by Brian DeChesare Comments (45)

How to Network Like Jason Bourne, When to Throw In the Towel, Moving to Different Groups, and More Networking Ninja Tactics

international_networkingHere’s the conclusion to the Networking Q&A podcast posted a few weeks ago – in this one we cover how to network internationally (like Jason Bourne, minus the multiple identities), when to give up, how to make yourself more valuable, moving between different groups, and finance and consulting-specific questions.

A lot of these questions come down to a simple test: How badly do you want to get a job (or internship)?

If you want something badly enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it – you might think there are super-secret strategies to get results for you, but everything comes down to your own motivation.

Part 2:


Here’s a quick summary of the questions we cover within:

Networking Internationally

This was a very common question – lots of readers were looking to move to different countries between internships and full-time jobs.

“How do you maintain and continue to develop a network with recruiters, analysts, MDs, etc. while you’re studying abroad for an extended period of time in a foreign country? How can you make up for the lack of personal interaction?”

“If you work overseas, how do you get to America in office, transfer, and general recruiting networking?”

Giving Up?

Some readers were frustrated with their lack of progress networking, and asked when it’s appropriate to give up.

“When do you think it’s time to actually throw in the towel after all of your networking efforts, developing relationships and cold calling, just don’t pay off? Say it’s May and there’s only one month left before Analyst training which effectively closes the window of opportunity. What do you do?”

“What to do when contacts, alumni friend referrals, are really about to vanish or dry up. I’ve scoured different databases and social networks and am really beginning to run out of contacts after holding over 35 informational interviews.”

Fast-Track Networking

Some readers with summer internships lined up were wondering how to leverage their return offers to move elsewhere:

“If I’m in a position where I get a return offer to my summer internship, but I still have contacts at other places that I would rather work at, what’s the best way to go about networking and getting into those places?”

Your Own Value Proposition

One difficulty that you’ll run into with networking is that it tends to be a one-sided process – they can help you a lot more than you can help them in most cases. But don’t let that stop you.

“I don’t quite understand the concept of networking. As an undergraduate, why would an alumni go out of their way to assist you in finding a job? You don’t have anything to offer them so it feels one sided and embarrassing to ask for their help. Establishing a relationship when they’re complete strangers is really difficult so why would they care about helping some undergrad kid looking for a job?”

“Is there a way to differentiate yourself from other networkers by somehow providing some value to the person you are contacting? What, if anything, might a student have to offer that would be of interest or feel like a contribution for an Analyst, Associate, or more senior person? If there is something that would be well received, how would you suggest working it into the dialog?”

Networking Internally to Different Groups

Another very common question, and one with a similar answer to all the “international networking” ones – you need to get someone to go to bat for you.

“What’s the best technique to make contacts with these people in different divisions and how do you go about networking from one group within a bank to a different group?”

Networking as an Intern

Networking as an intern can be helpful, but you don’t necessarily need to go crazy with it – it’s more important to impress your team rather than getting to know everyone at your bank.

“How are you going to be successful when you’re an intern, in terms of networking for a full-time offer, being able to get to be part of the team or the group that you want to?”

Senior People & Transitions

I wrote that the best way to “prepare” for your full-time investment banking job was to decide on your exit opportunities before starting – because you need to start networking long in advance.

“As your Analyst years are coming to an end, how do you network effectively for the best exit jobs as well as how do you network intelligently with senior people at your firm?”

Firm Presentations

Questions continued to come in on networking events and firm presentations – just make sure you break out of Harold & Kumar mode first…

“How would you prepare for a firm presentation and networking mixer? Would you recommend talking to one or two people for a long time or working the room?”

“For organized networking events, is it appropriate to carry a resume on you? How about meeting industry professionals at events? How do you go from that to then building beneficial relationships that will help with jobs, etc.?”

Finance-Specific Networking

A few finance-specific questions also came in – keep in mind that a straight line is always the shortest path to your goal.

“What sort of advice do you have for someone in small PE firm interested in moving up into the buy-side instead of just the support function in the group?”

“What do you think about non-finance work graduate school, then transitioning through an MBA? What about PhD to MBA to finance?”

Consulting-Specific Questions

Although these are consulting-specific on paper (they went to Kevin), they can apply to finance as well.

“What would be a good networking strategy for on the beach time, basically when you’re not on a project and you’ve got a little bit more free time?”

“Is it good for you if the McKinsey recruiter knows you’re applying for BCG, Bain, other consulting firms?”

“What can you do if you have an interview with two of them on the same day at the same time?”

Linked-In Networking

Keep in mind that LinkedIn is just a tool – it can work very well, but like any tool you need to use it properly.

“How should you network in LinkedIn? Is it appropriate to send cold messages to the big three guys?”

Up Next

I don’t know how much more there is to cover with networking (maybe later this year or next year we’ll do another podcast on the topic), but we’re open to suggestions and other topics you want to hear about.

I’m also working on a series of finance resume templates and videos showing you how to use them, which will be added over the summer.

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Thank you for all of your help as always.

    Through a friend, I’ve been introduced to a few Partners and MDs at some of the top boutiques and have upcoming phone calls with them. I have my story down, why I want to move from S/T to IB, and how my experience ties into IB, but I’m not sure how to end the conversation. Should I ask for more contacts within the company, within the industry, or bring up potential opportunities at those firms?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d just ask them if their firm is hiring and that you’d be more than happy to work for them/or even contribute to various tasks they have. You can experiment working with them on a contractual basis first. I’d also ask if they can connect you with someone else at the same bank you can speak with. If they say no to both questions, you can ask for more contacts within the industry.

  2. Hi Brian, I’m currently working at a large asset management firm with AUM of upwards of 50B and I’m looking to make the jump to investment banking. I’ve had a fair amount of free time on my job, and I’ve used it to broaden my professional network by requesting coffee meetings. In doing so I’ve been using my company’s e-mail software which includes a specialized personal e-mail signature with my company’s name. Is it unprofessional to use my company’s e-mail to network? Is there a significant possibility that my e-mail is being monitored? Thanks in advance.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think it is slightly risky using your company’s email to network. If you do so, try to refrain from saying “I’m interested in your company etc”. It’s fine to use your company email to send emails asking people to grab coffee, but try not to explicitly state that I’m leaving my company, I don’t like my boss etc. Yes your email maybe monitored because it is the company’s “property.”

  3. Jason McDaniel

    If you went to a non target school is it possible to get into investment banking if you do internships and alot of networking?

    1. Sure – see all the case studies and reader interviews here:

  4. Hi Brian,

    I come from a target school and know who the captain is for a BB firm I’m interested in. Do I reach out to him for a 15 minute info interview like I would with analysts?

    Also, is there an advantage to networking with people outside of the recruiting team for your school other than just to learn about the job? Seems like they make the decisions about who gets the interviews, and after that it’s largely based on how you do in the interviews themselves.


    1. M&I - Nicole


      Yes. Cast your net as wide as you can.

  5. hey when you talk about the 3 headhunting firms which gets PE jobs, which ones were you talking about?


  6. Hi,

    For a 2nd year undergraduate who is looking for advice or internship opportunities in an asset management firm, I have 3 contacts who work at different departments in the firm. 2 of the contacts are close friends but one works in the fixed income division while the other in sales and marketing. I would like to meet up with each of them to find out more about what they do. The question is, should I contact them individually and request for a one-to-one meeting or contact one while asking the other along, knowing that the two will probably talk about me if I contact one.

    Thank you.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Contact them individually and request for 1×1 meetings.

  7. Hi Brian, I’ve been in touch with an alum at one firm for a while. I’m still looking for a full-time position, but I don’t think there is any opening at her firm. She asked me how she can be of any help at this point. How do you think I should respond? Even if there is no spot available, I still want to maintain the relationship, so I really want to leave a good impression rather than bluntly ask for a job and have the lead die. Thanks in advance :)

    1. Then ask her for referrals, advice about your situation / how you should go about finding something, or general advice.

  8. Fouad El-Amir

    Hi Brian, I’m new to your site but I’m loving it so far. I’m taking your advice on cold calling to botique investments as you reccomended. My question is 1. who do you ask for when contacting the banks and 2. What do you ask once you find the right person. Thanks and keep up the great material.

    1. 1. Specific person if you can get the name, otherwise whoever’s in charge of recruiting. 2. Ask directly how best to secure a summer internship / full-time position there.

  9. Hey Brian, I had a quick question and I dont think it fits in this forum, but when applying to BB for internship, are we allowed to apply to a couple of offices say NY, London as well as LA, or are we supposed to stick to one? I’m from a non-target school, so i’ll be relying on ppl to fwd my resume. thnx.

    1. You can apply to multiple offices but better to focus on one.

  10. LBOsellout55

    Hi Brian, sometimes when you reach out to ppl for informational interviews, they get back to you saying that they’d be happy to chat with you, but when you ask them what time would be good, they dont respond. This has happened to me atleast 3 times now. A couple of questions.
    1. Is this normal?
    2. How do you make them ‘respond’ to you, as in how should your email to them be structured?
    3. If after 3 or 4 emails, they’ve yet to respond, can I just call them?

    Sorry Brian if the questions come across as stupid :p, but it’s really annoying not knowing what to do when you’re in this situation.

  11. Hi Brian, when you are talking to a VP, what type of questions should you avoid/and what would generally be good ones to ask? Should one adapt a similar strategy similar to that while taking to an Analyst/Associate? thank you brian.

    1. Similar strategy as Associate / Analyst but maybe be a little more formal with how you address him

  12. Hi Brian,
    Quick question: AFter you’re done talking to an associate at a bank, and you want them to pass you on the email address of his/her VP/MD, how do you ask for it in the email, w/o sounding as if the associate couldn’t really be much of help to u..let me know plz thanks.

    1. Just say that you enjoyed speaking with him and would like to speak with anyone else at his firm who might be helpful to you since you learned a lot from your conversation with him.

      1. Thnks Brian, and what if the guy doesn’t get back to you, should u keep asking him for referrals or just move on?

        1. Try 2-3 times and if no response, move on.

          1. And Brian, if he’s not sharing any other referrals with u, does that mean that he is not impressed by you, hence there’s no point of staying in touch with him right?

          2. It could mean that his dog died, that his house burned down, or that he’s a misanthrope… there’s no way to tell, and you can’t take it personally because most of the time it has nothing to do with you

  13. No prob. It’s awesome that you’ve organized all the articles into specific topics. Much easier to look them up now. Great job!
    I got another question though. I remember you mentioned somewhere something like FT recruiting can be different in the sense that if you know someone in a specific group who likes you and is willing to go to bat for you, you could go straight to interview with that group without having to do Superday like generalists. Is that how things work? I’m curious b/c I recently networked with this person in an industry group that sounds interesting to me. Just wondering if I could ask her whether there were any available position in her group for me to interview instead of just asking her to forward resume to HR for regular recruiting. I have a feeling that doing so would increase chance much better than competing with other candidates on Superday…What do you think?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Never hurts to ask, I would talk to her and see.

  14. Yea, I didn’t mean to ask them to do a mock interview, just something like a second in-person meeting to ask them a couple of questions regarding interviews. I was just wondering if it’s OK to ask to meet again after meeting them just two months ago.
    Also, if you’ve talked to, say a couple of people at the same firm and all of them suggested me to send them my resume at the end, should I send it to all of them? I’m thinking it’d be really crazy if five people were going to HR to pass the same resume lol.
    Btw, great layout!

    1. Yeah I think you’re actually fine with sending your resume along to everyone / asking to meet a few of them in-person – the more people who know and like you, the better. Thanks for your feedback on the new layout.

  15. Brian,
    I got a chance to be in NYC this summer and have been doing informational interviews with people at different firms (none of them is alumni), who already suggested passing along my resume. But before they actually forward it to the right folks, how can I ask them to review it and give me some feedback? Plus, is it alright if I ask for another in-person meeting at the end of the summer, so I can sort of have a mock interview with them? (They told me they interview candidates all the time). Some people are incredibly nice, so I just don’t wanna go overboard. Also, since I just have two months to build relationships, how frequently do you think I should email them with questions/updates? I’m thinking of biweekly, is that too much?

    1. You can just say, “By the way, I know you’re busy and understand if you don’t have time for this, but I’ve been working on my resume….” and see if they can offer you a few quick comments. I wouldn’t necessarily ask for a mock interview but maybe just speak with them again and ask how to prepare for interviews. Never send questions/updates unless you have something to say – with 2 months it will be very obvious if you’re emailing just because you feel pressured to stay in touch.

  16. Thanks M&I. Also in terms of networking with people you have interviewed in thew past but haven’t gotten offers from how would you recommend going about it? a) for firms that gave you a direct final round in full time recruiting based on your interview performance for a summer position (this happened on atleast one occasion for me) b) for firms that didn’t give you such an offer

    1. I wouldn’t do much differently – just remind them of who you are, see what they’ve been up to, and ask directly about hiring “I know we spoke last year about recruiting / spoke in an interview, I just wanted to follow-up and check on what your process is now.”

  17. Along the same lines when do you think, if at all it’s appropriate for you to ask them to review your resume.

    1. You can ask after you’ve spoken to them at least once, but I don’t think it makes a huge difference making this kind of request unless you really want their feedback.

  18. Thanks for the great podcast – in terms of asking follow up questions at company presentations do you ask the standard goodvs great analyst type questions that you ak at the end of your interview or do you ask something different (in case the person was pretty clear when he was talking to you about the company and there is not much open to interpretation or question there but you still wanna strike a personal relationship).

    1. I would still be very casual/personal and say, “Hey, I just wanted to know more about you and how you got here…” or find something to joke about. Stay and chat for a few minutes, then say you need to run off to class or something else, get his card, and then contact him later on, “Hey I was the guy who had to leave” and joke about it in your email.

  19. Great article and podcast. In addition, when it comes to networking, I would recommend focusing on how you can be a resource to others, rather than just on how they can help you. Also show that you’re engaged and overperform on any commitments you make – ultimately, people are more likely to help others they feel are likely to succeed.

  20. grossmargin

    Thanks so much for the great art resume and networking articles. Question: I’m from a non-target, but had a very, very good PE internship last fall during my senior year. (I didn’t get an offer but they are a very positive reference)

    Well, I’ve just graduated and am unemployed, trying to network into small Ibanks, but would not mind doing PE of course. When contacting Ibankers I go for the relationship, but with a big fat PE internship at the top of my resume, would it look silly to ask PE firms if they would “discuss the PE industry” with me, and therefore be better to just ask for a job in my cover letter?

    Also, given the economy does it sound to desperate to ask if any full time OR internship positions are available? I’ve honestly got a killer resume (largely thanks to this site) except for my unknown school. Thanks!

    1. Yeah, I would probably be more direct with the PE firms. If you already have a solid internship it would look a bit silly to say, “Oh, I just wanted to learn more about the industry from you.”

      I would probably just ask if there are any “positions” available rather than saying “full-time” OR “internship.” That way you leave it open to their interpretation and get the same information without sounding desperate.

  21. As far as making a connection goes… something that’s helped me in the past is the volunteer work that I’ve done. Some professionals seem to gravitate towards certain service groups more than others, and that’s really helped with meeting people on a personal level.

    1. Yeah that’s a good one. A lot of bankers also feel “guilty” that they are not saving the world, so you can get them on that level as well.

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