Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Things You Must Do This Summer To Prepare For Fall Interviews

So you want to be an investment banking analyst when you graduate. You tried to to get a summer internship at an investment bank, but it didn't work out. Here is a short and dirty list of the things you need to complete this summer to be prepared for your interviews this Fall. I am focusing this list specifically towards students attending 'non-core' universities.

To Do List:
  1. Summer Work Experience: Get some type of related work experience over the summer vacation. All of the students you are competing with did, so you better as well. If you can't find something paid, then email someone (If you know them great, if not, doesn't matter) at a local company, venture fund, private equity fund, commercial bank, etc.... and explain your goals, work ethic, situation, and offer to work for free. It will most likely only be a part time position, so if you need another job you will have plenty of time do get one. If you can't find another part-time job that fits with your schedule be entrepreneurial and make your own job - mow your neighbor's lawn, wash windows, detail cars, complete their unfinished projects, be resourceful!

  2. Practice telling your initial story: How are you going to differentiate yourself from the other candidates. Make your story interesting and relevant to the job. Explain how you tried to get a summer internship, but didn't (Bankers know they are difficult to get) and how you emailed some random company, offered to work for free and got the job. Then explain your experience and how it's related to banking and how you are prepared to get the job done and live the lifestyle of an investment banking analyst in NYC. This is the most important part of the interview process and also the most difficult to get done. Find other students that are interested in banking or consulting and get together on a regular basis to practice.

  3. Know the basics: After telling your initial story, you are going to get drilled on basic finance and accounting. You have to know the basics because that is the standard set for any candidate to be considered for this job. So you might be asking yourself, 'What are the basics?'. My blog discusses in detail these questions and more in great detail throughout the site, so you will be prepared for all of your interviews. Here are the basics:

        1. Why banking??
        2. Why our bank??
        3. Different ways to value a company?
        4. Be able to walk through, in detail, all of the different valuations.
        5. Know the pros and cons of each valuation.
        6. Know the 3 main accounting statements
        7. How do they flow together?

  4. Network, network, network!! If you are coming from a non-core school, or even if you are not, you need to find people on the inside to help you get you interviews and to 'push' you through the process. When it comes down to you and some other guy/gal, you need to have people inside the company saying that they want to work with you. There are lots of ways to network; with alumni, local business leaders, different groups or organizations, friends or family, etc... Find people who know people! Everyone who gets a job in banking knows how difficult it is and are usually willing to refer you along to the recruiters or to others they know in the different banks.

  5. Refer to my Google Calendar: I have created a Google Calendar with the general dates you should prepare for (ie. When you should fly out to NYC? When you should start emailing people, etc..) These dates are in no means exact and you should always follow the advice of the people you know in the company, especially the recruiters.
Complete these tasks and you will find yourself much more prepared and well positioned to get the job. The job market, especially in finance, is very competitive and will continue to stay that way during the coming recruiting season. You need to bring your "A Game" if you are even going to have a chance at these jobs!

1 comment:

Corinne said...

Great advice. It's important for the candidates to practice, practice and practice for all types of possible questions. It helps to boost confidence.