Thursday, March 27, 2008

Business Etiquette: Your Image

This blog post comes from information received from the University of Utah Career Services Department, with adaptation of the content in regards to investment banking.

"There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it."

Dale Carnegie (1888 - 1955) American Educator

How Etiquette Benefits You

As your career progresses, you develop skills that are respected and expected - these skills are called professional etiquette! Professional etiquette builds leadership, quality, business, and careers. It refines skills needed for exceptional service. Whether you are a seasoned executive or just starting out, professional etiquette will help you. Without etiquette, you limit your potential, risk your image, and jeopardize relationships that are fundamental to business success.

One line takeaway: Don't give people a reason to not like you, not help you, or not do business with you.

Etiquette Pays Off

Result oriented professionals (ie. Investment Bankers) have found that professional etiquette influences their success because it:

  • Differentiates them in a competitive market place

  • Enables them to be confident in a variety of settings with a variety of people from all walks of life (ie. so if you are doing a biotech deal with a management team of PhDs or a buyout of a cardboard company in Alabama, you can work and get along with people from all backgrounds.)

  • Modifies distracting behaviors and develops admired conduct

  • People will want to be around you and work with you - banking is all about getting deals done. Deals get done many times because of the people involved.

Your Image is Important

Never before has one's personal presentation, presence, or "image" been so critically linked to success - Success is reported to have 60% to do with your image.

Business Etiquette Tests
Test Your Business Etiquette Here!
USA Today Business Ediquette Quiz

Additional Business Etiquette Links
Business Etiquette Links

Financial Ratios

Financial Ratios

This is a collection of important financial ratios you will need to know in the future. It is not necessary for the interviews, but will be needed when you are on the job. I will work on putting this together into a Google Doc so you can just print of this chart. I will let you all know once I have done this.

Keep working hard at finding a job or internship. Please let me know when you land something so we can start posting it online.


Ratio Name



Measures of Activity
Accounts ReceivableNet Credit Sales / Avg. Net A/RNet credit sales = gross credit sales - sales returns + sales discounts. This ratio is used to determine how quickly cash is received from customers. A high ratio means that A/R is being turned over quickly. This is only good if a company makes credit sales.
Avg. Collection Period365 / A/R Turnover
Inventory TurnoverCOGS / Avg. InventoryHow many times during the period that a company completed the purchasing cycle. (From the purchase of inventory to sale) A higher ratio means inventory turns over more times or sells faster. Extremely high isn't good. That means there isn't enough merchandise on hand
Avg. Selling Period365 Days / Inventory Turnover
Payables TurnoverTotal Cash Expenses / Avg. Current Liabilities (Except Bank Loans)This is a means to assess how well management is managing payments for operating expenses. It represents the number of times the payables turned over during the year. From purchase of goods to the payment of invoices. If it is too low, it means that the company might be paying too slow, missing out on discounts or hurting credit. If it is too high, it may indicate the company isn't taking advantage of credit opportunities.
Payment Period365 Days / Payables TurnoverMeasures the average number of days required to pay the average amount of current operating liabilities.
Asset TurnoverNet Sales / Avg. Total AssetsMeasures the profitability as it relates to a firm's ability to generate sales to the amount of assets that the firm employs. The higher the better. This ratio needs to be compared to others in the industry for precise analysis.
Current RatioCurrent Assets / Current LiabilitiesMeasure of the current adequacy of company's current assets to meet its current obligations. It must be greater than 1. If it is less than 1, liabilities exceed current assets. For every $1 of liabilities, the company has a ratio amount of current assets available.
Cash Flow Per Share(Cash Flow From Operations - Preferred Dividends) / Weighted Avg. # Common Stock Shares
Quick Ratio(Cash + Temporary Investments + A/R) / Current LiabilitiesMeasure of a company's ability to meet their current debt obligations aka "Acid Test Ratio." More reliable test of liquidity than the current ratio b/c it eliminates inventory which is a larger asset. It should be greater than 1 depending on the industry. It should be improving, compare to the industry. It is used as a benchmark for liquidity. Lenders like a strong Quick Ratio.
Long-Term Debt Paying Ability
Times Interest EarnedMeasures a firm's ability to service its debt by comparing earnings before deducting interest and taxes to the amount of interest expense for the period. It shows how many times a company could pay its interest costs with operating income. The higher the better.
Debt-to-EquityTotal Liabilities / Total Shareholders EquityMeasures the relationship between the amount of debt and the amount of owners equity used to finance the firm. The larger the ratio, the greater amount of debt used to finance the firm and therefore the greater the risk. 1 means that equal amounts of debt and equity are used. Less than or equal to 1 is the best.
Gross Margin RatioGross Margin / Net SalesMeasures in percentage terms, that portion of sales revenue available after deducting the costs of goods sold. It must be large enough to ensure that selling prices can cover operating expenses and provide a satisfactory income.
Return on SalesNet Income / Net SalesMeasures the portion of sales revenue remaining after deducting all operating expenses. It indicates the business's overall profitability. (If Income from continuing operations isn't shown on the Income Statement, deduct any non-operating income and add all non-operating expenses.) Compare with past ratios, it should be high.
Return on AssetsNet Income / Avg. Total AssetsIncludes the 2 fundamental profitability elements: earnings and investment assets. It represents the ratio of net income to total assets and it measures the effectiveness of management in utilizing the resources at its command. The higher the better. Compare with the industry.
Return on Owners' EquityNet Income / Avg. Owners' EquityMeasures the return earned (Net Income) relative to the portion of the firm that belongs to the owners. The higher the better. Compare with the industry.
Return on Common Equity(Net Income - Preferred Stock Dividends) / (Stockholders Equity - Liquidation Value of Preferred Stock)Computed generally for the common stockholders. If there is preferred stock outstanding then there needs to be adjustments. High is good.
DuPont ROINet Income / Avg. Total Assets or Asset Turnover * Return on SalesA measure that is a combination of return on sales, a profitability measure, and the asset turnover ratio. High is good. Compare to the industry.
Earning Per Share (EPS)(Net Income - Preferred Dividends) / Weighted Avg. # Common Stock Shares Outstanding
Dividend Payout RatioDividends Paid to Common Stockholders / Earnings Available to Common StockholdersReveals a firm's dividend payment philosophy. Relates the amount of dividends paid to the periods earnings. Shows how the portion of the firm's assets are distributed to the common stockholders as well as the remaining portion of earnings that are reinvested in the firm.
Price-to-Earnings RatioCurrent Market Price / EPS
Dividend YieldDividends Paid Per Share of Stock / Market Price Per ShareMeasures the return that an investor would receive on a company's stock at the current price, if dividends paid in the recent past continue in the foreseeable future.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Be Impressive! Make a Strong First Impression

How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less

by Nicholas Boothman

Why Likability Works

If people like you, they feel natural and comfortable around you. They will give you their attention and happily open up for you. They will also be more likely to help you get an interview with their bank and even "push" you through the interview process by strongly recommending you to their peers.

Likability has something to do with how you look but a lot more to do with how you make people feel. In your interviews, come across excited and ready to learn. Don't act cocky or like you already know everything. This is a selfish attitude, which might make you "feel good" but it makes everyone else shut done and not want to help you.

Likable people give loud and clear signals of their willingness to be sociable; they reveal that their public communication channels are open. Embedded in these signals is evidence of self-confidence, sincerity and trust. Likable people expose a warm, easygoing public face with an outgoing radiance that states, "I am ready to connect. I am open for business." They are welcoming and friendly, and they get other people's attention. Be prepared and you will be confident. Confidence is found in preparedness.

Why 90 Seconds?

"Time is precious."
"Time costs money."
"Don't waste my time."

We budget our time, make it stand still, slow it down or speed it up, lose sense of it and distort it; we even buy time-saving devices. Yet time is one of the few things we can't save -- it is forever unfolding.

Instinctively, we assess, undress and best-guess each other. And if we can't present ourselves fast and favorably, we run the risk of being politely, or impolitely, passed over. This is why it is so critical to have a professional resume and to be prepared to make the best first impression possible.

The second reason for establishing likability in 90 seconds or less has to do with the human attention span. Believe it or not, the attention span of the average person is about 30 seconds! The attention span on Wall Street is even less! People have a lot to do, are tired from working 90+ hours per week, and frankly do not necessarily care if they like you or if you get a job with them. It's not their problem, it's yours! This is why you need to succeed in the first 90 seconds.

You have 90 seconds to make a strong impression in the interview. Look good and be prepared to impress people with your resume and background by having a well thought out and practiced initial story.

Face-to-Face Communication

It's not enough to command the other person's attention. You must also be able to hold on to it long enough to deliver your message or intention. You will capture attention with your likability, but you will HOLD ON TO IT with the quality of rapport you establish:
  1. Your presence (ie. What you look like and how you move)

  2. Your attitude (ie. What you say, how you say it and how interesting you are)

  3. How you make people feel

First Impressions

There are three basic parts to connecting with other people:
  1. Meeting

  2. Establishing Rapport

  3. Communicating

These three parts happen quickly and tend to overlap and blend into each other.

1. The Meeting

    If you make the right first impression during the first three or four seconds of a new meeting, you create an awareness that you are sincere, safe, and trustworthy and the opportunity to go further and create rapport will present itself.

    The Greeting

    The following 5 parts constitute a greeting. Do this every time you meet someone, whether for an informational interview, cocktail party, actual interview, etc... The first thing you should do are the following 5 things. Memorize this and see success!!

    Open - Eye - Beam - Hi! - Lean (Memorize this and use it!!)

    Open. The first part of the greeting is to open your attitude and your body. For this to work successfully, you must have already decided on a positive attitude that's right for you. This is the time to really feel and be aware of it. Check to see if that your body language is open. If you have the right attitude, this should take care of itself.

    Key: Keep your heart aimed directly at the person you are meeting. Do not cover your heart with your hands or arms and, when possible, unbutton your jacket or coat.

    Eye. The second part of the greeting involves your eyes. Be first with eye contact. Look this new person directly in the eye. Let your eyes reflect your positive attitude. To state the obvious: eye contact is real contact!

    Tip: Get used to really looking at other people's eyes. When you are watching TV one evening, note the eye color of as many people as possible and say the name of the eye color to yourself. The next day, do the same with every person you meet, looking him or her straight in the eye.

    *This is a creepy picture!

    Beam. This part is closely related to eye contact. Beam! Be the first to smile. Let your smile reflect your attitude.

    Now you've gained the other person's attention through your open body language, your eye contact and your beaming smile. What that person is picking up subconsciously is an impression not of some grinning, gawking fool (though you may briefly fear you look like one!) but of someone who is completely sincere.

    Hi! Whether it's "Hi!" or "Hello!" or even "Yo!" say it with pleasing tonality and attach your own name to it ("Hi! I'm Dave"). As with the smile and the eye contact, be the first to identify yourself. It is at this point, and within only a few seconds, that you are in a position to gather tons of free information about the person you are meeting - information you can put to good use later in your conversation.

    Take the lead. Extend your hand to the other person, and if it's convenient find a way to say his or her name two or three times to help fix it in memory. Not "Steve, Steve, Steve, nice to meet you" but "Steve. Great to meet you, Steve!"

    Lean. The final part of introducing yourself is the "lean." This action can be an almost imperceptible forward tilt to very subtly indicate your interest and openness as you begin to "synchronize" the person you've just met.

    Tip: When you fist meet a person lean in towards them. Don't crowd them and get uncomfortably close, but don't shy away either. When you interview, sit on the edge of your seat and lean forward. This position is very engaging and interesting. It's a small action that makes a big difference.

2. Establishing Rapport

    As you meet and greet new people, your ability to establish rapport will depend on four things: your attitude, your ability to "synchronize" certain aspects of behavior like body language and voice tone, your conversation skills and your ability to discover which sense (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic) the other person relies on most.


      Body Language - Body language accounts for 55% of our communication. If you get nothing else out of this book but the ability to synchronize other people's body language, you'll be miles ahead of where you were last month.

      1. Particular gestures. Hand and arm movements are especially easy and natural to synchronize by matching and mirroring. Some folks raise their shoulders when they talk; others wave their hands around as they express themselves. Do whatever they do. If you find it uncomfortable at first, then go at it a little at a time until with practice you become an expert synchronizer.

      2. Body posture. Overall posture is known as the attitude of the body. It shows how people present themselves and is a good indicator of emotional state. That is why we sometimes refer to it as "adopting a posture." When you can accurately adopt a person's posture, you can get a fair idea of how he or she feels.

      3. Overall body movements. Whether it's a job interview or striking up a conversation at the museum fund-raiser, observe the person's overall body movements, then gently mirror or match them. If he has a leg crossed, then cross a leg.; if he's leaning against the grand piano, do it too. If she's sitting sideways on the banquette, sit side ways; if she's standing with her hands on her hips, do the same. Body movements like leaning, walking, and turning are easily synchronized

      4. Head tilts and nods. These are the simplest movements to synchronize. Fashion photographers know that most of the "feel" of a terrific cover shot comes from the "innuendo" created by subtle tilts and nods of the head. Most good physicians and therapists find that they synchronize tilts and nods without giving it a second thought. It says "I hear you, I see what you're saying and I feel for you."

      5. Facial expressions. Along with tilts and nods, synchronized facial expressions show agreement and understanding. They come naturally. When he smiles at you, your natural inclination is to smile back. When she shows wide-eyed surprise, give it back to her. Look around at the next luncheon or dinner you attend, and notice how those with the deepest rapport are doing it all the time.

      6. Breathing. Pay attention to breathing. Is it fast or slow? Is it high in the chest, low in the chest or from the abdomen? You can usually tell how people are breathing by watching their shoulders or the folds in their clothing. Synchronizing their breathing can be soothing and comforting to them.

      7. Rhythms. The same rule applies for anything rhythmic. If she taps her foot, tap your pencil; if he nods his head, pat your thigh. In the right circumstances and with judicious application, this works well as long as it is beyond conscious awareness.

      Voice - Voice accounts for 38% of face-to-face communication. It reflects how a person is feeling; in other words, his or her attitude. People who are confused will sound confused, and people with a curious attitude will sound curious. You can learn to synchronize these sounds.

      1. Tone. Notice the emotions conveyed by the tone of voice. Tune in to these emotions, get a feel for them and use the same tone.

      2. Volume. Does the other person speak in a quiet voice or in a loud voice? The value of synchronizing volume is not so much in doing it, but more in what can happen if you don't do it. If you are naturally loud and excitable and you meet someone who is more soft-spoken and reserved, it goes without saying that the other person would feel much more at ease with someone who spoke in the same tender tones. Conversely, a jovial, back-slapping loudmouth would surely find lots of common ground with someone who radiated a comparable degree of exuberance.

      3. Speed. Does the other person speak quickly or slowly? A thoughtful, slow-speaking individual can be completely unsettled or flummoxed by a speed talker, just as much as a slow, ponderous talker can drive a quick thinker to the point of distraction.

      4. Pitch. Does the voice go up and down? Voice pitch is one way to change someone's energy level. When you raise pitch and volume, you become more excited. When you lower them, you become calmer, right down to the intimacy of a whisper.

      5. Rhythm. Is the voice flowing or disjointed? Some people have a melodic way of speaking, while others have a more pragmatic, methodical output.

3. Communicating

    Richard Bandler and John Grinder created an effective definition: "The meaning of communication lies in the response it gets."

    This is simple, and brilliant, because it means that it's 100% up to you whether or not your own communication succeeds. After all, you are the one with a message to deliver or a goal to achieve (Receive a job offer), and you are the one with the responsibility to make it happen.

    The formula for effective communication has three distinct parts:

    Know what you want. Formulate your intention in the affirmative and preferably present tense. For example, "I want to be a 2008 full-time investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs." Fill your imagination with what that job will look, sound, feel, smell, and taste like with you in it and you will know when you have it. This is a much different statement then "I want to do investing" or "I don't want to be a trader."

    Find out what you are getting. Get feedback. Have people check your resume and practice interviewing with friends and professionals. Then have people what you are doing well and what you can improve on.

    Change what you do until you get what you want. Design a plan and follow through with it: "I will go to NYC 3 different times and meet with anyone and everyone I can." Do it and get more feedback from each person you meet with. Redesign if necessary, and do it again with more feedback. Repeat the cycle - redesign - get feedback - until you get what you want: A full-time analyst position or a summer internship with JPMorgan in 2008.

This is just a snippet of the book, with some adaptations made by me on how to specifically apply these principles when interviewing for a position in investment banking. I strongly recommend you buy this book or check it out from your local library, especially if you found this blog post interesting. There is much more great information on how to build rapport, communicate effectively and "synchronize" with people in the book.

Purchase this book on

Friday, March 21, 2008

JPMorgan's Acquisition of Bear Stearns

MBAs bearish on Bear Job Offers

As many of you know, I was planning on working for Bear Stearns in their investment banking division this coming year. That plan may or may not work out as you very well know. The story posted above, which is found on, provides a very accurate account of the situation I and those of us with Bear offers are in.

We essentially do not know yet what will happen to Bear Stearns and it's employees until the deal is final. I will keep everyone up to date on the current situation as I receive more information, which could be as early as next week. As for now, I am back to searching for a new job. I will be using this blog as the center for my job search and interview prep and hope the rest of you are finding it useful for your use as well.



Wednesday, March 12, 2008

NYLDSPA: Pathways to New York

*This is last years (2007) agenda

New York LDS Professional Association

I encourage those that are interested in getting a job in NYC to attend this event. I attended the previous two and found they were very helpful! Remember, it's all about networking and this is a great opportunity to build a great network!

This comes from the NYLDSPA site, listed above:

"We were pleased to announce the dates for our third annual "Pathways to New York" event on August 13-15, 2008. This event is designed to prepare college juniors and seniors for the upcoming recruiting cycle this fall semester. The event involves three days of company visits, networking, educational seminars, and a taste of NYC. If you are currently a student, please contact your internship department for details."

Last year some of the companies visited include: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, UBS, Merrill Lynch, CIBC World Markets, Credit Suisse, and many more! Come and network with your peers and those already working on Wall Street!

If they keep prices the same as last year the price is $50 for BYU Management Society Members and $75 for the general public. Please continue to check my blog and their website regularly as more information becomes available.


  1. Book your flights and hotels (if needed) to save you a lot of money
    • Also consider taking a red eye on JetBlue if you are strapped for cash
    • Remember that you should be taking a second trip out to NYC just following this event, the first week in September

  2. Do your research on the banks and what banking is all about before the trip

  3. Make a list of 10 quality questions to ask during presentations
    • This is a great chance to ask questions about the culture of the bank and to find out why they chose to do banking!

  4. Use my Bank and Market Templates to keep track of each bank and what is going on in the market
    • Know what each bank's stock is trading at
    • Know why you want to work at each bank and look for additional reasons in each presentation

  5. Dress appropriately: Formal at all times! (ie. Suits)
    • Get a haircut the week before you go out to NYC
    • Polish your shoes
    • Don't wear cologne - what you thinks smells good stinks to others, so play it safe
    • Don't wear cuff links or a banker shirt - You can when you are a banker, but you're not yet

  6. Use good social ediquette
    • Don't hog the speakers time after the presentation! Everyone is there to meet and talk with them. They know that, and you know that! Introduce yourself, ask for a business card, and send a follow-up email

  7. Remember the 7 P's: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

  8. Remember that you should have a second trip planned to NYC the first week of September
    • This is a great way to make a few more contacts and people will be much more likely to help you if you are coming out again in two weeks. The difference with the next time you see them is that you will be the focus of their attention and you will not have to compete with 50 other eager beavers!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Investment Banking Explained: Part II

Here is some more interesting information, which presents investment banking via a PowerPoint presentation by Lehman Brothers and a short video by Hamilton Lane of Wall St. Training. Also, be sure to check out my earlier blog post Investment Banking Explained.

This is a great PowerPoint presentation put together by Lehman Brothers. It is an introduction to investment banking. Definitely check this out!

Now take a look at this video from Wall St. Training. In it Hamilton Lane, founder of Wall Street Training, explains the basics of investment banking.

There will be more information to come on this topic in the future....

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Recruiting Schedule for Associates, Analysts, Full-Time, Summer, & Non-core Students

Summer Internships

Target vs. Non-Target Recruiting

I am want all of the non-target students to take note of the target school schedule and then always be a week or two early in going out to New York City and emailing the recruiters. To help you in this process I have created a Google Calendar open to the public which you can access to get an idea of what you need to be doing and when. You don't have the luxury of waiting until the middle of the month or period to start because by that time they are already interviewing and meeting with students at their core schools. You have to be a step ahead and on the ball as far as being just ahead of the game.

Note: You do not want to be too far ahead of the recruiting schedule because the recruiters won't be ready for you and it will not matter. The key is to be ahead of the schedule by one week or so. You have to do everything the first two weeks of the recruiting schedule, otherwise, in my opinion, your chances greatly decrease.

This schedule comes from Mariam Naficy's book The Fast Track: The Insider's Guide to Winning Jobs in Management Consulting, Investment Banking, & Securities Trading.

On-Campus Recruiting Schedule for Target Schools


2nd-year MBAs Associates

1st-year MBAs Summer Associates

Undergrad Seniors Analysts

Other Undergraduates Summer Analysts

Info SessionSept.-Oct.Jan.Oct.-Nov.Oct.-Nov.
Resume ScreenOct.Jan.-Feb.Nov.-Jan.Feb.-Mar.
1st InterviewNov.-Dec.Jan.-Feb.Dec.-Feb.Mar.-Apr.
2nd InterviewNov.-Jan.Feb.-Mar.Jan.-Mar.Mar.-May
Selling ProcessDec.-MayMar.-MayJan.-Maynot applicable

Full-time Analyst

*According to Merrill Lynch's website

Senior Year

Early September - Late October
Merrill Lynch schedules visits to campus: company presentations, smaller targeted events (i.e. clubs, student affiliations), school career fairs, conferences, and office hours. (Number of visits and type of event will vary according to school.)

You should confirm the resume submission deadline for your program with your school's Career Services Center.

While Merrill Lynch does not have a formalized informational interview process (i.e. Merrill Lynch does not set these up for you, nor require a minimum number of informationals as part of the selection process) Merrill does strongly encourage you to network as much as possible in order for Merrill Lynch professionals to learn about you well before you get to the interview.

Late September - October
Some additional target events may be scheduled (i.e. invitation only dinners, receptions, etc.) in order for Merrill Lynch to get to know you as a candidate better.

Closed lists are determined. Interviews are scheduled.

For full-time analysts: The first and second rounds of interviews for full-time positions typically take place on campus. Selected students are then invited to a Merrill Lynch office for their final round of interviews, which are focused on the product or industry group the student is interested in.

October - Early November
All full-time offers are extended. Check with your Career Services Center as to your decision deadline.

Summer Analyst

Junior Year

Ideally, Merrill Lynch strives to hire as many Merrill summer analysts as possible into the full-time analyst program. As a result the summer recruitment process is extremely important.

Early September - Late October
Merrill Lynch schedules visits to campus: company presentations, smaller targeted events and receptions, school career fairs, conferences, and office hours. Events are intended for full-time candidates; however most are open to all school years.

Late November - January
Merrill Lynch schedules visits to campus: company presentations and events intended for summer program candidates only.

You should confirm the resume submission deadline for your program with your school's Career Services Center.

Closed lists are determined. Interviews are scheduled.

January - February
Both the first and second round of interviews for summer internships typically take place on campus during January and February. The second round interview is the final round. These take place on campus.

All summer offers are extended. Check with your Career Services Center as to your decision deadline.

Off-Campus Recruiting Schedule

Non-core students, as I mentioned at the top of this blog post, refer to the "target" school recruiting schedule and be a week ahead of everything they do. I have made this Google Calendar specifically for you so you can know exactly what you are to be doing and when to do it. I have also tried to include specific and helpful advice for each scheduled item. In order to see this information, click on the event and refer to the detailed summary.

Note: This calendar is in no means meant to be precisely accurate concerning when you are to do "things", but rather is based off of information I have gathered via books, resources, etc... and my personal experience. Obviously the best plan of attack is to be in touch personally, with each recruiter from the different banks. This is why it is so important to network with alumnus, friends, neighbors, relatives, etc... so you can get people on the inside to recommend you to the recruiter so you can know the exact dates and times to be in NYC so you get interviews. So, the one line take away is to NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK!!!

2nd Note: From my understanding, when you click on the Google Calendar button above, this will add my Google Calendar "Investment Banking Recruiting" to your Google Calendar. This should be helpful to you throughout the year.

Finally, please post comments regarding your own personal "non-core" student experiences relating to specific dates and times of when things happened for you, based off of your own personal experiences. Or post a comment if you disagree and would like to make a correction or an addition to the Calendar.

Monday, March 3, 2008

How To Use This Blog

As you prepare for your investment banking interviews, whether now or in the fall, you will quickly realize that there is a lot you need to do to be prepared. You need to know all about investment banking, ie. What does a investment banker do? What is their lifestyle like? What type of transactions and products are there? etc...

You also must know the basic information about each bank you are interviewing with ie. Who is the CEO? What did their stock close at yesterday? What is a recent deal they have worked on? The history of the bank? etc... When you are interviewing with ten different banks, this adds up!

In addition, your resume and cover letters, typically one cover letter for each bank, has to be exceptional and formatted with 100% accuracy and contain no mistakes. You also have to be actively following the market. What was on the cover of the Wall Street Journal today? What did the DJIA, NASDAQ, S&P 500, Gold, Oil, company stock price, all close at yesterday? What is the Fed Funds rate at? 10 year treasury?

On top of all that you also have to practice and prepare for all of the interview questions you could get. You don't want your first time answering these questions to be in the interview. As a good interviewer you should practice dropping hints so the interviewers will ask you the questions you want. To do this you have to know and understand what objectives or points they want to find out about you. These objectives include are you quantitative, analytical, team player, hard worker, understand valuation, understand banking, etc... For example, they all are going to want to know if you can walk through a DCF. (refer to my blog post First Things First: The Big 5) First, make sure you know how to do this and practice walking your friends through it multiple times. Then in your interviews, drop a hint by mentioning DCF somehow. You can do this a million different ways, ie. mention your exposure to it in class or through a prior job and internship.

You also have to practice telling your initial story, making it sharp and crisp, etc.... Make sure you practice saying all of it aloud, from beginning to end, by telling it to other people and then get them to give you feedback. The reason you want to practice saying it out loud is because you will struggle at times to decide how you want to say something. You need to choose the words and the way you are going to say it. How are you going to transition between jobs and sections of your resume? When you just say it in your head, your brain skips over these issues and they don't come up until you actually say it aloud. You definitely do not want to have these issues in your interviews.

One of the reasons I put this blog together is because as I went through this same process and know the hard work it takes to be prepared. I collected a lot of information and resources and want to pass it all on to you! My goal is to help make your life a little easier as you go through this process. This blog is meant to act like a "Dashboard" for all your investment banking preparation needs! So how should you use this blog to prepare for your interviews?

  1. "First Things First: The Big 5"

  2. Use this post from the blog as your starting point. Memorize your resume so you can walk someone through it and know your story!!! That means you need to understand, in your own mind, why you want to do investment banking. How have your prior experiences helped you to prepare and led you specifically to do investment banking? Connect the dots (each of your prior experiences), for the people you interview with and show how these experiences have prepared you to be an investment banker starting next year with XYZ bank.

  3. Google Alerts

  4. Use the advantages of Google to stay on top of the banks you are interviewing with by having Google send you updates everyday. How do I do this you ask? Go to Google News and look on the left hand side of the page for the link that says "News Alerts". Click on this link and it will take you to a new page that will ask you to enter specific search criteria. Enter the name of the bank you want updates on, select if you want web, news, blog, etc... search results, how often you want them emailed to you, and specify the email address you want the updates to be sent to. Now you will get updates everyday on the bank and what articles are being written about them. This will make your job of staying up-to-date on each bank 10x easier!

  5. Bank Profiles

  6. I have put together these bank profiles to help you gain a better understanding of each bank and make it extremely easy to keep on top of all the information you need to know. In my opinion, the must read out of all of this information in the bank's annual report. This will help you gain the best understanding of the bank. There is so much great information in here to speak to in your interview. It is also a great place to get specific questions to ask each bank. Also, use the Yahoo! Finance link to follow the stock price. Use the other sections to answer Why our bank? and to assist you in coming up with bank culture questions.

    I have also created a Bank Profile Template, which you can print out. This way you can fill it out and take it with you to your interviews or wherever.

  7. Banking Resources

  8. These are a collection of links and resources I have found over the past year and a half. In my opinion they are all extremely helpful in preparing for investment banking. I also have links to different companies who can teach you valuation: Wall Street Prep, Wall Street Training, Training the Street, and Investment Banking Institute. There are also links to summer programs: Tuck Business Bridge Program, Swiss Finance Academy, and University of Dreams. Using one of these services might be a good approach to take if you are coming from a non-core school. I have not used any of them but I have a friend who did get an I-banking summer internship from University of Dreams. He strongly recommends the program. Most importantly, I just want to make people aware of other avenues and opportunities that are available.

In closing, remember the 7 P's: