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The Investment Banking Superday

Jimmy Khan

Oct 21, 2022 17:10


Describe a Superday.

Superday Meaning: A Superday interview is the last stage of the process in investment banking recruitment for Analysts and Associates in North America, during which you meet and interview with 3-6 bankers over the course of many hours on the same day.

Superdays are also used by several Big 4 companies, private equity firms, hedge funds, and non-IB divisions of banks (such as sales & trading and back/middle-office teams).

But since that's the subject of our website, we're concentrating on IB interviews.

Banks often employ Superday interviews to find undergrad and MBA summer interns; lateral hiring is where they are less popular.

Outside of the process of converting an internship to a full-time position, there aren't many full-time employment opportunities, but if there are, Superdays may be one of them.

Superdays take occur long in advance since internship recruitment in the U.S. now starts a year (or more) before real internships; however, the precise date varies by bank and how much each one "accelerates" its process.

Selection for Interviews and the Process Earlier than Superday

There were multiple phases leading up to the Superday in the distant past (the 2000s and the early 2010s), including an on-campus interview and one or more phone interviews.

Although some of these processes still take place at the MBA level, banks streamlined and automated the recruitment process at the undergraduate level in order to save time and money.

As a consequence, the procedure for undergrad internships now runs like this:

Post a résumé and apply online.

Consider taking online assessments from companies like Pymetrics that purport to gauge your skill in areas like pitch book writing, client/team engagement, and financial analysis.

For the "first round interview," complete a HireVue and uncomfortably record some generic responses to some generic questions.

The most often asked questions are: How important are Pymetrics, the HireVue interview, etc.? Does it include people? A genuine banker looks through your responses, right?

How important are networking and your resume? If they choose who to connect with based on trivia questions and pre-recorded responses, is networking useless? Is it still possible to leverage your CV to your advantage?

I'll start with the first query: in my opinion, the most of them are "check the checkbox" kind of questions.

They serve primarily the purpose of reducing the number of applicants who are invited to Superday interviews, in other words.

Even if you offer a wonderful pre-recorded response to one question in a HireVue, they may still be able to harm you if you make a mistake.

Bankers officially "review" HireVue replies, but they often multitask and are occupied with other tasks, calls, or crises and aren't paying attention to every detail.

The good news is that not all banks care about or utilize Pymetrics scores yet, even if nobody appears to understand how they precisely operate (JPM is the most prominent firm that buys into it).

Regarding question #2, the answer is yes, albeit maybe not as much as they formerly did.

Your CV will be reviewed by at least one person, and lenders still check for the standard information, such your school, major, GPA, employment history, and interests and hobbies.

If you're an undergraduate, you should include entries that distinguish you from a robot intern and give the impression that you're a more human being.

The selection process generally boils down to who "looks intriguing" or has a personal connection when you have a high enough GPA (often >= 3.5) and a few good internships. This is why networking is still important.

Industry experience is particularly important at the MBA level since you are expected to join and contribute right away to a particular team as a "sector specialist."

As a result of the absence of on-campus interviews, alumni sometimes check resumes from their alma institution, although this could be less frequent for undergraduate students.

If you make it through this first screening, you will often hear back within a few weeks and go on to the Superday.


How to Get Ready for Superday

Because they tend to be OCD, Type-A personalities, many students "prepare" by reading every interview guide and memorizing every possible technical question.

However, this approach is wholly incorrect.

You may spend time studying about or revisiting Topic X if you believe that you are poor in a certain technical area or that you don't know enough about it.

But let's face it, if you've read this far, you're probably well-prepared for queries about investment banking (and if not, read the linked article).

I would advise concentrating on the three elements indicated at the beginning of this essay, assuming you are sure about the three most frequent interview questions:

Consistency: What have you previously disclosed about yourself to others at this bank? Do you make reference to earlier discussions and interviews during subsequent Superday interviews? Do you tell the same tale to each person?

What do you like to do for fun? How can you stand out from the other uninteresting candidates that lenders will interview? Do you leave the interview with precise, revealing questions that make you stand out favorably?

Culture: How well do you get along with the rest of the team? Can you identify any shared passions or past experiences and emphasize them?

Knowing people's names from prior informational interviews or actual interviews and citing your talks may make a difference, even if they are basic things.

Logistics are important; if this Superday is physical rather than virtual, research the venue and practice getting there a few days in advance to avoid getting lost.

Additionally, make sure you are dressed appropriately (business-casual) and that the appropriate setting is available if the interviews are conducted virtually (lighting, no noise, background blur, complete focus, no other running programs, etc.).


The Superday of Investment Banking: Logistics and Interviewers

Before Superdays in the past, banks sometimes hosted networking parties with the candidates.

These occurrences could still occur periodically, although they're probably less often today because of rising automation, remote labor, pandemic limitations that never cease, and other factors.

If they do arrange a networking event, you should go and use the customary networking techniques to leave a good impression on everyone.

The Superday itself could take place in person, virtually, or both.

The most typical method is to conduct back-to-back 30-minute interviews with three to six bankers.

The majority of them will be 1-on-1 interviews, although 2-on-1 ones are still conceivable.

Since Analysts and Associates no longer do on-campus interviews and have more flexible schedules than VPs and MDs, the interviewers will be drawn from all levels.

Online, you may read of individuals getting interviews with 10, 15, or even 20 bankers in a single Superday, but this is very improbable simply because of scheduling.

Case studies are conceivable but not very often; when they are, they will likely be casual or very straightforward.

Unless you are a lateral hire, you shouldn't anticipate taking a 3-statement modeling exam or using an LBO model.

The number of applicants will depend on the size of the bank and the dates of the hiring process, but if a bulge bracket bank is holding one Superday every one to two weeks, you may anticipate a few dozen applicants (for example, 20 to 35).

Half of those numbers may be found in regional offices, while lesser numbers may be found in intermediate markets, upscale boutiques, and local boutiques.


Give Me the Odds, Please! - The Superday Offer Rate

Everyone is interested in knowing the precise conversion rate to internship offers for each bank, team, and location, but nobody has that information.

Additionally, as some persons get many offers from other organizations or institutions, there is a disparity between the offer rate and the hiring rate.

The typical Superday has a 30-40% offer rate and a 20-30% hiring rate, if I had to specify a range.

Although the actual percentage will vary from office to office, it would be very unusual for more than 50% of applicants to accept offers or for fewer than 10% to do so.

These rates also demonstrate the value of submitting several bank applications and attending numerous Superday interviews.

You can have a 30% chance of receiving an offer if you simply finish one Superday.

However, your odds of obtaining at least one offer improve to 1 - (1 - 30%) 5 = 83% if you go through 5 Superdays, each with a 30% offer rate.

Additionally, your odds of winning at least one offer are 97% with 10 Superdays.

Therefore, if you want a decent chance of getting at least one offer, you should aim for at least 4-5 Superdays.

In terms of overall numbers, each year, banks all around the globe recruit a few thousand new IB Analysts.

The first application numbers might be in the "mid-tens-of-thousands" (for instance, 30,000–50,000) or higher.

Therefore, based on the assumptions, your odds generally don't seem to be great: they may range from 3 to 10%.

However, this is misleading since the majority of applicants submit several applications, and these numbers do not reflect distinct applicants. In addition, a large portion of applicants are not eligible and are only submitting to "see what happens."

The bottom line is that you have a strong chance of receiving at least one offer if you put up a lot of work and effort, are qualified, and apply broadly enough to attend at least 4-5 Superday interviews.

How to Increase Your Chances and the Superday Selection Process

The participating bankers "huddle together," either online or physically, and talk about everyone they met once the interviews on a Superday are over.

You wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall during this conversation unless you wanted to damage your self-esteem since it is really frank.

As they continue down the list, bankers with strong opinions in one direction or the other will speak out first, followed by others who will either confirm or refute their opinions.

Here, it's crucial to comprehend two things:

Because so many factors, including people's emotions, client issues, lack of sleep, and workplace politics, may influence the outcomes, there is a significant degree of unpredictability. Even unreliable information about certain candidates, such as rumors, might have an influence.

Because everyone will be well-prepared, have strong grades, internships, etc., selection will come down to fit. By engaging the interviewees in conversation away from work-related issues, you stand out.

The second argument has certain exceptions; for instance, you may stand out in highly technical groups and at exclusive shops if you have better technical abilities.

But in the major banks' conventional industrial groupings, anything fits if you reach a certain degree of technical ability.

You should apply to several businesses and cast a broad net because even though your answers are the same, you can get excellent results from one lender but poor ones from another.

You may increase your chances in addition to finding out your perspective and "interesting point" in your narrative by: Keeping track of the individuals you meet and collecting notes on your interviews as soon as they are over (try the backs of business cards). Then, you may include these ideas in subsequent interviews and thank-you letters.

focusing on building excellent relationships with a small number of interviewees, as opposed to trying to win over five or six bankers. This approach is more practical, and your prospects are excellent if you can find one or two strong supporters with everyone else being indifferent to supportive. You may also keep in touch with these people and come back later if you don't get the offer.

finishing with some thoughtful inquiries. Wow them at the end, and you had a hit, says Robert McKee's character in the movie Adaptation. Even if you didn't get along with the interviewer, you may occasionally make things better in the closing minutes by asking insightful, detailed questions about their jobs or identifying shared passions, interests, or experiences.

What to do next and when can I expect a response after a Superday

Following your interview, you could be invited back for another one. This is nearly always a positive indication since it indicates you haven't been rejected yet.

Other team members may sometimes wish to meet you or refer you to a different team.

If you've been given an offer, you will often learn about it shortly after the interview—anywhere from a few hours to one or two days.

But there are exceptions, and for a variety of reasons, some applicants wind up receiving offers after many weeks (scheduling, travel, other people turning down offers, etc.).

The basic rule is that you are either "on hold" or have been soft-rejected if you haven't heard anything after around two days.

In this circumstance, all you can do is sometimes follow up and inquire about your status.

Since bankers make choices rapidly, it's crucial to send letters of gratitude as soon as possible (i.e., within 1-2 hours of your interviews).

Some people claim that these follow-up messages are ineffective, and they may be accurate.

Nevertheless, I still advise sending them since they are simple to write and, if done properly, have no drawbacks.

Use the following format in each email you send to the interviewers you talked with:

"Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today."

Thanks again for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon. "I enjoyed getting to know/learn about [Topic(s) you talked about with them, preferably career/personal relevant]," you write.

Include your response in this follow-up email if you were asked a technical issue that you were unable to answer but that you had promised to look into and address.


The Brief Superday Interview

The Superday interview is your greatest opportunity to stand out and showcase your individuality since the rest of the IB hiring process has grown impersonal and computerized.

Unfortunately, a lot of pupils approach it incorrectly by memorizing tens of thousands of interview questions and delivering the responses verbatim.

But if you do that, you'll seem robotic and fall flat with the interviewers.

You can spend time on such activities if you really need to analyze a certain fit, deal, or technical issue or if you believe that your tale may be made stronger.

However, you should devote the majority of your preparation time to finding out how to engage the interviewers, whether that be by reflecting on and bringing up prior encounters, highlighting the intriguing details of your background narrative, or doing both.

If you do that, you won't need 10 Superdays to get an offer.