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How to Network Yourself into an Investment Bank (part 1)

By on August 8, 2012

Above all else, building a cache of contacts helps your career in direct and indirect ways. Five pointers on networking:

1. Attend networking events and aim to leave with about two business cards. 

Don’t stretch yourself thin by trying to meet with everyone; it’s much more useful to have a proper conversation with two people than ten superficial conversations. The two people you connect with are more likely to remember you later on.

2. Look engaged when you’re talking to people

Maintain eye contact, don’t keep on looking away and don’t check your phone – not even once.

3. Go to local recruitment events. 

If you manage to find out the names of any speakers in advance, do some research on them so that you can ask very specific questions, based on the speaker’s own experience of the industry.

  • People tend to prefer questions that can be linked back to their own (awesome) life over technical questions that cannot be correlated with their day-to-day job or previous experiences.
  • Do enough research to enable you to ask astute personal questions, e.g. “Ms. X, I understand that you led Project B. Can you tell us a little about what it was like to work on the largest telecom deal of the century and to be featured in Forbes on the back of it?” Notice how the question contains an element of flattery. Ms. X will be thinking, I like that kid, and she’ll probably remember you if you approach her afterwards.

4. If you don’t have business cards, get some made, even if you are still in university.

I did this and found them handy in creating an impression. Let’s face it, it’s very unlikely that the investment bankers that you give your card to will actually call you. However, you will look like a real keeno if you have cards when most of your peers do not. Vistaprint produces good quality affordable cards.

5. Join any professional organizations or societies related to investment banking.

You will probably find some in your local careers magazines or on careers websites.

  • Personally, I joined Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, SEO, which helps to place people from ethnic minorities in investment banking (and other professional) internships after providing them with intensive training.
  • To be a member of SEO you have to qualify by passing their interview process which is identical to normal investment banking interviews.
  • That said, SEO provides pre-internship training, so if you’re very strong in two out of three areas you could still make the cut and you’ll receive the necessary coaching.


Source: Girl Banker