Is it Supposed to be this hard?


Comments (82)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 11, 2022 - 2:46pm

4.0 ivy also, yep it was that hard. I didn't get any interviews that year and then out of the blue got an internship interview for ops at a BB.

Took it and then delayed graduation for another semester. Next year got interviews everywhere because the BB name on my resume got me interviews even if ops and now at a top group at MS. It happens and a lot of the time you can fall through the cracks 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 11, 2022 - 2:54pm

Can I even delay and reapply? I feel like I exhausted a lot of my network at a lot of places so I don't know if reapplying will do anything to help me.

Apr 11, 2022 - 3:00pm
bradyvvv1234, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How well did you feel like you connected with the people you networked with? Currently at H/W with 3.85 but landed top EB (ofc luck involve somewhat). But personally found that at each firm, having repeated conversations or rlly positive interactions with 2-3 ppl who I know could vouch for me strongly was better than talking to 50 people at a surface level, normal 15 minute callOfc a good part is luck too, so just keep grinding and I'm sure you'll get something

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 11, 2022 - 3:06pm

Honestly, if you're from an Ivy, your approach shouldn't really be the same as what you read on WSO, which is mainly targeted towards non-targets. You have a lot of alum at every bank, so you should be taking a targeted approach to networking instead of calling 60+ people, which is just a waste of your time. The alum from your school are likely getting a ton of calls from the many other people at your school that are applying, so they're not going to help every single random kid from their alma mater. You really only need 1-3 strong connections at each bank, so reach out to alumni that you were friends with college, have a close mutual friend with you, or were in the same club/sport as you. These are people who will actually pull for/refer you and get you an interview. After that, it's up to you to land the offer. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 11, 2022 - 3:10pm

Maybe that's the problem. I pretty much know zero 2021 grads since school was online for the first year, none of my friends are interested in finance, and I don't think that a random club is a strong enough connection. But I get a pretty good response rate to my emails so why would they offer to speak if they were planning on pulling for someone else already?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 11, 2022 - 3:17pm

Personally, I've taken calls from students but then had a closer connection or someone else I liked more reach out soon after, or I just gave them information about the firm, job, industry, my background, etc. I would say that most calls don't lead to a referral, but it likely depends on the firm

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 11, 2022 - 4:08pm

You don't have to know them directly. I find it hard to believe you can't find people with mutual friends, someone in the same club/sport, etc. 

Anything where they have a closer connection with you than someone else who just has the same alma mater will give you a leg up. Otherwise, you're just going to have to hope for the best and take your chances of being selected over the dozens of other students with the same background as you

Apr 12, 2022 - 10:52am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why in the world are you targeting recent grads??? They have the least amount of pull and don't have the seasoning to go to bat for you or anyone else really. 

Why are you not looking deeper into your alumni directory? 

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 14, 2022 - 11:19am

+1 to this, OP should be doing much more targeted networking. If you're at an ivy there is a good alumni network across Wall Street. Should be developing connections with these alumni, as they will be the ones pushing for you to interview.

With a 4.0 at an ivy you should be able to get interviews if you're doing it right. Target schools have a huge advantage.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 11, 2022 - 3:39pm

Asian but very Americanized in the sense that I was born in the US, I have a white name, people say I sound white over the phone, and I don't have any internships overseas so idk if that's the issue.

Apr 11, 2022 - 3:57pm
BigChimpin', what's your opinion? Comment below:

You need people to go to bat for you. I think this is a big difference maker when it comes to getting interviews. When you have connections who like you and are willing to go out of their way to connect you with others, this makes a huge difference.

As an anecdote, I interned at a PE shop my junior summer thinking I wanted to do PE full time upon graduation. After realizing a start in banking would better prepare me at the start of my career, I decided to make the pivot to IB recruiting. I communicated this with the seniors at the firm who were well connected at virtually every big investment bank. They sent out emails and helped me get my foot in the door via introductory calls. With that initial help, my preparation took me the rest of the way.

Credentials and prep can only help you once you get your foot in the door… and to do this effectively you need strong referrals who will help you.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 11, 2022 - 3:59pm

How do you get that to happen over a 30 minute phone call? I feel like if you aren't already connected when going to a target school, then the school is basically meaningless if alumni aren't willing to help you out.

Apr 11, 2022 - 4:28pm
BigChimpin', what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think it's hard to establish a really strong connection with someone in 30 minutes. You need more than that, ideally.

Do you have internship experience? Any mentors or senior finance people who are well-connected in the banking industry? These are the kind of people who will make the difference for you; they will provide really valuable referrals. I don't want to sound like this is a one-size-fits-all solution to recruiting… it's such a messy, and often random, process with a fair bit of luck involved. But this was the biggest differentiator for me, a white male who went to a semi-target (not nearly as strong as Harvard). Just stay active and I'm sure something will materialize for you.

  • Prospect in RE - Res
Apr 12, 2022 - 12:18am

How do you explain to your PE seniors that you want to go do banking without them being angry at you for not returning?

Apr 12, 2022 - 12:29am
BigChimpin', what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was just upfront with them… they were very supportive as they all had banking backgrounds and realize what a good foundation it can be. If I return in the future, I will likely have more robust experience that will, in turn, help them long term.

Apr 11, 2022 - 4:46pm
aspiring chimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Maybe think you're doing too many calls. I am in a somewhat similar situation and I only reach out to Alums. Even if you don't have a connection to them they will often respond (or at least as of a month or so ago). Honestly, this whole process is such a roller coaster of feeling like you're failing to feeling like you're about to get an offer. Just stay calm and continue to reach out.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 11, 2022 - 8:03pm

Funny enough my response rates for Asian males are far lower than any other demographic

Apr 15, 2022 - 11:29am
Mifid2, what's your opinion? Comment below:

At a non-target (big 10), struggling as well, have solid MM IB/ECM offer (that says I can move to coverage after 1-2 years) as was top Hold candidate from IB superday - struggling to get other looks, still working butt off to get more looks, going to keep grinding…. 

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 11, 2022 - 10:22pm

Gotta be honest, it's all about making a deeper connection with one or two people. I came from a target with a slightly worse GPA than you, and the people I talked to who were alums were nice and all, but I never really connected with them beyond that. The way I found my edge was through being part of a finance club and working that to the n-th degree. Those connections actually meant something and helped me pull through in more than one place.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Apr 11, 2022 - 10:27pm

A lot of people in IB won't admit this: sometimes IB networking and interviewing is a lucky draw. I truly mean it. I'm working with this Morgan Stanley guy who is incompetent yet arrogant (dude got an MBA from a T14, won't name it in case their alum MS my comment but feel free to take your guess). Have a friend who I think is really smart and hard-working yet he never broke into investment banking and is now working in a small tech consulting firm as a BD manager. I've met brain-dead MF PE professionals and brilliant LO analysts who somehow just don't get their resumes on the top when it comes to HF recruiting. 

Unlike quant/trading/SWE where your first round is likely to be some kind of an online test, in IB there is no such thing. Please don't tell me "math + logic + verbal" and whatever qualifies as hard evidence on whether you can do your job right. HSBC has a bunch of those HireVue or whatever video questions and they don't do shit in screening candidates.

There is a reason why IB and PE people have this prototype of arrogant and snobbish. 

Apr 12, 2022 - 1:25am
NahFAM69, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's what she said! 

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Apr 12, 2022 - 4:06am
maplesyrup334, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's not you man. It's a crap shoot. I am sure you are very well qualified. Banking is not a meritocracy - there is office politics, how likeable you are. You are also probably being looked past because you are that "ivy league 4.0 type that probably thinks he is better than everyone else". Just stay on the grind and some great opportunity will come your way. 

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Apr 12, 2022 - 11:29am

I am going to differ from other comments here and suggest that if you've had 60+ networking calls with only 1 interview conversion (~1%) there is something wrong with your approach. I think it would be useful for you to assess the past calls you've had and see if either is something is going wrong or if you could improve something. Are you only speaking with junior bankers? Hard for them to have meaningful pull. Are you explicitly making an ask at the end of these calls? I.e., asking to be connected with someone else on the team to learn more, stating interest in relevant positions, etc. Start making an explicit ask if you're not doing so, otherwise the conversation just sort of ends. Are you following up with those you've spoken with to keep them updated on what you're doing or something you noticed in the market? "Hey XYZ, thanks again for taking the time to speak the other month. I noticed it looks like your group closed X deal recently - are you free next week to briefly catch up on this? The deal looks interesting to me because X, Y, Z". 

You may just need to play the game better. Everyone is having networking calls, but only a few stand out. 

Apr 13, 2022 - 2:47am
johnny-mnemonic, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You definitely still have time but you're going to have to network harder. Handful of sophomores at my non target are each in 5-6 processes right now. During this school year they've had conversations with almost entire teams to secure these interviews. Look back at your rolodex and see who you can hit up to insert yourself into these processes. Did your school have OCR and resume drops?

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 13, 2022 - 7:05pm

I'm at 30 apps with 12 firms, 3 first rounds, one super day, and second round. Something which has helped me is creating a targeted cover letter. Wish you the best in the process; God knows it sucks ass.  

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 13, 2022 - 11:19pm

Could you elaborate on the cover letter part?

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 14, 2022 - 12:27pm

I submitted cover letters for slightly over half the firms and think it increased my hit rate. I used the CL to name drop people, discuss my past internship experience and what I'm doing this summer (be detailed, I had someone who flagged my resume and CL due to the detail in my past internship work), and demonstrate interest in the group. 

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 14, 2022 - 12:25pm

So it was 30 apps, but only 12 firms. At the firms I got first rounds:

MF PE: one networking call with MD in a different group to what I was interviewing for. Name dropped in my first and second rounds but did not help. Rejected after 2 rounds. 

US BB: lots of networking, 15 people and 50 calls. Had superday where I knew the MD, and all 4 VPs who interviewed me... Still having heard back after a day and a half so... likely an L (which sucks because this firm was tied for my first choice)

US T1 EB: No networking until I got a first round. Then emailed 10 people, and spoke with 4 people. Greatly helped in my second round. Still in the process and they are tied for my first choice. I have contacts at MF PE who work closely with them and name dropped them which the interviewer loved. This one is a bit interesting because a lot of people who intern at where I am headed to end up at this firm (so that might be helping). Similarly pipeline to what GS' global markets has with KKR' DCM

US BB 2.0: networked with 5 people... but I know a global head / senior MD who gave me a resume push and I was contacted by another MD stating that they would give me a resume push as well after first rounds.  

I submitted cover letters for slightly over half the firms and think it increased my hit rate. I used the CL to name drop people, discuss my past internship experience and what I'm doing this summer (be detailed, I had someone who flagged my resume and CL due to the detail in my past internship work), and demonstrate interest in the group. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 13, 2022 - 11:50pm

I think target schools dont help as much as they used to for sure. I go to a top5 target or so, and you really have to consider the limited spots available.

From my experience, every diversity person I know got some sort of offer, and then the 80% of kids who are non-diversity have to fight for the remaining spots.

Apr 14, 2022 - 2:43am
mysteryroop, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Like people have said, a lot of recruiting is a crapshoot and that's for sure a factor for you - I'm at an Ivy with a worse GPA and most people get first rounds on almost all apps - and you should be getting that too just based on qualifications. 

That said, there are some things you could probably be doing to improve - I see your response that you don't know many people in finance, don't seem to be involved in clubs, and aren't reaching out to your specific college alumni. Without a question, those three points helped me greatly with recruiting. Talking to your friends about finance, prepping behaviorals with them, talking about the news, etc. were all extremely helpful throughout my process. Having friends that had gone through the process before and could guide me and answer my questions made me much better prepared and I felt comfortable in the environment of finance. The more people you talk to, the more things become natural and you are able to talk about business and finance in an informed and confident way (important for SD). I don't know what you can do in the immediate next couple of weeks for this round, but I would say in general having a strong network at your school and making friends with similar career interests is one of the best things you can do, especially at an Ivy where people will be placing left and right. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 14, 2022 - 2:49am

Most people get first rounds on every app? How the hell is that even possible? I know for a fact that Citi only interviewed like 20 something students at my school for a first round, and I'm pretty sure hundreds apply/are qualified.

Apr 14, 2022 - 2:53am
mysteryroop, what's your opinion? Comment below:

idk - we might even go to the same school haha I am just saying that from the people that I know, people have had very strong response rates for first rounds. Maybe not 90% but let's say a conservative 70%. I should add that while most of my friends are doing IBD I am doing S&T so that's an additional factor that differs your experience from mine. 

But I think my point still stands - surround yourself with smart and ambitious people that have similar career aspirations and you will experience success in recruiting.

Most Helpful
Apr 14, 2022 - 7:26am
rickle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jul 7, 2022 - 11:21am
osd32a, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Aug 8, 2022 - 8:10am
dengamoyaodna, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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