How to Network your way into Investment Banking
Investment Banking is a career where it’s easier said than done for a person. Our purpose is not to scare you, but if you do things in the right manner with all of the effort and motivation you can easily crack Investment Banking. It just depends upon how you manage the obstacles that come across your way.
Before diving into our topic, let us give you a brief overview of what Investment Banking is all about. Investment Banking deals with the services which include Mergers & Acquisitions Advisory (M&A), trading securities, Proprietary trading, restructuring of companies, issue of new IPO’s, underwriting services, Equity Research & Asset Management, etc.
People usually face a common problem while entering into Investment Banking industry – How to make our way into the industry? How to network and reach out to people for Internships and jobs? We have covered all the aspects of networking in the IB industry in this article. Read it till the end and find out how you can start your journey in the IB industry.
There are three main strategies that a person can get hold of when starting in the IB Industry.
Informational Interviews: Building connections with professionals
Cold – Calling: Directly asking for available positions in their firm over a call
Cold – Emailing: Directly asking for available positions in their firm over an e-mail
There are various steps that a person needs to take for each strategy and a good start in the Investment Banking industry. Let us understand every strategy in detail and how to go with it.
Informational Interviews are an important part of Investment Banking. Don’t confuse these with ordinary interviews, they are much more different from those regular interviews taking place. Here, you need to listen more and talk less. But the question is, how will you arrange an Informational Interview for yourself? Here are some basic steps that you can follow:
Making Connections: Make a potential contacts list and start adding people who are associated with the Investment Banking industry. These can be your LinkedIn connections, bankers, friends, seniors, juniors, people from informative sessions, and even referrals. Try reaching out to professionals either through LinkedIn or through your alumni network. It is always better to reach out to people who are working at a high level. You can refer to our article on the Typical Hierarchy of Investment Banks to have a clear overview of different positions.
Potential Contacts and making emails: Try finding out their Email ID’s from various sources available to you and then email each one of them requesting for an interview. Follow up with the concerned person 3-4 times, if they don’t reply to your initial message. Write a short story about yourself which mainly answers these three questions in the email. Who you are? What you’ve done before? What you’re looking for? This needs to be very concise and hit on target points directly.
Informational Interview: Once your Informational Interview is confirmed, do background research about the concerned person. This is done because you always need to be in questionable mode with the interviewer. Ask about the other person’s career, background, and history. Find some common and interesting points to act upon and follow up in the future. One thing to take care of is never to act too smart. These professionals have enough experience in this field and know well what they’re doing.
Mini-ask: While your Informational Interview is about to end, in the last 3-5 minutes, go for a mini-ask. Mini-ask can be anything, it can be passing along your resume, a referral, asking about the recruiting process, or any other question. This step is usually done in the last phase of an informational interview.
Follow-Up: Last but the most important part of any interview is a follow-up with the concerned person. In case of informational interviews, you don’t need to call them every week. You can just follow-up with them twice a month.
If you’re someone who is not from a top B-School, where companies usually don’t visit for placements or if you don’t have enough time to network with people and you are in the immediate need of a job, then Cold-calling is for you. This strategy is usually the last resort which is adopted by people. But, if done smoothly it can land you into a good job offer. Some of the guidelines that you can follow while using this strategy are:
Making your list: You need to make a list of your target companies or persons to whom you’re going to cold-call and then find their contacts.
Place your Calls: While contacting the concerned person, remember one thing that you don’t need to bore the other person by your talk. Keep your conversation short, crisp, and to the point. Pitch them your story in 2-3 sentences and indirectly ask them for the job or internship. Stay one step away from directly asking for it. Instead try saying this, “How could I best position myself for an internship or job with your firm?”
Follow-up: You need to continuously follow-up when you are cold-calling as it is not the same as informational interviews. Try following up every week with the concerned person.
The steps involved in cold-emailing are almost similar to cold-calling. The only difference is that you need to follow all the above-mentioned steps over a call and here, all the communication is done via email.
Thus, summing it up getting into Investment Banking is no rocket science. It just requires the right amount of skill-set, efforts, and a pinch of guidance.