Communications: Emails and Phone Calls

Especially in the earliest stages of career discernment, students will most frequently communicate with investment professionals through phone calls and emails. Despite the regularity with which we often employ these methods of communication in informal situations, there are certain conventions that students should follow when speaking to professionals through these means. Here are NDIGI’s tips on the right way to send emails and speak on the phone. 

Subject Line

Be specific in your email subject line. These professionals may be receiving upwards of 100 emails in a single day, so a message titled “Investment Banking Information” is unlikely to capture their attention. A subject line that is more explicit in your position and intentions, such as “Notre Dame Sophomore interested in Investment Banking at JP Morgan,” is far more likely to be seen and read by the professional. 

Greeting and Salutation 

It is best to always begin your email with a  greeting and conclude with a salutation or sign-off. Less formality is required when writing to an analyst or associate, and you may refer to the professional by his or her first name. When speaking to someone of a more senior position, such as a managing director, it is more appropriate to use “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or “Mrs.” and the person’s last name. 

No matter who you are writing to, however, you should never greet the professional with “Hey,” “What’s up,” “Yo,” or anything along these lines. Appropriate greetings include: 

“Good morning Mrs. Parker,”  

“Dear Mrs. Parker,”

“Mrs. Parker,” 

“Hi Mrs. Parker,” 

“Hi Peter,” 

“Good afternoon Peter,”

After writing the body of your email, include a salutation or sign-off before your name. Common examples of salutations include “Sincerely,” “Regards,” “From,” and “Best.” 

Content 

Keep your email concise. An introductory email to an analyst or associate should be no longer than a paragraph. It should, however, contain all pertinent information: who you are, how you came to know the addressee, and why you are interested in the field and specific firm. You should also include your resume for the professional’s reference. 

Again, when writing to an analyst or associate, you are able to be less formal. Writing to a managing director or someone of another senior position will require a higher level of professionalism. 

Below is an example of an introductory email:

Good Morning Arthur,

My name is Donna Moss and I am a sophomore finance major at Notre Dame. I have spoken with Roger Sterling and Joan Holloway in the past few weeks as well as other Goldman Sachs analysts at the Wall Street Forum, and they suggested that I reach out to you. I am very interested in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and I wanted to ask if you had time in the next week to speak over the phone about your experience at the firm as well as the recruiting process. 

I am sure you are very busy, and I appreciate any time you may have to speak over the phone. I have attached my resume for your reference.

Have a great rest of your week.

Best,

Donna Moss

Be sure to edit your email! Proofread multiple times to be sure it is clear of spelling or grammatical errors. There are few things as unprofessional as an email that has not been properly checked and edited. 

Signature

Including a signature after your salutation at the end of all your emails is a simple way to add professionalism to your correspondence. They are also aesthetically pleasing and provide the person you are emailing with more information about yourself. To append a signature to your Notre Dame email, go to the “Settings” page of your Notre Dame Gmail account. 

Following Up

After sending an introductory email, you should stay in touch with the professional and keep them updated on your progress with his or her firm. Once you submit an internship application, for example, email the analyst you first spoke with to thank them for their time and assistance in the process. This will help to demonstrate your interest in the firm and the position. Here is an example of a follow-up email to an analyst: 

Hi Karen,

I hope all is well. I wanted to shoot you a note letting you know I submitted my application for Citi Investment Banking in New York on Friday. I am very excited to apply for this opportunity, and I am looking forward to moving forward with the process. I hope to keep in touch with you over the next few weeks as interviews approach.

Have a nice start to your week! Go Irish!

Best,

Gwen 

Phone Calls

After communicating with a professional via email, you will likely speak to them on the phone about their job and your interest in working at their firm. Be sure to take any phone calls in a quiet room free of distractions and background noise. Do research on the firm and position you are inquiring about before taking the call. Be courteous, polite, and personable––avoid sounding too stiff or mechanical in conversation.

There is no need to be overly-technical in these calls. In fact, it is best to avoid specific market-related questions, as these professionals must deal with such things with frequency as part of their daily routine. Less complex questions such as “Why did you choose to go into investment banking?” or “How do you like working in San Francisco?” are more appropriate and will allow you to appear more personable.  

After a phone call, be sure to send whomever you spoke with a handwritten thank-you note in appreciation of their time. For NDIGI’s tips on writing a thank-you note, click here.