Bank Day At Top IIMs – How to handle yourself when the placement game begins…

You wake up on Day 0. The day when the most coveted jobs on campus are on offer. Unlike other days, you don’t even need an alarm to wake up. Excitement is running all through you. You have your shirt ironed out. The elegant navy blue (or black) suit ready. Shoes polished and shining. Your first day as a banker. You suit up and start walking. Your chest a little broader than usual today. No fear, no anxiety, no nervousness. You walk in confidently to sign your agreement. In the next 5 mins, you walk out of the placement room with a job. No interview. No questions. It is all smiles and you are among the first ones in your batch to get placed. Sounds like a dream right? Well it does feel like a dream too. But whether you live this dream or not depends on how you handle yourself on the Bank Day!

Unlike consultants who distinguish themselves by organizing lavish dinners for the candidates, banks prefer a flank attack. They swamp around on the campus just a day before placements begin, conduct their interviews and give out their offers (unofficially) even before the placements begin!

If I have to describe Bank Day in just 2 words, that would be simple; “Game Theory”. A large no. of banks come on campus to recruit from a no. of students who have been shortlisted by multiple banks. What students often forget is their bargaining power. We are so desperate to get placed that it is very easy to forget we have the power to actually negotiate and to make a choice. We put ourselves at the mercy of whoever offers the job first. Hence, it is very important to treat the Bank Day as “Game Theory”; where both the players i.e. the banks as well as you, have great bargaining power, and both are looking for a match to be made to arrive at an equilibrium. Hence, here are a few tips on how to handle yourself on this significant day:

  • Remember that you have multiple shortlists and you must evaluate each of them very thoroughly.
  • First decide on the line of work (Investment Banking, Markets, Equity Trading, Private Equity, etc.) and only then decide on the Bank preferences.
  • Your day might progress slowly as these banks have a lengthy PPT and interview process. Be Patient. Your chance will come.
  • Never lie about your preferences. This is probably the most important rule. If you lie, you are done. You won’t get placed. Period. So be honest.
  • Have your priorities set in your head and do not change them at the last minute. Again, be patient.

These are just some rough rules that you must follow. What is important to remember is that the Banks want you just as much as you want them. It is all about reaching an equilibrium. With banks, a very important factor to consider is buddy calls. These are highly evaluative in nature so take them very seriously. These usually happen over the run up to the Bank Day. Based on how these calls go, you will usually have a fair idea about which bank prefers you. This is an important factor to consider as the probability of getting into a bank that prefers you is far higher than a bank that you dream about but doesn’t prefer you. Always go for the bird in hand rather than the 2 in the bush.

The most important quality on this day is your composure. The more calm and composed you are, the more assured you will be. Bank Day is not just about how well you give the interview. It is more about how well you use the position you are in. How well you prioritize. And most importantly, how well you deal with pressure. After all, isn’t that what Banking is all about?

Amol Aranake

Chartered Accountant May 2016 IIM Bangalore PGP 2017-19