Investment Banking Networking: How to Break In

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Investment Banking NetworkingAh, networking into investment banking.

No other topic creates so much confusion – so let’s dive right and see how you use networking to break into the industry.


There are 2 main approaches to networking:

  1. Developing Relationships – Meet bankers at information sessions, during weekend trips, and get to know them over time.
  2. Cold-Calling – Find a list of local boutique banks and go down the list, setting aside an hour each day for calling firms.

Method #1 – developing relationships – works better if:

  • You have at least 6 months between now and the start of recruiting season.
  • You attend a “target” school that many banks recruit at.
  • You’re aiming for bulge bracket banks rather than boutiques.

Cold-calling works better if:

  • This is a last-minute effort and you need a job ASAP.
  • You don’t have access to on-campus recruiting or similar channels.
  • You’re going for boutique and middle-market firms.
  • You’re an undergraduate or recent graduate.

How to Meet Bankers and Develop Relationships

Both processes are similar, but developing relationships takes more time because you don’t want to contact the banker and say, “Give me a job!”

Here’s what you should do to develop relationships:

1. Make Your List

Start with alumni, family, friends, professional contacts, anyone you’ve met at information sessions, and then think about options like student groups, professional organizations, volunteer groups, professors, and even religious groups.

Nothing is “unfair” when it comes to your starting list – if you have Capital IQ access, use it. If you need to “sneak into” other schools’ information sessions, do it.

Aim for 20-30 names before you start your outreach.

2. Make the Initial Outreach

Email each of your contacts and ask for a 15-minute informational interview.

Keep your email to 5 sentences at the most, and introduce yourself by giving your school name, explaining how you found them, and summarizing your work experience.

Then propose 2-3 specific dates and times to speak with them.

3. Follow-Up If You Don’t Get a Response

Follow-up within a week if you haven’t heard back. If you don’t hear back after another week, move to the phone.

Keep these emails very short – 1-2 sentences at most.

And if you haven’t heard back after 5 or so attempts, put the person on the back burner and move onto other contacts.

4. Do Additional Research

Once you’ve set up your call or meeting, spend 20 minutes doing some simple Google and LinkedIn searches of the person’s name and see what you can find.

Don’t go crazy with this – just do enough research to properly frame your questions.

5. Make the Call / Attend the Meeting

Start by asking about the person’s background and interests – always keep the conversation focused on them.

They may “test” you but never preempt this by bragging about your accomplishments or showing off how smart you are.

6. Make Your “Mini-Ask”

As your conversation is drawing to a close, ask them if it’s ok to follow-up with any additional questions you have, ask for referrals, and suggest meeting in the future.

You do this to condition the other person into helping you out. If you never ask for anything in the beginning, it’s weird when you do so later on.

7. Follow-Up

Only follow-up when you actually have something to say. If someone wasn’t helpful or if you have better contacts, don’t feel pressured to stay in touch with  everyone all the time.

Referral requests, advice about job offers, and news of an upcoming weekend trip are all good reasons to follow-up.

8. Make Your “Real Ask”

Once you’ve had your initial conversation and followed-up at least a few times, ask for what you want:

“I hope all is well. With recruiting season approaching, I wanted to follow-up and ask you how I could best position myself for an interview with your firm.”

That’s all there is to it. If you’ve made a good first impression and they like you, they’ll help you.

Otherwise, don’t dwell on it – focus on the bankers who are most helpful.

Even More Relationships

The process above shows you how to set up informational interviews and win interviews like that – but there are other ways you could develop relationships.

Information Sessions

I’m not going to repeat everything here because there’s already a full-length article on investment banking information sessions.

The short version: focus on the bankers with the fewest students surrounding them, chat for a few minutes, collect business cards, and then make an excuse and go off to meet the other bankers.

Quick follow-up is essential because these sessions usually take place just before interviews.

Weekend Trips

There’s no better way to network like a ninja than traveling to New York, London, or any other financial center and spending the weekend there.

Aim for 10 meetings per day (30 minutes each), and make sure that your meetings are in close proximity – you don’t want to be hopping around from Midtown to Downtown Manhattan every 30 minutes.

Even More

If you want even more on this process, check out The Investment Banking Networking Toolkit for email templates and sample informational interviews – and step-by-step detail on how to do everything listed above.

And Read These Articles:


The cold-calling process is not much different from developing relationships: it’s just an abbreviated version. Here’s what you do differently:

1. Perfect Your Pitch

You need a concise 2-3 sentence pitch that introduces yourself and explains why you’re calling – give your name, your school / where you work, and say that you’re calling to find out how to best secure a position at their bank.

Practice a few times in front of a mirror, then practice again by calling companies you don’t care about quite as much at first.

2. Make Your List

Focus on local / boutique firms. Actual people are ideal if you can find them, but if not, just settle for the main lines of companies.

Where should you find this list of boutiques?

  1. Ask a friend with Capital IQ / Bloomberg / Factset access
  2. Random Google searches
  3. The IB Networking Toolkit (Best source – 10,000+ firms)

3. Refine Your List

Before you start calling places, verify that the information you’ve found is accurate – check out each bank’s site first and make sure it exists and that you have the right numbers.

4. Place Your Calls

Now start placing your calls. If you hit gatekeepers, try early morning or early evening – before they get to work or after they leave.

Don’t take “no” for an answer until you speak with someone who’s actually in charge of recruiting – always answer their objections with another question.

“They’re not hiring” – Is it money? Lack of time/resources? They already have someone?

And then offer to work for free, train yourself, or check back next month.

5. Follow-Up

Follow-up at least once a week until you receive a definitive response. Even if it’s “no,” follow-up with the bank once a month to see if anything has changed.

This is just stupid, persistent effort – think like Rocky.

6. Rinse, Wash, and Repeat

Keep at it until you win interviews and offers. If you’re out of local firms to contact, expand your scope and do some traveling.

If you read through all the networking and cold-calling case studies on this site, you’ll see that it really is just 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

Networking Like a Ninja

So that’s how you break into investment banking via networking – whether you want to develop relationships or cold-call your way to success.

For even more ninja tactics and for email templates, video instruction, and real informational interview and cold call transcripts with analysis and commentary, check out The Investment Banking Networking Toolkit.

About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

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231 Comments to “Investment Banking Networking: How to Break In”


  1. Alex says

    Hey Brian,

    I have a question re: sending out emails requesting a informational meeting. In my emails I say that I can meet up at anytime that is convenient for the other person. I got two replies saying that they would be happy to meet up and that I should email them next week.

    I sent a follow up but haven’t heard back (only been 1 day and I figure they are busy so not too worried right now). However, I am hesitant to send out new emails to new bankers incase they schedule a conflicting time?

    How would you recommend I got about this?

    • says

      You need to give a specific date and time, otherwise nothing ever gets done. That is how the real world works – propose something specific, or don’t do it at all. Specific date/time = “I’m free on Tuesday between 1 PM and 3 PM or Wednesday between 10 AM and 12 PM.”

  2. Matt says

    Hi Brian,

    Something crazy just happened and I really need your help! I’m going into my 2nd year of University, studying engineering. So, through a family friend I just got a contact with one of the top bankers in the country (I’m in Canada). This is definitely the biggest contact I could have hoped to get. However I’m really new to the whole networking thing, can you please tell me what I should say to him on the phone call? I need any help you can give me! I really don’t know what to say to him, what to ask, etc., especially for a man of his influence. As some background I’m really looking to get either an IB or a S&T internship for next summer.

    Thanks for all the help!


  3. swiftccx says

    Hi, Brian! A great website! Really appreciate your delication and contribution!

    I have a question to your claim in investment banking informational sessions to “focus on the bankers with the fewest students surrounding them”.

    Conventional wisdom has it that people are economicly rational, which means that candidates will spend more time on those bankers who are most helpful. For example, I want to go IBD as a finance graduate. It seems pointless for me to talk to a technological chief.

    Does it make sense? Wish to hear from you soon!

    • says

      Well of course they have to be actual bankers… I am assuming that the set of people is 100% bankers, no tech people etc. People at top schools are silly and often socially retarded, so they don’t always act rationally / suave (in fact, they rarely do) at networking events and you can take advantage of that.

  4. Rajesh Mukherjee says

    Hi M&I

    I tried using linkedin for networking, I am unsure that will contacting a recruiter is a good idea or not?

    Thanks much

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Linkedin is another form of networking. Similar to you emailing someone as long as you don’t invade their privacy I think its fine. Make sure your profile is presentable though.

  5. Barry says

    Hi! I am recruiting right now for summer internships and I have a granted patent under my name. How can I leverage that more than just having it as a one liner at the end of my resume? Thanks!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Interesting experience – do spend one or two lines highlighting why and how you got that granted patent on your resume in my opinion. Also focus on industry groups that might need your previous experience (that granted you the patent)

  6. SL says

    Hi M&I,

    I talked to a middle market banker sometime during the summer and asked him in the thank you email whether it would be appropriate to send him my resume and asked for referrals, and he still didn’t got back to me. So I got thinking whether it was appropriate of me to ask for referrals only in the second correspondence….

    When do you think is safe to ask them about available job positions or ask them for referrals/contacts? It’s already FT recruiting season and I don’t know if I should continue networking like this (I’m feeling it may already be too late).

    • says

      I would call and ask him instead – emails tend to get ignored. Asking for referrals is fine but at this stage you need to be more aggressive since recruiting is already upon us.

  7. I says

    Hey! This is my short bio:
    - Graduated May 2011 from relativelly unknown American university in Eastern Europe with BA in Business Administration, BA in Economics, GPA: 3.8
    - Did two internships at large local banks, one at Corporate Clinets dept., the other at Financial Markets dept.
    - Now I study MSc in Finance at top Dutch business school

    I would like to purse a career in asset management (sell-side at BB, buy-side in mutual fund, hedge fund, etc.) in the UK or in The Netherlands. I have just started networking.

    Question: Should I just go ahead apply online without having done any networking to the BB banks based in the UK since most deadlines are in October 2011 or is there a better strategy if I want to get an interview? Maybe apply ASAP and try to find some contacts at the banks before the deadlines?

      • I says

        Thanks! Don`t you think it may be a better idea to try to network first, and then apply online (there are still 1-2 months until most deadlines)?

        • M&I - Nicole says

          As you like. It honestly doesn’t matter. I told you to apply first just so you don’t miss the deadlines. You can network in the meantime and tell people you submitted an app. As long as you have solid credentials, it shouldn’t matter. And if you don’t, then you should network ASAP and make a great pitch. But always network wherever you go and whenever you can.

  8. mergerman says

    Hi M&I,

    So for the past 2 years, i’ve tried to position myself to enter into either sales/trading or FA. I’ve worked at Bloomberg, and as a research analyst at dealogic/mergermarket/capiq(one of the above), now i’m currently a consultant that meets with bankers, lawyers, corporates and trains them on how to use my firms product.

    So the person i replaced as a research analyst moved into investment banking but i’ve applied to 30+ positions and sent emails to over 40 individuals and i’m not making much headway(i’ve talked to the former analyst and they told me I should be able to get interviews). October is coming along and I haven’t gotten an interview yet when i’ve been applying since august/sept.

    I’m assuming that 2 week max is probably around how long it takes after applying. My initial plan was to move to HK directly but i’ve cut it down to NY first to get experience than move to HK. I’m not a finance background major but I am business, if i don’t break in this coming year, i’m thinking about going for an MBA to strengthen my finance background and go from there.

    I’m not the greatest at networking but i would think since that I meet with bankers every week that would increase my chances but I haven’t been able to make much of it yet. Any opinions or advice on this?


    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes, an MBA could possibly help you out in your case.

      Yes networking should help. However, you need to know how to pitch yourself too. I’m not sure how you present yourself so I can’t give you concrete advice other than keep on speaking to bankers, sending out your resume and be patient–You’ve only been applying since Aug.

      • mergerman says

        Well since it is part of my job to network and build relations i do a good job i guess in the sense of business. I’m not the greatest at small talk unless there’s a point of interest that I stumble upon.

        I’ll give it some time though, I was just a little anxious as I was told hiring season is September-December and I’m assuming if I haven’t gotten any interviews/offers during this time, I didn’t make the cut. Do you know if they recruit off season? i’m told a lot of banks have a structured recruiting process. That was specifically what one of the VP’s i spoke with said.

        • M&I - Nicole says

          Yeah you should be interviewing b/ now and Nov. Banks do recruit off season but probably not for the formal analyst/associate training programs. You’ll have to go through other ways like your contacts or try boutique banks.

  9. Logo says


    This article is very helpful! Thank you!

    I met with a MD a few days ago. He is very nice and helpful, but he is not working at a group that I am interested in joining. Can I ask him to refer to me to someone else? I feel hesitant to do so, because I only met him once. What shall I do to build up the relationship and when is an appropriate time to ask for referral? Thanks a lot!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Is he looking? Do you think you can learn a lot from him? Sometimes the people you work with matter more than the job itself. are you really not interested in his group or you have some sort of interest?

      If you have some sort of interest (even if you are more interested in another group), i’d try to see if he’s hiring and see if he is interested in you. It isn’t always easy to find someone you click with during the whole job search process btw. If he isn’t hiring, great ask him to refer you

      However, if you absolutely don’t want to work for him or in his group, go ahead, ask. There is no appropriate time. Just ask.

      • Logo says

        Thank you Nicole! I feel it’s hard to follow up after the initial meeting. I sent him a thank you email. What else shall I do to follow up? I feel it is awkward to just send him a random email. But if I don’t follow up, then will it be weird if I ask for help when the recruiting season comes? Thanks a lot!

        • M&I - Nicole says

          Why do you find it hard to follow up after the initial meeting? No, it is not awkward to send him a mail – you need to get over this “awkwardness” if you want to network & break into banking!
          Follow up, say thanks for the advice and time – time is important to bankers. Always appreciate people’s time and generosity to help.
          Yes, it might not be as effective if you randomly shoot him an email to ask for help without following up w him.

          • Logo says

            I mean besides thanking him for his time and help, what else I should do to follow up? Should I send him email only when I have questions? Thanks !

  10. MJ says

    I am an American citizen, working as an analyst for a boutique bank in Sydney Aus. I’m exploring the thought of moving to Hong Kong to expand my international experience however I don’t have any connections in HK. Ideas on how to break into the industry there as an entry level analyst?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Do your colleagues have any connections in HK? Explore that. Quite a few Aussies are working in HK – I’d suggest exploring your network and reach out to them. Cold emailing/calling people in an area you want to work in would also help. Do you speak the language or know the culture? If not, it might be challenging but there are some roles which don’t require you to speak the language

  11. Jan says

    Hello Brian,

    I’ve been a equity trader (mostly day trading) for 4 years now. I landed a job at a proprietary firm fresh out of college (UCLA) with a Economics degree in 2007. Since I work on commission, not salary-based, it has been really tough to survive as a trader. I am considering a switch in career. I’m still very interested in finance, in particularly in IB. How should I related what I do to Investment Banking? Will IB recruiters even acknowledge my experience as a equity/day trader? In addition, my college GPA is bad (under 2.8) and I don’t know if I should really put that on my resume. Now I’m 26 years old and I’m feeling lost and confused. Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks you very much.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes they will even though your experience isn’t directly relevant. I think you should figure out if you genuinely want to leave “trading”. You can always move firms/do other sorts of trading. If you still think IB is right for you, figure out why IB and how you can add value there w your strengths & weaknesses – these are important questions. I’d then highlight experiences in which you’ve perhaps conducted some sort of modelling, valuation work & deal experience (I understand if you don’t have any of the above). Its hard for me to help you on this comments page alone so you might want to check out our coaching/resume editing service.

  12. Ralph says


    Since I am not from a target school, I was thinking of trying to go to recruitment sessions at target schools. Do you think this is a good idea, or do you think I would be wasting my time? If you do think it is worthwhile, then what is the best way to go about networking at other campuses. Should I be discreet about being from another school, or would they not care as long as my resume impresses them?

    • M&I - Nicole says


      Yes, be a bit discreet because the target schools’ students wouldn’t exactly like you being there (you don’t want to be kicked out)

      Focus on obtaining contacts from the banks and contact them after info session

  13. Steve says

    “And then offer to work for free, train yourself, or check back next month.”

    What do you mean by ‘train yourself’?


    Is it ‘easier’ to network if I decide to work in a smaller IB firm, then move into a bigger one after amassing some experience? (I have a relative in a high tier bank.)

    However my GCSE performance is weak, A-Level performance is average (I do have mitigating factors, I believe) and I do plan to apply to a target after finishing undergrad.

    ^- which such an entry profile, would networking help in my case?

    • says

      Self-study modeling programs like the ones we offer, in-person classes, etc.

      Yes, it’s easier to network if you have the right experience first. Networking always helps with a weaker GCSE or A-level performance.

  14. Chris says

    I recently received an interview over the phone for 20 minute interviews for a ny office. i networked with some san francisco office guys a couple of months ago. would it be advisable to email them now letting them know that I got an interview and wanted to ask them about what to expect for the 20 minute interview? I am just now sure what is in a 20 minute compared to a 30 minute and thought this might be a way to follow up on my two contacts. Thanks!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Sure. I don’t think you should worry too much about it. They might ask you behavioral questions and most def why you are interviewing for that job

  15. Christian says

    Is having friends in BB investment banks somewhat a replacement for target school education? If I have a friend who was or still is an md at an investment bank does this give me a much better chance of getting an internship?

  16. James says

    I wonder if we could ask our networking contacts to refer relative? I have a twin brother who is looking desperately for an internship this summer and he goes to a non-target so hasn’t been able to land any offers. I was lucky to land 2 offers.
    Is it advisable emailing the contacts saying like: i have a brother such and such and he would love to pursue opportunities?

      • James says

        Hi Nicole,
        So even to the places that I have declined offers and decline interviews? Would that be rude because i just refuse to join them and now i am asking them for a favor to recruit my twin?

  17. J says

    Hello M&I,
    I have been following your suggestions on cold calling local boutique firms for almost a week. I’ve landed one interview with a boutique for next week, however the position is unpaid and about 50 miles away. I don’t know how much of the work would be “relevant” and how much would be “fluff”, this firm also offers many services outside of IB. On the flip side, I’ve got an interview for an internal audit internship at a large bank(that has a large, reputable IB division), as well as an interview for a corporate finance internship with a large corporation, both of these positions pay very well. My question is this: Suppose I get offers for all three positions. Which would be best on a resume for getting an IB job upon graduation? Thank You!

    PS: I’m graduating in the fall of 2013. I will have time for another internship next summer. I could leverage this internship into a better one for next summer.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I would think carefully re the offer w the boutique because it is unpaid, unless you don’t want the money, the work is really relevant and you will be taking on lots of responsibilities, which I think is highly unlikely. If the brand name of the boutique is strong (i.e. like a Moelis), I would consider it more. You also need to figure out the probability of them hiring you full time after the internship.

      B/ the internal audit and corp finance internship:
      1. If you choose the internal audit internship you may be able to transfer within the bank if you network a lot with people in FO.
      2. If you choose the corp fin internship within the large corp, you will gain transferrable skills. If the corporation is planning to “go public” or “issue new shares” or “expand – do a merger”, you can be exposed to quite a few bankers, esp if they are pitching to your firm.

      If you do get an offer from any one of them, I’d suggest you to ask them to clarify what you will be doing for them. Needless to say, if you only get one offer, you may want to go with that one of you have no other options.

      • J says

        thank you very much for the helpful advice. I researched the boutique firm more thoroughly and it appears that their main focus is brokerage, they just have a small IB division. My sights are definitely set on one of the other two internships. One more question: Regarding the corp. finance internship and the internal audit internship. It seems that networking with bankers would be easier at the internal audit internship but I know it can be difficult to go from back office to front office. (I do have a friend that is an analyst with the IB division, same bank) Would I be right in thinking that the internal audit internship would be better overall for a IB internship next summer? Or the corp. finance because the work is more relevant? Thank you

        • M&I - Nicole says

          As I’ve mentioned to you before,

          1. Yes networking would be easier. But you will have to know how to pitch going from BO to FO. And working there is not a guarantee that you can move to FO
          2. If you choose the corp fin internship within the large corp, the work is more relevant.

          Try to figure out which team/firm/culture you like better, and which environment gives you a better “base” to succeed in your work. Does 1 or 2 interest you more? Make a decision from that space, but from what’s going to happen in the future – because you don’t know.

  18. Eric says

    Hi Brian, I have a question as to what track I should take. I am currently attend the University of Miami studying Finance and Accounting. I have the opportunity to change my degree from Bachelors of arts to bachelors of science, which requires Calc 2 and two more advanced Stat’s classes. The other option is to stick with my Bachelors of Arts and add an Econ minor. I have these options because I have about 5-6 extra classes I can take before I graduate. I currently have an internship this summer at a high level firm doing the institutional side of Asset Management. What track would benefit me the most for IB or a related field?

      • Eric says

        So I should get the bachelors of science, which requires more quantitative classes, (instead of arts) in finance and accounting rather than stay on my current track (bachelors of arts in finance and accounting) and add an econ minor? In either case I will have finance and accounting, the decision is whether to add an econ minor or switch to bachelors of science and do a couple more quantitative classes.

        • M&I - Nicole says

          Hm, I’d switch to the bachelors of science. However, since you’ll be doing finance and accounting anyway, I don’t think it makes a big difference

  19. Reeya says

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you for your advice on networking and how to develop long term relationships! So far I’ve followed your advice and have managed to arrange a phone call next week with an MD of asset management. I intend to apply for their summer internship, and so wanted to ask in more detail about what questions I should ask?

    She gave a speech at the networking event I attended, and so I already know a bit about her background, however I did not get a chance to speak with her in person. I don’t want to ask questions that lead her to repeat what she said in her speech!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Ask her questions like what got her into her role, what she likes/dislikes about her job, what her typical day is like, what it takes to succeed in her role…

  20. Nick says

    Awesome website! I have been reading your articles every day for the last couple weeks. I am getting my MBA from an international university in Geneva, Switzerland in june and will be moving to NYC in august. I have have an average GPA of 3.3. What are my chances of breaking into IB? What would you recommend I do? I am completely fluent in English and have been doing all my studies in that language since 9th grade, I am also a native German and French speaker and also speak basic Russian. Will that be of any advantage to me?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Your GPA might not be strong enough because typical GPA they look for is 3.5
      Your languages can help you when you deal w European companies/clients
      In your case, I believe obtaining IB work experience will help you the most

  21. Brian says

    Hey guys,
    Great website! Wanted your opinions on my current situation. I received my undergraduate degree in business administration and then scored well enough to get into an MBA program right out of college. Unfortunately now this puts me in an awkward position where I’m overqualified yet under-qualified for almost every position I apply for.

    It seems like I am disqualified for the entry level positions because of the MBA, and disqualified for the upper level positions because I do not have sufficient work experience.

    Any advice on securing a position in my current situation?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Tough one. I’d continue interviewing and I’m sure someone would find our skills and experience useful. You might want to figure out your value-add so you will have an angle when you pitch for upper level positions

  22. Connor Hudson says

    Hey I was just wondering how to network with people at a big bank; like how would you get the contacts of these people, and what would u recommend to try to network your way into a big bank

    • M&I - Nicole says

      You get the contacts from reading the news and finding out names of people who have the power to hire you. Attend industry events and go to places where bankers hang out!

  23. says

    I am a current rising senior trying to pursue a full-time IB offer at a boutique or MM IB. I attend a private school in Texas that has an extremely strong network and I am looking to stay in Texas for IB. I am majoring in Finance and have a 3.1 GPA and 3.3 Finance GPA. I am now at a Boutique firm under M&A. Any recommendations to what I should start thinking of in order to have an comp.advantage?
    Also, I am thinking about a BIG 4 opportunity. Any major difficulties/differences I have to look at the moment of applying!?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Network a lot. Know your story, strengths and weaknesses. Have good deal experience in your current role & be able to talk about this in your interviews

      Re big 4, no I can’t think of major difficulties unless they have a GPA cutoff of 3.5

  24. Dominik says

    Say you are a graduate and you get interviews far from home like Ney York or London. How would you fly there if you don’t have the money to? Where would you stay? How would the whole traveling work??

  25. NY says

    I am an NYU undergrad majoring in econ
    My current situation is not very hopeful to land a job on wall streeet
    I Have low GPA 2.9
    I go to a non target (not stern)
    My two internship is from korea (1IB 1PE but practically unknown in US)
    I have korean citizenship
    I dont have much time(will become junoor this fall)

    I have come to a decision that i will jave to network extensively amd effortlessly in order to land a job in Wall st
    I am thinkimg about finding a roommate who works at BB IB
    That way ill have direct network and also ill be able to learn souch from my roommate. What do you think?

    Also what should O be doing,given such circumstance, to maximize my chances in getting a job at am IB firm?

    Always appreciate your contributions on this site.

  26. Jonathan says

    I am currently a Northwestern Undergrad interested in banking. I have a 3.8 GPA in Econ/Math. I will have a PWM at GS this fall and I currently have a banking internship at a MM/Boutique this summer. My goal is to get an internship at NY at either a BB or MM. I was wondering what time should I start networking and the only reason why I am concerned about starting early is because it would interfere with full time recruitment and would be pissed off that some undergrad is doing this so early. Also, I was wondering if I should network with people in the Chicago office since they will ultimately look at my resume.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      No I don’t people would be offended that you start networking early. Networking is not a one-time event. You should be networking all the time! Yes network with people in NY and Chicago!

  27. Yoana says

    I just have a question regarding how to properly follow up. I spoke to vice president of a team within IB in less than a month ago, and I would like to follow up properly. We had a great conversation, and I told her i will follow up from time to time. I can simply ask about her current condition, but I want to find out some good articles and share with her. I know it sounds a bit ambiguous, but can you tell me if there are certain types of article I should share with professionals?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Articles she will be interested in, and this requires you to really understand her needs and are very close to her. Unless you have established a relatively close relationship with her and know her needs, I may refrain from sending articles to her for a while. Professional articles relevant to the industry may be more appropriate

  28. Mica says

    Great article. Gotta a quick question on developing relationships.

    I contacted a senior banker (ED) I found on Linkedin for an informational interview, and he tells me he is no longer in the industry. He wishes me good luck in my job search. Is it worthwhile to pursue this contact, or move on?

  29. Not Graduated yet says

    Dear M&A,

    I “normally” graduate in June 2013.
    Should I apply for any position in IB starting from Sep 2012 or wait untill Sep 2013?

    Thank you!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Depends on your situation. I’d start applying sooner rather than later assuming you’re a junior going fwd, have GPA above 3.5 and relevant finance experience

      • Not Graduated yet says

        Thanks for your comment!

        I am not familiar with junior/senior methodology because I am from Belgium.
        But to get rid of the assumption, I will finish my master’s degree in 2013 and have an internship starting from Feb 2013 – May 2013, unfortunately not in the front office.

        So wait untill Sep 2013 or start already in Sep 2012?

        • M&I - Nicole says

          I don’t quite understand your question? I’m not familiar with the system in Belgium so maybe readers can give you better insights

  30. Violet says

    I’m 13 years old and already very passionate about investment banking. I really want to go to business school (Stanford in particular), and i’m very motivated to get as much experience as possible. Unfortunately, other than reading the various articles on this site, i have no further experience as far as investment banking is concerned. Do you have any advice on some age appropriate and finance related activities/jobs that will help me extend my knowledge. Thank you!

  31. R says

    I work in the same building as numerous bulge bracket investment banks and mega PE funds, however I intern for a boutique in the same building.
    How do I use this opportunity to network with bankers in the rest of my building? Approach random people in suits during lunch hour…? Is there a way I can use my location to get an advantage?

  32. Kevin says


    I go to a non-target school, but I was able to network and had a talk with an MD of an MM IB bank. They sent in my resume to the HR department, but will I stand any better chance of getting selected for 1st rounds because of my network or will I be in the same pool of others who apply else wise? Thanks

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Not necessarily, unless you have developed a strong personal relationship with the MD, or the MD is your relatives’ contact, or … you have contacts that can help the MD bring in more business

  33. Vick says

    Hi Bryan,

    I have to say, your website is fantastic! This article and the video related to it are very useful!
    Nevertheless, there is something that I am a bit uncertain about. I am going to London for several ‘coffee talks’ tomorrow with, in particular a VP from a big American Bank. If I follow your recommendations I should wait for a little while before ‘making the ask’ but the recruitment season has already started and I guess most of the summer analyst positions are already filled. Could you help me figure out a way not to wait long before actually asking, without sounding desperate.

    Thank you very much in advance for your time,


  34. Peter says


    This is excellent advice and I’ve followed it religiously. I’ve been networking aggressively over the past 2 months and have traveled to NYC twice to meet with various bankers. With recruiting season coming up in January for summer positions (deadlines for interviews are mid-January), when should I send out the:

    “I hope all is well. With recruiting season approaching, I wanted to follow-up and ask you how I could best position myself for an interview with your firm.”


    As in a day or two before I actually submit my app?
    Also, is there an advantage to applying right when the application opens (late December)? Or is it OK to wait until January.

  35. Peter says

    What do you think about me emailing:

    “I hope all is well. With recruiting season approaching, I wanted to follow-up and ask you how I could best position myself for an interview with your firm.”

    to bankers that I have met in-person in NYC ONLY ONCE? Would it be premature to ask for this after only one meeting?

  36. Ryan says

    If you went to a non target school is it possible to get a investment banking job at goldman sachs or morgan stanley if you do internships and alot of networking?

  37. Alex says


    Great stuff here; I have my contacts locked and loaded, just need some advice on when to use them (i.e. send them the email asking for an interview).

    The on-campus recruiting application at my school for a couple BB’s opens up on 12/21 and closes 1/15.
    Should I send the “ask” email right about now and submit on the 12/21 or, wait until after New Years to make the move? I’m thinking they may be rushed and in a bad mood with Christmas approaching and trying to cram in work before the break (maybe they have none?). Then again, the early bird gets the worm.

    When should I act?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d send the ask email now and submit the application before Christmas if the application is in its top shape.

  38. John says


    What do you think about sending the “ask email” to analysts I met for about 5 minutes at a school info session? How about to people whom I’ve never met but just heard speak at an info session?

    I know it’s way out there, but what do I have to lose? The worst they could say is no, and there is unlimited upside.

    Am I taking this too far? Will they think I’m pretentious and childish?

  39. Marcus says

    Thanks for the post guys. Just a quick question, I was referred by an analyst over to the human resources coordinator at a bank. The hr person sent me an email after I initially touched base with her saying something like this: “thanks for your interest in bank. Unfortunately there are no positions available currently but if you would like, you can forward me your résumé for me to keep on file in the event a position comes up.” With that said, what things can I do now to make sure that my profile is top of mind for when a position does come up.

  40. Marcus says

    Thanks for the post guys. Just a quick question, I was referred by an analyst over to the human resources coordinator at a bank. The hr person sent me an email after I initially touched base with her saying something like this: “thanks for your interest in bank. Unfortunately there are no positions available currently but if you would like, you can forward me your résumé for me to keep on file in othe event a position comes up.” With that said, what things can I do now to make sure that my profile is top of mind for when a position does come up.

  41. Nick says


    So before I come to my question I figured I’ll give you some background info on myself. I am currently in NYC on a student visa which I received to do some certificate program. The only reason I am doing this is because it was the easiest and quickest way for me to come to NY. I am 23 years old and I already have an MBA from Switzerland. I am also currently interning at a boutique mid-market focused investment bank (M&A). In a month from now I will have completed a 6 month internship at the mentioned boutique. Now to my question: Should I apply for another internship at a better known boutique (think Lazard) or a BB? Or can should I already apply for analyst positions with the experience that I have? (the 6 month internship is the only work experience I have). What challenges will I face, given that I will need to obtain a work visa?

    Looking forward to your answer. Great job with he site btw! Have been coming here daily for almost a year!


    • M&I - Nicole says

      You’ll need to find a firm, be it a BB or not, to sponsor your visa if you want to stay in NY after your internship ends. I’d suggest you to act ASAP. Perhaps your current firm may extend you a full time offer. Otherwise, you’ll have to find sponsorship elsewhere. While having another internship at a better known boutique may make you a more attractive candidate, I’d suggest talking to as many people as you can and secure another offer, be it an internship or a FT offer, in order to obtain your visa so you can stay in NY. You can start applying for analyst positions with your current experience.

      • Nick says

        Thank you so much for the swift reply!
        I just have a couple more questions.
        At what time during the application process do I mention that I would need sponsorship and a work visa? During the interview or in my cover letter? Also the application process on many firms’ websites simply doesn’t work for me because I already have an MBA and I am applying to analyst positions. I simply do not fall into any of their categories for applications. How do I overcome this?

        • M&I - Nicole says

          I wouldn’t mention that in your cover letter because you want to maximize your chances of getting an interview. I’d mention this in an interview, but I would wait for the right opportunity before asking. I’d network A LOT to overcome your situation. I’d start emailing and cold calling people directly and land interviews that way versus applying online.

  42. Alex says

    Hi Nicole/Brian,

    I have a meeting with an Investment Banker in a few days and I am not exactly sure how I can make a great impression during the first meeting. What type of specific questions do you suggest asking? I know being personable and sociable are almost equally as important as being prepared for technical questions; so, how do I balance the conversation with thoughtful, interesting and open-minded questions?

    Thanks and that was a great read!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      First, do a few minutes of research on him beforehand (Google and LinkedIn are fine, Capital IQ / Bloomberg are better if you have access) and figure out where he went to school and where he worked (geography / company / group) before. Once you’ve done that, you can plan out the questions you want to ask.
      You can ask questions such as:
      Can you tell me about how you got started at [Bank Name]?
      I noticed that you studied abroad in [Place Name] according to our alumni database – what was that like?
      I saw that you worked in [Industry 1] before switching to [Industry 2] – can you tell me how you did that?
      I noticed that your group was involved with [Announced Deal Name] – did you work on that?

      People, and especially bankers, love to talk about themselves, so the questions above are much better than the “What does an investment banker do?” / “How do you break in?” variety.

      For more details, please go to

  43. Andrew says

    This might be a dumb question, but when connecting with someone on LinkedIn, what should I include in the message that goes along with the request?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d just send him a short message detailing your background, your interest in transitioning into the industry, and ask if he has free time to speak.

  44. Sean says

    Hi Brian,

    Over the last ~8 months I’ve been networking like crazy and have built some solid connections at several banks. A week ago I sent out all of my follow up e-mails along the lines of: “Pleasure meeting with you during the summer… I was wondering how I could best position myself for an interview with your firm”. I only got responses from a couple of contacts, and several did not reply. What should my next steps be regarding turning these “dead” leads into strong ones? Have I made my “ask” to early on? Thanks in advance.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d probably try new leads because dead leads can be harder to “revive” unless you are friends with them or meet them at regular functions etc

  45. Thompson and Thomson says


    I met an AM portfolio manager last Thursday and sent him an email on Monday. I waited till Monday morning so that my email would be on the top of his list when he came in. If he doesn’t respond by next Monday, should I attempt to call him or just send another email? If I need to send another email, should I send my first email again or just add a P.S. to my first email?

  46. Jao says


    As you mentioned at the beginning of the article, professional organizations could be a mean to meet bankers. I was considering joining (or even volunteering for?) one of them mostly because I’m interested in the topics discussed, but it also appears to be a good way to network.

    But what do you think about attending these events as a student in finance? The dynamics of building relationships look different there. So how would you approach members without annoying them, for they know a student wouldn’t bring them any value?

    And what about networking events? They usually gather entrepreneurs and a couple of bankers, accountants, etc. But it’s the same here, students don’t bring anything. How to avoid that assertion?

    Thanks for your great articles!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes it is a good way to network. Yes the dynamics are different. This is hard to say because it depends on the person and the chemistry you may be able to make some genuine friends. Yes students may not always bring value but most bankers have been in your shoes before so if you are nice and easy to get along with, I believe you maybe able to meet bankers who can help you/advise you. I wouldn’t worry too much about adding value for now.

  47. dylan says

    I know you don’t usally talk about specif ranking and stuff like that but I was wondering if you could tell me if NYU Stern undergrad is considered a target school for BB banks. (GS, JP, ect..)

  48. Charles says

    I am not from a target school and trying to break into BB IBD. I got a business card from someone working at Asset Management in Goldman. Should I try to network with them even if I have no intentions of getting in to Asset Management? I am only interested for IBD. If I should network, how should I go about it? Thanks!

  49. Joshua says

    In terms of recruiting, how prominent is UCLA among investment banks, including BB and boutiques?

    I’ve spent a lot of time researching but I can’t get a clear answer.

    I’ve heard some people say UCLA is a target, and others say its barely a semi-target. Some say that UC Berkeley beats it in terms of recruiting by a long shot and will give you access to NY and SF, while UCLA is limited to tiny LA offices that barely hire anyone.

    Will choosing UCLA over Berkeley dramatically reduce your chances in the recruitment process?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      It is relatively prominent on the West Coast. I’d say it is a semi-target and UCBerkeley may have a better name. I wouldn’t say UCLA will *dramatically* reduce your chances, but it may not be 100% comparable to Berkeley

  50. Dan Rodriguez says

    1. If I’m trying to break into Bulge Bracket Investment Banking coming from a non target what should I accept this summer Goldman Sachs PWM Internship or Big 4 Internship?
    2. Will getting a CFA Level 1 increase my chances of breaking in as a non-target?

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