What is my goal in informational interviews/coffee chats?

I'm planning a trip to nyc and have a list of contacts. I'm reaching out to them with the intent of meeting for coffee so that they can provide me advice on breaking into IB.

As of right now, I'm trying to build relationships with these people but that doesn't seem to be an effective way to get a full time position. I like to think I have a decent understanding of the networking process, but I seem to come out of the coffee chats with nothing other than a new contact.

So what do I hope to gain out of these informational interviews/coffee chats that can put me a step closer to an IB position? Do I ask them outright if they are looking for anyone? Do i ask for another contact? Even though i likely wont be able to meet them?

Comments (12)

Jan 20, 2016

First it's always a good thing to have spoken to a lot of bankers when you're actually in the recruitment process. You'll be less nervous, won't say anything stupid and just be able to talk like a banker if that makes sense. I have found that it really depends on the people you speak with. Some will offer help without you asking : "reach out to me when you're applying" or "let me connect you to X at bank Y who'll be able to help" etc. Others you'll have to ask for help more explicitly

Jan 20, 2016

You've spoken to these people on the phone before, right? If so, then meeting them for coffee is the next step. The goal is to show them a continued interest in investment banking. Hopefully you will get another contact from meeting them, but the real goal is to give them more of a reason to pass your resume along during recruiting.

It's really a psychological move. When someone has met you face-to-face, it's more difficult to turn them away for a request. Also, you have forced the banker to spend more of their time on you. People are more likely to spend more time on people that they have spent time on in the past as opposed to just cutting their losses and running. Come recruiting time, the banker will at least subconsciously think "Well, this kid seems really interested, and I've already spent so much time on him that I might as well pass his resume along."

Make sure to dress the part. I would wear a full suit and tie.

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Jan 20, 2016

I have not spoken with them on the phone. I figured face time > phone time. These are for the most part soft connections, as in i have some sort of prior relationship even if we haven't met before.

Does the psychological aspect of it still apply even if it is off-cycle recruitment?

Jan 20, 2016
PlantoftheMonkeys:

I have not spoken with them on the phone. I figured face time > phone time. These are for the most part soft connections, as in i have some sort of prior relationship even if we haven't met before.

Does the psychological aspect of it still apply even if it is off-cycle recruitment?

Yup. If a college student meets me face-to-face, it shows me that the are interested and makes it more likely that I help them later on.

Just make sure to ask them for another connection at the end. In my opinion, not asking for more connections is the biggest networking mistake that students make. I always used a line like "Do you know anyone else you might be willing to give me some time?"

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Jan 21, 2016

Wow I was SBing you on my iPhone and it gave you monkey shit...great information I'll try to fix that

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Jan 21, 2016
BBDreamin:

Wow I was SBing you on my iPhone and it gave you monkey shit...great information I'll try to fix that

No worries, man. It happens.

Jan 25, 2016

Just make sure to ask a few questions that show you've done your research and try to simply be as likeable as possible. Also, leverage your current networks as much as you can (undergrad alumni, fraternity, etc...). You'd be surprised once you couple LinkedIn with a good directory.

End goal is to get your resume passed along to HR.

Jan 25, 2016

I have a bit different approach than what has been mentioned here. Treat it like you're interviewing the person/bank (not literally but mentally). Go in trying to figure out if you would enjoy working with that person, in their group, at their bank, and act accordingly. If you go in with this mindset, the questions and conversation will flow more naturally than if you go in with the mindset of trying to convince that person to help you.

Jan 25, 2016

Be in control of the conversation but don't dominate the conversation, if that makes sense. Be the one asking all the questions that will make them a). Talk about themselves a lot so they feel good and more comfortable with you and then b). Ask you questions that you want them to ask you. My main goal was to always establish a personal connection (which was easier done when we talked about football or college rather than "the culture at your firm"). They'll be much more willing to send your resume to HR and more often than not, will be quite impressed by your proactiveness and your grit. Lots of good points I used were also covered in the comments above.

Jan 25, 2016

Think of the coffee chat as one interaction within a greater battle plan to get the position and an underlying philosophy that goes something like this: I did everything to achieve my objective. You never know when a particular convo will be the tipping point for a reference, that will lead to an interview, that will lead to a job. And, of course, speaking with someone in-person is a lot more effective communication-wise than talking over the phone, through emails, texts, etc.

Jan 26, 2016
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