As summer analyst recruiting season continues and superdays near, Wall Street has been having a laugh with one New York University applicant who, to say the least, took a surprisingly dogged approach with his cover letter.
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"I am unequivocally the most unflaggingly hard worker I know, and I love self-improvement. I have always felt that my time should be spent wisely, so I continuously challenge myself ... I decided to redouble my effort by placing out of two classes, taking two honors classes, and holding two part-time jobs. That semester I achieved a 3.93, and in the same time I managed to bench double my bodyweight and do 35 pull-ups."
Since Thursday, February 2, when a Bank of America Merrill Lynch director forwarded the cover letter out to his entire team, offering drinks "to the first analyst to concisely summarize everything that is wrong with" the note, it has passed through more than a dozen firms.
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Already investment banking and accounting teams at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Nomura, Citi, Deutsche Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Wells Fargo, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Perella Weinberg Partners, and Barclays Capital have read the note, along with the student's relatively robust resume.
The letter, which read with perhaps a tad much hubris, comes at a time when summer recruiting is at its peak and anxiety among the nation's junior class is high. Resume drop days, or the deadline when resumes must be received, have largely passed, and students are now in the throes of first round interviews and superdays. [Also see: Best College Majors For The Real World]
Superdays, which summer applicants are only now receiving invite to, are day long events where students are interviewed by entire teams of analysts, sometimes as many as four or five in a row, at a company's headquarters.
Each bank has slightly different habits, but the questions generally follow the same script: Walk me through a balance sheet and income statement? How would you value a company in this industry? Why our bank? What stocks are you bullish on?
Inside NYU the email has also gotten play, with graduates of the Stern School of Business taking a shot at their liberal arts college peer.
Collegial cover letters do not always stand out among the thousands of pages in any university resume book, which is a collection of an entire undergraduate class's CVs. Human resource analysts generally don't get past the first few lines, especially when they have tens of thousands to read, making this letter all the more noteworthy.
The reception so far to this cover letter has been mixed. While it certainly stood out, investment banking directors value some form of humility.
Below, the full cover letter submitted to NYU, redacted where necessary.