MFin Career Question of the Week: How can I effectively ask for referrals and what should my expectations be?

At Professional Development Day, a recruiter panel shared valuable insights with students. One of the questions discussed was: How can I effectively ask for referrals and what should my expectations be?

Key Ideas:

  • Build Relationships: Referrals go beyond transactions. Focus on genuine connections. Understand the person’s background, interests, and commonalities before seeking referrals.
  • Consider Relationship Dynamics: The strength of your relationship matters. Assess their place in your network and your shared history. Positive ongoing conversations can increase referral likelihood.
  • Navigate Industry Nuances: Different industries have distinct referral processes. In fields like banking, referrals might involve multiple interactions before progressing to interviews

Additional Tips Shared:

  • Expand Network: At the end of networking conversations, consider asking the person for recommendations on who else you should connect with. This demonstrates your proactive approach to expand your network.
  • Flexibility in Scheduling: When proposing networking meetings, express your willingness to adjust your schedule based on the contact’s availability. Showing flexibility enhances the potential for successful meetings.
  • Timely Outreach in IB: In the realm of Investment Banking, it’s advisable to reach out to shared contacts within 24-48 hours after receiving their information. This pace aligns with the fast-paced nature of the industry, maintains momentum, and demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in speaking with the contact and that you value their time.
By MIT Sloan CDO