Investment Banking Networking Guide
Your strategy should reflect the amount of time you have left. Refer to the recruitment timeline image above and focus on the immediate future (within a year) when setting goals. Generally, you should follow this schedule:
- Make a list of contacts and start contacting people
- Get referrals and focus your efforts on the most helpful contacts
- Set up informational interviews
- Set up a couple weekend trips
- Follow up with everyone you connected with
- Rinse and repeat until applications are due
Quantity and quality are important when formulating a networking strategy. Here are my tips so that you can maintain both efficiently.
- Quantity - Keep a list of contacts in Excel. As you can see from the worksheets, list prospective contacts and people who you have already contacted. Add another tab if you’d like to separate even further by categories where you met the people. The number one mistake you could make is not reaching out to everyone. Look at the researching banks post for more guidance.
- Quality - You’ll be sending a lot of emails. Check out my templates and process for build a relationship (cold and warm) with your contacts. The goal is to build a relationship not simply contact a bunch of bankers.
Finally, utilize the right tools to achieve your goals. Email has been around ever since the dawn of the Internet, yet it hasn’t evolved very much. Here are some ideas to help increase your organization and productivity:
- Instead of using Excel as your relationship database, I would recommend using a CRM (customer relationship management) system. In hindsight (20/20), the situations you are in, are very similar to something an enterprise software sales rep deals with. There are several free CRMs available. Personally, I like Insightly, however you do need Google Apps for the software. Base CRM is a decent alternative.
- Keeping with the same trend, I would suggest tracking your emails. Yes-ware is a free Chrome extension that allows you to see who has opened your emails.
- Finally, the number one mistake you could make is not contacting everyone available. Utilize social networks, career databases, and friends to the fullest. Refer to the Excel file above for some more ideas.
Interview preparation is quite standardized since there are guidelines and an established process. In my posts, I have attempted to do the same for networking. However, your interactions will never be the same, since each relationship is unique. Remember, interview preparation is a science and networking is an art, but both can be improved through practice.