by Brian DeChesare Comments (310)

Investment Banking Networking: How to Break In

Investment Banking Networking: How to Break In

Ah, networking into investment banking.

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


There are 2 main approaches to networking:

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

Method #1 – developing relationships – works better if:

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

Cold-calling works better if:

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

How to Meet Bankers and Develop Relationships

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

Here’s what you should do to develop relationships:

1. Make Your List

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

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

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

2. Make the Initial Outreach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Do Additional Research

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

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

5. Make the Call / Attend the Meeting

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

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

6. Make Your “Mini-Ask”

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

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

7. Follow-Up

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

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

8. Make Your “Real Ask”

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

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

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

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

Even More Relationships

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

Information Sessions

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

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

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

Weekend Trips

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

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

Even More

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

And Read These Articles:


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

1. Perfect Your Pitch

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

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

2. Make Your List

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

Where should you find this list of boutiques?

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

3. Refine Your List

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

4. Place Your Calls

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

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

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

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

5. Follow-Up

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

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

6. Rinse, Wash, and Repeat

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

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

Networking Like a Ninja

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

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

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. Hi,

    Im currently working at a BB, but in the Mutual Funds Accounting department. I want to get into IB, do you think I can still get into IB, or would I have to go back to school to do MBA and try then?

    Really appreciate your advice. Thank you!

    1. It really depends on how long you’ve been working there. If it’s 6-12 months or less, then you could potentially make a lateral move into IB, perhaps using a steppingstone role like corporate banking, corporate finance, or valuation at an independent firm first. But if you’ve been there for, say, 2-3 years, then you will probably need an MBA to have a good shot at getting in.

  2. just a quick question – does it ever actually happen that someone manages to network their way in around the traditional recruitment calendar.

    I have already graduated and have been networking for 2 months approx and managed to get a phone interview at a BB. I am not sure if they are even hiring this time of year? My CV was forwarded to HR by an MD I reached out to.

    This is in London and from a target school if this helps.

  3. Thanks for the article – a lot of good information. I am currently spending the summer before my last undergrad year interning in equity research but would like to make the move over to IB. I guess the problem is that I didn’t really consider IBD so I’ve missed out on the chance to get a summer internship before my last year.

    Since I am at a BB bank, would you recommend I start networking or would I have go neccessarily go back for masters/MBA and get that IBD internship first?

    1. No. You can network your way into IB if you’re already working at a large bank.

  4. Maxime Belair

    Hi Brian, I just discovered your website days ago and it has been of a huge help, thank you for your time.
    I am a senior in a french business school, and will spend 6 months in a top 50 ranked US college. I did an internship at a PE/RE firm (36 billions in AuM) and another in consulting on a big 4, both in Luxembourg. I’m trying to move into Investment Banking and break into a BB.
    My issue is that I have no relevant M&A/IB related experience, which is the reason why I will focus on another internship. Do you think a 6 months internship in M&A at Deloitte would be sufficient to then get into a BB or should I already focus on a real IB experience, either in a boutique or a BB?
    Thanks a lot in advance.

    1. At this point, you should aim for real IB experience because an M&A internship at Deloitte might be perceived as too similar to your previous Big 4 internship. Also, if you want to work in France (not recommended), everyone goes through a series of 6-month internships before winning a real job… and to maximize your chances, those internships should be at investment banks.

      1. Maxime Belair

        Thanks for your answer. I’m not even considering working in France actually, my aim at this stage is moving to NY where it is even harder to win a real job. Good to know, I’ll do what it takes to move to IB for my next internship. I still have one question in mind; Is is way better perceived to have one step already in the US in a big bank or spending 6 months in IB in Luxembourg is still pretty good? At this point it is more convenient to me because I have been able to meet people through my E&Y consulting missions who would offer me an internship in Luxembourg, whereas I have no certainty I wil get one in London or NY.

        1. An IB internship in Luxembourg is fine, but one in NY would be better if your goal is to work there. However, you would probably need to be in school there or otherwise have a work visa first.

  5. Yorkie Bar


    I have cold emailed a few asset management places and got an email saying:

    “Hello [My Name],

    Many thanks for your email. Unfortunately, there are no internship positions available here this summer. We wish you well with your career.

    Best wishes”

    There is a signature from the person who sent it, with a specific number (different from the main company line). Should I call it and push harder or am I being too confrontations and aggressive?

    Appreciate any advice! (I’m from the UK if that changes your answer – looking for a summer internship as a first year) (The email I sent is a copy of your template with slight modifications).

    -Yorkie Bar

    1. If you have a phone number, yes, it’s worth following up to that type of email and pushing further. I think you would have better luck contacting small PE/VC firms rather than asset management firms because they tend to have more grunt work for interns to assist with.

  6. Simon Huxley


    I am a German student who is doing his Abitur right now. I will get an Abitur of 1.2-1.3 (1.0 is the best), which equals to 3.7-3.8 GPA. I have offers from Kings College London for Economics, Rotterdam University for a double degree in economics and econometrics and Maastricht for business economics… Which one should I accept?
    Some extras: I have been deputy head boy at school, several times the head of the year, I attended workshops for my school, I have won a competition in which I was the boss of a company for one day, won a stock market competition( +6000€ in 3 Months, 12th place of about 5000 people), internships at a local insurance company and at a local bank… Moreover I trade with cryptocurrencies

    Do I have a good profile?

    Thank you for your help :)

    1. Sure, but you need more relevant internships to be competitive. These days, many students already have multiple IB internships at smaller firms before they even apply to the large banks. Kings College London is probably the best bet because London still has, by far, the most IB jobs out of anywhere in Europe (even post-Brexit). You could maybe make an argument for Rotterdam.

      1. Simon Huxley

        Ok thanks for answering my questions :)

        This might be a weird question, but I play a lot of games and in one game I am the 500th best player on earth. It’s a teamgame and communicating is really important. Should I mention this or not? :/

  7. Undergraduate Rising Senior

    Hi Brian,

    First of all. love all your articles, templates, and videos. I have been following your site for a long time, and it has been incredibly helpful for me; thank you.

    A little background on me:

    – Rising senior at non-target (top 40) undergraduate institution with a finance major and 3.4 GPA (many alums in IBD)

    – Will be interning this summer as an investment analyst at a publicly traded holding company with ~5,000 employees and over $3b revenues (FT offer available if I perform well)

    – Bloomberg certification (if at all relevant)

    I am currently trying to get into IBD as soon as possible and eventually PE (very far down the road). I understand this will be difficult given my GPA and lack of IB experience, but do you think it would be at all possible for me to secure a FT role at a no-name boutique by the time I graduate, if I network rigorously this summer, or is it not even worth my time?

    If not, what would be the best FT role that I can try to secure this summer, so that I can lateral from that role after I graduate? Big 4 VA, something else? I will be doing an equity research program next semester, interning part-time at a wealth management firm or RED firm (haven’t decided), and am confident that I can raise my GPA to a 3.5+ by the time I graduate, which will then make it easier to lateral.

    What do you think would be my ideal course of action? It would be incredibly valuable to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. You could do that, but it’s probably not the best idea because if you go to a no-name boutique, you’ll just have to transfer to a larger firm anyway if your goal is private equity. A better idea would be to try to get into equity research at a large bank, which is more relevant for your experience anyway, and then move over to IB from there. Not sure of the recruiting timeline for ER, but there is less of a structured process than there is for IB roles and spots can open up randomly. Other than that, yes, a Big 4 firm or an independent valuation firm would probably be a better idea than networking like crazy just to win a FT role at a regional boutique.

      1. Undergraduate Rising Senior

        Hi Brian,

        Thank you so much for this reply; that is great information. All of this being said, do you think FT ER at a BB is realistic for me, given my GPA? Should I wait until after next semester when my GPA is higher and I have more internship and ER experience under my belt or just start recruiting right away over the summer?

        Also, for a part-time internship for next semester, which would be more relevant for IBD? Real Estate Development or Wealth Management? (Both firms have AUM of ~$400m)

        Thank you in advance; I can’t tell you how helpful this information is.

        1. Undergraduate Rising Senior

          If it helps at all, my major GPA is a 3.9 and my overall GPA for last year (my junior year) was a 3.8.

          Does this affect my possibilities for FT IB or ER roles?

        2. I think it might be a stretch because a lower GPA at a non-target school tends to be a big obstacle. But you might as well start recruiting once you have the internship experience because a slightly higher GPA won’t make a huge difference in this case. Starting much later will hurt you more than a slightly higher GPA will benefit you. Real estate development is a bit more relevant for IB. A higher major GPA helps, but you will still get questions about your overall GPA.

          1. Undergraduate Rising Senior

            Ok, do you think I should target 3rd tier BBs, “IBABs,” and maybe a few MM banks for ER roles then? Also, just to be clear, are you saying that I should wait until after my internship is over to begin recruiting or just until I start?

            Additionally, I can likely secure a FT valuation advisory role at a top CRE firm (think JLL, CBRE, Cushman Wakefield) after I graduate through a connection. Would you say this would me more relevant than anything mentioned above for IB? My only concern here is that I don’t want to confine myself to working in real estate long-term.

          2. Yes. Start recruiting during your internship. Yes, a valuation internship would be more useful than a real estate development or wealth management one.

      2. Undergraduate Rising Senior


        I’ve been following your advice and have had pretty good results so far. However, I have a few questions:

        – Which groups within Big 4 should I target (Valuation, Advisory, TAS)?

        – Would no-name or regional boutique IB be better than big 4/valuation firm, if I can secure it?

        Thank you so much again

        1. Any of those would work, but valuation is the most relevant for IB roles. A no-name/regional boutique bank would be about the same as a Big 4/valuation offer but might be slightly better if you already have other solid brand names on your resume (since the main benefit of a Big 4 firm is the fact that everyone knows it).

  8. Hi,

    What if you are doing networking through LinkenIn. I send the request, they accept it then I wait a few days and message them telling them I am interested in the field and would like to meet for some time to get more info, tips and stuff (the usual networking stuff), but the large majority never answer.

    What should I do in that case? Should I message them again or email them? I don’t want to piss them off either by spamming them.


    1. Use LinkedIn to find names, but not to message people. Find their names and then email them. Few people check or respond to LinkedIn messages.

  9. I am looking to network my way into transaction services at a big 4 firm. I am currently struggling trying to find anyone’s email on the firm’s website. However, on linkedin I have found many alumni from my school working in TS at the big 4. Would it be strange to shoot one of my fellow alumni a message on linkedin trying to network even though I have never talked to them before? How would I go about?

    1. Also, I know down below you said use linkedin to find contacts and then email them. I just have no idea where to get their email if it is not on their profile or on the firm’s website.

    2. The idea is that you use the person’s name from LinkedIn, look up the company’s email format, and then use something like to contact them. Always go for email first because people rarely check or respond to messages on LinkedIn. It’s only good for finding contacts, not contacting them.

  10. Jacob Eagle

    So I am a student at a semi-target (not Ivy League, but we have decent OCR). I had the opportunity to talk to on the phone and meet with in person an MD from a BB. I last spoke to him a few weeks ago and I want to apply to said BB in the coming few days. I’ve read your networking guides and basically followed them religiously to do most of my networking, but the timing aspect of making the “ask” is what I am confused with now that IB recruiting is Super Accelerated. Should I send him an email first saying “How should I best position myself…” or should I apply and send an email with my resume attached. Please advise!

    -Long time reader, Jacob

    1. I would just email him, say that you understand that recruiting now starts extremely early, and ask how you can be put on the firm’s interview schedule (and attach your resume to speed things up since you’ve already spoken with him).

  11. Samantha

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you so much for your articles. It has been a game changer for me and I have successfully built a lot of great relationships in the city of London. I joined one of the big four in audit six months ago as a graduate and have networked in transaction services where a partner is happy to offer me a secondment. He has also introduced me to a senior manager who never replied to me.

    I find it hard to strike the balance between being pushy and assertive. I really want to do this secondment in August and would like to get things sorted now before I’m booked on more audit clients in August. How should I approach the partner again about this? He said if I have any issues feel free to email him but you never know with British ..

    1. I think it’s really hard to explain that in an online comment, but if you joined 6 months ago and have done good work, you should just reach out and ask directly for the secondment.

  12. Hi

    I’m dropping out of medical school in the UK. I have applied to a target university to study computer science but would like to work in IB. I will be 26/27 when i graduate if all goes well. I’m guessing this is too old to be an analyst so what should I do in terms of internships and job applications. Should I just go for a masters or MBA and try breaking in at the associate level?

  13. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the amazing article, it provides a lot of help.
    I do have a question regarding LinkedIn networking (e.g. Alumni network, specific nationality, background or hobbies), what is your opinion on it? I know that the majority of the business and banking world still runs on email and calls but what do you think the chances are? Also, do you believe that subscribing to Premium LinkedIn profile would boost chances for success?

    Thank you for helping us break in and survive in this cruel industry. ;)

    1. Use LinkedIn to find people, and use email to contact them… people are responsive to email but not LinkedIn (I have LinkedIn messages from months ago I’ve never looked at it because I rarely log in). Premium might help if it lets you find people more effectively.

  14. Aloha!

    I have read most of your articles about networking and since I haven’t started yet, I finally want to get going. The thing is, that I am not sure what the purpose is of lining up an interview. I understand that you shouldn’t ask directly for a job, but if you ask for an interview what kind of questions would that interview focus on? And should you at all not imply in the email asking for the interview, that you are looking for a job? And once you have the interview, do you just ask the person about his career and how you can fight your way up into a position like his? I am just worried that they’ll be like “what? an interview? ok, sure. Is it for a thesis?” Basically, my question is how do you ask for a job, by not asking for a job?

  15. Hello,
    I am an investment banking aspirant from India.

    I know the MD of a company which is the client of a middle market investment bank.The bank advised the client on an M&A deal.

    To what extent will the MD’s referral help me get a job at this middle market investment bank?

    1. It will help a bit, but it doesn’t guarantee anything because you still have to interview for the role, pass any case studies/modeling tests they give you, and so on.

      1. Thanks Brian

  16. Hey,

    So I got my MBA this past May, not from a top 10 business school. My concentration was corporate finance, my undergrad was actually design. I decided to get into business after starting my MBA. I have only recently come to the realization that I want to do IB. I am currently working as a fund accountant at a financial services company.

    I have found local boutiques and on some of their websites they list all the employees and their contact info including the partners. So when making cold calls or emailing who should I choose to call? I actually just had an interview with JP Morgan a week ago but for a back office position in the corporate finance division (financial control analyst). Still waiting to hear back from them but I had expressed my interest to get into the front office. They didn’t really give me a definitive answer on whether or not it would be possible. I’d really like to jump into this networking for the small boutiques because I feel my chances of getting in IB front office with them is better than starting in back office at a bulge after reading articles on here.

    1. Yes, focus on the boutiques. We suggest contacting the Partners at boutiques if you can get a decent response rate from them because you’ll get faster answers, and they know more about the hiring process.

      1. Thanks for the response. I am also concerned with the challenges of networking with Boutiques while having a full time job. Does anyone have advice on how to manage this process?

        1. One more thing. Should I be aiming at internships or full time positions since I already have full time work experience? Has anyone left full time jobs to pursue an internship at an IB?

          1. M&I - Nicole

            Full time roles maybe a better fit.

        2. M&I - Nicole

          I’d keep it as discrete as you can, and network with people during coffee, etc.

  17. Hi,

    So I’ve networked around and have done well so far. However, every now and then, when I ask people if they recommend me reaching out to someone else at their firm (like a VP), a couple have told me that they don’t recommend me to do so since they’re either usually busy or they usually send those types of queries to the people I have spoken to.

    Is there a possibility that they are just saying this? Also, should I still reach out to those other people? I just don’t want to come off as undermining their “advice” especially if their offices are small and they all probably chat about who they just had coffee with.



    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes sometimes people are busy, and they don’t want make referrals on behalf of people they’ve just met (I presume they don’t know you well enough yet.) I’d still try to ask for referrals though. While some may refuse to refer you to their connections, a few may respond to you. In terms of reaching out to other connections at the same firm on your own, I may give it a shot because I don’t think you have anything to lose, other than gaining another contact (potentially). Worst case scenario – they find you “annoying”, but as long as you are not pestering them I don’t think this will happen.

  18. Hi,

    1) After going through with the informational meeting, I sent a thank you/follow up email like always. However, this time, I asked if I could also be put in contact with the VP but no response. Is this bad? Should I reach out to the VP myself? Also, he told me that I can send him my application once they start to take them in for summer internships. Would this incident ruin that possibility?

    2) In a separate instance, I had networked with someone form another bank. It went well and she even gave me her personal email (6 weeks ago). Yesterday, I sent her an email asking if she could put me in contact with the Associate but again, no response. Should I just reach out to the Associate myself? (I guess it didn’t help that yesterday was Remembrance Day here in Canada…)

    Thank you

    1. M&I - Nicole

      1) Yes I’d reach out to the VP and this wouldn’t ruin the possibility
      2) I’d wait for a few days and reach out to her again next week. If she doesn’t get back to you in the next 2 weeks then yes I’d reach out to the Associate

  19. Hello,
    I have a few questions about networking or contacting someone randomly, either on LInkedin or their email from the company’s website.
    •At an info session, if there is a non-American banker whose native language is not English, would you recommend that I begin to speak to this person in the person’s language, even if there are other students around who do not speak the foreign language? Would this a good idea? Would it help me stand out from other students and help this banker better remember me? Or would it annoy the banker ( and of course the other students)?
    •Would you recommend contacting someone randomly, even if the person is not an alumnus from your university (USA)? Or am I wasting my time contacting people?
    • Do you recommend only randomly contacting people through Linkedin, or through the company website, or both?
    • If I am not connected with a non-American banker working in the US/UK in any way, but I speak the banker’s native language, would this be a valid reason to contact the banker? Would this be a good idea to randomly contact someone, telling them that we could communicate in the person’s language if that is easier?

    1. 1) If everyone is using English at the information session, no, you should use English or you may look like you’re showing off. You can mention the person’s country and then follow-up afterward however you want.

      2) You could do that, but you’re better off focusing on alumni or people with whom you have some connection.

      3) Email is always better than LinkedIn. Find people on LinkedIn, and then email them using their first name and last name and the bank’s email format.

      4) I think you’re overestimating the importance of language skills. English is so widely used in finance and business that it doesn’t really give you a huge advantage to know the other person’s language… if you do contact someone for that reason, it’s better to frame it as “I lived / studied in your country” instead of “Oh I know your language, therefore let’s chat.”

  20. Dear M&i team,

    Firstly, appreciate your effort, your website is amazing!

    I’m broadly trying to take the “developing relationship” approach and have had a couple of informational interviews so far. For background I’m aiming for positions over the next hiring season but I thought I’d lay the groundwork early.

    I think the informational interviews go quite well and amicably, I also follow up with a follow up email based o M&i’s template saying I hope we could keep in touch as I would like to pursue opportunities as banks in the cling year. But, I never hear back after the follow up email, is this common? Did I do something wrong? Maybe the person didn’t like me?

    1. *at banks in the coming

    2. M&I - Nicole

      Yes, sometimes you don’t hear back. I’d follow up again and move on if you don’t hear back.

  21. Hello everyone, I’ve spent a lot of time reading the articles that M&I has provided to the community, I find your website very helpful for all of us that are interested in breaking into IB. I will really appreciate comments/suggestions regarding my situation:

    1) I am a 22 years old Mexican undergraduate student from one of the top schools in Mexico (ITESM / Monterrey Institute of Technology) studying a finance degree
    2) I have been always interested in Investment Banking and specifically raising capital/debt for certain industries in the stock markets and in private transactions
    3) The last year I worked in a Brokerage House in Mexico, specifically in the FX area, risk management with derivatives and mutual funds consulting
    4) I was able to enter into a 6 month-internship program in a family office PE firm (Texas), this internship started in January and is expected to end in the first days of July
    5) I am graduating in December 2015 with a GPA of 3.65-3.70 and I will target bulge bracket banks in NY and in Mexico City area
    6) Networked with a family friend that is currently working as an Associate in a bulge bracket bank in the NY area, he offered his help with contacts in the City and in Mexico and advised me to network in my area and try to get to know senior bankers in the local offices of banks of my choice

    What kind of advice could you give me in order to start my networking efforts in my area, also, do you think that landing an analyst position in a bulge bracket will be possible considering my situation?

    I would appreciate your advices and your perspective regarding the timing of the recruiting process alongside my situation

    Thank you in advance for your recommendations

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes given your background you have a 50/50 chance of breaking into the industry. I’d suggest that you reach out to alumni first, and then start connecting with people on LinkedIn. This article may also be useful to you:

      1. Thank you for your answer Nicole, i really appreciate it,

        Could you comment on the timing regarding my situation? I will graduate on the last days of December and will start applying in these further months

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes, you are not exactly under the normal recruiting cycle so you may want to approach each banks’ HR individually. There maybe internship openings during January but it maybe a good idea to approach the banks and ask about such openings.

  22. Bob Jenson

    How exactly does one use Capital IQ to find the names of banks and bankers in a certain geographic area?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. You can use it to find the names of banks in your area, and each bank there should have a list of professionals at the firm. If not, Google the bank’s name and look up the list there.

  23. Hi Brian,

    How do you follow up after a MD told you 2 months ago that this year is not an expected year for them to recruit any interns whereas they did recruited interns in some years. Can I just use the following template?

    “Dear Mr LAST NAME

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

    Best regards,


    Thanks for your advice and keep up the great articles !

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yang, if the MD told you that they’re not hiring this year, then I wouldn’t use your template. I’d say something like “Thanks for taking the time to speak with me 2 months ago. I greatly appreciate your advice. While I understand that your firm may not be recruiting any interns this year, I was wondering if things have changed on your end? Please let me know.”

      Keep the note short and sweet. Chances are they may not be hiring and may not need extra help so I would continue to network with others. However if you’ve developed a good rapport with the MD he may respond to the above. And if you’ve had any updates since you last spoke with him (i.e. got another offer, joined a finance club, won an IB competition etc) you may want to let him know too.

  24. Hi M&I,

    Thanks for the all the information on investment banking, definitely a solid website.

    I’m currently an undergrad and I have been looking through the alumni database for contacts. So far a lot of the alumni that I have seen have only attended our MBA program. Would it be silly if I contacted them in hopes of an informational session/interview?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Not silly at all. I’d contact them.

  25. I’ve recently found out that there are a bunch of graduates from my school at several of the boutiques I’m hoping to land a Summer Internship with Evercore,Lazard and Moelis), all of these alumni are high ranking members of the banks, mostly MDs,VPs or some other senior title. Would it be silly of me to email them and create contact in hopes of an informational session/interview? Should I go for it or stick to emailing people lower on the food chain since the big dogs don’t deal with these types of thing?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Not silly. I’d email them and establish a connection via email if possible. No, I’d email senior people from your school because some may want to give advice and mentor younger ones

  26. Hey Brian,

    Have a few quick questions regarding recruitment in the fall. I am headed into my final year at a non-target state school because of the academic scholarship I was offered out of high school and my family’s financial situation. I am currently interning in NY for an asset management firm that manages around $700 bil as an equity research summer analyst. I am looking to move onto a sell-side role, potentially in i-banking however, when I head out into the recruiting pool for full-time offers.

    The name that I am working for certainly has some clout in the industry, but it is a buy-side mutual fund-based firm, and therefore leaves me with a little less relevant experience. I will have built several models and actually published several public write-ups of portfolio additions for the fund I am on the team for by the end of the summer.

    So I had a few questions:

    1. What kind of advice can you give me on using connections that I have in the industry (luckily I have quite a few) to get my resume pulled from the massive pools of applications that BB banks get?

    2. How do you suggest that I leverage this non-IBD, but still valuable finance experience into the interviews that I will have to ace to break into the field?

    Really appreciate all you do for guys like me.

    1. 1) Start contacting everyone ASAP and asking directly about full-time recruiting at those firms – have a very good personal pitch prepared and explain the specific event that made you interested in IB rather than AM and how you’ve been moving in that direction since your internship began.

      2) Point out that the valuation work you did is very similar to what you do at banks, point to specific deals/companies you followed, and indicate that you’ve learned / will learn the rest on your own.

  27. Jack Sparrow

    Thanks for the great article. I took your advice on using IQ to generate a contact list, but the contacts seem to be outdated. Did I screen incorrectly, or is this info not updated too often?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Sometimes the info isn’t updated as often so you may have to do more search online/via Bloomberg

  28. M&I Fan

    Hi everyone,

    I’m a big admirer of this site and all the info about IB provided. Currently, I work in the Finance department of my company where I also make some contributions to divestiture acquisition projects.

    I’m thinking of reaching out to a few people in the IBD, specifically the M&A group (since I think this area is the most comparable to what I do now), and I was hoping for some advice on how I should format my initial email. The people I intend to contact are at least VP level or above.

    Also, I’m not in any rush to move just yet, this would be more relationship-building at this point.

    I would appreciate any help/suggestions with this.

    Thanks and keep up the great articles!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      The article should have given you pointers on how to craft the email. Just introduce yourself and talk about why you’re interested in their group, and that you would like to connect with them. Our networking toolkit provides more details on this front can also help

  29. Thanks Nicole, excellent advice!

  30. Hello, I’ve been a ghost reader for a while now. I’m a huge fan of M&I, great job guys. Just to give you some context,

    1) I am 24 years old, come from a non-target uni in the UK (both undergrad and postgrad finance-related degrees).
    2) I would like to eventually break into a bulge bracket (as difficult as it might sound).
    3) I am currently in my 2nd internship in a boutique corporate finance / M&A firm in London and have a 3rd one lined up.
    4) Over the past 4/5 months I’ve networked extensively and built a strong relationship with an MD at Goldman Sachs – FIG.
    5) My 3rd internship is in boutique bank specializing in financial services sector, the MD at GS has worked with them on past deals, and he has 2 close friends who are MD at the bank.

    My question is how do I effectively leverage my 3rd internship (in terms of networking) to get my foot into GS’s FIG? Do you think it is best for me to secure an analyst position at the boutique bank and gain as much experience in the financial services sector and then apply to GS FIG as an associate? or do you think after the completion of my 3rd internship, I should apply for an off-cycle internship at GS FIG by leveraging my financial services experience and networking efforts?

    Thank you, apologies for the length of the comment.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes I think either way you should secure an offer from your 3rd internship first. You should also apply for GS at the same time and see if they accept you. If they do, then you have options to choose from. I don’t think you need to wait to apply to GS, especially since you’ve already developed rapport with the MD at FIG

Leave a Reply

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