Last year, around 10,000 people applied for vacancies of around 300 Goldman Sachs’ summer program in IBD, which rounds off to roughly 3% acceptance rate. Naturally, if one wants to forge a career in Investment Banking, one needs to utilize every tool to gain an advantage and one of the most important tools is networking.

Networking is a very simple process and helps applicants to distinguish themselves from other applicants. The process is centred around building relationships through informational interviews, reaching out to university alumni for a coffee or a phone call, and most importantly going to networking events that banks organize during recruitment season. Another form of networking could be in the form of cold calling boutique/local smaller investment banks to ask about job opportunities directly. Networking, if done right, can open doors for the applicant’s CV to be pushed to the top of the interview pile.

In order to network properly, you need to establish why you are interested in banking and what makes you stand out. Use LinkedIn or ask the career service for records of past alumni to create a list of names/emails to schedule a discussion.

Networking at the end of the day is not just about simply making connections, but about building a mutually beneficial professional relationship with the other party that can benefit both parties.

Additional “tools”

Financial modelling courses – There are many online courses available that can be purchased to enhance excel knowledge and provide a competitive advantage. These courses teach users how to build complex merger models, DCF models, and LBO models even before having an internship. Good courses include BIWS courses (breaking into wall street) and Wall Street Oasis Prep.

Reading – Reading helps to understand the industry and unravel what Investment Banking actually is, putting you in a better position to answer technical questions. Some book recommendations include: Monkey Business, Liars Poker Vault Career Guide to Investment Banking and Investment Banking Explained: An Inside Guide to the Industry.

External Coaching – One can pay industry coaches to provide guidance through the entire recruitment process from networking to assessment centres. They will help brand the applicant and improve the technical knowledge and interview competencies of the applicant.

Social Mobility and BAME organisations – Companies such as SEO London, Rare Recruitment, EmployAbility and UpReach are dedicated to making the finance industry a more diverse place. Becoming a member of these organisations could give you access to exclusive events with firms, mock interviews and the opportunity to get your CV and Cover Letter checked.