call when I am applying for the position already?

Comments (80)

Mar 7, 2010

Post your resume using razume. Thats the only way to know if its actually decent.

Pursuit of happiness...

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Mar 7, 2010

you're a sophomore... relax...

maybe you should try networking instead of pure applying

=========================================
We are excited to formally extend to you an offer to join Bank of Ameria

Mar 9, 2010

I feel like a major problem is that pretty much all of the good positions are pretty much for juniors, meaning that HR probably tosses my resume into the recycling bin the moment they see 2012. Do you think it is a good idea to email the companies directly (particularly boutiques) and try to get them interested from there?

Mar 9, 2010

how are your sophomore peers doing, if they are landing interviews than you should post ur resume

=========================================
We are excited to formally extend to you an offer to join Bank of Ameria

Mar 9, 2010

You should be okay, although there is no reason not to do something during winter break. Start/keep building your alumni network in advance of SA recruiting.

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."

Mar 9, 2010

Work hard

Mar 9, 2010

Also, when they come for on campus recruiting, each company will usually bring 20-30 ish bankers, 5-10 investment management, and anywhere from 5-20 traders/salespeople. GO TO THE RECRUITING EVENTS AND MEET PEOPLE...even if you have to miss class.

Mar 9, 2010

Thanks a lot! I guess networking really is important as people say. Do you think it might also help to work part time at a local IB boutique during the fall semester so that I can have IB experience on my resume?

Mar 9, 2010

You go to H/W. Why not just ask career services...?

Mar 9, 2010

Don't waste your time to pick up an internship - it will do nilch for you, especially if it drags your GPA down. If you do an internship, you just may get more technical questions.... and for what?? an interview that you were going to get anyways if you show dedication, leadership skills, teamwork capabilities, and intellectual capacity?? Be humble, keep your grades and extracurricular leadership/sports activities, and only recruit if you're really interested.

Mar 9, 2010

look, buddy, you have a 3.9+ from wharton, its safe to assume that you're gonna be fine.

Mar 9, 2010

it happens man... cut your losses and move on

Mar 9, 2010

I think in this environment, the de facto GPA cutoff is closer to 3.7 (at a target). I've been in contact with the bankers spearheading the OCR process at my school from the BB I'll be starting at this summer, and apparently the # of applicants are at an all-time high. Quality is also at an all-time high. A 3.8 with no banking/consulting/research/pwm/"intellectually stimulating" experience might not get a first round - that's how cut-throat the competition is this year. Also, recruiters have 0 power in the determining who gets interviews. Usually it'll be analysts/associates, and sometimes a very interested VP/MD.

Get going on calling MMs and boutiques. That kid with the 3.8 certainly will be.

Mar 9, 2010

It was for a Back Office internship.

Mar 9, 2010

Overqualified?

Mar 9, 2010

At least you had OCR... my offer was earned with blood, sweat, and tears. If you question your ability after ONE rejection, you better rethink a career in finance.

Mar 9, 2010

The general consensus on cover letters is that a bad one will hurt you a lot more than a good one will help you. Nobody will be dazzled by a cover letter and many are barely skimmed if read at all. As a second year networking is your best option to securing an internship. With only a year of school your resume is going to look a little sparse and consulting internships are competitive, especially for the top firms. Unless you think you can get in on the name of your school alone mediocre grades and an interest in consulting won't cut it with top firms.

Mar 9, 2010

Email guys you know well and ask them to give you a feedback. My buddy last year did that at every bank where he did not get first round interviews. Just be nice and say that it would help you to improve and so on.

Mar 9, 2010

It really can't hurt and it doesn't mean you're screwed for full-time. Also, they might've just missed you - sometimes the guys you networked with didn't look at the resumes or didn't go to bat for you. I've had multiple experiences where I didn't get an interview for OCR, called up my contact to ask if there was any other way to get my foot in the door, and was invited for an interview within the next day.

It might not be personal, they send a bunch of people to these networking events and if you talk to the wrong ones, you could get skipped (or even if you talk to the right ones, they could just forget).

Mar 9, 2010

Always ask for feedback so you can determine how to improve for the next interview.

Best of luck!

Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe those who are dedicated.

Mar 9, 2010

Associate/VP/MD that you met during the process didn't like you and didn't want you on the closed list. That's probably what happened. Besides, no point in asking, most likely you won't be interviewing with them FT anyway. Your summer employer will have an offer deadline of 1st/2nd week of September and 2nd year bschool OCR won't kick off until October. Unlike Analyst recruiting, there's rarely accelerated process for MBAs come FT recruiting.

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Mar 9, 2010

It doesn't hurt... maybe take another look at your resume, remember that it's a marketing document not a specs sheet, and see if you can improve anything.

I should show you mine. My first had a 3.57 GPA, ignored my SAT scores, understated my honors work, and called myself a CS 473 grader. My last one was a 3.6 GPA (rounded), included my (strong) SAT scores, and called myself PhD Algorithms Course Staff. (All true, and no ridiculous stretches.)

You are interviewing for a job at a New York bulge bracket bank. And New Yorkers don't pull punches when it comes to bragging. When I met my roommate for the summer, I found out he had gotten a 1570 on his SATs, was on the Varsity Soccer Team at his Ivy League school, was graduating with an MS and a BS in four years, and could bench 200 lbs in the first 1/2 hour.

Just keep that in mind.

Mar 9, 2010

Illini -- Mentioning soccer at an Ivy is legit (where do you go to school?/do you play a sport there? is a common question) but who mentions their SAT scores when they first meet someone?

Mar 9, 2010

A Northeasterner. :) Forgot to mention he also said he was a TA for some accounting course. That's stuff you just don't brag about when most of the country's dream is to graduate school, earn $45K/year and maybe one day own a house and a car, and only folks going into the NFL or NBA play on our sports teams in the Big Ten. :)

Mar 9, 2010

Sounds like a tool.

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Mar 9, 2010
Status_Quo:

Sounds like a tool.

Welcome to New York/The Northeast. You'll turn into that too, if you're not careful. :evil laugh:

Mar 9, 2010

As a Northeasterner I've never met anyone who mentioned SAT scores within the first day of meeting.

Mar 9, 2010
machinegunfunk:

As a Northeasterner I've never met anyone who mentioned SAT scores within the first day of meeting.

Me neither, the SAT means absolutely nothing after high school. To all of the guys who put them on their resume like Illinois and got offers, all the power to you. I personally think putting your SAT score on your resume is like introducing yourself with you current rank in the boy scouts.

When you are great, people will often mistake candor for arrogance.

Mar 9, 2010
consulting_rookie:
machinegunfunk:

As a Northeasterner I've never met anyone who mentioned SAT scores within the first day of meeting.

Me neither, the SAT means absolutely nothing after high school. To all of the guys who put them on their resume like Illinois and got offers, all the power to you. I personally think putting your SAT score on your resume is like introducing yourself with you current rank in the boy scouts.

Well some consulting companies and banks actually directly asked to put SAT scores on the resumes for my OCR.

Mar 9, 2010

I personally think putting your SAT score on your resume is like introducing yourself with you current rank in the boy scouts.

^^^ Hehe, good one. When I was an intern, they handed out a facebook with everyone's resume. About 1/2 the interns had some sort of score on their resume. When you flipped the page to my resume, it looked totally different. I had an objective, I did not round my GPA up, I did not list an SAT score, I called myself a grader rather than course staff, I did not list my research, I left out my leadership in a religious organization, the list went on and on and the result was a mediocre-looking resume.

The nice thing about being a CS major interviewing for an analytics role is that they barely need to see a resume. They just keep hitting you with technical questions and asking you to code stuff, and see how you do. :)

Mar 9, 2010

Are you black or hispanic or a woman? Cause that's what the majority of sophmore programs are for. The spots are also much more limited.

With a cumulative gpa

Also FYI... very few colleges will let you just start over if you've already had a college education. You'd have to do it under the table so to speak...

Mar 9, 2010

I'm half black/half puerto rican and a woman, which was part of the reason why I applied to these programs (career services at my school encouraged me to look into them).

Do you have any other advice on where I might go from here, Sav? Or anyone?

Mar 9, 2010

hmmm, with your background (3 underrepresented minorities in 1), I think you have a great shot if you can get your GPA up these next few semesters. I'm not sure what the cut-off is for programs like SEO, but I think it's fairly competitive to get into, but I would be surprised if you didnt get some interviews with a ~3.3 cum and some good networking over the next 12 months.

Even if you don't get a sophomore internship, if you get the GPA up, you can put yourself in a good position for getting a summer analyst spot next year. Just focus on getting a 4.0 the next 2 semesters...go to office hours, get tutors if you have to, meet with the TA, become an academic freak. I promise that will still be 10x easier than an analyst stint...so if you think life sucks getting a 4.0, you dont want banking, trust me ;-)

For reference, my sophomore summer I did some bullshit PWM internship in New Orleans and my junior year I was an assistant general manager at a yoga studio...I still managed to get a few 1st round interviews for full time and land a spot. Granted I went to Williams so it was a semi-target and we had decent OCR, but it was also in 2002 right after 9/11 when the economy was in free fall, so not many offers were given out.

Point is, you are in a very good spot if you just focus on GPA and leadership positions on campus. No need to transfer or "start-over" like @"Sav" said, dont think you can even do that, and dont think that is the right path. Many people mess up freshman year (I got a 3.08 my first semester because of a C in Bio 101, even tough I studied more for that class than all others combined = weeding out course for pre-med)...

Anyway, good luck!

Mar 9, 2010

Even if you went to MIT or some other to school, I find it hard to think you would even pass resume screening with under a 3.0 GPA in econ unless you have some extraordinary circumstances.

Mar 9, 2010

Ok. Well as it stands I don't think I stand much of a chance for any sophomore programs or for junior recruiting season. Assuming I can maintain a 3.8 the rest of the way, that'll only land me at a 3.2-3.3 by end of sophomore year.

Are there any other feasible ways to break into IB, without going the traditional route of junior recruiting? I'm also interested in consulting and S&T, as well.

Mar 9, 2010

Take heart.

1.). You don't need a sophomore internship. You do need to come into junior year with some sort of summer employment history, though. Most hiring managers want to see that you've held down a job somewhere.

2.). The GPA hurts but the school helps. The GPA is something easy to change, and continues to improve. I don't think there are any top 20 schools that are completely non-target.

You need to get a 3.8 next semester and fall of junior year. I would add a smaller font line to your resume offering a GPA exclusive of first semester. You're not trying to excuse or hide those grades; you're just trying to show a trend.

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Mar 9, 2010

Thank you for the advice and the words of encouragement, everyone.

As far as summer employment goes, would having a non-banking internship/job suffice? I've only had two summer job offers so far, but there more like camp counselor/teaching type jobs but pay well and I don't think I have the means to do an unpaid finance internship; I just don't have the money.

Mar 9, 2010
BlakeCole:

Thank you for the advice and the words of encouragement, everyone.

As far as summer employment goes, would having a non-banking internship/job suffice? I've only had two summer job offers so far, but there more like camp counselor/teaching type jobs but pay well and I don't think I have the means to do an unpaid finance internship; I just don't have the money.

Yes. A job that requires you to follow some sort of dress code and work more than eight hours/day and would be clearly recognizable as such would help, but even a job working as a lifeguard or at a McDonald's helps here.

Employers want to know that you know the drill. That 9AM means 9AM, that on-the-clock means that you have to do work, etc. In some ways a $7.25/hour job is especially helpful because it teaches you how great a $30/hour job- any $30/hour job- really is.

Camp counselor is OK, but I'd go for something that implies a tougher boss. McDonald's would be better IMHO. If you are in Chicago or NYC, working as a clerk or an accounting person at a clearing firm would be good too.

Mar 9, 2010

Thanks for the help!

Mar 9, 2010

What's with the BB or Bust mentality thats going around?

There are still hundreds of boutique banks and shops out there that you can connect with. Not to mention MM banks and their regional offices - I know for a fact that some of the mid to low tier banks are very open to non-junior interns.

You've made positive steps by concentrating on your GPA, and you need to keep on that, but in addition you need to start hitting the networking trail hard. Really hard. You should be sending out 5 e-mails a day, plus an additional 5 for every response you get good or bad -- at least that's how I do it. If you go to a top 20 school then you definitely have a few handfuls of alumni on the Street or in a related role.

Also, you'll need to do some reading on your own. It doesn't really matter if you don't have any experience if you can project an operating model with a working DCF tab, I'd take a look at some self-study courses. WSP is a pretty good one. Whatever you think you can do to make yourself more marketable and a a more competitive candidate, do it.

If you make an honest effort in the above areas, then I would be extremely shocked if you couldn't land a position for the summer somewhere.

Mar 9, 2010

Disagree with Styfe. With your current credentials, a BB is more likely to take you than not. Small firms do not have nor can they afford to have dedicated diversity programs.For now, my advice for you is to leave your GPA off your resume. I rarely ever advise this (because people will just assume it's below 3.0), but it is your best shot right now.

I have seen many URM's get IBD internships from the 3.0 - 3.3 range, but not below 3.0. Personally, I don't think you should stick it out as a camp counselor alone for next summer. At the very least, work on a bull shit start-up project that you can talk about with some interest.

Mar 9, 2010

Thanks, Sav. I've been compiling a list of boutiques to hit up, but I haven't really gotten many responses from BBs. Leaving my GPA off my resume hasn't seemed to pay off since I've been dinged from CS, Deutcshe and Barclays. And then there's always the issue of what to list on the online app for GPA and usually I've put N/A, because I don't think listing a 2.8-2.9 is any better.

Mar 9, 2010

The best thing you can do is stack very easy classes next semester. You need to get a 3.8+ and pull your gpa above 3.0. By junior spring, optimistically you can max out at a more manageable 3.2-3.3.

Getting an internship a boutique will not be easy. My gpa was very high at a target and I struggled to get anything investment banking related as a sophmore (granted, I'm not URM). Government work, startups, and non profits tend to be a little easier to break into if you don't have anything else on the table. Accounting and wealth managements also tends to be much less selective as well, and are appropriate sophmore internships to consider.

Mar 9, 2010

Thanks for the advice again, Sav. I've been looking around WSO, but do most Junior SA deadlines begin in December/January. If so, perhaps I'll be able to raise my gpa to ~3.5 to meet min. requirements by the time my fall grades come in next year.

Also big thanks for the summer suggestions; definitely will look into them.

Mar 9, 2010

Hate to break it to you but for most Undergrads a resume on it's own is not going to trump networking / personal connections especially for SA. Quick scan resume seems fine need to network.

Mar 9, 2010

I understand, i've been networking pretty hard since summer (when i got interested in banking), but so far have mainly been targeting banks that officially recruit at my school (hence, I didn't reach these banks).

But, I do know someone who landed the interview that didn't have connections / was more focused on consulting than banking, so I thought there might be something lacking in mine.

Mar 9, 2010

Make sure you attend all the info sessions and networking events before the resume drop date. Nothing is more important than meeting and talking with the bankers.

Mar 9, 2010

Try applying to EA research jobs and FI jobs, you will get better chances with your resume.

Mar 9, 2010

looks like a pretty solid resume tbh

Mar 9, 2010

Have you looked into IBD SA positions in different regions like HK? If you are fluent in another language then why not use that to your advantage?

Also most of your resume talks about research that you performed. Apply for ER positions, your resume would be solid for that.

Side note for your interests- The electric violin and fantasy football? Not to be mean, but I wouldn't really want those as something of interest on my resume. Why don't you stick with something like "Football", and "Violin" or "Music". The electric violin reminds me of the revenge of the nerds movie and fantasy football is just a little fucking weird to put as your interest. Props on playing an instrument though.

Mar 9, 2010

yeah sorry guys, I don't go to Stern. I do go to a semi-target with a b-school though, so I guess the competition is stiffer than it is at school's without them, but still a far cry from Stern I'd imagine. I was always under the impression that Stern was a target anyways, considering it's right there in NYC.

ChildPlease:

Have you looked into IBD SA positions in different regions like HK? If you are fluent in another language then why not use that to your advantage?

Also most of your resume talks about research that you performed. Apply for ER positions, your resume would be solid for that.

Side note for your interests- The electric violin and fantasy football? Not to be mean, but I wouldn't really want those as something of interest on my resume. Why don't you stick with something like "Football", and "Violin" or "Music". The electric violin reminds me of the revenge of the nerds movie and fantasy football is just a little fucking weird to put as your interest. Props on playing an instrument though.

hmmm I've never actually thought of that before. Do you know how applying for IBD in HK works? Is it part of the same recruiting process as stateside IBD or is it a whole separate process? If separate, do I basically just have to network my way to HK somehow? If anyone has experience with this process, please let me know!

I do plan on applying for ER positions too. If say a BB is recruiting for IBD, S&T, and ER though, and I drop my resume for both ER and IBD, would that make me look bad because I don't know what I want to do? Or is it common practice for kids to apply to more than 1 division?And yeah, I agree with you on the interests.

Thanks for all the replies so far everyone. Its good to hear that most of you don't think my resume is the problem, but I still can't shake the feeling that my GPA could be hurting me. I guess there is not much I can do to change that except ace this semester, but does anybody know just how important GPA is to the recruiting process? If my GPA is in the lower 50% of applicants from my school (estimate), could that automatically ding me?

Mar 9, 2010

Most investment bakers are huge nerds. Also guys, this is a freaking SA position no one has any real relevant experience.

Mar 9, 2010

Resume is solid...just keep trying.

Mar 9, 2010

I'm just speculating here, but it looks like you go to NYU Stern...to those who don't go to stern, having multiple internships might seem very impressive on a resume, but my friends in NYU tell me that it is very common for any moron to have multiple internships by just soph year, since they can intern during the school year....so pretty much everyone you're competing with has "relevant work experience", and 90% of resumes that recruiters see from stern look the same, so it becomes a crap shoot at that point

Mar 9, 2010

Incorrect. If you have not been an investment banking analyst where you worked upwards of 100 hours of week you do not have "relevant experience"

Mar 9, 2010

Incorrect. If you have not been an investment banking analyst where you worked upwards of 100 hours of week you do not have "relevant experience"

ok but you get my point...that resume does indeed look good, but about 80-90% of resumes of prospective SA applicants out of Stern or any other school in NYC will look like that, which was my point

Mar 9, 2010

I went to Stern, and I had less impressive resume then that of the OP by a long shot and still scored first round in all BBs except one. So I think what you are speculating is untrue.

Mar 9, 2010

so you networked? did you just apply for SA online and automatically hear back without any connections networking? or did you graduate back in the boom days?

Mar 9, 2010

That resume IS solid.

Maybe its not your resume, maybe its your cover letter...just speculating.

Or maybe recruiting for SAs is really bad and really competitive this year.

man made the money, money never made the man

Mar 9, 2010

I graduated in 09. Not in the boom days. Stern is pretty much a target for IBD. Even withoout networking, you can land decent gigs. Stern has on campus recruiting for SA.

Mar 9, 2010

But did the OP actually go to Stern? I don't think he said where he went. Doesn't matter, that resume is still pretty good.

man made the money, money never made the man

Mar 9, 2010

well for first round interviews, I've been told that people are competing with other resumes from the same school, so the only reason why a solid resume like that would not get selected, in my opinion, is if other competing resumes are "better", either in terms of GPA, work exp, ECs etc....many top kids at Stern intern at well known boutiques, MMs, hedge funds, PE firms etc, and I would assume their resumes would stand out more and get picked (assuming no networking)

Mar 9, 2010

we can assume the OP didn't go to stern because he would never say he went to a "semi-target", even though stern is a target school, much to my dismay =p

perhaps just the competition at the semi-target is really fierce. could be a number of reasons. don't give up hope

Mar 9, 2010

There are guys on this site that busted ass for a YEAR or more to get into IB. Don't get discouraged just keep your nose to the grindstone.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Mar 9, 2010

bump. anyone know anything about applying for HK or applying for both ER + IBD at the same bank?

Mar 9, 2010

Not good. I am attending a target and a lot of people are just getting clobbered left and right. The banks are all taking much smaller SA classes. Your best bet right now is to network your way in and have someone vouch for you.

Mar 9, 2010

I notice the cut backs too. I only landed interviews with 1/2 of them.

Of course, there will also be 1 or 2 people who landed all the interviews.

Mar 9, 2010

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Just my 2c.

Mar 9, 2010
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Mar 9, 2010