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Networking Tips in Investment Banking

Updated on May 22, 2012


This is from research that I have done over the past two years. A lot of the information here is stuff that I have learned through trial and error. I feel that this is a great guide for how to go about networking to take your investment banking career by the horns.

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How many times have we heard that networking is the key to getting a job and really getting your career to where you want it to be. Having some really good friends in the industry can really do wonders for your investment banking career and I am speaking from my own experiences. It was actually a friend of mine from college who recommended me to his boss at the investment firm he works in.

This was how I got my break in investment banking! I will never forget this friend and if you have ever helped me in life, I would always return the favor twofold. So I am now going to give you what I do when I network and I still network all the time. Here it goes.

Having a ‘Story’

The key here is to really try not to put people to sleep and come up with a winning story that is fairly short and doesn’t make people lose attention.

The basic recipe for this is to tell them who you are and what you have done before and what exactly your looking for right now. An example would be ‘I am a student at such and such a university, I have done wealth management internships before at large banks and am now looking to get into investment banking'.

Or your story could be that you’re an MBA student and you have worked in healthcare and looking to move into healthcare investment banking.

A list in an Excel Sheet

The first thing that every aspiring investment banker needs is an Excel sheet with a “list” of people in the industry that can potentially help you out. This is how I go about it and I learned it from an enterprising college buddy of mine when we were at the Carlson School of Management a few years ago. He now works at UBS and it was this Excel sheet that he had with all the contact information and how and when he last contacted them that was very impressive.

This is really the first step and I think the important thing is to get started. This is not rocket science and there is no need to strive for perfection. The way I go about finding and contacting investment banker is primarily through LinkedIn. I think it is great to get the details of who they are, etc. But when it comes to actually contacting them, e-mail is really the best method. Don’t hesitate to try to send them a message through LinkedIn too if that is possible.

After getting the contact details, assess who will be most likely to help you and start developing relationships with them.

Here is how to keep in touch with people at Bulge Bracket banks.

Bulge Bracket
Name
Contact Information
Contact History
Bank of America
XXX
xxx@bankofamerica.com
Last met for coffee
Barclays
XXX
xxx@barclays.com
Talked about financial modelling
Citi
XXX
xxx@citi.com
Was able to learn more about recruiting
Credit Suisse
XXX
xxx@creditsuisse.com
Emailed two months ago
Deutsche Bank
XXX
xxx@deutschebank.com
Emailed two weeks ago
Goldman Sachs
XXX
xxx@goldmansachs.com
Had a phone convesation three weeks ago
JP Morgan
XXX
xxx@jpmorgan.com
Talked about mba programs and good fit
Morgan Stanley
XXX
xxx@morganstanley.com
Briefly chatted about common interests
UBS
XXX
xxx@ubs.com
Emailed a month ago


Now here is a list of Boutique and Middle Market Firms. Notice have I have just changed the first column and the third. That is whole point.. don't get caught up in the details.

Boutique/Middle-Market firms
Name
Contact Information
Contact History
Cowen
XXX
xxx@cowen.com
Last met for coffee
Evercore
XXX
xxx@evercore.com
Talked about financial modelling
FBR
XXX
xxx@fbr.com
Was able to learn more about recruiting
Gleacher
XXX
xxx@gleacher.com
Emailed two months ago
Greenhill
XXX
xxx@greenhill.com
Emailed two weeks ago
Jefferies
XXX
xxx@jefferies.com
Had a phone convesation three weeks ago
JMP
XXX
xxx@jmp.com
Talked about mba programs and good fit
KBW
XXX
xxx@kbw.com
Briefly chatted about common interests
Lazard
XXX
xxx@lazard.com
Emailed a month ago


Informational Interviews/Cold Calls

Informational Interviews is obviously with alumni and other people in the industry that you have met through information sessions, etc. On the other hand, cold calls can be picking up the phone and calling people and making requests for what you want.

Relationship development is important too. It is all about making a good impression on those people that are likely to help you in your efforts to land a high-paying job in investment banking, private equity or hedge funds. Wow them with your knowledge and passion for the industry.

Be creative and have fun and remember that there are plenty of ways to get lists of people even outside of the methods mentioned here. You could talk to professors, co-workers and former co-workers also.

A lot of the times it is hard to get the names and contact information of some of these people and you need other resources that are often restricted like Capital IQ to get the job done.

One thing to remember is to contact the senior people at a bank first because they will be more likely to help you out. But this doesn’t have to always be the case as knowing a lot of the junior people can help you meet with a senior person too.

It is important to do some research on the person that you are about to contact and maybe spend 10-15 minutes doing that. Then you can ask questions about a person’s background and see any common interests that may come up.

The point is to make them remember you over everyone else that contacts them by focusing on anything that they are passionate about or if they have done anything interesting or unconventional.

Another question that comes up a lot is how do you get to meet these investment bankers in real life. I would say go where bankers come together such as restaurants, bars, gyms and clubs. Just look to make friends!

Follow-Up

This is really an important part of the whole process. I feel there should always be a reason to follow-up and one of the things that most people would do is try and get referrals to other people they know in the industry or to get advise on a specific situation or to make the “ask” directly. More on this later.

I think the best way is to try to do it every 2-3 months so that they at least remember who you are. Network with the VP level to get a job and the analyst/associate level to get information. The more you talk to people and keep following up, the more that you will learn and the better relationships that you will have.

Make your “Ask”

Remember one thing, there are so many investment firms and people to talk to that rejection doesn’t mean anything at all. Look to try and keep following up every week or so when you’re making your ask, but if they don’t respond put them to a lower priority in your list.

The phrase to remember is ‘I want to find out how I can best position myself for a job or internship with your firm’. You really don’t have to keep in touch with investment bankers for years or many months before making your ‘ask’.

There are always going to be firms and people who want to get hold of talent. So never feel like you’re asking for too much. It is always great to have a long-standing relationship with a person, but a very strong first impression can take you a long way.

Investment banks like those that have similar interests with the bankers and who can get along with them. When you’re working with people over a long period of time, you need to have people that you generally like and cool to hang around with.


Practice

This is probably the most important step and try to keep practicing these steps. Figure out how you can use these steps in your own situation.

So these are the steps again, have a good story, make that Excel list, do those informational interviews and cold calls, follow-up and finally make your ‘ask’.

If you follow these steps and practice enough times, I am sure you will be on your way to landing interviews and jobs in investment banking. I think there is something to be said about passion and loving what you are doing to. It is the thing called intrinsic motivation that enables you to withstand all the challenges that will inevitably come your way and it is the test I feel in anything substantial that a person wishes to achieve. There is of course extrinsic motivation too and I guess that is the main reason why a lot of people get into investment banking in the first place.

The important thing is to practice and have a positive attitude. Here is to you succeeding in the networking game and winning interviews and friends in the investment banking industry that will take your career to unprecedented heights!

Comments

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    • profile image

      Heather 

      5 years ago

      Yup! Very good action steps to follow indeed!

    • SamanthaBurke profile image

      Samantha Burke 

      5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      This is a great to-do list. I love the Excel Sheet part! I feel much better after reading your Hubs because I almost felt I hadn't gotten anywhere with my investment banking career.

      I am more on the tech side so this was what attracted me to your profile in the first place.

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