How to Say No to an Investment Banking Job Offer

Admittedly, it’s a good problem to have. But Mergers & Inquisitions recently examined whether it’s okay to renege on an investment banking job offer, either at the intern level or higher, without being blacklisted for life.

After spending arduous days and weeks interviewing with several firms, you finally get an offer. With nothing else in hand, you accept it, right? Then a week later, another offer appears, this time from your number one choice. What to do?

There’s no consensus, but the responses tend to fall into two camps, according to the folks at M&I. First, as they put it, there’s the “Bankers are Vengeful and Want to Kill You” camp, who suggest that the downside for reneging on an offer will come back to haunt you. The industry is small, everyone knows each other, and they’ll hold a grudge and may even stand in your way in the future.

The second camp says it’s every man (or woman) for himself. Nobody is going to look out for your best interests. So go for the best opportunity possible. And, after all, investment banks have a history of rescinding or downgrading offers without notice, as well.

The M&I article goes into more detail about the potential upside benefits and downside risks. There’s less risk, for instance, if you’re reneging on an offer in a different industry, or moving from a back office offer to a front office position. 

What do you think? Have you ever turned down an offer after you’ve accepted it, when something better came along? We’d like to know your thoughts, below.

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{ 1 comment }

Tim April 17, 2010 at 2:33 am

In the beginning, I needed a job badly, so I started my career as a salesperson. I had also appeared in the some interviews for IT jobs as well. Sometimes later, I got an IT job in investment bank. I just accepted that offer. I believe that you should go for what you like the most, if possible.

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