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Undergrad Wows Wall Street With Painfully Honest Cover Letter

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A student at San Diego State University has wowed investment banks with a straight-shooting cover letter about his qualifications—or lack thereof. Sure, there's a humble-brag in there about his "near perfect" GPA, but mostly undergraduate Matthew Ross goes out of his way to say he's not going to make up stuff that looks good on a resume: "I won’t waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles, or feeding you a line of crap about how my past experiences and skill set align perfectly for an investment banking internship.

Here's the redacted letter via Business Insider:


From: ******* Sent: Monday, January 14, 2013 1:14PM

To: ******

Subject: Summer Internship

Dear ***

My name is **** ***** and I am an undergraduate finance student at ****** ********* I met you the summer before last at Smith & Wollensky’s in New York when I was touring the east coast with my uncle, ***** ****** I just wanted thank you for taking the time to talk to me that night.

I am writing you to inquire about a possible summer internship in your office. I am aware it is highly unusual for undergraduates from average universities like ***** to intern at ******, but nevertheless I was hoping you might make an exception. I am extremely interested in investment banking and would love nothing more than to learn under your tutelage. I have no qualms about fetching coffee, shining shoes or picking up laundry, and will work for next to nothing. In all honesty, I just want to be around professionals in the industry and gain as much knowledge as I can.

I won’t waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles, or feeding you a line of crap about how my past experiences and skill set align perfectly for an investment banking internship. The truth is I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you. I’ve interned for Merrill Lynch in the Wealth Management Division and taken an investment banking class at *** for whatever that is worth.

I am currently awaiting admission for *** Masters of Science in Accountability program, which I would begin this fall if admitted. I am also planning on attending law school after my master’s program, which we spoke about in New York. I apologize for the blunt nature of my letter, but I hope you seriously consider taking me under your wing this summer. I have attached my resume for your review. Feel free to call me at ****** or email at ******. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

**** ********


The shocking display of honesty in a cover letter caught the attention of its intended audience, if you read the chain of e-mails that followed. And now the letter—reminiscent of
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an old Hunter S. Thompson—has been going viral on Wall Street blogs.