Here’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.
Here’s a quick summary of the questions we cover within:
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?”
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.”
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
“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?”
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.?”
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?”
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?”
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?”
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.