Why you need to stop studying and start networking!
Recently, I met with a student who had just finished his MBA and wanted to get a front office job at a bank. Upon meeting this particular student and listening to his story I felt bad for him. He was extremely stressed out and faced the harsh reality that many international students are confronted with upon graduation: get a job or go home. Overwhelmed with panic and fear, he was worried it was too late to succeed and he was going to disappoint his parents. First thing is first, it is never too late to succeed!
He told me that during his MBA program, he spent all his time studying to achieve the best marks. He continually repeated that he had some of the top marks in his program, but still had not been successful in getting interviews. He thought that if he earned the top marks, employers would be waiting to hire him at the finish line. This student like many before him was forced to come to terms with the truth: TRANSCRIPTS DON’T GET YOU A JOB.
This thought, that if I get the top marks I will certainly get the job I want, is a common belief amongst students and this is how I used to think as well. The reality, however, is that MARKS ARE NOT EVERYTHING! Do not be confused by this statement. I am not saying that good grades are not important. If you do not have good grades you will never get an interview for a capital markets job, but if you want to be a capital markets professional,your transcript is just the beginning.
Good marks are a minimum requirement and that is all they are, they are not a guarantee. A new job posting at an investment bank will receive hundreds, if not thousands of applicants. If you want to be a candidate that gets an interview, you need to set yourself apart. You have to stand out from the others, either by work experience, knowing someone or luck. Marks are usually not enough alone to make you standout. The majority of applicants have an average above 80%. Students often think that boosting their average from 90% to 92% will set them apart and get them the job. The sad truth is that the person reading the resume will not even notice the difference. If you want a job and already have good marks, you need to drop the books and take action. Let me explain.
With a background in economics and finance, I like to think of things by using the concepts we learned in ECO 101. Let us analyze the impact of better grades on the likelihood of getting a job:
Quickly rehashing our first year economics course, let us think of the chance of getting a job as an increasing function dependent on better grades, i.e. as your grades go up so does your likelihood of getting a job. This is line A.The function exhibits decreasing marginal returns, meaning that as your marks get higher, the impact of each additional percent increase in marks results in a smaller increase in your chances of getting a job. A good way to think about this is: the chance of getting a job with an 85% average and a 95% average are not that different, all else equal.
However, networking can drastically change the probability of getting a job with any GPA. In our graph, networking is an exogenous variable that shifts the curve higher for every GPAs level. This means that your chances of getting a job are HIGHER at ALL GPAs! This is depicted in the below graph as the line A shifts higher to line B.
If you want to be an investment banker or capital markets professional and you have not met with at least ten people in that field, you are not serious about getting a job. The knowledge you gain in networking will blow your mind. Networking will build your confidence; open doors that you did not know existed, and most importantly allow you to learn how to begin to sell yourself.
Often students tell me they are nervous or do not know how to reach out to people without sounding desperate. So let BreakingBayStreet help you with this. Be one of the first 5 people to post a request to connect in the comments below and one of our founders will meet with you or take a call with you personally. They will give you 30 minutes and to answer whatever questions you have and provide advice on how to begin your networking journey.
In my next post I will explain to you why networking is so important and give you some tips and tricks to help you along the way.
Meet you at the top!