by Brian DeChesare Comments (143)

Weekend Trips: The Best Way to Break Into Investment Banking?

Investment Banking Weekend Trips

And no, I’m not referring to weekend ski trips, a 3-day gambling spree in Monaco, or your feeble attempt to ask your MD for a vacation 2 months after you started.

These are the weekend trips where you travel to financial centers, meet dozens of bankers in a short period of time, and apply the 80/20 rule to networking.

They might not be as fun as hitting the slopes, but they’re one of the best ways to break into finance – if you play your cards right.

Why Weekend Trips?

In-person meetings are more effective than calls or emails – bankers are bombarded with dozens (hundreds?) of emails each day, and everything blurs together after awhile.

But they’re much more likely to remember people they’ve met in real life, especially when sifting through resumes at 3 AM.

Weekend trips are also more efficient than normal cold-calling or informational interviews, because you can meet dozens of bankers in the span of 2-3 days.

You can get office tours on the spot, and casual meetings can easily turn into real interviews – especially when recruiting season approaches.

Plus, they’re practice for real interviews because you’ll need to answer the “Walk me through your resume” question many times and answer tough questions about your background.

Finally, when I interviewed readers who broke in back when Breaking Into Wall Street was under development, every one of them had used some form of weekend trips to break in.

So if you don’t have a 4.0 GPA at Harvard and 3 internships at Goldman Sachs, weekend trips need to be part of your strategy.

What is a Weekend Trip, Exactly?

First, you plan to be in a financial center like New York, London, or Hong Kong for 2-3 days, usually on Friday-Saturday or Thursday-Saturday.

You could go for an entire week, but that is difficult to plan and you probably won’t have enough contacts to make it worthwhile.

Once you have the dates, you email bankers to set up meetings, trying to meet with at least 5 per day.

Then, you fly in and stay at a friend’s place or a hotel, meet everyone you’ve emailed, and go through the same informational interviews you know and love – only in-person this time.

At the end of each interview, you casually suggest a visit to the office or say that it would be great to meet other people there.

Follow-up afterward but keep it brief and direct – you want to schedule weekend trips close to recruiting season.

Weekend trips work at both the analyst and associate levels, but they’re usually more effective for current students.

Now, let’s answer your questions and concerns before jumping into this in more detail.

Wait, This Sounds Expensive!

Yes, it will cost money – but think about what it would cost you not to do it: a $100K+ job plus even higher pay in the future.

Plus, you can minimize expenses by staying with friends rather than at the Ritz-Carlton, or by getting a budget hotel if you don’t know anyone in the city.

In Europe there are discount airlines like Ryanair, so airfare is less of an issue there; it can be more expensive in the US and Asia, but if you plan this correctly you can still spend $1,000 or less for a 2-day trip.

Even if it costs $2,000, that’s still a 50x ROI assuming a very low $30K bonus in your first year.

I Don’t Have Time!

Translation: you have the wrong priorities.

Think about how much time you spend on Internet surfing, TV watching, and joining groups just to have a laundry list on your resume.

A single weekend trip represents a 2-3 day investment of time plus maybe another day to set up everything beforehand.

That is not enough to seriously impact your grades or activities, and guess what: even if it does, networking is way more important anyway.

Networking Doesn’t Work in Other Countries!

Yes, there may be some truth to networking being less effective outside the US, but more often than not this is just an excuse to do nothing.

Let’s say you spend 2-3 hours finding contact information for 10 bankers and emailing them to set up meetings.

You later find out that in your country, no one ever networks and a robot processes all applications sent to the bank, making all decisions based on the numbers and names on your CV.

If that outlandish scenario is true, all you’ve lost is 2-3 hours; and if it’s slightly untrue, you’ve now introduced yourself to 10 bankers and have boosted your chances – even if your weekend trip never happens.

Some regions may be more traditional with recruiting, but you lose very little by planning for weekend trips anyway.

How to Plan and Conduct Weekend Trips

One trip is probably enough if you haven’t networked like crazy, but you could also go for 2 trips and spread them further apart.

If you’re doing 1 trip, make it slightly before recruiting begins – this would be August / September for full-time recruiting and December / January for summer internships; for 2 trips, do 1 right before recruiting and the other one 2-3 months before recruiting.

Dates change depending on the year and what region you’re in, so you should check the application deadlines in advance.

Email bankers 3-4 weeks before your trip and let them know about your planned travel – just like with informational interviews, propose a specific date, time, and place (at or near their office) to meet.

Don’t buy your tickets or make reservations yet; wait and do that depending on the responses you get.

Bankers you’ve already spoken to or exchanged emails with are better to contact because they already know you – it’s a bit odd to email someone out of the blue and say, “Hey I’m going to be in Manhattan next week, let’s meet up… since you’re an alum!”

In that situation, you should suggest a quick call first so you can introduce yourself, and then bring up your trip at the end.

Aim to set up 5-10 meetings per day – 50% of bankers will cancel on you due to last-minute emergencies, so plan for the worst-case scenario.

The Details

When you’re proposing these meetings, keep in mind physical locations and schedule everything in blocks – you don’t want to be running back-and-forth between Midtown and Downtown.

Also make sure you have a backup list of other bankers you could meet with, in case you get more last-minute cancellations than expected.

Allot at least 30 minutes between your meetings – that gives you time for transportation and a buffer in case things go on longer than expected.

Make sure you take a smartphone or another device that lets you read email on-the-go, because you will need to check email constantly.

Wear business formal attire, just like in real interviews (guides for men’s fashion and women’s fashion).

I mentioned above that you should plan for Thursday-Saturday or Friday-Saturday – I left out Sunday because that’s the hardest day to catch bankers, especially more senior ones.

When the Day Comes…

Follow-up with everyone a day or two before your trip to confirm that you’re still set to meet; if there are cancellations, go to your backup list.

The interviews themselves will be very similar to standard informational interviews, but they may be more in-depth since they’re in-person; they could also turn into real interviews depending on the banker and how close it is to recruiting season.

You can ask the same types of questions as in informational interviews, but you might end up discussing business more than pleasure since you’re on their home turf.

The difference is what happens at the end: instead of just making a “mini-ask,” casually suggest a visit to their office or meeting others there.

If they like you, they may even suggest it first; if they seem unwilling to take you on a tour, you can just brush it off as a joke.

But if it works, you will gain a huge advantage because everyone at that office will know who you are – and that advantage may even carry over to real interviews when bankers decide who gets offers.

Going back to our eternal theme of not overestimating the competition, remember that 99% of applicants will never even take the time to make a single weekend trip.

So even if you don’t wear the right clothes, you’re late to meetings, and half of your contacts cancel on you, that still puts you ahead of 99% of other aspiring bankers.

What About Other Meetings?

What happens if you get invited to an office tour but you have other, conflicting meetings lined up?

Email your other contacts to say you’re running late or ask if they can meet the next day instead.

That may not look great, but you need to leap at opportunities when they come – and few opportunities beat the ability to meet everyone at the office before you apply there.

You don’t want to camp out at the office for 5 hours, but an extra 30-60 minutes is well worth it.


Follow-up is less important because you’ve already met in-person, everyone at the office will have met you (hopefully), and weekend trips happen right before application deadlines anyway.

Write a quick email to the key bankers you met with and pose the same question in the informational interview guide: how to best position yourself for an interview.

That’s just to remind them that you’ve met in-person before – but they shouldn’t need much reminding in the first place.

What Now?

If you still have time, go and email alumni and anyone you’ve already networked with and schedule your first weekend trip.

See what the responses are like, and then follow everything I’ve outlined above.

And if it’s too late, just keep this strategy in mind for next year or for when you get to business school.

Further Reading

I spent hours looking for information online and came up with almost nothing – everything above was compiled via personal experiences and reader interviews.

The one other article on the topic is from Careers-in-Finance, right here.

And not to be blatantly self-promotional, but yes, there is also an entire module in The Investment Banking Networking Toolkit with even more detail on weekend trips and sample schedules/emails.

If you have anything else good, do share.

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. I’m a freshman at a university in the southern part of the US(so energy IB is what I’m targeting). When/what year would be appropriate to schedule a weekend trip given the hyper-early recruitment timeline for IB?

    1. Weekend trips are more appropriate when it gets closer to actual interviews starting, which would be sometime in the 2nd half of your 2nd year right now. Of course, who knows if travel and in-person interactions with other humans will have resumed by then. If not, weekend trips might not be viable for years.

  2. Would you say weekend trips are as helpful for recent grads looking to get into IB? Assuming you are working outside of NYC but targeting NYC roles.

    1. If you do them properly and have the right background to be competitive for off-cycle IB roles, yes. If you do not have any relevant internships, then don’t even try for IB roles at large banks and focus on gaining work experience first.

  3. Undergraduate Rising Senior


    Not exactly a weekend trip since I’m currently in LA, but I have a coffee coming up with an analyst at a boutique in LA this Saturday. I have spoken with him on the phone once, and I hope to make an office visit when I meet with him.

    Would you still recommend business professional attire? Or something a little more casual?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Undergraduate Rising Senior

      Additionally, we are meeting at a cafe about 5 miles from his office (he proposed it), so I don’t know how feasible an office visit would be. Should I even propose it?

      1. That would be a bit weird. It works better if you are right next to the office.

    2. Business casual is fine for a Saturday

  4. Undergraduate Rising Senior


    Would you say weekend trips are also helpful for positions in other fields of finance, such as equity research and valuation?

    1. Undergraduate Rising Senior

      If so, would anything change with regards to when the ideal times to go are?

    2. Potentially, yes, but they’re less useful in ER because recruiting happens on an “as needed” basis instead of following a strict cycle. You’re better off just asking directly about roles and sending work samples. There isn’t an ideal time to go, but maybe once you’ve been speaking with 3-5 different firms about positions.

  5. From 0 to In-Person Meetings

    There’s a section in the article saying that it’s odd to meet an alumni in person without talking to them on the phone first, but if I am taking a trip to New York soon, is it okay to request quick coffee meetings with alumni if they have no idea who I am yet? The exception for me is that I’ve been referred their name by another alumni and they want me to say “Joe said you were a good person to talk to”. Is that weird and too fast or should I slow it down and do the standard email > phone call > in-person visit a few months later?

    1. It’s generally better to have some other interaction first. But if you have a referral, this might be OK, and it’s not worth trying to set up a phone call on short notice.

  6. Looking to head to London soon. What days are the highest chance?

    Like Thurs-Fri-Sat-Sat-Mon

    I want to limit to it to 2-3 days but not sure when is best

    1. Thursday and Friday will be best for senior bankers, you might have a higher chance of catching junior bankers over the weekend.

  7. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the detailed suggestions for weekend trips. I did one trip last year and another one a few month ago, and I’m going for full-time recruiting (currently interning at a boutique in NY).

    I’ve read several articles / advice on weekend trips, but never knew that we can actually ask for a tour to the office. I’m not nervous about asking anything when it comes to recruiting, but wouldn’t it cause conflicts of interests? Could you tell me if this is still applicable nowadays, and if we should only ask senior bankers? Thanks for your time and help!


    1. You can always ask casually for a tour of the office. I guess it’s a little strange if you’re currently working at another bank and you do that, but if it’s a boutique I don’t think it matters too much. You can ask anyone, just make it sound casual so it doesn’t come across as strange.

  8. How beneficial is it to make a trip in the off-season? (e.g. now)

    1. It depends on where you are in the process. It helps if you’re going for off-cycle internships or preparing long in advance by getting to know people early. It’s not so helpful if you’re going for internships at bigger banks at the last minute.

  9. Hi Brain/Nicole,

    Great article. I have a question.
    My dad’s client’s wife is an MD at one of the bulge bracket banks in NY and i’ve exchanged emails with her 2 to 3 times since july to dec, she’s asked me about the job codes i’ve applied online to her bank and told me she’s mentioned to hr about me. So far, I still haven’t heard anything from hr or anyone from her bank. I was thinking of flying over to meet her in person(I live in Asia), i was wondering if you think that might help with my chances of working there significantly?
    I plan to cold call/email other bankers to see if i can meet with them as well if i do fly over, is it ok to ask to meet in person within say a week of talking to them or should i wait?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes, trips to Asia will help if you can network there. Yes, I’d ask to meet them in person especially if you’re planning a trip to Asia.

  10. Hi Brian,

    I’m a third year student from a semi-target uni in the UK (I’m not sure if it’s semi-target as Goldmam Sachs comes visit every year and the CEO of EMEA graduated from my uni). I was wondering how I can cold email or cold call in order to set up meetings with bankers I’ve never spoken to before?



    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d contact alums first and ask if they’re free for brief chat to share with you their experiences. After the chat, I’d ask for referrals. I’d also use LinkedIn to approach people.

  11. Undergraduate

    Why is Sunday the most difficult day to catch bankers?

    How does one go about ‘casually suggesting a visit to the office’?

    As always, thank you for your help. It was a great article.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Because bankers do take days off and they do so on Sundays. We don’t suggest contacting bankers on weekends.

      I’d just ask for a brief coffee at their convenience. They’d usually suggest somewhere close to their office and you can then bring up if you can visit their office when the time is right. Not sure if you should bring it up right away though

  12. You mentioned that the best days would be Thurs-Sat. Wouldn’t people be more willing to meet during the week like Wed-Fri?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Some bankers work on Sat so that may work for them. But otherwise yes Wed-Fri or Thurs-Fri maybe best.

  13. I go to a West Coast school (Stanford/Berkeley/USC) that has OCR for SF/LA offices, but I want to recruit for NY. Do analysts in NY office gets to screen my resume? Like, does it help to network with NY people to get first rounds cause I heard that I still have to go through OCR and be interviewed by SF/LA people (like how much will it help to get NY people to put in my resume or something?) Also, should I be networking heavily with SF/LA people even though I won’t work with them? Thanks a lot!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you’re applying for NY roles, yes I think networking w people in NY will definitely help. Yes you may also want to network with SF/LA people but I’d focus on people in the location you’re interested in first

  14. Hi,

    I was in New York last weekend for an interview, and met an older man who is a very influential leader in a brokerage firm. I am a college-aged woman, I was having drinks with a friend at a hotel bar, and he started speaking to us. He gave me his card, and yesterday I reached out to him about opportunities at his firm. He replied back, saying he would be happy to meet with me and introduce me to some of the other people at the NY office.

    I want to speak with him and his colleagues, because he is a powerful connection to have, but it was pretty obvious he was flirting with me at the bar and I don’t want to give the wrong impression. Is it a good idea/is it worth it to travel to NY this weekend? I go to school a few hours away. And how should I reply to this email- should I suggest times/places? Someone who works in banking told me meeting with professional contacts on Saturday or evenings is extremely unprofessional- is this true?

    Any insight would be GREATLY appreciated!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d schedule other informational interviews too if you’re going to NY for the weekend. You’d still want to be friendly though you just need to act professional and dress appropriately (i.e. nothing too revealing). I may suggest a time and place that works i.e. coffee in the afternoon is probably best. Even breakfasts, lunches are fine. Dinner may send out the wrong impression. Ideally in a coffee shop close to his office. Saturdays can still be ok though evenings are most likely to be a bit more than work ;) unless you’re good friends with that person.

  15. Hi Brian,

    I will be meeting an Associate of an elite boutique on Saturday for coffee and wanted to know if I should still wear a suit and tie even though our initial meeting will be in a coffee shop, and I do not know whether or not I will get a chance to visit his office or meet others. Is there something else you suggest I wear? I do not want to come across as too formal if this is an intended casual meet-up.

    Thank you.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think going casual is fine. Yes there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll visit his office though I think a suit and tie maybe a bit too formal.

  16. Regarding your suggestion of when to do the trips, do you think it’s best to go before the application deadline, or before they start interviewing? Since many banks have a Dec./Nov. application deadline but don’t start interviewing until Jan/Feb.

    Thanks for all your help!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Before application deadline is best, otherwise you can do it before interviews.

  17. I am a rising sophomore and I plan on studying abroad in Europe fall of junior year. Is there an alternative to making these weekend trips? Is it possible to set up Skype interviews instead? Or would it better in terms of recruiting that I forget about studying abroad altogether?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think bankers would be receptive to Skype interviews because they’ll have to go out of their way to do so at work. You can try calling them and conducting the interview on the phone instead.

  18. Brian,

    I completely understand the concept of making weekend trips, but I have a problem. I don’t know any bankers to contact if I were to take a trip. I’ve searched Linkedin for Michigan State Alumni that are on Wall Street but I haven’t found any. What should I do?

  19. Hello Brian,

    Great article, I am really enjoying your site. I just graduated from a non-target school in Michigan last week. I am from Ecuador and I am here on a student visa. I am completely fluent in English and Spanish and I played on my university’s varsity tennis team. Last summer I did an internship at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in the Detroit area working, of course, in wealth management and I graduated with a 3.9 GPA.

    I am currently looking for a full-time job and Investment Banking is without a doubt what I want to do with my career and I want to work in New York or Chicago to be where the action is. What do you think is the best way for me to get an investment banking analyst job? I definitely overestimated recruiting season in NYC and started applying in late October last year, so I have no offers now.

    Would a regular finance job or another internship be enough to be able to apply for an analyst job next recruiting season? Is there any way to get an analyst job that would start around the time I apply? Or do they always recruit a year before? What is the best approach to network with bankers in NYC or Chicago that have no idea who you are?

    I am sorry if I am overwhelming you with all these questions, but I am nervous that I missed my opportunity to work on Wall Street.



    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you apply now, you’d be off cycle so I’d try smaller banks and boutiques. Its probably best if you could get some experience in your area first before you apply for roles elsewhere. Recruiting season starts in fall. Best if you start in advance by cold calling/emailing people first.

      I may also do a weekend trip to those cities to improve your chances

      1. Thank you!

  20. InItToWinIt

    Hello Brian,

    It is the 10th of January and all of the summer opportunities are coming to a rapid close. This weekend trip idea sounds like my next bet… seeing as how I don’t have the financing to make a sudden trip to NY, London, or HK, I was wondering whether or not you think Miami (more specifically the Brickell financial area) would be a good alternative as it is where I live. Also, any thoughts on Moscow?


    1. Miami might be OK, but I don’t think there are too many banks there – worth a shot, though. Moscow: it’s tough if you’re not a native these days. See:

      If you have connections or you know the language, maybe.

  21. Hopeful summer analyst undergrad

    Hey Brian,

    So I’m going to be in NYC for my thanksgiving break (and convinced my parents to book the flight and everything there). That’s exactly one week from now – and from the bankers I’ve emailed, I might have gotten 3 responses saying that they were going to be in NYC during that time (since it’s Thanksgiving and stuff and they are flying to their families). Would you advise I try to email more contacts I have now? Like on a weekend since today’s Saturday? or would that just annoy them – one because it’s the weekend, and two it’s like last minute (less than a week). or should i cancel my trip with those 3 “potential” meetings and just do phone calls instead?

    1. Hopeful summer analyst undergrad

      and this is for internship recruiting btw!

    2. M&I - Nicole

      It might be more useful if you can schedule the trip (if it doesn’t cost much to reschedule) after Thanksgiving since a lot of people might be away. However, since most bankers are less busy during holiday season, you might be able to spend more time on one meeting if you actually get a hold of a banker.

      1. Hopeful summer analyst undergrad

        Yea I was able to get hold of 2 on that Friday – do you suggest I go through with it or not?
        And should I try e-mailing other bankers that I have contacts with, even though it’s less than a week notice.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes, have you contacted them already?

  22. For starters, thanks a lot for all of your articles. They have been a huge help.

    Would weekend trips very early in October (Oct 1 – 5) be too late for full time recruiting?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      It might be a bit “late” but I’d still go

  23. I am heading into my sophomore year of college and I am inteested in getting a IB internship next summer. This pass summer, I took a full semester of summer classes so i will be a semester ahead. I know IB usually recruit between the the junior and senior year, but will the extra semester i have completed increase my odds and is it worth planning a weekend trip.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Whether it will increase your odds or not depends on how you make use of your time. Use the time to network a lot and fly down to NY to meet people if possible. Yes if you can line up meetings and can afford it, a weekend trip is worthwhile

  24. Thanks to the guidance on this page here, I’m finally at the stage of going to a office visit this week. We’ll see how it goes. But what I have found out is that bankers are quite reluctant to meet up personally, and a better way to approach it is to suggest visiting their office instead. I’m not sure if this is only me though.

    My question: what would you suggest me to prepare prior to my visit to a BB office, besides reading recent news and preparing questions? I really have no idea what it would be like… Since it’s near recruiting season, should I prepare as if it’s a real interview?

    Thanks a bunch… for the hard work!!

    1. That could be the case, think it varies a bit by banker and office. For additional research, try to find bios of the people in the office and see what they did in the past and search for shared connections. And of course read up on recent deals. Every interaction with someone at a bank IS an interview, so yes, be prepared to tell your story, answer questions, and even respond to technical questions. You never know what will come up.

  25. Brian, thanks for the info. I’m in a unique situation. I graduated in 2011 from a target school with no finance background whatsoever (was planning on med school but changed last semester) and was looking for jobs since graduation. This past Jan (of ’12) I ended up in a finance (buy-side advisory) firm and have been there for 3+ months as an intern. I am working to move over to i-banking and am planning a weekend trip to NYC. Based on my circumstances, would it be worth it to take trip, and early in the summer as well?

    1. In case it makes any different, the people I would be visiting are in the BB or elite boutique.

      Thanks in advance.

      1. M&I - Nicole

        Yes, take the trip – what’s there to lose?

    2. M&I - Nicole

      Take the trip and see how it goes! Whether the trip is worthwhile or not? Depends on what you make out of it!

      1. Any specific suggestions to make the most of the meetings?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Ask a lot of thoughtful questions!

  26. Brian,

    I am planning to use my spring break vacation to take an extended “weekend trip” to NYC for the entire work week. I have been offered through my mentor and some alumni within the industry the opportunity to shadow them for part of the day.

    Because I am a senior and will be making my trip in March (past the usual recruiting time table), how should I properly position myself to receive an internship or full-time position?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Can’t really say on the comments section because I haven’t spoken to you about your story in person.

  27. Hello,

    I already graduated and I am looking to get into Investment banking via off-cycle recruiting. I am targeting regional boutiques in a different city from where I live. I have been cold-calling these boutiques for a while, and I made some good contacts of which most of them are MD’s.

    1- Do you think its a good idea to make a trip and try to meet them all in person although there is no set recruiting time for any of the boutiques.
    2- Should I also try to schedule appointments with VP’s even if I schedule an appointment with the MD? or should I just aim for 1 contact per firm?
    3- Christmas holiday is approaching, do you think it’s better to make the trip before christmas or beginning of January?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      1. Yes
      2. Meet as many people as you can
      3. Beginning of Jan

  28. I go to school in midtown manhattan and live about 15 minutes walking distance to wall street, basically a close commute to financial districts. Should I just try to set up in person meetings whenever I have time like during a weekday or try to do them in a bunch like a weekend trip? Maybe shoot for a couple every Saturday?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes network and set up in person meetings. You can schedule as many as you want . There are no rules/shoulds.

  29. What would be the absolute earliest time to make these trips? Is scheduling trips before sophomore year too early if my school has recruiting after sophomore spring quarter?

    1. If you can recruit after spring quarter that year, I would try to make the trips in the late fall to winter at the earliest.

  30. I will be attending a MBA program not this fall but next. It is strange or uncommon to try and get an internship the summer before I enroll? I’m a career changer with zero finance exp.

    1. Very common – do a search here for pre-MBA programs

  31. Hey Brian

    I’ll be in NYC for the summer, but not around December-January. I’m seeking a summer internship for NEXT summer at a IBD. Would it be worth making weekend trips even though it’s not recruiting season for interns?

    1. Not sure I understand your question but you should make weekend trips in the late summer / fall just before summer recruiting starts in the winter

  32. Brian, thanks for the article, I really enjoyed it. I have a few questions.

    1. I am working at a hedge fund this summer and will not be able to meet people during the day on Thursdays or Fridays. I will however, be living in NYC so do you think I would be able to meet with people after my work day is over, around 6 or 7?

    2. When I try to schedule meetings on Saturday what do you think the best time would be?

    3. Would it be worthwhile to meet with younger bankers such as analysts and associates, or should I try to meet with people who have more experience and influence?


    1. 1. Yes. 2. Go for the afternoon on Saturday. 3. Analysts and associates are fine but try to meet with more senior bankers if at all possible.

  33. Great stuff. I’m setting up some meets for this October following this guide. The reaction’s I’m getting are positive. However, some find it unusually early to start planning now (London).

    1. Yeah some people may find it a bit early, for meetings in October I might start more in the summer.

  34. Great article as always! I just have one question. If I schedule an meeting with one banker say at (just an example) Lazard, I can go around the office meeting everyone there? Wouldn’t that be odd or is that common? Thanks for your help.

    1. Sure just say you got lost or something or that you’re looking for [Name a Place or the Floor You’re On], just go around introducing yourself.

  35. Great article! I was just invited for an office visit. Can you give me some advice on how I can make the best impression?

    1. Try to talk to as many people as possible, wander around and meet others, get business cards, and ask personal questions

  36. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for all your help through the site. I’m working at a BB in LA after graduation and am very interested in 3 groups. I’ve been told by HR that the vast majority of people get one of their top 3 picks. Here are my questions:

    1) I’m interested in certain markets-based groups. Do you think I’ll have a better chance of getting into these since most incoming people (all have generalist offers) will likely want coverage groups + lev fin?

    2) I’ve met with an analyst in one of the groups I’m interested in and am going to meet with others later in the spring sem (I live in Palo Alto so it’s not that big of a pain to meet in person). Any thoughts on how I should go about this? I’d love to get as much contact as possible without being annoying so I can kinda lock up my group before training…any thoughts would be great.

    3) My bank has us rotate through groups for a few days after training and then gives us our groups. Apparently performance in training (we get tested) affects group placement. Any idea how/why this would be the case? i.e. is it more important to have better analysts in certain groups?

    4) I’m taking an accting class in the spring and don’t know what else will be covered in training (aside from an overview of the bank, accting, modeling). Any thoughts on what to do beforehand so I can improve my performance in training?

    Sorry for all the questions and thanks again for your help, man.


    1. 1) Maybe but not by a huge amount. 2) Follow the informational interview guide and be cool / don’t talk too much about business. 3) Banks say that but usually it’s not true; some groups do need more technical people though. 4) Read books, look into modeling programs like the ones offered here, get models from friends at banks.

  37. Hi Brian,
    I am at a target MBA program in the US but quite far from NYC. From your article it seems it is okay to ask bankers for a meeting on Saturday. At my school, every one told me(second years who did internship at IBD and those who got offers)that it is never okay to ask bankers to meet on Saturday. It is very hard for me to fly on weekdays because I have classes Mon-Thu and most of the Fridays are occupies due to informational Superdays and banking presentations. Just to clarify I am only trying to meet associates on Saturday no MDs or VPs.I am really hesitant ask any bankers for meeting on Saturday. At the same time that is the only time feasible for me. please suggest what I should do.

    1. If you can’t get there on Thursday or Friday, then Saturday is your only option. It’s not ideal, but some MDs are still around, so go ahead and ask… worst-case scenario they say no and you reschedule or skip class / presentations on Thursday/Friday… honestly networking is way more important anyway.

  38. Hey Brian,

    Your article seems to be telling readers to meet bankers on a Saturday; does that apply for senior bankers as well? In my senior year I took a week off from school to meet a bunch of senior bankers during the weekday. Now that I am working (not NYC), taking days off during the week would be difficult, therefore can I still approach MD’s whom I’ve been in touch with to meet on a Saturday? Some of these MD’s that I have been in touch with are very senior (think group heads at BB’s).

    Lastly, what would the recommended attire be? I was in my business suit for all my informational interviews, but for one that is on a Saturday, is a suit still necessary? Or business casual with a blazer more the norm?


    1. Senior bankers are tougher to meet on Saturdays, but it’s still possible… VPs more so than MDs. But you never know, it’s still worth it to ask because some MDs actually live in Manhattan and might be working on weekends.

      I would still recommend business formal, especially if you’re meeting with a senior MD – you could go more casual and just do dress pants / shirt but no suit if you’re meeting with an analyst.

  39. Hi,

    I just recently started at a brand name fund in the middle office. I am still very interested in ibd and want to make the switch as soon as I can. I was wondering if

    1) start aggressively now i.e. apply/network/cold call/do as much as I can to switch. My concern here is that I do not want to burn any bridges at my current firm and also I do not have enough experience to put the firm on my resume.

    or 2) wait out a year or so, and start aggressively then so I can leverage my experience and possibly seek out some headhunters. But I definitely do not want to be pigenonholed here and wouldn’t I lose an opportunity to start as a first year analyst?

    Please let me know what you think!

    1. I would wait until you have at least a year of experience.

      1. thanks for your advice.

        Can you explain your reasoning?

        1. You have nothing to write on your resume yet and you’ll seem uncommitted if you jump right away.

  40. Hey Brian

    I’m a New Zealander, and only in my first year of university. I study in a city of about 120,000 so no investment bankers to network with.

    However, I’ll be in Auckland (nation’s main business hub) during the summer and wondered whether it would be a good idea to set up some informational interviews despite being only in my first year of uni.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. I wouldn’t bother if it’s your first year – it’s too hard to stay in touch with everyone over 2-3 years, unless you just want to learn more about the industry and don’t care as much about networking to get an internship.

  41. Hey Brian,
    Do you think it is a good idea to ask somebody to meet in person if you did not had the chance to talk with this person over the phone yet and had only been in contact through a short email. thanks

    1. That’s fine but better if you can speak on the phone first

  42. Slightly unrelated topic, but do banks typically ask for transcripts during the interview process (official or unofficial)? Reason I ask is because I’m a few quarters late on tuition payments and my university won’t send out any transcripts until everything is paid. I would hate for that to be the reason I don’t get an offer…

    1. Depends on the school and the bank – there is a possibility they will ask for a transcript, so you might want to speak to your university.

  43. I agree with what you have said above but my situation is a bit different so I am not sure how I would tailor your advice to it. That is where I need your help. Over the last summer I worked at a credit rating agency as a paid summer analyst and was able to meet a lot of bankers through the alumni network at my school. I am almost certain I made a good impression on all of them. I am now looking at getting a summer analyst position at a bulge bracket bank over the summer next year. Would you still suggest making a weekend trip around recruiting time? I have met all the bankers in person over the summer and have got promises from them to help me out. Also How would you suggest I go about optimizing my chances knowing my situation? Thanks a ton for your advice.

    1. A weekend trip would still help, especially since a few months will have passed by the time summer recruiting begins. I would just contact the best contacts you have and use the trip to get referrals and meet others who can help you since you already have a solid base to start with.

      1. Thanks a ton for the advice. On another note, I am not from a target school and have been asking alums from my school who are currently at bulge bracket banks about the best way to get in. All of them just told me to submit an online application just as a formality. What is your take on the online application situation? Does it ever come into play?

        1. No, especially if you’re not from a target school… be more direct in asking them for an interview.

  44. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for the insightful topic. Quick question, i will be attending a 1 year top European MBA in couple of months, unfortunately, my intership slot falls between January-March, nobody hires during that time, do you recommends i graduate, and do the summer internship afterwards, do you think i would be offered a summer internship, if i’m already graduated.

    1. I think banks may have something specially designed for your program though I’m not really certain of that one – you probably won’t get an internship if you already graduated. Off-cycle internships happen sometimes.

  45. Hi Brian,

    I have a background in Political Science and I just finished my MBA in Global Management this July. Currently I am looking for a job and I am really interested in a career in Investment Banking. In addition I have broad international experience in many countries in Europe and I can speak 4 languages (English, German, Spanish, Russian). So I have 2 questions:
    1. Do I have a chance to get into Investment Banking, although I do not have a degree in Finance?
    2. Which companies might be interested in me and which would be the best way to approach them?

    It is already the 2nd half of September I hope it is not too late already.

    Thanks a lot.

    1. Yes, but you are at a disadvantage since you did not do an internship / use recruiting during the MBA program… at this stage you should probably target firms that do cross-border deals in Europe and either find alumni there, look on LinkedIn, or just do Google searches and do some cold-calling.

      1. Thank you for the advice! I agree with you. I also hope to find a bank/company in the US dealing with the EMEA region, where I could be an asset for the company.

  46. Hey Brian,
    Are you familiar with the Canadian’s Big 5 banks? ie. BMO, TD, Scotia, RBC and CIBC?

    It seems like I just heard two of the 5 banks were having superday this weekend. Is it usually a traditional thing that all banks have superday on the same day so as to make the people that might have potential offers stick at the firm they prefer?

    I’m not sure about this but just want to confirm. Also, how is recruiting in US like? Is this something that happens a lot?

    1. I know of them but I don’t know individual details of recruiting for every single bank; sometimes rival banks do have superdays on the same day for the reason you mentioned. I wouldn’t say it’s common in the US but it does happen sometimes.

  47. Brian,

    I am a 2nd year junior ( I will complete undergrad in 3 years), and I have a 4.0 at a private college in Michigan. I have done two internships; however, they were only semi-finance related. I want to do an investment banking internship over the summer ( July 2011 – Dec 2011) and because I live in Michigan I would prefer to do it in Chicago. Now that you know a little bit about me, I have three questions:
    1. Would it be beneficial to do a weekend trip in Chicago — a smaller market than the article mentioned.
    2. If I don’t have any contacts in Chicago, how do I best go about contacting analysts, through their firms websites? Do I just send them my resume and hope my 4.0 will help me out?
    3. Is it possible to have an internship from July to December, for I have classes until July.

    Your thoughts are much appreciated,


    1. 1. Yes.
      2. Cold-call local places, find mutual connections through LinkedIn and email them there, go to information sessions at nearby schools such as UMich, and so on. Forget about submitting your resume online.
      3. Maybe at a boutique, but most bulge brackets in the US only do internships from June – August or so.

  48. Hi:

    I’m 28 now and from Puerto Rico. I finished my Bachelor’s in Biology in 2004 and my MBA in Finance and Accounting in 2007 (with a 3.8 GPA). I have 2 and 1/2 years experience as an Auditor. I quit in February 2010 because of family health issues but now it’s September 2010 and I’m ready and able to go back into the workforce again in my dream city (New York) and my dream job (investment banking) but I don’t have any idea how!

    Should I cold-call? Do a weekend trip now before September ends? Tell them that I still live in PR and want to relocate or lie and say that I already live there? With my story, do you think I have a good chance of being hired or a full-time job or even an internship? Please help. Thanks!!!

    1. At this stage it’s very tough if you already have an MBA – basically all you can do is network with alumni from your previous schools and see what that turns up. You could try cold-calling local boutiques as well, but I wouldn’t even bother with weekend trips or trying to get an internship – those are really more applicable for students.

    2. Marcel Perez

      Saludos, estudio en la universidad de Puerto Rico y tambien estoy interesado en Investment Banking. Somos bien pocas personas en PR que conocemos lo que es. Me interesa hablar de este tema con usted.

      1. M&I - Nicole

        Can you please translate?

  49. Daniel Kindi

    Hey Brian, love your website, keep up the good work.

    I was wondering, are you planning to do an article (or some articles) on equity research? I’m really interested in that and think it would be of great value.

    Thank you, best regards!

    1. I want to but so far no one has volunteered to be interviewed.

  50. You can do all of which has been posted above, or you can craigslist on a Friday afternoon and find the following

    Apparently, GS is hiring analysts on Craigslist now. Sounds like BS to me.

    1. Right, I think that’s fake or a joke

  51. I ****ing love this site. Leave it to a Stanford alum to break down the barriers separating the Ivy leaguers and the common folk.

    You guys are the best.

  52. Hi,

    I have been confused with this for a while now. Do I have to include my ENTIRE “Why Investment Banking” answer when I get the “Tell me about yourself question”

    What is the difference?


      1. Hi,

        Sorry to be such a pain. I actually read that article multiple times and even looked at the “example stories” in the BankerBlueprint.

        Just so I understand, My story is a 2-3 minute pitch on what I have been doing (the five step process), and my “Why investment banking” is more like a 1-2 minute thing on why I want to be a banker.

        Is that somewhat accurate?

        1. Yes. In fact they could both be even shorter, some people would say 1-2 minutes for the story and 30-60 seconds for “why banking.”

  53. Hi Brian

    I’m going back for my second year of chemical engineering soon at a non-target university (reputable though) in England.

    Your website has been incredibly helpful so far and I look forward to many more great articles. I’ve only recently been interested in finance, so I haven’t had the chance to network yet. Do you think emailing people on LinkedIn would a good start? and maybe call them after a few emails back and forth?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Many Thanks

    1. Just to clarify, that’s emailing people I don’t know at all on LinkedIn. Would that work by any chance?

      1. It can work but it helps to have some kind of connection, such as alumni, mutual friends, etc.

    2. Yes, LinkedIn can be a good way to start

      1. Great, I’ll give it a go. Thanks again!

  54. Hey Brian,

    This article has perfect timing because I was planning on making one of these trips in the next couple of weeks with the people I have been networking with, but you mention that after you meet we should ask to be shown around the office and meet some other bankers. If I have already talked with these people on the phone in detail though would be inappropriate to ask out right if I can come down, see their office, and meet some of their colleagues? Or does that rub off the wrong way.


    1. If you’ve already spoken on the phone you can be more direct if you want, but most of the time it’s easier just to suggest meeting in-person first and then ask when you’re already there.

  55. Say I am planning to apply to a b-school. Can I call/email the school’s alumni at my desired companies and ask them for an informational interview regarding the school? This way I get to know more about the school and gather material for my essays and if I do get admitted there I will have a contact at my desired firm. What do you think about this?

    1. You could do that as well, though it’s hard to stay in touch over an extended period there.

  56. Hello sir. Thanks for the informative articles.

    I’ve got a few questions here.

    1) Do banks all over the world recruit during August/ September for full time positions?

    2) Which position of banker should I seek to meet? MD and above?

    3) Is it worth doing a weekend trip if I’m looking for an internship?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. 1) Most global banks do, yes. It can extend into October.

      2) Mix of analysts through MDs, since junior bankers are easier to reach on weekends.

      3) Yes, because hardly anyone does them for internships and so you gain an even bigger advantage.

      1. Is too much interning a bad thing?

        1. Not sure what you mean. I don’t think it would count against you unless you had 10 internships or something.

  57. Brian,

    I recently went to an info session for a bank and followed up with a director. I mentioned i was a sophomore and he said to contact him the next time im in nyc to meet up and introduce me to junior bankers. Is there a good way to go about this since i wont be applying for summers til next year?


    1. You could just do a weekend trip in between now and summer recruiting next year, but honestly I would just hold off until it’s closer to recruiting next year since there’s too much time in between

  58. Brian,

    I’m thinking about applying to business school after my 2-3 year analyst gig and I want to know what schools you consider to be truly Top Tier (i.e. worth the huge investment). Is it literally the Top 10 from the Newsweek rankings or is there more of an “understood” top tier group (Ivies, Northwestern/Chicago, Stanford, Duke, UVa, etc.)


    1. I don’t rank schools because it changes all the top, but most people would say Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford are the best business schools, maybe add INSEAD and a few in the UK outside the US; other schools like Chicago, Kellogg, Ross, Columbia, etc. and others in the top 10 also work though.

      (The above comment only represents my uninformed view and should not be taken as “the truth.” Question everything that you read and please do not assume that just because you see something online it is universally true)

  59. Hey Brian,

    I love reading your articles. They just keep getting better. I had a small request.

    I’m a senior at a reputed (probably the best) engineering institute in Dubai, UAE. IBanking has piqued my interest and I would like to work in finance. So I would like to ask you to do a feature on someone who has studied IN Dubai and is working here now.


    1. I’ll see what I can do there – there are already a couple articles on Dubai and the Middle East, and I’m limited by who volunteers to help out, so I may not be able to find someone who studied there and worked there (most people are foreigners)

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