by Brian DeChesare Comments (320)

How to Break Out of “Harold & Kumar” Mode and Use Investment Banking Information Sessions to Break Into the Industry

information sessions

“Uh, this is actually a two-part question. I’m applying for a summer internship at Brewster Keegan, and I was wondering:

a) what it’s like being an investment banker and

b) if you would write me a recommendation.”

-Kenneth, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

If you’ve been to any investment banking information sessions lately, you might be reminded of that scene in Harold & Kumar with all those Princeton kids crowded around Harold asking him “what it’s like being an investment banker” (oh, and for a recommendation too).

If the sessions are crowded with 10 students surrounding each banker, how do you make a good impression and use them effectively?

You don’t.

Ok, that’s an exaggeration.

Information sessions can be part of your strategy, but you should never rely on them. If you are in the position to use them, here’s how to do so without looking like Kenneth.

Why Most Information Sessions Resemble That Scene from Harold & Kumar

There are a few reasons why information sessions usually range from marginally helpful to completely useless:

  1. The obvious reasons – far too many students attend them, and it’s tough to get 1-on-1 time with any bankers.
  2. The barriers to entry are too low. Anything you can leverage that other people can’t gives you a big advantage when doing some investment banking networking – but anyone can attend information sessions.
  3. There are many ways to screw up but very few ways to genuinely impress the bankers there (credit to Management Consulted for this point).
  4. Informational sessions occur late in the recruiting process, right before a resume drop – at that stage it’s hard to spend time developing new relationships, so you can’t gain much of an advantage.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t go to any sessions. It’s just that you shouldn’t focus on them – and you need to spend most of your time networking outside the sessions, even if those efforts start with contacts you made at the sessions.

But They Must Be Helpful for Someone, Right?

2 groups, in particular, have the most to gain from information sessions:

  1. “Early starters” – anyone in his or her 1st or 2nd year at the university level who still has time to develop relationships. This concept is less relevant at the MBA level.
  2. Anyone going to a “non-target school” – somewhere banks don’t recruit at – who attends sessions at a more heavily-recruited school.

The first point should be intuitive: of all the relevant factors when breaking into investment banking (networking, resumes, interview skills), developing substantial relationships through networking helps you the most – by far.

With more time, you can develop deeper relationships and gain a much bigger advantage in recruiting.

On the second point, keep in mind what we said above: anything you do that others don’t automatically gives you an advantage. It’s not common for students to attend information sessions at other schools – so you can stand out quite a bit by doing so.

If the session is focused exclusively on alumni, you may draw some negative reactions – but if it’s big enough, you can usually find at least a few bankers who are receptive to your cause.

Even if you’re not in one of these 2 groups, though, you should still consider attending at least a few information sessions.

What to Get Out of Them

This one’s easy: contacts. Sure, there are other ancillary benefits – such as finding out more about the industry, seeing if it’s right for you or not, and making a good impression on anyone involved in recruiting at your school.

Those are all fine, but with the possible exception of the last one there are other ways to accomplish each one.

The advantage of information sessions is that you get to meet dozens of bankers in the span of a few hours – it’s like speed dating for jobs.

Just like speed dating, you won’t develop real relationships with everyone you meet – but efficiency-wise it’s hard to beat information sessions.

Rules of Engagement

So you’re in the midst of the investment banking networking process and have decided that you’ll go to at least a few information sessions as part of your recruiting strategy. You’re contacting alumni and acquaintances on your own and making lots of other networking efforts outside the sessions, but you figure it can’t hurt to check them out, right?

Sure – but you need to make the most of your time.

Recall what we said above about the ease of screwing up compared to the difficulty of impressing bankers – most of the guidelines below are more about not making mistakes rather than being a star.

1. Don’t Be Kenneth from Harold & Kumar

Don’t ask stupid questions that can be easily answered elsewhere. Make your discussion personal and specific to the background of the person you’re speaking with – stay away from “Where is the industry heading?” or “How do you like being an investment banker?” type questions.

Better questions: “What was your background before getting into banking?”; “You mentioned that you work in the Financial Sponsors Group – have you worked on any of the big consolidation deals lately?”

The difference between a poor question and a good question lies in the specificity. To pull this off, you need to spend your time asking open-ended questions and listening to what they say.

2. Don’t Be Urkel, Either

By the same token, you don’t want to be so detailed in your questions that you scare them away.

People often get the idea that it’s good to ask questions like, “So do you provide both bank debt and mezzanine financing to your clients in addition to comprehensive M&A advisory services?”

Pretend you’re meeting a new friend – not that you’re reciting a laundry list of finance terms to your professor.

You should approach interviews the same way as well: go for the personal connection rather than reciting obscure technical concepts.

Yes, it’s good to do your homework and be knowledgeable about the industry – but it’s also good to come across as someone who bankers could stand to be around at 3 AM while fixing typos in a pitch book.

3. Get Business Cards from Everyone

Don’t spend too much time speaking with any one individual – maybe 5-10 minutes at most. Your goal is to make a good impression and come across as likable rather than just another guy/girl from Harold & Kumar.

Most importantly, make sure you get a business card and contact information from each person you speak to – there’s no point in going to information sessions unless you get this information and then act on it.

Focus on anyone who isn’t surrounded by 10 other students (if they exist).

4. Follow-Up Within the Next Few Days

This goes back to the point above on barriers to entry: it’s very easy to go to information sessions. What’s more difficult is following up with bankers you meet there and developing relationships.

From my own speeches and presentations, I know that typically less than 1% of event attendees ever bother to follow-up – even if they’ve made a connection and have direct access to someone who can answer many of their questions.

There is absolutely no point in going to information sessions unless you get business cards and then use them to start conversations with bankers.

5. If There Are 10 “Kenneth”‘s Surrounding a Banker, Don’t Hesitate to Jump in Anyway

So what do you do if there are 10 students surrounding one banker and no one else is free or there aren’t many representatives there?

Jump in anyway – with more interesting questions than anyone else is asking. Remember, most of the students there will not have read this article and are still in Harold & Kumar mode, wondering “what it’s like being an investment banker.”

If you’re bold and ask pointed but appropriate questions, you can stand out and shift the banker’s focus to you right away.

Think about most of the bankers there: they’ve just pulled an all-nighter, gotten off a flight, or dealt with some annoying, high-maintenance client. After the session, they’re about to go back to work for even more of that.

The last thing they want to hear is another “Kenneth” question – so take a bold approach and don’t be afraid to jump into a large group with a question that doesn’t inspire them to dive into an acid-coated shark tank.

They might just like your style.

Other Tips

There are tons of other small tips you could use in informational sessions: dress well (business attire – don’t look like you’re about to go to a concert or like you just got back from a funeral), gravitate toward alumni from your school (if the session features bankers from multiple schools), and don’t spend too much time on anyone you already know.

Combined with the points above, these will set you apart from all the “Kenneth”‘s out there.

Other Breeds of Information Sessions

The type of event covered here is just one breed of information session. Other sessions are more like job fairs, where you walk around and literally have first-round interviews on the spot; still other sessions only have a few representatives from each company and they’re more about exploring rather than breaking in.

The more specific the information session, the more helpful it is for you.

Here’s a real example from my own history:

Right after I returned from Asia several years ago, I attended the Boston Career Forum, an event focused on jobs and internships in Japan.

Since you had to be bilingual and had to have some experience in the region, the barriers to entry were high. And as one of the few Westerners there, I stood out even more.

As you’d expect, there were not as many opportunities as you’d find at a more general US-focused job fair – but the “conversion rate” from interviews to offers was much higher. I won multiple offers from a single weekend of work, even though I spoke with fewer than 10 banks/finance firms.

If you want to gain a real advantage in networking, you should seek out targeted opportunities like this one.

Further Reading

I did some research while writing this article and came to a sobering conclusion: like so many other areas of finance, there’s hardly anything online that’s both valuable and specific. I found some good discussions on message boards, but nothing comprehensive that went through all aspects of information sessions.

The closest resource I could find: Kevin from Management Consulted gives a good overview of consulting information sessions, and many of his insights apply to investment banking information sessions as well.

If you know of other helpful resources on this topic, please let me know or write about them in the comments below.

Breaking Out of Harold & Kumar Mode

If you follow everything here, you’ll be in a better position than 90% of information session attendees.

You don’t want to follow a “Jack Bauer” strategy for information sessions (torturing bankers to get an interview is not recommended), but you definitely don’t want to follow a Harold & Kumar strategy.

So use common sense, and please, no questions on “what it’s like being an investment banker.”

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. Avatar
    Undergraduate Rising Senior


    Would you say business casual is good for info sessions? Or suit and tie?

    1. Suit and tie to be safe

  2. Hi,

    I’ve been seeing summer internship information session/networking event opportunities by firms; however, it is stated that it is for penultimate students. Would it demonstrate drive if first years email and enquire if they can attend? Or is this not a plus from a firm’s perspective.

    1. Sure, but you probably won’t be able to win a formal internship at that stage. It could be useful to start networking that far in advance, though.

  3. Avatar
    Thomas Wade

    Is it best to try and meet with VP/MD’s or with analysts at banks? My first reaction would be that you would want to meet with someone with higher power but in the end will it be the analysts who will pick out your resume or be able to get you an interview?

    1. It’s always best to contact senior bankers because they have more decision-making power. If you cannot or do not feel comfortable doing so, start with Analysts and then move up the ladder by getting referrals from the Analysts to senior bankers.

  4. So for this event only 1 alum is showing up. He’s an MD at a boutique. I actually contacted the VP to set up a coffee meeting before finding out the MD was coming to my school. My question is, since he’s the only speaker, how do I even go about introducing myself when he’s most likely going to be swarmed? Do I wait after everyone leaves? etc

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes its best to wait till everyone leaves and then go to the venue – just say you’re late and catch him then. But don’t be too late so you miss out on meeting him. This way you save time and can avoid the crowd.

  5. What should I be doing as I am 15 years old? Can anyone tell me good places to network in the UK as I can’t find any significant places to network. Thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You’re only 15! Great head start. I’d focus on learning more about valuation and the industry vs. networking. Of course if you can find a mentor that maybe ideal but it may not necessarily happen quite as fast since you’re still very young!

  6. Hi Nicole and Brian
    Thanks for the post. I’ll attend an alumni networking event in NYC in September. I’m an Asian female student, and I noticed that all other female participating students are Asian. How can I differentiate myself and make alumni remember my face/name from others in networking sessions? I have some start-up experiences before, should I talk about my experiences in these events or should I focus on asking alumni’s personal background?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      It is hard to stand out in networking sessions. I’d suggest that you ask for their name cards and connect with them individually after. I would focus on asking the alumni’s background, and not talk about yourself too much unless they ask. People like to talk about themselves in general.

  7. Hi. I’m an international student, who attended a US target school(top 15, ivy or ivy+) with a lackluster transcript(even when the college eliminates bad grades on the official transcript). I majored in economics and now am working at the central bank of my home country(one of the IMF advanced economies).

    I had an offer from an IB macro research division but refused it because it seemed without a master’s in finance or economics moving up would be difficult.

    I’m dissatisfied with the money I’m making(which is well above what average people make here, but based on US standards it’s only top 7~8% of my age group)

    I’m looking to improve my GPA through math courses on LSE external
    and going for a master’s or an MBA in the UK or France.

    Should I attempt to keep moving into IB or try it after the master’s degrees?
    Are those masters degrees important at all?

    Thank you for your advice.

    1. P.S. My experience is about 3~4 out of undergrad. I’m looking to go into an associate position in an IB now or in about 4~5 years time(after the masters, probably).

      1. Avatar
        M&I - Nicole

        Best to try now because it maybe harder to transition in 4-5 years

    2. P.P.S The money offered at the IB macro division(local branch) was only a little higher than what I am currently making.

      1. Avatar
        M&I - Nicole

        Sure then try to look for another role at an international bank

    3. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I may actually try to move to asset management focusing on macro (versus micro/equities) given your background. IB maybe tougher to break into. If IB is your goal, perhaps going to a masters at a target university may help, but you’ll still be competing against people who’ve had deal experience. So I may actually check out macro research roles at boutique/bulge bracket banks – they probably pay more than central banks

  8. So what questions should I be asking these recruiters/analyst alumni that I can’t find the answer to already on this blog?

  9. Hi Brian, Nicole and M&I team,

    I came back from a company presentation at my uni yesterday, talked with several bankers and got the business card from a MD. And another associate says he would love to help if we send him email to ask questions although he didn’t give the business card. And I wrote down the name of another director although I didn’t talk to him.(I would figure out his email address.)

    Could you tell me when shall I send a thank-you email and what shall I say in it? Should I directly ask them for informational interviews, or just thank you and later on send them another email to ask for informational interview? Or shall I attach my CV at the thank you note and say how can I position myself for an interview with your firm? (BTW, I’m in London so I don’t know if that will work and even be permitted).

    And, the situation is I’m an non-native speaker and I’m not so good at English at the moment, consider I may run the risk of not knowing how to keep an interesting conversation, should I still asking them? Any advice?

    Thank you sooooooo much!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes I’d send it ideally within a day after you’ve met them. I’d write a brief note and perhaps recap what you have talked about in the conversation. I’d also express your interest in the area and ask if they’re free for a brief chat. I would give them your background (1-3 sentences max.) in the email but I would not attach your CV

      Questions to ask:

      1. Ah…It has alreay been 2 days, seems I missed the best timing. Anyway I’ll still do that.

        Thanks Nicole!

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Follow up on Monday or Tuesday then.

          1. So, that means it is generally inappropriate to email or contact them during weekends? How about alumni on LinkedIn if I want to send them messages to meet up sometime?

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            I wouldn’t say inappropriate but you may want to contact them during weekdays because people probably want to be left alone on the weekends.

            Yes LinkedIn is fine.

  10. Hi,
    I am a rising senior at a target school. I have had M&A advisory experience at a boutique bank after my sophomore year. I worked in consulting at one of the big 3 firms this summer and recieved a return offer. But I really want to go into banking. The problem I have is that my school thinks that I have violated discipline and under the code of student conduct, I might get suspended upto 1 year. I have appealed the decision but in the meantime I am looking at boutque banks in LA to work during this fall. Do you think suspension on my transcript means every bank will close its door for me? Also, when I network with Alumni I dont know what I should tell them. I really want to tell them the truth but I am afraid they will never talk to me again. I have a very high GPA and everything but I dont know if suspension means everything is over for me. I will really like to know what you think and how banks view suspension on the transcipt.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Not necessarily, you just have to explain why you got suspended. Craft a good story to spin that. Of course, being suspended can be viewed as a red flag. With the above being said, you can spin your story to “rectify” the damage. If you’re just networking with alums, you don’t have to mention your suspension until you’re in discussions with them re internship opportunities at their firm over fall. At some point, you’ll have to be straight up because they’ll eventually find out; this is why I said having a good pitch is very important

  11. Avatar
    AK Singapore

    Man you gotta help me. I just graduated from Michigan Ross with a BBA and a Phd in cocaine and weed- I mean rich dad almost OD’ed type of Phd. I did not do shit for 3 yrs hence I have a shitty gpa. Other than that I did do 3 internships coz I would leave Ann Arbor and relatively sober up each summer.
    Now when graduation came along with unemployment I decided to get clean and have been sober for 2 months.
    I was gonna pack up and go home to work for KPMG as a shitty consultant but then found the Work Holiday Program in Singapore. Here I am, I hauled my ass all the way to the far east coz Jim Rogers/Marc Faber and Zerohedge said so, unemployment is 2%, taxes are 2% and the Singaporean govt gave me a work visa.
    Now how do I break into financial services here? I have no good answers for why I-banking/hedge funds, while I do make a great first impression on people coz I’m a 22yr old trying my luck in the big city they get impressed by my risk-taking initiative, I think it fizzles out coz I look like a half-dead coke head.
    The buldge-bracket already hired for this yr, UBS told me to wait 6 months and then apply- suck my d*ck UBS

    Any advice? maybe boutique banks? Hedge funds?
    Private Equity and Venture capital interest me the most but thats hardly what I can get into being just a graduate right.
    I can manage the fit questions well, technicals thats like rocket science

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes the market isn’t great so it takes time for spots to open up, and it is pretty standard for banks to tell you to wait for a few months. You may want to try boutiques because their recruiting process maybe more relaxed, meaning they may be more open to take off-cycle interns/analysts. Sing isn’t too renowned for PE/VC, though quite a lot of HFs & fund m’gmt firms have offices there. You may want to try the latter and gain an internship, even if it is unpaid so you get your foot in the door. It’s a matter of persistence and trying the same places over and over again.

  12. Brian,

    I attend a non-target university in Michigan. How can I find out about where information sessions are being held?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      They are usually held in target universities. Perhaps you can check out UMich’s schedule and see when banks are going to be on campus. You can then try to see if you can make your way to an info session.

  13. Dear Brian and Nicole,

    I live in an eastern European country and am finishing up my Bsc in finance and accounting at a local international business school offering a joint degree at Oxford Brookes Uni. in the U.K. I have gradually developed a genuine interest in financial modelling and corporate finance, and have also worked a year as a B4 auditor whilst completing two years of uni parallel via distance learning (having thus experienced formidable 100 hour weeks with study and work hours considered).
    Upon graduation I will be devoting one year to getting professional education via the ACCA and CFA exams as well as an IB-related course such as BIWS to make myself more internationally competitive and to enhance my knowledge.
    Given my situation, and considering that the IB profession is virtually non-existent in my country, hence there being basically no personal networking and internship/analyst possibilities, how would you suggest I proceed if I wanted to get into the leveraged finance group at a boutique firm such as William Blair?
    Alternatively, if this is virtually impossible do you think that going into the valuations group of a B4 firm would be a valid alternative given my affinity towards corporate finance and financial modelling?

    Many thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      If there are no opportunities around your area, you can either move to hubs like London (if this is feasible) or you may have to join other firms such as a big4. Yes the valuations group would be a valid alternative.

  14. Hi Brian
    First of all I must say that your Website is amazing!
    I will go to a swiss university in September (to recieve a Bachelor degree it takes only 3 years). I really want to get into Investment Banking. As I know that experience is as much important as high grades, I am looking for an internship after my first year. I contacted some recruiters of UBS, CS and also boutiques, but the general response was that they don’t give any internship before the 3rd year. To maximize my chances to break into the Investment Banking industry, I would be glad if you could tell me if there are other opportunities for a summer internship…
    P.S.: -may it be possible to write a short Report about IBanking in Switzerland?
    Thank you in advance,

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Thanks for your message. I think the best bet for you is to approach boutiques and smaller firms as they are likely to be less structured and may be able to give you an internship before you graduate. Please see
      Thank you for your suggestion. We will keep your feedback in mind!

  15. Dear Brian,

    I am co-founder of a company and I have just found couple of investors who wants buy my shares &the company. I would like to move into M&A but I’ve graduated from a non-target school in business in 2010. Would you advise me to do certifications or MBA-MSc before applying for a job in investment banking . ?

    1. At this stage, a normal Master’s degree (not MBA) would probably be the most helpful.

  16. Hi Nicole,

    Firstly I would like to thank you for writing this article. I’ve graduated from a non-target school ( in top 40 in the UK) in Law with Business with a 2:1 in 2011. And I was working as an international sales manager for a textile company. And I’m now thinking to lend a job either in IB or PE. Would you recommend me to do CFA/ACCA or MBA.Or something else? Regards

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think your chances are decent, though you’ll be competing with candidates who have had experience in IB. I’d suggest you to learn the operations of a textile company inside and out by working in a textile company for a few years, get into a top MBA school, and try to break into PE in their operations side. This may take a long time (6-8 years+).

  17. How do NESCAC schools stand on target/non-target school lists? (i.e. Williams, Bowdoin, Bates, etc.)

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I wouldn’t say they are target schools.

  18. hi, does your major in college matter for ib/management consulting job recruiting? i go to cornell and am majoring in industrial and labor relations(ilr). ilr is seen more as a prelaw major, but im interested more in business (while open to law)and choose the major to have more flexibility. if i have a high gpa and take biz and econ classes, do i have a good shot? would it be a good idea to minor in business, econ, and/or information science with this?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes if you have a high GPA, I’d minor in business/econ if you want to do anything related to business. This demonstrates your interest in business to employers

  19. Hey, my name is Shyam. I am still a senior in high school but I have a real interest in investment banking. I do not think I am in a target recruiting university… So what is the best way to start. I was also wondering how you learn what to do in investment banking? Like do college finance classes help? Or is it mainly the internships that help? I would really like to start early and preparing for this! So any help is appreciated! Thanks!

    1. I will be going to Texas tech university and majoring in finance. Is Texas tech a target school?

      1. Avatar
        M&I - Nicole

        No, I don’t believe so. UTexas McCombs is though (semi-target I believe)

        1. I am a Junior at Michigan State and was wondering if it is a target,semi-target, or non- target school for banking? We have a few that recruit here (Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, also a few middle bracket) and I have a past internship in finance(capital budgeting) with a government department. What do you think my chances of getting an internship at a middle bracket or if possibly a bulge bracket bank would be with modeling bootcamp certifications, a 3.64 GPA, and some school organizations(investing club, finance association) on my resume? It is second week into first semester of my junior year, and I am currently working on getting numbers of bankers. What would be a good time to start calling to set up informal interview and meetings with them? Sorry for all the questions, hope to hear back because I am stressing. Thanks lol!

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes, finance classes help. Having internships in IB will definitely help (more so than having taken classes in finance). The articles below will help you:

  20. Hi I attended a networking session for a bulge bracket investment bank back in October, approximately 2.5 months ago. I know in this article you said to follow up immediately after the networking session, but would it still be okay to follow up with the person I networked with right now ? They probably forgot who I was, but I was just wondering.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes, they probably forgot who you were and it isn’t the ideal situation. Following up might help – you never know, though you have nothing to lose

  21. I am a sophmore student in HIGH SCHOOL at one of the top 10 prep schools in NYC. I see a lot of my classmates who already have a foot in the wall street door because of connected parents or relatives. What can I begin to do as I progress through high school in order to make steps toward become a banker. Are there any internships for high school students in NYC that you can recommend. I love this blog (even though half of it doesn’t make sense to me) and thank you for your help.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Thanks a lot for your comment. Woah! You’re in high school and are already thinking about breaking into finance! Good for you! I’d approach your family friends & friends’ family members, find out if anyone of them is in IB in NYC. If so, I’d ask them for an intro and offer to help out as an intern (paid or unpaid). You’d then get a head start and be able to have some finance experience in your belt before you look at formal structured internships in your junior year in college. I’d suggest getting into a target school like Stern, Columbia, Wharton (even Georgetown, my alma mater) to increase your chances of networking and breaking in

      1. Hi Nicole,
        Great article. just noticed that you said you attended Georgetown. Did you graduated from MSB, COLLEGE or SFS? i am curious because i want to switch out of MSB to College(i want a liberal arts education for my undergrad and business for grad school. Assume i will still be taking finance classes in the college). I am dead set on banking and many MSB people tell me not to transfer. Do you think staying in the business school will have a better chance getting a wall street offer?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes I believe so. I graduated from the MSB. You can still break in from the College but chances are higher via MSB

  22. Hi Brian,

    Do you know of any graphical representations of the Banking Industry as a whole ( AM, IB, S&T, etc) that breakdown the structure of banking to provide a basic framework?

    Basically, i am looking for individual “flow charts” or “breakdowns” for the industries in which i am interested so that i can visualize the exact location of a position and who they interact with or provide support for. But i’m coming up empty handed…

    (ex) a tech coverage group in ECM.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      This simple flow chart should explain the structure

      Corporate clients and PE firms –> IBD –> ECM –> Sales & Trading –> Institutional Clients (Buy Side – Long & hedge funds)

  23. Hey everyone! :)
    How should I follow up after the session?
    I want to get an internship, but I can’t just ask for one, right?
    Should I ask for a informational interview or just thank them and say “I hope to stay in touch with you during the recruiting proces” according to “overview of consulting information sessions”
    Please help!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes follow up

  24. Avatar
    Yuting Zhu

    I’m currently first year graduate seeking summer intern in financial service. Attending numerous info sessions.
    When talking to the recruiters surrounded by 10s of other I feel embarrassed and rushed if I try connect personal experience with him and free chat. coz other got bunch of position related questions to inquire. Like do u sponsor visa…..which I think could be found on website. Thank you for your guidance! Fantastic blog here!

    Also, do u think I should introduce myself as Yuting or Julia(English name since primary school but seldom used among friends), I think americans can’t remember foreign names.

    Thank you, thank you~

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Introduce yourself with a name you are comfortable with. Haha, I think Americans do remember foreign names – you may stand out more using Yuting

  25. Hi I attended an info session & talked quite well with a Senior manager. He said he would not give out business cards in info session, but I found his email address on google. Is it actually adequate to contact him? Cuz I feel like if he refused to give business card then he might be kinda unwilling to be reached? I dunno… Please help me :)

  26. Avatar
    craig williams

    hey im applying for the barclays capital analyst program in the investment banking division….during the application process i got stuck in 1 question….
    describe a recent development in investment banking industry. what implications does it have for the division you applied for?
    …. please help me answer this….thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Find a recent development in the banking industry and talk about how it may impact revenues of the division going forward

  27. Hi I am a bit skeptical about informational interviews at my scholl (the University of Hong Kong). Since in the presentation (before the networking) the presenters will try to persuade students to apply for back office positions (human resources, technology, operations) but during the networking process there are bankers from back office and front office. The problem is that anytime we ask a banker for their business card they say “oh I don’t have any left´´ and if we ask for their email they just say “ask the human resource person if you want my contact´´ and then if we do that then the human resource person will just say “no´´

    What should I do in that case?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Just ask them for their names and figure out their email addresses on your own through google or calling the bank’s switch board.

      I’d also try to strike up a decent & interesting conversation with them and they may speak with you after

    2. Hey! I’m from HKU too. What I do is try to stay until the very end (or until the big crowds left) and try to ask again politely for contact. This usually works for me – I guess they just avoid having to give out their name cards to “Kenneths” in the group.

      Or else, I’ll just do what Nicole suggested.

  28. Hello Sir,

    I am Ravi from India. Thank you very much for answering all queries i have asked you so far.

    I would like to know from you regarding the career scope in Operation Division in Investment Banking.

    What do you think the demand for jobs in Operation division in IB, in India and all over the world ?
    Is it going to be in demand always or to be sluggish ?

    Thanking you,

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes there’ll always be demand for that though readers may be able to offer you better suggestions because we focus on front-office related roles

      1. thank you very much for your reply. i welcome others to comment on my question.

    2. There will always be some demand, but there is also greater risk because operations is often the first to be let go in the case of a downturn or recession. There are some benefits, such as better hours and still relatively decent pay, but most readers prefer to be in front office roles due to the greater potential for advancement.

  29. How do you exactly follow-up after the infosession?
    I attended many of them, got business cards from almost everyone, but now what? I don’t think there is any point in sending out an email saying “it was nice talking to you at the infosession” right? What should my post-info-session-follow-up email contain?


    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes. Email them.

      I hope you engaged in some sort of conversation with bankers too

  30. Hello,

    I go to a non-target school (UCSB) so any information sessions I go to are at least two hours (UCLA) or more (Cal) away. Is there a good way to follow up with someone who is hours away from me?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Still attend the info sessions if you can. Perhaps you can time it so you can attend more than 1 info sessions a day, though I believe different banks do come at different days. Yes, email/call them – it doesn’t make a difference because assuming BAML NY comes to your school to recruit, unless you live in Manhattan, you won’t be meeting up w your contacts unless you travel to Manhattan and schedule meetings with them

      1. Thank you.

  31. Hi Brian

    Many thanks for your efforts. This will probably come back to haunt me at some point but having grown up in Madrid (where one hopes to be offered a card, otherwise you’ll be seen as pushy) I’m not very confident on how to ask for a business card from London bankers. I wonder if you could offer any advice as to how to actually phrase the request?

    Last time I asked I said something along the lines of “I’d like to stay in touch, would it be OK if I wrote to you in the future?” I was told “it would be better through them [HR]”. At information sessions I’ve heard bankers say “I don’t have any” to the few who dared ask . . .

    What do you think?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      “It was very nice speaking to you. I was wondering if I can contact you in the future to further our discussion? Perhaps you might have a business card with you?” Just ask & see how it goes.

  32. Avatar
    Indranil Lahiri

    I am Indranil Lahiri.Right now am pursing MBA from IIPM, India and also doing Masters of Investment and Financial Analysis(M.I.F.A) both the courses on distance learning basis and also doing my father’s job on compassionate ground in a government organisation. I am looking forward in shifting my career into the corporate world and becoming a successful investment banker. Sir can you please suggest me whether these courses will help me and whether my experience will help me in becoming an investmetn banker.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Not really. Perhaps an MBA from a target school will help you in your case.

  33. Hi, I go to one of the top-tier schools with a high GPA. In my sophomore summer, I was offered a trade/sales internship at a bulge bracket investment bank. I was overly self-satisfied to have won such a hard position, and I decided to reward myself by having a good time in manhattan that summer. Go dating, partying, always get drunk in weekends; I had given my least focus on my internship. I was always late, and for few occasions I showed up at work with a hangover. Looking back, I don’t know what I had been thinking. I don’t think I have a chance of ever returning to that company again, but could this effect my chances at other firms as well? Are the H/R in the top firms all connected, so that I might already be on the black-list for the whole IB industry? I need your help.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Haha, I don’t know what you did that summer. If you haven’t done something too drastic, no I don’t think you’d be blacklisted at other companies. Other hiring managers may call your last boss to seek a review on you though so be prepared for that. No, HR at top firms are not all connected but they may know of each other though I wouldn’t worry too much because there are plenty of other candidates to focus on (unless you became notorious from that summer)

  34. I am 29 years old, and have been working for past 6 years in various sectors within marketing, however not banks yet.
    Off late am very keen to join IB within Asia. i do have an mba but not in finance neither from a very known uni.
    do you really think i can pull it off without cfa or any banking experience in my cv.
    i have been following your blog, but i would like to know if its possible and worth it at my age.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Honestly tough case. If you really want to be in finance, I’d aim for marketing roles for finance firms, not banking.

      1. But they don’t make as much as people do in IBD. Also i thought investment banking ( analyst/associate ) role IS the marketing in Finance. What else can be the marketing roles in finance firms, and be equally paying and interesting?
        What about Wealth/Asset management?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          IB roles do involve quite a lot of marketing and pitching but the marketing roles I referred to were roles in AM, not in IBD.

          It is likely that most other marketing roles in AM will not pay as much as roles in IBD now, though this may change going forward given the recent cut in bonuses. Interesting – it depends on what interests you

          1. Thank you so much.
            So could you please guide me towards landing a role in AM (Asset Management i assume).
            Following the same tips as on this site, like networking etc. would be enough? How else can i prepare theoretically?
            Your help is much appreciated.

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            If you want to get into the buy side, getting a CFA would help.

  35. Hey, I just finished my freshman year at Duquesne University. Not sure if you heard of it. It is highly regarded by companies in the Pittsburgh area but it’s not really a well known school for a national viewpoint.

    Next summer, i hope to intern with one of my dad’s friends at a bank (not an investment bank) and then the summer after that i hope to get something at an investment bank or Big 4 accounting firm.

    this may sound odd, but reading all of this makes me concerned that i may not know enough. i havent had any actual finance classes but how much training does the bank give you, if any? I am very good with excel, at some we were required to take a class on excel but the other stuff has me concerned.

    thanks for taking my question and thanks for this site. it has been really interesting to read!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes they do train you at IBs but its best if you have some basic understanding of modeling before you join the firm. You can try out the free videos on and you’ll have a better understanding of the level of modeling banks are looking for

  36. Hi,
    I am entering my 5th year at the University of Texas. I am in the integrated accounting program (Masters after completing the 5th year) and am in the process of completing my second internship with a Big 4 accounting firm. However, I am extremely interested in IB.

    Is UT a target school, and more specifically, what will a banker think of an accounting major who waited till their 5th year to recruit for an entry level position? Will it differentiate me from the crowd if I will have a Masters degree and a CPA certification by the time I start? Or, will bankers not care.


    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think UT is a semi target? Believe quite a few firms from Texas would recruit there

      UT has a reputation for its business program, though probably not as prominent as programs such as Wharton’s or Stern’s

      That may set you apart though its ideal if you have had strong IB experience. I think equity research peeps will appreciate the CPA/accounting background a bit more

  37. Hi, I was wondering when I should ask for referrals to some connections I have. I know that if I just apply online, I won’t have a good shot at getting interviews. I’m just a little confused about the order of things when applying for summer/off-cycle internships. Thank you!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You should start asking for referrals now. Internship recruiting starts beginning next year though banks do hold info sessions in fall. I’d network as soon as you can …

  38. Loving this site, thanks for having such a comprehensive resource for all kinds of people trying to break into banking.

    I’m about to be a Junior at Bentley University (non-target school) majoring in Economics-Finance. I’m pretty positive I’ll be ending with a 3.7 GPA, currently I’m at a 3.6. I’ve been heavily involved with the stock market since high school, and currently I have an internship at a local hedge fund doing equity analysis and have a high position in the investment group at Bentley. I understand how important networking is, and so far, I’ve gotten very poor results from informational interviews and sessions. I always become nervous at them and barely make any strong, worthwhile connections with the bankers. I’m quite hell-bent on being an I-banker out of school, but many people have convinced me I’ll simply be blown out of the water by Ivies and target schools. I guess my real question here is do I have some sort of shot/what do you suggest I try to do in the next two years of my college career to help me get my foot in the door? I do understand I need to network much better for starters, but is that all I can really do at this point?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      This article should be useful

      Join an investment club and trade your own mock portfolio (seems like you’re doing that already)
      Know your weaknesses, strengths, why you want to break into banking & your story well
      Start cold-calling and set up meetings with people in NY. Go to NY and meet up w bankers …

  39. Avatar
    Vincent Pun

    Target Schools: I have got accepted by both UC Berkeley Haas and Brown University and plan to work in iBanking in the states before going back to Hong Kong. Which is a more targeted school in US and internationally? I think that a position working in Wall Street may mean more internationally, so, thus far, I think Brown is where I plan to go because it’s an ivy league, though not as targeted as HYPS and Wharton. Is it correct that Wall Street recruit more from Brown than Berkeley? And, does working on Wall Street mean a lot more than working in banks some where else, like San Francisco? How about technology investment banking, like working for catalyst as an intern? Thanks so much.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think both are somewhat similar though Brown may have a better name given its an Ivy League school

      Wall Street firms may recruit more from Brown than Berkeley given Brown’s location on the East Coast though I don’t know how many firms recruit there

      I believe the deals you’ve been exposed to, your performance, and the name of the firm(s) you worked/work for are more important than the location. However, since most top firms (and top firms usually have access to bigger and more prestigious deals) are located on the Street, people naturally choose NY over other locations. Hence, having worked on Wall Street does give you credibility. With the above being said, firms at different locations are renowned for different areas in finance.

      I think SF is renowned for being a VC, tech, tech IB hub. For other finance related industries/IB, I think Wall Street may be a better hub.

  40. This is a bit unrelated but I am in my last year of high school in Australia and am very interested in a career in investment banking (and, to a lesser extent, in management consulting). Do you have any tips for what I can do at this early stage that will make it easier for me to break into the industry once I finish business school?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Join an investment club. Gain finance internship experience. Learn modeling.

      1. Are investment clubs at university really worth the time? Is it easier to get internships at bulge-brackets, middle-market firms or boutiques? I’m pretty sure that detailed modelling isn’t available on this website so are there any other reliable sources of information that you would recommend.
        Also, I am applying for accounting cadetships to undertake during my university years and consider myself likely to get one. However, I am not allowed to do double-degrees while doing an accounting cadetship. Would a commerce-law double degree be more favourable in banking than a two-year stint at a big 4 accounting firm?
        I’m sorry for all the questions but I find that all your information and feedback is incredibly reliable and helpful. Thanks so much for all the information that you have provided on this website!

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes, I think they are. Yes detailed modeling courses are available at

          I don’t think the two options can make a big difference to you breaking into banking.

          What will truly help you is having experience in IB and the network

  41. Hello.

    I’m about to get a B.A. in Traditional English from Macon State College & I’m 26. There’s an interesting reason there I’ll save you. I could finish a grad degree in 2 years and want it to be an MBA or Actuarial Science diploma; probably not Ivy but I’m willing to spend some money to apply since I have a natural aptitude for Investment Banking. I’m from a small town relative to Atlanta in GA where souls stay to simmer on financial plateaus. I have had to facilitate a lot of my own education. Never thought I had a head for numbers, but over the past year I have had a mental revolution.
    I’m beatifically obsessed and want to find a conference / informational session like this in my area. How skill-based is the competition and is there a way–apart from seeking out awards, certification, or street-level experience–to break into this business?

    Best Regards,

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Skill-based: I think it depends on how you present yourself, a bit of what you know, who you know, and your determination to break in the industry if this answers your question.
      Gain solid work experience in IB and network a lot with people in the industry.

  42. Hi, I want to learn how to land a good finance internship as a sophomore. I’m a freshman Econ major at Uchicago with a 3.5 GPA, but I’m not part of any finance oriented clubs and I have yet to take a finance class. I’m wondering what I can do between now and next summer, in terms of networking and learning, to get an internship in a bulge bracket firm next year.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Network with people in the industry. Ask for informational interviews from your alum. Read up on the industry. Plan to join an investment club next year.

  43. Hello, I was wondering I could get any insight on my situation. I’m a sophomore and I was recently offered an administrative job at a fairly well-known investment/wealth management company in my country (Canada). Unfortunately, it’s purely administrative duties and I was told I would probably not have much opportunity to connect with superiors involved in the actual investment process given the size of the company. I ended up taking the job because they gave me a deadline and I would rather not pass up the opportunity for an unsure thing in the future.

    I would really like to get a banking job in the States next year, but I’m worried what I do this summer will be irrelevant and not something I can talk about during recruitment season. I do have a very good GPA and my school is considered a target school in Canada – obviously this is not enough though as experience is key.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes your experience might not be that useful in IB going forward though the reputation of the company can help. Do you have other options to fall back on? Can you create another option for this summer now given the limited time available before the summer?

      If no to the above 2, I’d still take the role. I’d try to learn on my own by networking with a lot of people and learn on the job (despite what you were told). You have to start somewhere…and you can always use your role to pad your resume. Admin duties – when we first start, we all go through it. :) Some might be “luckier” than others, but we’ve all done our share of grunt work

  44. I have asked this a few times now but would like to get a few answers: How to transfer departments? I am currently working outside of Equity capital markets at Raymond James Financial. I would like to transfer but need to land the interview. I have networked with everyone possible and have been cold emailing. I met two analysts thus far in I-banking. I am trying to leverage the relationship to expand my network in I-banking. I really love Raymond James so would like to do I-banking here. I am a USF dual major in Finance and economics; have investment experience in my student managed investment fund and have one I-banking internship along with one internship from Prudential; currently enrolled to take CFA level 1. I feel like I have done all of the traditional things to break in but need some help with abstract ideas or any other advice. I feel like it is a different ball game when you are trying to break in to I-banking at the current firm where you work. I need to tip toe because I do not want to upset my supervisor or anyone over in I-banking. Can anyone help please?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I would network discretely internally and try to figure out if they have an opening at ECM. I’d also speak to the person in charge of ECM and try to “gauge” his level of interest in you. I wouldn’t explicitly express my interest of transferring yet (unless you’re pretty sure you don’t want your current role/your supervisor does not mind/you know your role is going to go anyway). If the person in charge of ECM expresses his interest in you, or/and you are pretty sure you want ECM and you don’t mind risking your current role, I would explicitly express your interest in ECM.

      1. I apologize for the multiple posts. I have been taking the “riskier” route so far as my supervisor is very accommodating and understanding. He encourages us to explore our options. I have been lucky on that front. Aside from the general networking intra-firm can you or anybody else think of a gorilla tactic into networking? I have employed multiple strategies and tackeled this from every direction for 6 months now. I have now 3 analyst contacts and a potential HR contact. Thank you again for your comment and if think of anything let me know.

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          You already have 3 contracts. Why do you want another gorilla tactic into networking? I don’t think there are any “tactics” into networking per se. It is just something that comes naturally. Networking = a way of connecting with people (give & take & bond). If you find someone you find interesting to talk to/want to talk to, talk to him/her!

  45. Another great read thanks for the information.. I had a question about information sessions, how would one go about hearing them (other than the ones offered at their school). I am currently a sophomore at Babson College and I want to learn of more networking events. Should I go to each companies individual website and look if they have any information sessions in Boston ?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole


  46. I wonder how likely is it for BB to provide “job shadowing opportunity” to students (given that they know someone at the firm) and what is a polite way to ask for such opportunities?

    I would also like to know whether BB have strict policies on such matter. Can that be spun to look like an actual summer internship?

    Thank you!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      BBs do in Europe I believe. Just ask.

      Not sure if BBs have strict policies on such matter,but it never hurts to ask. I think they have formal programs like that in Europe,not sure about Singapore

  47. Avatar
    Darien Washington

    Hi, I am currently working on my bachelors degree in Economics and I wanted to ask, do I need a Business minor in order to break into the securities industry?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      No, not necessarily.

  48. Hello, I graduated from a relatively well known school with a Bachelors degree in finance. Its been almost a year and I cant find a job. I’m looking to break into investment banking but dont know how to go about doing it. I have relatively no work experience in finance. I’ve mostly applying to top investment banks online and have not heard back anything. Please any career advice here would be greatly appreciated.

    1. You can’t apply online if you want to hear back. You need to be super-aggressive with networking – see everything here:

      At this stage, you should consider positions beyond IB and spread your net wider. Think about corporate finance or anything business-related to get some experience, and then leverage that to move into IB later on.

      1. Yes I’m finding out the hardway that networking is the way to go. What kind of positions should i be looking for at this point because i do need experience badly?

        1. As I said above, think corporate finance, business development, even something like valuation or advisory work at a Big 4 firm.

          1. getting into big four is really hard. Should i just cold call random small time firms in nyc and see if they have an entry level position or internships? because i don’t have any work experiences and I think that’s the main reason I have not been getting interviews.

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            Sure. Yes. Try it and see how it goes

  49. Hi what are your thoughts about Babson College for IB? Have you heard of it? Is it a reputable school or would a public school (like Un. Of Tenn.) be better? Do you now if Babson would have strong alum to network with?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Have heard of Babson but not sure if it is a target. Yes, I believe it is better than a public school. Not sure re its alumni network

  50. I’m 36 and I recently finished my B.S. in management from a small private school. GPA of 3.25 with 3 F’s averaged in to that, since I worked 60-70 hours per week and went to school full-time, I missed the drop date and could not get my school to issue an incomplete for any of them so I just re-took them and aced 2 of them and B+ in the third.
    Now I have about 11 months to go for my MBA, which I will have completed in 3 semesters, from the same private liberal arts college in Illinois.

    Currently I’m in a management position in construction, what are my chances of landing any job in finance, besides bank teller?
    I know my age is working against me, but realistically am I looking at 60/40 chances or more like 95/5, of getting into a firm at this point in my career? I don’t mind going an extra mile or 10 to accomplish my goals.

    1. Chances are not great if you’re talking about getting into something like investment banking or private equity. I would focus on something like commercial banking or private wealth management, and then try to transition over into another field after gaining experience there.

  51. Hi,

    I’m wondering if I should be applying to different areas of a firm or simply sticking to the one area I’m most interested in. For example, CIBC has investment banking, sales&trading, and risk analyst positions. I want to have the greatest chance of getting a position, but I also don’t want to come off as simply mass sending out my resume everywhere. Would HR see my application 3 times and just throw it away?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      This is a common question. I think some firms limit the amount of divisions you apply to. Some don’t. If they don’t, I believe you could apply to more than one. However, I wouldn’t apply to over three divisions because that might show your lack of commitment. Not quite sure if HR will throw your app away but then again they could still throw your app away even if you were to apply to 1 division – you can’t control it

  52. Hi,

    I graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a BS in Business Administration. I know this is not one of the “target schools”, but I thought I would get some advice anyway. I have been working in an operations setting for the past two years in the St. Louis area. I was wondering if it is too late to become an IB or if there are some steps that could be taken to reach this goal. GPA was not at the 3.5 mark upon graduation, but was 3.0/4.0. Any advice will be of help.


  53. M&A, another random question:

    Do i-bankers have time for facebook accounts,etc…

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I-Bankers are not aliens. Yes they do.

  54. Avatar
    Desperate Undergrad

    Hi Brian,

    One of the tip on Management Consulting’s website was to introduce your FULL NAME so that the bankers will remember you – Simple enough. But what if your full name is super long and complicated? (I am from South India haha) This has always been an obstacle for me in any business type or even social settings so I always just introduce myself with the shortened first name I go by, which does me no favor when trying to recognize my huge ass name when it’s said or on the top of my resume. Lol i know this is a petty, almost insignificant, matter but it’s something I’ve struggled with and was hoping to get your input on it? Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d shorten your name to a name that is professional, catchy and punchy

  55. Hello,

    Thank you for all of the useful information/advice you gave us. I have been learning so much from this website!

    I just have one question regarding follow-up emails. I have been activly following up with basically everyone I talked to at the banks’ info sessions, as well as cold-emailing alumni. Lukily enough, I always get replies from the people I contacted, very quickly too – usually the next day. However, after probably 2 or 3 rounds of emailing back and forth, I am not sure if I should keep the emails going on a “2-time-per-week” basis to build an impression and show my dedication because recruitment is indeed coming up in 1 month. Or shoud I just end the email politely thanking them for their time, to avoid the image of me being too annoying/too keen?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You might want to email them and ask for an informational chat

  56. Hello

    My name is Artjom, i’m from Riga, Latvia. This year i’ve graduated with a bachelor degree in Economy, while i was studying i had two internships in a commercial banks insurance department and three month ago i’ve got a job in a top swedish bank, Securities and Wealth operations department. We had a 2 month training in Helsinki and currently i’m working with sub custody team.

    Next year i’m thinking of applying to a MSc programme in Financial Engineering in UK or USA but i will have to study part time.
    So i wanted to ask is it possible to get an inteview in an IB with my background? and continue to study while i work or it will be better to get a MSc degree first and then try to apply?

    Basicly my goal is to become a trader. Am i going in a right direction?



    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Apply and network and you’ll know whether you can get an interview or not

      If you want to be a trader, I’d suggest you to learn about trading, trade your portfolio, learn to invest…and network w traders. Not sure if a Masters will help.

  57. Hi,

    I have been trying to get on an internship in investment banking in the UK. After many attempts on online applications a large quantity of them have been rejected. I do spend a large amount of time preparing the applications, and the ones that were done very well I have not yet heard from them. But I have been left with very little hope.

    I wanted to expand my business contacts (I am a second year at university) and felt the best way would be through careers events and networking sessions. However, as you mention, there are always a small group of vultures surrounding the speakers asking mundane questions. I cannot butt in with my own question when the speaker is talking, as it is plainly rude. On the other hand I often find myself putting on an engaging and enthusiastic face for 10-15 minutes, and by then I feel he is sick seeing me there. Even when I do ask a question they never seem too impressed.

    It’s all well and good saying I should ask a good question, but when should it be asked if he carries on explaining someone elses question? And then what? How do I get him (or her) to remember me so that if I do follow up with a message he will remember me. I appreciate that bankers see a large amount of faces each day, particularly at recruitment events, but I am a memorable person and it just doesn’t seem to stay in their memories. I try to interact – say who I am and shake his hand once or twice- but that never seems to be enough.

    I dress well, I am polite, I go to a very good university. I have some experience working with an accountant and do quite a lot of activities in my spare time. Without sounding arrogant, I genuinely feel I would be one of the best people to do the internship. But the inability to get noticed at networking events and having employees remember me is really starting to demoralise me. I ask for business cards (to be honest I don’t call them because I feel they won’t remember me and I’ll look stupid).

    The truth is I was so motivated to get an internship this summer. But it just doesnt’t seem to be happening.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Its hard to stand out in info sessions. And quite honestly standing out in info sessions might not necessarily increase your chances of getting jobs in IB. Your best bet is to network w bankers and obtain leads yourself. Good luck!

  58. I am a junior at Arizona State in the business school. The business school is trying to create opportunities for students in Investment banking (and I’m assuming trying to attract recruiters). They have just created a program called the investment banking scholars:'s+top+story

    Do you think this program is worth while or a waste of time, if I want to get an internship this summer and eventually a job when I graduate in IB?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Whether it is a waste of time or not is your call. If you want the experience, go for it. Whether it will get you into IB or not is another question – depends on a. your knowledge (technical and qualitative) of IB b. how you pitch your story c. your grades and previous experience in finance e. how you present yourself in interviews and whether interviewers like you f. luck. Enrolling in the program itself doesn’t really illustrate much other than your interest in finance and perhaps some sort of basic knowledge acquired from the course

  59. Hi,
    I had a question regarding majors. I’m currently a public policy major that is pretty interested in investment banking. I go to Princeton with a 3.5 GPA, which hopefully will rise by next year (I’m a sophomore). I am taking corporate finance classes and econ classes, but I’m not a finance major persay. What are my chances of landing a good finance internship, and what can I do to effectively increase those chances? Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Join an investment club. Network w alums. Attend all banks’ info sessions on campus and network. Make sure you maintain your 3.5 GPA. Learn modelling/valuation skills!

  60. Is the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor considered a target school?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Not target target. Good business school but targets are Harvard, Wharton, GSB, Stern, Columbia

  61. […] The best thing you can do is to ask intelligent, open-ended questions and avoid stupid or obnoxious questions. […]

  62. Is Cornell considered a target, or at least faintly close?

  63. do you think its a possibility for an American born person who is a chinese speaker to work in the foreign markets in asia in IB or some other finance related job or do they prefer locals

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      It depends on the interviewer and the job itself. Yes it is possible

      1. do you need to be at a target school for that or do overseas companies not care as much

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          pls don’t post the same question twice. I’ve just answered this question below

  64. hi brian! thanks a lot for this website!
    my question is: I’ve gotten to know a really approchable MD yesterday at a GS info session held at my school (one of the top UK schools). I managed to talk to him privately for about 45 min, we talked about his career at GS (he started in London, then moved to Tokyo for 5 years, and then came back to London). I myself did an internship in Shanghai and therefore we were having a really interesting talk about moving to Asia for a couple of years in banking. I want to follow up with him, but at the moment I don’t really have anymore good questions to ask him… would it be ok to send him an email like the following one?
    “Dear XXX, It was really interesting getting to know you yesterday at the Information Session at XXX; I enjoyed very much our discussion about internal cross-regional mobility in your firm. I will be sending my applications for your firm soon, and I hope to stay in touch with you over the next months and the interview process. Thank you very much for your time and helpfulness. Best wishes, XXX”
    I would like to email him in like one month and then ask for an in-person meeting (that would allow me some time to prepare for some good questions that I haven’t asked him yesterday…), and then email him again “asking for an interview”.
    Also, I think I have seen a follow-up email template somewhere around your website some time ago, but can’t find it anymore for some reason!
    Thanks a lot for your help!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Sure it works. I don’t think we have an email template but perhaps this helps

      1. Thank you Nicole! you gave me enough self-confidence to send him the follow-up email! :)

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Anytime. Self confidence is everything!

          1. would you need to be at a target school for that or do overseas companies not care as much

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            Being in a target school is better. However, it also depends on you – how you portray yourself and what you know.

  65. Hi,

    I am an avid reader of your site and took alot of your advice.

    I was able to land an opportunity to do a “job shadow” at one of the bulge bracket banks.

    How should I approach this opportunity to land a full time analyst role?

    I am already a senior in college and I feel this is my one time chance to land a front office position. How should I prepare?and what should I do when that day comes?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Network as much as you can within the firm and express your interest to be a full time analyst. Show 110% commitment and good attitude!
      Preparation – network, be totally focused on the “job”, go above & beyond your duties, make sure people like you, try to figure out what they want and give them what they need (these are btw very subtle), and show them how much you love the “job”

      1. Thanks for your input but what do you mean by go above and beyond your duties? At a “job shadow” they ask you to do work? I thought it was more about asking questions and to get an in depth knowledge of what the person does.

        Do you have any Do’s or Dont’s of what to do while there? For example is it appropriate to ask to stay with them even in the night to learn how the culture is in that setting as opposed to the day? Another example should I create “network cards”?

        Thanks again for your input

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          When you said job shadow I thought you meant that you were shadowing under a mentor in your role. shadowing in a way = interning in my books = people might ask you to do things and you would want to go above and beyond to get them what they want

          Dos – make them like you. Don’t – piss them off. Sure, if they work late at night. What are network cards? You mean your name card? I don’t know if they are necessary or useful but if you want to go ahead

          1. Thanks for your advice

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole


  66. I am in a community college as my second year.
    I am thinking about studying CFA or GMAT.
    Do you think either one is useful?
    I think the result of those exams will show why I am smart and why you must hire me?
    Don`t you think so?

    2nd question, I am an international student. If I go to middle sized banks or below, are they willing to provide H-1 visa?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      If you have spare time and you want to get into banking I’d suggest you to land a finance internship, network as well as learn to model


      Re the second question, it really depends on the bank. For some small-mid size banks, they might not provide H-1 visas given their scale and cost of such visas

  67. Can you recommend books about Investment banking or finance(something easy to be read).

  68. Hi,
    1. Thank you very much for your website and posts, they have been extremely helpful.
    2. How would recruiters at an information session view me seeing as I graduated 3.5years ago from the University of Chicago (3.0 gpa) with a degree in economics, worked 4 months as a Financial Advisor Trainee at Merrill Lynch and now work as a paralegal in consumer bankruptcy (2years now)?
    3. Do you have any suggestions for marketing myself with these credentials in the span of 3-5 minutes that I have?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      1. Thanks!
      2. They’d view you as another candidate who is interested in IB analyst roles
      3. Be short, brief and succinct. Try to get their contacts and land an info session during those 5 mins.

  69. I want to be an investment banker and now I am currently enrolled in a community college in New York.

    I thought what I can do for my dream. just going to college and getting high GPA? That`s not enough. So this is what I am thinking or have done

    1. I joined The museum of Finance as a member to attend events like this one “Abby Joseph Cohen on “The Long-Term Prospects for Economic Growth and American Prosperity”

    2. I will attend meetup about investment baking

    3. I subscribed the WSJ and read some of which daily

    4. Goldman Sachs and my school provide “Goldman Sachs Leadership Program”. I applied

    5. My relative has his music(Hiphop) agency in Atlanta, Georgia. I will help him about finance or investment things to build my career.

    6. read the articles on this website regularly and carefully.

    Compared to your backgrounds when you was a college student, is this enough?
    (I could ask like “What do you think of it. It looks poor)

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      2-6 is worthwhile, not sure about 1. Yes, also try to get an internship w a bank and join an investment club. Take our BIWS modelling courses – knowing how to model will set you apart big time.

  70. What questions do you recommend asking to representatives at career fairs? Ideally I feel like the perfect conversation at such an event is 3-5 minutes, so I am wondering what questions will lead to those short types of conversations.


    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      It really depends on the person and the situation. I usually try to establish rapport by introducing myself and connecting with the person first. Then, I’d ask him/her more about what his/her day in life is, what he/she love about his/her job (mind you, they might actually hate it), etc. Since the conversation is usually brief and many people are queuing up to speak to such reps, I’d usually not care too much abt the conversation but I do care about following up and getting his/her business card. I’d then follow up w an email thanking him/her adding a line on anything we talked about pertaining to him/her.

  71. Hi,

    I graduated last year and am working in a small asset management firm now. There are upcoming IB information sessions at the university in the city I live now (but not where I attended school). I still want to go to those sessions to get some contacts but I am not sure if I should because those sessions are for the students. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think you should still attend the sessions to network. Some students might not “welcome” you but who knows? What’s the worst that could happen anyway?

    2. I’ve heard of wedding crashing, but never IB info session crashing. Go for it – the worst that can happen is they ask you to leave.

  72. Hi there,
    I have a series of networking events I plan on attending over the next few months. I am unemployed at the moment. When people ask for my business card, what should I say? Or should I get some printed out anyways with my name, email and number?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      When people ask you what you do, be very confident and say that you are “using the time to volunteer with the CFA society as well as other nonprofits & learn spanish.

      If they then ask what have you been doing (after a while in the convo) – say I “have been volunteering etc, and I have already obtained level 1 of the CFA and attended many Wharton seminars, courses and workshops”

      Don’t see people print name cards w just ur name etc often. If you want, you can print out name cards. Personally, I don’t like to give out name cards cause I always forget to bring them; I usually like to ask people for their name cards and email them instead. I think you should do the same.

      1. Thanks! Your website is phenomenal!

  73. One of the alumni is invited to a breakfast with us next week. Do I need to email him beforehand, or should I just wait till that day and then follow up? Thanks

    1. Not sure I understand the question but just meet him there and then follow-up afterward.

  74. hi

    I recently happened to be going to play sports with around 10 i bankers working in morgan stanley… I know its kinda strange when u hear it but its kinda through a connection between my gym coach and some of those i bankers.

    Ok so my background is that I am going to college to study economics and finance (semi-targeted skol in uk i would say) after the summer break. And, honestly, although I know basically how investment banks row (like literally just all types of bankers do, few ratios I googled it, and lots of articles from you), I still dont hv neither the academic nor practical knowledge.

    So I am wondering if you could basically tell me what to talk about with them during the sports day. I know u mentioned that dont focus to much on the business and technical stuff, but the thing is I know literally nothing about those things as I am just graduated from high school.. Should I just talk about only sports, backgrounds and avoid going to any business topic that i dont know? In other words, just to make friends instead? Also, should I impress them by somehow show my limited knowledge about ibank and what if they question on them?

    I know it probably might be quite a strange situation for you to give advice on but I really appreciate it if you could guide me a little bit here.


    1. Um if you just graduated from high school stop thinking about investment banking and relax and figure out what you want to do in life first.

      1. But you said it’s never too early to do the networking right? Plus I am really very interested in this field otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen to study economics and finance in the first place. Please at least give me some advice. I really appreciated.

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Jonah, you just graduated from HS and you want to into banking already ;)

          I’d suggest to you a. Figure out WHY you are so interested in this field and be able articulate your reasons to others. b. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses c. Network with bankers and try to land an internship in the summer w a bank and then you’ll have taste of what banking is like

          No if you don’t know much about banking don’t try impress others. People can tell and its a turn off.

          Yes make genuine friends with bankers and genuinely show interest in what they do. If you are really interested their work, people can tell and it will be easier for you to land a job then.

  75. Hi,

    Like the USC student, I am also a college student wondering about my school being a target school. From what I’ve heard it’s not, but I would rather get your opinion. I don’t want to say which school is mine, but I will list three schools (I am very curious about the other two anyway):

    1. Tufts University
    2. Brown University
    3. Amherst College

    If I could get commentary on each school specifically that would be great. Thank you so much!
    I am currently a student at USC/Marshall. When I read your posts I often wonder whether USC is one of the target schools you’re talking about of whether target schools are more in the category of princeton, upenn, stanford etc so I was wondering if you could clarify what defines a “target school” or what schools are considered targets.

    1. Banks don’t recruit heavily at any of those schools because students at most of them aren’t interested in banking. You’ll probably see some banks but it’s nothing compared to HYPS, Wharton, etc. There is more recruiting at USC just because there are fewer good schools on the west coast so banks go there to find more people.

  76. Fantastic article, very informative.

    I have a question I was hoping you could answer about my own specific situation. I am a 19 year old Junior transferring into UNC – Chapel Hill from another state school. I am enamored with some of the opportunities it looks like I will be able to enjoy at UNC and was wondering if I should get involved with some of the ones designed for people about to graduate. I’ve been debating whether or not I should go to the job fairs and recruiting sessions of some of the big investment banks like BlackRock and Goldman Sachs. Obviously I would not be graduating this upcoming year (maybe not even the year after that), but it seems like a great time to start meeting some of the recruiters and figuring out how to put myself in a good position for when they come the next year.

    Again, a very helpful article, and I apologize for the lengthy question.

    1. Yes just go, it’s never too early to start and they could be helpful for internships.

  77. Hi, I contacted someone in a firm and accidentally thought he was someone else. He cc’ed the other person in the firm and told me to contact him. Will I be blacklisted from the firm/how can I recover from this?

    1. Um don’t be silly, just ignore him and move onto other contacts

  78. Avatar
    USC student


    I am currently a student at USC/Marshall. When I read your posts I often wonder whether USC is one of the target schools you’re talking about of whether target schools are more in the category of princeton, upenn, stanford etc so I was wondering if you could clarify what defines a “target school” or what schools are considered targets.

    I am one of the top students in Marshall (3.9 GPA, full academic scholarship) so will that give me a big advantage and put me in the same level as students at top schools or will the fact that I do not go to a top school be more relevant than my academic success.

    1. It is a target school but not as heavily recruited at as other schools like Berkeley or Stanford

  79. Hi I am going to be a senior in college right now and didn’t get any summer internships for banking. Should I attend info sessions at my school this winter that are designed for juniors looking for internships? Thanks

    1. Only if you plan to delay graduation or do a Master’s degree

      1. What will the recruiters think of a senior guy trying to get a junior’s internship?

        1. It won’t work well unless you’re in school for longer so I wouldn’t even try

  80. Hi,

    I read about your blog in the 4 Hour Workweek – that passage, by the way, is very inspiring. I would like to know a few things –

    I am 22, currently a junior studying Economics (not an Ivy) with a 4.0. “Oddly” I have started a career as a motivational speaker and have done quite well, making 5k each speaking engagement and reaping a 250k for speaking randomly on weekends p/year. Can I make more than that as an IB? How long would it take?

    What I wanted to know is, how will investment banks look at my professional speaking career once I graduate in two years? Do you think they will like it?

    1. You can make more than that at the associate level (3 years to get there) but it’s not worth it as you will want to kill yourself by jumping into crocodile-filled acid every day if you actually go into the field. Banks will probably think you’re too “creative” and won’t respect the experience much.

  81. hay,

    i went to a networking info session yesterday and got some business cards. i dont really have any further questions cos they answered everything i wanted to know yesterday, so when i do a follow up should i just do like an email that says like ‘it was nice to meet you, thanks for your time’ kind of thing?

    1. Yes but there’s almost no point in doing that… either set up an informational interview with them or don’t bother contacting them

      1. What if the business card you picked up belongs to a Managing Director? I consider myself a very respectable guy and am not one to be intrusive or obnoxious. I know how busy and in demand these MDs are, so is it really appropriate for me to ask him for a meet up? Background info: it was a typical networking event on campus and he yielded his card right at the end of our discussion. He did say “email me if you have more questions” but again, I am not sure whether that is just being polite or sincere in the banking world (absolutely new to networking).

        Thank you

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes. Ask him for coffee. To respect his time, you should be prepared when you meet him

  82. Hi Brian! I am totally lost as to what I should do to break into investment banking. Please help me out.
    I am an 20-years-old international student studying Communications at UC Davis. I am Chinese from Hong Kong. My current GPA is 3.5. As an international student, it is extremely hard to find an internship because I can work at most 20 hours per week on my student visa(sounds unattractive to employers). And the jobs on campus are mostly taken by students who are either Hispanic/Black or low-income students.
    I am very lost but I still have a strong desire to be an investment banker. I know Finance because my parents have taught me how to analyze different financial products since I was very young. However, since I am a Communication major, it is hard for me to show that I know how to do the job, let alone impress anyone with a resume drop.
    So what should I do now? Should I get a Masters degree in Accounting to rebrand myself? Or should I keep networking like a ninja? Or should I quit thinking about being a i-banker and do something else?

    Many many thanks,

    1. Best option is to get a Master’s degree at a better school. You could keep networking but it might actually take less time to apply and get into a top school for a Master’s program.

  83. Stupid question but when you attended the Boston career Forum, did you know Japanese? Would I be able to get in with basic Japanese or do I need to be proficient?

    1. You need to be at least conversational for IT and trading-type positions, and fluent / extremely good at reading/writing for IB and PE-type positions.

  84. Avatar
    Solomon Hailu

    Would you consider the University of Virginia a top school?

    1. The business school there is a target for banks but not sure about the university at large

  85. Hello

    I realy need help in chosing the best option.

    I’m 22 year old student from Latvia, i’m currently finishing my bachelors degree in international economic relations and i want to do investment banking in the future. I read books about investing and trading, i’m also trading forex. I have already had 4 month internship in DnB NORD bank, it’s a Norvegian commercial bank.

    So here is the dilemma.
    I have just been accepted by International Travel Network (INT) as a sales agent, they provide full training and after that i’ll start working full time.

    Yesterday i’ve got an invitation for an interview from Pricewaterhousecoopers for Assistant position. Also another audit company KMPG invited me for an interview for the same position.
    These are just invitations and i’ll have to complete tests in english and logics which will not guarantee that i will get an offer.
    Which experience will provide the best opportunity to break into IB? should i turn down ITNs offer and go for audit? but if i fail to pass the tests i’ll lose everything (i’m quite confident that i can do good, but still…) Or should i stick to sales for 1-2 years? will it be a benefit for breaking in to IB?

    Thank you


    1. Answered on another thread keep interviewing with the Big 4 firms and if you get those drop the sales job

  86. You briefly mentioned attending information sessions at schools other than your own. I go to a non-target (but still respected) school that’s in close proximity to ivy league and other target universities. My question is, how feasible is this option really?

    I feel like failing to mention I didn’t attend the host university would be dishonest and short-sighted. But I also can see how mentioning I snuck into the session from another school would cause them end their conversation with me (especially if they’re alumni of the host university).

    I guess the only positive outcome would be if they thought it was bad-ass that I snuck in but this seems less likely.

    1. While it’s uncommon I’ve seen it work well before, so no reason to avoid doing it. Some bankers will not appreciate it but that’s true of almost anything you do. Don’t say you “snuck in” just say that you are from another school and were visiting today for something else and decided to drop in on this session.

  87. After i completed my MBA pro gramme straight after my bachelor’s, will it get me a job as an associate, or will i have to start as an analyst in a Bulge Bracket?

  88. Hi Brian,

    Great info, thank you. I am not from IB background but currently pursuing part-time MBA from a reputed NYC school. I have more than 15 years of work experience. Do I stand any chance of getting into PE? If so, how could I start?


    1. It would be pretty tough with that much experience, probably need to find a PE firm that has some type of industry focus complementary with your background.

  89. I flunked out ucla in the premed track. I want to get back to ucla through a special program. Do you think I can start from pre business econ and break into investment banking or is my life officially over?

    Should I go to community college first?

    What would be my chances of actually getting recruited to a bulge bracket company?

    1. I don’t think your life is over, just re-start in business instead.

      1. Up to what extent would my past grades affect my chances in getting into a large bulge bracket company?

        1. Dear Brian,

          I know I sound naive and over-reaching, but what would be my chances on a company like Goldman Sachs.

          I mean, UCLA isn’t even a target school and I got dismissed from college. Would I be over looked during the recruitment season, even if I were to start over and started getting 4.0s in my business economics.

          I’m planning to work really hard this time and I know that I will do what ever it takes if there was any possibility that it would possible.

  90. Dear Brian,

    I got into Baruch College (NYC) and London School of Economics recently. I know LSE has a bigger name in the world, but I have always leaned towards Wall Street. Which school do you think will provide me with the maximum chances to get into IB? Moreover, LSE costs a fortune, if compared to Baruch. Please help!


    1. Um, LSE, by a long-shot. Regardless of whether you’re in London or NY.

      1. ‘Long-shot’ means ‘little chance’. Do you mean LSE’s brand name won’t affect much? Sorry for creating a confusion.

        1. No, I meant “LSE is 1000x better” – yes it’s expensive, but you get what you pay for… access to recruiters is worth a lot.

          1. OK. Thanks a lot for the reply,


  91. Dear Brian,
    I found contacts of some alumina who used to work for the bank I am interested in, or are working for the departments that I don’t want to break into. In this case, will it be wise to talk to them directly? OR should I ask for a referral? I can’t help saying: M&I is awesomelly helpful! Thanks!

    1. You could still contact them – just bring up your interest in other areas at the end and ask for a referral.

  92. Hey M&I,

    I am a sophomore with strong legal experience but nothing related to finance. If I apply for a summer legal analyst position at a BB, could I then make a (more) smooth transition to I-banking for my junior year internship (since I would already be at a BB in an analyst role), rather than just going for a boutique I-banking internship this summer.


    1. I don’t think it would help that much since it’s legal, probably just better to go for a boutique

  93. Hey M&I,

    I love your site and would like to translate some of the articles into Chinese and post them on my website (under construction), with the proper references/acknowledgement of course. Is this okay with you guys?

    Cheers, Jeff

  94. Hey M&I,

    I’m a sophomore at a target school. It’s end of November and I’m looking to land a finance/i-banking internship for this summer. I’m curious what the standard move is for a sophomore.

    I hear it’s extremely rare to get Summer Analyst offers at BB’s (since they prefer juniors). Would you suggest applying to one of these, or one of the few Sophomore Rotational Programs, or just try for a regional boutique bank? (I have zero finance experience)

    1. Sophomore rotational program or regional boutique are the best options

  95. I went to an information session (but more informal, since in my university and my country it’s not common) a week ago, on tuesday. It passed a lot of time (9 days) and I’m not sure how to write my follow-up e-mail to the guy who gave the talk (an MD). Should I apollogyze for taking so long to follow-up (i was with a lot of final projects), or should I just tell him about my intention to do a summer intership and to contact me with HR straight away? I now feel no excuse will be valid, but before reading your post I thought I had no hurry since interviews are on january-february.

    The good news is that I think he might remember me, since I was one of the few girls who attended and he asked me my name when I approached him after the talk to ask him what I should do to get an intership abroad (even though I know he forgot my name 5 min later haha). Another plus: he is an alumni.

    1. Don’t apologize for anything, just follow-up and say it was good to meet him and ask for a quick time to chat to learn more about his background and recruiting at the firm.

      1. He is in another country, plus I get nervous when calling, so I prefer to avoid that. Would it be ok to ask him how do I get into a summer intership and explain my situation (exchange student and J1 visa)?

        1. You could but calling / meeting in-person are always more effective than email. If you get nervous practice calling less important people first until you get the hang of it.

  96. Dear Brian,
    Thank you for this great site! I am wondering if you can post some content about the online application and the numerical and logical tests that followed here. I am really perplexed by the process. I think introduction on some skills and how HRs evaluate the online application will be welcomd by lots of people!

    1. I’ve thought about it before but don’t know much personally so it would have to be a guest writer.

  97. I just got back from an information session. In the elevator afterwards I overheard a guy complaining about how a banker shut him down for asking “What do you do on a daily basis?” I laughed and remembered this post. It’s true; never overestimate the competition.

    1. Yup you can show people all the tricks, but only 1% will ever implement them effectively.

  98. I am concerned about breaking into investment banking. My gpa is low, below a 3.0 although i am trying to get it up, but i am finishing college in 3 years with a finance degree. How low are my chances, and would staying an extra semester to double major increase my chances, even if my gpa doesn’t increase? Thanks…

    1. Not really, GPA matters more than major or single vs. double major. With a 3.0 GPA you will need to network like crazy to get in and focus on smaller firms.

  99. Hi Brian,

    This is definitely a great article. I am from a target school, am a subscriber to your Financial Modeling program (which is impressively comprehensive and much more useful than our school OPIM courses) and has been a loyal reader of your posts.

    For information sessions, I definitely feel that some questions automatically “trigger” the bankers into a “pitching mode” and talk about things that they are good at (such as this deal or that deal…). However, could you provide a list of sample questions like that? Or sell the related portion of the Networking Ninja Toolkit separately, since most other materials (informational interviews etc.) don’t apply to my situation?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. I’m not sure I really have a list of questions like that – there are some sample question lists in the networking program but I don’t separate it out like that. I think the main questions are asking about specific deals, growth initiatives / industry focus, and so on. Asking something about why their firm or why they went there would do the same.

      1. Thanks! Is there any source to read a compiled list of recent firm-specific deals, like what you would see in their marketing brochure? I’ve already known Deal Book, Reuters-Deals Today and Seeking Alpha-Wall Street Breakfast.

        In addition, what should I pay attention to when memorizing deals? How can I comment on them (in interviews)?

        Thanks a great deal!

        1. Deal discussions are covered in the interview guide so you should follow what’s in there. I don’t know of any sources with recent firm-specific deals unless you have access to paid sources like Thomson or Capital IQ

  100. Brian,

    there is a UBS event tomorrow at Columbia that I fully intend on going to. I guess to further elaborate on what a previous board member had posted. He said his “move” was to speak for a couple minutes then say he had class/meeting/etc. And ask for a business card

    well I was wondering if this would e appropriate. I have an interview w/ a boutique bank next Tuesday night at their offices around 7 PM. Should I to sort of leverage myself and also make an impression say somethig to the effect of “unfortunately I actually have a meeting with a boutique bank or whatever right now so I must go, would it be possible to get your business card?”.

    Doo you think that would be okay? Or any recommendations on how to phrase it better? I hope you can get back to me soon! Haha, sorry for such last minute this just randomly dawned on me.

    1. Don’t say it’s at a boutique bank – just say that you’re running off to an interview right now but you enjoyed speaking and hope to hear from them soon.

  101. Do you have any comments on business card/information session etiquette in the UK (from the perspective of an American), or suggestions for where to look for this information? I thought getting business cards was standard practice but apparently, in the UK, it’s not?

    1. I’ve never heard of that before, though I’m also not familiar with business customs in every country – I would just ask around and see how people actually get contact information and if they go through online lists or something rather than getting business cards.

  102. Avatar

    Hey M&I – Brilliant site here, easily the most informative and best. Quick question for you folks. Graduated from US T50 with liberal arts degree – doing grad school at LSE doing Acc.&Fin., trying to break in for summer internships at some banks. I have no background, but should these courses I am taking now give me a decent background for the interview process come early next year? I realize it does not matter exactly what courses you take, but in my case it’s absolutely essential, as my finance acumen is few and far between. As a side note, I def. plan on picking up a copy of your interview guide.

    1. Courses will be fine to gain the conceptual understanding, though you probably want to look at interview guides as well because courses tend to be academic and not focused on what they actually ask you in interviews.

  103. Hi brian,

    Again, thanks for your handy tips. I’m lucky enough to read this before going to the career talk yesterday, and I realized there were some people asking stupid questions really.

    By the way, I would like to know what should i say in the follow up email. As I got some MD business cards, should I simply send a Thank You email to let them remember me? I’m afraid I may be annoying if i ask questions straight away.

    Second, do you suggest me to arrange an informational interview with the people I met in career talk? As I’m flying back to the UK to study where all the career talks are held in my home countries, how can I be more efficient to follow up/build relationship with them if I can only use email as a source?

    Third, I know senior people are those controlling final decision, however, those recruitment people may be the first to screen our applications, should i also approach them so that at least they may select me from thousands of applications before it goes to the MD hand?

    Last, should i approach the MD or associate if I have limited time?

    Thank you~

    1. There’s coverage of follow-up and info. interviews here:

      Phone interviews are fine if you’re in the UK and in-person would require traveling, but you should consider weekend trips at some point. You can approach recruiters but they’re generally not helpful because they do not actually screen applications most of the time… analysts review CVs. Go for the MD with limited time.

      1. Thanks Brian, I’ve read that article before. The problem is..the MD/related person usually mentioned how they break into banking in the career talk, and after chatting with them I usually get some more information about them. In this situation that i get answers similar to what i get in informational interview/phone interview, but it’s hard to give them impression like what informational interview can give as there are always a bunch of people around them. any suggestion for the follow up email? Should I simply say thank you or send my request within a couple of days? e.g. interview possibility or ???

        And for the recruitment process, you mean normally recruiters don’t screen applications? Since I’m not from target school, I’m afraid I can’t go through the 1st round screening and so I quite concern who pick candidates in a very early stage. Thank you.

        1. Request a time to chat with them when you follow-up and then do a normal info interview… that is how you can stand apart. Just do it quickly after the event.

          Sometimes recruiters look at applications but they rarely screen them, it’s mostly analysts themselves who pick.

  104. I don’t ever get what I was suppose to talk about with an i banker I meet at info session after I meet them. The only thought that goes through my head on this issue is are you going to gimme a job or what?
    I heard the saying take them to lunch, but what would I talk about at lunch, I’m naturally quiet so it would be more awkward than normal, or maybe not so, it would largely depend on the person but still I would think it awkward to take a complete stranger to lunch or yet worse to be on the receieving end of being asked by a student to go out to lunch for seemingly no reason. I think most students think the above and hence why it is 1% of them who follow up.

  105. Hey M%I,

    Thank you for the article. There is a Career Fair coming up at my college. I’m currently a sophomore and many of these firms are in finance (many are not in the i-banking sector). I’d like to learn more about them and build relationships with the employees.

    What types of questions do you think are acceptable for me to ask the employees, given that I am a sophomore and have limited knowledge of some of the industries and the firms?

    I will certainly get business cards and keep in touch after wards.

    Thanks a lot!

  106. Hi,

    I’m also attending the Boston Career Forum and I was wondering if you can give me any tips specific to that event. For example, I am extremely curious as to how you got around the language problem since most of the companies require at least business level Japanese(because I would say that my Japanese level would only be about conversational level). Also did you attend the event without participating in applying to the companies beforehand on the cfn website?

    And any other tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    1. You can just go up to companies and drop off your resume / introduce yourself. For language issues, sometimes there are foreigners there or foreign companies… they can be better to approach if you’re not at the business level. But for most front-office work, you will be tested and most interviews will be conducted in the language, so unless you’re applying for non-IBD work such as trading or IT it’s not even worth attending.

  107. So I’m going to a networking session for BMO Capital Markets on Monday. I’ve never been to a networking session in my life (always thought they were pointless before). I seriously can’t think of any questions I would ask other totally unrelated things like sports and that sort of thing. Can you give me some examples of some GOOD questions to ask these guys?

    1. Search for informational interviews on this site and look at the comments, look at The Networking Ninja Toolkit and samples there…

  108. Hi Brian,

    went to an info session today. I noticed MD was talking all night, so I got him a water which he was pretty thankful. Too many ppl were surrounding him, and asking about markets & modeling. I only asked him two simple questions like “how do you relax yourself after work?” which makes him feel a little surprised, but he answered me nicely. Got his business card, and i think i also got him noticed me.

    I already dropped my resume on their site, and the job application deadline is in about 3 days. At this stage, which way (email/call) should i follow up is more appropriate? and what should i ask for from him?(like asking for how to prep interview?)

    1. I would just call and ask directly “Hey I’m that guy you met at ______, just applied to your firm, was wondering if you had any tips…”

  109. Just got back from an info session with a well-know global boutique bank. I go to the second best undergrad business school in the nation and I was shocked at how many asked “how many hours do you work……oh, but do you really need to?” Just absolutely ridiculous questions. I actually got one’s undivided attention in a group of about 10 students just by asking a good question. Thanks M&I, your awesome!

    1. Yup most people are clueless, glad it worked out well

  110. Hey Brian,

    What do you think is a good “bold” question to ask to get the banker’s attention if he/she is surrounded by wannabes? Should it be personal or business-related? Also do you think it is bad to hand them your resumes; if so, how would you make them remember you (only by following-up)?

    1. Just say something like, “Are these guys all boring you with asking what it’s like to be a banker?” or something like that that pokes fun at the other people. I wouldn’t hand out your resume, just get their card and follow-up.

  111. Hi Brian,

    Should I spend time talking to HR and get their contact info as well? Do they make important decisions throughout the recruiting process? If so, what kind of questions should I ask them or not ask them?

    1. I would not spend time talking to HR, they tend to be pretty useless. Always better to go to bankers directly.

  112. Hi Brian,

    For follow-up emails, what would one usually say? Basically just reiterating your interest in IB and whether summer internshps or whether FT analyst/associate roles are avail would be appropriate?

    What’s the mindset on follow up? I am just not sure what questions one should be asking…

    1. If its after an info session I would just ask to set up a 10-15 minute call and then ask about interviews at the end.

  113. You actually answered an email for me recently – thanks a lot for your help! I’ve been going to info sessions, getting business cards and trying to follow up a few days afterward. In the emails, I usually say something along the lines of “I asked about graduate students applying for a summer internship…” in order to remind them of who I was. Is that a good way to re-introduce yourself? I also usually ask another question or two in the email. If they don’t reply within a week, what’s the best way to follow up again? Specifically, I don’t want to be redundant by basically copying/pasting the original email but I still have the same questions. Would I reference the old email, or treat the new one as if it’s the first?

    1. That’s fine. I would try via email once again and if still no response, try calling instead. You can just make a shorter version of the first email.

  114. Is it okay to walk in late to these kinds of sessions? Due to my class I will have to walk in 35-40 minutes late. Would this make a bad impression?

    1. No, late is fine

  115. hello,

    I just went to an info session the other day, and I followed up with an e-mail the next morning. Would it be appropriate to send them an e-mail after I’ve dropped my resume online?

    1. Eh you could but personally I’d try to call them or set up an in-person meeting at this point.

  116. I went to an IB info session today. How surprised I was to see just how many people ask about “How’s it like being an i-banker?” and so on so thanks a lot for your post. And today I did learn a lot about the bank and its culture, but unfortunately they specifically said they will not consider sophomores for internships. Should I follow up any way?

    1. Yup still follow-up anyway. Never take “no” for an answer (obviously don’t be annoying about it, but even if they say that, it’s still good to reach out to them now and form the relationships early).

  117. Just think its worth pointing out that sometimes its worth spending a lot of time with one banker. I went to a BB networking event, got talking to an associate, spent about an hour chatting, had a few drinks and he ended up taking my name (and me friend who was with me) to give to HR to “watch out for”. Got invite to interview about 2 days after submitting an application online.

    Sometimes it works out. I went to about 6 others with no tangible benefit to me.

    1. Yeah you have to read the situation… if you’re getting a good vibe, stay there, if not, move on.

  118. To add to my comment before….These contacts are all people I have discovered through family and friends and have pretty good relationships with those people already. They know I am looking for a job but I told them that I wanted to meet with them just to talk for a bit and all of them were pretty open to that, and had their secretary set up a meeting (or set one up themselves). Please let me know what you think! PS Once I return I plan on purchasing the BIWS course :)

    1. Yup advice would not change too much – be casual, and make sure you are doing 90% of the question-asking. Try to do some research on them beforehand so you can ask more targeted questions about their background and how they got to where they are now – google searches, linkedin, etc. should be able to tell you a lot as well.

  119. Hey I have been trying to prepare for my meetings next week in NY and will be downloading/listening to your podcasts while on the plane. I will be meeting with a few MD’s, consultants, and a banker….what’s your best advice? What sort of questions should I ask them? How much time do you think I should spend reviewing technical questions? Or do you think its advisable to have a good story of why I want to get into Banking/Trading instead? As always, I look forward to hearing your response.

    1. Story is the most important part of any meeting / interview so focus on that. Be very casual and focus the questions on themselves rather than asking generic stuff about the industry / banking / consulting.

  120. Avatar

    What is a good estimate of how much summer interns get paid?

    1. $10-15K for banking

  121. Thank you for the article. I have a question for you. I live in New York City and I was thinking about attending an investment banking information session. But the problem is I don’t know when they are held and where. Can you please guide me on how I can attend a session? Thank you.

    1. Are you still in school? This article was referring mostly to info. sessions held at universities / b-schools. If you’re already out, I would talk to some friends who are still in school or maybe call the recruiting offices directly and find out when info. sessions are held. I’m honestly not sure how many / (if any) info. sessions are held outside the university environment.

  122. Thanks to your interview guide, after today’s CS first round interview for SA, I got a callback to the final rounds, which happens to be tomorrow. I’ve heard different things about final round interviews. Some people say that it will be all behavorial fit questions, while others have told me it will be very technical. What should I expect?

    1. Congrats on the interview. its hard to generalize because every place does it differently – some people continue getting technical questions while others are all fit. bottom line is I would be prepared for either scenario and more than any preparation, make sure you get enough sleep so you come across as personable… thats more important than technical questions.

    2. JH, I have first round with Credit Suisse on Monday. Care to share what some questions were?

  123. I know you touched on corporate finance roles at fortune 500 companies in a previous post, but I wanted to ask my particular question in an active post.

    I was wondering if you think working in corp. finance preMBA is adequate experience to get into Ibanking post MBA. Just to clarify, when saying I work in corp. finance, I am not talking A/R, A/P, but more along the lines of developing our post-merger operational model, long term cashflow modelling, improving cash generation etc.


    1. Yeah that sounds fine

  124. If I already posess a master degree. should I try to seek an associate position or an analyst position?

    1. Unless it’s an MBA, Analyst is more appropriate.

      1. hi – Just wanted to reply to your note on the MBA… I do posses an MBA + 3 years of corp finance experience, but my MBA is not from a top B-school – it has an international accreditation, but is from small private school that may not be known by recruiters.

        Do I have a chance to breaking in as an associate?

        1. You have a chance but it will probably be tough to get into bulge bracket banks because you already have some experience and don’t have a top name.

  125. Is there one MD specific responsible for the new hires? Or do I have to contact the MD for each group. And if so, what groups are the relatively easy and the most difficult to get into?

    1. Usually one MD in each group will handle hires… there is not one who’s responsible across the firm. Group difficulty is completely dependent on the bank and the group and changes very quickly so it’s hard to generalize.

  126. Here’s my “move” that I usually pull when talking with someone:

    After a few minutes of conversing – usually with other undergrads asking questions as well – I’ll tell the person that I have to go to class/work/meeting/etc. but I’d love to have a business card so I can email with further questions.

    Then, in the email, I let him/her know I was the one who had to leave early, which is probably more memorable than saying “I was the one who asked you about your daily routine…”

    Thoughts on this? It seems to have worked well and I’ve kept in contact with quite a few people from these sessions.

    1. That’s a good strategy and I could definitely see how it would work well in info. sessions – anything that makes you stand out (in a good way) is good.

  127. Who is the best to contact when trying to find an insider with possible knowledge of current or future job opportunties? What level are responisble for hiring new associate or analyst?
    Is the hiring responsiblity the task of the Associate, VP or MD? And, if so, how do I find the company’s directory or organizational map?

    1. Uh, well no bank is going to publicly give that information unless they’re really small. But ultimately MDs make hiring decisions – but it’s also usually tougher to reach them without a connection or introduction. So I would start with contacting lower level people first and then try to move up based on that.

  128. I’ve been to an information session at a uni before with ibanker alumini. I actually made a connection too with one guy, although thinking that they would be too busy and not want someone sending them annoying emails etc, I didn’t bother asking for a business card… Sounds like that was short sighted on my part.

    1. Yeah you definitely want to get their contact information – sure, some bankers might not be receptive but others will be more helpful.

  129. I haven’t been to a career fair in ages and agree with a lot of this. It would have helped a lot if I knew what I wanted when I graduated from undergrad.

    1. Yeah, but hardly anyone knows that. I changed my mind about 10 times…

  130. Avatar
    Some advice

    Get Chloe to set up a wireless video feed to a target school and route it through the CTU proxy servers to filter out the stupid questions.

  131. But, what is it like being an investment banker :p

    Good post, I just wish there actually were information sessions within 200 miles of where I go to school. Any thoughts on what to do in a situation like that?

    1. Agreed, Chloe is probably your best answer. Failing that, I’d recommend getting out there and traveling – yes it’s expensive but honestly nothing compares to face-to-face meetings… it’s an investment.

      You don’t need info sessions necessarily but I’d strongly recommend meeting in-person with as many bankers as you can.

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