WSO comments from the week 11/18-11/24

Sandhurst comments on the tricky topic of having family connections in banking--and just how much that could matter in How much can family connections help?

Can isn't the same thing as well. An MD could probably get anyone hired if he actually put his foot down, but it might not be worth the cost in political capital. But there are plenty of other things he can and might very well do. He can definitely take your resume, he probably knows which resume readers might be more sympathetic, he can sit you down for informational (read: practice) interviews with his team, he can casually email interviewers asking "how'd he do?"... you get the point.

Soft power is as good as, if not better than, brute force in this sort of situation, both for him, and for you. Think about it - do you really want to be that kid on the team whom the MD told HR to hire?

WSO comments from the week 11/11-11/17

Asiamoney helps to debunk the idea that it's not worth going into banking anymore in Should you even be aiming for BB IBD anymore?

These are definitely trends that job-seekers should be aware of, however:

1) I don't think that at most BBs in the U.S. analyst bonuses are yet as low as $20k, even for first years. All-in should still be over $100k and good luck making that in consulting or corporate finance.

2) Yes banks are slimming, but firstly: Goldman isn't "cutting" its 2-year program. From my understanding, they're changing the structure so that newly hired analysts just aren't automatically put on a 2-year contract, with the goal of making them stay around longer. GS is still hiring analysts, however, and analysts will still be able to leave and go to PE if they desire (someone please correct me if my understanding is not correct). And you also cite UBS, specifically London - arguably the weakest BB in one of the weakest possible markets right now. I'm not surprised they have cuts but their situation is not representative of all other BBs in the U.S. and/or other non-Europe markets right now.

3) MM investment banks and corporate finance positions would not be generally comparable to BB IBD in terms of exit ops - the job landscape has changed, but that hasn't. Same for non MBB consulting. For MBB, the exit ops are definitely strong, but people should probably decide between banking and consulting based on their interests. Do you want to help a company go public, buy another firm/sell itself, or raise debt? Or do you want to advise a company about how to optimize its revenues, reduce costs, or simply come in to support a strategic decision your client has already made? Some people might prefer to stay in NYC 7 days a week, even though they have long hours, than be constantly travelling to (typically) unexciting places across the country. I don't mean to knock consulting - others might think that what I wrote presents a slanted viewpoint, and that may be true (it's just my impression). But at the end of the day, banking and consulting are very different and people should think about what they really want to do for 2 years.

4) Entrepreneurship is awesome. Everyone that I know wants to do it eventually, but the thing is, it's hard to feel ready to pursue a start-up immediately after graduating. Banking still offers a great foundation to learn corporate finance/how businesses operate financially, especially for students that didn't study business in college. I'll concede that consulting also offers a good jumping-off point for entrepreneurship, with a greater focus on strategy than finance.

5) The last point is good to remember. There are lots of things out there, and no one "perfect job."

WSO comments of the week 11/04-11/10

Rufiolove discusses the gatekeeper role that headhunters play in Can you do this?:

The issue you are overlooking is that the company doesn't want to have to do additional work in order to determine if it is worth their time to interview you. They have no idea whether you are competent or not (not that the headhunters really do either but they provide the initial screen). Headhunters are gatekeepers... They can be bi-passed but typically the associates at the firms will not want to take additional time to review your candidacy and if they wouldn't want to you can be assured that the higher ups would have even less desire to review. They may still give you some thought but it's tougher than going through a headhunter who manages the relationship between the two of you.

Also, it gets next to impossible to get the best jobs without going through the headhunter... Unless you know a partner, you aren't likely to get a job at BX, KKR, Carlyle, TPG, Warburg etc without going through the standard channels.

When firms hire ~3 kids for their entire class, they can be as scrupulous as they wish in their review process. Their view is likely that if you aren't competent enough / willing enough to jump through the hoops of the headhunter / recruiting dance, that you don't want to work there badly enough. This is of course a guideline and not a hard-and-fast rule, but it's a pretty solid guideline.

WSO comments from the week 10/28-11/3

Atleastimnotabanker in The Non-Target Curse argues that going to a top school ("target school") gives you an initial advantage. After that, it's up to you:

It will always matter which university you went to. Nobody cares if you went to a non-target or a semi-target, though. What matters is if you went to a great university or not.
This doesn't mean you can't make it, if you didn't, but the person who has Harvard in his resume will always gain more attention than the one with some less stellar school.

Just look at news reports about new CEOs. If they went to a top school, it is almost always mentioned. It just reassures everybody that it was the right decision to pick him for that position.

Comments from the week 10/14-10/20

By to_IBornot_toB in Time to Respect the MSF: Top Five MSF Myths Debunked:

[quote]The toughest part of the getting a job from an MSF, is that you have to sell it. Yes, there are a few "target" firms that come on campus, but more importantly you need to reach out to other people, and find what story fits for you.

Make a logical story (much harder done than said) and I think the MSF is worthwhile. Also, if you can get the MSF at a discount (fellowships, grants, scholarships), do so. This makes for bragging points during on-campus interviews when going up against other students from your MSF.