Timeline for the Process
TYPICAL RECRUITING PROCESS
This is the most difficult section for me to write since
I entered the process from outside of the "normal loop" of the Ivy League school
interview schedules. However, after working at an investment bank I was able to see the
process from the other side. Still it is difficult for me to write this section because I
don't want to throw off your job search by telling you incorrect dates. So instead of
trying to say so-and-so is absolutely the way investment banks recruit undergraduates, I
will convey what I know or have found out and then try to construct a realistic picture of
what is going on.
THE TIMELINE FOR MY JOB PROCESS
(LATE IN THE SPRING CYCLE)
First I will present the timeline that I followed since I
am certain about the validity of these particular facts. However, I should have
started my job search much earlier than I did. PLEASE BEGIN YOUR JOB SEARCH AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE IN THE
EARLY FALL OR LATE SUMMER!!!
Note that these dates are approximate and only follow the interview times of my past
employer, who is representative of the other investment banks.
December 1 - February 27: I wrote letters and made phone calls to set up
interviews until I had the job offers in my hand. I later discovered that I was hired
during the spring recruiting cycle.
January 11-16: I went on my first job-hunting trip to New York. During
this trip I had my first interview at my current employer, which corresponded to a
combination of an on-campus interview at an Ivy League school and a first on-site
interview in the scheme of things. (This interviewing cycle was probably one of the later
ones for most investment banks.)
February 1-7: I took my second job-hunting trip at my expense to contact
and interview with other investment banks.
February 11: I had a final round of interviewing at my current employer
February 13: I received a job offer.
February 20: I attended a Sell Day for the bank that ultimately hired me.
A Sell Day is where an investment bank markets itself to you.
February 27: I accepted a job offer.
By the end of February, nearly all investment banks have completed the year's hiring for
analysts. Most other positions are filled year round because they are more demand-driven.
MY RESEARCH ABOUT DATES FOR IVY
According to several sources, the best time to send out
your resume is in November and December to get hired in January and February. I would say
earlier is better. A Salomon Brothers analyst was originally quoted on the Ohio State
Finance Department web site as saying that you should send out a large number of
customized letters. Exactly!
I also picked the brains of fellow candidates at investment banks to discover more about
the process at Ivy League schools. This is the summary of my findings.
1. They signed up for on-campus interviews and were
weeded out from the start.
2. They then interviewed on certain dates at the investment banks' headquarters in New
York depending on the students' schools.
3. There is a fall and spring recruiting cycle. According to further
"interrogation" and my experiences in investment banking, I think that the fall
cycle begins in September and is complete by the middle of December. However, this is not
4. The spring cycle starts in late November or December and ends in February-March. Based
on my own experiences, talks with fellow candidates, and the information originally on the
Ohio State Finance Department web site, I know that this is an accurate time frame for the
spring hiring cycle of investment banks.
5. I happened across an on-line on-campus recruiting list for a good, but not Ivy League,
school. Many of the New York investment banks each did their on-campus recruiting on a
certain block of dates from late September to late January. For example, Goldman Sachs
recruited from November 12-14 at the school.
A SYNTHESIS OF THE DATA INTO A
There are two cycles of recruiting, a fall cycle and a
spring cycle. The fall cycle runs from September-October to November-December and the
spring cycle from late November-December to late February. I am certain about the accuracy
of the spring cycle dates but the fall cycle has not been confirmed.
During each of the cycles, the investment banks are conducting on-campus interviews at all
the Ivy League schools. They are also subsequently conducting first on-site interviews for
candidates who have made it past the on-campus interviews.
Investment banks set up interview dates based on your school for both the on-campus and
first on-site interviews. For example, in the spring cycle, all the undergraduates of Ivy
League School 'A' interview on-campus with the investment bank from January 5-7. Then on
January 20 the candidates selected in the on-campus interviews from Ivy League School 'A'
will interview at the investment bank's headquarters. Subsequent interviews usually will
all take place at the headquarters with a mix of candidates from many different schools.
Beyond the first on-site interviews, the process is usually taken away from the candidate
and placed in the investment bank's hands. They set up interview and event dates and
arrange (and pay) travel needs. Final interviews are usually called "Super
___day", such as "Super Saturday" or "Super Monday". By the end
of the cycles, investment banks will have made their job offers and then welcomed their
new analysts during "Sell" days.
In summary, a typical interviewing cycle (fall or spring) will be:
1. On-campus interview
2. First on-site interview
3. One or two more on-site interviews, the last of which is referred to as "Super
4. Job offer by phone and letter
5. Sell Day
6. Job offer acceptance or declination by phone and letter
YOUR IDEAL JOB SEARCH SCHEDULE
Now that you know something about how investment banks
recruit their analysts it will be easier for you to figure out how to get into the loop.
Basically, you want to start your contact process at the beginning of the fall and spring
recruiting cycles so that you can merge into the loop with the other candidates. Start
sending out your batches of cover letters and resumes in early September/October and
November/December. You want to try to set up your first on-site interviews for roughly the
same time as the other candidates. Just hit it hard and keep it going strong for many
Finally, some programs have posted deadlines, which may be as early as October 31 (a rare
case). Most investment banks, however, do not list any deadlines. In that case follow the
rough timelines for the fall and spring cycles found here or in another reliable source.