A December Tradition on Wall Street

The Career Trek Series continues with double-feature coverage of Bank Week in New York City. The first post is from Felipe Marin, who provides us with an update of his investment banking recruiting experience.

As the deal flow and corporate meetings diminish around Wall Street and bankers prepare to enjoy the December festivities, Chicago Booth aspiring bankers flock to the Big Apple to participate in a long-standing tradition known as Bank Week. The week’s events are organized by Booth’s Investment Banking Group and more than twenty top Wall Street firms participate. By attending corporate presentations and personal meetings with bankers, Bank Week serves us the ultimate opportunity to showcase our interest and proficiency as potential bankers.

The fall quarter comes and goes, and somehow it seems to fly by faster than a thirty second time-lapsed photograph. At last, after a rigorous fall recruiting process and despite the intensity of final exams, future bankers must swiftly recoup and begin their pilgrimage to America’s finance epicenter. Essentially, Bank Week allows us to establish new relationships and fortify those that have been cultivated since early fall; it has served generations of Boothies as an effective conduit to catapult ourselves into the coveted interview list.

The truth is that the fall quarter investment banking recruiting process and Bank Week provide insight into the reality of what being a banker actually means. For as harsh as this may sound, this industry is quite intense and, therefore, appealing to many of us but certainly not to everyone. One must have a strong conviction, aptitude, and discipline to be successful in the recruiting process and, eventually, as a banker. After all, life on Wall Street will have many more intricacies than anything one could experience in an ephemeral week in New York City. Frankly, if the process were easy, obtaining an offer would not be nearly as rewarding as it will be after months of persevering.

I, of course, am biased. After all, I decided to come to Booth because I felt that this institution provides its students the best chances of success in investment banking recruiting, and I have not been disappointed. Bank Week has only reiterated what I deduced beforehand: banks know that Chicago Booth produces excellent bankers and they are not shy to display their excitement towards us. From CEOs to newly minted Associates, we were greeted with enthusiasm as we heard time and time again why we should choose to join their respective institutions.

Perhaps this might sound a bit masochist, but I actually enjoyed Bank Week’s frantic and energetic pace. Despite the busy schedule, the New York weather, and even how nerve-racking one-on-one informational chats with bankers can be, Bank Week has taken us one step closer to our professional dreams. Not surprisingly, Booth’s leadership has exceeded our expectations by organizing Bank Week. Someone once said that luck favors the well-prepared, and the administration at Booth seems to live by these words; we all embraced Bank Week and our level of preparation showed. But, it isn’t time to celebrate just yet. Investment banking interviews will take place in a couple of weeks and Wall Street will no longer be a distant dream. For now, it is time to continue our preparation for those challenging interviews and uphold the great Chicago Booth tradition of banking success.

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