by Brian DeChesare Comments (48)

Sales & Trading Networking: 3 Success Stories from a Non-Target School and What You Can Learn from Them

Sales Trading Networking

This is a guest post from a reader who broke into Sales & Trading (S&T) coming from a non-target school. In Part 2 of this series, you’ll learn all about sales & trading networking and how to use it to win interviews and offers.

Pop quiz: which of the following is most important for breaking into sales & trading?

A. Knowledge of and passion for the markets

B. Ability to do mental math and to answer brain teasers

C. Thinking on your feet and dealing with stress

D. Networking

If you’ve read this site for any length of time, you already know the correct answer.

While A, B, and C are important to demonstrate in interviews, you won’t get any of those interviews in the first place without networking.

And if you’re coming from a non-target school like I was, you have a 0.01% chance of winning interviews and offers without extensive networking.

To guide you on the right path, I’m going to share 3 networking success stories (Steve Jobs graduation speech-style) of what worked for me and what you can learn from them – including how to make connections, what to say when you’re talking to someone in S&T, and how to follow-up effectively and win interviews.

Story #1: The Apple Pitch

NOTE: At this point in time, Apple was significantly less well-known than it is now / after this story took place. Once a company becomes well-known, you generally don’t want to pitch it as heavily. This story is included here because it was how the reader really pitched a stock, but please keep in mind that you generally don’t want to mention something that everyone else is talking about / buying or selling.

For me, getting in the same room as a trader, broker, banker, or sales guy was the easy part – but keeping them engaged and developing life-long friendships and connections was what separated the successful applicants from everyone else.

My “in” was always asking/talking about investment ideas. It’s one of my passions, and it’s something that anyone in S&T will love talking about – more so than in banking, PE, or other fields.

One day, I was invited to spend a day at a bulge bracket bank – it wasn’t an official interview, just part of the networking process before that. Sort of a “shadow the traders”-type event.

I spent around 30 minutes with each person that day, and I met one trader who was a Director and who was also best friends with the Head of HR (you can bet I exploited that one).

I started talking about Apple’s stock, and I pitched him on why I thought it was a great investment:

  • Had a low P/E given its growth, size, and margins
  • High-growth opportunity
  • Great management and culture
  • Superior products
  • Immaculate balance sheet

He happened to be an Apple shareholder, and he loved every word of what I was saying.

Less than a week later, when Apple reported earnings (and of course blew past expectations) I emailed the Director and said, “I bet you’re loving that Apple stock right now, we both made a killing last night… I’ll keep you posted on my next pick.”

He emailed me back saying, “Haha, I did very well last night, any other stocks you have in mind?”

We formed a friendship, and over the following few years I frequently emailed him investment pitches and questions about financial products or markets.

I often told him where I thought the economy was heading, and attempted to find unique and interesting strategies to share with him.

When recruiting season came along all I had to say was, “Hey, I’m applying to your bank, do you know anyone in HR you can pass my resume along to?”

He said, “Of course, we would love to have you on board here!”

That type of relationship didn’t guarantee me an offer, of course, but it made it far easier to win interviews at that bank.

NOTE: At this point in time, Apple was significantly less well-known than it is now / after this story took place. Once a company becomes well-known, you generally don’t want to pitch it as heavily. This story is included here because it was how the reader really pitched a stock, but please keep in mind that you generally don’t want to mention something that everyone else is talking about / buying or selling.

Story #2: The Overlooked Professor

Not everyone gets invited to a bulge bracket bank for the day, so here’s a story you can probably relate to a little better…

When I was in my 2nd year at university, I asked one of my professors if she knew anyone in S&T that she could put me in touch with.

She was a finance professor, so many of her students over the years had broken into the industry.

Professors are a great source of industry contacts – but you have to get on their good side first by:

  • Going to all your classes
  • Participating more than other students
  • Getting good grades – even if it means studying
  • Going to office hours
  • Asking questions… and actually listening to the answers
  • Taking their advice – they are smarter than you

Professors love students who do all of the above, and they enjoy watching these types of students succeed.

They will do whatever they can to help, so use that to your advantage – and use all of your professors, not just one (Recruiting = numbers game).

Administrators – especially those in the career services office – have a ton of connections as well, sometimes even more than professors. They themselves were usually professors once, and now have connections to recruiters as well.

Anyway, I had done everything above and gotten on the professor’s good side – so she put me in touch with one of her contacts in sales.

We traded a few emails and I asked him if there was a good time we could chat on the phone – when we spoke, I immediately brought up the professor and quickly developed a rapport with him.

I eventually brought up the fact that I was planning to apply for an S&T internship, and asked him if he had any advice on my resume and/or interviews.

He offered to look over my resume for me, and even offered to send it to a few of his friends in S&T. I was thrilled!

He gave me some good advice, and I thanked him for his time and said that we would be in touch.

I emailed him my resume, thanked him again, and told him I would keep him updated with my progress.

A month or so later when I began applying for internships, I emailed him saying that I wanted to thank him again for speaking with me, and wanted to let him know that I applied to X, Y and Z banks.

I asked him if, by any chance, he knew people at any of the banks I applied to, and thanked him again.

He emailed me back and put me in touch with someone from one of the banks – that connection paid off with even more networking and interview opportunities at that bank.

Story #3: A Friend of a Friend

Often, someone will tell you that their friend’s sister’s uncle’s brother knows someone in banking… and usually this type of connection never pays off.

But don’t be too quick to judge.

When I was home over winter break in my 3rd year, I was talking with a family friend and mentioned to him that I was applying for a summer internship in S&T at a bulge bracket bank for the upcoming summer.

He said that he thought he had a friend from college who was working at Goldman, and if I wanted, he could try and put me in touch with him.

I said, “Definitely,” told him that I would send him my resume, and was very eager to follow up with this possible connection.

Usually, people are all talk and never follow-through on their promises – unless you are extremely proactive and push them to help you (without being a pest).

I followed up with this family friend, sent him my resume, and told him that I would like to speak with his friend at Goldman.

Two weeks went by and I hadn’t heard from him, so I followed up with him again. I shot him an email saying, “Just wanted to see if you were able to get in touch with your friend from Goldman, I am very eager to speak with him.”

Eventually, after almost a month went by, he finally put me in touch with his friend, and I set up a 15-minute informational interview with him.

When we spoke, he gave me valuable insights about the entire process at Goldman: what interviews would be like and specific numbers that I would be expected to know, such as oil prices, the DOW, S&P 500, gold, Treasury yields, the debt-to-GDP ratios of European countries, and so on.

During my interviews, several of these exact questions came up – so this connection definitely paid off.

He couldn’t help with submitting my resume or putting in a recommendation to HR or traders, but the relationship helped in other ways.

Don’t assume that a connection is useless just because the person can’t get you interviews directly – connections help in many different ways, whether it’s with getting referrals elsewhere, gathering intelligence on the recruiting or interview process, and so on.

Lessons Learned

Here’s what you should take from these 3 success stories:

Be Thankful, Polite and Courteous

Don’t forget that no one in the industry owes you anything – be nice, and if you’re lucky, they might help you out.

Always Follow-Up

This is the most important aspect of networking, and something that most people never do – this is why talking about investment ideas is such a great strategy.

As you saw from my story above, you can always follow-up with news about earnings, recent developments, and so on once you’ve pitched the initial idea.

And when someone doesn’t respond to you, always follow-up and remind them because people are busy and often forget what they’ve promised.

One Connection Leads to Another

In my first story, I got in touch with the Director because of my connection at the bank. He then put me in touch with HR.

In my second story, my professor introduced me to the sales person, who in turn introduced me to an employee at the other bank.

And in my final story, I went through a friend-of-a-friend connection to gain insight into one firm’s recruiting process.

Networking has a domino effect – it’s not just about who you initially contact.

Find Similarities

With the Director, I knew he was passionate about the markets or else he wouldn’t have been in S&T. With the sales guy, we went to the same school and had the same professor.

And with the trader at Goldman, we had the same friend and I leveraged that similarity to speak with him on the phone.

These similarities lead to friendships, not just connections. And a friend is much more likely to help you than a “connection.”

Have Material Prepared

Don’t waste anyone’s time (cardinal rule of the finance world). With the Director, I had that Apple pitch in my back pocket and already knew exactly what I was going to say.

With the sales guy, I had prepared several questions to ask in advance, which paved the way for a flowing conversation.

And with the Goldman trader, I knew in advance that he couldn’t help with getting me interviews directly, so I prepared a list of questions about the interview process itself.

The basic principles are not much different from networking into investment banking or any other field in finance.

What is different is that you rely more heavily on investment pitches / ideas in S&T and you use them to show your passion for the markets and also as an excuse to follow-up with your contacts.

To put all of this together, here’s what you should do and how the process works from beginning to end:

Find and Rank People

Let’s start with finding your contacts: consider family, friends, colleagues, classmates, professors, and administrators to start with.

If you have more work experience or you’re at the MBA-level, also think about former co-workers across all your previous firms and classmates at all levels.

This might sound like a laundry list, but that’s the idea. Make a list of every person you know and ask ALL of them if they can put you in touch with anyone in the “finance industry” – not just Salespeople/Traders.

Once you make the list, figure out a way to rank people, and contact them according to their rankings to maximize your efforts.

I ranked my contacts with the BAC system (much better than the one that gets you arrested for drunk driving):

  • B = In the business world.
  • A = Age – the older someone is, the more connections they are likely to have.
  • C = How connected I am to them / how likely they are to help me.

If you even get 1 good connection (remember that one leads to another) out of your BAC rankings, it was worth it – so don’t take this exercise lightly.

You need to prioritize or else you’ll end up with hundreds / thousands of people to contact, and you’ll waste all your time contacting people who can’t or won’t help you.

Leverage Your Location

This might sound odd, but you never know who you’ll end up in an elevator with, who will be sitting next to you on a plane, or who you’ll be waiting in line with at Starbucks.

Talk to everyone. Find similarities… and exploit your personality. Always ask, in a subtle way, “What do you do?”

At school, go to investment clubs, speaker series, networking events. Actively seek out these types of opportunities because they won’t come to you.

Many bankers will come to visit your school (even if you go somewhere lesser-known, they might show up for non-recruiting events) – and they are usually outgoing and willing to help you. These are some of your best potential resources.

Go to every bank’s website and in an Excel spreadsheet, make a list of the different banks with the dates and locations where they’ll be recruiting.

Then, start going to other schools’ information sessions – few bulge bracket banks will do much direct recruiting if you’re at a non-target school.

Go to these events, get business cards, and bring at least 10 copies of your resume – you never know how many recruiters will be there.

Make and develop connections, and follow-up with recruiters because they can be more helpful than you’d think.

If you don’t have an official alumni network, LinkedIn is your next best bet – find people with some type of similarity to you (see the BAC system above), ideally the school connection, and send them messages saying that you’re attending their alma mater and are applying to their bank and wanted to find out more about the process.

Just like in a normal informational interview, ask for a brief chat (15-20 minutes) and see if they can help you – sometimes if you impress them enough, they’ll even invite you to the office.

Reach Out and Chat

It’s exactly what I said above and what you saw in my stories: keep it brief, be polite, and ask for a quick time to chat.

The only difference here compared to investment banking networking is that traders generally can’t speak with you during market hours, so you need to adjust accordingly and propose times after the market has already closed.

How to Talk to a Salesperson or Trader

Start out by asking about their background and how they ended up in the industry.

Ideally, you’ll have done a few minutes of research beforehand so you already know their background and can frame your questions appropriately.

Then, depending on what they say you can ask questions about:

  • Why did they choose S&T… and why sales vs. trading?
  • The markets and potential investment ideas.
  • What products/markets have they worked with?
  • How did they start working with that product?
  • What led them to be successful?
  • What did they do to prepare for the job?
  • What advice do they have?
  • What is it about their specific firm that they like/dislike?

Obviously, you don’t want to ask every single question on this list – and there are plenty of other questions you could ask.

The most important point is to get your contact talking – people love to talk about themselves, so they will like you more if you listen to what they have to say.

As I mentioned earlier, I always talked about the markets with them. Showing them my enthusiasm and passion for the markets got them thinking, “Wow this kid would be a great fit here; if he applied, I would definitely help him.”

If you’re passionate about the markets, talking about them should be easy – and if you’re not passionate about the markets, you shouldn’t be applying to S&T.

Make sure you read the Wall Street Journal EVERY DAY – it will prepare you with a lot of material to talk about, and it will give you a good grounding as to what is going on in the marketplace.

The worst scenario here is for a trader to bring up a recent market development and for you to not know about it – so read, read, and keep reading up on what’s happening every day.

Sales & Trading Informational Interviews vs. Investment Banking Informational Interviews

Overall, networking is not dramatically different in these two fields.

The main differences:

  1. In S&T it’s more acceptable to talk about work-related topics rather than focusing on their personal stories / background.
  2. In S&T you need to talk about the markets, respond to questions about what’s going on, and have solid investment ideas that you can bounce off the people you speak with.

Non-Target Networking Success?

People like to obsess over grades, resume formatting, and memorizing brain teasers, but the truth is that networking trumps all of those.

And if you’re at a non-target school, it’s your only chance of getting into the industry.

Do everything above, and you’ll be well on your way to joining “The 1%” of non-target students who break into sales & trading at bulge bracket banks.

This is a guest post from a reader who broke into Sales & Trading (S&T) coming from a non-target school. In the upcoming features in this series, we’ll do deep-dives on resumes, interviews, and more.

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 Brian,
    Thanks so much for the post. I come from a non-target school, or very bottom end of target, in the US and I had just decided that I wanted to do a finance summer internship, particularly S&T, about 4-months ago. With little knowledge about how to break into the industry from my position, I didn’t realize the importance of networking until recently. Now it’s towards the end of the recruiting season, I have already submitted tons of online applications and of course heard back from non, expect at a big bank where I luckily progressed into superday but didn’t get an offer, and I am panicking now. My mom is a private wealth manager for a ultra wealthy client of a BB bank in Hong Kong (she doesn’t work for the bank but hired by the client as a middleman between the bank and the client himself). I want to use her connection to network at the bank, but I have already submitted the application to this HK S&T position about a month ago and the due date has passed for about 3 weeks (the process is not on rolling-basis). I know it’s extremely late in the process to network like this, but should I still give it a shot? If so, what would be the best approach? And on a more general note, is it also worth a shot to forcefully network at any other place whether I have already submitted the application or not, or is this bad practice that would hurt my future chances, if somehow they would remember a kid that didn’t know what he is doing and started so late. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks a lot.

    1. Yes, you could still give it a shot. Maybe ask your mom for contacts, or ask her to find contacts in S&T at the bank through other connections. You could network at other places even if you’ve already submitted an application, but it may not be a great use of time at this stage. Maybe reach out to a few people via LinkedIn or other means, see what they say, and if there’s any possibility of still getting an internship.

      If not, think about prop trading firms or possibly asset/wealth management as a Plan B.

      1. So at this stage should I directly ask for internship in the initial email or just ask them to chat over the phone and ask them to pass on my resume to HR at the end of the phone call? My concern is that at this stage it doesn’t really make sense for me to ask them questions about how to position myself successfully for the recruiting process. So should I just be direct as possible in the initial outreach?

        1. Yes just be direct about asking for roles

      2. So at this stage should I directly ask for an internship in the initial email or ask them to chat over the phone and see if they can pass over my resume to HR at the end of the phone call? My concern is at this stage it doesn’t really make sense for me to ask them about questions on the recruiting process or chat about other related questions, so should I just be very direct in the initial outreach?

  2. HI Brian,

    I know the post is a bit old but is there any chance the writer is willing to share his contact details. I would love to get in touch with him.

    1. I can send a message and ask, but I haven’t been in contact with him for about 3 years, so we may or may not receive a (timely) response – people often contribute to this site, and then run off and disappear as they get extremely busy with work.

  3. Great article! Im currently an intern in a general finance position at a BB firm, and have the chance to network with many traders on a daily basis.

    Any advice on how to specifically target my mentor whos a direct in Muni trading?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d ask him out for coffee regularly and build solid rapport with him.

  4. Hi M&I,

    I just landed an interview in S&T team at a BB. I have a contact at the bank (I met that person in a recruitment event) so how should I approach that contact to ask for interview advice? Or do I actually need to let my network know about that I am going to interview with them? Should I just prepare the interview by myself? I just know I will interview S&T as a whole (not sure if it will be credit, equity, FX or derivatives…)


    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d just ask the contact if he’s free for a brief chat and you can ask him questions on interviewing then. If you have network at the firm you’re interviewing for yes you can let them know though may not necessarily be too useful. Yes you always need to prepare interviews by yourself. Help from others are useful but don’t expect contacts you’ve recently met to handhold you re interview process.

  5. Hi, having read The Banker Blueprint, I recognize networking is more important than I thought. I really want to work in S&T. I would really appreciate if you commented on whether the following tactic for networking be smart or stupid:

    1. Make a list of the relevant banks.
    2. If they do have a contact person on their website, email them and ask for the email address to a student who has done this particular internship “in order to find out what they learned and how I best can position myself to get an internship”.
    3. If I do get the student’s email, I’ll email them (following the template in The Banker Blueprint) and ask for an informational interview. Or maybe have a specific question in the email about something (for example, the psychology of trading and how they saw the traders handled losses).

    Thank you so much in advance,

    1. 1. Yes, you can do this, but don’t go overboard, i.e. don’t spend days compiling your list… spend a few hours on it at most.

      2. Not a great idea in most cases, it’s better to go through LinkedIn or your alumni network and search for people using the firm name list you compiled in step 1.

      2. I would just email the person and ask for 5 minutes to speak rather than asking about a specific trading issue.

  6. Avatar

    This is an excellent article! Thanks to derivstrading for posting it!

    I do have a few questions though. I’m very interested in S&T, but I’m just an incoming freshman. I don’t know when to apply and network for internship because I don’t qualify for any traditional S&T SA roles.

    When would you suggest contacting people in
    BBs, HFs, prop firms, and RM firms? Are there any additional tips you’d recommend given that I don’t qualify for traditional SA roles?

    Also, I’m currently working at a non-US boutique IB. Although I’d prefer to do trading, I’d like to work at the IB’s NY office if I can’t land any S&T roles next summer. Is it alright to ask my IB contacts about their S&T connections? Would I be ruining my chance of getting another IBD internship at the firm?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      In terms of networking, you may want to start contacting people before the summer to establish some form of relationship first. You’re already ahead of many people! I’d recommend you to find a mentor during your networking process and try to find an internship next year (during the summer or the summer) that you’d be interested in. If you want to land another internship at the firm it may not be the best idea to ask them about their S&T connections – it really depends on how open the people at the firm are. Some may not necessarily be receptive, though I think most people who genuinely want to help you with your career growth may help you gain exposure to S&T.

  7. I’ll second the recommendation of asking your professor. In my case, I was quite lucky – my prof actually asked the class if anyone wanted to work in his company (he was at BAML full-time, and teaching Saturday classes at my college). A few applied, including me, and I went for the Superday. Didn’t get an offer in the end, but the experience was worth it.

    Note: this was for an ops position, so YMMV.

    1. Thanks for adding that – profs are definitely overlooked!

  8. Hie people(Sales and Traders)
    I have been trying to get into this field of Sales desk or to become a Trader in Equities or Commodities Trader but i have been heating the wall. I do not mind to go anywhere in the wolrd especially London, Singapore,UAE, london or Canada, etc.I hold an MBA International Business and a bachelors degree in Buness Administration.i have been trying but unfortunately i do not seem to get anywhere.Maybe , it is because i do not have the right contacts to help get to the Derivative desk or equities desk.

    PLEASE HELP!! I need contacts in this field.


    Salesio Mukwapuna(Botswana)

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Before you contact people in the field, I think you should figure out:
      1. Why Sales & Trading? Are you very passionate about the markets?
      2. What are your skills – how can you add value to a S&T team?
      3. Tie 1+2 and create your pitch

      I’d suggest you to try to obtain an internship at a small/mid tier trading firm (perhaps in Cape Town/Jo-burg?) and see how that goes first. I’d then work your way to London or Canada after. Alternatively, you can try to move to a country where work restriction is less strict and find work there.

  9. Hi, great article.

    Brian, I have a bit of a dilemna.

    My mom works at a major international bank and routinely sends me internal job postings from it’s Investment Banking arm. She also has access the phone numbers of the hiring managers and other senior-level executives.

    My mother is concerneed that if I call these people on the phone, the first thing they will ask me is how exactly I got their number. Since their phone numbers are only available to bank employees and cannot be found by the general public, how exactly should I respond?

    Secondly, if I don’t get asked this question, how should I approach the conversation? I am thinking of just getting to the point: briefly introducing myself and qualifications and telling them that I applied to so and so position.

    The part about getting them to give me an interview… Should I approach the question directly or ask them subtely?

    Much appreciated,

    1. I think it depends on what your mom does there and how she can access these numbers… the better move here is to have your mom introduce you briefly and then follow-up from there, assuming that she’s at the level where she can actually introduce you to hiring managers and/or other executives.

      If that’s not the case, I think you can still call them but you need to be careful with how you claim you got their numbers… maybe just say that you found it by searching on a source such as Factset or Bloomberg in the course of your internship or other work experience and that you wanted to contact them directly because you’re very interested in the role and wanted to find out more about it. Some people will be pissed, but you lose more by not contacting them than you do by trying it.

      Just make it a very brief conversation, introduce yourself, ask a few questions about the role, say you applied, and ask for any tips on the recruiting process there. If you haven’t applied, ask them at the end what you can do to best position yourself for an interview there.

      1. Bloomberg yes; if they’re in S&T just say you found their profile on linkedin and their number on bloomberg. IBD folks numbers are on factset (didn’t know)?

        I wouldn’t try calling senior execs without an introduction first. Their numbers usually are not even on bloomberg and if you try the number you got from your Mom you’ll probably just get an assistant.

  10. And Brian, thanks to your article, especially the BAC part, I realized there’re so many network opportunities I haven’t utilized. I am working on part time basis in a BB’s corporate banking team. I am sure the senior corporate bankers and my M.D. work with people on investment banking side and markets side as well. So basically everybody in the team is IN the business and has pretty extensive network. But how can i ask them to help me, to connect me with people on IB or markets side?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Delicate situation. I think you should try to attend all the drinks/events your team members go to (this is how you broaden your network); networking is an everyday event, I’m sure you will come across people from the IB/markets side on such events/in the company. Be nice and strike up conversations with them. Furthermore, do your best in the role. Impress your team with your work and ethics, try to add more value to the team, so at the end of your part-time role, you can either secure a role w them or ask them to introduce you to people on the IB/markets side.

  11. Which year did you break into S&T?

  12. Hi Brian,

    Great article. I am just wondering if you know what kind of specific questions will I be expecting for a commodities trading internship interview? And how many brainteasers would they normally throw at you?

    1. For entry-level roles the questions won’t be much different… expect brain teasers, logic questions, maybe a math/logic test or set of questions. Some interviews will be all fit while others will be all or mostly brain teasers or maybe just spending time on one extended question. So definitely read up on them and see if you can get a book that goes over a few of the most common brain teasers. I would also know something about commodity prices, recent trends, and have some thoughts on the future direction of things like gold/oil prices and so on, backed up with solid reasoning.

    2. Don’t mean to be critical but the “apple pitch” thing is a bit kitsch I think.

      First, yes it’s good to talk about investment ideas if you can, but just remember that unless you’re talking with a very jr. person (basically won’t know much more than you) you’ll be wading into very dangerous territory quickly.

      The person that you’re speaking will know far more than you about what you’re talking about, and will like your initiative but will be put off without a large dose of humility in what you say.

      Second, referring to Apple specifically. Perhaps the pitch was made a few years ago, but right now everyone and everyone is talking about how great Apple is. That is, pitching Apple you’ll just be saying something the guy has already heard again and again. He’ll be instantly bored. Point is that if you think an investment is obviously awesome, then the people you speak with will also think the same as will many people that call them. Try to make pitches that are interesting, but not on subjects that are constantly in the news.

      1. True man..everybody knows Apple, especially now after it has decided to distribute dividend today…any idea where we can find interesting pitches? Besides Wall Street Journal, what about Financial Times? Which section of its should we put emphasis onto?

        1. Neither one. For companies no one knows about, look toward smaller-cap stocks that aren’t even featured in these publications. Do your own research, look at sites like Seeking Alpha, and find similar companies that not everyone has already exploited… maybe look at Covestor and what people are doing there as well.

          1. WST and FT are good for macro calls, especially look at their op-eds as you’ll have great stuff from the Jim O’Neills & Bill Grosses.

            Seeking Alpha is good, and FT Alphaville also. Alphaville mostly critics other folks’ (mostly analysts/strategists) ideas but will find lots of good stuff that isn’t mainstream enough to make it on the front page of any paper (warning, Alphaville is full of jargon – not aimed at the uninitiated).

            Final thing to note. Def. avoid talking about very well known cos, going long crude or short the Euro, but don’t go too far away from the mainstream. If you pitch some small-cap that few know about you’ll seem geeky, unless you have real expertise in that small-cap’s field. Large or maybe mid-caps are good, just ones that are not as well fellowed.

        2. followed…

      2. Yes, the pitch was made at least 1-2 years ago because it was during networking prior to real recruiting. I will add a note about that. If you read the rest of this site you’ll see that I specifically recommend against pitching well-known companies but I left it in here because it was his real story.

  13. I know who this is.. kid goes to my school.
    But one point should be STRESSED NETWORK EVEN more if possible.
    1) I did all of the above got the BB IBD SA interviews but got rejected. So the more people who know you the better–more interview possibilities vs getting pigeonholed thinking that the few contacts you ave will help you. I think that was a great point “no one OWES you anything” great point.

    1. Yup that is a great point… you can never have too many contacts.

  14. Bravo!
    I have been doing what you told us.
    I did an interview with a prop. trading firm. I got rejected. But then I successfully connected with the trader/ interviewer. But he told me the firm would not accept application from the same applicant twice. I am sure I will still keep in touch with him. But I am just wondering what opportunities I can still get from him? You think it’s likely for him to forward my resume to some of his friends from some other trading firms? Thanks.

    1. I wouldn’t say “likely” but you never know – really depends on him, how much he likes you, who he knows elsewhere, etc. Always worth trying to follow-up and ask.

      1. Just to add, give it try absolutely, but if he told you the firm wouldn’t accept an application twice, without offering to help in some way, then I think the probability of it working are very low. Sounds like you didn’t make a good enough connection.

        Oh and by the way, firms don’t have long enough memories and HR not organized enough to not accept apps again from the same person. Keep watching the firm and you can apply again next year if you want.

        1. Thanks Brian and Adam. The reason I didn’t get through was because I couldn’t pass the online assessment and the firm would only pick those who could pass it. And according to the interviewer, my score will be stored in the system. But the good thing is the interviewer appreciated my motivation a lot and that’s why I managed to connect with him.So I guess the possibility of me getting into the same firm is pretty slim. But I will definitely keep in touch with him since he seems to be very willing to help me. But I don’t know how he can help more apart from sharing his own experience. If I know, then i can ask. And i don’t think asking him to forward my resume to his friends is a good idea since it sounds like I have been using him. I guess I gotta wait till he makes the move.

          1. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            Not necessarily. Try to build a genuine connection with him, and you can always ask him if he knows of anyone who is interested in someone w your background/experience. You can wait till you have built the trust first, though I don’t think asking him to fwd your resume to his friends is inappropriate; it just depends on the way you approach him.

  15. Finally, the article we’ve all been waiting for!

    Quick question:
    When it comes down to asking the interviewers questions at the end of the interview, is it absolutely necessary to ask them a bit about their background?

    Let’s say I know a decent amount of info about the desk that the interviewer(s) work on and subtly reveal this in the questions that I ask …. would this help me getting on to the next round or would they focus exclusively on my performance during my interview?

    Oh and one last thing – how common are 4-person panel interviews for S&T?

    1. Thanks!

      1) No, it’s just one of the better questions to ask.

      2) It will help to show your interest and to show that you have more advanced knowledge about the desk, but they will still focus on your overall performance.

      3) Multi-person interviews, including 4-person panels, are definitely more common than in other areas like IB. From the first feature in this series: “You’ll get at least 4 interviews, and each one might be with anywhere from 1-4 people (yes, you might actually have interviews with four people).”

      1. Hey Thanks for the response, I have few more questions!

        For the fall recruiting session, when are offers for 1st year full-time analysts given out? I get the impression that this falls between December – January?

        Assuming you accept, in what month would you typically start training and then later work for the full-time analyst job?
        If you are available for work at around April-May, would they allow you to start working early?

        1. Usually it is earlier than that… most places are done with FT recruiting by November or at least finishing up. Usually you go to training over the summer (June or July start date) and start working after that. If you finish in April/May that’s not really enough to start early, if you finished in January that might work though. But generally starting early is not a great idea (do a search on the topic here).

  16. importance*

  17. Nice!

    As part of the “1% of non-targets in S&T” I have to agree with the iportance of networking. Add in a bit of luck and hopefully you find yourself on the street!

    1. Thanks! And yes, the more you network the luckier you’ll get.

Leave a Reply

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