August 19, 2014
Why I Had to Say No to an Investment Banking Internship Offer
After sending hundreds of resumes to different investment banks, I finally got an interview with a boutique investment bank (in spite of me not being from a "target" B-school). I was interviewed by three different people including the president of the firm. The questions asked were typical investment banking interview questions such as "Do you know Financial Modeling?", "Do you have an experience of valuing a company?" and "Mention details about a recent IPO".
Every question was answered fine. My undergraduate degree in biotechnology engineering was the biggest plus point as the firm was interested in someone who could understand and value a biotechnology firm. Also, my two year work experience at a manufacturing firm and my current MBA in Finance and Business Analytics program added to the chances of me getting hired as an intern. The president and the other interviewers liked my experience and were willing to take me as an intern provided I did not demand any compensation. However, at that time my financial situation was not very sound and I could not afford to travel everyday from Long Island to New York City which would cost me extra $600 per month.
The president asked me if I would be willing to take that position. I thought twice before speaking and told him that I would need some compensation in order to accept that offer. He mentioned that he would hire me as intern right away if I did not demand compensation. However, now he would have to reconsider and talk to the budgeting department of the firm to check if they could compensate me for that position. I followed up after a few weeks but I did not get a reply. I assumed that they had found another candidate who did not demand any compensation. I asked again after a few months if I could join the firm for fall internship but the answer was a "no".
After this incident, I learned two valuable lessons:
1. You don't have to necessarily be a student/graduate from an Ivy League School to get offer/interview from an investment bank.
2. You need to be prepared for this kind of opportunity as it might not strike again.