In an earlier article I wrote about my “favorite question ever,” but I might have to take that one back because one reader managed to top it recently.
With a topic near and dear to our hearts: Brick Breaker. I guess since Leveraged Sellout featured it I should have expected some questions – I just didn’t think it would take this long.
1. I just tried Brick Breaker on my friend’s Blackberry the other day but hated it and could not get past the first level. Am I doomed to never get into investment banking?
It’s ok if you don’t like Brick Breaker, but how could you not even get past the first level? The beginning levels are pretty easy.
If you can’t even get past level 1, you’ll have no luck working all weekend.
2. Having perused your site, I would find our Singapore client to be most fitting. I look forward to your response.
What does this mean? I get inquiries like this all the time that make no sense.
3. Can you put up rankings of all the different groups within banks? I want to see the most prestigious groups everywhere.
I stay away from “ranking” places as much as possible because things change very quickly and because you should be more concerned with getting in wherever you can as opposed to only focusing on a few groups – especially in this market.
4. What would you invest in right now? Do you have any tips?
Didn’t you read Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Banker? We don’t have any “hot stock tips.”
I don’t invest in the stock market at all because I can generate higher returns elsewhere.
5. What is the worst thing you’ve ever seen on a resume?
The worst resumes I see are from college kids who somehow have 3-4 pages describing their “careers.”
I’ve had VP and MD-level customers before and with 10+ years of experience their resumes are not this long – so why is yours?
6. I’m about to get an interview, but they want to see my resume first. I’m nervous because I haven’t had any finance experience – should I write on my resume that I can work hard and am very enthusiastic?
No, this is a really bad idea. Remember that “Show, don’t tell” rule you learned in elementary school? The same applies to resumes.
7. I’ve had 2 banking summer internships before, but in my most recent one I did hardly any modeling and didn’t do much real work. Should I leave out the most recent one so I don’t get questions on it in interviews?
If you’ve had a summer internship, you need to list it – you’ll get lots of questions on what you did during the summer otherwise. I would keep it in but make it clear upfront that it was more of a qualitative role.
8. I had a part-time gig a few years back where I got in an argument with the manager once. Will that show up in my background check?
Unlikely, unless you listed him as a reference… most of the time they just verify that you worked somewhere over a specified time period.
9. My GPA has changed by 0.2 between when I interviewed and now. Am I going to get in trouble during my background check?
Unlikely. They understand grades change somewhat between when you interview and when you start, and 0.2 is within the “acceptable” range.
10. I’ve been getting a poor response from alumni I’ve contacted – what should I do?
Assuming you are not saying anything foolish in your emails, you should try to expand beyond alumni and think outside the box to come up with other contacts in the industry… leave no stone unturned when it comes to networking, even if it seems completely random.
11. I have a finance job, but I don’t know how long it will last – I’m thinking of going to New York to do some networking, do you have any tips?
You can go if you want, but I would consider other regions as well… NY has been particularly hard-hit since it’s the center of everything finance-related. Make sure you have enough meetings lined up to make it worth your time (i.e. not just 1 or 2) and look beyond the larger banks.
12. I am not getting a response from one of my contacts anymore after several emails – what should I do?
I would call him if you have the number – that tends to get peoples’ attention more than email, which is easily ignored. Failing that, I would make a note to reach out to him every few weeks and check anyway – persistence plays a huge role in networking.
13. I have an information session coming up for a large bank. How can I do my best to stand out?
Try to speak with as many people as you can and be yourself. Focus your questions on them rather than talking about yourself and avoid too much mention of work or anything finance-related… they hear more than enough about those topics all day. Also don’t get drunk or abandon your common sense.
14. I have a list of boutiques I want to interview at, what is the best way to contact them if I have no relationship?
Cold-calling is the way to go, forget about email. Emails get ignored, whereas phone calls are more difficult to ignore and help you connect personally with whomever you’re trying to reach.