Helping a State School Undergrad without Much Prior Prep Win Over Morgan Stanley
- 10X Service: Investment Banking Comprehensive Package
- Client: State School Undergraduate Student
- Offer: Morgan Stanley Investment Banking Division
- Compensation: Standard Summer Analyst Salary
Our client is a sophomore at a state school in the United States recruiting for the Investment Banking Summer Analyst program. Despite being a great student academically with a solid GPA, he didn’t have any prior finance-related internships (or any internship for that matter) nor was he involved in any on-campus finance- related student organizations. He had very little prior preparation and the season’s Investment Banking Summer Analyst recruiting process kicked off unexpectedly early at the time, which caught many students off guard. The client engaged 10X under the Comprehensive Package to help through the recruiting process.
Casting a Wider Net
The conventional wisdom has always been that it’s much better to go through on- campus job postings than through the off-campus application process. A “blackhole”, they say. After all, that’s the whole basis behind the target / non-target school distinction. But at many schools, the on-campus process often limits a few select interview slots to a pool of highly competitive candidates. It creates a phenomenon where 80% of the interview slots by different banks are taken up by the same 20% candidates. Given our client’s background, we strategized and decided to divert his focus to off-campus opportunities instead, which doesn’t have that artificial “slot per school” limit (at least at the interview level). Off- campus recruiting can be very valuable if you do it right. 10X helped him navigate the off-campus process which got him exposure to a wider cast of opportunities.
Sprint to Battle-Ready
Ideally, clients engage us a couple of months in advance of when recruiting actually kicks off. Unfortunately, we were engaged here late in to the process when job posting deadlines are approaching and banks have started moving. To help our client capitalize on all opportunities, we decided to frontload our coaching and made a huge push over a short time span to get our client interview-ready across written materials (i.e. resume, cover letter), behaviorals, and technicals. This required a lot of time dedication from our team in a short time-span to help the client ramp up.
The combination of receiving off-campus interview invitations and interview- readiness translated to offers. Our client interviewed with Morgan Stanley and received an offer to join the Investment Banking Division as a Summer Analyst in New York.
Helping a Corporate Banking Analyst Beat Investment Banking Analysts in Off-Cycle PE Process
- 10X Service: Buyside Comprehensive Package
- Client: 2nd Year Corporate Banking Analyst @ Bulge Bracket
- Offer: Middle Market Private Equity with >$4bn AUM
- Compensation: $200K Cash All-In
Our client is a 2nd Year Corporate Banking Analyst at a well-known bulge bracket investment bank. His job primarily revolves around providing debt financing to middle market companies. While the work is similar, he’s not in the Investment Banking Divison’s Leveraged Finance group. He’s very interested in breaking into private equity but given his role and his meetings with headhunters, he was largely limited to credit opportunities and even then he was at a disadvantage relative to Investment Banking Analysts from LevFin. One and a half year into the analyst role, he’s looking to make the transition over to private equity and engaged 10X under our Buyside Comprehensive Package to help him break in.
Framing the Candidacy
The North America private equity headhunters are the gatekeepers to pre-MBA opportunities (emphasis that this is for North America; Asia Pacific has very different dynamics). Headhunters’ perception of you determine the opportunities they’ll consider you for. It wouldn’t matter if you can crush the interview if you’re not invited to the interview in the first place. Therefore, positioning and messaging to headhunters is critical. We did a detailed diligence to understand his skillset and quickly realized that he has the same analytical and modeling capability as Investment Banking Analysts. It’ll need a bit of polishing, but it’s nothing we couldn’t overcome. We carefully crafted his story and the rest of his candidacy (i.e. job title, resume, behaviorals, deals) to create a coherent strategic positioning that conveys a much stronger message to headhunters and PE firms about his skillset. This changed the game entirely and he received many interview invitations from well-known private equity firms that he previously wasn’t even considered for.
Closing the Knowledge Gap
While M&A analysts and industry coverage analysts get the exposure to more complex financial modeling and the transaction due diligence process, Corporate Banking Analysts often don’t get a chance to do this type of work. A major component of the private equity interview is to talk about businesses and the investment thesis behind the deals candidates worked on. Given his work was primarily around debt financing, we worked together to build up his knowledge around business models and spent significant efforts refining his deal discussion. As a result, he was able to talk intelligently about businesses and deals in the language of a PE investor and project that mindset in the interviews.
Client received numerous off-cycle private equity interviews after our work together (he had none previously) and within 3 months of engagement, received an Associate offer from a middle market private equity firm with >$4bn in AUM.
Helping an Elite Boutique Investment Banking Analyst Get an Upper MM PE Offer from On-Cycle Process
- 10X Service: Buyside Comprehensive Package
- Client: 1st Year Investment Banking Analyst @ Elite Boutique
- Offer: Upper Middle Market Private Equity with >$15bn AUM
- Compensation: ~$260K Cash All-In
Our client is a 1st Year Investment Banking Analyst at an elite boutique investment bank. While the bank is well known and work on large cap transactions, it was not one of the top elite boutique feeders into megafunds or upper MM PE. She was recruiting for private equity and interested in traditional buyouts and special situations. Unfortunately, she might have came off as “mainly” interested in special situations in her meetings with headhunters. She met with most of the headhunters before engaging 10X under the Buyside Comprehensive Package.
Networking onto the Interview List
The client has an extremely important characteristic that we think the industry undervalues: a good personality. She’s very kind, sweet and friendly and overall a very likable person. We realized early on that this is one of her greatest strengths and personality is a lot more valuable if played right than any extra points candidates get from being at a more “prestigious” investment bank. We were concerned, however, that the messaging she conveyed to headhunters on her own was not ideal (it’s too limiting and they might not include her for buyout opportunities and on-cycle moves very fast) and decided to push her on networking. We wanted to put her in front of as many private equity professionals as possible so that when the on-cycle process kicks off, they can manually add her to their firms’ interview lists. In addition to the standard networks (i.e. school / bank alums), we utilized our team’s industry knowledge to identify other not-so- evident connections. Ultimately, networking played a huge role in her process and helped her obtain numerous interview invitations.
Getting a Valuable Head Start
We got a tip at the time from our industry sources two days in advance from when the on-cycle interviews may happen, 1-2 months earlier than when it historically happened. We know this would catch many bankers by surprise and many would be ill-prepared. This is the perfect chance for our client to stand out and we rushed to get our client ready. We arranged emergency coaching sessions over these next two days to drill on outstanding items. In interviews, she made a couple of careless mistakes but shined across as a lot more prepared and sophisticated than her peers.
Client obtained several interviews with major private equity buyout firms during the on-cycle process through networking efforts and received an Associate offer from a very prestigious upper middle market private equity firm with >$15bn AUM.