Why there isn't more diversity on the street

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Mod note (Andy): WSO top comments - this one is from the post in response to diversity in investment banks. Click here to see more top rated comments

You asked why there isn't more diversity on the street given that only 'average talent' is required. Here are my thoughts.

One:

We define diversity too narrowly. Race is not the only lens. We should also think about it in socioeconomic terms. Students from under-resourced communities are from every race. A lot of people immediately think "diversity" equals "black", but there are Hispanic, Asian, and white students suffering from educational inequity as well. Some won't be helped by diversity recruiting initiatives.

Two:

You have to have a complete package to get hired. Let's look at what that means for banking recruiting:
connections
grades
prior experience
relevant knowledge (interview prep)
education (brand-name schools preferred)
Those elements may change in proportion to each other between candidates, but they're all in the mix. Lower socioeconomic status (SES) students typically under-perform on most of those dimensions.

a: Such students are less likely to enjoy the family or friendship connections that make networking less of a brutal hustle to get a foot in the door and more of a "Hi Uncle Jack's golfing buddy, remember me? I'd like a job."

b: I am going to be careful with this one given how much of a hot topic it is. Suffice it to say that for a whole host of reasons, such students are statistically less likely to perform well in school (regardless of how your political views may shape what you think the reason for that is).

c: Such students are less likely to have internships or extracurriculars. This may intersect with the two prior points. If you don't know someone who can help you get an internship, you're less likely to take one. Similarly, if you don't have someone who will tell you how important it is to get one in the first place, you're less likely to seek one out. Likewise, if you don't have good grades, you're less likely to get a competitive internship in the first place, even if you are motivated or aware enough to apply.

d: If you come from an under-resourced community, you are less likely to know how to identify the best resources to use to prepare for your target career.

e: Students from under-resourced communities tend to experience educational inequity, meaning they are less likely to have access to the same quality of instruction, the same level of safety and stability in their years of primary and secondary education, and the same variety and quality of extracurricular opportunities. As a result, they perform more poorly in primary school, leading to limited secondary school options (no merit entrance to elite private or magnet public schools), leading to poorer results in the college application process (whether by rejection from elite schools applied to or a self-selection to apply to less elite schools). It is a cumulative effect.

Summary: kids from a low-SES background are less likely to have as strong a profile (based on the basic banking recruiting formula) as kids from better-resourced backgrounds will.

**Three: **

I can speak from experience here. Minority communities don't tend to think of finance as a remarkably special or prestigious career.

A lot of smart black and Hispanic kids at good schools focus on prepping for law school or med school so they can be a doctor, lawyer, or enter public service. Many of the most successful, historically admired, and prominent minority figures in our nation's history were lawyers, civil rights activists, politicians, or doctors. The black community, for instance, puts a lot of prestige on those fields, so naturally all the academically smart kids tend to gravitate in those directions. As a result, the very type of kid most likely to succeed in the banking recruiting process may wind up not choosing to pursue it.

This self-selection automatically reduces the number of minority kids you see in finance. Fewer kids trying means fewer kids succeeding and breaking in.

**Four: **

Our innate human behavior is fascinating. We all operate on lizard-brain processes from time to time. Hiring is a great example.

Resonance is key. People hire people who they like, who look like themselves, who remind them of something comfortable and familiar ... even if all that happens subconsciously.

In short, the person in a position to hire them is biologically wired to not want to hire them. It's an unspoken but powerful influence.

A white guy from Bergen who went to Lawrenceville before Yale before getting his MBA at Wharton is not going to see much of himself in a black kid who grew up in Detroit, got a merit scholarship to UMich, is carrying a 3.4 at Ross, and isn't in a fraternity.

On the other hand, the kid from another county in North Jersey who caddied at that guy's country club as a teenager and now attends Wharton undergrad has all kinds of thing in common with the banker: shared locale, social stratum, fellow Whartonite, mutual common acquaintances, etc.

It may not be a conscious thought process, but even without really thinking about it the interviewer probably just feels more strongly convinced the second guy can do the job better than the first, even if their GPA is the same.

It's science; we're drawn to those similar to ourselves.

It's important to note that this doesn't just affect minorities; it affects low-SES status applicants more broadly. A white kid from Camden who hustled to get a scholarship to Rutgers and is cold-networking with bulge bracket banks is going to turn some people off with his Jersey street accent, and that kid gets left out of the diversity recruiting pipeline even though he faced identical economic and educational disadvantages.

One of my friends is from West Virginia. He had that strong Appalachia drawl, and despite coming out of an Ivy with strong grades and starting at a top bank, found that he was getting staffings that didn't require him to ever meet management. He struck out in private equity recruiting, and I honestly think it was because people thought he was some dumb hick. That isn't fair. Turns out he's done really well once he got into a public credit hedge fund seat; he doesn't have to meet people, so his performance can do all the talking.

///

Comments unrelated to your original question: you shouldn't be so preoccupied with wondering why things are the way they are and simply focus on what lies ahead of you.

a: Worry less about what others think. Be humble, be hardworking, and win people over. That means that in your networking and interviews, you need to prove you are likable and capable. It's that simple. If you successfully and convincingly portray that you will get hired somewhere: white, black, yellow, brown, purple, or orange ... rich or poor ... similar background or not.

b: Prepare yourself. Study hard, be informed and knowledgeable, and crush interviews. Worry less about the background noise and you do everything within your control to make sure you maximize any opportunity put in front of you.

c: Be smart. Once you get in, be aware of the things that will affect you. It sucks, but make sure you're smiling, pleasant, cheerful, and patient. Someone may be biased against you without even really knowing it, so the onus is on you to be above reproach in both your attitude and work product.

It can truly be culturally ingrained into them, no matter how loudly they claim they aren't bigoted or judgmental. Make sure you are aware of the way perceptions can harm you, and work actively to prevent anything from blowing up on you.

You can do anything you set your mind to. Be a worker. Put your head down and work. Be smart, but just work.

Comments (502)

Jan 30, 2014

thank you for writing this
i think at times this piece might overanalyze a little bit, but overall a interesting read

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Jan 30, 2014

I give point two the most credence.

While blacks are more likely to live in poverty/not attend college, there are lots of blacks who are able to attend elite university's and do well at said university's. The fact of the matter is that these students, for the most part, show no interest in the financial field. I went to a semi-target that had a sizable black population (proportion was roughly the same as the entire US population) yet the finance program had only 3 black kids in it. All three either went into mgmt consulting or F500 FP&A.

The fact of the matter is that, as OP pointed out, medicine, law, and (unfortunately) government are widely viewed as prestigious jobs by the black community (from what it seems). The banking culture has simply not built itself up in the black community, and the fallout of the financial crisis has done nothing to improve its image.

Overall, very good post.

"Yes. Money has been a little bit tight lately, but at the end of my life, when I'm sitting on my yacht, am I gonna be thinking about how much money I have? No. I'm gonna be thinking about how many friends I have and my children and my comedy albums."

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Jan 30, 2014

Why so little diversity? Aside from discrimination (which still very much exists), the reasons are similar to why there's so few white people in basketball. If you think that's wrong or are repulsed by that statement, good. However....look closely at both situations. There are developmental parallels that can not be argued with. However, they could be changed. When/if that happens....who knows.

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Jan 30, 2014

IMO black people arguably have more natural talent at basketball than white people
however im not so sure the opposite applies in finance

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Jan 30, 2014

Good post.

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Jan 30, 2014

tl;dr: diversity = black

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

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Jan 30, 2014

Diversity Programs:
a. attact high talented minority students - that shouldn't be given opportunities because "they would have made it in anyways."
b. Attract low talented minority students - minority students aren't as talented because sociologists said so--
"Out of a sample size of 2, none of the low talented minorities get offers." I'm certain they were clowns

That is quite an ultimatum. There are so many logical fallacies in this post I cann't help but cringe when I read it.

I am assuming you are black based on your last paragraph, but that argument is flawed as well. You wrote a novel on the reasons why minorities aren't as qualified (ignorance, poor grades, parents lack of education, lack of mentors, etc.) and then your conclusion is -- all of this is garbage just work hard?

After you're done patting yourself on the back please take a damn logic class.

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Jan 30, 2014

Maybe it's the industry/recruiters that need to look beyond the typical cookie cutter business major with multiple internships and instead allow a wider set of college students (i.e. liberal arts/science) to have a fair chance during recruitment too - these students are just as capable. I think that should be the focus instead of questioning why there aren't more minorities on the street.

Like I really don't get the importance of having multiple internships for students. Aside from the junior year SA internship (which is essentially a 4 month interview) for FT prospective hires, why do schools encourage summer internships before that? Most of the intern positions available to freshman/sophs entail doing grunt work and being a bitch for your boss. And frankly, I'd rather spend my time not being a paper pusher given the choice. But recruiting for SA positions is so intense now that you're at a disadvantage for not having done a previous internship. Shitty situation to be in - especially BC most of the knowledge you need for an IB position won't really be learned through a prior accounting/PWM/finance internship.

My point being: I don't think diversity programs targeting minority groups (i.e. women, blacks) is the solution - or even the key problem. I think the industry needs to educate all potential hires (or a wider set) about their new-grad programs at an earlier age so students can set themselves up for success earlier on. Because as it is, when SA recruitment time comes around - the students who have mapped out their previous years/program of study perfectly (aka have the correct "formula") will be at an advantage. And I think having the correct tried-and-true formula is really limiting because it isn't really indicative of today's top talent.

But maybe I'm just a little bias because I chose to attend a non-target.

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Jan 30, 2014
pinkclouds:

Maybe it's the industry/recruiters that need to look beyond the typical cookie cutter business major with multiple internships and instead allow a wider set of college students (i.e. liberal arts/science) to have a fair chance during recruitment too - these students are just as capable. I think that should be the focus instead of questioning why there aren't more minorities on the street.

Like I really don't get the importance of having multiple internships for students. Aside from the junior year SA internship (which is essentially a 4 month interview) for FT prospective hires, why do schools encourage summer internships before that? Most of the intern positions available to freshman/sophs entail doing grunt work and being a bitch for your boss. And frankly, I'd rather spend my time not being a paper pusher given the choice. But recruiting for SA positions is so intense now that you're at a disadvantage for not having done a previous internship. Shitty situation to be in - especially BC most of the knowledge you need for an IB position won't really be learned through a prior accounting/PWM/finance internship.

My point being: I don't think diversity programs targeting minority groups (i.e. women, blacks) is the solution. I think the industry needs to educate all potential hires (or a wider set) about their new-grad programs at an earlier age so students can set themselves up for success earlier on. Because as it is, when SA recruitment time comes around - the students who have mapped out their previous years/program of study perfectly (aka have the correct "formula") will be at an advantage. And I think having the correct tried-and-true formula is really limiting because it isn't really indicative of today's top talent.

But maybe I'm just a little bias because I chose to attend a non-target.

Why don't they just give you the job on a plate, huh?

Having internships is essential for multiple reasons. First of all, it shows you are dedicated and willing to learn about the field. Second, even if you are not doing glamorous tasks all the time, you get to experience the company atmosphere and soak up knowledge on how work is done. Even as an entry level, you'd be doing mundane stuff, but that's how everyone starts. You learn the ropes, prove yourself and move on to greener pastures. Don't expect to be Lloyd or Jamie Dimon right out of school. It's the same in every field. You think that entry-level engineers are launching rockets right out of undergrad?

On the topic: in my opinion, everyone should get an equal start. All those diversity programs don't make sense. If you're capable of doing the work, it doesn't matter if you're white, black, purple or green. And think about it, if for one reason or another a firm has a bias against minorities and the diversity thing is imposed on it, both sides will be unhappy - management will let it show and minorities would feel management's hostility. It all goes back to the fact that people are seeking familiarity. Most of those places are good ol' country clubs. I've been disadvantaged by the same thing but didn't bitch and moan and point fingers. You have to play the game if you want to get to these positions. Life's unfair, get used to it.

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Jan 30, 2014

K yeah I'm guilty of bitching and moaning. An IB job on a silver platter would be ideal though.

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Jan 30, 2014

Why do they need to? There are already so many people applying for the same positions--the banks are not starving for applicants. They can be as selective as they want.

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Jan 30, 2014

You're absolutely right. Banks can be as selective as they want. But OP asked about diversity on the street and I replied that banks could attract a more diverse set of candidates by targeting a wider set of college programs. Employers are free to do what they want in terms of recruiting - I just stated my opinion based on my own experience.

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  •  Jan 31, 2014
ishouldbstudying:

Diversity Programs:

a. attact high talented minority students - that shouldn't be given opportunities because "they would have made it in anyways."

b. Attract low talented minority students - minority students aren't as talented because sociologists said so--

"Out of a sample size of 2, none of the low talented minorities get offers." I'm certain they were clowns

That is quite an ultimatum. There are so many logical fallacies in this post I cann't help but cringe when I read it.

I am assuming you are black based on your last paragraph, but that argument is flawed as well. You wrote a novel on the reasons why minorities aren't as qualified (ignorance, poor grades, parents lack of education, lack of mentors, etc.) and then your conclusion is -- all of this is garbage just work hard?

After you're done patting yourself on the back please take a damn logic class.

None of your downvotes were from me, but I'd like to point a few things out.

I'm by no means saying that a high-talented minority shouldn't be given an opportunity. I'm saying that it's a bit thought-provoking that a system is so shortsighted in design that it does the exact opposite of what it's intended to (increase the diversity [read: variety and breadth] of the talent pool). Is the homogeneity of the talent force somehow automatically resolved simply by bringing in people who are identical save for the amount of melatonin in their skin?

Secondly, my sample size wasn't meant to be illustrative of every black kid who makes it into a summer analyst program. I made a point, and I used two examples I knew of firsthand to back up that point. One was at a firm nearly everyone here worships, and the other was in an even more exclusive program than the first firm's general summer pool. Excuse me for not having the time to provide a perfectly formatted pitchbook outlining every single URM kid I know who summered or is now full-time on the street.

Further, who's to say that those guys were less talented? For all we know (and I'm convinced in the case of at least one, somewhat less so in the other), the failure wasn't so much a product of their talent as it was one of an awful match to the existing system/culture/process once in the door.

Secondly, my conclusion is not as narrow as I think you're seeing it. My conclusion, if I'd fleshed it out more, was that you shouldn't let any obstacle deter you. Whether it's someone's bigotry, your school's inadequate career resources, poor academic performance on your part leading to a less-than-ideal GPA, or coworkers who make your life hell, you shouldn't allow any barrier to inhibit your success. In this narrow instance, being black should not be your focus when going through recruiting. Your focus should be building relationships with people who will help you successfully navigate the process, preparing to demolish any interview you get, and trying to figure out which place you have an offer from has the culture in which you'll best fit.

With this mindset, frankly, I as well as those in the seats around me made ourselves stand out from our peers to the point that we received offers to join one of the elite groups people here discuss so much. Further, as a result of that, I have to say that I'm sorry my time is so limited that I can't dedicate hours to researching, drafting, citing examples, editing, and proofreading a full-length academic paper on this topic like any of you still in school can.

Whether I am black, white, Asian, Hispanic, or anything else, my job now is to make sure I perform well as an analyst, fulfill all clients' needs, do better than bottom-bucket, prepare for my next job, and keep my sanity.

I was hugely hesitant when Andy messaged me asking if he could excerpt this as a standalone blog post for the front-page, simply because I knew it would prompt the inevitable shitstorm any discussion on race causes on this site, that my original post wasn't in-depth enough, and I wasn't confident I wanted my voice to be heard on this issue.

pinkclouds:

I think the industry needs to educate all potential hires (or a wider set) about their new-grad programs at an earlier age so students can set themselves up for success earlier on. Because as it is, when SA recruitment time comes around - the students who have mapped out their previous years/program of study perfectly (aka have the correct "formula") will be at an advantage. And I think having the correct tried-and-true formula is really limiting because it isn't really indicative of today's top talent.

But maybe I'm just a little bias because I chose to attend a non-target.

See (e) and (c) above, even (a) indirectly. People who come from under-resourced communities, regardless of their ethnicity, are simply not going to "set themselves up for success" from a young age, as you term it.

Also, I agree largely with you on your first point, but I'm not sure why you think liberal arts students aren't welcome or well-represented in most bank's incoming classes. From what I've seen, business students are the minority. Wharton, Stern, Ross, Ivey, and other kids are surely present, but all the Ivies and top SLAC students certainly seemed to outweigh them.

Lastly, I don't think it's so much that recruiters think you're more prepared skill-wise for the banking job because you spent hours carrying coffee, filing papers, and making calls in a PWM or other unrelated internship. I think it's more that there's a sense that this is a kid who's willing to take responsibility at a young age, to get his foot in the door however he can, to start small, and to be a 'worker.' Given two otherwise identical resumes (target school, relevant major, 3.7 GPA, two leadership positions, and volunteer experience), I think the guy with a PWM and boutique ER internship wins because he has everything the other guy has plus internship experience (which may not have been remarkably skill-additive, but is undoubtedly an advantage he has on the otherwise identical candidate).

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Jan 30, 2014

@Tufts - not at all. Look at a basketball court in Short Hills and one in the West Village. The suburb court has a few people show up for pickup games. The courts in the village are BUSY, around the clock, and every age group takes their turn...and most are inner city blacks with a few latinos and white homeboys for flavor. The amount of time and energy poured into this is why they're dominant, not because of some innate racial advantage. It's a CULTURAL thing. Now look at white kids: the place I bartend has 16 year old busboys talking about their stock contest at school. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT A STOCK EVEN WAS AT THAT AGE. One demographic focuses on one thing, the other demographic focuses on another.

A lot of black folks gravitated to sports at one point because it is much more meritocratic than other careers. Show up and rock out at a college game, and you could end up with a million dollar NBA contract. And it costs almost nothing to practice. Coming from a post slave and extremely limited legacy wealth background, this makes total sense. So they focused and took it over. Notice they didn't go to hockey, where it can cost thousands of dollars just for equipment, and the grooming for new players starts in grammar school and requires close parental support.

Now look at finance. You have people coming from (usually) a background of some sort of wealth or at least stability. A few guys on this site are raw beasts that made their way through bad circumstances, but most have had the luxury of stability and likely a certain amount of material support leading up to good college performance and the benefit of knowing where they should be focusing in order to make it in. Visit most minority schools and they really don't know the difference between Jordan Belfort and Lloyd Blankfein. Hell, I'm white and from a working class town and I barely would have known five years ago.

Now look at Indian and Asian kids. Is there a genetic factor? Not at all. Indian culture values education and books are sacred to them. An asian kid with IQ 100 will perform at the level of a white kid with IQ 120. Why? Give a white kid a math problem and they'll look at it for a few minutes, and usually much longer than a lot of inner city kids. So they have an advantage on the one hand. Give an asian kid a math problem, come back in two hours, and they're still working on it if it's not solved. Work ethic. It's a core value in every Asian kid I've ever known. Maybe the white kid is more talented or better connected, and there's not much Asian folks could do about that at one point, but when it's an issue of work ethic, the asian kid is the contender.

Again, culture over race. Obama's kids will be exempt from everything a black kid has to deal with in Harlem because they have the support and guidance of someone who's in a position to give them a better shot than many. Common sense, right? Now apply that across a larger population.

It's not about racial advantage, it's about cultural advantage rooted in racial divides. It sounds like I'm splitting hairs, but there is a major difference. This applies to large groups but breaks down somewhat as you look at the individual level.

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Jan 30, 2014

It's not about racial advantage, it's about cultural advantage rooted in racial divides. It sounds like I'm splitting hairs, but there is a major difference. This applies to large groups but breaks down somewhat as you look at the individual level.

[/quote]

You totally hit the nail on the head. I can't believe I didn't come to this conclusion earlier.

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Jan 30, 2014
UFOinsider:

@Tufts - not at all. Look at a basketball court in Short Hills and one in the West Village. The suburb court has a few people show up for pickup games. The courts in the village are BUSY, around the clock, and every age group takes their turn...and most are inner city blacks with a few latinos and white homeboys for flavor. The amount of time and energy poured into this is why they're dominant, not because of some innate racial advantage. It's a CULTURAL thing.

lol

Do you honestly believe this?

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Feb 3, 2014
holla_back:
UFOinsider:

@Tufts - not at all. Look at a basketball court in Short Hills and one in the West Village. The suburb court has a few people show up for pickup games. The courts in the village are BUSY, around the clock, and every age group takes their turn...and most are inner city blacks with a few latinos and white homeboys for flavor. The amount of time and energy poured into this is why they're dominant, not because of some innate racial advantage. It's a CULTURAL thing.

lol

Do you honestly believe this?

It seems obvious and self evident to me. What do you think? That there's an extra, basketball shaped gene in black people? That asian people are more intelligent?(they're not) And did you even finish reading my post? People get good at what they spend time working on and practicing, not because of their skin tone. Thinking otherwise goes beyond racist or whatever, there's just no science at all to back up that point of view. People were treated differently because of prejudices and skin color at one point, and that shaped their culture as a group....the culture is what keeps people in certain behavior patterns. Not genetics. Culture is very malleable, and any race is capable of the same things: we are all literally one species. The broader the population, the more this becomes true.

Jan 30, 2014

Im as white as it gets but is it just me or is this fairly racist in itself? Or more so because again I don't care that it will be taken as being very racist?

"Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly"

Jan 30, 2014

It's good to know that my liberal arts education wasn't [completely] futile. Now I just have to wrap my head around the CFA and life will be peachy.

It used to be about race, and mostly because white people owned black people..and then treated them like second class humans for about a century. Still kind of do. But this is how our parents and grandparents thought, and things have changed. At this point, there are black people who are far more successful than many white people, and while the old racism issues are in the background the real issue is culture. I'm not sure that listening to Mozart is going to get anyone a job at the BB GS TMT JPM M&A OMG, but learning what an IRA is in your early 20's is kind of a big deal.

Glad this helps :)

Sep 6, 2017

agreed on the culture part. still you could of reworded ur first response because that led to the misunderstanding

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Sep 12, 2017

gotcha

Jan 30, 2014

Good points OP.

For some perspective, I have a little brother who just went through the college admissions process. Gifted kid (multiple state championships in track/XC, NHS, State Science Olympiad champ, Eagle Scout, Top 50 Catholic High School, 4.4GPA) but, a white male. He was looking for summer programs before his senior year in HS. He was eyeing MIT's Chem Eng program, but even though he had better stats/just as good as some of the admitted applicants, MIT doesn't take white males. So, he ended up at an Ivy league summer program (2 A's in the courses). Come around college admit time, he got dinged from MIT, Cornell, CMU, Penn, Vandy, etc. The reasoning? B+ in a sophomore year class. Bull-fucking-shit.

More often than not, what the URM's (Hispanic,Black,Indian,etc.) lack is a good mentor in the pre-teen/teen stages in life. While the white/Asian kids typically learn what it takes to succeed in a very competitive world early on, the URM's don't have someone older instilling these same values. These affirmative action/diversity programs don't do a good job of screening for this; I bet you that, come time for college/work, someone like Ken Frazier's son is going to beat out a white/Asian kid who has a drug addict for a dad and who has lived below the poverty line all of his life largely because of skin-tone. Instead of just checking a box for "Black" or "Hispanic", these same programs (SEO, prestigious school admissions who take these "special needs" kids,etc.) need to be in the inner-cities recruiting kids of any race who wouldn't usually have these opportunities. Don't know how to address these concerns when affirmative action for jobs occurs, but nonetheless.

My .02

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Jan 30, 2014

That sounds like a bunch of bullshit.

MIT doesn't take white males - wtf? And when an Ivy League school rejects you they don't state the reason, so I'm assuming you pulled "B+ in a sophomore year class" out of your ass too.

And please it's 2014, there are plenty of URMs today with fabulous mentors and equally so, there are plenty of white kids who lack mentors during their pre-teen/teen stages.

Affirmative action/diversity programs are a little flawed in my opinion - they should just take the person who's the best fit for the position regardless of gender/race/etc. And if it happens to be that the given professional arena attracts way more of a certain societal group than another..then so be it. Those who really want an opportunity will create it themselves regardless of their perceived shortcomings.

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Jan 30, 2014

This is probably the smartest thing I've seen you say in...well...ever.

Jan 30, 2014

One, MIT's summer chemical engineering program does not accept white males. Two, I guess you haven't tried applying to Cornell before.

Try walking into an urban city (e.g., Philadelphia) elementary school and see how many parents there are at parent-teacher night. At the last one I went to, there was ONE parent there out of approximately 30. If you try and call the parents, their a.) voice mailboxes are full or b.) don't care when you talk about student conduct. Unfortunately, the majority of kids in these inner-city schools are URM's. Don't talk about something you don't know about.

Agreed on the Third Point.

Sep 12, 2017

I worked in investment banking for five years (2 years @ BB, 3 years @ boutique) before moving to investment management. I find it laughable that you find yourself some how smarter than other summer interns, because you know how to use excel. Anyone can learn how to use excel in a few weeks. The investment banks are looking for talent to join the bank for hopefully 2 year analyst programs. In my experience, interns/full time analysts needed to have a strong interest in finance, attention to detail, a desire to work hard, an ability to learn quickly, and a personality that meshed well with the rest of the team. Nobody was hired, because they were excel jockeys in undergrad. Why don't you be a decent human being and help the other summer interns who don't have your elite excel experience?

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Sep 12, 2017

I agree with all of the indications of success but the problem is why is this bar lowered for diversity hires? I help fellow interns all the time, but the question is always on the back of my mind about how these people were hired when they aren't obviously more motivated or hardworking than anyone else but lack the skills of their companions.

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Sep 12, 2017

Going to get MS here but...

The whole diversity push is quite disturbing. All this "we need diverse perspectives" is just complete crap IMO. You are an excel monkey and then a process monkey for the first 10 years or so of your career. Not to sound harsh but your 'perspectives' 100% don't matter. The ONLY reason a sizable portion (most) of URMs get hired is because of diversity laws. The cosmic justice the left seeks is why we have guys like Trump.

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  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Sep 12, 2017

Diversity incentives only come into play when you have some government contract. Few private companies actually qualify so it's pretty much just a marketing PR campaign most places.

IF a company wants to qualify, the law doesn't specify what role....

I'm no longer in finance(I'm in tech, same issue) but incentives to hire females is more so to counter the sausage fest in the office than any PR department marketing diversity push. I'm a black programmer and would love me some elite URM role with a giant salary to play solitaire in a corner, but I haven't seen it despite every far right pundit claiming it's a thing.

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Sep 12, 2017

Another excellent reason to get the mentally deficient government out of the private sector.

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Sep 12, 2017

I wouldn't really consider the lack of knowledge of an excel function prior to starting an internship incompetence. The whole idea behind diversity hiring is to bring in alternative perspectives that create a well-balanced team. If you only bring in interns who spent the majority of their free time masturbating to Rosenbaum & Pearl you're probably going to have a very one-dimensional team.

Investment banking isn't a complicated business, don't go applying for MENSA because you know more about excel formatting than a 20 year old girl.

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Sep 12, 2017
trader_timmy:

I wouldn't really consider the lack of knowledge of an excel function prior to starting an internship incompetence. The whole idea behind diversity hiring is to bring in alternative perspectives that create a well-balanced team. If you only bring in interns who spent the majority of their free time masturbating to Rosenbaum & Pearl you're probably going to have a very one-dimensional team.

Investment banking isn't a complicated business, don't go applying for MENSA because you know more about excel formatting than a 20 year old girl.

Yet at the same time we widely acknowledge that the most successful firms have unique cultures and protect those cultures aggressively.

Short answer is that it kind of depends. On a consulting team for example, where you get a lot of different types of problems thrown at you, you don't just want a team from diverse backgrounds. You NEED them if you hope to have any insight whatsoever into the problems thrown at you.

This requirement for diversity is much less pronounced in more specialized areas....for example you probably don't want a team with a "diverse backgrounds and attitudes" working on a highly technical engineering project. You want a team of nerds that obsess over the same thing, communicate the same way, and are more or less homogenous because that is what enables the work to get done most efficiently(see game developer Alex St. John's hiring advice here: http://www.alexstjohn.com/WP/download/Recruiting%2...). You most definitely do NOT want diverse attitudes in many places which is why organizations like the Marine Corps are big on esprit de corps.....ironically enough there's a huge diversity in backgrounds there, but very little difference in diversity of attitudes and values

Short answer: you need diversity in some things, in others you want everyone to be the same. In banking a strong intellectual interest in finance, competitive attitude, and a willingness to put in the strong work (such as being technically competent in the basic tools of the job) are all required to be good at the job.

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Sep 12, 2017

I agree that firms shouldn't hire based on knowledge of teachable things, but if you want different perspectives and to help disadvantaged groups, firms should also look at family socioeconomics, not just gender/race.

As an example, does a wealthy white/Asian female really have the struggles or different perspectives of a poor white/Asian male who lost a parent as a kid? Maybe it doesn't happen often, but I feel for the truly diverse/disadvantaged kid who can't check a box and thus looks like any other kid in the resume screen.

Gender/race might generally work, but frankly, it's lazy, ignores other sources of diversity/disadvantage, and results in some diversity hires that really don't offer much diversity.

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Sep 12, 2017

My God, OP. You opened up a big can of worms!

Disclaimer: I am an Asian immigrant (guy) from the West Coast.

Yes, Excel functions and modeling can be learned, but as I work in my 10th year now, I always ask - "What happened to the concept of hiring the best capable candidate?" SA usually leads to a FT at the same firm or one can leverage to get a FT somewhere else. If OP's female co-worker is chosen over a male candidate with better Excel skill, how is that fair for the male candidate?

Let's be honest. Kids from rich families/many connections/etc. will get goddamn nice jobs no matter what. They will be offered one earlier than anyone. Privileged folks will always get their shares first and then remaining slices are fought among middle and lower class kids. People somehow misunderstand "diversity" with leveling the playing field. No, it's not. The people who get fucked in this "diversity" celebration is actually middle-class kids who worked hard to get to where they are and whose hard work needs to be encouraged.

"Diversity" is an euphemism for hiring more minorities, judged by race, economic status, gender, etc. People love to talk about how some grew up in a poor neighborhood and didn't have the "chance" and need that "chance" to move up.

I agree. Then I ask - "Then how about Asians?" Some of us grew up very poor and studied in shitty schools. But we managed to score the top 95 percentiles on SAT and go to Ivy Leagues. Yet we actually see bias against Asians because we are too smart (check out the lawsuit against Harvard and other Ivy League institutions by Asian coalition groups). If diversity proponents' argument is true, then Asians should demand some chunk in the diversity hire pie.

So how much is the environment vs. a person's will to study and move up? Dear McK, please feel free to study us for your research.

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Sep 12, 2017

Asians have a disproportionate focus on education as a means to success. It is ingrained in the culture. It is different from an African-American or Hispanic family which may be equally as poor but does not put as much emphasis on academic success. Put it this way: Asian kids are told early that they can achieve success through education. If you are from a similar socioeconomic status but you are not encouraged to pursue after-school activities to further develop your education, you will not be as successful academically.

I agree that it blows that Asians are discriminated against for having parents who encouraged them to focus on academics.

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  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Sep 12, 2017

Damn, throwback to when you could get into the ivy league with a 95th percentile SAT score

Sep 12, 2017

no point in complaining about what you can't change. if you think system is biased against you, just try that much harder and be grateful that, at least, you're still in the running vs. being locked out from the getgo.

Sep 12, 2017

Oh no they can't do vlookups or format properly, this is the end of Wall Street as we know it!

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Sep 12, 2017

Oh man it's just the worst.

I frequently see women get promoted into positions of leadership simply because they're women. I constantly see women get away with all kinds of crap that would result in a male being fired.

To even suggest that a woman, any woman, is incapable of doing something is a modern day thoughtcrime.

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Sep 12, 2017

guess the interviewer forgot to ask about vlookups and if functions

Sep 12, 2017

.

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Sep 12, 2017

From a scientific standpoint, I agree 100% with you. However, our society is trying to become more enlightened and experiment with rising above rigid gender roles for once in our history. I think it is a good thing we are progressing, but it is important we deal with the negatives like the ones you mentioned. If women begin to rise up, fewer men will be able to get married because it is essentially a fact that women seek men above them on the socioeconomic food chain.

Sep 12, 2017

Our female analysts are the best to work with, regardless of race / school, and other associates agree with me. Strong BB coverage group.

Sep 12, 2017

I really believe that this whole diversity quote is an absolute disaster. I shake my head every time i hear "we need diverse perspectives" it complete bull sht. These companies are hiring not all the time some of the worst students. As a white male who grew up in a lower class family who survived communism, wanted to work in finance since the 9th grade, was educated by the public school system, studied got good grades, taught himself how to model, is doing everything in order to stand out but will be overlooked cause I am white. While the minority who grew up in the same area didn't do sht for the past 19 years will be given a chance.

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

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Sep 12, 2017
BigApeMike718:

I really believe that this whole diversity quote is an absolute disaster. I shake my head every time i hear "we need diverse perspectives" it complete bull sh*t. These companies are hiring *not all the time* some of the worst students. As a white male who grew up in a lower class family who survived communism, wanted to work in finance since the 9th grade, was educated by the public school system, studied got good grades, taught himself how to model, is doing everything in order to stand out but will be overlooked cause I am white. While the minority who grew up in the same area didn't do sh*t for the past 19 years will be given a chance.

Why do you believe it is some lazy minority that took your spot and not some entitled lazy white guy? The racist garbage just spews from you. Eww

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Sep 12, 2017

I also use this example to show why diversity recruits sucks....you are trapped in a burning building with only one shot of being rescued who do you want to reduce you?? A firefighter who has gone through intensive training, has studied all the proper methods, has physically trained for years, knew that he wanted to be a firefighter for years and has dedicated every moment to become better??? Or some smuck that got passed or got recruited simply because of his "diversity." The solution is simple hire the people that would be the greatest asset idc if your black,white, again, or green if you are the best candidate or show the most potential who should be hired over the candidate that is not.

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

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Sep 12, 2017

Just to play devil's advocate.

Many of the fields that are pushing for diversity are those that are professions who typically underrepresented minorities and are more based on relationships than skills (especially when there are more than enough competent candidates around to work hard and learn excel). The bank/law firm who hires these people will not feel much of a difference if they hire more diverse people.

Sep 12, 2017

Lets be honest I dont think any one here can knock on a Mexicans work ethic. Those guys work so hard for peanuts

Sep 12, 2017

Anyone using the word "cohort" is a diversity hire

Sep 12, 2017

MitchMitchell, you don't suppose the reason that Africa is one of the most undeveloped places in the world is due to American racism as well, do you?

Sep 12, 2017
Predilection:

MitchMitchell, you don't suppose the reason that Africa is one of the most undeveloped places in the world is due to American racism as well, do you?

No. It's very much due to European colonialism and the massive scars it left.

Here's a study if you wish to read up.
http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?art...

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Sep 12, 2017

Gotta love the Uber victim here. I didn't realize that memories of slavery were transfered genetically. I didn't realize that institutionalized racism forced parents to name their kids retarded names.

Ohhh boohoo hooo redlining. Sorry banks want to get repaid. Boo hooo okcupid. Sorry if ppl like dating within their race.

Keep playing the worlds smallest violin. We've all moved past and long since stopped caring.

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Sep 12, 2017

@morons4hillary" I have made it a policy to not respond to you due to the fact that yours is simply a troll account but what makes their names retarded? Because it isn't Bill or Joe or John? So basically their names are retarded b/c it doesn't fit into what white America considers proper... gotcha. Good deal. No racism there. Let me go change my African name to Joe Smith b/c it'll make me more hirable like the Koreans/Jews had to do.

Sep 12, 2017
BobTheBaker:

@Morons4Hillary I have made it a policy to not respond to you due to the fact that yours is simply a troll account but what makes their names retarded? Because it isn't Bill or Joe or John? So basically their names are retarded b/c it doesn't fit into what white America considers proper... gotcha. Good deal. No racism there. Let me go change my African name to Joe Smith b/c it'll make me more hirable like the Koreans/Jews had to do.

LOL. Hit a sore nerve D'brickashaw?

Plenty of actual Africans with ethic names. The names in the black community are pure clown and made up shit. Throwing a resume with a name like that is a waste. Use it for toilet paper.

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Sep 12, 2017

In this argument and with affirmative action I always felt the bar should've been based on socioeconomic background, not race.

Sep 12, 2017

The problem is that when controlling for socioeconomic background(say household wealth, income, etc), black families always come out worse than their white peers. Patrick Sharkey of NYU has a study on this

http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfi...
It isn't socioeconomic factors that underlie all these inequalities. It's race. Period.

Sep 12, 2017

@Morons4Hillary" I don't see how a guy whose mom named him D'Brickashaw vs. a guy whose mom named him Joe should have any bearing on either guy's ability to get hired. Don't worry, I won't respond to you further.

Sep 12, 2017

I just noticed this ridiculous thread.

Bob, I can understand if you're from Africa and your name is Dikembe. That makes sense and I wouldn't think you have a circus clown name. But if you're from New York and your name is D'Brickashaw, it's pretty clear that your parents are morons. It's not a white vs black thing, it's just stupid to invent made up names that will make your kid look like a total idiot throughout life. Blacks are doing themselves a colossal disservice by not using "real" names.

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Sep 12, 2017

I'm sure you have an issue seeing a lot of things. Reason, basic understanding of economics, life from a non-victim point of view, etc.

Hoodrat names generally mean hoodrat people. I'm sure there are some nice Adolf Hitler from WV, but I'm not going to waste time intervening them. Same with laQueefa or whatever half tard, moron name coming out of da hood nowadays.

As much as I hate that fool Obama, at least he has a fucking actual Africa Muslim name.

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Sep 12, 2017

Wasn't there something in the news a girl being name Watermelondrea and i that child star from disney raven got some heat from the liberal news outlets when she bashed blacks for naming their kids names....... pretty entraining to watch the argument.

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

Sep 12, 2017

Lol as if Asian, Indian, Jewish, native American people in finance don't trash the same resumes.

Listen Day'shawn, dumb is dumb and ghetto names are dumb. They aren't real, they are over hyphenated, down syndrom level phoneticized "names".

God, nothing is worse than a victim. Worse than these clown hood names Haha.

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Sep 12, 2017

@Predilection" lol people are no longer changing their name and African-Americans don't need to assimilate to anything, they have been in this country longer than most white people, they are America. We need to move to an age where Nikhil, Omar, D'Brickashaw, Joe, and Jose are all judged by the contents of their resume, let's not go back to the 50s where the Rosenbergs of the world were changing their last name to White in order to avoid racism. Additionally, I find it ironic that the same people who are against affirmative action (as I am) are the same people basically supporting discrimination based on name, something that has nothing to do with ability and further thwarts meritocracy. But I guess if it benefits you then fk meritocracy. Do you know white people diminish the value of standardized test scores when they are compared to Asians (who they are subpar to in that regard) but enhance the value of standardized test scores when they are compared to Blacks/Hispanics? As usual, it is a story of convenience, a story of maintaining their dominant societal position, not a desire for a meritocracy.

Sep 12, 2017

How could we go back if it is still like that in the present? You admit that today, just as throughout our history, that people godforbid have to change or adapt to succeed in the U.S economy they choose to participate in. It is like when a kid grows up and doesn't understand why he has to wear suits when it has nothing to do with the actual work. The parent usually says that part of the hard work is also trying to fit in. Maybe some day we will move beyond it, but if you are getting bad results and fail to adapt, then the buck stops at you.

Sep 12, 2017

Asian scores are definitely higher than whites. But both whites and Asians are drastically higher than all the other groups.

But shhhh. Dats rayciss. And no, no one is going to accept retard names from any race. Sadly the black community embraces this ruinous practice.

Sep 12, 2017

@Predilection" I also love how we are obsessed with the "hood" sounding names. Black names that are traditionally Muslim such as Omar/ Jamal are also discriminated against. Is that because they are "made up" too? Because they are "hood" sounding? No, it is because they are now associated with black people.

Sep 12, 2017

Lol but not every name is made up within the last 20 years and entirely in the hood.

Keep crying raycism as normal people ignore it and trash the resumes.

Dont worry though. I'm sure the government will find a way to give you a quota or something else to wipe your ass since a grown baby can't find success their own.

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Sep 12, 2017

What year did you graduate from Ole Miss?

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Sep 12, 2017

@short_round" don't feed the troll.

Sep 12, 2017
BobTheBaker:

@short_round don't feed the troll.

Nothing being trolled. Blame your parents for giving you a name that holds you back. Some parents who named their kid Hitler had their kid taken away. Names convey a lot. That's what good parents (not hood parents) spend a lot of time naming their kids.

And this ghetto name trash is a recent phenomenon. Slaves didn't have names like this. MLK didn't have a name like that. Rosa Parks didn't have a name like that. So stop blaming anyone but the hood community for creating names that are radioactive.

And don't expect others to change to conform to a detritus behavior.

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Sep 12, 2017

What is everyone's thoughts on fake African music, such as the bridge of Lionel Ritchie's "All night long"?

Sep 12, 2017

You could teach a 7 year old to build excel models. Maybe your firm, in the most cynical of universes, hired those girl SA's who suck at modeling to give you the chance to get laid over the summer since you'll be in the office 90% of the time. But you're too busy shitting on them on an internet forum to use your vastly superior skill set as an angle to get some ass. Shame.

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Sep 12, 2017

This is pretty rich stuff. Below is an excerpt from the book Freakonomic's chapter on the power of names:

One woman (black) named her baby Shithead, though she got very upset when people
pronounced it as it would normally be pronounced - according to her the baby's name was to be
pronounced shuh-TEED. (A case with superficial similarities is that of the parents who named their twin boys
OrangeJello and LemonJello but decided to use the pronunciations of a-RON-zhello and le-MON-zhello - but this
case is essentially different because these parents clearly knew how the names would normally be pronounced,
whereas in the case of "Shithead" the mother is portrayed as outraged when people pronounce the word in the
normal way, leading one to suspect that she had no idea whatsoever how to spell and didn't know what she was
doing when she chose the name.)

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Sep 12, 2017

this post reminds me of the key and peel skit

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

Sep 12, 2017
adapt or die:

This is pretty rich stuff. Below is an excerpt from the book Freakonomic's chapter on the power of names:

One woman (black) named her baby Shithead, though she got very upset when peoplepronounced it as it would normally be pronounced - according to her the baby's name was to bepronounced shuh-TEED. (A case with superficial similarities is that of the parents who named their twin boysOrangeJello and LemonJello but decided to use the pronunciations of a-RON-zhello and le-MON-zhello - but thiscase is essentially different because these parents clearly knew how the names would normally be pronounced,whereas in the case of "Shithead" the mother is portrayed as outraged when people pronounce the word in thenormal way, leading one to suspect that she had no idea whatsoever how to spell and didn't know what she wasdoing when she chose the name.)

That was one of the best parts of that book. Mind blowing that someone would name their kid 'Shithead'. Their whole life will be left explaining 'it's pronounced shi-theed'. Or, more likely, he'll just go by a nick name like 'Shit' or 'Theed'.

Sep 12, 2017

Dude... you literally need to hit Google. The comedian was playing a character by that name in order to make fun of Raven's comments, that was not the comedian's name. In the post I replied to, you implied that someone named their baby that... @adapt or die" are you going to respond to my comments or just keep diverting? What about the Jamal's/Omar's of the world who face the same discrimination despite having a name rooted in history? Is that to be explained by the name sounding "hood"? I know it is easy to focus on the Shithead's of the world but can you answer that question or are you going to respond with an excerpt from a book that literally doesn't provide an answer to any of the questions I posed? Fuckin ppl claiming to adhere to a meritocracy coming out in support of discrimination based on something that has nothing to do with ability.

Sep 12, 2017
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Sep 12, 2017
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As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

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Sep 12, 2017
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As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

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Sep 12, 2017