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New York City, NY, United States
Traveler, Businessman, Student, Leader, Learner.

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.


KK said...

I liked how you could afford to say no to them. Most people I know, including me of course, wouldn't have had the guts to reject the bank.

About your lesson #2, I would not worry. We are young and silly, so the future is ours :-)

gaurav gupta said...

I was expecting your comment, buddy. Well, if we talk about guts, it was not a thing that one should do, but the circumstances at that time led me to do that.

I agree. Perseverance will lead us to bright futures. We will have to keep following our dreams and therefore keep working hard in order to achieve them.

apurv vispute said...

No harm in rejecting an offer or an opportunity if it doesn't do justice to your needs. There is nothing wrong in expecting the right things.

Robert J Hardy said...

I admire your honesty and think you made a very sound judgement. I personally always hired summer interns but paid them. Its a disgrace the way internships are handled. In the bigger picture you will do fine.When I gave my notice to my first employer that I was leaving they made me a counteroffer which I declined. It was a firm owned by Goldman Sachs, the senior partner offered me a job for life IF I would stay. They had stripped my position of almost all job duties but increased my pay.

gaurav gupta said...

Thank you very much, Bob.

You are right, many of the internship position offers that I come across are unpaid. Even if I am offered those positions, I have to think twice and decide between my living expenses and the opportunities that I have to forego. It is most of the times a lose-lose situation.