Thinking of PE when you've only been on the desk for 2 months...

Most first-year investment banking analysts are getting settled into their desk after their summer training, and they are already starting to feel the pressure to start planning their next move – usually to Private Equity. Let's talk about what the recruiting cycle looks like for Private Equity for a first-year investment banking analyst.

5 Important Keys to Becoming an Investment Banker - Undergrad

1. Know "why investment banking?"

inside and out. This shouldn't just be something you plan on reciting during interviews, it should be a conviction.

2. Build your story

you need to be able to show that you truly have an interest in ibanking. This means joining the right clubs and societies, showing leadership, and taking on relevant internships. (having coursework outside of finance and other business related majors is OK, as long as you can explain "why you want to do investment banking" and how this major fits into the puzzle.)

3. GPA!

this could quite possibly be the most important as without a strong GPA your resume will literally be thrown out in seconds. Especially if you are just starting university, you need to always know what your end goal is and how important grades are.

4. Do your research!

understand the recruiting process. If your university is not a target school, then you will need to network much harder. You will also need to know exactly what to expect for interviews. … IbankinFAQ is a good place to start for interview prep.

5. Network! Network! Network

pretty self explanatory! Reach out to bankers, learn about the industry, and get your name out there! Read our guide on networking

*Paying for courses in Investment Banking or paying for other training courses won't actually get you in the door. Your school matter more than anything! Next is any and all relevant work experience and grades. Training courses are things you might list at the very bottom of a resume with extracurriculars in less than a line (shows how important they are).

What questions should I ask my interviewer?

Why did you choose this group/bank when you were going through the recruitment process?

How much pitching vs execution work does this group do?

When on live deals what type of role does the group take, ex. do you only take book running roles, as leads or do you take passive and co-managing roles as well?

What is the mix of deal types (M&A vs Equity vs Debt)?

Do you do the modeling in house or is it farmed out to the product groups?

The above questions show the banker interveiwing you that you understand what it's like to be on the job and the burning desires of first year analysts. Many analysts complain about being at banks where all they do is pitch work and never get to work on deals, or that they don't get enough experience doing financial modeling. When looking for Private Equity jobs after banking two of the big things that PE shops are looking for is your deal experience and modeling expertise. 

How Do Bankers Put up with the Boring EXCEL Hours?

Question Originally answered on Quora:


“Excel” and “boring” should NEVER be used in the same sentence!

This means you have never had the high of banging out a model or building a very simple yet elegant formula to derive some complex piece of information from a massive data set. I feel sorry for you my friend.

In terms of day-to-day banking…Banking isn't boring. Having multiple competing deadlines and senior bankers breathing down your neck, while you stress over whether you'll be able to make it to dinner with your girlfriend (who you haven't seen in weeks), and knowing that you’ve got an ulcer bleeding out your intestines*, is anything, but “boring”.

Having an interest in what sector you are covering, camaraderie with your co-workers in the bullpen, making over 100k straight out of university and an idea of where you want to be in the next couple years, all make the 80+ hrs lifestyle manageable…especially considering bankers are driven, and hardworking by nature and also know exactly what they are getting into when they sign-up.

*ulcers are not a regular part of the job

If you have any burning questions you want answered please sign-up to recieve new posts and reply to any of our emails with your query.

The Perfect Networking Email for IB Interns

Its always difficult to know what to write when emailing someone for the first time. Its especially difficult when you are looking for a job.

After extensive trial and error the Valuation University team has compiled the perfect Networking Email for interns looking for work elsewhere

Subject Line

XYZ University Student interning at ABC Bank IBD

  • Start with what University you go to if you are emailing an alumni
  • Start with the bank if it is not alumni
  • In some circumstances include what group you are in if it makes sense

ex subject line. Emory student interning with Goldman IB, FIG Coverage

This would be a great subject line if you are emailing a fellow alumnus from Emory who is in IB and FIG coverage at another bank


Hello Banker X,

I am a rising senior at Emory and I am currently interning in the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs, in their Financial Institutions Group. I have been having a great summer and am enjoying my time in Investment Banking. 

However, I would like to learn more about banking at an M&A focused shop. Specifically, I would love to learn about Evercore and your accelerated recruiting process.

I’d love to get on the phone with you, or meet for coffee to talk a little about banking and get some advice, and I have also attached my resume for your reference. I know you are busy, so please feel free to get back to me at your convenience.


Your name here

Additional Notes

  • Attach your resume - this allows the person on the other end an immediate chance to see whether they would like to continue the discuss or not. Since, your are networking for accelerated recruiting, there is no reason to be coy about what you are looking for

  • Be specific about common traits - if you have any commonalities such as both having been student athletes, make sure to note them

Accelerated Recruiting - the Investment Banking Internship

Accelerated Recruiting is how investment banks hire full-time candidates very quickly after internships and without conducting formal on-campus recruitment. As the name suggest it is considered an "accelerated" process prior to the standard fall on-campus recruitment and is invite-only.

As investment banks strive to fill more and more seats from just their intern classes and remove the need for full-time recruitment, accelerated recruitment is becoming the only way to break into banking or lateral after the junior year internship. The days of on-campus interviews for full-time roles are disappearing at bulge brackets and elite boutiques.

How to Network internally - the Investment Banking Internship

Most interns come into their Investment Banking Internships with the advice to network and get to know others in the bank, and build their professional network. Many times interns may also get placed in groups that they aren't interested in.

Networking is important for both building your professional network and to find your place where you want to be.

The full-proof answer to "Why Investment Banking?"

Every single Investment Banking interview is going to ask the question - "Why Investment Banking?" and more specifically "Why this bank? / group?".

Let's be honest no one is ever going to say prestige, money, career aspirations, and you will never get the job if you say these things. Although they are definitely a huge part of the selling point of banking.

Most prospectives answer with some sort of bullshit along the following: