I recently received a question from a young monkey looking for a SA position. They asked, "what do you think gave you an edge over the other applicants when you interviewed for your current position?" Below is my response, but I am curious to see what other monkeys would have said. What is your edge?
Persistence in Networking for IBD
Personally, it was my drive that set me apart. You have to want it so bad that you do everything in your power to get the job. This includes contacting people at that company for informational interviews, studying that company (deal flow, big news, management, ect.), knowing as much as you can about the position and simply getting in front of people. It is very likely that you are at least a 3rd degree of separation from someone at that firm. Most people do what I listed above, but where people go wrong is that they don't follow through. Once someone at the company doesn't respond to an email or says sorry there is no position at this time, they quit. If you are serious about working there, don't quit.
Stay in contact with them; ask to talk to other people at the company. That is the drive, that is the hunger. I can't tell you how many times I have been told no at first, but I stayed in contact and people realized that I was genuinely interested in working there. Stay in front of people. If they actually like you, they will help you. If you look like you are just interested in a job and don't care about anything else, they won't care what happens to you...be real, be personable, stay in front of people. I did this and those people pulled for me big time in the interviewing process.
Be Prepared to Explain Why Investment Banking?
Another key factor are great stories, you must have great stories of why ibanking or why their company or why this position. This story has to get the attention of the person interviewing you. They talk to tons of people, find a way to stand out from the crowd. I'll usually mention my story of being a first generation college graduate and that when I was 8 years old I met a finance industry CEO who gave me a financial calculator and became my mentor/reason for getting into finance. People are usually interested in one of those stories and I go into greater detail. You have to make them remember you.
Humility is Key in the Interview Process
Last, but not least, stay humble. No one wants to work with someone that thinks they are god's gift to the world. It always surprises me when I interview someone and they are super cocky/arrogant, they never get the job. You are a first year analyst or a summer analyst, act like one. A lot of kids come walking in the interview like they are the next Jamie Dimon, great if you think that, but if I don't think you will be easy to work with then you won't stand a chance.
Learn more about the importance of networking in the video below.
Read More About Recruiting on WSO
- If I Gave You An Offer Now, Would You Accept
- Do You Have Edge? (Part One)
- Thanks To WSO For Giving Me The Edge For This Summer
Preparing for Investment Banking Interviews?
The WSO investment banking interview course is designed by countless professionals with real world experience, tailored to people aspiring to break into the industry. This guide will help you learn how to answer these questions and many, many more.