To those working in IB, what makes you feel inclined to respond to a cold email from a non-alumni?

Questions above. Rising sophomore at a non-core school looking to expand my network beyond just alumni. Hit rate has been pretty low :( (10/100 cold emails). I'm also struggling a little bit to stay connected after the phone call. What are things I can do?

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Comments (81)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 27, 2021 - 2:41pm

10/100 =10% that's about what I would expect and have had my hit rate be. Best piece of advice is any common ground, no matter how silly. Last thing would be if they maybe went to another school that's also a non-target they may be more inclined to respond.  

Jul 27, 2021 - 2:44pm

1) Same university - pretty intuitive, and my alma mater is a small LAC with a handful of people interested in IB per class, so I make sure to help out every single person who reaches out.

2) Same ethnic group - bonus points if they're also first generation immigrants like me

After that, I generally screen for things on their resume that make me want to talk to them. Shared interests and stuff like that. 

I've also recently started doing some light social media checking to make sure people I refer aren't anti-vaxxers. You'd be surprised at how many people who want to work in HC IB are anti-vax... My bank has a mandatory vaccination requirement, so they'd have been filtered out eventually anyways, but would rather not waste social capital on someone who's going to cause that kind of headache.

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  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jul 27, 2021 - 2:58pm

Twitter tells all and shows up first on Google. If you are liking/retweeting anything anyone could find questionable, just do yourself a favor and and go private

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 27, 2021 - 8:34pm

Let me guess, if someone doesn't take the COVID vaccine that makes them anti-vaxx for you? Honestly, at this point anti-vaxx definition has completely shifted. Merriam webster changed anti-vaxx definition 3 years ago to include people who oppose mandatory vaccinations. I'm all for vaccines but god damn it if opposing mandatory vaccinations makes me anti-vaxx, I'm anti-vaxx.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 29, 2021 - 11:45pm

Not sure why this is getting MS, honestly a legitimate reason to not take the call. Our social capital is limited. 

Jul 29, 2021 - 8:19pm


I try to communicate with everyone who reaches out just because when I was in that position, I would have wanted a response. There is also a bit of an ego thing probably...bunch of kids begging to talk to you, idk.

100% my stance too

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jul 27, 2021 - 2:56pm

Can you copy and paste your cold email here? It's easier to critique a specific email than just offering very generic tips. A few general things though -

1. You are a little early for SA 2023, I'd wait until October/November to reach out. You don't need 9 months of networking, and 1/4 of the analysts/associates you talk to will move jobs by the time your recruiting comes around

2. Always attach a resume. It's a lot easier to help someone who's a good candidate, and I will always click on the resume and see what you've done or if you have anything really interesting on there

3. First year analysts in the fall will usually be quite responsive, especially those from a non target. They have more sway than you'd think (can tell you who handles recruiting, timeline, and refer you to other people in the group)

4. Focus on people from other non targets, bonus points if they're in the same area, athletic conference, really anything in common. HYP alum have tons of people from their schools reaching out and probably won't respond.

Also agree with the above post, make sure your social media is squeaky clean and/or private. I usually google people before talking to them and have stumbled upon some very questionable public twitter accounts

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 27, 2021 - 3:43pm

Okay. Someone told me to network early. Is that something you don't advise? I guess this might be a dumb question, but if an analyst only knows someone for

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jul 27, 2021 - 4:05pm

You have the right idea but people are just less likely to respond this early or remember you when they won't even touch recruiting for another 8-9 months. November is a good time to reach out initially and then circle back with people you've talked to in Feb/March before recruiting

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 27, 2021 - 3:43pm

Okay. Someone told me to network early. Is that something you don't advise? I guess this might be a dumb question, but if an analyst only knows someone for

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 27, 2021 - 3:43pm

Okay. Someone told me to network early. Is that something you don't advise? I guess this might be a dumb question, but if an analyst only knows someone for

Jul 27, 2021 - 3:04pm

Biggest obstacle you'll have is banks or offices with 100% centralized recruiting. Smaller shops will run recruiting at the group/office level. Big banks will run recruiting entirely through HR. Some banks will have NY recruiting done by HR, but pipelines for other offices will be handled by the office. I can't speak to how that split plays out on a bank by bank basis other than to say you'll generally get a better hit rate at non-NY offices. 

Jul 27, 2021 - 3:06pm

What Makes You Feel Inclined To Respond To A Cold Email From A Non-Alumni?

- My workload

- Your ability to fit me in to your schedule.  Sorry don't tell me that you are busy all week and cannot have a 15 min phone call.  

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 27, 2021 - 3:08pm

thank you for your insight. What is generally the time of day that workload is the smallest? Should I reach out during the weekends?

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 27, 2021 - 3:32pm

Highly recommend against reaching out on weekends. I found the most success emailing Tuesday/Wednesday morning. Monday people will be trying to catch up from the weekend

Jul 27, 2021 - 3:07pm

1. Resume has to be included. Sure, the chat might end up being super informal but I find the resume to be a good 10-15 second screen if I even want to give the person a response

2. Email (usually read it after clicking resume as it's almost always a longer than 10 second read) has to seem genuine, not at all copy-paste based, and has to try to make some type of personal connection

3. Honestly I don't look twice so it's a huge coinflip if you catch me during a good day (and time of day). Nobody can control it but if I'm swamped I'm not looking and will probably forget to check again

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 27, 2021 - 3:15pm

Whats generally a good day/time to send out a cold email to somebody at a firm.

Also, do you generally respond if someone reaches out again or a third time?

Jul 27, 2021 - 6:19pm

Sadly there really isn't a "great time" to reach someone. I would skew earlier in the morning (maybe delay deliver it so that it hits at like 7-8am and pray that my inbox isn't being blown up by my director that early).

Mid-day and early evening are horrible since that's usually when I'm most active with work emails / grinding on something. Big gamble but Sunday mid-day sometimes works as well for me. If I'm just catching up prepping for the week ahead of me and I see an email I'll respond to it.

I do respond if someone reaches out a 2nd or 3rd time, just don't be a dick about it like "hey missed you twice" or something like that. Just casually mention you've reached out before but I may have missed the email so you're reaching back out. Also don't piggy back it off the 1st one you sent just re-send the entire email with a quick note. Wait at least a week or so before following up. There are weeks where my to do list gets massive and I don't finish crossing things off until that weekend.

Jul 27, 2021 - 3:24pm

I try my best to answer every email as I know it's a struggle and grind. Try to give back as much as I can. My biggest thing is have something to talk about apart from the questions you have for me. I want to get to know you and by having a cool conversation (sports, something you like outside of finance, childhood or whatever) is the best way for me to remember you the next time we speak.

Jul 27, 2021 - 3:53pm

Pay it forward.  Or just have some downtime and happen to see that email

Jul 27, 2021 - 4:18pm

I try to respond to all of them, even if weeks later. I'd wager most of us got a leg up because someone took the time to respond and guide us. I most certainly did. Am really happy to see so many responses that feel the same way :)

I'll only not respond if the email is super canned, and lately, due to lack of time, kids with poor grades or backgrounds that I can't really help.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 29, 2021 - 11:30am

How would you recommend phrasing them so they aren't super canned?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 27, 2021 - 4:52pm

If I check their linkedin and they are an attractive female.  take the call 100% of the time if so

not even kidding around

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 29, 2021 - 10:59am

A concise, personalized and well written message goes a long way.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 29, 2021 - 12:38pm

For outside of alumni networks- it's all about where the analyst is in the day- if we're getting slammed we'll most likely delete the email, if we're waiting to turn comments for an hour or so, we can hop on the phone 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 29, 2021 - 1:09pm

Tuesday / Wednesday mornings are usually better. Worst time is Monday mornings. Sundays can also be good, since most analysts will be working on Sunday (so checking email), but it'll be a more chill / relaxed workload.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 29, 2021 - 10:26pm

if nothing in common and im not super busy it depends on resume

Jul 29, 2021 - 11:09pm

Have an email format that doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out. Include a brief (and I mean BRIEF) section about yourself and make yourself sound interesting without coming across as a hardo. Always attach a ressy and include minimum of three dates/times you have available - it's much easier for analyst to pick a suggested time rather than having to suggest a time. Give us the option to choose a time that is not suggested. Make a note towards the end that once you hear from them you will be the one to set up the calendar invite (I can't stress this enough).

It should play out like this:

You: sends cold email incorporating all the aforementioned advice

Analyst/aso/vp: replys and says they'd be happy to hop on the horn and includes one of the times you suggested

You: email them back within 15 min verifying the number in their email signature is a good one and thanking them for their time as soon as you get phone number confirmation you set up the calendar invite that spells everything out very clearly (see below):

Title: John smith (you)/bob lee (banker) - GS TMT analyst program catch up/conversation/etc.

Location: john to call bob at (555) 555-555

Set date and time and be sure to include their email so they get the notification.

This does two things:

shows that you are quick on the replies which is a necessity in banking

And shows that you are competent enough to understand best practices when it comes to scheduling calls

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 29, 2021 - 11:18pm

Thank you for the detailed response. What are generally some time analysts/associates are available?

I was wondering do you have any examples of what cold emails made you feel more inclined to respond (with a short intro/interesting hook)?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 29, 2021 - 11:51pm

Big +1 here. This is exactly what I did back in the day and it will MASSIVELY increase your response rate. I had response rate from non alumni of 30%+ and I had barely above average grades at best from a state flagship.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 30, 2021 - 3:43am

My mood/schedule is the biggest factor. The actually contents of the email matter very little, about 5%. If I'm having a good day and have time, then I'll respond to anyone who reaches out. If I'm having a horrible day with no time, then I might not respond no matter how good the email is. That's why being polite and following up are the only two rules. More outreach + more follow ups = more chances to catch someone at a good moment.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 1, 2021 - 3:17pm

I go to a semi-target, but got low response rate from alumni so I switched to only emailing MDs or higher. All were cold outreach and I only spoke with them once during recruitment. Got SD for every BB that sponsors internationals and had great conversations along the way. I think the reason they were so willing to help is (1) My email was short but covered my qualifications, (2) I asked good questions about them, the firm, and their group, (3) I came off as genuine and confident. As for building a long-term relationship, still figuring that out lol. 

Side note: I'm female and 0/15+ MDs I spoke with responded to my male friend's email so whether they respond is also based on luck and maybe whether you're diversity. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 1, 2021 - 5:02pm

What questions did you ask on the call, and how did you transition from small talk to talking about banking?

how were you able to connect with the md to get them to refer

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 1, 2021 - 11:29pm

Standard cold outreach (search them up on LinkedIn/find their name in article, guess email, etc.). Not much small talk, they usually guided the convo or I offered to introduce myself. They asked me questions off the bat like 'TMAY', 'Why our firm', 'Why our group', 'How did you find me' (lol) then I asked them questions based on what I felt they'd want to talk about. At the end of conversation, they'd ask for my resume and talk about referring me. If they're willing to hop on a call with you, they want to help you so I think the best thing you can do is show enthusiasm and be normal. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 1, 2021 - 8:35pm

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 1, 2021 - 11:42pm

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