Recruiting season is in full swing, and many of Wall Street's investment bankers are busy (along with their regular deal flow) recruiting from their undergraduate and graduate institutions. According to industry insiders, the growing attraction of MBA students to dot.com opportunities has also increased recruiting priorities at investment banks. "I wouldn't say that there's a huge absence of good candidates, but we definitely recruit aggressively knowing there is this added competition," says one insider.
As junior members of a recruiting team, first year associates often have many time-intensive recruiting responsibilities: attending recruiting dinners, inviting candidates and firm representatives, escorting interviewees and answering questions from candidates. "Because I'm junior and an alum of their school, the candidates call me when they have a sensitive question they're not sure about or when they want to find out how to handle a situation, like pressure over an offer." Being assigned a lead role as a junior associate on a recruiting team is considered a sign of respect. "Basically," says one insider, "other senior alumni of your school are giving your judgment the stamp of approval."
The following is a description of twenty-four hours in the life of one junior investment banker who was part of a "recruiting team" targeting candidates at his former business school (which we will call XYZ business school). "Recruiting assignments are a big responsibility," this insider said. "I consider recruiting a "fourth deal" along with two other live transactions and one budding deal I am working on."
8:30 a.m.: Leave for work. Check voice mail on cellular while walking to subway. Listen to one message from the MD on XYZ school recruiting team. One message from client (transaction 1) requesting information (comparable company analysis, or "comps"). Forward message to analyst and ask him to e-mail client the requested analysis.
9:00 a.m.: Get into work. Check voicemail. Listen to one new voicemail from senior associate on transaction 2, informing deal team of a meeting at the client's offices in two days. Call recruiting MD on plans for traveling to recruiting presentation at former graduate school today.
9:00-10:00 a.m.: Work on analysis for live transaction. Ask assistant if plane tickets have arrived and to confirm hotel reservations for tonight.
10:00 a.m.: Call back potential candidate (MBA student) who left message last night. Talk with him about which firm representatives will be at the recruiting dinner [the dinner, held after the presentation, is an event for selected candidates in whom the firm is particularly interested. Candidates are selected for the dinner based on resumes, and are invited one week prior to the dinner.].
10:15 a.m.: Analyst stops by with some analysis for transaction 2
10:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.: Check the analyst's work. Work on some analysis for transaction 1. Receive phone call at 10:30, informing me of a due diligence conference call for transaction 1 at 12:15.
12:00 p.m.: Grab lunch at the cafeteria and eat at desk. Because of conference call, ask assistant to change flight out of New York from 2:00 to 3:00 P.M.
12:15-1:15 p.m.: Conference call.
1:30 p.m.: Leave office for airport with two senior associates and VP (members of the XYZ school recruiting team). On the way, check in with analyst on transaction 2.
3:00-5:00 p.m.: Flight. Read research during the first hour of the flight. Nap for the second hour. ~ 5:00 p.m.: Take taxi to presentation. On the way to XYZ campus, check voicemail. Forward one voicemail to analyst and associate on transaction 1, informing them of client requested conference call for the following day.
5:30-7:30 p.m.: Attend presentation, which is conducted by the Managing Director and Vice President. Answer a few questions from the audience. Mingle with students, pass out business cards and offer to answer any questions.
8:00-11:00 p.m.: Dinner with selected second year candidates. Discuss how much I've enjoyed my experience so far at the firm, including the culture and the quality of work. Mention how my education from XYZ business school is an asset and the strong number of XYZ alumni currently working at the firm.
12:00 a.m.: Check in at the hotel; check voice-mail. Listen to one voicemail from a senior associate requesting organization meeting for transaction 3.
12:30 a.m.: Go to sleep.
5:00 a.m.: Wake for 6:30 a.m. flight back to New York.
9:00 a.m.: Land in New York and go directly from the airport to the office.