MBA Banking Recruiting by International Student

This week, we feature an MBA candidate on the person's quest towards IB recruiting. The candidate (who chose to be anonymous) is an international student who went through both US recruiting and Europe recruiting - ultimately accepting a position with an European bulge bracket in Europe. 

1. How was the recruiting process?  

It was very structured in the MBA program, for both America positions and European ones. First, there were company presentations / events. Following the presentations, you tried to network and send thank you letters to make them remember you. Most of the times, companies would give you at least one coffee chat following the presentation - to give you a chance, regardless of how they feel about you at that point. The number of chats vary by bank though, as some banks want you to have only one while others want you to have as many as you can - if you have five, they might think that you're not as interested in the position. Following the coffee chats (during the second week of November), invite only dinners start. If you're invited, these are must-attends which further allow you to learn more about the firm and for them to build interest in you. After the dinners, this is when the applications / interviews start - starting with writing your cover letters and resumes (as opposed to consulting, cover letters matter more). You would then apply through the school website and wait for an invitation to interview. 

For international people like me - you can also recruit for European or Asia offices. There are specific treks that the school organizes where you can go to these international locations and have coffee events & meet different people from banks there. The resume / cover letter submissions are the same [for me] though.

2. How did you land the interview? What was it like?

In the US, it is entirely networking. If you are an international student, it might be a bit harder. I do think that school helps a lot in terms of its brand and resources - if it weren't for the school, I don't think I would've gotten the job.

For the American positions, you would interview with two people during the first round, followed by second round interviews and finally a super day. For Europe, it is just super day - where they make a decision at the end. 

3. How did you prepare for the interview? What resources did you use?

During the entire process, the school's investment banking club has been the most helpful thing, as we not only received careful guidance from club members but also were able to partner with Breaking into Wall Street and review all of the interview questions and mock interviews. We also received a huge amount of mock interviews with other students - which is very helpful because knowing the answers and being able to articulate them are vastly different. 

The other thing would be that I had a study team - we were not studying together but we were always together. It helped because it keeps you focused / not bored and you get to help each other and ask each other questions. 

4. What would be one advice that you would give to the person applying for your internship next year?

First of all, analyst and associate positions are different - analyst interviews are more technical and they get asked less fit questions. For associates overall, the technical part is not difficult. As long as you study long enough, you can pass it. For fit though, you should have a good story, and know your pitch as well as your name. 

For European positions, they really care about dedication. They want to see your loyalty especially if they're recruiting from a school in the U.S - which I was able to show. Most of the time, banks want to be sure that when they give you an offer, you'll accept it - and not just for the summer. 

Lessons learned:

I thought that I would get many interviews and offers, but the numbers were fewer than I expected. I would recommend for people to stay cautious, because even when a bank seems to love you, it doesn't mean that you'll get the interview. Also - once you get comfortable, you're prone to making mistakes. When someone is having a good time with you during the interview, still remember that you're in an interview and don't let your guards down. The ones where you're sure you would get an interview are the really tough ones, but you shouldn't give up. There was a point where I thought I was done, but I kept trying and was able to find more opportunities down the road.

*This article was written without any collaboration or affiliation with third-party universities / corporations.



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