Will recruiting ever stop accelerating?


Will we ever hit a wall for when the earliest interviews are held? Heard that Baird did coffee chats with sophomores at UVA for SA 2021 in Fall 2019.

Comments (84)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 17, 2020 - 5:36pm

only way it happens is if schools start to crack down. if the ivies all didn’t let banks recruit more than a year in advance things would return to an appropriate timeline, but unfortunately schools are really the only ones with any leverage over the banks.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 17, 2020 - 11:51pm

true. a whole lot of it is run by the school's finance and investing clubs, but unlikely that those will push back against firms coming to recruit


  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Jul 17, 2020 - 5:37pm

I loved having my junior internship secured during the middle of my sophomore year. I can only imagine how it would feel to have gotten it as a freshman lol. I think accelerated recruiting is good for people who know what they want to do and want to get it out of the way. And for the undecided people, there are still a ton of opportunities later on for them, so I feel like everyone wins

Jul 17, 2020 - 6:26pm

This isn’t quite accurate. I agree with the first part of your statement that accelerated recruiting is good for people who know what they want, but it is simply inaccurate to say there are “still a ton of opportunities for undecided people”. By definition of an accelerated timeline there are less spots closer to the actual start date. Thus, people who didn’t know that they wanted to do something ultra competitive like IB when they were entering college are at a severe disadvantage. The disadvantage is multiplied if you are undecided in addition to non-target.

It definitely has its pros and cons but I feel like for the majority of people it would be better to kick off formal recruiting for junior year internships at least until the summer before junior year.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Jul 18, 2020 - 4:05pm

I mean, there are still a lot of opportunities later on. Most BBs dont even start their main processes until the summer, and some EBs like pjt m&a and cvp, which are very good opportunities, wait until the summer/fall as well. And they're not competing with those who signed for the earlier EB processes because they're not very open to accelerating for those with offers. Then there's even the many MM firms. Having all these processes spread out, with some accelerated and others later, is better imo

Jul 17, 2020 - 5:41pm

Although London summer internship recruiting is still same-year fall. London has spring weeks for first years that potentially convert to summer internships. Not to mention, short programs for high school finalists who are URM. So there are places where banks could accelerate it further in the US.

Jul 17, 2020 - 5:43pm

In my opinion, the real problem is that students who are unsure of what they want their career to be post-graduation are harmed the most. Even if they're incredible students, if they get interested in banking too late (and by too late I mean summer going into Junior year), they could be shit out of luck with most banks. Not to say it's impossible, but to expect every 19/20 year old to have it figured out by then is ridiculous.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 17, 2020 - 7:11pm

No, it will accelerate past the speed of light and break physics as we know it

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 17, 2020 - 11:02pm

My 8th grade brother has been networking with top bucket analysts at top boutiques (think EVR/MOE/PJT), and is currently on track for SA2027 recruiting.

On a serious note though, I think the statement about schools having some say in delaying recruiting is semi-true. However, even though my school's career development tried to stop banks from coming fall 2019, a bunch of places did come and hosted "informal" presentations at restaurants instead of on campus. I'm not sure how much earlier recruiting could get, but delaying it seems just as unlikely

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 17, 2020 - 11:31pm

The issue is that each individual school is at a disadvantage if they individually postpone recruiting, since there are many willing candidates from other schools who will take the spots a given school is allocated. This will probably only work if H/W and super targets like those put their foot down and are joined by the rest of the targets and semi-targets. Even if you could get such an agreement in place, this isn't gonna work anyways due to the aforementioned incentive to break said agreement.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 17, 2020 - 11:45pm

Classic prisoner's dilemma

What’s past is past and can’t be undone. It has led to the circumstances we now face. All we can do is recognize our circumstances for what they are and make the best decisions we can, “given the givens."  - Howard Marks

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jul 17, 2020 - 11:03pm

Was posted elsewhere on this site but relevant here: Recruiting is such a fucking shitshow now. Nobody knows when they're gonna recruit until they start. HR blatantly lies to candidates in OCR presentations ("We will only recruit in the fall, we won't accelerate we don't care about what others are doing") and then turns around spreads misinformation to their own analysts and associates who misinform candidates. You can talk to an analyst in April who tells you that apps won't open until August, then you focus on networking with other banks only to hear from a friend two weeks later that interviews just went out because some MDs got spooked that they would lose all their kids and told HR to fuck off and kicked off the process. Then there's the mess that's exploding offers where you give kids like 3 days to figure out where to start their career breaking all their University career center rules and guidelines but of course they don't give a shit because university career offices are spineless, and hey are they really gonna ban us from OCR next year? And if they do so what? We'll just shoot emails directly to the investing clubs / frats where we get all our kids from anyway and cut the university out of the process altogether and fuck nontraditional candidates even more. And then there's the herculean task of convincing other banks to accelerate your process when you have an exploding offer and they tell you they can't but encourage you to "really consider how much you like our bank; I think you'd be a great fit if you choose wait around for our process to kick off." Essentially telling you to decline the offer and sit dick in hand waiting for them to give you an interview which probably won't turn into an offer anyway but what the fuck do they care. Or maybe they'll tell you to "make the decision that's right for you, but you should still keep in touch when our process kicks off" because they don't give a shit if you renege on another bank so long as they get the kids they want. When I recruited I had three senior employees at three different banks encourage me to renege on an offer to participate in their process. But god help you if you turn around and renege on an offer because suddenly, the same bank that didn't give a fuck about your University's campus recruiting office and their rules three sentences ago suddenly is telling you how your decision is unethical and threatens to snitch on you and you have to wonder why the same 35 year old communications degree holding, computer illiterate, career center lady who couldn't step in to protect you from a bad faith predatory exploding offer can banish your ass to the shadow realm and block you from OCR forever.

The stupidest part is all of this fucks not only the candidate but also the bank. Go ahead, push up the timeline so you're recruiting sophomores in April when they've literally never done a single relevant internship and are only doing this because daddy or their friends told them they can make a quick dollar in finance. And suddenly because you're recruiting those kids in April, your diversity process is happening in February and you can't even ask technicals, because come the fuck on its February, and hell once people have an offer, why the hell would they learn the technicals afterwards? I sure as hell wouldn't.

The funny part is that this literally doesn't happen in any other field even the other highly competitive ones. Software Engineering, Quant Finance, Consulting, somehow all those jobs recruit reasonably in the fall at the same time. Maybe its because those interview processes are meritocratic enough that top candidates don't feel pressured to take a shitty offer because they know they can win a good one and top companies don't feel pressured by shitty companies pushing up their timelines and stealing insecure talent.

And don't even get me started on on-cycle buyside recruiting.

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 18, 2020 - 9:46am

I can summarize it succinctly. If you want to do on-cycle buy-side recruiting, it kicks off before you even start your FT job, so you're interviewing with no deal experience and have to BS when they ask you about the transactions you've been on. Interviews are quick and offers explode in a day. It's fucking hectic.

  • Intern in S&T - Other
Jul 23, 2020 - 1:44am

This is a great summary of what I personally faced in recruiting, and why I won't feel bad if I renege on any bank's return offer.

Good candidates need to start ignoring the finance hype and let this industry fall further at the expense of its disgusting and antiquated practices. It is good that the brain drain has already begun to consulting and tech, and that process should accelerate to ensure the awful finance culture dies out.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 18, 2020 - 12:59am

yeah it's crazy and it forces kids to know they want to do ib straight from the bat. i've seriously heard freshmen hardos come in saying their dream is to get a job at moelis/gs/evercore.


  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 18, 2020 - 2:39am

why tf is Moelis next to Evercore and GS. I guess maybe to your point shows how little they know

“If you ain’t first, you’re last!” - GOAT
  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Jul 18, 2020 - 12:51pm

I mean idk where your comment's coming from, but from my experience at least at W undergrad, Moelis was a top choice for many. There was a strong preference for EBs (and rx/generalist) over BBs in general, especially since they recruited earlier. As others have mentioned, the LA office was especially held in high regard and demanded, but the NY office still very much so. Im curious how much you claim to know?

Jul 18, 2020 - 2:17am

It’s become ridiculous for the internships. This one is confusing to me because it seems like a more recent phenomena. Historically and up to only about 5-6 years back, the internship recruiting always happened in late fall / winter (ending in around mid February or early March). There would be a few events in October / November but that was really it. Not sure what happened to make it accelerate so much, moving up almost 1-2 months each year. I don’t see there as being any winners in the current situation, and it wouldn’t take more than a handful of the top schools (HYPSW) to say we won’t allow recruiting before November, to actually create meaningful change.

Equally ridiculous for the PE recruiting for banking analysts, which basically now happens during training before you’ve done any work.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 18, 2020 - 7:01am

I honestly think that the timeline is the reason banking as an industry has such a diversity issue. who’s more likely to know they want to recruit for banking as a sophomore- some rich prep school kid who’s parents work in finance or a diverse kid without any money who doesn’t have any connections in finance? even diversity recruiting is asinine because it’s even earlier than normal recruiting, so once again you’re only pulling from the candidate pool who knows they want to work in banking by their sophomore year. if anything, they should run a diversity process after normal recruiting and reserve a few seats for people who decide later they’re interested in banking.

I go to an ivy so everyone at my school has great opportunities, but I still know so many really smart people who decide they’re interested in banking/finance too late. Lots of people don’t even think about their careers until junior year, and it’s basically impossible to go into banking without deciding on that earlier. I know plenty of people who went into things like tech, accounting, or consulting because they completely missed the boat on banking recruiting, and many of these people are much smarter and more qualified than the kids who landed banking jobs as a sophomore.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jul 23, 2020 - 2:26am

Diversity candidate from a semi-target with a decent GPA (3.8ish) here.

Decided to go into banking this year (after the diversity program applications had all closed). I second this - I hadn’t even heard about investment banking until last December. I’ve scrambled to get relevant crap on my resume and I’m a till recruiting but I might have to delay graduation just to try for SA again next year.

I’ve met tons of bankers from diverse backgrounds (30 or so) and ALL OF THEM that I’ve talked to had parents in high finance. They attended targets/semi-targets and knew going into college that they wanted banking.

No hate. It’s sick they had that leg up, but it would definitely be nice to have some mercy when you’re trying to break socioeconomic barriers.

Jul 18, 2020 - 9:36am

The bizarre thing to me is in many (if not most) cases, these kids have zero knowledge re IB substance. They know / like the prestige factor, the potential comp, but not the actual work. How does a sophomore econ or fin or anything major know much about income statements, leverage, etc. when they may not have even taken their first course in relevant content.

Seems to me it's a beauty contest of high performing students at high performing colleges. That doesn't necessarily translate into the kid having the right acumen, skill set for IB. It also doesn't give enough time to see how a kid is really doing in college. They haven't taken the more challenging courses, been able to have meaningful leadership roles in clubs, do research or any of the quality differentiators that occur later in college.

Jul 18, 2020 - 10:05am

If banks really care about getting top talent rather than privileged brats they will have to stop accelerating. In the UK recruitment for spring weeks (which can convert to SA and then FT) starts BEFORE the first year of university. They are basically recruiting high school graduates. Some banks also have programs for high school students - but of course only in the UK. So if, like myself, you come from a shitty continental European country with an economy that has been stagnant for the past 15 yrs and where you can only get a job with a graduate degree, you will have no fucking idea how to write a CV or what a cover letter is - and you will find yourself competing against high schoolers with banking work experience who went to Eton or St Paul’s girls school and were made aware of the opportunities. This perpetuates inequality and stifles opportunities for people who are guilty of going to a state school and not being a finance hardo since they were 12. I hope someone finally realises that these super-accelerated programs shouldn’t exist, or should be aimed only at disadvantaged students.

  • Prospect in IB - Ind
Jul 18, 2020 - 12:46pm

An associate I was networking with told me that candidates she interviewed in April were underprepared due to early recruiting - didn't have a solid walk me through your resume / why IB / why [FIRM]

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 18, 2020 - 12:51pm

does anyone know why some firms continue to recruit late? For example, Centerview has recruited in September/October historically, when the other EBs have all gone much earlier - Moelis, Evercore, PJT RSSG were all done in the spring this year. I know it was a bit different last year, but it seems like consistently CVP is the last to go of the EB's. Are they not worried about losing their top talent to other firms?

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Jul 18, 2020 - 3:56pm

Can confirm this. There was an info session on-campus in the spring, and I know a couple people who got offers from there during the earlier EB recruiting process (h/w)

  • Assist. VP in IB - Treas
Jul 19, 2020 - 7:02pm

This needs to stop.

Jul 20, 2020 - 10:35am

This is what happens with college recruiting for athletics in many sports. It's not perfectly analogous since you can't do IB/PE K-12 and prove you're the next Lebron/PJT/Flowers/whomever.

(excluding college basketball bc theirs is nuts--7th/8th grade commits..happens less often for football bc guys have to grow for coaches to make a call on them)

Recruiting timelines have been pretty cyclical since the 2000s. You decided on a college going into your senior year, or fall of your senior year. The coaches gave you the green/red light for admissions support, and it was much more compressed time-wise.

Over the last 20 years, timelines have been pushed earlier and earlier for certain sports--as early as 8th grade commits for certain sports--but eventually the coaches realize the level of risk was untenable given shittier returns. The coaches can renege at any time and find a better player, yes, but then coaches still waste a ton of time justifying the extra recruiting budget, travel, and time spent on emails + fielding texts from 8th-9th grade psycho parents... only to have some kids' grades drop in HS, or tear ligaments, etc.

Eventually, the bulk of the cycle reverts to summer before senior year, before the cycle starts again...commit by Dec. junior year, summer before junior year, etc.

For top recruits (top 5 in the region), the timeline is on their terms given their leverage, of course.

**I imagine there are likely similar situations for legacies and--unfortunately to a lesser extent--incredible musicians, composers, and actors--but I can't speak to those. *

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 22, 2020 - 12:09pm

The UK is even more accelerated, our SA recruiting starts right after our freshman year (our undergrad degrees are only 3 years), but spring weeks (think of it as a super week/insight week) are essentially SAs for 1st years (50% of SA intake have done spring weeks) and to get a solid chance at getting them you gotta apply within 1/2 months of school start.

Jul 24, 2020 - 12:32am

I went to a top target a few years ago, so went through IB / PE recruiting processes that were very fast but still on the right side of the "absurd" line relative to today's kids. That is, I had OCR around the Super Bowl and PE recruiting on MLK weekend. This shit has totally jumped the shark.

I used to advocate for schools being more restrictive with employers, especially a "strike" system where recruiting policy violations mean you don't get to use school rooms for info sessions. But now I realize every college town has at least one nice bar or hotel with an event room, and firms can easily use those to fill the gap. Hotels are also great places to do interviews instead of OCR, so there's frankly no leverage the schools have.

I think this trend is fucking awful for hiring both interesting and quality candidates. Pretty much every transfer is fucked, anyone who comes to finance later in their college career is fucked, and the kids who get hired are the ones who have like one year of good grades or sent around info emails their freshman year (which also degrades networking bc it's so obviously instrumental instead of actually learning more about the job, which is a whole nother topic). So essentially you just get finance lifers (New York kids and legacies), mouth-breathers, or some combination thereof. It blows.

I only think two things can stop this:

1) Public awareness of diversity stats / initiatives becoming so high that firms who care about their image (really the big banks) realize they're missing out on diverse candidates by preferencing so heavily those who are dead-set on finance starting freshman orientation. It won't surprise anyone what the racial or life experience background mix is like for college kids who know wtf investment banking is when they start school vs. the general population.

2) A cartel. It's the classic game theory response. But some kind of recruiting industry-made board that has teeth (I'm talking literal fines) against violators who jump the line, both in IB and PE. This has honestly been tried by several firms, but the urgency is even higher now, because NO ONE, not even the firms themselves, likes this shit.

The one approach that won't work? Arguing that earlier recruiting leads to lower quality workers than later, even though it's true. That's because, just like headhunters, internal recruiters NEVER give a shit, really, about candidate quality. It's about risk management. Just like a headhunter will never get fired for recommending an MS M&A kid who turns out to be just ok after he gets hired to be interviewed at a MF, no HR girl is going to get fired for loading up on H, W, "connection kids" and high-grade semi targets. So she'll try to secure those bodies as early as possible to cover her ass, trust the review / return offer process to manage the rest, and financial firms who largely still think of interns as capacity soakers will be totally fine with her managing the process that way.

  • Prospect in IB - Ind
Jul 24, 2020 - 1:04am

Thanks for this thoughtful comment. I was asked by an MD during a superday if I had taken a full course load at the fairly prestigious public school I was transferring to. (I'm a rising junior.) I said I'm taking summer classes (multiple) which is an equivalent to a full time course load. But I don't have a GPA for those courses yet bc it's the middle of the summer. Sigh. Didn't get the offer...they have kids continuing on at their target schools.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

September 2020 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (17) $704
  • Vice President (45) $323
  • Associates (257) $228
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (37) $203
  • 2nd Year Analyst (144) $154
  • Intern/Summer Associate (134) $141
  • 1st Year Analyst (567) $130
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (548) $82

Leaderboard See all

LonLonMilk's picture
Jamoldo's picture
Secyh62's picture
CompBanker's picture
redever's picture
Edifice's picture
Addinator's picture
frgna's picture
NuckFuts's picture
bolo up's picture
bolo up