HOME Recruiting Mindset

This category is less about tactics or strategy and more about the proper mindset you need to break in and advance in the finance industry.

You’ll learn how to plan for recruiting season, how old or young you can be and still get in, how to spin your background, and even which degrees and certifications might be useful.

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Is Finance Still a Good Long-Term Career?

Starting this site during the financial crisis of 2007-2009 was interesting. On the one hand, it was tough – I had no idea if the business would survive. On the other hand, things were exciting – different banks were failing every day! Much has changed in the nearly 10 years since then, but one thing […]
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Focus: The Secret to Getting Anything You Want?

Is there a secret? A trick to getting anything you want and beating out the competition? It’s a common question. Here’s an example of a message we often receive: “SUBJECT: Extending the advantage I have been going through your courses and articles and picking up knowledge in my spare time. But at my university, it […]
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Which Language Should You Learn to Break Into Investment Banking?

NOTE: This is a rewritten and revamped version of an article that appeared on the site a long time ago. My views on this topic have changed, and I wanted to give more specific tips this time around. Ever feel that you’re spending too much time on useless tasks? It’s a common problem. And it’s […]
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Should You Transfer to a Top University to Boost Your Chances of Getting into Finance?

Are bankers elitist? If you watch any of the classic “money movies,” the answer is a clear yes. The industry has become more diverse, but prestige still matters. A medieval literature major at an Ivy League school has a better chance of winning investment banking offers than an accounting/finance double major with perfect grades at an […]
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The Top 5 Mistakes Career Changers Make – and How to Avoid Them All and Make a Successful Transition

Do you know any company that rejects most of its potential customers? It might seem crazy. What company would willingly turn down sales? But if you’ve ever run a business before, you know exactly why: because you don’t necessarily want to work with “just anyone.” Some customers are not a good fit, others have unrealistic […]
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How to Break into the Finance Industry as an Older Candidate: 6 Paths to Beating the Odds

Are you too old? No question generates more insecurity. And it’s especially bad when it comes to the job market and industries that prefer “younger candidates.” A long time ago, I wrote an article on Age and Investment Banking and attempted to answer a simple question: How old is too old to break in? But […]
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Stuff Investment Bankers Don’t Like: 2016 Edition

Do you get dumber with age? Maybe not, but you do start noticing more and more dumb things around you. No matter how much the financial or hiring markets change, people tend to repeat the same foolish tactics over and over. The last time I addressed what not to do to get into investment banking […]
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Should You Delay Your Graduation to Level-Up Your Internship or Full-Time Job Offer?

As recruiting season finishes up each year, we always get one question over and over. Here’s a random sample from this year’s email volume: “I’ve been meeting some people for coffee according to your Networking Toolkit, and they have been suggesting that I delay my graduation. I am a liberal arts major with a 3.0 […]
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To Change Yourself, Change Your Environment

Did you know I almost didn’t start this site? Maybe. But do you know why? Part of it was procrastination. But part of it was also due to a terrible co-worker. He was the most negative person I had met in my entire life. He dismissed all my business and career ideas as “stupid” and […]
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Your First New Year’s Resolution: Stop Worrying About Minutiae and Focus on the Principles

Do interviews change over time? Sure. While the topics that banks test have stayed the same, the methods of testing have changed quite a bit: more case studies, more real-world exercises, and more conceptual questions. But I would argue that interviewees change far more than interviews themselves. I’ve operated in this market for almost 10 […]
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What You Should Pick for Your Major, 2015 Edition: Is It Time to Start Learning Partial Differential Equations?

“What’s your major?” It’s a familiar greeting if you’re in university, but it’s also a common way for bankers to assess you. If you don’t choose carefully, you’ll have a much harder time breaking into the finance industry. And if you do choose carefully, you might be able to break in even with other flaws, such […]
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Will a Gap Year Really Help You Win More Finance Job Offers Than an Internship at Goldman Sachs?

Do older people give better advice? For example, can a Managing Director, a Partner, or a Portfolio Manager give you better career advice than an Analyst or Associate? You might think that’s a clear “yes” because senior professionals have more experience… …but after watching dozens of interviews and reading even more nonsensical articles, my personal […]
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Your Biggest Obstacle to Interview Success: Trying Too Hard?

Summer internship recruiting season is over. And full-time recruiting finished a long time ago. Maybe you made it through and got the offer you wanted… …but in all likelihood, it didn’t go exactly as planned. Maybe you got an offer in the industry you were targeting, but it wasn’t at the firm you wanted. Or maybe you […]
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How to Get Brutally Honest Feedback and Double Your Results in Interviews, On the Job, and More

Do you know the #1 obstacle you face in winning offers, getting promoted, or even starting a business? You might be tempted to say, “Pitching myself and telling my story properly,” or “Getting to know the right people,” or “Making a product people actually want.” And all of those could be obstacles. But there’s one […]
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Don’t Overestimate the Competition: 2015 Edition

So, you’ve fixed your LinkedIn profile. You’re using my email templates to reach out to and follow-up with professionals in the industry. And maybe you’re already seeing better response rates… Next, you need to reset your psychology and realize that “other people” – your competitors in the recruiting process and on the job – are […]
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How to Fix Your Broken LinkedIn Profile and Create One That Makes Recruiters Come to You

Have you noticed that most “goals” end in failure? There are a few reasons for that: They tend to be vague (“I want to get in shape!”). They require too much work – no, you can’t work 70-80 hours per week and also spend 20 hours per week on a new hobby. They are based on willpower rather […]
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How Finance Interviews Have Changed in the Past 5 Years (2009 – 2014) – and How to Prepare

“Change.” Saying it over and over again might just get you elected President… …and it might also sink your chances in finance interviews if you’re not properly prepared. People like to claim that “interviews don’t change over time,” and that’s partially true. But the recruiting process itself, interviewers’ expectations for you, and the way they […]
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How to Position Yourself for Investment Banking as a 1st or 2nd Year University Student or High School Student: Be a Line, Not a Dot

When do you start? Your first year of university? High school? Middle school? Elementary school? Pre-school? Your mother’s womb? No one knows, but it seems like you need to start “preparing” for your future career earlier and earlier each year. One day, parents might start modifying their unborn babies’ DNA to give them an advantage […]
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Your 6-Month Step-by-Step Game Plan to Finance Interview Prep, Part 2: What to Do in the 2 Weeks Leading Up to Interviews… and the Week After

Nicolas is the founder of 300 Finance Gurus and has advised more than 100 clients on their cover letters and resumes. He also provides strategies on networking, LinkedIn and interview preparation for clients in Investment Banking, Corporate Finance and Private Equity (full bio at the bottom of this article.) “If it weren’t for the last […]
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Your 6-Month Step-by-Step Game Plan to Finance Interview Prep, Part 1: What to Do in the Months Leading Up to Interview Season

Nicolas is the founder of 300 Finance Gurus and has advised more than 100 clients on their cover letters and resumes. He also provides strategies on networking, LinkedIn and interview preparation for clients in Investment Banking, Corporate Finance and Private Equity (full bio at the bottom of this article.) “All men are created equal, some […]
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How to Break All the Rules and Hustle Your Way Into Anything – Jobs, Networking with CEOs, and Yes, Even Free Financial Modeling Courses

“I really want to sign up for your courses / coaching services / buy your $4.95 Kindle e-book… but I just don’t have the money.” Yes, that one might just be one of the funniest comments I ever receive on this site. To be fair, I rarely get this exact comment because most readers understand that […]
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Investment Banking Competitions: The Best Way to Make Up for Average Grades and No Work Experience?

Nicolas is the founder of 300 Finance Gurus and has advised more than 100 clients on their cover letters and resumes. He also provides strategies on networking, LinkedIn and interview preparation for clients in Investment Banking, Corporate Finance and Private Equity (full bio at the bottom of this article.) So you’re not feeling very confident […]
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Plight of the Polar Bear: How NOT to Find a New Finance Job After You’re Laid Off

A few months ago, I offered to help a friend with his job search strategy. He was a junior equities trader who was a few years removed from undergrad and had just been laid off from his job at a top investment bank. Prior to enlisting my help, he had been out of work for […]
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Why Not Even a Boutique Investment Bank Will Hire You – And What to Do About It

“It’s soooo easy to work at a boutique bank, all you do is cold call them and submit your resume and you’re set.” “If I have a 2.0 GPA and no work experience, boutiques will still hire me, right?” “I’m applying to bulge brackets, middle market banks, and boutiques. Can you rank my chances at […]
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Degrees and Certifications: Got CFA + JD + MBA + MD?

After a long absence, my favorite topic is back: no, not GPA rounding, ranking the banks, or re-assuring you that your “career path” is correct, but degrees and certifications. Despite my best efforts to bash certifications and give snarky responses to related questions, there’s still confusion on what banks care about, what you can do […]
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Age and Investment Banking: How Old Is Too Old to Break In?

UPDATE: Please see the “Part 2” follow-up article to this one, on 6 ways to beat the odds and break into the industry as an older candidate. That article expands on what’s here and gives you tips and advice for what to do as an older candidate. There’s no issue more sensitive than age. Ok, maybe […]
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The Myth of the Career Path

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how you can start your own hedge fund, make $1 billion per year in cash, and then retire at age 30 with enough capital to buy several countries. So today I’m going to give you the exact set of steps you need to do all this: all you […]
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The Secret Experiment I Just Performed On You – and Why You (Still) Shouldn’t Overestimate the Competition

Back when I was deciding on what bonuses to give away with the Investment Banking Networking Toolkit, I was stuck. I had been so busy creating new videos and products that I didn’t have anything new to give away beyond what was already available. So I had the idea to give away a few free […]
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How to Spin and BS Your Way to Success in Investment Banking

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Not sure why you want to do investment banking? Don’t know what you did in your last job besides watching YouTube? Haven’t the faintest clue what your “story” is? Then you need to learn how to spin. Lying is bad. But spinning – making yourself seem […]
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How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Recruiting Efforts and Get Into Investment Banking with 1/10 the Effort

“Pls add periods to all sentences. Pls change spacing to single-spacing everywhere. Change all heading fonts to size 16 everywhere. Have on my desk by morning. Thx.” You spend a lot of time on useless tasks in investment banking. I get questions on how you can be more “efficient” – but it’s almost impossible, because […]
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No, You Can’t Have It All: Why Finance Does Not Guarantee You $10 Million and Your Own Beach in Thailand

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.” – Helen Keller I almost decided not to publish this article. But it needed to be said. This one is long – so grab some yerba mate, take a seat, and close your YouTube window before […]
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5 Lessons Rocky Can Teach You About Getting Into Investment Banking

“Ok, I’ll give you $25 for him.” “Sold.” Had it really come to this? First, his wife’s jewelry and now his dog? When you really need the money, anything goes, right? It had all started with dreams of being a movie star, and now he was here – broke, and selling the last of his […]
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Stuff Investment Bankers Don’t Like: The CFA, Your Activities, Your Ph.D., and More

NOTE: This is a really old article. Please see the revised version here and leave a comment on the new version instead. Our views on everything here have changed significantly! I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately: many readers have the wrong idea of what will help them with investment banking recruiting. Thinking that they need to […]
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Warning: Don’t Give Up on Getting Into Finance Or You Might Miss… a Free Trip Around the World?

One email I’ve been getting lately goes something like this: “I just don’t know if I can get in anymore, there are so many qualified people out there… what chance do I stand if the market stays like this?” Everyone agrees that there are fewer finance jobs now than at any time since 2002-2003. But […]
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