Think of the recruiting process for investment banks as a
game. If you do this then you will already be in the right frame of mind for the rest of
your job search.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Your strategy differs from your competition because it is
a much harder game for you. Ultimately, this is a good thing, though.
You want to get your resume under the nose of recruiters. Then you want to call that
recruiter and schedule an interview date. The goal is that you want the recruiter to
think, "Here is someone who knows what he/she wants, why he/she wants it, and how to
get it". Your selling point is not really that you are fresh blood but that you are
qualified by your determination and drive. This is probably the number one quality that
recruiters are looking for in candidates. They already know by your grades that you can
compete with the typical candidate on an intellectual base. If you go into the investment
bank with a clear sense of what is going on and the rules of the game, you will succeed.
Unlike Ivy League students, you will be funding your New York trips yourself. This is a
HUGE point to be sure to work into an interview or call if possible. The purpose is to
emphasize in the recruiter's head that not only do you know what you want, but you have
the tenacity to take strong action and a large risk to get it. Basically, you are going to
New York and secure your analyst position regardless of what everybody in the world
thinks, except that one investment bank that eventually hires you.
YOUR CONTACT PROCESS
In a nutshell, the contact process is not that difficult
but just a lot of hard work. You will need to gather supplies, money, and a lot of
research material on all the investment banks. You will then develop a system of work
orders and time schedules. You will also establish a network of contacts during this time,
such as family friends, your friends, past co-workers, professors, and alumni. You will
use this network during the contact process to gain more contacts, recommendations to
recruiters, and/or advice.
The contact process officially begins with the letters sent out to the first batch of
investment banks. You call these firms approximately ten to twelve business days after the
letters are sent to schedule a firm date and time for an interview in New York.
If you do it right, the process will gain momentum during the cycle. After mailing the
letters to the first batch of investment banks, you begin calling the first batch while
preparing letters for your second batch. At the same time, you work your network of
contacts. After a while, you will be calling the second batch and writing again to your
first batch. Then you will be calling both your first and second batches.
During and following this main letter-writing campaign, you set up interviews, interview
on your trips, and attend the second interview dates set (and paid) by the investment
banks. All the while, you continue the writing-calling cycle for other investment banks
and finish the second and third batches. You repeat the calling and writing cycle for each
investment bank until you have an interview date in hand for that bank.
Essentially, writing about once a month or longer and calling about every eight business
days for each investment bank in your master list will be plenty. As you get further along
in the cycle for particular investment banks you can adjust the time periods between
contacts (i.e. maybe shorten it). You will just have to play it by ear.
Then during October or November, early December, early to mid-January, and/or late
January, you take trips to New York to do your interviews and calling.
You become determined to succeed (and will succeed) because that is the only path you will
be able to visualize.
Remember that your focus is simply to get a first
interview, get a second interview, get a third interview, and then get a job offer. You
want to follow this linear process for every investment bank that you contact. Remember DO
NOT EVER give up. If you feel like you want to give up then rest a day and increase your
efforts. It is always darkest right before good moments, such as a job offer.
REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL OFFICES
As a final note, regional and international offices of
New York-based firms are most often filled by the headquarters in New York. Therefore, if
you want to be placed into a regional office, apply to the New York office and indicate
discreetly that you would like consideration for so-and-so office in addition to New York.
The same strategy applies to international offices. However, international offices are
hard to be placed into since second-year analysts, who are invited to stay with the firm
for a third year, get first pick among those assignments. If you do receive an
international assignment then expect to be in New York (or the company's headquarters)
anywhere from one month to one year for training and assimilation into the investment