What (some of) you are doing wrong

Just wrapped up helping with Summer Analyst recruiting for my group at a EB, and here are some insights I've gotten from being on the other side of the process. I also just signed my MFPE offer so I'm feeling thankful to the community and motivated to help the next class of bankers.

1. Underpreparing.

I am shocked at how underprepared some candidates are, missing easy questions like how to get to EV. You all have a list of questions that are going to be asked - use it! Practice! Study! You should not be missing any questions that are in the book. I get that it's an early process, but this stuff isn't that hard. You just have to make time to study it and get the reps in.

2. Not understanding how important networking is.

We did not interview a singular person who did not network with a team member. Even if you submitted the perfect resume, odds are no one even read it. We had way more active candidates networking than spots, so there was no reason to read random resumes.

3. Not knowing how to network.

Coffee chats are a first round interview. We report to HR how that coffee chat went. This is a great way to stand out (or get cut). If you come to a coffee chat and don't have any good questions/genuine interest, are not put together or are incapable of having a normal convo, there will not be next steps. Also, when sending emails, if it's not something you wouldn't say to someone's face - do not send it! I get such weird cold emails trying to "relate" to stuff from my LinkedIn but sometimes its such a reach and feels very odd. if we were in the same frat at the same school, that's great to mention. Do not try and connect with me on the basis that we were both in different frats at different schools. Just say you're interested in banking and my group and why.

4. Way overestimating the value of your GPA/school name/major/sophomore summer internship etc.

No one really cares that much. So many kids from state schools beat out people from the top targets (factors include anything from likability to just ivy league kids not having finance degrees and being underprepared). So don't be insecure (or too confident) and realize how much the interview/coffee chats/networking really does matter

5. Not looking polished or being personable.

You spend so many hours working with the people in your team, and again the works not that hard. I would much rather hire the kid with a 3.5 who is actually fun to hang out with than a 4.0 who can't. It's harder to teach you interpersonal skills than moving logos on powerpoint.

6. Not actually wanting this job.

So many students have the worst why IB answers - really flesh it out. Odds are if you can't convince me you want to do IB, you probably don't want to do it yourself and have some soul searching to do.

7. Underpreparing - I'm listing it again because I'm still so disappointed.

The amount of HYPSM kids, kids who did 5+ networking calls etc who just fell apart at a first round is so sad. Why waste your time and our time if you're not going to prepare. The interviews are literally out of the WSO IB Course / 400 questions guide. How many tests are you taking in college where you have the answers? It's not that hard - you can do it!

Comments (74)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 5, 2022 - 12:04am

Just my group is done (non-NYC) Some other groups at the firm are also done, but NYC is still doing interviews

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 5, 2022 - 12:00am

lmfao you sound like the type of person that I had to pretend to like when I was interviewing

"I just signed my MFPE offer so I'm feeling thankful" Lord help us

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 7, 2022 - 4:46pm

this comment is so accurate, that no one, including OP, bothered to monkey shit it because even HE couldn't deny it

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 5, 2022 - 12:36pm

Offering an additional perspective here for context. I was undoubtedly one of these underprepared candidates when I interviewed in my sophomore spring. It might strike you as puzzling on the other side of the process, but IB recruiting and its expectations will catch many 19-20 year old kids by surprise, especially those with no finance backgrounds at liberal arts colleges. I think there are many sophomores with strong IB potential who simply aren't aware of the expectations and timelines of recruiting until its too late.

IB recruiting during my sophomore spring forced my hand into picking a career path far sooner than I expected. I simply wasn't "in the know" on timeline and technical knowledge expectations until coffee chats and networking calls the week prior to interviews. That short notice led to a pretty humiliating first round but it wasn't for lack of ability. Within a matter of months I ended up with two BB offers at arguably better firms.

That said, I agree that recruiting should still select for those who are most prepared and that underpreparation is very common, but I wouldn't exactly be shocked by technical knowledge gaps in sophomores who may have been prematurely pressured to decide if IB was right for them.

Apr 6, 2022 - 7:21am
rickle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Brings up an interesting point. Tons of value in live practicing. You should get better with every networking call, every interview, every everything. After each call, do a debrief. What went well, what didn't? What additional questions should you ask? Were you uncomfortable connecting? Do you need a more conversational tone? Are you properly organized? Do you have your elevator pitch down to where it comes off as natural? In the beginning, it will all suck. Should improve each time if you commit to learning about what needs to improve. I would even ask interviewers what you need to improve upon (whether you move on or not)?

Useful tip: create a spreadsheet listing Company, Contact, Role, Comments (on call - including major areas of discussion, personal, rapport, etc.), Call Rating, Follow Up / Next Steps, Areas of Improvement. Be totally honest with yourself. It's OK to suck at first. Hopefully you get some practice in on less than the top firms so you're better prepared.  Could even target that.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Apr 6, 2022 - 11:56am

Yeah, I was also a victim of this a couple years ago. Maybe they should stop interviewing kids literally over 13-fucking-months in advance.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 5, 2022 - 2:34pm

I mean I can't speak to all EBs, but we've had to cut tons of seemingly top notch candidates because of missing very easy questions. Ie. what is Enterprise value, extremely simply accretion dilution questions (no trick, people just get accretion and dilution swapped), the literal word for word treasury stock method question straight out of the guide with the same numbers. Plus if kids miss hard questions, it's not an auto-cut, but if you can't tell me what net debt is, it's a big problem

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Apr 6, 2022 - 11:57am

It's total debt minus cash & cash equivalents. Durrr.

Apr 5, 2022 - 2:27pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:
  1. I've done a lot of recruiting for my BB and I have written about it on WSO at various times. By far, my cringiest (sp?) interviews and feedback come from first year analysts. It's like they carry an extra chip on their shoulder because they can show their (almost) peers that they "made it". Your post is not helping me change my opinion on that and it's also why I always discount the recs made by these same analysts. I hope your superiors are doing the same. 
  2. If you are disappointed by underprepared candidates then you have simply not done enough recruiting. It happens and it happens a lot and it happens at all levels, not just undergrads/recent grads. The fact that you're surprised means you are still new to this. 
  3. If you're going to be involved in recruiting then it's also part of your job to be empathetic to the candidates and still give them a good impression. After all, they are entitled to form an opinion about your enterprise too and they will carry that forward. I think you'd benefit from more seasoning to make sure that you're also providing the candidates with a good experience. 

I think it's a very serious thing to be involved in most parts of the HR process and it's not something to be taken in a cavalier manner. 

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 5, 2022 - 2:47pm

I'm a bit confused here. When it comes to being underprepared, the rec is just something along the lines of hey, this candidate does not know what enterprise value is, which is factual and has happened to me on multiple occasions during this cycle. Or this person said to me they want to do investment banking because they like investing in stocks (also happened to me, multiple times). I would suggest you ask for factual feedback because that's what I and other analysts give in terms of answers to technical questions or behaviorals for first rounds or coffee chats.

In terms of judgements about social skills, sure that's a personal judgement but no matter who you are it's going to be a personal judgement. And here's the thing, sure many candidates are behind whatever but a handful absolutely crush it and we gave them offers. What's sad is sooo many of those other candidates could've been good too (they're obviously smart enough) but they dropped the ball on stuff that's really not that hard

Apr 5, 2022 - 4:30pm
rabbit, what's your opinion? Comment below:
this candidate does not know what enterprise value is, which is factual and has happened to me on multiple occasions during this cycle. Or this person said to me they want to do investment banking because they like investing in stocks (also happened to me, multiple times). 

Whoever screens your resumes needs to be canned

Apr 6, 2022 - 8:38am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dude, what??? 

Paragraphs. Look into them. 

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 28, 2022 - 4:48am

Hey, when would you recommend that I begin networking? I'm currently a rising sophomore attending a non-target state school. 

Apr 5, 2022 - 2:56pm
2rigged2fail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What is your beef with using paragraphs? 

  • 2
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 5, 2022 - 2:56pm

Idk how they work on here on mobile lol plz educate me

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Apr 5, 2022 - 4:51pm

If you look towards the bottom right side of your phone's keyboard, you'll find a button labeled "return." You can use this like an enter key.

Btw my last WSO post got 4 silver bananas so I'm feeling thankful to this community and wanted to help you out. I'm shocked at how you couldn't figure this out, missing a button like the return key. You have all the keys labeled out for you - use it! Practice! I get that you may be new to WSO, but this stuff isnt that hard.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 5, 2022 - 4:06pm

Dude seriously, what the other guy said^^^^ 

people like you are the absolute worst to deal with, not feeling the humblebrag doucheyness

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Apr 5, 2022 - 5:11pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

On-cycle PE recruiting has 22 year olds with 7 months of full time experience feeling like they're ready to write the definitive guide on how to make it in corporate America.  I love it, more wisdom please!!! 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 5, 2022 - 5:20pm

I mean oncycle doesn't help you and is very different than this but the truth is 22 year olds like me are often the ones giving IB first round interviews, going on coffee chats and our feedback plays a large role in deciding who gets superdays/offers, so I thought perspective for someone who has been in the room making these decisions, given feedback and interviewed candidates would be helpful to people looking for IB Summer Analyst roles. Prob should've worded it more like PE recruiting had me thinking about recruiting a lot given I was on the other side of the table after interviewing so many Summer Analyst candidates

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Apr 5, 2022 - 7:40pm

Saw the title, read the first few sentences of humblebragging and thought to myself huh, this is gonna work out well for everyone involved.

  • PM in HF - Other
Apr 5, 2022 - 9:20pm

Many posts on here about kids at targets not wanting to even do banking. As news today goldman got a trillion resumes does not mean people actually care to prepare for the interview.
Look your tips are fine but realistically these people you think are unprepared probably do not even care. 
Seems your feedback is to do with "dinging" candidates or being a gatekeeper. 
I suggest you take some time later and think what stood out for the candidates you like'd, the coffee chats made you want to pull for this kid, the rockstar who came in and you were worried another EB had an offer out to him/her.

Everyone forgets the dings, its the qualities of successful candidates you want to identify again.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 5, 2022 - 9:52pm

Here's the thing though and one point of the post that should've been more explicit - from my recruiting experience, you did not have to be exceptional or do anything particularly really well to get the offer. Ie. we didn't end up in a position where we were all rooting for different at the end of the superdays and having a debate over who we should take. There were tons of candidates I loved meeting, had really great backgrounds, genuine interest etc. but so many of my favorites from coffee chats missed really easy technical interview questions. Some candidates who barely passed the coffee chat stage crushed the interviews, but didn't do well on the personal/behavioral part. The candidates we hired are great all around, and are extremely deserving, but they're not the ones with the single best story, resume etc. Sure, if one of those candidates that were super strong had done well in everything else, they definitely would've gotten an offer, but instead our class is full of candidates that did everything right and had no reason to be dinged.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 5, 2022 - 10:28pm

You seem to be mentioning EV over and over again….let me guess, one candidate missed an easy EV question and now you're whining about it?

Apr 5, 2022 - 11:09pm
Smoke Frog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

We get it.

You got into an EB and made it to a mega fund.

Congrats.

No need to dress up your humble brag with a post telling people to "prepare" lol.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 5, 2022 - 11:53pm

this dude is literally the worst type of person to encounter in all walks of life, pls go back to linkedin or reddit or something

Apr 6, 2022 - 2:07am
aspiring chimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Its called the M&I 400 it's essentially the SA question bible. Super super useful and you can find free pdfs online

Apr 6, 2022 - 12:57am
Pussy galore, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There are way too many articles like this. OP you are using it to make yourself feel tall. If you need an anonymous forum to congratulate you so you can feel better about yourself, I can't believe so many fucking bankers are so sensitive and insecure about themselves. All of you have severe personality deficits 

Apr 6, 2022 - 3:50am
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

so you haven't even looked at resumes of people who probably spent their time learning 400 questions instead of brown-nosing, i.e. networking, but you're surprised that people who spent their time approaching your whole team didn't have time to prepare enough (they also have school you know, and maybe even life so they can be personable and not miserable).

Apr 6, 2022 - 4:51am
Bruvver, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can any of the kids who were interviewed by this douche come forward and post a review of him as an interviewer, please? 

@OP - rule of thumb, no 22 year-old should give advice on anything in life, not even on how to be 22. And if you are interested in any advice yourself, just be less insufferable - it's not that hard.

  • Associate 3 in ER
Apr 6, 2022 - 6:56am

To OP, not sure why you got so many MS. I agree with most of your points and appreciate the insight. 

Apr 6, 2022 - 10:48am
zelka, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Networking wise, how do we know what group a banker we're reaching out to is in if it's not mentioned on their linkedin profile?

Apr 6, 2022 - 11:58am
HowlerMonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How many of the people who networked well / a lot leveraged a friend or family connection? Maybe the answer is zero or almost zero - I don't know. But if it's a meaningful percentage, then you're dinging candidates who lacked the wisdom and foresight to be born into relative wealth or privilege. 

Apr 6, 2022 - 12:30pm
chihayafull, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Now make a post about your PE interviewing experience because you didn't get the sweet hit of upvotes and people thanking you for your advice, dipshit.

As it relates to the networking part, I think this is silly, and as someone who is fortunate enough to be doing MF PE you should know that circumstances frequently get in the way of constructive networking. I've stopped dinging people for being awkward during coffee chats, unless they say something literally offensive, or if it's a super tight race and it comes down to "fit." I treat networking as a way to inform candidates about the job super candidly, and as an opportunity for non-target kids to get a foot in the door.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 6, 2022 - 2:34pm

Ngl - dk why everyone is tearing OP a new asshole lol. I know his post comes off as a little pretentious and douchey, but the dude earned the offers he got at his IB gig and future PE gig. A little bragging hasn't hurt anyone and, clearly, he understands how the recruiting game works given he's been hyper successful in it (before you start arguing on what qualifies as hyper-successful, I'm not arguing that he's going to be a standout analyst/associate - I'm only talking about recruiting - getting and EB position followed by MFPE in on-cycle recruiting is no easy feat especially with the amount of posts on WSO recently bitching about how analysts this year got fucked). And also, keep in mind, regardless of how he phrased it, he is actually trying to help people going through recruiting. 

As for his actual advice, sure - it's basic shit like be prepared, study, network, and be a normal person. But lol, clearly people are having a tough time doing that. Everyone knows that IB is a networking game - if you don't know that, that's on you. It's not a hidden secret. Similarly, to use the argument that 19-20 year olds aren't prepared for recruiting - clearly there are plenty of people who are prepared at that age cuz they are the ones who get the spots. Once again, knowing basic accounting, some valuation shit, isn't that hard. Like real talk, if you think that IB is investing in stocks or dk the formula for EV then like for fucks sake - why are you participating in recruiting. Guides are available - seniors who went through the process are at your disposal - no hidden secret - prep and recruit for FT. I'd understand if OP was acting like a dick and thought that SAs should be able to create NOL and DTA schedules in their head all while trying to run through a myriad of other changes to flow through the 3 statements but this is basic shit. 

Cut the guy some slack. And for the college kids reading his post: maybe try to implement the guy's advice even if it is as simple as be prepared. It literally may be what differentiates you from all the other retards during recruiting and gets you the job you want. And even if the prima donna inside you is like this guy is a hardo douche that I don't wanna work with or for - guess what: he's probably a type that is going to come up a lot in your interview processes - better be safe than sorry. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Apr 6, 2022 - 2:59pm

I think you're missing the point - the OP hyped himself up with all his qualifications, only to turn around and offer "be prepared and network hard" as his advice 

it's especially odd given the audience on this site is primarily people who are far over prepared / already knowledgeable about finance. The odds one of his tragic interviewee failures that doesn't know what net debt is is a student on this site is low. If the poster actually wanted to make a difference, they could offer these tips to their school alumni club, or any other actually helpful construct. 
 

it is the fact that this post is so useless while the OP thinks they're being so valuable that's laughable. There's a dozen other recruiting threads on this site that are 10x as helpful

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 6, 2022 - 3:19pm

I get where you're coming from. But a couple points:

- We dk whether the OP may be offering the same advice at other outlets so to assume he hasn't or won't is pointless 

- I get that the simplicity of his advice doesn't necessarily match his career accomplishments. But, in my opinion (ignore the username - I'm already 3 years in so have gone through both sell-side and buyside recruiting), sometimes it does come down to which individual fucks up the least / makes the least mistakes and hence comes off as the most "professional / polished." Keep in mind that this isn't a bio on him coming from a non-target background where he had to smile and dial 20 hours everyday for 5 years before he finally got his first lead all for him to be told "thank you for your interest" etc. etc. Not throwing shade at those types of posts or people and have massive respect for them but OP is specifically referencing kids from HYSPM, etc., backgrounds that have the resume and the pedigree to get the jobs they want and yet they fuck their chances. And I think that is really the point of his post - stop limiting your chances by not doing the basics. 

- I disagree that people that come to this website already have their bases covered and are over prepared. I'm sure there's plenty of people on this site who have found it just as they were beginning on-cycle recruiting; and it's important for them to hear this. Additionally, a lot of people that have shat on the dude's posts are like 3rd year analysts or 2nd year associates in PE - lol - advice ain't for you. It's a reminder to people still in the process right now to get their shit together. They have enough time for 23 SA positions. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 6, 2022 - 3:47pm

oh hell nah, this dude made a new account just to defend himself cause he got ratio'd 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

Apr 7, 2022 - 6:13am
scrubmonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Echo this. It's almost mind-baffling how so many questions are missed even in first/second round phone interviews when I am literally taking questions from the guide book to ask. I understand that some applicants may just be overly nervous, so practice it. Practice it until it becomes so ingrained that you could be half drunk and nervous af and still spit out the right answer.

Apr 7, 2022 - 5:08pm
MensaMan, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Analyst 1 in IB - Gen


7. Underpreparing - I'm listing it again because I'm still so disappointed. The amount of HYPSM kids, kids who did 5+ networking calls etc who just fell apart at a first round is so sad. Why waste your time and our time if you're not going to prepare. 

Sounds like you're just at a trash bank and they spent more time prepping for their GS/MS/JPM/Cantor Fitz interviews. 

YYEEOOOOOOOOOOO THIS NIGGA MIDDLE MARKET LMAOOO

Apr 11, 2022 - 12:22pm
DMVtechgeek, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@OP can I shoot you a dm? Definitely want to connect , I 1000% agree on all those points

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 11, 2022 - 12:31pm

Anonymous Monkey

Just wrapped up helping with Summer Analyst recruiting for my group at a EB, and here are some insights I've gotten from being on the other side of the process. I also just signed my MFPE offer so I'm feeling thankful to the community and motivated to help the next class of bankers.

1. Underpreparing.

I am shocked at how underprepared some candidates are, missing easy questions like how to get to EV. You all have a list of questions that are going to be asked - use it! Practice! Study! You should not be missing any questions that are in the book. I get that it's an early process, but this stuff isn't that hard. You just have to make time to study it and get the reps in.

2. Not understanding how important networking is.

We did not interview a singular person who did not network with a team member. Even if you submitted the perfect resume, odds are no one even read it. We had way more active candidates networking than spots, so there was no reason to read random resumes.

3. Not knowing how to network.

Coffee chats are a first round interview. We report to HR how that coffee chat went. This is a great way to stand out (or get cut). If you come to a coffee chat and don't have any good questions/genuine interest, are not put together or are incapable of having a normal convo, there will not be next steps. Also, when sending emails, if it's not something you wouldn't say to someone's face - do not send it! I get such weird cold emails trying to "relate" to stuff from my LinkedIn but sometimes its such a reach and feels very odd. if we were in the same frat at the same school, that's great to mention. Do not try and connect with me on the basis that we were both in different frats at different schools. Just say you're interested in banking and my group and why.

4. Way overestimating the value of your GPA/school name/major/sophomore summer internship etc.

No one really cares that much. So many kids from state schools beat out people from the top targets (factors include anything from likability to just ivy league kids not having finance degrees and being underprepared). So don't be insecure (or too confident) and realize how much the interview/coffee chats/networking really does matter

5. Not looking polished or being personable.

You spend so many hours working with the people in your team, and again the works not that hard. I would much rather hire the kid with a 3.5 who is actually fun to hang out with than a 4.0 who can't. It's harder to teach you interpersonal skills than moving logos on powerpoint.

6. Not actually wanting this job.

So many students have the worst why IB answers - really flesh it out. Odds are if you can't convince me you want to do IB, you probably don't want to do it yourself and have some soul searching to do.

7. Underpreparing - I'm listing it again because I'm still so disappointed.

The amount of HYPSM kids, kids who did 5+ networking calls etc who just fell apart at a first round is so sad. Why waste your time and our time if you're not going to prepare. The interviews are literally out of the 400 questions guide. How many tests are you taking in college where you have the answers? It's not that hard - you can do it!

Is there a way for me to PM you? I have a few questions I would like to have your inputs on. Thanks!

Apr 11, 2022 - 12:52pm
AnalyzeANDchill, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Apr 11, 2022 - 12:52pm
Arminius193, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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