by Brian DeChesare Comments (26)

How to Switch Banks and Upgrade Your Full-Time Offer with Investment Banking Accelerated Interviews

Investment Banking Accelerated InterviewsSo you made it through summer internship recruiting…

You submitted your resume 131 times….

You interviewed at 21 different banks…

And in the end, you got an internship offer.

It wasn’t exactly the bank you wanted to work at, but you outperformed many other students.

And now you’ve started your internship, you’ve been there a few weeks, and you’re already thinking about what’s next.

Specifically, you want to “upgrade” and move to a bigger and better-known bank with more prestige, better exit opportunities, and, uh, whatever else it offers.

So how do you do it?

First: Do You Really Want to Do This?

We’ve received an unprecedented number of questions about this topic, so I felt compelled to write something about it.

But I have to start with a “Surgeon General’s Warning” first: there’s a good chance you DON’T want to do this.

Many interns go into the job strictly aiming to get something better out of it.

As a result, they fail to focus on the most important task in any internship: winning a full-time return offer.

And if you don’t get that return offer, you are at a big disadvantage because the first question in any accelerated interview will be: “Did you get a return offer?”

Also, there is a chance that your current bank might find out about what you’re doing.

They may not rescind your offer, but if they haven’t made a decision yet, rumors about you interviewing elsewhere will not work in your favor.

Finally, the increase in prestige, deal flow, and exit opportunities may not be worth the time, effort, and risk.

It’s almost like a lower-risk version of reneging on an offer: yes, there’s upside in moving from a 2-person boutique to Goldman Sachs, but there’s far less upside in moving from Credit Suisse to Goldman Sachs.

Step 1: Understand That It’s Quite Difficult to Do

If you’ve read the warning and understand what you’re getting into, you also need to realize this is quite difficult to pull off.

Think about why banks offer internships: an internship is simply an 8-12 week interview.

You can’t “fake” your ability over that long a period, so it’s the best way to evaluate how you’ll perform in real life.

If banks could do so, they would recruit every single full-time analyst and associate from their intern classes each year.

In weaker markets, they do.

In stronger markets, more spots might be available – but it’s never a massive number.

If banks hire around 1,500 new investment banking analysts in the US each year, and summer internships convert to full-time offers at an 80-90% rate, you’re looking at maybe 150-300 openings.

I think that’s on the very high side, so a few dozen spots total in a place like New York City might be more accurate.

Oh, and there might be 100+ interns competing for those spots.

Also, luck plays an enormous factor in this process. Sometimes, banks don’t get a good “yield” from their interns; other times, they do.

It’s impossible to know in advance which firms/groups/locations have the most pressing hiring needs, so you’ll need a broad set of contacts to make this happen.

Step 2: Understand How the Process Works

It’s difficult to find information on this topic because most banks do not market their accelerated processes.

Occasionally, they will hold networking cocktails in the mid-summer period for anyone who’s “on their radar.”

But in most cases, you need to be proactive or you need to be contacted by them because of details they know about you.

The process starts in mid-to-late July and extends through late August, and the larger banks might hold 3-4 accelerated Superdays in that period.

To get “on their radar” and receive invites to these interviews, you generally need to be in one of the following categories:

  1. You interviewed with the bank for summer internships and received an offer, but declined it and accepted an offer elsewhere.
  1. You interviewed with the bank, did very well, but did not receive an offer because other candidates were slightly better – or maybe you dropped out of the process before they could make a decision.
  1. You’re working at a different bank, but you networked with this bank a fair amount and you have some “advocates” at the firm.
  1. You’ve done something closely related, like a private equity internship, and someone at your current firm referred you to the bank.
  1. You didn’t interview with the bank or go through their summer internship recruiting process, but you’ve networked extensively with people at the bank.

If you’re NOT in one of those categories, good luck.

I won’t say it’s impossible to take advantage of accelerated recruiting, but your efforts might be better spent elsewhere.

If you’re still on board, you need to decide on your networking strategy next.

Step 3: Determine How Much Networking / Interviewing You’ve Already Done

This check is easy: do you have contacts at the 5-10 banks (at least) you might consider moving to?

For example, if you’re doing a middle-market summer internship right now, could you email someone at each of the bulge-bracket banks and get a response?

If so, good. Your strategy will consist of emailing everyone you already know at those places.

If not, you’ll need to put in more effort and start reaching out to new people earlier on.

Here’s a simple “litmus test”: do you have at least 2-3 contacts at each of 5-7 other banks with whom you’ve spoken on the phone or met in real life?

If so, you can rely on those contacts.

If not, get back to pounding the pavement (but still contact anyone you do know at those firms).

Step 4: If You Already Have Good Contacts at Banks…

You should keep this outreach effort very simple and use an email template like the following:

SUBJECT: Full-Time [Analyst/Associate] Recruiting at [Firm Name]

[Name],

I hope all is well. I just wanted to give you a quick update – I ended up accepting an internship offer at [Firm Name], which I’m currently completing.

I’ve enjoyed my time here and have done well, but I am still very interested in opportunities at your firm, so I wanted to check with you on the best way to participate in the accelerated recruiting process available for summer interns at other banks.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

Normally, you should stay focused and go for one location, one firm type, and one industry group, especially if you’re an MBA-level candidate.

In this case, though, you have NO idea which groups will need additional full-time hires.

So I would recommend a broader approach (i.e., contact anyone you spoke with if you would consider working at his/her firm).

You can do this via your Gmail account during non-work hours, or queue up the emails and set them to go out during the day.

Spread it out so you’re not contacting people in the same group in the same location at the same time.

You might want to contact 2-3 people, each at a different bank, each day. Start with the firms at the top of your list and move down from there.

You can start this in the mid-July timeframe and continue to the end of the month.

You don’t want to start too early (i.e., early June) because it will look a little odd to say, “I’ve done so well… after exactly one week of this internship!”

If you don’t get a response, wait a week and follow-up with the person, and perhaps shorten the follow-up to a few days if the end of July is approaching.

Step 5: If You Don’t Already Have Good Contacts at Banks…

In this case, you have more work cut out for you.

It’s also tricky because of the problem I mentioned above: it doesn’t sound credible to say, “I just started working here a week ago. You don’t know me. Oh, and how can I join your firm?”

So if you’re in this position, you might want to make it less direct and go for a short informational interview with something like:

SUBJECT: Introduction – Current Summer Intern at [Firm Name]

[Name],

I’m currently working at [Firm Name] as an investment banking summer intern, and I’m interested in a long-term career in the industry. Given your background in [Describe their background], I’m sure you would have many insights into this field.

I know you’re extremely busy, but if you have any advice on working on [Describe whatever types of deals the bank does without directly saying you want to move to or work at the bank… or just ask for advice on winning full-time offers], I would greatly appreciate 5 minutes of your time.”

Reach out to alumni, anyone you can find on LinkedIn, and anyone else you can find using all the usual strategies as soon as possible.

In other words, don’t wait until mid-to-late July to do this; set up short informational interviews, or just a quick email exchange, in June.

And then in July, “make the ask” following a template similar to the one above in Step 4.

Modify the template to read that your internship has gone well at the halfway point, but you’re interested in opportunities at their firm and you would appreciate knowing the details of the accelerated recruiting process there.

Once again, follow-up emails are essential; if you don’t hear back within five days, send a follow-up message.

Step 6: Prepare for Recruiting and Interviews

Assuming you get good responses – where a good answer means “Send me your resume/CV” – you will need to prepare your resume/CV and also prepare for interviews.

You will probably have minimal real deal experience as a summer intern, so you have to spin what you have but avoid going overboard with bold claims.

This article on what to do when your summer internship sucks and you can’t make it better has some tips for spinning your experience.

Unlike in the normal recruiting process, in accelerated recruiting many banks conduct all rounds of interviews on a single day.

I have no idea what happens if that single day happens to be a weekday, but I guess you can come up with a medical emergency…

The large banks might hold a few of these accelerated interview days in August, and then make offer decisions quickly.

The first question in most interviews will be: “Did you get a return offer?”

As mentioned in the article on what to do if you don’t get a full-time return offer, it is almost always a bad idea to lie about this.

If you don’t know yet, that’s a legitimate answer, though they will almost certainly press you on it.

If you say, “No, I didn’t get a return offer,” you’re not necessarily doomed, but you are at a disadvantage against everyone who has an actual return offer.

Aside from that, interviewers will focus heavily on what you did in your internship.

I would not recommend BSing too heavily because interviewers are not stupid: they know that you do crap work in many internships, and that you probably didn’t learn that much in 8 weeks.

You can still frame “independent projects” and self-study as “potential deals,” but make it clear they were speculative and not close to closing.

Another area of focus will be why you’re making this move.

If you’re moving from a boutique or middle-market firm to a bulge bracket, “I want to work on bigger deals” is a not-so-great answer.

The best solution is to research deals the group has worked on, using Capital IQ or Bloomberg or Google searches, reference them and say you’re interested in those types of transactions, and that you also know [Persons X, Y, and Z] at the firm and have heard very positive things from them.

The “Future / Why You’re Here Today” segment in your story is arguably more important than your spark or growing interest in this type of interview.

Got Upgraded Offers?

If you make it through the entire process and upgrade your full-time offer, or you talk your way into a full-time offer when you didn’t have a return offer, great!

If not, it’s probably not the end of the world for all the reasons I stated at the beginning.

Even if you receive no full-time return offer at all, you still have other options (though you may have to “trade down” to find a full-time IB role).

Other Regions, Industries, and More

This article is very US-centric because I don’t know how the process works, or if it exists at all, in other regions.

My guess is that it’s even less formalized and less marketed because off-cycle internships and extended internships are more common in other countries.

If you’re reading this and you know how the process works in EMEA, Asia, Australia, or other places, feel free to leave a comment enlightening us.

This concept isn’t relevant for other industries such as private equity or hedge funds because “intern classes” and “analyst/associate classes” don’t exist in the same sense.

Accelerated interviews might exist in management consulting, but if they do, they would have to be even smaller and even less marketed.

Upgrades 101

While “upgrading” your offer always carries some appeal, the most important point is the one I stated in the beginning: above all else, win the full-time return offer.

If you don’t, hypothetically you might still be able to use accelerated recruiting to win an offer elsewhere….

…but it would be a little like upgrading your car’s exterior while failing to fix the broken engine: you might arrive in style, but you might also crash and burn along the way.

And that’s probably not an upgrade you’d want to accept.

For Further Reading

We have at least a dozen previous articles on summer internships, but here are a few of the most relevant ones:

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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Comments

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  1. Jackson Lo

    Hey, I’m going to be a SA at a notable MM bank in NYC this summer and am interested in recruiting full-time to EB/BB. I wanted to know how I should approach the full-time recruiting process, because I don’t want to jeopardize my chances of getting a return offer if they found out I have been networking at other firms over the summer. Should I start contacting my contacts at other banks at this point?

    1. I don’t think you need to start right this second. Maybe reach out right before you start to say where you’ll be working and that you look forward to staying in touch, and then follow the timing above to start networking midway through.

  2. Hi Brian,

    I worked as a generalist at A a bank this summer and will be interviewing with group B with another bank. How should I answer the question “Have you worked on anything related to group B this summer?”, if I haven’t, thanks!

    1. Just say no, but you’ve learned about what Group B does on your own (if that is true). If that’s not true, just answer them honestly and say no. But I’d encourage you to spin your experience because there is probably *something* that’s related, even in a tangential way.

  3. Hi Brian,

    I’m from China, and I’m studying in a target school in the US. In the past year, I built some connections, and at the same time I was also looking for opportunities in Asia. Right now, I’m doing investment banking internship in Hong Kong and have some good deal experiences, but I’m still looking for full time opportunities in New York. Could you give me some suggestions if I cannot participate the face to face interview? And I am going to reach out my contacts from the next Monday, do you think this is the appropriate moment?

    The M&I and Breaking to Wall Street really helped me a lot when I found my internship. I really like these courses. Thank you so much!

    Eric

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Eric,

      Thanks for your note and for being a BIWS customer.

      Yes I think its appropriate to reach out to your contacts now.

      If you can’t make a face to face interview, I’d try to schedule a video interview/meeting if you can.

  4. I am currently an IB intern at a top 10 league table bank. I come from a non-target school and it took a lot of hard work to get to where I am. I am starting on the 5th week of my internship. Do I give a push to try and get my foot in the door at a GS/JPM/MS/BAML? I never had enough contacts to make any interview process at those shops. Is there too little time left to do so, not forgetting my 80 hour work weeks? Is the effort not worth the jump (versus say coming from a boutique)?

    Thank You!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes you can start connecting with people at these shops via LinkedIn/email. It can be difficult if you’re working 80-hour weeks, so if there’s a chance you can sneak out for coffee to meet with such people this may help. I’d still try to network if you can though.

  5. Hello,

    Thanks for the article. Most of my contacts within these banks are the people I met/interviewed with during my superdays or regular OCR interviews. I didn’t get any of those offers, but would you recommend reaching back out to them to participate in the accelerated recruiting process? Thanks

    1. Yes, definitely reach out to them again. You never know what might have changed or if they might need more people now. It never hurts to ask (no downside, potentially very high upside).

  6. Hey Brian,

    I am currently doing a PWM internship at pretty big regional bank. This bank has a subsidiary Investment Bank that handles all of it’s M&A business. How would you suggest I go about trying to network and get on the investment bank’s radar for a full-time analyst position after I graduate this upcoming without risking rumors spreading and me not receiving a return offer from the bank I am currently interning with? If there are any available articles that could be of help, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Harry

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d keep this discrete and make sure you are still focused on your responsibilities. You may find the articles below useful:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/network-investment-banking-5-simple-steps/
      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-summer-intern-success-guide/

    2. Just to add: in a situation like that, you probably want to contact bankers at that subsidiary bank directly and maybe avoid getting referrals since it’s sensitive.

      So maybe look up people on LinkedIn, or directly via the company directory if possible, and then email them using a non-work email. And just explain that you’re currently working at [Regional Bank Name] and came across their name in the directory.

      I don’t think we have an article on that topic, but one upcoming interview will have the story of how one reader switched divisions during an internship at a bank.

  7. Tom Clayson

    This process does exist exist in London. They have the same summer drinks events for interns from other banks, they ask their current interns to suggest who should be invited. Other than that, you can contact whoever it was in HR that you dealt with when you initially applied for their internship scheme (better chance if they had offered you a place I reckon).

    1. Thanks for adding that. That’s a good point about banks asking current interns who should be invited, as I’m sure it happens in other regions.

    2. This elitist circle jerk will be the end of Europe. I can’t get over the fact that its an invite only type of culture and sometimes feel bad working with these kinds of guys.

  8. Hi Brian,

    Say my bank gives full time offer at the end of my internship (early August), is it too late to start asking around in early August? As you said, I am afraid that rumors may go around….

    Thanks!

    1. I don’t think it’s too late, necessarily, but you probably want to start before that to make sure other banks know about you in enough time.

      Also, you have an advantage if you start a bit earlier because then you can say, “I don’t know about my offer status yet since we only find out in early August.”

      There is a chance of rumors getting out, so I think you have to weigh how much you really want to move to a potentially bigger firm vs. how much you care about receiving a return offer where you’re at.

      1. Thanks Brian. So for now, when I send networking emails to my contacts at banks, shall I phase it like a catch up over coffee? Instead of mentioning the upcoming recruiting at their bank? Should I do even bring this topic up when I am talking to ppl?

        Also, in the article, you said that the interview will heavility focuses on deal experiecence I have this summer. Therefore, shall I prepare the deal discussion as you advised in your networking videos?

        Thank you!

        1. If you have already networked with many people at different banks, do what is suggested here and contact them halfway through and ask directly about accelerated recruiting. If you haven’t met or spoken with the person yet, then suggest speaking for a few minutes first and then come back to them at the halfway point and ask about accelerated recruiting.

          Yes, you need to know your deal experience well. But it is unlikely you will have a ton of deal experience to speak about in only 1-2 months on the job.

  9. Hi Team M&I,

    Been a fan of M&I for over a year now and well done to you guys, interesting articles time after time!

    I’ll be interning with Bloomberg this summer in London and I was wondering if the jump from Bloomberg to say a Bulge Bracket Investment Bank in the City would be a difficult/plausible event? I’m looking to do this summer internship in Bloomberg and then next summer secure an IBD internship in one of the Banks.

    Prior to reading this article, I had planned to meet up with contacts in the various banks (one bank in particular I have up to 5 contacts, but the other 4/5 banks, I have only the one contact or so). Do you think my strategy of meeting up with as many contacts as possible will be a good way to prepare myself for the upcoming recruitment season? Or do you have any suggestions/alterations to it? Would really appreciate your opinion.

    Thanks,
    J

    1. Thanks!

      If you’re just attempting to get an internship at a large bank, I think it’s do-able. It would be much tougher to go from a penultimate-year Bloomberg internship to a full-time offer at a bank.

      For the upcoming recruiting season, I think your strategy is generally fine. People say networking “doesn’t work” in London, but they don’t know what they are talking about.

      This article was really for summer interns in their final years who want to get a full-time offer somewhere else – if you still have another year left, it’s a lot easier to move to a bank in your next internship.

      1. Thanks for the reply!

        Yes, I intend to go from Bloomberg to a penultimate year summer internship at a bank.

        I’ll be following this website even more closely to get help from your articles like “How to network like a ninja”.

        Greatly appreciated!
        J

        1. Thanks, glad to hear it. Good luck with moving to an IBD internship next year!

  10. Brian,

    Is it appropriate to say the bank doesn’t give out full time offers at the end of the internship?My bank only hires analyst from other shops when they have a few years of experience under their belt, never from undergrad.

    Also, this is my third week into the 10 week internship. Would it be too early to email the recruiter with the above template? I don’t want to be too early but I don’t want to miss the deadline either.

    Andy

    1. If that really is the bank’s policy and it’s well-known that they don’t hire undergrads, sure, you could say that.

      I would probably wait until week 4 or 5 to email other contacts so that at least you can say it’s halfway through your internship.

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