Banking on searing honesty

Investment banks up and down New York's Wall Street and beyond are clamouring to interview an unheralded undergraduate finance student because he submitted a job application that included what its recipient said "might be the best cover letter I've even seen".

The website obtained a copy of the student's letter, which includes a searingly blunt assessment of his own suitability for a summer internship.The UK Daily Mail newspaper has identified the student as 22-year-old Matthew Ross, an undergraduate at San Diego State University.

"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 partnership," Ross wrote.

"The truth is, I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities but I do have a near perfect GPA (grade point average) and will work hard for you."

He also said he would "have no qualms about fetching coffee, shining shoes or picking up laundry, and will work for next to nothing".

The letter, sent at 1pm on January 14, resulted in an instant reaction as it was forwarded from one firm to the next. "That's amazing, tell me you are considering at least a phone interview," the first recipient replied. Other replies to the forwarded email included "hilarious but bold", "instant classic" and "this is awesome".

By 3pm at least one firm, in Houston, had responded. "We called him," it said, while another the following day added: "No joke, I think we should consider this guy. I wouldn't be surprised if this guy gets at least a call from every bank out there."

The moral of the story, it seems, is that a little bit of unvarnished honesty can get you a long way.