Pages

  • Sharebar

Would you take a full-time BB IBD job in a good industry group (Citi/CS/BAML, think Industrials/Energy) or a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford (Economics)? The BB IBD job is probably more relevant to PE/HF, but I feel that a rhodes scholarship could open doors as well

Would the answer change if it were top BB (GS/MS) or elite boutique (Moelis/Lazard/Greenhill) IBD? More justifiable to take that over rhodes? Obviously if its BX restructuring or PE or GS TMT etc. or something ridiculous that's preferable to any scholarship, but otherwise would a rhodes be a smart move over a regular IBD job?

4

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation + Learn More.

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions Learn More.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews. Learn More.

Comments (101)

  • CanadianPositiveCarry's picture

    haha, tough one you lucky bastard

  • loldanielol's picture

    Interested in knowing this as well. One person I know of did a few SA stints, took the Rhodes, then came back to work at GS and later a HF.

  • West Coast rainmaker's picture

    I'd talk to the bank. Goldman offers deferments for Teach For America - somehow I think a Rhodes would also qualify. And, yes, I would take the scholarship - it is a pretty big deal.

  • Karembeu5163's picture

    I'd take the scholarship as well. I think it will open many more doors down the line and is definitely very impressive on a resume.

  • animalz's picture

    not sure if you are serious?

    take the scholarship, even over undergrad BX pe or whatever..

    talk with the banks, but dont limit yourself, you will have more/better opps after 2 years at Oxford

    congratz, kudos, hats off..

  • Macroecon's picture

    I don't think anyone has actually turned down the rhodes. It truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  • notaspammer's picture

    Myron rolle postponed the nfl for the rhodes. Postponing BB IBD for it should be an easy decision

  • In reply to notaspammer
    Macroecon's picture

    notaspammer:
    Myron rolle postponed the nfl for the rhodes. Postponing BB IBD for it should be an easy decision

    Yes people have postponed it, but i've never heard of anyone who turned it down outright. There are multiple rhodes scholars who leave oxford after just 1 year to work or go back to school.

  • Newspeak's picture
  • gammaovertheta's picture

    definitely scholarship, even if you can't defer. I'd imagine you can come out on top to most programs with that under your belt. It's a big fucking deal with a lower acceptance rate and a more rigorous application process than a GS analyst position

  • asiamoney's picture

    1) Some banks will allow you to defer, and if it's so you can take the Rhodes, they may be even more willing, since it looks great for them to have you work for them after.

    2) Rhodes is an extremely rare and prestigious opportunity, more so than working in a mid-tier BB's industry group. You can go back and do finance later - I agree the Rhodes will definitely open doors anyways, more so than a "regular" IBD job.

    3) Congrats!

  • BudFocks's picture

    Take the Rhodes, is this thread a joke? The US military postpones service for recipients at the academies, never mind postponing the NFL...

    Accepting the Rhodes should be one of the easiest decisions a Rhodes scholar has to make.

    Congratulations, but come on you should be able to make this decision on your own without any hesitation.

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation + Learn More.

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions Learn More.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews. Learn More.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    A Rhodes Scholarship is great if you want to go into politics.

    But somewhere along the way, I think you lied to yourself with that application. The Rhodes committee genuinely looks for people who are trying to make the world a better place, who show compassion and kindness for others, and to be brutally honest, that's not consistent with the world of New York finance.

    Figure out what your values are, and what you want your future to look like. I think you're going to take the BB offer instead. Not because it's more or less prestigious, or better for you, but because it's being honest to yourself. You went through the whole process of bank recruiting without flinching, and that should tell you something about yourself.

    Congratulations and good luck to you. Work hard and enjoy a great life.

  • sloppyj's picture

    Illini's second paragraph is absolute gold, especially the last line, and anyone familiar with the Rhodes process should know that.

    Which is, among other things, a reason to take the Rhodes. Most importantly, anyone qualified for the Rhodes will end up feeling extremely underutilized in their work in finance. If you're Rhodes caliber, why eat shit in an entry-level finance job? Go change the world, bro...

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    Ron Paul's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    A Rhodes Scholarship is great if you want to go into politics.

    But somewhere along the way, I think you lied to yourself with that application. The Rhodes committee genuinely looks for people who are trying to make the world a better place, who show compassion and kindness for others, and to be brutally honest, that's not consistent with the world of New York finance.

    Figure out what your values are, and what you want your future to look like. I think you're going to take the BB offer instead. Not because it's more or less prestigious, or better for you, but because it's being honest to yourself. You went through the whole process of bank recruiting without flinching, and that should tell you something about yourself.

    Congratulations and good luck to you. Work hard and enjoy a great life.


    HIS EYES CAN SEE INTO YOUR SOUL
  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    You guys got around to quoting me before I had a chance to edit! That post was a little more harshly worded than I would have liked- "lie" is a very strong word and I don't think that's appropriate here, but I stand by the overall gist.

    Wall Street and Rhodes Scholarship are two opposite ethical systems.

    There's a continuum, but anyone who buys into deontological ethics enough to survive on Wall Street cannot honestly take a Rhodes Scholarship. You have to choose one side or the other. I, personally, choose deontological ethics. I would like to think that if I had that high quality of a decision- where I was reasonably assured a $100K/year life no matter which way I went, I'd choose being true to myself, and would therefore take a job on Wall Street.

    There is a fundamental conflict between "honesty" and "compassion"; between "fair" and "just". You have to figure out which side you're on. Wall Street is uncompassionate and unfair, but it is honest and just. Rhodes' values are the other way around.

    Speaking of honesty, and in the Wall Street interest of full disclosure, I don't have the best record at turning down prestige. I believe in a world where the first can be last and the last can be first, and that prestige shouldn't matter, and I hate the fact that it does. And yet when I had to make a decision on grad school, I made a decision based on the quality of the research, the students, the program- and its prestige- rather than on a fundamental alignment of values. I don't think I regret the decision, and my values can work around it, but I hate that I had to make it.

    For IBD vs Rhodes Scholars, the marginal utility of prestige is a lot lower up here and the differences in values are way more fundamental. If you're a utilitarian, you'll hate yourself for choosing banking. If you believe in deontological ethics and facing the harsh, painful truths, you'll hate yourself for choosing the Rhodes Scholarship. And I think the values involved in the decision are so fundamental that you'll regret giving up your grounding.

    I wish we could have a world that is both utilitarian and deontologically ethical, but anyone who is qualified to work on Wall Street knows that can never happen, and knows that it's impossible for a smart, honest person to look at the historical record and say it's possible. In order for utilitarianism to work, you have to lie, and you have to abridge the fundamenal rights and dignity of the individual. And in order for deontological ethics to work, in order for people to have rights, you have to let life be unfair and be prepared to do nothing in the face of terrible human suffering (because you often can't do anything without being unjust).

    This is heavy stuff to drop on a 21 year old, but this is a very important decision and you need to be equipped with the truth to make it.

    So choose wisely, and base it on your values.

  • Macroecon's picture

    I personally know a few rhodes/marshall scholars. They are obviously smart and talented, but it comes across as hypocritical when these people would spend their college years doing all sorts of non-profit and do-gooder work and then jump into finance/consulting after their rhodes/marshall stint. It sort of makes you wonder whether they were "faking" their passion during college in order to get a prestigious fellowship or whether they had a drastic change of hearts that making a lot of money is their true calling. Having known a few of these guys, they do come across as self-righteous in many ways.

  • STIBOR's picture

    If you have to choose and can't defer - Rhodes. Easy.

  • In reply to Macroecon
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Macroecon:
    I personally know a few rhodes/marshall scholars. They are obviously smart and talented, but it comes across as hypocritical when these people would spend their college years doing all sorts of non-profit and do-gooder work and then jump into finance/consulting after their rhodes/marshall stint. It sort of makes you wonder whether they were "faking" their passion during college in order to get a prestigious fellowship or whether they had a drastic change of hearts that making a lot of money is their true calling. Having known a few of these guys, they do come across as self-righteous in many ways.

    Well, I can't condemn them because I now have my own issues with conflicts of values. I believe prestige is bunk, and yet, I choose the East Coast over the University Of Chicago.

    But I can say with experience that making decisions that are a little worse than orthogonal to your values doesn't always make you feel like a good person. We're all equally bad at this as fallen people, but I think the Rhodes Scholar who goes into banking will feel it worse.

    I'll leave everyone with Obi-Wan Kenobi:

  • Straight Cash Homey's picture

    IlliniProgrammer raises some very good philosophical points, but I think he is simply presenting the two ends of the value system spectrum. I'd imagine that the bifurcation is not so clean on the individual level and most people fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. You can be successful on Wall Street even though you have a streak of utilitarianism in your mindset; and you can affect great social change even if you sometimes ascribe to deontological ethics.

    You certainly have a lot to think about; but again, you are 21 years old and your values and principles will probably change a little, or a lot, between now and thirty years down the line. If you're truly passionate about banking, then go to Wall Street and knock it out of the park. If you plan to commit your life to public service in one form or another, then go with the Rhodes Scholarship and claim your TIME magazine cover in twenty years.

    If you don't have any overwhelming callings your in life right now, I agree with the other posters and think you should take the Rhodes. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity where you will meet some incredible people who may even change the way you see the world. It's only two years long, so if you end up deciding that you'd rather make it rain on the Street, you'll only be 24 years old. If you got into banking once, you will definitely be able to do it again armed with one of the prestigious academic degrees in the world. Cheers and congrats my friend.

  • In reply to Straight Cash Homey
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Straight Cash Homey:
    IlliniProgrammer raises some very good philosophical points, but I think he is simply presenting the two ends of the value system spectrum. I'd imagine that the bifurcation is not so clean on the individual level and most people fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. You can be successful on Wall Street even though you have a streak of utilitarianism in your mindset; and you can affect great social change even if you sometimes ascribe to deontological ethics.

    Sure, but my point is that you can't believe in making the world a better place and believe in taking advantage of arbitrage opportunities or merging companies and reducing the demand for labor. There is no overlap on the ethical values front between being a Rhodes Scholar and working on Wall Street. Your values can change, but I don't think you can take the Rhodes scholarship if you want to work on Wall Street.

    If you don't have any overwhelming callings your in life right now, I agree with the other posters and think you should take the Rhodes. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity where you will meet some incredible people who may even change the way you see the world. It's only two years long, so if you end up deciding that you'd rather make it rain on the Street, you'll only be 24 years old. If you got into banking once, you will definitely be able to do it again armed with one of the prestigious academic degrees in the world. Cheers and congrats my friend.

    This is an ok approach, too. But don't do the Rhodes Scholarship with the intention of going to Wall Street later. And to be honest, if you know you want to do Wall Street, your conscience will be a lot kinder to you if you go straight there.
  • moneyneversleeps2's picture

    I take it you lied on the Rhodes application and told them you want to uplift the underpriviledged communities by handing out unicorns and lolipops. Anywho.
    I would suggest taking a week or so to think about your real intentions behind either road you take. If you really want to heal the world and go into politics some day, then take the Rhodes scholarship. If you genuinely love the banking world - fast paced, being a tiny part of huge deals like FB or Groupon,, compensation aside, then I would say banking.

  • whartonbetch's picture

    rhodes is such a bigger accomplishment

  • adast027's picture

    The fact that this guy is even asking this question I think pretty much confirms that he hasn't been offered the scholarship.

  • loldanielol's picture

    So from reading the comments, this seems like the best approach:

    Ask the banks to defer, take the Rhodes, and if you decide to back out from banking sometime later on then so be it, otherwise go to Wall Street. If they won't let you defer, no matter -- you should be able to get offers a second time anyway. Win-win either way. In the meantime, you'll have a chance to figure out where your values are in.

  • In reply to adast027
    Determined's picture

    adast027:
    The fact that this guy is even asking this question I think pretty much confirms that he hasn't been offered the scholarship.

    Thank you. This post is clearly hypothetical. Nowhere in his original post is it stated that this is an actual decision he's facing.

    I seriously thought people were just joking about the congratulations... Maybe I should start my own thread asking: NASA Mars Exploration Program or Citadel Quantitative Strategies?

    Talent is hitting a target no one can hit.
    Genius is hitting a target no one can see.

  • EURCHF parity's picture

    Definitely take the Rhodes (or Gates, if you get a chance) no matter what. You will meet some exceptional people there, and you will be marked out thereafter as leader material. You will have your pick of employers thereafter...

    I disagree with IlliniProgrammer. The correct allocation of capital is what enables modern civilisation to continue. On the other hand, most well meaning bureaucrats trained at the likes of the Harvard Kennedy School end up doing far more damage than any Ken Lay or Angelo Mozilo could ever hope to, affecting the lives of millions of people durably and changing the very culture that makes the United States what it is.

  • In reply to Determined
    Macroecon's picture

    Determined:
    adast027:
    The fact that this guy is even asking this question I think pretty much confirms that he hasn't been offered the scholarship.

    Thank you. This post is clearly hypothetical. Nowhere in his original post is it stated that this is an actual decision he's facing.

    I seriously thought people were just joking about the congratulations... Maybe I should start my own thread asking: NASA Mars Exploration Program or Citadel Quantitative Strategies?

    Yeah, no way an actual rhodes scholar would post something like this on wso.

    I don't like your hypo, to be fair. Citadel quantitative strategies isn't that prestigious.. rentech, de shaw, two sigma, is the holy trinity of the quants.

  • In reply to Macroecon
    Determined's picture

    Macroecon:

    I don't like your hypo, to be fair. Citadel quantitative strategies isn't that prestigious.. rentech, de shaw, two sigma, is the holy trinity of the quants.

    I've got to make it believable haha. You didn't see this kid saying Rhodes Scholar vs. BX PE because no one would take him seriously.

    Honestly though, the lack of common sense here is bewildering sometimes.

    Talent is hitting a target no one can hit.
    Genius is hitting a target no one can see.

  • In reply to EURCHF parity
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    EURCHF parity:
    I disagree with IlliniProgrammer. The correct allocation of capital is what enables modern civilisation to continue. On the other hand, most well meaning bureaucrats trained at the likes of the Harvard Kennedy School end up doing far more damage than any Ken Lay or Angelo Mozilo could ever hope to, affecting the lives of millions of people durably and changing the very culture that makes the United States what it is.

    90% of the people on the trading floor will disagree with you. I think the most common comment on this is "Nobody here is trying to save the whales."

    I'd hire a Rhodes Scholar as a consultant. I'd vote for him for elected office (if he were a moderate or a conservative). I would NEVER hire one as a trader.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    EURCHF parity's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    EURCHF parity:
    I disagree with IlliniProgrammer. The correct allocation of capital is what enables modern civilisation to continue. On the other hand, most well meaning bureaucrats trained at the likes of the Harvard Kennedy School end up doing far more damage than any Ken Lay or Angelo Mozilo could ever hope to, affecting the lives of millions of people durably and changing the very culture that makes the United States what it is.

    90% of the people on the trading floor will disagree with you. I think the most common comment on this is "Nobody here is trying to save the whales."

    I'd hire a Rhodes Scholar as a consultant. I'd vote for him for elected office (if he were a moderate or a conservative). I would NEVER hire one as a trader.


    What % of the trading floor makes decent amounts vs just enough to keep the lifestyle going? And does understanding the value added by your work help you make money? My answer to both based on experience is less than 5%, and no; indeed some of the best traders I have known were convinced communists/socialists (especially those that grew up in France), with their trades directly clashing with their views.

    There's a thousand takes on it. I think the easiest is: compare a bubble like the recent housing bubble in a country like the US, to a bubble in a place like the Soviet Union without markets (other than the balance of trade) to keep a check on it, and the costs to either country of both. Even the bubble riders are adding value.

  • Dreamgazing's picture

    Why would this even be on the main page..? Has the content of of this site degraded that much that we have to resort to bs hypothetical questions?

  • Husky32's picture

    I'd take the rhodes for exit opps if I was primarily interested in banking for the exit opps, b school etc. I'd take the banking job if I was really interested in PE and wanted to make partner or MD 2 years sooner

  • In reply to BanditPandit
    DonVon's picture

    BanditPandit:
    what's the fucking point of this thread? jesus christ. the fuck is wrong with this site

    lolol I love these posts.

    "An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Check out my blog!

  • In reply to EURCHF parity
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    EURCHF parity:
    What % of the trading floor makes decent amounts vs just enough to keep the lifestyle going? And does understanding the value added by your work help you make money? My answer to both based on experience is less than 5%, and no; indeed some of the best traders I have known were convinced communists/socialists (especially those that grew up in France), with their trades directly clashing with their views.

    There's a thousand takes on it. I think the easiest is: compare a bubble like the recent housing bubble in a country like the US, to a bubble in a place like the Soviet Union without markets (other than the balance of trade) to keep a check on it, and the costs to either country of both. Even the bubble riders are adding value.


    Sure. Liquidity may create social value, but people don't go into it for the sake of creating social value, and I'm not sure most traders at banks make money by creating liquidity these days.

    Your socialist traders are the perfect case in point. They never claimed their goal was to save the world on a scholarship application. They're pragmatic, like just about every other trader out there.

    If someone gives you money to manage, he or she needs to know that he can trust you. I have issues with someone who would lie to someone giving them money. If you tell me that you're going to Oxford to make the world a better place, and then go into trading, how do I know you'll abide by my risk limits when I give you money to manage?

    Traders are assholes, but a handshake or a clear agreement is almost always as good as a contract with them. Oxford on your resume might help you land a job, but I don't think a Rhodes scholarship is going to be a selling point.

  • charmander's picture

    IP I am baffled by your posts because you seem to be an otherwise sensible fellow. Ambition and Tiger moms are what drive men to do great things, not inner ethical beliefs. I think most people on this site are just trying to get laid.

    Are you seriously trying to argue that bankers and traders don't create value? Somehow making pitchbooks is less virtuous than digging ditches in Kenya? Sure you might feel better, and maybe you'll be able to craft a better HBS essay, but at the end of the day, a rational, introspective man like yourself should be able to figure out what really adds more value.

    It always baffles me when people look to Warren Buffet as some sort of saint because he is donating $50b to charity or whatever. Sure, that's nice, but really, I have no idea what the social ROI from his charity will be, but I suspect that the social ROI from all of the successful businesses he has overseen over the years will be many multiples of that number.

    I'm sorry, but you're not a bad guy, IP. Regardless of how many idiot #Occupy kids or simple country folks admonish you for working on Wall Street, you're not going to care, because you've already thought about everything they've had to say and found their arguments wanting. If you really thought you were doing harm to the world, I'm guessing that you would stop.

  • In reply to BanditPandit
    Going Concern's picture

    BanditPandit:
    what's the fucking point of this thread? jesus christ. the fuck is wrong with this site

    hahahaha, I think this thread is trying to ascertain whether working at Citigroup or doing an Econ Masters makes it easier to get an interview at a hedge fund. Other interesting questions include: which is close enough to a vegetable, sticky buns or swiss cheese? Which culture has sane women, the Indians or the Jews? Where should I do my MBA to make Brady jealous, Fuqua or Yale SOM?

  • boredviewer's picture

    I would take the Rhodes scholarship

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    EURCHF parity's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    Sure. Liquidity may create social value, but people don't go into it for the sake of creating social value, and I'm not sure most traders at banks make money by creating liquidity these days.

    Your socialist traders are the perfect case in point. They never claimed their goal was to save the world on a scholarship application. They're pragmatic, like just about every other trader out there.

    If someone gives you money to manage, he or she needs to know that he can trust you. I have issues with someone who would lie to someone giving them money. If you tell me that you're going to Oxford to make the world a better place, and then go into trading, how do I know you'll abide by my risk limits when I give you money to manage?

    Traders are assholes, but a handshake or a clear agreement is almost always as good as a contract with them. Oxford on your resume might help you land a job, but I don't think a Rhodes scholarship is going to be a selling point.


    To the first point: what I was hinting at (hence reference to 'em ruskies) was that the reason traders add so much value is not because they provide liquidity (not immediately, anyway) but because in aggregate having thousands of smart hungry bastards with psychopathic tendencies (a cliche, which I have not found to hold true, but works for the story) trying to make money by buying and selling chunks of enterprises and government liabilities actually ends up bringing the value of things much closer to their intrinsic value than having said value be determined by highly qualified extremely intelligent number crunching bureaucratics with almost infinite power over said allocation. When something fails in the US it goes down, hard and immediately. This Darwinist process results in fantastic companies, amazing innovation, endless economic growth despite looters' best attempts at halting it...

    The socialist traders just have cognitive dissonance, which they resolve by cynically whining about "those ruthless, emotionless, psychopathic American bastards". It is because it is perfectly possible, and done by most people, to dissociate your professional side from your personal side. From experience they will short a government that ends up structuring more benefits than expected (simplistic explanation of course; if only that was the only factor pricing French liabilities... or cf Italy going over then back under 8%), whilst whining out loud at how those damn conservatives are selling the poor under the carpet, then discussing with mates where to put that third pool table or whether their third chalet should be in Verbier or Megeve. A few, especially on the quant side, are a little more consistent but I would argue that cognitive dissonance is the norm in markets, not an exception.

    Regarding lying: I would happily entrust my cash with somebody who reasons convincingly that being a HFM means he is making the world a better place. I also think a Kennedy School Masters in International Relations or a Rhodes scholarship with equivalent political studies of sorts (and exposure to the kind of beast that will later man said desks, and create said actions providing trade opportunities) is a much better asset on a macro desk than any MFin or other piece of paper guaranteeing you understand the technical side of trading (which any idiot can learn in a month on a desk + Hull).

  • SirTradesaLot's picture

    You've laid out options A and B, what is option C?

    adapt or die:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • CanadianPositiveCarry's picture

    I fucking love the douchbaggery of WSO. Actually though, my love goes out to all of you other prestige whores <3 WSO is like therapy for us, since normal people on the outside world facepalm at subject matter discussed in common WSO thread topics

  • marcellus_wallace's picture

    No Rhodes scholar is posting on WSO and I agree with IP nor will any of them look to chase finance or succed in finance. I am sure you will find a lot of "Rhodes scholar finalist" in the finance world, but that is the cap.

  • In reply to marcellus_wallace
    Macroecon's picture

    marcellus_wallace:
    No Rhodes scholar is posting on WSO and I agree with IP nor will any of them look to chase finance or succed in finance. I am sure you will find a lot of "Rhodes scholar finalist" in the finance world, but that is the cap.

    Not true at all. I know several rhodes scholars who did HBS after oxford and are now in finance. I also know a marshall scholar who did harvard jd/mba and now at a very well-known hedge fund that makes wso posters jizz their pants.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    @EURCHFParity, not just making the world a better place but also "compassionate"? Compassionate means telling the idiot pension fund manager the truth. That he should quit his job running the pension fund and go back to working for his uncle Vinny dumping dead bodies somewhere, and avoid screwing a bunch of hardworking teamsters out of their pensions.

    Look, if you have a Rhodes scholar who claims arbing pension funds is the way to go and that it's consistent with the values he claimed to ascribe to two years ago to work for you, you deserve whatever results you get. Me personally? That hungry engineer from Purdue is looking like a better choice.

  • In reply to EURCHF parity
    Macroecon's picture

    EURCHF parity:
    IlliniProgrammer:
    Sure. Liquidity may create social value, but people don't go into it for the sake of creating social value, and I'm not sure most traders at banks make money by creating liquidity these days.

    Your socialist traders are the perfect case in point. They never claimed their goal was to save the world on a scholarship application. They're pragmatic, like just about every other trader out there.

    If someone gives you money to manage, he or she needs to know that he can trust you. I have issues with someone who would lie to someone giving them money. If you tell me that you're going to Oxford to make the world a better place, and then go into trading, how do I know you'll abide by my risk limits when I give you money to manage?

    Traders are assholes, but a handshake or a clear agreement is almost always as good as a contract with them. Oxford on your resume might help you land a job, but I don't think a Rhodes scholarship is going to be a selling point.


    To the first point: what I was hinting at (hence reference to 'em ruskies) was that the reason traders add so much value is not because they provide liquidity (not immediately, anyway) but because in aggregate having thousands of smart hungry bastards with psychopathic tendencies (a cliche, which I have not found to hold true, but works for the story) trying to make money by buying and selling chunks of enterprises and government liabilities actually ends up bringing the value of things much closer to their intrinsic value than having said value be determined by highly qualified extremely intelligent number crunching bureaucratics with almost infinite power over said allocation. When something fails in the US it goes down, hard and immediately. This Darwinist process results in fantastic companies, amazing innovation, endless economic growth despite looters' best attempts at halting it...

    The socialist traders just have cognitive dissonance, which they resolve by cynically whining about "those ruthless, emotionless, psychopathic American bastards". It is because it is perfectly possible, and done by most people, to dissociate your professional side from your personal side. From experience they will short a government that ends up structuring more benefits than expected (simplistic explanation of course; if only that was the only factor pricing French liabilities... or cf Italy going over then back under 8%), whilst whining out loud at how those damn conservatives are selling the poor under the carpet, then discussing with mates where to put that third pool table or whether their third chalet should be in Verbier or Megeve. A few, especially on the quant side, are a little more consistent but I would argue that cognitive dissonance is the norm in markets, not an exception.

    Regarding lying: I would happily entrust my cash with somebody who reasons convincingly that being a HFM means he is making the world a better place. I also think a Kennedy School Masters in International Relations or a Rhodes scholarship with equivalent political studies of sorts (and exposure to the kind of beast that will later man said desks, and create said actions providing trade opportunities) is a much better asset on a macro desk than any MFin or other piece of paper guaranteeing you understand the technical side of trading (which any idiot can learn in a month on a desk + Hull).

    I really can't tell if you're trolling, but you really think a harvard kennedy grad can do better at a macro hedge fund than a princeton mfin? Lol. I guess you haven't met students/alums from those programs.

Pages