by Brian DeChesare Comments (245)

How to Network Your Way Into Investment Banking in 5 Simple Steps

How to Network Your Way Into Investment Banking in 5 Simple Steps

Here it is – the step-by-process you’ve been waiting for:

(For more free training and financial modeling videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.)

There’s too much material in this video (email readers, please click through to view) to transcribe here, so here are the highlights – and my evil scheme to incentivize you to watch rather than just skimming through the text:


You need to learn this step-by-step networking process for 3 reasons:

  1. Networking is actually simpler than most people would have you believe. It’s more about learning the fundamentals and practicing a lot rather than getting your Ph.D. in quantum physics.
  2. When times are bad, you need networking to find work and to set yourself apart from the thousands of other unemployed financiers.
  3. But even when times are good, you still need networking to set yourself apart from the thousands of people who suddenly “got interested” in finance.


For our purposes, “networking” refers to 2 strategies:

  1. Developing relationships with informational interviews, speaking with alumni, going to information sessions, and going on weekend trips.
  2. Asking for jobs directly via cold-calling.

You might think that these are completely different processes, but there’s a surprising amount of overlap – and the steps in this video apply to both strategies, with a few differences that we’ll point out.


Here’s where you have to watch the video to see the magical 5-step formula that will lead to your success networking.

Key points:

  • Why your “story” must be different from the “story” you tell when interviewing – and how to make sure yours gets results.
  • Why you need a “list” from day 1, where to find the names, how to prioritize them, and whether to go for junior or senior bankers.
  • The 3 most important points in informational interviews – and why a lot of “conventional” advice is completely wrong.
  • Why you need to “train” bankers to expect requests from you – and how to do this from day 1.
  • How to make your cold-calls successful, including 2 ninja strategies for getting through to the right people and speaking with them live.
  • How and when to follow-up effectively – and how you can “make your ask” without embarrassing yourself or coming across as too aggressive.

So watch the video right now to learn all this and more.

What Next?

Simple: practice.

Once you’ve watched this video and learned all the steps within, figure out how to apply them to your own situation.

How will you tell your “story” differently? Where will you find names, and who will you contact first? What are you going to request from bankers to “train” them to expect future requests from you?

Don’t wait, and don’t aim for perfection – go for “good enough” and adapt along the way so that you start winning interviews and landing offers.

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.

Break Into Investment Banking

Free Exclusive Report: 57-page guide with the action plan you need to break into investment banking - how to tell your story, network, craft a winning resume, and dominate your interviews

We respect your privacy. Please refer to our full privacy policy.


Read below or Add a comment

  1. Thanks for creating this write-up.

    LinkedIn is the best place for me to identify potential contacts that are in my industry of interest and went to my school etc.; however, you specifically recommend e-mailing them rather than reaching out via LinkedIn. How do I explain how I came across their contact info and mentions the commonality we have without seeming creepy? Thanks!

    1. Just say you found them on LinkedIn and don’t even explain how you found the email address. The assumption is that email addresses are pretty easy to guess if you have the person’s name and current company.

      1. Brian,

        Thank you for the quick reply.

        Would you recommend cold e-mailing someone on a team for a job listing posted on a site such as LinkedIn? If so, would starting off with stating that you found the person and job posting on LinkedIn + a 3-4 sentence mini-story + a conclusion along the lines of the “I’d like to learn how I can best position myself for *insert specific opportunity at the firm*” relatively similar to what’s laid out here be the most appropriate approach? If that format is not on the right track, could you provide any further guidance?

        Thank you again.

        1. Yes, but you need to make the email much shorter… see this article for examples:

  2. Hi Brian, great content as always. I just started my career in transaction services and want to break into banking. Sometimes it’s a bit odd to email someone and ask for a meeting without meeting them prior or spoken on the phone first. What would you suggest asking for? To grab a drink or coffee after work? Sometimes it’s hard to guage when you’ll be free after work. Or would a weekend meet up be better?
    Any insight would be great! Thanks.

  3. Dear Brian:

    I am beginning my junior year at a semi-target (Duke, Northwestern, Cornell), and I haven’t networked that much yet. I am looking to work in asset management, hopefully the buy side, and have been applying to every firm that has an internship program and have done a few first rounds. Would it make sense for me to reach out to alumni and start networking now for summer internships or would that only work for summer 2020? I plan to extend my graduation and get my masters through a combined program at my school. Really need advice on this, thanks.

    1. Asset management firms tend to start recruiting later than the large banks (see:, so you’re not “too late” in the same way you would be for IB internships at this stage. So I think reaching out to alumni and doing some networking now would help you, even for 2019 summer internships.

  4. Hello I unfortunately didn’t get a banking offers and I’m doing Valuations now. I started a month ago and I know I want to jump into banking. My question is, if I know I don’t want to stay in my current role, how soon after I start should I try and interview/move? I’m 21 years old and just started. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  5. Hi Brian, I’m a rising sophomore and am hoping to secure a regional boutique internship or PE internship for summer of 2019.

    Should I be emailing alumni in these firms now/early fall or wait until late winter/early spring to ask about internships after I have joined my school’s prestigious IB club and know most of the modeling through a class offered at my school?

    1. Start sooner rather than later because summer 2020 recruiting might start in January 2019, judging by what happened this year. If you wait until late winter/early spring, you’ll have to look for multiple internships at the same time.

  6. Nathan de Lara

    Hi Brian,

    I’m a high school sophomore and am enrolled in a CO-OP program for my junior year. The CO-OP program would take place from September-may and would include me going to the office twice a week for the better part of the afternoon. for the program how would you suppose going about getting a position at an investment banking division or a mutual/hedge fund. Any suggestions you would have as to emailing banks about taking me on would be greatly appreciated. I live in a large city so the availability of banks would be plenty

    1. ??? I’m not really sure what your question is because recruiting now takes place over a year in advance. For summer 2019 positions, it started in *February* of 2018. So if you don’t already have something lined up, you pretty much have to focus on boutique firms and use a lot of cold emailing/cold calling to win offers.

  7. If I successfully network and they say they’ll pass on my resume to HR, do I still need to apply online? Or is that considered my application.

    1. You should still apply online, and you need to follow up with anyone who says that because they often forget, get busy, etc.

  8. Good Article

  9. Hi Brian,

    I have been a reader of M&I and the website helped me a lot in networking, as I am hunting for 2016 summer internship right now. If not too much trouble, I wanted to hear your advice on a question regarding networking.

    My father has connections with an MD at a bulge bracket IBD, which served as financial advisor in multiple deals for my father’s company. I have recently networked with the MD and his VP staffer. My question is that, since I told the MD & VP that I have primarily networked and applied for S&T positions (I am super excited about markets), would it be possible to still leverage this connection? My goal would be to ask for a referral to IBD internship interview, but I don’t know how they felt after I honestly disclosed my strong interest in S&T and I am just “reaching out to learn more about IBD”…

    I would greatly appreciate any advice you may have given this scenario. Thanks in advance for your time and help. BTW wish all the best for M&I and BIWS!


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes, you can still try to leverage the connection by saying that you’re also open to IBD and that you’d love to learn more about IB. Since you’ve already told them you’re interested in S&T it is hard to take that back. But you can always add that you read about IBD and you realise that you’d love to learn more about it too.

      1. Thanks Nicole. I have already done so before the firm’s application deadline (last Thursday if I recall correctly). The MD put me in touch with his VP staffer, who helped me on referrals.

  10. Hello,

    I have been reading articles on this site for the past 4 months and it has been very useful so far.

    As an international student in my second year, would you say that the same rules apply for students who are in the US on a visa? I mean, is networking with the hopes of establishing and maintaining a relationship with people/alumni in Finance a realistic goal for someone whose starting from scratch at the beginning of his sophomore year?

    Thank you.

    1. Most of the strategies are the same, but you have to do a few things differently if you need a work visa to work in the US. There are some tips in these articles:

  11. Martin Iglesias


    Wicked website. If it were a book I would say I would say that I can’t put it down. I’ve got a question. I was born and bred in Argentina and moved to London 3 years ago. I study at the London School of Economics now. A master’s alumnus who’s from Argentina too and is now a Sales & Trading VP at JPMorgan once came for a talk, I reached out to him through LinkedIn and met up for a beer last June. We talked extensively about applications and he explained lots of tactics to boost my application, he said “keep in touch” at the end. He also indirectly suggested he could push behind the scenes during the meeting

    The application season’s just started and I want to reach out to him and do not have a pretext. Saying that I would love to work for his company sounds too impersonal, as he suggested 999 different ways of “coming through the backdoor,” asking for a helping hand would be too coarse/direct.

    Would appreciate suggestions. Many thanks in advance

    1. I would just send a casual follow-up and say it was great to meet him and that you’re currently applying for internships/jobs and wanted to know if he had any tips on applying to his firm, or if anything has changed since last time.

      1. Martin Iglesias

        WhatsApp or LinkedIn? Initial talk:linkedin. He gave me his WhatsApp so that I could text him when I got to the office

        1. WhatsApp tends to be better because people rarely check their LinkedIn accounts for new messages.

  12. I am a college sophomore meeting with a VP of ops at a major bank. My end goal is HF, but understand that is not likely straight out of college. I am interested in IB internships as a starting path. The person I am meeting with has a history with several major banks, as well as an HF, but as an analyst (for banks). Should I tell him I am open to any and all connections into finance (which I am), and try to network into an analyst position? Or should I ask for a specific connection to one of the specific banks he worked at? And should I ask to be connected to the HF, or is that too much of a reach? I do not want to be overbearing, but would like to have as many open doors as I can.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d ask him about his experience and tell him that you’re open, but you find XX more interesting than most. I’d then ask him if he can give you a few referrals to learn more about XX industry. If you do have a HF in mind, then yes tell him you’re interested in working for XX and ask him if he can help.

  13. Michael Smith


    I come from a target school and have a 3.5 GPA. Unfortunately, my experience is terrible. Last summer, I was a research assistant for a month and did a study abroad. This summer, I am working in the customer education department for a mid-size company in my area. I’m essentially a secretary getting coffee everyday.

    None of these experiences will stand out to a banker.

    However, I come from a target school. The summer is just beginning. How do I network right now to make myself competitive once recruiting begins? Should I email people from my school that currently work for the banks? If so, should I aim for people in top positions or analysts? What should I ask them for?

    1. We responded to your question here:

      Short answer: spin side projects during your downtime into sounding relevant, and start networking well in advance by reaching out to any alumni you can find at banks. Aim for analysts at first if you are new to networking and ask for informational interviews.

  14. Hi Brian,

    I urgently need some advice specific to my situation. So basically, I have an informational interview with an MD at GS (FIG team) next week (UK btw). this will be my second face-to-face meeting with him, its more of a catch-up than anything else. Anyway, I’ve kept under his radar for the past 3/4 months via email and calls. Following his advice, I recently completed a summer internship (3 months) in a boutique investment bank, highly reputable in the FIG sector. I don’t come from a target uni but have completed 3 IB internships. I am hoping to make the ‘Big Request’ this coming meeting.

    I would be grateful if you could give me some direction as to how I should approach this? I know this is not your typical Info Interview, where I ask questions about themselves / get to know them etc. I’ve already done that in our first meeting…I’m hoping to ask for off-cycle opportunities, as this is the only thing applicable to someone like me – being a 2012 graduate. How can I structure this meeting and eventually lead it up to the big request? Also should I hand in my CV (if everything goes to plan, that is)?

    Many thanks,


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Congrats on your interview. I would keep your resume handy so if he asks for it I’d hand it to him. In terms of the big ask, I wouldn’t approach it any differently from your previous meetings. I’d get to know him a bit, talk about his firm and your experience and then make the ask. Make sure you’ve established a rapport first. I’d let the conversation flow naturally – hard to “structure” a meeting when he’s the MD and you’d also want the conversation to go both ways

      1. Many thanks for the advice Nicole :)

        I think that I have established a solid rapport with the MD and starting to think that its now or never to make the big ask. This is my second info interview and think three maybe one too many (maybe I’m wrong?). I’ll definitely make the conversation flow as naturally as possible and try to focus on him – as I’m aware that he has been particularly busy as of late. Should the conversation naturally lead to the big ask, I was hoping to say something along the lines of…

        “Having recently completed a 4-month internship at a boutique investment bank (FIG specialist), I have acquired a strong interest in the FIG space. I was wondering whether there are any off-cycle opportunities in your FIG team for someone like me? I would really like to build on my FIG experience and knowledge and believe that your division would be the perfect place to achieve this…etc.”

        would this ^ be the right way to go about it?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes what you wrote should be fine.

  15. Hi Brian,

    I’ve read from The Banker Blueprint that this relationship-building process should start roughly a year before the actual recruiting season begins. I’m currently a rising junior and will have to leave for two years after finishing my first semester for an unavoidable reason. Also, I’ll only have little to no internet access. In this case, how should I go about the relationship building process?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you have no internet access and you don’t live in NY, it will be challenging to build relationships. I’d probably build the relationships before you leave.

      1. Thanks! Is a semester enough to do relationship building? Or will I just have to rely on cold-calling methods? Is there some other way I could try to approach this?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Semester is sufficient though I’d also try cold-calling new contacts other than your alums. I’d also use LinkedIn

  16. Mojo Sleighman

    Hi Brian,
    I am an engineering major new grad and I have no close connection in Investment Banking field. I live close to DownTown Toronto Financial District where all the main bank branches are located.
    I was thinking of randomly drop by every bank and ask to meet with a staff or drop off my resume.
    How would you comment on that? Should I go online and find staff names and tell them at the receptionist ? Is it fine to ask to meet them with no appointment?
    Thanks very much!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d focus on LinkedIn and connect with people directly there. Receptionist can’t really help, though an MD’s secretary/PA maybe more useful is a useful article for you

  17. Hi Brian,

    I have a question about networking that I couldn’t find the answer on the internet.

    I’m working at a wealth management company now as a temp. This company has the namecards of many bankers, MDs, CEOs and directors from all the different banks. Is it well, legal, if I use these numbers and emails for future networking/cold-calling/emailing? I mean, discreetly of course. Nobody would know how I got their emails/numbers…

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I wouldn’t say it is illegal. Of course you can give it a shot. I am not sure how receptive people are but this is not a bad way to get contacts…

  18. Hi Is it too “forward” to facebook message a partner of a bank, who I found online. He gave a talk at my school before. Or should I limit myself to email his work email (which might be over looked)

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think its best to connect via LinkedIn or email. Otherwise it may not be perceived as “professional.”

  19. ^ Bump..

  20. Hi –

    I know a CEO of a global non-profit organization that has a partnership with a global BB, and he’s sending the Global Head of HR who’s also on one of those Operating/Mgmt Committees a recommendation letter on my behalf. The CEO is formally writing to put in a good word for me and recommend me for the position, and at the very least maybe an interview. They work closely together and know each other well.

    How much could this help? Will it just help me get an interview or maybe an offer as well? Would/could it help more than just getting an interview because the Global Head of HR guy has influence? Or does he still have no pull because he’s HR? This is for a BB looking to add to their analyst class starting this summer (class of 2014)

    Thank you

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes this may increase your chances of getting an interview. However, you’ll have to rely on your interviewing skills and story to get an offer. The head of HR may have some pull and can put in some good words for you, but ultimately the team and hiring manager make the decision.

  21. I attended a non-target school for undergrad and was fortunate enough to recently be accepted for an off-season IB analyst internship (unpaid) from a boutique investment firm even though I’ve already graduated. If I am not offered a full-time position with them upon completing the internship (4 months, it will be June and I will have been out of school for 1 year), what’s my best strategy? When do recruiters do hiring for full time analysts?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d network a lot during your internship and try your best to secure an offer there. I’d also network externally so you have interviews lined up during/after your internship. I’d approach recruiters fall/after Christmas though you’d be considered off-cycle hire so you can’t plan the timing as much.

  22. Hi,

    Thanks to a BB case competition, I got an interview opportunity with a BB at the US office, but still have not heard back. I found the contact of a VP working at that BB at one of the Asia offices. The VP is a Master alumni of my university. What do you think I should say in the cold email? I will probably not be able to work at that BB in summer since I got offer from another investment bank but how should I approach for alternative opportunities?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d still touch base and introduce yourself. You can briefly discuss your background and interest in the industry on the email, and seek his thoughts on how to excel in the industry. You may want to disclose that you are interning at another bank if you’re going to take that offer, and that you’d love to connect with him.

      1. Hi Nicole,

        Should I approach him with relationship building techniques, which is to ask for some information interviews face-to-face or phone calls? Do I need to ask any questions for my first cold email to him and mention I may need his help for future career?


        1. M&I - Nicole

          I’d just reach out and ask for a brief chat with him at his convenience to understand *his* career and thoughts on the industry. Always focus your attention on him; people like to talk about themselves

          1. Hi Nicole,

            The VP asked me out to meet him for a chat. He is a markets guy so I don’t know if he is like other bankers who love to talk about themselves. What if he asked me a lot of personal, career and market questions? How can I manage to switch the focus back to him? Do you think the mini-ask still work for him given that it is a Bulge Bracket bank with formal recruitment (what if he says “I am sorry, but you have to apply through the official channel”)? And should I wear suit for just a coffee meeting?

            Thank you!

          2. Just take each question he asks and turn it around into a question for him. Yes, you can still make requests – if he says that, just say “Yes, I understand that and will do that anyway but it would be great if you could put in a good word for me directly to the team so that they know who I am.” You can wear business casual.

  23. Hello,

    In terms of the informational interview, could I bring up my actual “ask” then. This is specifically for a few people I had conducted informational interviews with a few years ago, but haven’t talked to them since. I remember have a strong connection with them and they are alumni from my school.

    Would doing this be too weird? Thanks.


  24. Hello,

    What are your thoughts on attaching a resume when I send email requests for informational interviews to my college alumni at firms I am interested in for summer internships? FYI, I am a sophomore at a non-target, but with a 3.93 GPA, 3 business-related internships so far, and executive board positions in school organizations, including the investment banking club. Based on this, my initial thought is that a quick glance at my resume will increase the banker’s perception of me as well as hopefully increasing the response rate. Please let me know your thoughts and thanks in advance!


    1. M&I - Nicole

      You can do that though I think its best to send them a brief initial introductory email. They may not have the time to click open your attachment.

  25. How would I go about asking a company to consider offering me an internship in IB?? What are the compulsory requirements??

  26. HI Brian, in the UK, esp. in London, when I ask: ‘I want to find out how I could best position myself for an internship with your firm’, they will take the easy way out and respond by telling me to apply online through the firm’s website.
    Can you please tell me how I should respond to this answer because obviously this is not the kind of answer I expect to receive. Thank you!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you have the name of the person you want to talk to just say can I speak with XX and if they ask why, just say that he/she is expecting your call re. an email you sent him/her.

      If you’re just cold calling banks’ general line, then yes just say you’ve applied online and you’d like to speak with someone in HR or the respective division because you have a few questions re. the application. Be assertive and press on

  27. When is the correct time (if any) to add people you have networked with to your LinkedIn network? Having them in your network would open up a huge field of new contacts, but at the same time makes it painfully obvious that you are trying to use them. Thoughts or comments?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d add them to your network once you’ve established a connection with them, via email or in person. They may also be able to benefit from your network too, so I wouldn’t view it as you “trying to use them”.

  28. New York Zhejianger


    The video is great and I still have one question. I am a student just graduate from college and how can I reach mutual benefit when networking? In other words, what’s the value I can provide to him since I really don’t have any expertise or contacts? By the way, you said we should try to find common ground. But what kind of common topic we can use? Same school, sport? Is that too general since everyone is talking about them? Thank you

  29. If you are meeting with a VP/MD of a bulge bracket, is it okay to ask for referrals for their friends in other bulge brackets? Or is that not okay because it shows that you’re not committed to that firm?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      It is ok if you have established a strong connection with him/her. Otherwise, I would be reluctant to do so because the VP/MD may not want to refer you to their friends because you have not established your credibility with him/her yet. Yes, it will show that you’re not committed to that firm so I wouldn’t do that unless he/she told you his/her firm isn’t hiring at the moment.

  30. Hi,

    This is all good information and sounds great but I am wondering if you have any advice tailored more towards women who want to break into IB. IB is very male dominated industry and I find it intimidating reach out to men and setting up a coffee date or going to to bankers bars, etc. I don’t want them to get the wrong intention ever. Is it too limiting to reach out to women in IB only?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Great question. I don’t think guys generally get the wrong impression unless you give out the “wrong” impressions (consciously or subconsciously). I have reached out to men for networking purposes before and many were willing and capable to help me out, and some even became my mentors. Of course, there may be cases where some contacts become interested in you for other reasons, though I wouldn’t worry too much about it. As long as you trust yourself, your capability and keep things professional, I think reaching out to men is very useful to your career path, especially in IB. The way you approach men is important – keep it professional, dress and communicate professionally (i.e. no extremely low cuts & extremely short skirts, and minimize “flirting”) Yes, I think it can be too limiting to just reach out to women in IB because the industry is at least 50% men I think. It is awesome to network with women, but I wouldn’t forget about the guys.

  31. Hi Brian,

    I’m living in Singapore, graduating with a 2nd upper class honours under the international programme with London School of Economics in Banking and Finance. I have a aunt whom is an investment banker with a french bank. She is currently a senior vp there. I am wondering how I should approach her for help to get into IB. I heard her once saying it would be rather difficult for her to hire families or close relatives into her bank but I assume she should have connections with people within the industry and should be easy for her to get me in even if it’s another bank if she is willing to do so, right? My question is, does senior vp have hiring power (like my aunt in this case) or should I forget about getting in altogether because I don’t have other connections and doesn’t graduate from ivy league unis.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think you should still try connecting with her and see if she can give you some input. Even if she can’t hire you, she may be able to point you to the right direction/introduce you to new contacts. Senior VPs do have somewhat of a hiring power though the whole team decides. I wouldn’t forget about it all together because she may be a resource – try anyway, you have nothing to lose.

  32. I’ve been collecting e-mails of bankers who are alumni of my school via online research, but I have no idea about how I should tell them I got their contact information. I’m targeting alumni of my school (they have been removed from the alumni database) so that I have some relevency, but I feel as it’s too creepy to tell them that I found their information online. Do you know of a good way around this?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      A lot of people obtain contact info online so I don’t think it is creepy at all to say that, unless they specifically stated that they don’t want to be contacted through the directory. Unless you know of someone who knows them, I think its best to say you found them through online directory/or you came across their info online and you realized you guys went to the same school so you wanted to drop him/her a line.

      1. Would it be offside if I BSed a bit and told them I found their information in the alumni database? The ones who are mad that their information is supposedly still in the database probably wouldn’t be of much help to me anyways.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes you can say so though it may be best to say that you’ve found their information through their website/online resources because that’s how you obtained their info

  33. Hello
    I recently got into a top 5 MBA program, and I know that major banks recruit there.

    I have an advanced degree in Biotechnology and have been working in a reputable Biotech company in R&D for the last 3 years.

    I want to get into Investment banking. I have about 7 months from now to getting started next Fall. What are the things I can do to maximize my chances of landing an internship in IB, since I don’t have a finance background ? Some recommend doing CFA Level I, but others say it is irrelevant for IB.

    Thanks for your time. I appreciate your response.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Congrats! Network a lot and speak to as many people in the industry as you can. Attend networking events! Yes, CFA may not be too relevant for IB roles, but it is relevant for buy-side/research roles

      Please check out the links below:

  34. I have done an summer internship in M&A and worked on an lbo deal and buy-side M&A deal and have worked as an contractor for different financial institution and currently working in hedge fund/private equity middle office back office fund accounting division. I also have an MBA in corporate finance but still I didn’t received invitation to the career/diversity/workshop/coffee-chats/womens events held by the BB. I read an article on this website stating that candidates do get chance despite of their non-finance background so what would be the reason for not being considered for these events?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps you can reach out to the event organizers and ask to be involved in the events?

  35. I am a senior at a non-target school with majors in Finance and Accounting, but a gpa around the low side (3.4). I have extensive market experience, including being the chief economist for a live equity/ fixed-income fund at our school and managing director of an angel investment fund where I helped raise a for-profit fund. My school does not have many alumni in IB and I am looking to target regional banks, i.e. Minneapolis, Denver, Madison, Dallas/Houston, etc. My true passion is in Trading, however I believe the rest of my resume puts me at better odds with IB. Do you have any insight on regional banks hiring process vs. BB regarding this? Also, are there any exit opportunities with IB that are intricately involved with the markets – IB, Asset Management, etc?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Depends on the bank – different banks have somewhat of a different process though I’d say bigger banks generally have a more structured process. I’d suggest you to speak with HR at various banks and gain more insights.

  36. BeijingBrian

    How do I enter the finanace market after 4 years in China? Finishing a 2-year masters from a top university in Beijing in accounting next year. I’m looking to move back to the US next summer, most likely San Francisco area.

    25 years old and I’m currently working for a small firm that does a little bit of everything from raising money for private equity to media deals. Trying to set myself up for a MBA in a couple years. Many large companies here in Beijing don’t want to deal with the visa issues for foreign students like me. Also, the pay is normally under $20,000/yr.

    Do I start cold calling small boutique firms? Try to just start working at a large bank?

    1. BeijingBrian

      Mainly trying to network, but not easy when there is a 15 hour time difference and an ocean. When I say just “work for a large bank” I mean somehow get into corporate and not the call centers. Not sure if it helps I speak fluent Mandarin.

  37. Hi,

    I am just about to go into my last year of uni. Last January I had an interview for a wealth management internship at a BB bank. The COO interviewed me and gave me his card at the start of the interview. I did not get the internship but I am interested in applying back there for the graduate position. Do you think I should begin emailing him with a “mini ask”, e.g how does the grad recruitment differ from the intern recruitment? Or should I say something more direct, e.g as I got to the final stages of the intern selection process is it necessary for me to go through the full graduate application process again?


    1. I just thought it might be worth adding that it was the COO of the wealth management division…not the whole bank.

    2. M&I - Nicole

      Please don’t email him the mini questions because these questions can be answered by HR! Be straight forward and tell him you’re interested in working there and ask him for advice/brief chat/meeting

      1. Thanks very much for your advice

  38. Anis Bashir

    Hey guys,

    First off – I have to say, brilliant website, has lots of real life information on here. I’m always reading up on the site learning new things.

    I have a question to ask about keeping in touch with MD’s and VP’s i’ve met from IB division’s. I recently had a 1 month internship at the back office of Morgan Stanley and during the time I had cold emailed MD’s and VP’s from the IBD of MS and set up meetings with about 20 of them during the 1 month (another 10 analysts) – the discussions were around what I can do to strengthen myself as a candidate when going onto University next year even if I don’t go into a ‘target’.

    However, I want to keep in touch with them but am lost as to how I should do that, any ideas? suggestions? I’d really appreciate if you guys could let me know!

    Also one of the MD’s called me on my last day telling me to give him a call or email once I do apply for a summer internship at MS and he will help out, I really want to keep in touch with him!

    All the advice will be greatly useful!

    Thank you in advance.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Just email them and keep in touch with them. Express your interest in working at IB in MS.

      Yes – give him a ring soon to catch up so he remembers you

      1. Anis Bashir

        That’s the part I get stuck on, when I write the email, what should I actually write? As in, what should the topic of the email be?

  39. Is it possible to overnetwork in one office? Ive talked to 4 analysts and 1 associate at a single BB regional office and since i use the same template for my intro emails I was wondering if it will look bad if they find out ive been talking to several of them. And I was actually planning on reaching out to a couple more…

    1. M&I - Nicole

      No, I don’t think it is possible to overnetwork in one office. You can use the same email template though I’d change it around a bit…

    2. Just to weigh in here: you do actually have to be careful about this.

      Mix up the templates, contact them at different times, etc…. you do NOT want to be seen emailing 5 people with the same template on the same day. It can definitely cause issues.

      Spread it out, use different templates, and keep your own story consistent.

  40. I am currently a senior majoring in finance from a non target school. I was unable to get a summer internship because I am “International Student” status and most of companies that recruit international do not recruit from my school. Currently, I am trying to network with alumni, conferences. I wanted to ask I tried getting contact of alumni or employers through linkedin but most of their info (email/numbers) are not online and I am unable to connect with them as a result of “out of network” situation. I wanted to ask what is the best way to get in contact or their contact info of investment bankers.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      You’ll have to figure out their email and phone numbers. If you have their names and your pitch ready, I’d cold call the bank’s main switchboard and ask to be transferred to that person. Re email, you can try to figure it out from the bank’s email format…..

  41. I am currently approaching my sophomore year of undergrad and I attend Creighton University. Im from the midwest so it is not well known on East coast although its finance program was ranked 19th in the nation as of 2012 and recently dropped from 15th. I have a few connections on wall street which is how I plan to make the transition from the west and I currently have a 3.8 GPA which I do plan on going up. What are my chances with landing a job as an analyst upon graduation?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Hard to say based on the limited info you provided. Network and try to land interviews using the connections you have. Know your pitch & story first though

  42. Hi,

    If I am trying to network with alumni, what should I say in the e-mail. What kinds of questions should I ask that is a balance of seeming interested, not dumb questions that could be found out through own research and not too detailed as to seem weird. Are questions about personal experiences in the job ok, or am I just supposed to say hi I’m interested in banking what is the best way to position myself kind of thing.

    1. Just ask them if you could speak with them quickly to learn more about how the recruiting process at their firm works and to ask about their own background. In initial emails, keep it VERY short.

  43. Hi,

    I’m looking to contact an alumni from my school (not completely target, but top 20 undergrad B-school). He works at an industry specific consulting/advisory firm that has an IB department. There’s an opening for an entry-level position in their consulting/advisory branch in Hong Kong, and the alumni is in the financial services IB (M&A of financial firms) arm in New York. He’s an MD so I’m wondering if it’s too high up of a position for me to be contacting him? He graduated almost 30 years before I did and is the 3rd executive listed on the department website.

    I’m wondering if it would be awkward for me to email him and say I went to the same school, want to apply for that position in HK (despite being in a different department), and would like some information as to how to best position myself. Would this be unorthodox? Really want to play it right as I think I have a good chance at this position.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      No, email him. However, remember the following tips when you email him:

      Be brief and succinct.
      Try to ask for a coffee/call with him so you can meet him in person.
      If possible, remind him of what you might be able to do for him, not merely what he can do for you.

  44. confusedguy


    I went on linkedin, did a people search (per investment bank) etc and am trying to email people to network with. Im facing the following problems.

    1) They accept my LinkedIn invitation but do not reply to my initial email or the follow up email.

    2) The accept my LinkedIn invitation but after an initial reply (saying to contact them on date x) they ignore me.

    3) A lot of the members are in groups e.g. Goldman Sachs group, which you cannot join unless you are at GS etc.

    4) A lot of the members only accept InMails – even if you get a subscription its going to be difficult to send many emails because LinkedIn limits you.

    How else do I network? all on-campus sessions are over…

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Find out which group you are most interested in working for. Find out people who has the hiring power in those groups. Instead of using LinkedIn, find out their email addresses and email them instead

  45. I’m presently working full time in a BB firm (not in IBD, but it’s a front office role)… I’m a little weary of “aggresively networking” for a lateral move into IBD, because it could backfire if someone from my firm finds out about my efforts to move? Don’t want to jeopardize my current position and job.

    This is the only factor that stops me from really ramping up any networking attempts; I have a clear plan and bunch of names to contact otherwise. You think I should go ahead and take a chance anyway? FYI, I’m based in an Asian financial hub.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      True. Network discretely but diligently. You should always be networking and “sniffing” for information. Doesn’t hurt to get to know those names of yours and ask them out for a drink or sth. Get to know them through your contacts/events/places they hang out at

  46. Do I only network via meetings held by universities?

    Or are there other ways for me to do so?

    1. (Aside from cold calling.)

    2. M&I - Nicole

      Go to places, events where bankers congregate.

      1. Could you please provide examples?

        All I know are networking events in university (as I’ll be attending a non-target I won’t have access to all these events as some universities hold some events for strictly to their own students).

        Though I do plan to go to a target for a masters, I’d be more comfortable doing all I can along the way. Inclusive to cold-calling and working hard to get into a target.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Hang out where bankers congregate (i.e. clubs, bars, restaurants, gyms) chill and be friends with them!

          1. Oh I see. Thanks. :D

            Now time to find where they do hang….

  47. Do you think I would have any shot at medium-sized MM banks (not on the level of Jefferies, Baird, Harris Williams, and other companies that likely have online career pages, but below that) by cold-calling HR and asking if I could speak to someone about internship opportunities? Or does cold-calling the main line really only work for small boutiques?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think HR will forward key contacts at the firm to you. I would suggest you to find out the contacts of the key people you want to work for and contact them directly instead

  48. When asking for informational interviews, would it be best to contact someone at the Analyst/Associate or VP/MD level?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      VP level + to get a job
      Analyst / associate level to scoop info

  49. Is networking with people at bulge banks but not in IBD worth it?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Networking is always worthwhile because those peeps might know people in IB. However, networking w bankers in IBD may be more effective & time-efficient

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *