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Will – Analyst at Blackrock

Will is an analyst in Blackrock’s graduate program. Before joining he received offers from top companies including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank. 

Nicolas: Let’s dive in! What do you recommend candidates do or say to stand out during the informal interview process?

Will: The big differentiator during informal interviews is when you feel the candidate has a sense of what you are focusing on right now. For instance TMT (Telecommunication, Media and Technology) is a very hot area at the moment so anyone asking questions specifically around the topic will be considered well. You also need to know about significant events, which happened recently so you can refer to them in your discussion.

Nicolas: In your experience, what are the most effective networking events?

Will: I’m a big fan of the professional certificate network. For instance, I go to plenty of CFA and CIA events and conferences and it’s a great way to meet finance professionals. What makes those events better than the average conference is that people are relevant and already pre-qualified. The other “event” I go to is when I play basketball at work. I’m an avid player so I go for the sport but it’s also a very good place to meet the VPs and MDs in a more informal setting.

Nicolas: Any tips on how to make the most out of networking events?

Will: My ”secret” technique is to speak to people standing alone in a corner. I met tons of people like this and you start the conversation with a huge positive on your side because you got them out of an awkward situation! The other thing is not a secret at all. You need to follow up! One of the managing directors in my team told me that during each seminar he collects on average 150 business cards, which is huge. Since he can’t keep up with all those people he puts all the business cards in his drawer for two weeks. Out of the 150 people who left business cards, only two or three follow up with an email. So after two weeks he takes them out, set aside the two or three business cards of the people who sent him an email, and he trashes all the rest… That’s why you need to follow-up!

Nicolas: Very funny anecdote but it’s so true. Some of my clients are all excited because they spoke to a MD at a networking event…guess what? 100 other people did just what you did, and only two or three are going to follow up…

Will: Exactly but this is not only for MDs, follow up with everyone for at least one phone call and then add the most interesting people to your network.

About Nicolas

Since 2011, I’ve worked with 100+ Investment Banking and Corporate Finance professionals to help them land their dream job. Investment Banking gigs at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Lazard. Corporate finance jobs at Google, Paypal and much more. From Analyst to Managing Directors, I’ve coached my clients on their networking technique and their LinkedIn profiles; I edited their resumes and cover letters, and grilled them during intensive interview preparation sessions. You may have originally discovered me through my work as an Associate Editor at Mergers & Inquisitions where I’ve been writing for over 200,000 readers. I also give speeches on recruiting and career performance in front of large audiences including Fortune 1000 CEOs, executives and… ambassadors! In 2014, given the amazing results we achieved with my clients I decided to quit my financial analyst job, work full time on coaching and I launched 300 Finance Gurus to dig even deeper into the art of finance recruiting. I am now going to grill 300 Managing Directors, CFOs, VPs, Associates and Analysts as well as headhunters and other coaches to give you the best of the best so you can skyrocket your finance career.