One of the great things about business school is the exposure afforded to you as an MBA student to just about anyone in any industry you are interested in. If you have kept up with my blog, you know I’m a finance guy so last year when the opportunity arose to travel up to New York to visit the banks on Wall Street to get a better insight on what exactly those guys do, I took it. Obviously, it had a positive effect on me as now I am heading down that road myself starting next summer.
With that experience behind me last year, in my second year I wanted to be able to help the first years looking to head down the road of investment banking. So, my classmate and I who are both officers in the Graduate Finance Association (each of us are titled “Vice President – Investment Banking”) decided take a multi-step approach in preparing the next class of those interested in investment banking. While the trip just ended on Wednesday, there was plenty of work that needed to be done in the lead up to the 3-day trip. The initial meeting started over a month ago with the kick off meeting and continued weekly with different requirements for both the 1st years as well as the organizers, including my classmate and I as well as the career services office. The meetings were mostly built around the goal of informing and preparing 1st years for the trip, many of which are career switchers and not quite clear of what exactly investment banking is and what types of people are drawn to the industry.
The basic idea of the actual trip is to have as many visits to as many banks in the limited amount of time we have in New York. This year the trip allowed for 9 banks in three days where each bank, with their own distinct style, presented their bank’s platform, bank culture, what they expect out of MBA hires, and/or the recruitment process. From the student perspective, they are required to come loaded with questions to help them answer the following questions for themselves: 1) Do I have the required skills to do this for the summer/ full time? 2) Do I have the desire to take on lifestyle change required to be an investment banker? 3) Am I willing to make the sacrifices necessary in the recruiting process to make an internship possible?
Looking back on the trek, I think it was a successful one in that the banks, generally speaking, did a very good job of presenting their case and for the most part McCombs represented itself very well and now it’s just time for them to go for it. While it’s an exciting time once you come to the realization that you have an idea of what you want to do with your future, it’s a lot of hard work ahead of you.
For me, coming from a different perspective, I looked back on the long recruiting process and I am not envious of what these guys and girls are about to embark on from now until January (when interviews start). It’s not an easy thing to add to an already busy first semester, adding the many number of conversations and preparations that are involved in the IB recruiting process. Information interviews, technical question prep, mock interviews, general industry research, etc. It’s basically another job on top of your classes, clubs, and of course social life. To make that trip a little easier for these guys and girls, we are planning to set up a few training sessions including interview prep/ mock interviews and other technical review sessions. We are going to do our best to make sure McCombs keeps its strong representation on Wall Street (and in Houston of course as the Energy Investment Banking Trek to Houston is next week)!