To those who failed to convert for 2021 SA.....

Hey, sorry to those who I addressed it to, I know it must be difficult. I am currently a sophomore looking to recruit for SA 2022. I go to a semi target and have a very good resume (regional IB and PE internships). I was wondering where did you go wrong for SA 2021 and do you have any tips? What are your back up plans?

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Comments (22)

Oct 12, 2020 - 3:01pm

As someone who failed a lot, I would say really try to make solid connections during networking and then continue following up. I thought I was able to make decent connections but then failed to get first round interviews, so I would have kept updating those connections and staying in touch if I could do it again. 


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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Oct 12, 2020 - 6:23pm

The best backup plan is no backup plan

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 13, 2020 - 1:11am

This 100%.

I went though ~10 superdays to land 2 offers, just accepted IBD at GS/MS/JPM about a month ago. I was recruiting from January to September. I have many friends that were more prepared than me from the start, had better internships, had better grades, better test scores even, and they didn't land anything. Everyone started talking about backup plans in August but I kept my head down and kept recruiting.

Since then, I've gotten 4 invitations to first rounds that I've had to turn down because I already accepted my offer. You should never create a backup plan if it's feasible that you'll land something (3.5+ GPA in a relevant major at a school that people have at least heard of). If you just keep grinding + improving and you trust the process, then you'll get something eventually. 

It should also be mentioned that no other year will ever be like this one for recruiting. Downturns are rough but typically that means banks decrease headcount; this year it meant they decreased headcount significantly, spaced out recruiting, and nobody knew what they could count on. Stay optimistic for next year.

Oct 13, 2020 - 10:18am

Same thing with me, I was way below the standard of "prestige" with no name internships and shitty GPA at a non-target, but IB was something I wanted to pursue late in my college career. I kept grinding though and had a story laid out if the GPA question ever came about, and ended up with an offer at MS/GS/JPM. I am still in shock that I have signed the offer especially in this uncertain economy, but things work out in weird ways.


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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 13, 2020 - 5:49pm

Definitely agree. I am an international student and went through recruiting from Jan to recently. For a period of 3-4 months in the latter part of this period, I didn't get a single interview. Many of my friends dropped out and switched to consulting etc. but like you, I kept grinding. Ended up getting 2 super days and an offer from a top firm in the span of 20 days so definitely happy that I didn't have a back-up.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 12, 2020 - 7:27pm

I didn't fail to land an offer for SA 2021 but definitely was a long struggle and one that I wish was much, much shorter. The no. one big reason behind why I didn't get any offer from previous interviews was because I wasn't being personable. I don't think I got any technical questions completely wrong ever in any of the interviews and had a very solid understanding of technicals and other questions. My mentors would tell me that you should be personable and I naturally am not very extroverted so that's why I was like as long as I get the answers correct, the offer is mine. Well, I got through multiple super days with that logic and failed to convert. My final superday, I actually ended up having really good conversations with various people and I think that's why I got the offer over others. Technicals will get you to the final round, but then it is about how you can fit well with the team. Everyone at the superday will obviously know their stuff well, so it has to come down to fit. This is not to say that you shouldn't know technicals (you still need to know them cuz they are super important) but focus on treating it as a conversation and not an interview. 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 13, 2020 - 12:33am

I think being personable is a combination of being confident (not arrogant) and calm. I would treat it as an interview where I would put pressure on myself, so that got me the right answers but made me very rigid and less personable. Thus, I would say that you should remain calm and confident. Also, a lot of the personable stuff comes from having interests outside finance, so I had that on my resume for like half a line. Also, I would drop some neutral jokes every once in a while to make them laugh and break the ice and stuff.

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