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I have been meaning to post something regarding this topic for some time, even though it has been covered to the point of exhaustion. My final breaking point was about 2 weeks ago, when I had the unfortunate experience of riding the train from Stamford to NYC (a commute I am too used to dating to my IB and hedge fund days and have sworn off for life). Regardless, as my crackberry session commenced upon being seated in the sweatbox, an important phone call came through from a portfolio company who I happen to sit on the board of. During the call, I noticed the young Indian kid next to me spring up at the chance to listen to the call - which he surprisingly let me finish.

I also give the kid credit for attempting to turn this into a networking opportunity (which I would gladly accept) had he not wanted to make me throw myself under the moving train - a feat unaccomplished until meeting this lad. The following chain of events is why he and so many young monkeys on this forum (who go to Ivey, have internships, solid grades, whatever else) are not getting jobs:

* He assumed because he went to Yale, he deserved an IB career (he basically said this)
* He was wearing a suit that had pants with zippers for pockets (obviously this fucker hasn't read the 20,000 posts on "how to dress for an interview" - I would auto ding this kid even if he was Summa @ HBS for such a fashion faux pas.
* He focused on nothing but EXIT OPPS (which began to make my blood boil). Upon our discussion where he has interviewed and where he was going to be interviewing (which I could have been a HUGE asset on both prep and recommendations) his only questions related to where it would get him after. WSO - top exits opps will be available to a sample size of any year's analyst class (and as the wonderful recent PE thread has addressed, it ain't all that great kiddies).
* He was as stale as a 4 year old Triscuit in the August sun in Tuscon, AZ. Bring something to the table, I don't care if all you can do is crank a DCF - any moron can do this.
* He could not speak to his strengths
* He could not tell his story
* He knew nothing about the bank he was going to
* He knew nothing about the market
* He did nothing but ANNOY me - asking dumb questions, ranting about DCF calculations when he was actually fucking wrong, and did not take the time to pick my brain, someone who has gone the path he is attempting and succeeded (and he knew MY story quickly because I know how to tell it).

Monkeys, bottom line - if you have the tangibles required for banking / finance in general and are still not receiving offers (whether FT or SA) you are lacking the intangibles. I know many people on this forum say all they want is an excel machine, but there is much more to banking - and finance for that matter. Take a step back, and really examine your process thus far if you are without an offer.

This is my rant for the week. Thoughts / Comments?

JD

22

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Comments (84)

  • GBB_19NHS's picture

    haha good read, and I assume you are right, I have met so many people with such attitude. I have put a lot of effort and research into my past job hunt which spanned over years and eventually was successful. I also think that once you have the tangibles its really all about intangibles and most of the people I know that broke into finance were just extremly good on the later (also coming from non-targets etc. this makes them hungry in that sense)

    +1 SB to you

    "too good to be true"

    See my WSO Blog

  • fartmouth's picture

    I go to a target for most banks and I have a killer GPA. I basically deserve an IB career. So what if I wear my diamond studded platinum rolex to an interview?

    Do I even bother to keep up with the market? Of course not. I'm in college and I shouldn't be bothered with silly things like reading the Wallstreet Journal. Why does my story suck? Because its boring as shit. I'm from CT, went to a prep school and then an ivy. Why finance? Well I didn't want to be a surgeon or a lawyer, so I guess Wallstreet is the only option left.

    Isn't the whole point of banking to get barely enough experience to make you qualified for top HF/PE firms?

  • In reply to fartmouth
    JimmyDormandy's picture

    fartmouth:
    I go to a target for most banks and I have a killer GPA. I basically deserve an IB career. So what if I wear my diamond studded platinum rolex to an interview?

    Do I even bother to keep up with the market? Of course not. I'm in college and I shouldn't be bothered with silly things like reading the Wallstreet Journal. Why does my story suck? Because its boring as shit. I'm from CT, went to a prep school and then an ivy. Why finance? Well I didn't want to be a surgeon or a lawyer, so I guess Wallstreet is the only option left.

    Isn't the whole point of banking to get barely enough experience to make you qualified for top HF/PE firms?

    As long as you don't have zipper pockets on your suit, I don't give a shit what watch you are wearing.

    "Jesus, he's like a gremlin; comes with instructions and shit"

  • George87's picture

    Definitely sad to see people like that somehow still manage to get offers while others (myself included, from non-targets) have to put ourselves out there and sell the shit out of that story like you wouldn't believe. On top of that, you have to deal with questions like "Why should I hire you from so and so non-target when I can get [insert douche bag kid here] from so and so ivy. Thanks for this post, going forward, will have a much better answer to that question... it reads: NO.SENSE.OF.ENTITLEMENT.WILLING.TO.WORK.MY.ASS.OFF.WILLING.TO.LEARN.

  • In reply to JimmyDormandy
    fartmouth's picture

    JimmyDormandy:
    fartmouth:
    I go to a target for most banks and I have a killer GPA. I basically deserve an IB career. So what if I wear my diamond studded platinum rolex to an interview?

    Do I even bother to keep up with the market? Of course not. I'm in college and I shouldn't be bothered with silly things like reading the Wallstreet Journal. Why does my story suck? Because its boring as shit. I'm from CT, went to a prep school and then an ivy. Why finance? Well I didn't want to be a surgeon or a lawyer, so I guess Wallstreet is the only option left.

    Isn't the whole point of banking to get barely enough experience to make you qualified for top HF/PE firms?

    As long as you don't have zipper pockets on your suit, I don't give a shit what watch you are wearing.

    Before I get all the monkey shit on this website thrown at me, my post was extremely sarcastic.

  • In reply to fartmouth
    JimmyDormandy's picture

    fartmouth:
    JimmyDormandy:
    fartmouth:
    I go to a target for most banks and I have a killer GPA. I basically deserve an IB career. So what if I wear my diamond studded platinum rolex to an interview?

    Do I even bother to keep up with the market? Of course not. I'm in college and I shouldn't be bothered with silly things like reading the Wallstreet Journal. Why does my story suck? Because its boring as shit. I'm from CT, went to a prep school and then an ivy. Why finance? Well I didn't want to be a surgeon or a lawyer, so I guess Wallstreet is the only option left.

    Isn't the whole point of banking to get barely enough experience to make you qualified for top HF/PE firms?

    As long as you don't have zipper pockets on your suit, I don't give a shit what watch you are wearing.

    Before I get all the monkey shit on this website thrown at me, my post was extremely sarcastic.

    haha, I know it was - and funny I might add

    "Jesus, he's like a gremlin; comes with instructions and shit"

  • DJ Long Straddle's picture

    Jimmy, you seem like a reasonable guy.

    Can you explain how you are (only) a first year Associate at (I'm assuming) a VC firm after having IB and HF experience? Also, how is it that a first year Associate sits on the board of a portfolio company (are you just an Observer)?

    Seems impress for a guy who is 26 years old. Just sayin'.

  • Frieds's picture

    JD,

    Good stuff. SB for you. The rant is a required reading for anyone looking to interview on the Street. I like it.

  • GOB's picture

    Noobs like this are everywhere. They don't do their homework (on the company and industry) then go in with a preconceived delusional notion of how it all works only to expertly demonstrate their absolute lack of any real world skills and basic easy-to-find knowledge.

    So many people eliminate themselves from contention before the interview begins.

    I urge anyone serious about getting into banking to read WSO and follow some of the top contributors. You will get offers. This is the easiest way into finance.

  • anaismalcolm's picture

    Makes a non-target person like me boil. I hate the sense of entitlement some of these people have to these jobs. Yet, there's still barely anyone from my school being hired because we don't have connections or strict finance classes.

  • econ's picture

    OP: Your post is a little frustrating. I feel like I'd make zero of the mistakes he made, and yet, nobody would probably ever give me an opportunity to work in IB (without significant rebranding). I'm not even saying I want to work in IB, just that nobody would give me a shot.... at least that's how it seems.

  • D M's picture

    If you're wondering why you're at Harvard and some guy from University of Phoenix took your spot at Goldman IB, memorize Jimmy's post. I'm not in the industry, but I know people, and a lot of you college kids are asshats and ask the wrong questions. Of course, a lot of you aren't, too, and I'm sure in 5, 10, 20 years we'll see y'all doing great things.

    "You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
    "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

  • In The Flesh's picture

    The fact is, this industry is incredibly cutthroat, and the margin for error is so small that even one simple mistake can absolutely derail somebody. For a college kid like me with no real world experience, I think it's important to know that even if one has a 4.0 GPA from Wharton, you don't know as much as an analyst who has worked even 6 months on a desk.

    I didn't receive any offers after a full year of recruiting, and as upsetting as that was, there were people who worked even harder than I did and also didn't receive anything. It is what it is. They can't take everybody. I have pretty much no sense of entitlement either; I'll pound the drum of making your own luck all day long. Having that sense of humility has helped me through those times: if it's not working, reevaluate, make a few changes, and try to fix it. Law of large numbers; eventually you'll get a hit.

    Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

  • In reply to In The Flesh
    GotBushels's picture

    Pfalzer:
    ... even if one has a 4.0 GPA from Wharton, you don't know as much as an analyst who has worked even 6 months on a desk.

    i like how this has worked its way to 6 months from 3 days


    ... Law of large numbers; eventually you'll get a hit.

    unless your distribution is heavily skewed by suit zippers. ps they're probably from india to stop people from stealing your shit. i had to walk around in nairobi city for months with my hands perpetually in my pockets

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  • monkeysama's picture

    Yeah, or maybe if you don't perfectly fit the mold of prep school -> Ivey league and have connections through daddy then there's no way of getting in.

  • In reply to boutiquebank4life
    econ's picture

    boutiquebank4life:
    "Ivy you illiterates.

    You mean: "Ivy" you illiterates. Haha, I think you forgot an ending quote.... oh, irony...

  • monkeysama's picture

    Nice hanging quotation dipshit.

  • BankingRUs9's picture

    Refreshing thread. I would much rather speak with a non-target business concentrator with a 3.6 GPA who has worked an unpaid IBD internship while supporting himself/herself through college by working as a waiter part time, than the individual described above. It is surprising he did not ask you about your experiences, so he could learn more about the industry or your role in it.

  • SirLarryWildman's picture

    From a non-target, its always nice to hear how the top recruits are screwing up.

    Guess I need to start riding the train more.

  • In reply to George87
    eokpar02's picture

    George87:
    Definitely sad to see people like that somehow still manage to get offers while others (myself included, from non-targets) have to put ourselves out there and sell the shit out of that story like you wouldn't believe. On top of that, you have to deal with questions like "Why should I hire you from so and so non-target when I can get [insert douche bag kid here] from so and so ivy. Thanks for this post, going forward, will have a much better answer to that question... it reads: NO.SENSE.OF.ENTITLEMENT.WILLING.TO.WORK.MY.ASS.OFF.WILLING.TO.LEARN.

    I agree. The Ivy's produce some freakishly entitled kids. They are the worst part of going to Superdays.

    I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
    -Styles P

  • MTrader's picture

    Interesting post. Good to know for the future

  • Burnstein's picture

    For sure +1 SB

    I'm on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    This is an excellent post.

    Couple thoughts:

    1.) The entitlement isn't an unreasonable surprise from certain target schools, but the lack of sophistication and planning is. Your typical top-tier Ivy League student gets more networking prep, interview prep, and help than anyone on earth. If you manage to graduate from Yale without knowing how to carry on a friendly conversation with someone in industry, you may not deserve to get a job.

    2.) Most college students outside target schools don't get a lot of sophistication when it comes to getting hired into banking. I told my career counselor that I had to fly out for an interview with an investment bank and she spent 15 minutes looking for an old interview questions book, handed it to me, and said, "That's all I've got; you're on your own." WSO didn't even exist back then. It was me, this book, and a plane ticket. Somehow, a couple of very wise interviewers managed to see through the light gray suit, sing-songy Midwestern accent, and relative lack of confidence in the face of some smart competition, and decided to hire me. And it turned out to be a great decision for the firm two years later when they needed someone smart that could take on a VP's responsibilities.

    3.) I think banks need to do a better job of figuring out which 21-year-olds are going to cut it and which ones aren't. Having a quick story to tell, knowing more about the firm than what the website tells you, being supremely confident, and dressing like most people dress tells a lot about sophistication, but it doesn't really cover competence on the job and value to the firm. I think a lot of that comes down to intellect, work ethic, and most importantly a good attitude.

  • jdog112's picture

    So should I throw out all my zipper pocket suits?

  • In reply to jdog112
    jimbrowngoU's picture

    jbert112:
    So should I throw out all my zipper pocket suits?

    Just read this entire thread, didn't even crack a smile and then BAM! This post made me laugh pretty hard. Well done, SB.

  • In reply to jimbrowngoU
    econ's picture

    jimbrowngoU:
    jbert112:
    So should I throw out all my zipper pocket suits?

    Just read this entire thread, didn't even crack a smile and then BAM! This post made me laugh pretty hard. Well done, SB.

    Haha! +1

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    GOB's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    This is an excellent post.

    Couple thoughts:

    1.) The entitlement isn't an unreasonable surprise from certain target schools, but the lack of sophistication and planning is. Your typical top-tier Ivy League student gets more networking prep, interview prep, and help than anyone on earth. If you manage to graduate from Yale without knowing how to carry on a friendly conversation with someone in industry, you may not deserve to get a job.

    2.) Most college students outside target schools don't get a lot of sophistication when it comes to getting hired into banking. I told my career counselor that I had to fly out for an interview with an investment bank and she spent 15 minutes looking for an old interview questions book, handed it to me, and said, "That's all I've got; you're on your own." WSO didn't even exist back then. It was me, this book, and a plane ticket. Somehow, a couple of very wise interviewers managed to see through the light gray suit, sing-songy Midwestern accent, and relative lack of confidence in the face of some smart competition, and decided to hire me. And it turned out to be a great decision for the firm two years later when they needed someone smart that could take on a VP's responsibilities.

    3.) I think banks need to do a better job of figuring out which 21-year-olds are going to cut it and which ones aren't. Having a quick story to tell, knowing more about the firm than what the website tells you, being supremely confident, and dressing like most people dress tells a lot about sophistication, but it doesn't really cover competence on the job and value to the firm. I think a lot of that comes down to intellect, work ethic, and most importantly a good attitude.

    +1 for being a consistently solid poster

  • wolverine19x89's picture

    .

    If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

    "There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

  • In reply to George87
    PiggyBank's picture

    George87:
    You have to deal with questions like "Why should I hire you from so and so non-target when I can get [insert douche bag kid here] from so and so ivy. Thanks for this post, going forward, will have a much better answer to that question... it reads: NO.SENSE.OF.ENTITLEMENT.WILLING.TO.WORK. MY.ASS.OFF.WILLING.TO.LEARN.

    Wonderful thread. + 1 to the OP, IlliniProgrammer, and George87.

    Acting like the world owes you something (because of where you go to school or your 4.0 GPA) is the worst vibe that you could project. I noticed the entitlement cliche when I tried to knock some common sense out of two monkeys in the following threads:
    http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/uncertain-ne...

    http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/so-about-thi...

    George87, the toughest challenge for non-target is to get through the door.One of my teachers said that when you are doing a job, you want to be the best at it.You must become so good at your job that you will no longer need to look for jobs because employers will throw offer at you. I am from a non-target, but when it come to finance and accounting , I know my shit( academic and work experience). I had an amazing finance teacher with whom I completed some beautiful financial modeling projects. I am confident in my ability to succeed and compete with the "chosen ones" or the Ivy babies.I like to keep a low and humble profile and I never fail to express my gratitude and appreciation to the people who makes my life easier, whether they are internship mentors, teachers, or the janitors who keep my dorm clean and fresh.
    .
    Man, once we set our feet inside, we should do our job exceptionally so that we can get a fo regardless of the school we attended.

    Oui!oui!oui! Money Gives Power, Power Buys Positions

  • monkeymark's picture

    Once you get past the first round or so it's almost all soft skills. I overheard an MD say this a couple of days again while they were going through the interview process...

    "They're all great, so who can you get along with?"

  • Mmmm Beefy's picture

    Great post. As a kid going through the process its good to hear insight from higher ups and to hear that they think these kids are as annoying as we do.

    "Hold on to your butts"

    See all my other WSO posts here

  • chewingum's picture

    As someone at a target, I'm surprised at the entitlement mentality that many of you speak of. If anything, being around other high strung people who would give their left nut for an IB job makes you more keenly aware of the competition and really motivates you to up your game. I have no idea why anyone would think they're owed a job (much less one in finance), target or not. If they do, they probably have their head up their ass and haven't looked around in a while.

    I don't get the Ivy hate either - babies? douche bag kids? Don't assume you're the only one who knows your stuff; there are plenty of people here who break in on their own merit too. Also, there's a good chance your interviewer/boss went to one of these schools, so you might want to try to keep that attitude in check.

  • In reply to monkeymark
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    monkeymark:
    Once you get past the first round or so it's almost all soft skills. I overheard an MD say this a couple of days again while they were going through the interview process...

    "They're all great, so who can you get along with?"


    It really, really depends. That may be the case in IBD. In quant analytics, research, and much of trading, the second round is even harder on a technical level. I went from answering basic probability and a question about a linkedlist to talking about logarithmic caches, NP-completeness, The Newton Method, and optimization strategies.

    There still is a bit of a bias towards certain schools and backgrounds once interviews start- even research and trading, but technical questions always level the playing field.

  • In reply to chewingum
    Aragorn's picture

    Hey chewingum,

    Yes and no.

    As someone who has been to both a target and a non-target, I can confidently say that the concentration of hardworking quality kids at a target is definitely higher. That having been said, the concentration of entitled kids is also higher at a target. I know kids at targets who think that the name on their resume is enough to guarantee them an interview/job. In fact, they've gone as far as saying 'who wouldn't want to want to hire me' (this is a direct quote).

    Ultimately, I think this debate between non-targets vs. targets should just end. People are individuals and they sure as hell are not defined by the names attached to their resumes. Insecurities and prejudices are only exacerbated by these types of discussions. It's actually really unfortunate.

    Look, if you are a non-target kid, don't let your situation stop you from pursuing your goals. If you are a target kid, stay humble, take advantage of your resources, and be thankful that the system works in your favor.

    Also, in response to your last statement, the day may come when your interviewer/boss went to one of these "other" schools, so you might want to try to keep that attitude in check as well.

    "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." - DT

  • In reply to Aragorn
    econ's picture

    chewingum:
    AI don't get the Ivy hate either - babies? douche bag kids? Don't assume you're the only one who knows your stuff; there are plenty of people here who break in on their own merit too. Also, there's a good chance your interviewer/boss went to one of these schools, so you might want to try to keep that attitude in check.

    The stereotype is that a lot of those kids come from rich families, with parents who went to an Ivy, and will already have a job lined up regardless of how they do in school (either at their family business or through family connections). Look, I'm not saying that's accurate, that's just the stereotype that a lot of people seem to hold.

    beta26:
    Ultimately, I think this debate between non-targets vs. targets should just end. People are individuals and they sure as hell are not defined by the names attached to their resumes. Insecurities and prejudices are only exacerbated by these types of discussions. It's actually really unfortunate.

    Look, if you are a non-target kid, don't let your situation stop you from pursuing your goals. If you are a target kid, stay humble, take advantage of your resources, and be thankful that the system works in your favor.

    Yeah, people shouldn't sweat it too much. There's anecdotal evidence that plenty of kids from awesome schools wind up in pretty mediocre jobs, and that plenty of people who went to mediocre schools (or sometimes even dropped out of high school or college) wind up incredibly successful. Success is much more about something inside you than where you went to school. Sure, those personal characteristics might be correlated with your success as a student, but often only weakly so.

    For example, I knew a lady, she's around 40 years old, who worked along side me as a telemarketer. It was just a summer job for me, but for her it was a career. Later, I found out she graduated from Yale. On the other hand, my brother was a mediocre high school student and never went to a day of college in his life. But, he had hustle, drive, and social skills, so he got himself a sales job, and now makes $150K - $200K a year as a manager (he's in his early 30s). His salary is probably higher than the average graduate of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc.

    If you go to a target, cool, you can definitely leverage that to be successful if you have the right personal characteristics. But, if you're from a non-target, don't sweat it, someone will eventually give you a chance to show your true colors, so just be prepared for that.

  • In reply to DJ Long Straddle
    JimmyDormandy's picture

    DJ Long Straddle:
    Jimmy, you seem like a reasonable guy.

    Can you explain how you are (only) a first year Associate at (I'm assuming) a VC firm after having IB and HF experience? Also, how is it that a first year Associate sits on the board of a portfolio company (are you just an Observer)?

    Seems impress for a guy who is 26 years old. Just sayin'.

    Sure, I will give you the short version, and yes you are correct, my board involvements are as observer, but I recently received a promotion so I am no longer a first year associate and our deal team has given me a lot of responsibility as I have earned it. If you read some of my past posts, I had IBD and HF internships in college and played Division 1 baseball (where a teammate of mine's father who is very well connected in the upper echelon of VC made some very promising introductions for me). Also, my IB analyst stint was in the middle market (healthcare) where I gained robust experience on deals (my MD had me much more involved in the entire process than is typical). After burning out after my 2 years, I joined the healthcare desk of one of the most prominent hedge funds around, but was only cranking models, which I soon realized I needed much more than this. With my healthcare experience and tech knowledge (I am a techie at heart) I reached out to my teammate's father who made great introductions for me to VC's I was already interested in and the rest was on me.

    My plan is to right a blog on my A - Z process, I just have to find the time to sit down and do so.

    "Jesus, he's like a gremlin; comes with instructions and shit"

  • In reply to chewingum
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    chewingum:
    I don't get the Ivy hate either - babies? douche bag kids? Don't assume you're the only one who knows your stuff; there are plenty of people here who break in on their own merit too. Also, there's a good chance your interviewer/boss went to one of these schools, so you might want to try to keep that attitude in check.

    Absolutely. There's smart people everywhere and the top half of the Ivy League crowd in any analyst class clearly deserves to be there. I think a lot of us are talking about the bottom half. Like the kid during my SA program who introduced himself as "Fred from Yale" (to which my friend responded "Dhivya from Stoneybrook", eliciting a lot of laughs.) These kids feel outgunned and outclassed on the competence and results front, so they hide behind prestige and entitlement.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    econ's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    "Fred from Yale" (to which my friend responded "Dhivya from Stoneybrook"

    Haha! That just made my day.

    A buddy of mine was competing for this really prestigious scholarship, and apparantly the girl from MIT always would throw the school name in for every conversation. So instead of saying, "I'm a XYZ major" she'd say "I'm a XYZ major at MIT." Or, she'd constantly say stuff like, "Well, at MIT, we do so-and-so."

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    JimmyDormandy's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    chewingum:
    I don't get the Ivy hate either - babies? douche bag kids? Don't assume you're the only one who knows your stuff; there are plenty of people here who break in on their own merit too. Also, there's a good chance your interviewer/boss went to one of these schools, so you might want to try to keep that attitude in check.

    Absolutely. There's smart people everywhere and the top half of the Ivy League crowd in any analyst class clearly deserves to be there. I think a lot of us are talking about the bottom half. Like the kid during my SA program who introduced himself as "Fred from Yale" (to which my friend responded "Dhivya from Stoneybrook", eliciting a lot of laughs.) These kids feel outgunned and outclassed on the competence and results front, so they hide behind prestige and entitlement.

    I'm not calling out Ivy kids, as pointed above they are some of the smartest people I have worked with. In fact, my VC works with many of the Ivy League schools as they produce great entrepreneurs. The point is just because you go there, does not mean you deserve a career in the fast lane, this is earned. And just because you have HWPS, don't think the kid from "U of insert here" doesn't know the same shit you do.

    "Jesus, he's like a gremlin; comes with instructions and shit"

  • econ's picture

    Jimmy: Isn't it also true that many very successful entrepreneurs didn't go to a target and usually weren't stand out students at their non-targets? Also, don't VCs sometimes cater to prestige, for PR reasons to their investors? I've heard Paul Graham talk about how VCs will often invest in companies that other VCs have invested in, and shy away from taking lots of various risks. Basically, he said, if it fails, they need to be able to go to investors and say, "It was a good investment, that's why all the other big VCs put in their money. It just didn't work out this time." Graham stated that a lot of angel investors got their money into Facebook and Google before VCs did, for these exact reasons. So, I guess what I'm asking you, is it possible VCs like to back kids from an Ivy, not necessarily because they make better entrepreneurs, but because it's easier to justify that the kid is brilliant to investors?

  • chewingum's picture

    beta26:
    Also, in response to your last statement, the day may come when your interviewer/boss went to one of these "other" schools, so you might want to try to keep that attitude in check as well.

    All my bosses/co-workers (with the exception of 1) so far have been from non-targets and they are sharp as hell while being down-to-earth. As long as you can deliver on the job no one cares how you got there. I didn't come from the stereotypical "target" background either, had no connections, and feel pretty damn good about getting in on my own merit. I certainly don't judge people by what school they went to - all I was saying is that it works both ways.

    Also there are definitely entitled tools like "Fred from Yale" running around - nobody really likes those kinds of people, target or non-target. But not all of us are like that, and from what I've seen at my school, the "Fred from Yale" kid certainly isn't in the majority.

  • In reply to econ
    JimmyDormandy's picture

    econ:
    Jimmy: Isn't it also true that many very successful entrepreneurs didn't go to a target and usually weren't stand out students at their non-targets? Also, don't VCs sometimes cater to prestige, for PR reasons to their investors? I've heard Paul Graham talk about how VCs will often invest in companies that other VCs have invested in, and shy away from taking lots of various risks. Basically, he said, if it fails, they need to be able to go to investors and say, "It was a good investment, that's why all the other big VCs put in their money. It just didn't work out this time." Graham stated that a lot of angel investors got their money into Facebook and Google before VCs did, for these exact reasons. So, I guess what I'm asking you, is it possible VCs like to back kids from an Ivy, not necessarily because they make better entrepreneurs, but because it's easier to justify that the kid is brilliant to investors?

    I think yes and no - Ivy does not mean an entrepreneur will be successful (we like to work with these institutions because intellectual property stemming from them is often times superior, and they typically have been successful in pre-seed and seed rounds).
    Many successful entrepreneurs were not even students, which is also important to point out. I think VCs trying to be PR friendly are wasting their time - venture capital always has and always will be a risk. My fund has recently launched a pre-seed initiative where we will fund companies pre revenue / or to continue prototype development etc, and if these investments fail (we expect a few to) there is no way to save face by saying it was ok because the founder went to HBS.

    To be quite frank, when I am conducting due diligence on deals, I am not concerned where the entrepreneur went to school. I am focused on the technology, the IP, previous entrepreneurial success, skin in the game / sweat equity and most importantly: management (or some sort of advisor involved if this is a dorm room start up).

    "Jesus, he's like a gremlin; comes with instructions and shit"

  • In reply to chewingum
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    chewingum][quote=beta26:
    Also, in response to your last statement, the day may come when your interviewer/boss went to one of these "other" schools, so you might want to try to keep that attitude in check as well.

    Well, arrogant idiots do tend to attract a lot more attention to themselves than quieter folks.

    But if you go to a different school than Yale in the HYP, Yale is probably the worst of the top schools on the (arrogant idiots)/(quiet competent people) coefficient; still, that number at Yale is handily below 1.

    We have that problem at state schools, too, but it gets taken care of in the first month. Folks get embarassed out of it real fast when some kid from a downstate farm turns a conversation about the Odyssey into the fact that if Odysseus had any wisdom, he should have stayed home from the Trojan war and farmed goats.

  • econ's picture

    Jimmy: Thanks for the insights. Just out of curiosity, do you agree with Paul Graham that many VCs are PR friendly and basically are not wasting their time because that's what investors actually want?

  • In reply to econ
    JimmyDormandy's picture

    econ:
    Jimmy: Thanks for the insights. Just out of curiosity, do you agree with Paul Graham that many VCs are PR friendly and basically are not wasting their time because that's what investors actually want?

    econ: I would agree to a certain extent, but more towards the funds that really operate as private equity but call themselves VCs. I won't throw out names, but you probably know who I am mentioning (ie firms that require xx million in revenue to me is not VC, and how they structure investments, etc - but that is another rant that I could make into another forum).

    My firm, and firms we work with, are true VC's - meaning we do not need to be "PR" friendly if something goes bust. Our investors are extremely savvy, and probably would never accept "well he was a HBS" graduate as a valid excuse.

    "Jesus, he's like a gremlin; comes with instructions and shit"

  • In reply to JimmyDormandy
    econ's picture

    Thanks a lot, Jimmy.

    JimmyDormandy:
    My firm, and firms we work with, are true VC's - meaning we do not need to be "PR" friendly if something goes bust. Our investors are extremely savvy, and probably would never accept "well he was a HBS" graduate as a valid excuse.

    Just to be clear, when I was asking about PR in my last post, I was talking less about the school the entrepreneur went to and more about how risky the investment appears and whether or not many other VCs are investing, as well.

  • In reply to meph
    tails379's picture

    meph:
    SirLarryWildman:
    Guess I need to start riding the train more.

    I was thinking the same... time to spend a week on the train eavesdropping on phone calls? lol

    The train is an awesome place to make some great connections as long as you aren't incredibly awkward about it. I met an MD at a BB just over a month ago. Different division than what I was applying for, but still proved helpful. Exchanged e-mail and ended up meeting with him for a few hours to discuss the internship/job opportunities there and he gave me a great recommendation. I'm at a non-target, but it got my foot in the door at least for a phone interview, which turned into superday. (I had another connection there too, but being able to take advantage of situations like that is very helpful)

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