Investment Banking Recruitment Process
All the preparation and networking comes down to this- investment banking recruitment. There are generally four stages to the investment banking recruitment process. Below is the typical breakdown along with tips for getting through and winning offers.
1) 500 to 1000 resume applicants
- Generally an analyst will be assigned to page through hundreds of resumes at 2am. Having someone preference your resume is crucial to being selected since everyone’s resume looks pretty similar at this point.
- Your school and GPA is relevant at this stage and never again if you pass.
2) 30 to 50 first-round slots
- Students tend to under prepare for the portion.
- Conducted on the phone or on campus.
- Prove that you can work very hard on little sleep, learn quickly, play well in teams, and are hungry for experience. Don’t be the candidate just “testing the water” because this is the stage where you will be cut.
3) 10 of those students advance to the Superday
- Students over prepare for this portion. Don’t stay up all night practicing LBO skills; instead focus on delivering your answers well.
- That said, if you have previous investment banking experience, expect to get significantly more obscure technical questions. Others with non-finance work experience will still get technical questions as well, but the focus mixed in with questions about your background.
- You’ll have at least four interviews (sometimes 10!)- each with a different seniority banker and focus of questions lasting 30-60 minutes. Leadership, drive, fit, and technical skills are usually themes of questions.
- Be interesting. Even during the varying intensities and types of questions. This is the most important factor to landing an offer.
- Bankers will definitely test your endurance and ability to tolerate stress during this process.
- Conducted at the bank, students airfare, hotel, food, and transportation will usually be covered by the company.
4) 2 or 3 candidates will receive an offer
- Candidates are often contacted the same day with good or bad news.
- Those offered positions will receive a formal offer package from HR with an expiration date.
Another Few Points to Note:
- If you apply, you have roughly a 0.02% chance of getting an offer. The percent is far from great, but it is because there are fairly few outstanding candidates. Practicing your interviews and networking will greatly increase your chances of winning an offer.
- Depending on the size of your bank, analyst classes can reach a couple hundred.
- Junior bankers pick resumes. MDs handout offers. While HR focuses on the logistics.
- There are rarely so many great candidates that MDs have to debate. There is an opportunity to be waitlisted.
- The clear winners are usually visible; however, it they’re not, MDs hold more clout than analysts.
- As with every system, there are costs and benefits. The investment banking process is efficient and favors the interviews who prepare, practice, and perfect their answers. On the other hand, not every banker will interview you and different people have different standards. Increase your odds by applying to as many banks as possible.
- Some spots are left open for students from “non-core” universities or late applicants from “core” schools.
- Along the way you may have networking events with the bankers. Whether this is a dinner event or drinks, make sure you attend and focus on networking.