Cambridge maths, still rejected without interview

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Mechkov
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#1
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#1
So I am a second year maths student in Cambridge. I've read quite a lot on banking (+ some stuff on consultancy) and I started reading on it even before I graduated from high school. I've spent a fair bit of time on crafting my CV. And, when I applied for summer internships, I still got rejected by every single bank without even an interview(same case with 1st year spring weeks). What can I be doing wrong? I applied to a lot of places, so purely statistically, if I am not complete ****, someone should've at least called me to an interview. I applied to a few non-banking/consultancy jobs and the situation was the same. I went to the careers centre of my uni and the guy there said that my CV looks fine (apart from the complete lack of work experience) and I should just keep trying. But since I am not from the UK, I'd really like to get at least a decent job straight away after graduation, so I need to do really well next year in terms of applying to various positions. Maybe this is the wrong subforum, because my issue right now is more "I want to get any at least half-decent job" and not just "I wanna be a banker, guys!". So yeah, what can I be doing wrong?
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Melthusa
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#2
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#2
Are you white and male by any chance? Banking internships are known to be over-zealous when it comes to diversity from what I've heard.
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Alex_Aits
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#3
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(Original post by Mechkov)
So I am a second year maths student in Cambridge. I've read quite a lot on banking (+ some stuff on consultancy) and I started reading on it even before I graduated from high school. I've spent a fair bit of time on crafting my CV. And, when I applied for summer internships, I still got rejected by every single bank without even an interview(same case with 1st year spring weeks). What can I be doing wrong? I applied to a lot of places, so purely statistically, if I am not complete ****, someone should've at least called me to an interview. I applied to a few non-banking/consultancy jobs and the situation was the same. I went to the careers centre of my uni and the guy there said that my CV looks fine (apart from the complete lack of work experience) and I should just keep trying. But since I am not from the UK, I'd really like to get at least a decent job straight away after graduation, so I need to do really well next year in terms of applying to various positions. Maybe this is the wrong subforum, because my issue right now is more "I want to get any at least half-decent job" and not just "I wanna be a banker, guys!". So yeah, what can I be doing wrong?
If I were you I wouldn't worry too much - I have a brother at Cambridge also, studying economics - applied for 25+ jobs and only just got a placement after months of rejections, in similar fields to those which you are applying for! All I can say is persist, and good luck!
Also, any advice for maths applications? Planning on applying for maths / economics so any advice would be appreciated!
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Mechkov
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(Original post by Melthusa)
Are you white and male by any chance? Banking internships are known to be over-zealous when it comes to diversity from what I've heard.
White, male, straight. I am Bulgarian though, so if they want diversity, I am not such a bad choice.

(Original post by Alex_Aits)
If I were you I wouldn't worry too much - I have a brother at Cambridge also, studying economics - applied for 25+ jobs and only just got a placement after months of rejections, in similar fields to those which you are applying for! All I can say is persist, and good luck!
Also, any advice for maths applications? Planning on applying for maths / economics so any advice would be appreciated!
Cheers for the optimism boost. When it comes to maths, I am not the best person to give advice, as I only did STEP, without A Levels. When it comes to the interview, make sure you're comfortable with drawing graphs and have a really good grasp on all the concepts from your A levels. As for STEP I was preparing on my own and the only way to get good that way is to do a lot of questions. Not easy, but simple. If you put the time in, you'll be fine. If you have someone to help you with preparing for STEP, just do what they tell you.
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PrincePauper
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(Original post by Mechkov)
So I am a second year maths student in Cambridge. I've read quite a lot on banking (+ some stuff on consultancy) and I started reading on it even before I graduated from high school. I've spent a fair bit of time on crafting my CV. And, when I applied for summer internships, I still got rejected by every single bank without even an interview(same case with 1st year spring weeks). What can I be doing wrong? I applied to a lot of places, so purely statistically, if I am not complete ****, someone should've at least called me to an interview. I applied to a few non-banking/consultancy jobs and the situation was the same. I went to the careers centre of my uni and the guy there said that my CV looks fine (apart from the complete lack of work experience) and I should just keep trying. But since I am not from the UK, I'd really like to get at least a decent job straight away after graduation, so I need to do really well next year in terms of applying to various positions. Maybe this is the wrong subforum, because my issue right now is more "I want to get any at least half-decent job" and not just "I wanna be a banker, guys!". So yeah, what can I be doing wrong?
Thats the big one. You have never worked in your life. It will never be an easy walk into an investment bank or anything else without experience.

Do you have any ECs? Sports?
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Szmessh
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Mechkov)
So I am a second year maths student in Cambridge. I've read quite a lot on banking (+ some stuff on consultancy) and I started reading on it even before I graduated from high school. I've spent a fair bit of time on crafting my CV. And, when I applied for summer internships, I still got rejected by every single bank without even an interview(same case with 1st year spring weeks). What can I be doing wrong? I applied to a lot of places, so purely statistically, if I am not complete ****, someone should've at least called me to an interview. I applied to a few non-banking/consultancy jobs and the situation was the same. I went to the careers centre of my uni and the guy there said that my CV looks fine (apart from the complete lack of work experience) and I should just keep trying. But since I am not from the UK, I'd really like to get at least a decent job straight away after graduation, so I need to do really well next year in terms of applying to various positions. Maybe this is the wrong subforum, because my issue right now is more "I want to get any at least half-decent job" and not just "I wanna be a banker, guys!". So yeah, what can I be doing wrong?
- if you are really set on banking give in 200$ for the WSO resume review service NOW, they'll gear you up real good. get their personalized advice so you can prepare for next year grad recruitment. You are already at a big disadvantage, so gotta work hard, OR alternatively you could:
- care no more if you are really good at math (mental math, prob/stat/gametheory/brainteasers/guesstimations); apply to jane st, or any other brand-name prop trading firm for that matter, then retire before 30. they recruit year round for summer internships and since your a cambridge maths student you'll get an interview anyday. they'll care zero about what you know about the markets, how's your CV, or what your experience is, they care only about getting the right answer for their questions. basically fully technical interviews with several rounds. will be difficult to make it, but given your background there's a reasonable chance.
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Mechkov
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#7
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#7
(Original post by PrincePauper)
Thats the big one. You have never worked in your life. It will never be an easy walk into an investment bank or anything else without experience.

Do you have any ECs? Sports?
Rowing, I was the Lower Boats' Captain in my college this year.


(Original post by Szmessh)
- if you are really set on banking give in 200$ for the WSO resume review service NOW, they'll gear you up real good. get their personalized advice so you can prepare for next year grad recruitment. You are already at a big disadvantage, so gotta work hard, OR alternatively you could:
- care no more if you are really good at math (mental math, prob/stat/gametheory/brainteasers/guesstimations); apply to jane st, or any other brand-name prop trading firm for that matter, then retire before 30. they recruit year round for summer internships and since your a cambridge maths student you'll get an interview anyday. they'll care zero about what you know about the markets, how's your CV, or what your experience is, they care only about getting the right answer for their questions. basically fully technical interviews with several rounds. will be difficult to make it, but given your background there's a reasonable chance.
Cheers, will look into them.
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webuffett
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Mechkov)
Rowing, I was the Lower Boats' Captain in my college this year.




Cheers, will look into them.
Wow, that is quite unfortunate, although not unusual in these times. Don't give up hope, the world hasn't got mad and a Maths degree from Cambridge is still good going

Anyway, the lack of work experience is an issue, it is probably one that is only going to get worse. Something that I have seen other people in similar situations do is try and get something back at home, so Bulgaria for you. There is far less competition and you can usually get something with more responsibility than here.

If this isn't an option, you might also think about sending letters/emails to people outside of graduate schemes. Graduate schemes at the moment are brutal and it is very hard to get something, even with experience, through them. You may not get a job directly but building up contacts and gaining knowledge is useful, it results in more and more opportunities. Being near London is a huge advantage (there are more and more places in Oxford now that would probably be of interest to you as well) as there is basically an unlimited amount of people to contact in every possible field. Another option is doing the above but looking outside London, again unlimited opportunity.

The other thing you might do is think about how you can create opportunities/work experience for yourself. You can do this by getting in contact with people but there are probably some other useful things you can do. For example, I wanted to work in investment management so I started a website publishing my investment ideas. You get the idea.
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Mr Chang
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#9
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#9
I think the only reason you didn't get anything was because they saw you and put you under a category of 'oxbridge/lse kids who don't actually have any interest in banking and think they will get a job because of where they study', even if this is totally wrong in your case, it is the only explanation that makes sense to me.

What about relevant society's eg investments society? If you lack these, AND work experience, they definitely put you into the category I described above. Lucky for you you have ticked arguably the hardest box, I mean maths at cambs is pretty incredible on paper. Just sort the other two out and you'll be good to go.

If ultimately you don't make it, just become an actuary. You'll be on 6 figures in no time. Don't stress my friend, you are set whatever way you look at it with the degree you are doing.
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Mechkov
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#10
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Thanks, webuffet, I already started looking for internships back home and submitted an application.

As for investement societies, Mr Chang, I am a member, but have never stood on a committee or anything.
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redferry
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#11
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#11
Did you have any phone interviews? If so it could be your accent. My boyfriend had trouble and he's only from the North of England...
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FDR
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#12
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(Original post by Mechkov)
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It's definitely incredibly unlucky given your impressive profile (Maths at Cambridge, rower, presumably bilingual).

I think one factor could be on the application itself - i.e the motivational questions that most applications require, that ask why you want to apply for a particular division, company, and what you know about finance, and why you want to go into it. Usually HR will just skim over it, or not even read it, but given your profile, they'd probably read what you've put, and perhaps that's what needs work?

You said you've had your CV looked at, so perhaps when filling out such motivational questions, you could get them checked by careers advisors etc before submitting them? Even if you don't get an internship this summer, I'd bet that you'd still stand a solid chance at getting a grad job.
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miml
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#13
Lol, good luck with Jane Street, respectable firm but ridiculous interviews and there is no way that level of maths is needed (the questions aren't particularly creative, they are more interested in speed). I did interview with them - they basically want mathmos other STEM grads who are not only exceptional at maths, but also able to explain it. If you've done any tutoring/teaching mention it on their online application form. Don't bother with the why us BS that you have to do for banks, they'll really only focus on maths for rounds 1-4/5. Tbh it's not really worth the effort, but go for it if you want.

Make sure your CV is formatted correctly - just use the M&I version. Make sure your cover letter/competency question answers fit your story. In fact, the single most important factor in getting an interview/job is nailing your story. And also make sure you have a demonstrated interest in finance - personal trading account/blog on the economy/write articles for finance magazine etc.

And if all else fails, theres always big 4.
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Szmessh
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(Original post by miml)
Lol, good luck with Jane Street, respectable firm but ridiculous interviews and there is no way that level of maths is needed (the questions aren't particularly creative, they are more interested in speed). I did interview with them - they basically want mathmos other STEM grads who are not only exceptional at maths, but also able to explain it. If you've done any tutoring/teaching mention it on their online application form. Don't bother with the why us BS that you have to do for banks, they'll really only focus on maths for rounds 1-4/5. Tbh it's not really worth the effort, but go for it if you want.

Make sure your CV is formatted correctly - just use the M&I version. Make sure your cover letter/competency question answers fit your story. In fact, the single most important factor in getting an interview/job is nailing your story. And also make sure you have a demonstrated interest in finance - personal trading account/blog on the economy/write articles for finance magazine etc.

And if all else fails, theres always big 4.
To which round did you make it? I wanted them so bad but then I realized I am missing the technical equipment necessary which would be brainpower.
I'd disagree though on not worthing the effort, I mean they are the best in their industry and given that their last summer class consisted basically only of natsci/math guys from Cambridge the guy might actually have a chance.
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ihavemooedtoday
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#15
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#15
I don't know much about investment banking, but in general, getting the first job is always the hardest. I know many people from quite a few fields that only get 1-2 interviews from 20-30 applications.

Hiring someone with no experience is a big risk for the employer, and many employers don't want to take that risk.

Just imagine you are the employer going through CVs - you see a guy that seems nice and with a pretty nice CV, but no work experience. And then you see one that's almost as nice, but that guy already has 2-3 related jobs. Which one would you pick?

The problem is probably just that there are enough people who are as well qualified as you academically, and with job experience, so that employers don't really have to take risks with people with no work experience.

I would say just keep applying. You'll get a job eventually, and it may not be exactly your dream job, but it will make finding jobs much easier in the future.

Or maybe going to a less popular place where employers don't have as big a selection?
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RibenaRockstar
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#16
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#16
Get a job at McDonald's over the summer. For me that made the difference between having a fairly okay CV with good academics but no real work experience and having a CV good enough to get me to an assessment centre with one of the UK's leading insurance firms, where I was ranked one of the very top candidates, which means if this summer goes well I shall have a grad job lined up two years before I graduate.
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miml
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#17
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(Original post by Szmessh)
To which round did you make it? I wanted them so bad but then I realized I am missing the technical equipment necessary which would be brainpower.
I'd disagree though on not worthing the effort, I mean they are the best in their industry and given that their last summer class consisted basically only of natsci/math guys from Cambridge the guy might actually have a chance.
Got to round 3. Managed to do the questions fine, in fact I think their questions are pretty easy if you have a good understanding of conditional probability and know a few counting arguments. But making the markets on your answers is hard - especially without actually reading about what making a market actually means.

I'm more interested in M&A/advisory than trading, and applied in my second year (4 year course) to just see if I could get a free ticket to NY.
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Szmessh
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#18
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(Original post by miml)
Got to round 3. Managed to do the questions fine, in fact I think their questions are pretty easy if you have a good understanding of conditional probability and know a few counting arguments. But making the markets on your answers is hard - especially without actually reading about what making a market actually means.

I'm more interested in M&A/advisory than trading, and applied in my second year (4 year course) to just see if I could get a free ticket to NY.
Wow that's very good. So you don't necessarily have to be genius? I mean last year their summer intern class was full of camridge guys, most of them IMO finalists.. lol I mean how could anyone stand a chance
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pmc:producer
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#19
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(Original post by Melthusa)
Are you white and male by any chance? Banking internships are known to be over-zealous when it comes to diversity from what I've heard.
Jesus Christ give yourself a break.
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pmc:producer
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#20
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Also OP, your situation is unfortunate but you come across (the title at least) like you should be automatically given priority as you're at Cambridge. Poor mistake to make.

Good luck moving forward.
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