by Brian DeChesare Comments (366)

Can You Renege On Your Investment Banking Job Offer Without Being Blacklisted for Life?

Can You Renege On Your Investment Banking Job Offer Without Being Blacklisted for Life?

Interview season is finished.

You got 30 first round interviews, made it to 5 Superdays, and came away with an offer at a middle-market bank – which you quickly accepted.

But 5 minutes ago, you just received a call from your recruiter at a bulge-bracket bank: “another spot opened up” and they’re extending a summer internship offer to you.

So you renege on the middle-market offer and go to the better bank, right?

Should You Renege?

If you look around online and ask your friends, you’ll see that there’s no consensus on the “ethics” of reneging and whether you should do it.

There are 2 main schools of thought:

#1: Bankers Are Vengeful and Want to Kill You

This one is more common among senior bankers who spend time recruiting you – they’ve seen cases where someone reneges on an offer and then ends up losing his other offer(s) as a result of angry phone calls from bankers.

The industry is very small, everyone knows each other, and any banker can quickly find out about your move if he wanted to do so.

They would also point out that the upside when reneging is usually much less than you expect.

#2: The Labor Market Works Both Ways – Look Out for Yourself

In camp #2 are many current Analysts and Associates, who point out that everyone is replaceable and that banks have a habit of rescinding or downgrading offers without notice.

The world’s not a nice place, and you have to do what it takes to get ahead – if you get a better offer, you need to accept it and renege on the other one because no one else is looking out for you.

They would point out that in a week from now, no one will even remember what you did.

So, Who’s Right?

Neither side is “right” or “wrong” here because reneging on job offers can go either way.

But my own view is this: the potential downside of reneging on a job offer usually far outweighs the potential upside.

So there are some cases where it might make sense to renege – but most of the time, you’re taking a big risk by doing so.

The Potential Upside

It’s the same as when you move from one bank to a “better” one: you may get a better experience, more deal/client exposure, and better access to recruiters.

This upside is significantly better if you’re reneging on an offer in a different industry (e.g., Big 4 accounting) or you’re reneging on a back office offer and moving to the front office.

The upside is also much better if you’re reneging on one full-time offer and taking another one – you’ll probably be there for at least a year or two, whereas with internships there are no guarantees.

The Potential Downside

The worst-case scenario: your would-have-been-employer calls around and finds out where you accepted, then they notify that bank and you instantly lose both your offers.

Oh, and of course you won’t be able to recruit again at the bank you reneged on.

If you relied on on-campus recruiting and the bank you reneged on notifies your school (they will), they may cut off your access to the alumni network, on-campus recruiting, and anything else career-related.

Which is especially bad news if you’re reneging on a summer internship offer and taking another one.

The Blacklist?

So what about the legendary “Blacklist” that banks maintain to tell them who reneged on offers?

Individual banks may have such a list, but rumors about a universal list are heavily exaggerated.

It’s not because bankers are “nice” or because they “forgive” you – it’s because banks and HR departments tend to be poorly organized.

There is some risk of reneging on an offer following you around for awhile but most of the potential downside will be in the near-term.

Will Any of This Happen to You?

That’s the fun part about reneging on an offer: you have no way of knowing.

Maybe you’ll tell a VP when he’s already having a bad day, and he’ll take out his anger on you; or maybe you’ll catch an MD in a good mood and he won’t sink your career with a few phone calls.

The risk of bad things happening is reduced if you’re reneging on an offer in a different industry or from a significantly different firm (e.g. tiny 2-person boutique vs. bulge bracket).

But there’s always some risk, no matter what type of move you’re making.

When NOT to Renege

Since the downside is so high and so difficult to predict, there are many cases where reneging makes no sense:

  • Bulge Bracket to Bulge Bracket – This is just stupid, even if one is “more prestigious.”
  • Middle Market / Boutique to Middle Market / Boutique – See above.
  • Internship Offers – Bad idea because you’re not guaranteed a full-time offer and you could be destroying your FT recruiting chances.
  • Larger Firm to Smaller Firm – This really makes no sense and will make you look silly to everyone involved.

When You Might Consider Reneging

There are some cases where it makes more sense:

  • Boutique / Middle Market to Bulge Bracket – This one is actually still quite risky, especially if they’re in the same location – but it does make more sense than the other possibilities above.
  • Completely Different Industry to Banking – There’s a big step-up if you’re going from Big 4 accounting to a bulge bracket bank, and not as many people know each other across industries.
  • Back Office to Front Office: This one can be risky as well, but moving from IT to PE or IB is another big step up and it’s hard to make the move otherwise.

None of these is a “slam dunk” – each one is still risky, but they’re at least worth considering.

How to Do It

So you’ve decided to renege on your offer – how do you do it, when do you do it, who do you tell, and what do you say?

How to Say It

Keep it very brief and to the point – you’ve received an exciting opportunity elsewhere and have to take it or you’d be kicking yourself later.

Don’t lie, but don’t tell the whole truth either.

Do not tell them where you’ve accepted the other offer – if they ask, just say the industry it’s in (“finance”) and maybe the location.

If you’re really accepting an offer elsewhere, don’t lie and say you’re reneging for “personal reasons” – that will come back and make you look even worse.

Use the phone rather than email – email is just too impersonal and at least if you call, you may not completely burn your bridges.

You want to do this as soon as possible rather than waiting until 2 weeks before you start, unless you really want to make enemies.

Who to Tell

At the minimum, call the recruiter at the firm you’re reneging on and maybe speak briefly with other bankers you interviewed with there.

There’s no reason to tell your school or to tell all your friends – this is not something you want to openly advertise.

Should you tell the firm you’re accepting the offer with that you reneged elsewhere?

My view is that you should never accept an offer or even start interviewing without telling a firm you have accepted an offer elsewhere first.

This just reduces the potential downside: some firms will get really, really angry if they find out you reneged elsewhere, while other places don’t care.

But as long as they know what you’ve done before they give you an offer or before they even start interviewing you, there isn’t much to be angry about.

Special Cases

There are a few special cases here worth addressing:

Deferred or “Downgraded” Offers

Is it “better” if you renege on a deferred offer (e.g. you start 2 years from now rather than next year) or a downgraded offer (you interviewed for the front office but were transferred to the back office)?

No, not really, because most of the downside is in the near-term.

The risk may be slightly reduced here, but it’s not that much different.

Cultural Differences

The advice above applies to recruiting practices in the US, but not every country in the world does it the same way.

In some regions it’s more common to go around interviewing even when you have offers lined up or accepted.

So you need to ask people at your school and anyone you know in the industry and see what common practice is where you live.

Actual Personal Reasons

Maybe you have actual, legitimate personal or family circumstances that have led you into reneging on an offer… they can’t get annoyed at that, right?

No, sorry – once again it doesn’t matter what your reasoning is.

But in this case you do have another option: instead of reneging on the offer, just push for a deferred offer instead. That lets you keep your hard-earned offer and keeps you from burning bridges.

Banking to Completely Different Industry

If you decide to join the Peace Corps at the last-minute, no banker will call the organization to sink your career and prevent you from saving the world.

In this case it’s less about ruining your entire career and more about limiting your options if you ever want to go back into finance in the future.

To Renege?

The problem with reneging on an offer is that the downside outweighs the upside and there’s no way you can predict how bad the downside will be.

There are some cases where it makes sense to consider, but 90% of the email I get on this topic is of the “Should I renege on my offer at one bulge bracket to move to another one?” variety, and that just doesn’t make sense.

So if you have a dramatically better offer and you need to renege to accept it, proceed with caution.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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. Hi Bryan,

    Nice post as always. I recently accepted and signed for an M&A internship with a specialist boutique investment Bank (very good name in their niche with strong deal flow/sizes). However, I’ve been told that there’s no need for full time recruiting in the end. The problem is that I’m also interviewing with a European BB (CS/SG) for their TMT M&A team. Internship with the potential conversion in the end.
    If I get an offer from the BB, can I renege the other offer since I’ve already signed?

    PS. I applied to the BB before I even get an interview with the boutique. The process with the boutique is at the references stage.

    1. Not sure I understand your question – are you saying that there’s no chance you’ll receive a full-time return offer from the boutique bank? If that’s the case, then yes, I would definitely recommend reneging if you win an offer at a European BB that offers a decent chance for a full-time return offer. It is notoriously difficult to switch banks as internships end because everyone else also wants to switch banks around that time, so unless you get lucky or the hiring market is extremely strong, you’re taking a big chance.

  2. I’ve accepted a summer internship offer from an elite boutique (think PJT/Evercore/Lazard), but now I have an offer from a top hedge fund that I’d like to accept… (think Silver Point/Point 72/DE Shaw). What am I to do? I’d like to accept the offer from the hedge fund, but I feel like I’m playing with fire, and that there’s an opportunity that I could lose both offers.

    1. I would recommend sticking with the elite boutique offer. You can always move from banking to the HF; it’s harder to do the reverse, especially if you renege on the IB offer and somehow get in trouble over it.

  3. M&Aconfused

    If I did IB for a summer and didn’t like it but received a FT offer, and wanted to move to economic consulting, how risky would reneging be? Neither offer would be from OCR.

    1. If you do not care about IB and have no plans for moving into it in the future, reneging presents very little risk, especially if you did not win the offer via your school.

  4. Hi Brian,

    I just had a quick question on my situation and I wanted to get your insight. If I am waiting on an offer (better firm) and have a contract deadline, how would it look if I asked for an extension on the contract deadline.

    1. It’s normally not a great idea, but if you think you have a solid chance of getting a better offer, you can certainly do it. Not worthwhile for an incrementally better offer, though.

  5. Hi Brain,

    Thank you so much for the article. I have accepted a BB IBD offer (think CS, UBS, Barclays) at HK after my internship there, but I just got JPM offer at NYC and SF for one of their coverage groups. Do you think it would be worth to renege the offer? I really like the people in the firm I intern with though. In the future, I want to join a VC and I think firms in SF and NYC would provide better exit opportunities? Thank you again.

    1. Yes, reneging is probably worth it in that case if you understand the risks. VC exits would be quite difficult from HK but much easier from SF and a bit easier from NYC.

  6. Hi Brian,

    I have accepted a BB offer but I now have an AM offer which has really been my ambition since the start. What are your thoughts on reneging a B.B. offer for AM. Do you think the bank is likely to go a-wall? I did let AM HR I had the BB offer and I was accepting.

    1. Is it at the same bank? If so, then yes, you might have a problem. If it’s at a different bank or firm, you can probably do this without the sky falling (as large banks and AM firms don’t necessarily communicate about job candidates).

      1. Thanks Brian, it is a pure asset management firm, not at the B.B.
        Thank you for your advice!

  7. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for your insightful article! I have accepted a PWM grad role for an European BB in London following the internship, but now I have received another offer for an AM grad role for one prestigious asset manager in London(non-bank). I really want to do more analytical stuff compared to managing relationships, so I strongly prefer the AM role. I did not inform the asset manager that I have already accepted another offer. Would it be risky for me to renege the PWM offer? Many thanks!

  8. I am currently a final year student and will graduate in June 2018. I want to start working full time in 2018.

    I have received offers from two firms (“Firm A” and “Firm B”)

    Firm A is for a Front Office role, however this offer is a SA position which runs from June – Aug 2018. The return offer rate during the past few years is approx 50%

    Firm B is for a Middle Office role, however this is a FT position which starts in Sep 2018.

    If I receive a return offer from Firm A, FT will likely start in summer 2019, so I could just start working at Firm B in Sep 2018, stay there for a year then quit in 2019 and start working at Firm A.

    If I do not receive a return offer from Firm A I can just start working at Firm B in Sep 2018 and stay there for a few years.

    As there is no overlap, if I accept both offers I am able to fulfill both commitments without reneging, therefore would it be “OK” to accept both offers?

    I understand both firms might have their hesitations (both firms might question my commitment), would it be preferable to be upfront and inform both firms about the situation, or should I not mention it?

    1. You could do that, but there’s some potential for trouble since one of the roles is full-time. You probably shouldn’t say anything since doing so would result in even more problems for you. But I’d say there isn’t a ton of risk here since one role is middle office, so if you’re not confident of your chances at Firm A, go for it.

  9. Hey Brian,

    I accepted an internship offer about a month ago from a full-service investment bank (Jefferies/WF/Nomura type). However, I just ended up getting an offer in consulting from MBB. How bad would reneging be in this instance?

    1. I think it’s fine.

  10. Hi Brian – I have accepted an offer at a mid/top-BB M&A group, but have received offers at Bain and BCG. Would it be bad to renege? Do you think bankers would call consultants? The firm also didn’t follow my schools recruiting policy and gave me an exploding offer when it is not supposed to. Advice?

    1. Why would you ever renege in that situation? Bain and BCG offer no advantage over a BB bank unless you want to stay in consulting long-term or move to a normal company. They are far worse for traditional PE/HF exit opportunities.

      1. Thanks Brian. Makes sense. I will think more about it. If I decide to make the jump, however, what are your thoughts on reneging as well as repercussions? Thanks.

        1. It is a bad idea to renege in that scenario for the reasons mentioned in the comment above: Bain and BCG are worse for finance-related exit opportunities. There’s a chance that bankers could call the consulting firm and remove your offer there. Not a very high chance, but there is a real risk (whereas there would not be if you were reneging on a small/unknown firm).

  11. What’re your thoughts on reneging from a PE firm to do IB? Would they technically be considered to be in the same industry? PE firm is small so would be hard to confront everyone there.

    1. If the PE firm is small, that is fine.

  12. Hi Brian,
    I have received a SA return offer for research at a middle market firm that expires in a week, but 100% want to pursue IB next summer. Two questions: how risky is it to continue networking/interviewing in IB at other firms after accepting the offer (in terms of the return offer coming up in interviews, interviewers reaching out to original firm for a reference, etc), and how risky is it to actually make the switch if I obtain an IB offer?
    Thanks, Max

    1. I don’t think it’s risky to make the switch if you receive an IB offer at a larger bank, but there is a decent chance this firm could figure out what you’re doing. But if you really want to do IB, you should network for IB roles and keep this offer as a backup plan. Try to limit what you say in emails so that nothing compromising can be forwarded (i.e., don’t directly ask about jobs, just say that you’re interested in the person’s background, current group, etc. and want to learn more).

  13. I need your advice. What do I do if I received a return offer from an elite boutique (and signed b/c I had only a few weeks to sign) but just now received an offer from a top BB (think top 3). Is reneging the EB for the BB too risky?

    1. Personally, I wouldn’t do that. The potential gain is not worth the risk.

  14. Hi, I just received a full time offer following the summer internship in a top 3 bank but I did not end up in the desk I wanted. I got macro research but decided I want to do trading (I did no full rotations in trading, just shadowing and networking). At the time I was told about the outcome I acted extremely grateful and happy but after I got home I realised that I have doubts whether I should even sign the contract for research. What would you do if you were in my shoes:

    1. sign and keep the offer in case I won’t be able to find the desk I want elsewhere
    2. decline straightaway

    I feel like whatever I do will put me on the “Blacklist” because I already acted committed.

    1. Take the offer. You don’t want to risk a real return offer just because you don’t like your desk that much.

  15. Hi Brian,

    I have two SA BB offers, one of which I accepted. However, that role was in Asset Management but I found out that Capital Markets (the one I just received) is what I would like to pursue instead. Should I renege in this case? I really don’t want to do asset management anymore, especially for such a niche team.

  16. I’ve accepted a temp-to-hire MO position (fixed income post-execution) at a BB (a location not in NYC) and may receive an offer from a small real estate company doing actual finance.

    The staffing agency would be paying me an ok hourly hourly wage to work at the BB whereas the CRE job would be a good permanent salary. Do you think this is reasonable justification?

  17. helloworld

    Do you think it would be OK to renege a financial services company (think something along the lines of S&P/Reuters/Bloomberg) for a position at FO BB? Would you say the potential downside is serious?

    1. Yes. Low potential downside.

  18. somerandomperson

    Thanks for the post.

    I’m in a rather awkward situation as I know you have mentioned that it is a poor idea to jump from BB to BB, but the current offer I have requires me to train in an offshore location for two years at roughly 55% of the market rate before becoming a normal analyst and returning back to my home location.

    Would you recommend reneging if I were to receive an offer that allows me to work locally at another BB (and at a far higher rate)? Or do you think reneging is reneging regardless of the situation?

    1. Reneging would make sense in that situation (if you receive a superior offer at another BB at a higher rate).

  19. Love the article, thank you! It was very helpful.

    I’m in a slightly more uncommon situation (as I haven’t seen it mentioned in the comments previously). I’m actually in IT, and am planning to move from a IBAB bank to the Telecomms industry (to a ‘BB’ of that industry). I originally accepted the IBAB job as it was my only offer at the time and I was worried about not having a full-time job after I graduated. Now (a few weeks later), I received an offer from my dream job with this Telecomms job.

    Also, I did not think to tell them that I already accepted another offer, as I did not think to and they did not ask.

    Should I renege? Would a bank attempt to contact anyone in that industry?

    Thank you!

    1. There’s about a 0.000001% chance of getting in trouble in this situation, so you can renege.

  20. Robert C.

    Hi Brian,

    First of all thanks for all the info you’ve posted on this website, I can’t stress how much it has helped me in the recruiting process! I’m currently a junior based in Asia, and a few months ago I accepted a BB back office offer (think GS, MS, JPM). I’m looking to pursue a front office role in the future and fortunately, I received a FO summer internship offer at a reputable bank in Asia last week. Ideally, I would like to leverage the FO internship this year to help me with SA /FT interviews at BB’s next year. My main concern is that would reneging at this point in time severely diminish my chances of getting through to the interview stages at other BB’s next year? Also, would you recommend calling HR and tell them you’d like to renege, or would it be better to inform them through email (and risk the email being forwarded to other banks)? Would really appreciate your advice on this!

    1. It’s worth reneging in this case to go from a BO to FO internship. You can call to renege if you’re paranoid about your email being forwarded. You are taking a chance that you may not be able to recruit for FO roles at the top banks as a result of doing this, but it’s worth the risk in this case.

  21. Hi Brian – I am trying to decide if I should renege on this situation:

    I have accepted and signed an offer from a well respected MM in NYC in their M&A group, but I kept recruiting and got an offer from JP Morgan in nyc in one if its coverage groups (a mid-tier coverage group that I did really feel that passionate about) The 2 positions are all full time positions, difference is that the M&A position is a first-year analyst position but the JPM one is a Junior analyst position (one year below 1st year and they convert you to 1st yr once 1 year passes, but I know this group’s conversion rate is 100% for the past 2 years from a reliable source), so I am not sure now as to whether I should renege?

    Also I should mention that I accepted the MM offer back in Dec and just got the offer from BB, so if I renege it would be late in the game and it would be in late March..

    What do you think Brian? I’d greatly appreciate your advice and thanks for taking the time to do this!!

    1. I would renege because an MM firm to JPM is a pretty big leap, even if you come in as a Junior Analyst rather than a true 1st year.

      1. Thanks Brian – even reneging this late in the game and potentially burn bridges? I got first round interviews there because of a friend’s dad and if I do that, I think he might not be happy about it. And the HR and all those bankers interviewed me there might be angry so the risk is high here, if I renege, how would you recommend me to go about this?

        Also, I think I will like my work better there since I will be doing M&A but at JPM is more of a coverage group that I don’t really like that much(I did an internship before in that field but I did not really like it), do you think this is an issue?

        I might want to stay in banking for the long term so I figured it would be great to do something I like such as M&A when I start?

        Thanks again Brian!

        1. It sounds like you prefer the MM bank, so if that is the case, you should just accept that offer. There is no “nice” way to renege. It’s like a divorce – people are going to be mad and upset no matter what you do, so you have to be sure it’s worth it. If friends/family will be upset and you don’t want to do coverage, then accept the MM offer and think about moving to a larger bank once you’ve been there for a while.

  22. cannot disclose

    Brian – what to do if a friend accepted summer internship offer at Real Estate PE (boutique) and recently got another offer at a BB firm?


    1. If you want to ask a question about yourself, say that it’s about yourself and not “a friend” (Why even bother when you’re anonymous anyway? This is why I’ve started to hate running this site.)

      If you want to stay in real estate long term, stick with the first offer. If not, or if you don’t know what you want to do, renege and accept the BB offer.

  23. Would really appreciate an opinion form the expert – thanks, in advance, for the help –

    I accepted an offer about 1.5 months ago for a generalist IB Analyst position in M&A at a “middle-market” firm that is not extremely well known and is in a non-NYC city. They have 5+ offices in the US and UK, (biggest office is 60 people), they have good deal flow, a focused training/professional development program for new analysts, pay about 30% below the street, and focus on deals $30mm-$400mm.

    I have a final round interview next week for an IB analyst position in the Public Finance group at a well known, upper middle market firm (think Wells, Jefferies, Piper Jaffray, Cowen) in NYC. Pay is on par with the street, the Public Finance group is organized under the Investment Banking umbrella here (as a coverage group) and is growing.

    I am really just looking for the best opportunity for professional development, and because of personal preference (where my family is, etc.) I would much rather be in NYC.

    Would really appreciate an objective opinion! Thanks!! – Gotta like M&I!

    1. I think it makes sense to renege in that situation, if you get the offer. It would make sense to stick with the original offer only if there is a good chance of moving or transferring to NYC quickly.

  24. Hi guys,

    I accepted an offer from the MM bank that I interned at, but am going through an interview process with a top BB. I’m nervous that the BB may reach out to the MM bank BEFORE offers are handed out. Would they ever do that? I’d think that since bankers are so busy they won’t bother to even read the candidates’ resumes before the superday, but I just feel paranoid.

    If I do accept the offer from the BB, is it possible for the MM bank to call up the BB out of spite and tell them to cancel my offer? Should I be clear with the BB that I already have an offer if they ask me? Or should I tell them even if they don’t ask me?


    1. I just wanted to clarify, this is for FT recruiting. I’m currently a college senior. Neither of the positions came through OCR, and I frankly don’t care of my school bans me from OCR since I’ll be graduating soon anyways.

      1. I would probably just tell the BB that you accepted the MM offer a long time ago, and you’re willing to renege on it to accept an offer at the BB, but you want to make sure they’re fine with that first. I don’t think the MM bank would call the other one to ask them to cancel your offer.

  25. Great read!
    Would you regard the danger of getting banned from OCR as relevant if you are a recent grad and are not enrolled in university any longer?

    1. No. It’s less relevant then.

  26. Hi, thanks for the great article. I quite enjoyed it.
    In December of last year I went through the recruitment process for a non Bulge Bracket (but nevertheless quite large) investment back and got a 2 year rotational offer that would start in September. Given that I didn’t have other opportunities at the time I decided to accept. Now I got an internship offer in a completely different industry (Consulting) which could potentially turn into an offer. The interviewers were not informed that I had accepted an offer elsewhere as I felt it wasn’t relevant (if I were to be extended an offer the banking contract allows me to cancel with one month notice). Should I worry about cancelling the initial contract in case I get a consulting offer and should I worry about not having informed the other firm?
    Thank you in advance

    1. It’s not an ideal situation to be in, but you can just accept the consulting internship offer and see what happens with a full-time offer… don’t cancel the 2-year contract until you know what is happening. That is a bigger problem than not having told the consulting firm about the other offer.

  27. Thank you for this article. I’m trying to make a decision about this right now. I received an internship offer from a large asset manager (back office role) and was only given a week to sign. I didn’t have any other offers so I signed. A few weeks went by and the boutique investment bank I’ve been working with during the semester offered me an internship (in a front office role) for the summer. Should I reneg? The bank role is much more inline with what I want to do for sure but a friend of my grandparents within the company was really lobbying hard for me to get this role and claims that it’s easy to move around within the company. You guys have any thoughts?

    1. Yes, renege. I doubt that it’s easy to move around, as it’s almost always difficult to move from the back office to the front office.

  28. I’ve accepted and signed an internship contract with a BB (think CS, UBS, Barclays) for the summer but just got a call from one of the biggest asset/investment managers in the industry. I know it’s too early to worry about this but would it be worth it to go to the interview, and if I get the offer, renege on the BB offer? (I really want some buy-side exposure before graduation)

    1. It depends on your previous experience and future goals… if you don’t already have an IB internship at a large bank, this is not a good idea. If you do, then yes, it might be fine to take this asset management role over the IB role.

  29. I am in a bit of a sticky situation. I accepted a corp fin internship offer a month ago but just got an offer for a banking internship. I want to renege on the corp fin offer, however, I never brought it up to the bank that I already accepted the corp fin offer. Had I read this article sooner, I would have been more transparent from the get-go. That being said, do you have any advice on what I should do now? Should I just keep quiet that I accepted the other one initially?

    1. Don’t tell the bank. Just renege on the corp fin offer and accept the bank’s offer.

  30. Hey Brian (or anyone who may be able to help),

    I have an exploding offer for a MM firm in a Midwest city I am not excited about for a non-IB role.

    I am in the process for several IB internships at good banks in cities I am excited about (LA, SF, NYC, etc.), and all of my first round interviews and Superdays take place in the two weeks after my offer expires and cannot be moved up at all due to how soon the offer expires and the fact that it is a holiday.

    I give it a 50-50 combined chance of getting an offer from one of the other five places, all of which I would much prefer. Would you recommend rejecting the offer, or accepting and then reneging?

    1. It’s still probably better to accept the offer and then renege, if necessary, just because *not* having an internship is the worst-case possible scenario these days.

  31. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for the great website! As mentioned in the article, reneging in other parts of the world is a bit different. Can you expand on what you mean by that, particularly for Hong Kong? Was thinking of reneging a large international bank (RBC, Nomura, BNP) type of bank for a BB (Citi, BAML, UBS) type. Does signing a contract mean anything in that part of the world? Thanks!

    1. I don’t think it makes a big difference if you’re reneging on an IBAB (See: for a BB bank. But it may or may not be a good move because capital markets deals tend to be more common in HK, and some of the banks you mentioned are strong in ECM/DCM.

      1. Alexander Qu

        Thank you Brian, great to see you still take your valuable time to respond. Mind expanding on the banks with stronger DCM platform? I imagine the BBs, along with Nomura probably are.

      2. Also enjoyed the IBAB classification, and the fact that you couldnt classify Macquarie

  32. Hi Brian,

    I recently accepted an internship offer at a MM bank in the midwest (in a city I have no interest living in) in a specific area of focus that is often pigeonholed. I’m a non-target junior who managed to make it to a few Superdays but ending up not getting an offer at my top BB choice. At the time, it was my only offer and I panicked.

    Now, I’ve had multiple phone interviews and 2 Superdays at a BB in NYC I really like. The positions are completely unrelated to the Midwest internship. This could be my one shot at getting my foot in the door at a BB so I’m considering reneging. Do you think it would significantly hurt my career after graduation?

    1. No. Renege if it helps you.

  33. Hi Brian,

    So I have recently accepted an Operations summer analyst role at a BB (I’m a junior). The main reason I accepted the offer was because of the deadline that I couldn’t extend and I didn’t want to be left with nothing for this summer. However, I now have two IBD interviews and a Commercial banking interview. I’m really confused as to what I should do and how negative reneging on my offer (if I choose to do so) would be for me and my career? Additionally, the operations role is at a BB that I see myself working at in the future if given the opportunity. Thanks in advance for your help!


    1. I don’t think it’s the end of the world if you renege in that situation. So you might as well proceed with those other interviews – but you’ll probably have to let them know that you’ve accepted the operations offer elsewhere and will have to renege on it to proceed with the offer process there.

  34. Hi, thanks for the article. I had received a BB SA S&T in HK. If I get an offer from a BB SA S&T in NY of the same tier, should I renege? I want to work in NY after graduation and am afraid that going to HK might pigeonhole me there. Since this year, FT recruiting is down in NY and the analyst class is being filled mostly with the interns.


    HI Brian, I hope you can find the time to respond to this. I’ve accepted a full time S&T offer at a MM Bank about 2 weeks ago. I had been applying to top 10 Business schools (MBA programs) without thinking I had a shot. I recently received an offer to interview for one of them. I’m not sure S&T is where I want to be long term as I see it as a shrinking industry (I’m in my late 20s and come from an operational background). I’m wondering what your thoughts would be on reneging this offer in the event I am offered acceptance?

    1. It depends a bit on your previous work experience. If you have solid experience and you have no plans to go back into finance in the future, reneging on the offer won’t kill you. But if you do eventually want to work at a bank after business school or get back into finance, it may not be a great idea.



  36. Hi M&I,

    I was wondering if you could give me specific advice for my situation. Basically, I signed and accepted a B4 accounting return offer after my summer internship, due to its pressing deadline and my lack of confidence that I’d find something better at the time. However, a week later I received an invite to interview for a top bank’s IBD analyst program. As IBD is clearly my dream (and the pay should be more than double) and I hate accounting, I know I’d wanna shoot myself later on if I don’t take this opportunity.

    However, the conflict here is that I had put the accounting internship on my resume that I used to apply for the investment bank. In addition, said investment bank sent me a generic employment application form which forces me to list my references and supervisors from my last 5 jobs, which means I’d have to give away my manager at the accounting firm. My biggest fear right now is that even if I were to get this IB dream job, IF they do contact my references or the old firm in any way to conduct a background check, I’d be completely screwed as the B4 would then just tell the bank that I’m a reneger, and both jobs will blow up. I’d also get a ban from OCR.

    Given my situation, how should I proceed? I really don’t want to give up this IB interview opportunity. Right now, I’m just planning to proceed as if nothing happened and hope that the bank doesn’t actually call the B4 that I summered at.

    From your experience, how common is it that IBs actually check references (particularly for junior year summer internships) and contacts the summer firms of incoming analysts? Thanks.

    1. They could check, but it’s more common to do so in the final stages or when you’ve already won an offer.

      There is some risk, so one approach might be to skip the manager at your accounting firm and just list the internships before that. But if you’ve already listed it on your resume, that may not work.

      I would just proceed with your plan and interview at the bank, and if your manager asks about it, say it was a mistake or it was for an application you submitted a long time ago and is no longer active.

      1. Thanks for the reply Brian. So regarding the interview, I’ve actually moved on to super day at this point, and I’ve gotten more interview offers lined up. I’m starting to regret more and more about having accepted my B4 return offer.

        I don’t actually care that much about what my manager at the accounting firm thinks, because I want to get into the bank. So if I wait ’til the time he brings it up to me, it likely means that the bank has already called him and he has already informed the bank that I had a commitment, which may or may not screw up my offer.

        My real concern is, how do I prevent the BANK from knowing this or calling him? I already put down his contact info because it was unavoidable. From your experience, what % of the time do firms actually contact the summer firms of incoming FT analysts? And do you think they’d care that I’d renege an accounting offer for IB?

        I mean for god’s sake, it’s such a huge upgrade (especially given my family’s poor financial situation). People have to understand!

        1. If you already put down his information, you can’t do much at this point to prevent the bank from calling him. But I don’t think the bank would care that you’re reneging on a Big 4 offer. They probably won’t even call him because banks tend to be disorganized with hiring.

  37. Thank you for your advice. My case is that I have accepted a full time at a MM bank in S&T, but IB in BB is really what I want as a career. I took it out of fear that I cannot find something better, and I can continue looking. After signing I realized the situation is much more difficult than I thought, and I don’t want to move to that city at all. Can I still continue applying and interviewing for BB banks while in school, and should I tell them up front that I already took an offer elsewhere? Also,if it increases my chances, would applying in different cities make a difference?

    1. Yes, you can continue applying and interviewing, but you should tell them that you have accepted an offer at a smaller bank, so you would have to renege on it to accept an offer with them.

      Or, you can just not tell them that and take the risk. To be honest, I don’t think it’s a huge risk if you’re applying to different-sized banks in different cities in different divisions. Yes, applying to different locations may help.

  38. Hi there,

    Although you’ve mentioned not to renege on a full time offer for an internship, what would your advise be for a big4 FT offer for a BB front office summer internship?
    Also if the FT job starts (a few months) after the internship finishes, would it be okay to renege after (hopefully) receiving a FT offer from the bank?

    1. Yes, if you’re serious about IB. You are taking a risk even if you get the FT offer first, but it’s less of a risk than if you reneged on another bank’s offer.

  39. Hi, great article. I was curious about your thoughts on reneging from one BB to another BB in a different city. For example, reneging on an offer in North America in order to pursue an offer in Hong Kong. This is for a SA internship.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes this makes sense. I believe you can say that you plan to work in another location instead so this may not sound as “bad” to the firm you’re reneging on.

  40. I recently received an offer from a BB (think Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank) but in Corporate Banking. I was given only a week to accept, but I have a final round interview at another BB in Investment Banking a couple days after the acceptance deadline. I think I like the culture at the first BB, where I received the offer, more, but I think I might want to do IB as a career more than Corporate Banking. How do you think I should best handle the situation? THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d try your best to extend your deadline by a few more days with the first BB, and I’d also let the other BB know of your offer and see if they can expedite your offer (if they were to extend you one.) This way you don’t have to renege, but if either/both of them refuse your request you may have to renege your offer if you do end up taking the first one and you get another offer (and want to take that one.)

  41. Accepted a FT offer at a MM earlier this month. After accepting, I entered into an interview process with a BB – top three if you consider JPM, MS, and GS to be top three. Did not tell the BB that I already accepted another offer and believe they are under the impression that I have not accepted yet. Advice? Should I bring it up before the superday or wait to see if I land the offer first to bring it up after.
    Honestly, took the advice from bankers at the MM where I accepted the offer to ‘accept now and if something better comes up then just renege.’

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes I’d see if you land the offer (assuming you really want to work for the BB). If you don’t care for the MM that much and you do receive an offer from the BB, yes you can renege but you may risk burning bridges.

      1. In the end I did renege and took the WM position. It turned out to be in the “Products” team and was sat on the trading floor carrying out deal execution and product research and offered much more interesting work / networking opportunities than the sales / relationship management side of PWM that M&I seems to focus on. In fact the work is more similar to the sales side of Sales and Trading albeit with Private Banking clients (and therefore lower deal flow).

        I was wondering if there were any plans to write an article sometime on this division; it shows a very different side to WM that could be important to people who are struggling to break into more prestigious roles, or just want to do something different. Is this simply too niche a team to warrant its own article?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Tom, thanks for your note. It is not too niche. If you’d like to be interviewed, let us know and we will reach out to you.

          1. Sure I’d be willing to be interviewed; contact me by email

  42. ER intern


    I got an Equity Research internship in a boutique bank in South East Asia. A few days ago i got offered by a relative (Ex- IBD bulge bracket bank) to intern for his own company.

    ER internship – (End of June – End of Aug)
    2nd internship – (mid Aug -mid Sept)

    I want to make it for both, but they kinda overlap. If i call up my ER internship bank and tell them i’ve got another internship and would like to shorten the period for this internship would it work? How would u suggest i pull this off?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes I may do so. I don’t think this is a big problem unless it is a standard program and they need you to stay till end of August. In this case I’d call up the second company to delay the internship.

  43. Thank you for your advice. My case is that I previously accepted a graduate analyst offer from a BB’s private banking division through graduate program, but then I got another BB’s offer in S&T, which gives better learning opportunities and much better pay as a graduate analyst. I’m considering renege on the previous offer. What’s your suggestions and opinions on this case? Thank you!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Reneging is not always the best option. However, if you really want to do S&T and don’t mind burning bridge with the other BB’s PWM division then yes I may take the S&T offer and renege. However, when you renege, try to be responsive, very appreciative of the opportunity so you do your best to “lessen” the damage. You can just tell them that you’ve changed your mind and decided that PWM isn’t the best fit for you. You’d also need to make sure you’ve signed the contract etc with the other firm first.

  44. Thoughts on reneging for a paid intership at MM firm when I’ve already accepted an unpaid offer at small boutique?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      We don’t recommend reneging if possible. However, since you’re talking a paid vs. unpaid role, and a MM vs. a small boutiques, I’d say it may not be a bad idea to do so especially given financial reasons.

  45. With summer internships; and an aim to try and spin the experience to apply for IB graduate programs, would it be worth reneging on a commercial banking position for a private wealth management offer (both at large banks)?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If both are for BBs, I probably wouldn’t renege, unless you know for sure you don’t want to be in commercial banking, and that you want to work in PWM.

      1. Thanks. In regards to the commercial / wealth management question is PWM not considered more prestigious (and therefore more useful for graduate recruiting)? I’ve read and spoken to several people who’ve made switches from PWM to IBD or sales and trading but not about people switching from commercial banking to these positions?

        Just to be clear this commercial banking position doesn’t involve retail or small business accounts its essentially corporate banking for mid-sized business (£2 million to £2 billion market cap)

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes I’d say PWM is considered more prestigious versus commercial banking.

  46. I’ve accepted a valuation job offer with an accounting firm (not directly through my school but through alumni referral). A few people at school know that I received an offer, but I didn’t admit to anyone that I’ve accepted it. (They might now believe it but I don’t know for sure.)
    Now I just received and accepted a campus interview with a well-known middle market investment bank through the school. Both are full-time positions with start date in the summer.
    I got a bit nervous and kept thinking what if the school or a classmate or the firm where I accepted an offer finds out what I’m doing. Should I be worried? What could possibly happen if someone finds out? Should I just quietly turn down the interview and pretend nothing has happened and stop interviewing elsewhere? My goal is really to do IB in the first place. I’d appreciate your advice on this.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I wouldn’t be worried but I’d be discrete about it, because if someone on campus/your career centre finds out you may risk losing two roles. If you do plan to turn down the interview, you don’t need to worry too much and pretend nothing happened. However, if you plan to interview with the second firm, I’d be very quiet and discrete and see where the interviewing process takes you. If you really want to do IB, it maybe wise to interview with the bank to see what your options are and decide later should you get an offer at the bank.

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