The DFC held the eighth annual Darden Finance Conference on Thursday and Friday of this week. There were a number of companies on grounds giving presentations and networking with first and second years alike. The list included: Marsh and McLennan, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Citi, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, JP Morgan and a couple of people who participated in a panel regarding Investment Management, PE and Hedge Funds. The tone on the economy is not pretty, not that I thought it would be. After spending two days listening to projections and watching more investment banks spark flames, I'm feeling the pressure. I haven't done any off-campus recruiting and my backup plan is still in the development phase. Granted, it's not even 2009 and I still have time, but I'm feeling the pinch.
We are in the bulk of recruiting right now and cover letters are due almost immediately after Thanksgiving. I don't have a working cover letter yet, however, that's my goal for the weekend. Ideally, I'd like a couple sets of eyes on my cover letter before I head to West Va for festivities, but I may be cutting it close given everyone's busy schedules at the beginning of next week. In addition, I've realized that I have not used the SYs as a resource nearly enough. Every SY offers their help, though you don't realize how valuable they are until it's mid-November and the wheels are turning 100 MPH.
After dinner and networking last night, I was starting to feel the crunch. I don't believe "Black November" is as bad for banking this year as it has been for consulting. That's a factor of the environment though. Consultants have started case prep and bankers don't need case prep. Further, the banks are not down here as much as I think they have been in the past, which is understandable given the market. On the other hand, our October was much worse than the consultants'. All the same, I returned home last night, having not completed my second case, with the knowledge that many of my colleagues were headed to the corner to "network" with the banks. Needless to say, after a big hug from my roommate and couple deep breaths, I composed myself and went out for night. I'm hoping that this weekend will be as productive as I need it to be. Tonight shall be early as JP Morgan is hosting the Darden tailgate at 9 am tomorrow. OUCH! All in the name of recruiting. This is what makes business school tough.