9/28/11

There's a lot being written lately about the bamboo ceiling - the glass ceiling for Asians. Basically, the theory claims that there are lots of overachieving Asians in the educational arena, but very few of them make it to management positions.

What's your take on this? Have you seen this happen where you work? Is it the result of cultural differences or just plain discrimination?

Comments (82)

Best Response
9/28/11

What about the Taco ceiling ? Why you gringos no give us jobs Senor ?

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation +

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews.

9/28/11

Whenever internationals gave group presentations in college it was painful to watch. They can rape the curve on tests, but they still look ridiculous presenting to the class.

9/28/11

What about second/third-gen Asians who don't have any language barriers?

9/28/11

I suppose I am more interested in second/third-generation Asians as well. It's pretty obvious that there are significant barriers for international Asians. But what about well-integrated Asians? Are they still discriminated against when it comes to headhunters, promotions, etc?

9/28/11

I am Chinese and can write a breadth of material on the concept of the Bamboo Ceiling. But I won't digress and can describe at least a very real phenomenon in banking.

In my experience, the average North American BB IBD analyst class will consist of 30+% Asians. They exemplify the traditional characteristics bankers look for in analysts - hardworking, dedicated, high-tolerance levels and an ability to crank. However, I literally see Asians constitute less than 5% Associate-VP-ED-MD levels of banking. I also barely see any Asians at partner-track positions at PEs... It is a shame because a lot of my Asian friends are brilliant but simply cannot develop the critical sales and people skills it takes in navigating organizations.

There are a lot of nuances in managing people / relationships so if you are Asian, I highly advise that you work on your confidence and polish.

9/28/11

Well I guess it comes down to
(a) communication (that includes how well you speak English and how articulate you are. I have seen international students who despite English isn't their first language, speak pretty intelligibly and intelligently. @Carnival: yeah I've seen that as well, but mostly among freshmen, when they get to senior year their English gets better)

(b) personality/fit: I think this is of paramount important. If you want to climb the corporate ladder you need someone high up who'd back you, go to bat for you, induct you to the other league. It helps if you have a Asian American in their or someone whose background is similar to yours. After all, even for their white counterparts, if you don't get along well/be liked by your colleagues/people above, you won't get any further

(c) your ability: I don't need to elaborate on this :D

That said, I hope you guys (Americans I mean) can perhaps be more patient when it comes to the language. I couldn't understand even the simplest English conversation until I was 18. I taught myself English when I was in college (no I don't go to school in the US, which till this day is my biggest, greatest regret. I was in the Midwest on an exchange scholarship for one semester and that was the best time of my life), and during my short time there, I've seen many international students who, despite their effort in learning, struggle to communicate. I guess English doesn't come easy to some of us :) Be kind and start talking to them sometimes :)

My formula for success is rise early, work late and strike oil - JP Getty

9/28/11

3rd generation Asian-American here; I could write a book on this topic but I will limit my thoughts to a few points:

1) The Bamboo Ceiling definitely exists, but its hardly limited to the corporate world. I think the "Paper Tigers" article in New York magazine said that Asians, on average, need a higher SAT score to get in the same school as a white applicant would. I think this because of two reasons, 1)the fact that we're an ethnic minority, and 2) the plethora of cultural, societal factors that constitute "East Asian culture", the ceiling isn't going away anytime soon.

2) Although I think it is good that we discuss this issue, I think the more we discuss it, the more it becomes real. Simply put, it is too easy to blame everything on "being Asian". Yes, the bamboo ceiling exists. Yes, it is unfair. Yes, you do have to work harder. What are you going to do about it?

And I agree about the confidence part- I've seen "alpha male Asians" do a decently impressive job in a leadership role, but they usually had some external factors inapplicable to the greater Asian population working for them (rich, well-educated, good-looking, etc.). In other words, they had a lot of stuff going for them.

9/28/11

And also, I don't think it is simply language- this issue has actually been discussed quite extensively by Asian-Americans that are fairly assimilated. Rather, I think it is because virtues that East Asians praise--modesty, obedience, politeness-- in a corporate setting mean having other people take credit for your work, having a hard time judging when you should "push back", and "being too nice" in a culture that praises assertiveness, respectively.

And on the point of modesty- I think there's a certain sense of humility associated with being an ethnic minority- I've noticed this in all types of Asians- fairly assimilated Asians educated in New England prep schools to uneducated Chinese-American Panda-Express working Asians in Oakland. And again, not the best trait to have in a competitive, assertive atmosphere.

9/28/11

Thought this was thread about retro rolling papers and french vietnamese porn stars. Disappointment.

9/28/11

Network and personality is the big thing wit the so-called "Bamboo Ceiling". No doubt after a few generations the problems disappear, but the culture differences and (if international) heavy accent are big downsides to having them in upper management. When some Asians give presentations in school I literally can't understand wtf they are saying, and it seems that stress/overworking is very easy. Like I said, it's probably cultural differences, but if you look at the fT recruiting sessions it seems like its usually mostly fobby asians. Business isn't the most cerebral thing in the world, else Harvard would be an instant billionaire maker. The intangibles (personality) come more and more into play as you move up the corporate ladder and go from crunching numbers to making and developing relationships.

Obviously there are outliers, I have Asian friends who are cool and able to have fun- but the overall image (whether true or not) is that Asians are analogous to the white, skinny geeky dude. And you see very few of those in upper management either.

Reality hits you hard, bro...

9/28/11

Isn't a majority of first generation Asians still fairly young? I'm guessing they're mostly in their 20s and mid 30s at most.

In which case, shouldn't we wait longer before making any judgments?

I think it's quite obvious why immigrant Asians don't get management positions, but Asians born in the US are on more equal footing since they learned English fairly early.

9/28/11

I think a significant portion of the post-60's Chinese diaspora living in the US comes from academic/intellectual backgrounds. Many members of that first generation were fleeing the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution or among the first cohort to pursue international college/graduate degrees. Culturally, these are not the kinds of people that are going to raise their kids to be leaders. Educated and studious? Sure. But not charming and with very little emphasis on the psychology of others, other than basic power dynamics and a predisposition for passivity.

It's not like Asians in Asia can't lead. Love Mao or Hate Mao (or Zhou Enlai), the dude was a balls-out leader. Same goes for Jack Ma, Wen Jiabao, Zhang Xin, et al..

A big component of leadership is intuitive, big-picture thinking. The most admired and successful leaders are the ones who have a vision or prediction of the future and take the necessary steps to realize or exploit that opportunity. There is nothing particularly brilliant about the iPhone, Facebook, or Paulson's bet against the housing market. It doesn't take a 3.9 from Harvard or a bunch of upper level quant classes and bullshit extracurriculars to make those kinds of things happen. It takes intuition, guts, and the ability to rally people to your cause.

You've got to fight for what you want or think you deserve. Nobody is going to give you anything based on your merits alone. Just because your parents love you unconditionally doesn't mean the outside world gives a single shit about you. If your upbringing has left you socially and emotionally retarded, fix yourself. Go buy How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, and the Art of Seduction by Robert Greene. Go on a bunch of dates. Learn how other people think instead of living a self-absorbed, entitled, and solipsistic existence.

Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1tXhJniSEc

9/28/11

suck it up pussies

if you're a socially-proficient minority, the world is your oyster

9/28/11
9/28/11
9/28/11

I love it when Asians cry racist for not being successful ENOUGH. Some other groups should take a hint *cough*

I am sure there are all kinds of ceilings for people. I think so much growth is going on in China and Asian that being Asian and speaking the language is so much of a benefit that it outweighs any type of ceiling or whatnot.

9/28/11

What about the Whiskey ceiling for us Ginger Irish folk? Haven't seen any of my ginger brethren running things recently

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

9/28/11

Happy, no one likes a freaking ginger bro. Don't make me go Eric Cartman on your ass.

9/28/11

2 types of asians:

1) twinkie
2) fob

twinkies get sh*t on by fobs for trying to assimilate and having the characteristics needed to advance in the corporate world (i.e., social, outgoing, open-minded, etc.). if you took fobs out of the general asian-american population, i bet you have a proportionate amount of asians in the upper ranks.

9/28/11

I give the Chinese props for setting high standards and pretty much grabbing every opportunity by the balls BUT it makes life 10x harder for the rest of Asians like (Cambodians, Pakistanis, Bengalis, etc) & themselves. Knowing several ppl at MS & JPM, I know many applicants are heavily screened. Since there is so much competition these days, many applicants are perfectly qualified and capable. But if they have 6 Asians that are perfect for the position and 1-2 African Americans perfect for the position, who would they pick? The majority or minority?

In NYC, Asians have the highest salaries and have been rapidly populating past ten years. While there has been a 10% decrease in the white population. If you go more in depth, 75-80% by "Asians" they mean Chinese.

Chinese are a majority in many ways. In a global perspective and a corporate perspective.

I'm sure my fellow New Yorkers could confirm this. All you need to do is use subway or go to any networking event.

No offense to any Chinese users even thou it's probably a majority here as well

"I always knew I was going to be rich. I don't think I ever doubted it for a minute."

In reply to Boozaka207
9/28/11
acer123:

If you go more in depth, 75-80% by "Asians" they mean Chinese.

Chinese are a majority in many ways. In a global perspective and a corporate perspective.

I'm sure my fellow New Yorkers could confirm this. All you need to do is use subway or go to any networking event.

No offense to any Chinese users even thou it's probably a majority here as well

So true, I am often mistaken for Chinese (by both Chinese and Western people). I actually don't mind this except that it's just sad thinking in most people's mind, there is probably little space for other "Asians" :(

My formula for success is rise early, work late and strike oil - JP Getty

9/28/11

Maybe it's because you are all really unattractive, uncreative tools?

9/28/11

^^Quarterlife, there are a billion people in China (not counting the diaspora).

Life, liberty, and the happiness of pursuit.

9/28/11
moshimuncher:

Have you seen this happen where you work?

Yes

moshimuncher:

Is it the result of cultural differences

Yes

moshimuncher:

or just plain discrimination?

Yes

It really sucks because some of the smartest people get passed over b/c they aren't pushy loudmouths. One asian girl at the last WSO meetings was talking about becoming more pushy so that she gets ahead. For what racial stereotypes are worth, why not get kung fu on everyone's ass....we know you got it in you, seriously, lose the perfect manners and get real.

Get busy living

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation +

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews.

9/28/11

There is a difference between not being a "pushy loudmouth" and being a pussy and taking a lot of shit. And the latter seems to be prevalent with the Asians I know. They don't know when to say no, or when to fight back. This leads towards them being taken advantage of and not taken seriously. It's some beta shit.

Reality hits you hard, bro...

In reply to MMBinNC
9/28/11
MMBinNC:

There is a difference between not being a "pushy loudmouth" and being a pussy and taking a lot of shit.

Yeah, the whole spectrum of options in the middle don't seem to exist in finance. It's one....or the other. When push comes to shove, you want to be doing the shoving.

Get busy living

9/28/11

i mean it's a ceiling made out of bamboo. can't you chew your way through?

i don't think fobs or a twinkies are the only type of asians as dave742 categorizes it

and seriously, that girl has a point. i tend to be more quiet and I realized that I have to be a lot more upfront about things in order to be heard.

vh62.host22.com- website for class. pagerank improvement.

9/28/11

we all know kung fu. i know a bit, at least. Being quiet all the time is frustrating. urges to kungfu people's asses has passed my mind on multiple occasions

vh62.host22.com- website for class. pagerank improvement.

In reply to happypantsmcgee
9/28/11
happypantsmcgee:

What about the Whiskey ceiling for us Ginger Irish folk? Haven't seen any of my ginger brethren running things recently

Always knew that there was something I didn't like about you.

Also, too many Chinese and Korean people go for the job with the highest salary and perceived prestige with absolutely no regard for whether or not it's something they want to do.
Long run, this isn't the best strategy.

9/28/11

Well it used to leak during the rainy season so i replaced it with plastic sheets... plus the elephants don't eat my roof anymore so that's a plus

9/28/11

I am a first gen Asian and yes, people do classify me as a twinkie or banana because I don't behave like a fob or hang out with them.

In my opinion the ceiling is created by the very people that claims to be held back by one. I was never a 4.0 student, shit I barely graduated with a 3.0 from a state school. What I realize early on is that charisma and networking will bring you further than any stupid little paper with a gold star on it. I am one of the few Asian S&T guys in my firm and my MD is a twinkie as well.

My advice is to simply assimilate into the culture and not expect the culture to come around to accept your differences.

In reply to reddog23
9/28/11

Also, too many Chinese and Korean people go for the job with the highest salary and perceived prestige with absolutely no regard for whether or not it's something they want to do.
Long run, this isn't the best strategy.

What the hell? This just sounds dumb.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

9/28/11

Please clarify for us white guys, what is a twinkie and what is a fob?

CompBanker

In reply to CompBanker
9/28/11
CompBanker:

Please clarify for us white guys, what is a twinkie and what is a fob?

okay white guy.

Twinkie: yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Essentially it is to reference an Asian that acts, talks and culturally similar to a white guy.

F.O.B: acronym for Fresh Off the Boat, Asians that are not well assimilated nor speak decent engrish.

9/28/11

Interesting conversation here. The US Government classifies people with origins in the Indian subcontinent as Asian-Americans. College admissions committees also classify them as Asian-American.

Looks like people here do not classify Indians as Asians. So is there a separate ceiling for us? But I can give you examples of a lot of Indians who have risen to the top. The CEOs of Pepsi, Citi and Motorolla are Indian immigrants. I'm just wondering if there is a difference between Indians and east-Asians.

Also Raj Rajaratnam and Rajat Gupta(CEO of McKinsey) before they got caught.

FYI: I'm a FOB from the subcontinent. However, I do feel like I have assimilated well enough and can speak pretty decent English.

Care to comment on the differences?

9/28/11

Any examples/anecdotes that come to mind about being pushy when push comes to shove (as opposed to being shoved)?

9/28/11

Indians do the best of helping each other, like the Jews, out of all the Asian-Americans cultures. I'd say the Koreans are second best but don't have the sheer numbers to really make a huge impact. Chinese, in my opinion, aren't nearly as cultural connected.

SenorSerious, what other asian types are there?

In reply to dcer
9/28/11
dcer:

Any examples/anecdotes that come to mind about being pushy when push comes to shove (as opposed to being shoved)?

like harold was pushed around in the first harold and kumar movie

9/28/11

personally, i'm first generation chinese american, so i wouldn't be a fob. and i wouldn't say i'm a twinkie. i hang out with whoever and I don't particularly act a certain way to be considered "white". I'm just saying that you made it seem as though there are only two types of asians in general

vh62.host22.com- website for class. pagerank improvement.

In reply to SenorSerious
9/28/11
SenorSerious:

personally, i'm first generation chinese american, so i wouldn't be a fob. and i wouldn't say i'm a twinkie. i hang out with whoever and I don't particularly act a certain way to be considered "white". I'm just saying that you made it seem as though there are only two types of asians in general

sorry, left one out. i call you guys candy corns. white on one end, yellow on the other...all coming together in a neutral orange middle. you guys are pretty rare.

definitely true that stereotyping saves time.

9/28/11

I don't care. I'm a quant. I NO NEED SPEAK ENGLISH PERFECT NONO.

9/28/11

that's a new term to me. i like a good balance and it can't be that rare. i feel like that's pretty common at my college. Though there are those who tend to "flock together".

vh62.host22.com- website for class. pagerank improvement.

9/28/11

What are people's experiences with indians? is there a ceiling there as well?

9/28/11

Talk about English. Who cares whether or not you can speak it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3S4dBk4E1g&ob=av3e \m/

My formula for success is rise early, work late and strike oil - JP Getty

9/28/11

Indians tend to perform better. A lot of my Indian buddies are prototypical bankers

East Asians for the most part hit a ceiling

9/28/11

The only azn i'd trust would be an indian neurosurgeon (they are all neurosurgeons wtf is wrong with you indians, can you all stop overachieving, you re embarrassing us.... there has to be at least one indian who's not smart, i blame it on the little skinny non-violence guy... god i hate you!!!)...

9/28/11

Just because you are insanely book smart doesn't mean you have the mental capacity to lead people. Two very different things.

To quote someone, "No one's gonna promote you cause you're smart. Everyone wants smart people working FOR them."

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

9/29/11

Anyone in a client-facing industry with an accent and terrible social skills will have some sort of ceiling as far as their progression goes.

9/29/11

1st generation Indian's tend to be legit. Same with Asians. Once America sets in and you have born and brought up here it goes to shit.

2nd generation Indian and Asian people act like normal Americans (aka morons).

9/29/11

I speaka good engrish!!!!!

9/29/11

what would you call the ceiling for black people?

"Know what to do, know how to do it, and do it hard." - Juan Castillo

If you are in the Toronto Area join my group "Toronto Prospective Monkeys"
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/group/toronto-prosp...

In reply to ConanDBull
9/29/11
ConanDBull:

what would you call the ceiling for black people?

The 2012 US presidential election

9/29/11

^^^^hahahahahahahaha!!!!!

9/29/11

Talented people will get opportunities to advance, no matter their race. The talent of a successful senior banker is a sort of congeniality and gravitas that can't be taught but is inherited through unique experiences (sports teams, frats, military, etc). A more isolated and academic upbringing (ie stereotypical asian) doesn't typically breed these character traits.

In reply to ConanDBull
9/29/11
ConanDBull:

what would you call the ceiling for black people?

Prison

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

In reply to TNA
9/29/11
ANT:

1st generation Indian's tend to be legit. Same with Asians. Once America sets in and you have born and brought up here it goes to shit.

2nd generation Indian and Asian people act like normal Americans (aka morons).

Sounds like you're a RAYCiIIIiiiSt !!

9/29/11

Asians are 4.8% of the US population. I don't think they are particularly underrepresented at senior level.

9/29/11

It's a generational thing.

Prior to the late 1990s, finance in the western world was predominantly a white man's game.

Execs at F500 were overwhelmingly white male good ol' boys.
Politicians were overwhelmingly white male good ol' boys.
Those who had money in the western world (rich families, endowments, foundations) were overwhelmingly white.

So it helps immensely being a white male MD or a white male PE/VC/HF partner -- since these people were your primary source of funding and clients, and you and your families end up having lots in common socially (i.e. same hobbies, same private club memberships, same private schools you send your kids to, blah blah blah).

It's still mostly white male, but becoming less so in the last 10-15 years. There are more non-white males, women of all backgrounds, etc. starting to become execs, politicians, and wealthy. Not to mention that the world of finance has become even more global than it was in the 1990s -- so that it's not only a US-western Euro thing, but wealth and capital from around the world (Asia, LatAm, Mideast) becoming more integrated and less provincial. So if you are a bank or fund now (as opposed to the 1990s and before), you're looking at stuff globally now, and you will need people who can access and tap those markets.

If you want to know why there are so few Asians right now at the top of the food chain in the western world (in finance), here's a bit of perspective for you:

When I was an IBD analyst back in the mid-1990s, I can count on one hand how many Asians (whether Asian-American or Asians) there were in my analyst class at a bulge bracket. It was still overwhelmingly white. And go back just a few years to the early 1990s, and there were virtually none (or like one token Asian guy). That's why you see so few at the top because prior to the 2000s, Wall Street was very very very white. And yet in the last 10-15 years it's changed dramatically. As someone said, something like 30% of most lower ranks at banks and funds are Asian (or non-white males).

You'll see more Asians at the higher ranks in the next few years. It's inevitable and it will happen. Even if there is discrimination, the sheer numbers of folks means that they can't stop everyone haha

9/29/11

lol PIGS' joke was better then Happypants

"Know what to do, know how to do it, and do it hard." - Juan Castillo

If you are in the Toronto Area join my group "Toronto Prospective Monkeys"
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/group/toronto-prosp...

9/29/11

Ni hao!! You waaannn the IB?? You waaaannnn the cash?? Ok, Ok...

You no good enoughhh!!!

In reply to Tracer
9/30/11
Tracer:

I think a significant portion of the post-60's Chinese diaspora living in the US comes from academic/intellectual backgrounds. Many members of that first generation were fleeing the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution or among the first cohort to pursue international college/graduate degrees. Culturally, these are not the kinds of people that are going to raise their kids to be leaders. Educated and studious? Sure. But not charming and with very little emphasis on the psychology of others, other than basic power dynamics and a predisposition for passivity.

It's not like Asians in Asia can't lead. Love Mao or Hate Mao (or Zhou Enlai), the dude was a balls-out leader. Same goes for Jack Ma, Wen Jiabao, Zhang Xin, et al..

A big component of leadership is intuitive, big-picture thinking. The most admired and successful leaders are the ones who have a vision or prediction of the future and take the necessary steps to realize or exploit that opportunity. There is nothing particularly brilliant about the iPhone, Facebook, or Paulson's bet against the housing market. It doesn't take a 3.9 from Harvard or a bunch of upper level quant classes and bullshit extracurriculars to make those kinds of things happen. It takes intuition, guts, and the ability to rally people to your cause.

You've got to fight for what you want or think you deserve. Nobody is going to give you anything based on your merits alone. Just because your parents love you unconditionally doesn't mean the outside world gives a single shit about you. If your upbringing has left you socially and emotionally retarded, fix yourself. Go buy How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, and the Art of Seduction by Robert Greene. Go on a bunch of dates. Learn how other people think instead of living a self-absorbed, entitled, and solipsistic existence.

Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1tXhJniSEc

Hear Hear. UK-based Asian here.

Having target school education is merely the baseline. Rising through the ranks and navigating corporate politics requires the soft skills that you only learn by hanging around the most socially adept and culturally-informed people. Basically you need to remove the perception (however unfair) that you only hang around Asian cliques, and then maybe you will have the chance to convince that you can play with best blue-chip players. No amount of test-acing is going to help you with that.

9/30/11

The perception (and existence) of a bamboo ceiling is great for you Millennial Asians -- Throw every other Asian kid who's a wallflower, asks stupid questions at info sessions, hands their resume in first 3 seconds -- throw them under the bus by being polished and part of the old boys club.

That you can play the same game as them, even better.

But you know what? When you really work in Asia, especially China--if you're not bamboo, you're going to learn business the hard way. Jack Ma is putting his dick in Meg Whitman's skull.

Best of both worlds here -- think strategically, think positive. Quit complaining.

9/30/11

I'm a 1st generation Asian American of S.E. Asian origin.
I agree with a good combination of things here: Firstly, the generational thing that MBAApply mention is definitely true. Secondly, the Asian population represents just under 5% of US population. So no it should not be surprising to see few Asians in top spots. And lastly, cultural and language barriers especially for Asian immigrants. Yes, it's painful to hear non-native english speakers present and that holds them back. By the same token I probably would not be a CEO of a Chinese company in China without knowing Mandarin.

Now as for the cultural thing, here's an interesting story I heard from co-workers. There was a fellow Asian in our intern program for trading who was offered a FT position. He had to decline because his parents did not like or were not familiar with the compensation structure. There are other cultural things that others have already mentioned like nerdiness, social awkwardness, etc., etc.

My take? It's a perception that you (if you're Asian) can break or fall into that conformity. Italian, Jewish, and Irish immigrants had to go through the same rites of passage when they immigrated here a century ago. I have Indian friends that are brash, aggressive and on their way to the top of their fields (of course smart as hell too). Not the stereotypical Asian. Me? I love doing that meat-headed shit like playing American football, lifting, competing, and I love interacting with people. My brother? True stereotypical Asian - smart, shy, conservative and highly risk averse. He knows he'll be doing B.O. work and he's fine with that.

Leaders are alpha type personalities. You have it or you don't.

9/30/11

....and amen to Wolfy's take: "Think positive. Quit complaining."

9/30/11

It's interesting that a lot of the comments so far have involved for the most part, males. Do you think the stereotypes apply differently for females? In my experience, Asian females aren't penalized for being not bro-y enough. Instead, they are judged for being "competitive bitches.'

10/1/11

my experience with the bamboo ceiling:

i can't handle my liquor. legendarily so.

10/3/11

I'm going out on a limb to suggest that no matter your ethnicity - if you are in the US and not a white guy, you are statistically less likely to advance beyond some arbitrary threshold (call it what you want), and that is unlikely to change.

That said, this phenomenon applies equally in reverse. If I'm a white guy, and I try to set up shop in China - how high do you think I can really go? I'll be used to the extent that there is some value in the perception that a successful white American businessman is on the team, but the number of white guys that really break through the rank and file at the top of Chinese society will be insignificant - probably far more so than Chinese in the US. In China, they probably won't even make a pretense about preventing outsiders from rising too high.

In reply to zenaku
10/3/11
zenaku:

my experience with the bamboo ceiling:

i can't handle my liquor. legendarily so.

I was a summer analyst in Shanghai in 2010, part of the work/life balance is work till 6, dine and "entertain" a prospective client, which means drinking shit loads (since my boss is paying for the client, it's always so much alcohol that I felt it's wasteful). And after sending the client on his limo, MD turned around and tell all the associates to get the pitchbook ready by tomorrow morning, because he has a good feeling the client is gonna sign.
try doing business in China and tell me there's a liquor ceiling. Non-asian analyst that worked in China would probably understand.

My take to this topic:
In the case of FOB.
> no existing network
> no cultural assimilation, (though they could be very sociable, but when choosing a person to lead in a BB in north america....)
> no daddy's college mate who made MD in BB and owe daddy $25 back in the days to help the mentoring/promoting process

In the case of Twinkies:
> not brah enough for the white boys
> not enough swag for the blacks
> the rich FOBs think you're douche
> daddy cheated for the BB's SVP back in college, and of course he will 'help' you in the firm....

bottomline: "the bamboo ceiling exist because this is America, it is run by networks of wealthy and self-identified people. However, the ceiling will be raised if more bamboos are running companies here. however, that's unlikely to happen cause China is getting so lucrative and the smartest bamboos are running back for the pandas..."

10/4/11

djfiii,

I agree with everything you've said, but here's the thing- people make a fuss about the ceiling because they hold America to higher standard than China; if we have to resort to comparing ourselves to a country that just 30 years ago experienced the Cultural Revolution, we've sunk to an all new low.

From what I can tell, many Americans derive their national pride from belief in the soundness of its virtues- democracy, freedom to pursue happiness, "all men are born equal", etc. China, has a strain of nationalism that is largely derived from ethnic identity. They don't care about equality and don't profess to caring. America, on the other hand, is in the words of Tocqueville, a "classless society", and celebrates past achievements in civil rights (1960's etc.). But a lot of obstacles remain.

10/4/11

Also, a clear distinction needs to be made between "Asians" and "Asian-Americans".

Asians: Asian citizens.

Asian-Americans: American citizens

Not that hard right?

Furthermore, the rise of China, at this point in time, doesn't really mean shit for Asian-Americans. In fact, it might actually make things worse, that is, exacerbate the "Bamboo Ceiling". Here's why:

There are no special opportunities for Asian-Americans in China. Growing Chinese companies want to hire cheap Chinese labor- the pool of graduating Chinese students is so large that there WILL be students fluent in both Chinese and English willing to work for cheap. Asian-Americans have no real comparative advantage, and will understandably have the same salary expectations as white counterparts (they'll never get them). Furthermore, bulge bracket investment banks are currently hiring native Mandarin speakers in Hong Kong (read: from China)- not Asian-Americans. There is no real advantage for ABCs, and anyone that knows a thing or two about China is that Chinese people will probably end up looking down on non-Chinese Asians more than white people do. Even if you teach English, a profession that this board is bound to mock and jeer at (perhaps understandably so), you're statistically less likely to get paid the same salary as a white counterpart.

Instead, Asian-Americans are forced to languish and struggle to advance through an American corporate and political culture that is increasingly rife with anti-Chinese rhetoric. The fact that China and the United States have an adversarial political and economic relationship doesn't make things easier for Asians in the states- after all, from the perspective of an employer, all Asians are the same, and why hire the enemy? You're at worst the enemy and at best some "nerd" whose social skills are "lacking" because your objective qualifications had to outpace the competition by far to even get through the door, thereby leaving little time for other things.

In reply to Culcet
10/4/11
Culcet:

djfiii,

I agree with everything you've said, but here's the thing- people make a fuss about the ceiling because they hold America to higher standard than China; if we have to resort to comparing ourselves to a country that just 30 years ago experienced the Cultural Revolution, we've sunk to an all new low.

From what I can tell, many Americans derive their national pride from belief in the soundness of its virtues- democracy, freedom to pursue happiness, "all men are born equal", etc. China, has a strain of nationalism that is largely derived from ethnic identity. They don't care about equality and don't profess to caring. America, on the other hand, is in the words of Tocqueville, a "classless society", and celebrates past achievements in civil rights (1960's etc.). But a lot of obstacles remain.

I think my point was to question the validity of that - why exactly should America be held to a higher standard? Just because a few people loudly proclaim that we're better than everyone else? A country is just a social construct like any other, comprised of men, implemented by men (and women - sorry ladies!). It is human nature to prefer relationships with people that we consider to be as much like ourselves as possible. Generally, it makes us more comfortable to be surrounded by people that look the same, act the same, believe the same things, etc.

The difference between the US and China (in this context; there are many others obv) is that China is honest about it's intentions. The US says it stands for one thing, and makes a big show of proving it, but outcomes often flatly contradict those supposed ideals. If they were really ideals that most Americans shared, do you think we would still be dealing with institutionalized racism? The reality is, a bunch of white guys were in the right place at the right time in history, and they aren't about to systemically share that advantage - they'll just make a show of doing that so they can perpetuate their advantage as long as possible. And IMO, rightfully so since that's how every other country in the world behaves. Again - our societies are just a reflection of human nature. It's naive to suggest otherwise.

10/4/11

What a joke. Institutionalized racism in the US. Definitely not the US I knew and lived in.

10/4/11

right. vague denunciations definitely make a strong point.

10/4/11

I know dozens of non-whites in leadership positions all across the US and across many industries. You will call it anecdotal evidence, no doubt.

The racism excuse is like the "I wasn't from a rich background" excuse or the "I'm a woman" excuse. It's a way to make you feel better for not trying as hard as the non-whites, the women and the poor kids who succeed.

10/4/11
10/4/11

No DJfiii, you're spot on. I was trying to get at that earlier, but was too tired/incoherent at the time to get my argument on its feet. It's not something easy to accept, but from what I've seen, it is true. Sigh.

10/5/11

my VP is 100% chinese and his wife is a caucasian attorney at Goodwin Proc. pretty sexy too. met her at one of our team dinners.

what do ya think of that?

it can happen folks. as much as i love my fellow whities, some of the smartest guys on my team are chinese.

10/5/11

To unlock this content for free, please login / register below.

  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • LinkeIn
  • Twitter
Connecting helps us build a vibrant community. We'll never share your info without your permission. Sign up with email or if you are already a member, login here Bonus: Also get 6 free financial modeling lessons for free ($200+ value) when you register!
In reply to Solidarity
10/5/11

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

10/5/11

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

In reply to djfiii
10/5/11
10/30/11

What's Your Opinion? Comment below:

Login or register to get credit (collect bananas).
All anonymous comments are unpublished until reviewed. No links or promotional material will be allowed. Most comments are published within 24 hours.
WallStreet Prep Master Financial Modeling