A Letter To All Top 10 University Kids Complaining About Recruiting

I’ve seen too many posts complaining about the difficulty of networking from an elite university, or a target kid complaining that diversity recruiting is why they aren’t getting an offer and it’s just ridiculous. An adult needs to finally come in and give some of you a big fat dose of reality. So here’s my rant:

You have a massive advantage

You guys really just don't understand how competitive these positions are and how little the academic institution you attend matters in the scheme of life. Your lack of getting hired has nothing to do with not being in an undergrad b school or diversity programs taking your spot. Ask anyone who does hiring or has gone through the process, you have a massive advantage coming from a top 10 university.

Also, to the Stanford kid posting everywhere, someone needs to tell you to get a grip-you go to Stanford, your alumni network isn't weak. Virtually everyone is your alumni network and will take your call with that brand on your resume. I basically can't remember a time my old bank didn't give an interview to a Stanford kid if they acted normal, talked to enough people, and had a reasonable GPA (this also applies to you Princeton or Harvard complainers as well) Generally alumni networks matter because most kids can't even get someone to respond to their email-that's how detached from reality you all are. Most kids from non-targets literally send hundreds of emails praying for like 10 responses. For you, basically everyone will respond and be willing to set up a call. This really applies to anyone in a top 10 university.

People complaining that places like duke lacking a large alumni network in IB being the reason they aren't getting an offer are so far off it is unreal. If you come from a highly ranked undergrad and have a strong resume (GPA, test scores, activities, internships) people will likely take your call. If you aren't getting into a bank's process it isn't because you lack alumni at that institution, it's likely because you didn't contact enough people, your resume is weak, or you came across poorly. Or it's just that that firm is very competitive. Either way, a top 10 university allows you to get into basically any process. Everyone knows Duke, or Cal-tech, or MIT, or Harvard, Or Princeton, or Yale, or JHU or Northwestern are great schools. It's not like a firm will immediately throw your resume in the garbage because they only want U Chicago grads, come on! 

For the first time, your natural talent just isn't cutting it

My guess is many of you elite university kids are encountering the first time in your life where you aren't succeeding. Previously, you got great grades and your test scores were excellent so you all went to some of the best universities in the country and you know it--so you each believe you are special. This special belief comes with a sense of entitlement that is getting rocked. Honestly, my personal take is many of you might have never actually really needed to try hard at something, even if you think you did, because school came easy and you were likely great at the activities you did. This is the first time where your natural talent just isn't cutting it and it's jarring. Welcome to the real world. 

There are countless students at non-targets that are equally as intelligent as your elite institution peers

Goldman Sachs this last year had 236,00 applications for 3,500 intern spots. This isn't even narrowing for just IB specifically which is likely an even more whacked figure. That 236,000 number essentially represents every hardo Econ/ business major in the country, all going for the same job. Many of you seem to be incredibly entitled thinking that because you attend a highly ranked academic institution you are somehow better than all other applicants and firms should be dying to hire you. I personally went to a top 10 university and I'm telling you there are a ton of kids out there at non-targets or lower ranked schools that are equally as intelligent as your elite institution peers. You realize this once you get into the working world and the kid from ASU becomes the office hotshot and that Princeton kid becomes the office crayon eater. These jobs are looking for the smartest x% of kids at every institution, that’s a larger pool than just your university and they are looking for the top % at every university. 

Also, from my experience, many top-10 university kids take the pedal off the gas because once they get into an elite university they feel they have succeeded. Contrast this with coworkers I have where maybe they even got admission to places like Princeton or Stanford, but due to financial or personal reasons needed to attend their local state school instead. These kids then went through all of college with a chip on their shoulder knowing they needed to claw their way out of their shitty state school brand in order to reach a high paying role and change the status of their family so their kids won't have the same problem they did. Talent might be concentrated at elite institutions, but there are hardworking sharp people everywhere, you kids need to learn this. Also, talent matters and how smart you are naturally is important, but a kid whose life mission is to work in IB can outwork whatever intellect advantage you might have. Persistence can outpace natural talent.

Look you guys can complain about diversity, or alumni networks, or a liberal arts education, but the fact of the matter is it is significantly easier to get a role coming from a top 10 ranked university than not, full stop. 

If you aren't getting offers there are a few reasons:

1. You socially don't come off well.

Yeah, sorry to break it to you, but in business being likeable can actually be almost more important than your grades or knowing technicals. The working world doesn't operate like school, that's why many C/B students end up being very successful. You might actually not have the ability to come across as likeable enough. Much in the way some kids couldn't get a 34+ on their ACT, you might not be socially likeable enough to work in IB. That said, you also might just need practice interviewing, while other kids are more natural at it and this is something you aren't used to. Finally you have found an area where naturally you aren’t the 99th percentile.

2. You didn't study technicals hard enough

Yeah, I came from a liberal arts background where there was like 2 finance courses I could take, so I get how it's unnerving when finance majors are going for the same roles. The difference is I spent like 1 week over winter break studying like 6 hours a day finance terms and material rather than complaining about my disadvantage. Also, let me be very clear--this shit just isn't that hard. It's hard to know what to study and the process is opaque and shady, but if you know the important things to learn and do, I've had mentees I've coached in a weekend to get offers. The technical material for IB isn't even close to as difficult as an entry level Econ class at an elite university. It also is significantly easier now because you have websites like WSO that give access to mentors and breakdowns of different fields. Seriously use this website for something other than the forums and ranking your dream firm—as an experienced professional I’ve been shocked at how good some of the non-forum content is on this website. Log on the website on a computer, go to resources, and look at 101 banking interview questions. They are really good. Then do a practice LBO, a practice DCF, a practice accretion delusion model, and play with an accounting spreadsheet that teaches you how the statements are linked. That should get you through what many summer analyst interviews ask. I hear about many kids memorizing guide questions and your goal should be to understand finance concepts not memorize the question answers they could ask you.  

3. You aren't trying hard enough/ networking hard enough/ understanding the right way to approach this process

I do know people who came across well, knew technicals, and who didn't get offers. These people just didn't network properly or understand how the game is played. Many firms view navigating the networking process as the first round interview. So, you need to call/ contact people and have a good conversation with them in order to get a role. Some don't get this until it's too late. Life works out fine for them and if they are motivated these people lateral from corporate finance or something, but it happens. 

4. You got really unlucky 

Yeah, even with the above, some people just get unlucky and there is an element of luck in the whole thing. What I will say is usually if you have enough shots on goal, you can end up somewhere if the above are alright. In truth, the unlucky people I know from my highly ranked school ended up less well known banks and lateraled. So, even really unlucky people at targets/ top universities still seem to land great roles. The truth is most people just screw up one of the other bullets above. Also, for some perspective as well, getting a job in banking at all is an exceptional entry level job—no matter the firm. 

In short, a few of you guys/girls are feeling sorry for yourself because the process is difficult. Yeah, it is difficult, welcome to life and trying to get a job where they will pay you 200k+ out of college, while also giving you a resume stamp that gives you job security forever.

Edit: Adding an additional bullet.

5. Your Story Sucks

If your reason for going into IB is you want a fast paced environment to learn analytical skills and finance, your story sucks. I interviewed for summer analysts and full-time and the reason most people were knocked from a process was because they had weak stories and it was clear they were going for this job just because everyone else was. The candidates that impressed were always the ones who had very confident solid reasons and answers for the following:

Undergrads consistently attribute lack of success or success to technicals, when most the time successful candidates succeed just because they do good enough on technicals, but come across as confident and researched on their reasons for entering the field and that bank. The kid who gives an honest straightforward research answer for the above and does alright on technicals will get the offer almost every time over the kid who gives generic boring answers to the above who gets every technical question. Hell, many banks care a lot about candidates picking their own bank over others for ego or perception reasons, so even great candidates might get cut if their answer for why that specific bank indicates that that bank is their second choice. My bank would even term candidates a "GS asshole" if it was clear the person had no good reason for an EB over a BB and was really just interviewing for the firm because they heard it was "good". 

Most Helpful

Yeah, I’ll come over the top again with another one. Why the hell are so many of you incels on this website now?

“First of all, you should not ask a woman about her opinion, since women are retarded and unable to have ideas on their own”

”I hate women so much it’s unreal”

That you. The above are literally comments in your history. Do me a favor, stop putting down women and maybe you can aim to get an offer and get laid in the same year. You are prob going to come back with accusing me of some sort of white knight shit, but it’s actually just super disturbing that you are filled with so much bizarre hate toward 50% of the population. It’s weird dude and doesn’t help anyone. 


I made a post similar to this before but with much harsher words. If they go to Harvard or Yale and cant get into IB or Consulting its not diversity kids that are stealing their spots from them. Most likely they were never good enough to break in in the first place and most of that is because of their ugly ass personalities. 


I agree with everything except to stop complaining about diversity, the ONLY reason it exists is because of the woke community, it will continue even further until people go against it, at some point we have to.Sadly way too many simps in the real world and real MEN decreasing in number who will agree with anything some dumb sjw say(yes im referring to so called twitter feminists and no i dont hate women) just for the slightest bit of attention.Diversity hiring is racism, if you truly believe in having diverse people and different thoughts hire them based on economic backgrounds, there are so many people who could not go to good colleges even after being good enough just because they didnt have the money.I truly fear for america, now worried more about calling someone who has the appearance of a man/woman by wrong pronouns than keeping the american dream alive(what makes the best people in the world want to go there and make a career).


So, I’ll comment again on this point because I think it’s a great discussion point. I don’t fully disagree that many diversity efforts have gotten out of hand and that it is certainly way way easier to get an offer from a firm being a minority. There’s just a different bar point blank, much like LSAT or MCAT scores for professional institutions and certain minority groups (I actually think those are worse if we are being honest). In fact for many schools, its been empirically proven how much being a minority affects your chances. 

What I will say, however, is from my experience, while generally minority candidates interview and come in significantly weaker, at the full-time level they are equally as good. I think it speaks to the uselessness of technicals personally, but ask someone who has done the job and there generally isn’t like male analysts who are good and women who suck, or like a pocket of diversity analysts and all the others. My group’s top analyst was a girl and analyst ability was pretty evenly distributed by the end. I think this speaks to the difference between preparation and ability to learn on the fly. Sure—many minority groups might have less exposure or be drawn less to finance at the start, but once they are in the seat on a level playing field many of them are equally as capable. Put another way, for women specifically many end up doing better on average than men in school, but then when it comes to finance knowledge are weaker which doesn’t really make sense. The truth is many start way later on interest in business, but they aren’t stupid or lazy, they just started later and aren’t as aware of how it works—it doesn’t mean they make bad employees however.

Whether or not we should be trying to influence and social engineer interest in certain fields is another discussion and one in which I personally am not really sure on, seeing the pros and cons for each view. A big thing I do think though is the extreme of saying all hiring and admissions are race and gender blind might make institutions incredibly homogeneous due to certain racial and gender groups having shittier mentors/ socioeconomic status and the way bias works with people liking people who are like them. I think ideally people would use socio-economic status for recruiting to improve social mobility, but given the college admissions scandal just imagine how much insane moving and bullshit rich people would be doing to try and play off their socioeconomic status as lower than it actually is. Also, would it really be preferred that they would say like x % of candidates must be low income? 

I don’t know and this is more or less a stream of consciousness, but I do think it’s a complex issue not isolated to finance and one in which there isn’t really an ideal solution.


I agree with everything you say, and i'm sure diversity candidates are not any worse than anyone else at doing the job, neither do i blame them for using diversity programmes, life has given them options and they make full use of it as they should, but at the same time as you said they already get a huge boost in college admissions, sure your university will not solely be the reason you get the job but it maybe the reason you do not, it is correct that x% of peole getting the job must be low income is wrong, but is it correct that x% of people should be women or lgbtq? i'm not saying that you are wrong but simply that what is happening right now isnt correct either.It definitely is a complex issue but i will say that your race gender background or even your name should not be included in the resume you submit, and the people who interview you should be similiar to you in terms of race etc. this is probably hard to do but is not impossible as such, each candidate should be given a score and the ones with the best scores should be hired, obviously there might be luck involved based on recruiter but life is luck, it was based on luck that someone was born as the child of Lloyd blankfein and someone was born to a beggar in a 3rd world country.What i have said is about large shops,Small ones didnt care about diversity anyways.

Also to your point about interest in finance, it is true and diversity should exist IMO, but not in the way it currently is, if a 100 men apply and 50 women apply it dosent make sense to force the gender ratio to be 50:50, the same could be said about nursing, point is nothing will always be equal in life, if people were not interested in banking because they didnt have interest in it because no one from their family works there or they were not exposed to it, its also based on luck, i personally had no one in my family even know what the stock market is,no one even worked in commercial banking,I stumbled on a youtube video once and have had interest in finance since then, i researched a lot and stumbled on this website, I remember the first time i told my parents i wanted to be an investment banker, a few days later someone asked them what i wanted to become, my mom said investment banker, the person asked my mom what investment banking is, she said "something about investing in the stock market", the person then proceeds to ask me what stock to buy, i say the equivalent of S&P500 in my country, point is sometimes things just naturally work out, firms could try to market themselves better.If you google careers that make over a million a year(anyone even remotely interested in money will have done at some point) Investment banker is one of the few that actually makes sense, others are like proffesional sportsperson, actors etc.. Also world is not like it was 30 years ago where very few even knew about banking , everything is available online, its person X's fsult for not even showing minimal effort to find it

Lastly i'd like to say people should stop complaining for sure, no one like a whiny little bitch, also people should stop hating on diversity, its the same as hating on someone because they were born into a rich family, not their fault, maybe if banks made the processes similiar, for example they dont have quotas for certain people(Women, LGBTQ etc.) but still hold special networking events etc. this will definitely raise awareness, for a second just think about that kid from lets say Pakistan who worked his entire life to try and get into a good college, got into a T10 but didnt get a scholarship and instead got a full ride from some random school, went there, again worked 100x harder than anyone else and at the end the firm had to decide between taking him and filing diversity quotas, the firm took someone who was less deserving than him, he know leaves the country to work in soe crappy paying job because there is no investment banking in Pakistan.Should'nt he have been given a chance?


I just want to say a genuine thank you. I’m not diversity, but it’s so cringeworthy reading the constant takes on this site from oftentimes insecure folks who couldn’t secure offers themselves. You have a balanced and poised stance and its so refreshing on a site so full of candidly incels. 

why people worry so much about advantages or disadvantages to others blows my mind. If you’re good enough, all of this is beneath you. If you’re not then...the posts speak for themselves I guess


OP, this. This is a GREAT summary of the realities and hard truths of life and job searching that many more inexperienced/unripened new/recent grads need to read. Many just emerged from their ivory tower with an inflated/glorified view of themselves, and are shocked by how big and competitive the real world outside their bubble is.

Many people are successful with hustle and perseverance, regardless of where they come from. Feeling sorry and pity for oneself and resentful towards others helps no one.

As a side note, although diversity programs are FAR from perfect, it’s interesting how the hate is always directed towards programs designed to help the relatively underprivileged vs towards structurally engrained injustices like nepotism, insider connections, generational wealth and power. It’s as if people accept corruption and nepotism as normal nowadays and any initiatives to help level the playing field as unfair. Should be the other way around.


Since when do 2 wrongs make a right? also what about those asians and normal white males without connections?they suffer the most because of this. Finally it dosent correct jackshit, it only exists so sjws stop acting like whiny little bitches on twitter, lastly do you think having diversity programmes prevent kids who's dads are MDs(nepotism) get jobs?NO.


I agree that diversity programs in their current state are sometimes flawed (different cos have diff implementations), and can maybe even be described as a form of discrimination. I can understand the initial governing motive for implementing these in the first place (which is commendable), but just like Ivy League admission quotas, its current execution can end up denying capable people spots that they otherwise would have gotten.

It’s fascinating how Asians are not considered “diversity” just because they already have a certain degree of representation in the Finance industry, even though their success in this regard has historically NOT been aided by such programs and not been due to similar reasons as multi-generational whites/Caucasians.

Race-based diversity programs seem to driven by the belief that people from certain ethnic backgrounds would not be able to succeed / climb the social ladder without external structural assistance. I haven’t seen proper debates on this and would be open to being convinced in both directions.

Anyways, the above was only a side point in my initial comment - previous points on how competitive the bigger world is holds true, and the point about luck being a factor as well.


I'm an Asian (Indian), and really only reason I've ever struggled were I sucked at interviewing or didn't have enough experience. It's really not that deep. There's plenty of Asian and white males that make it. Plus IB is not the end all be all. There's soo many ways to make money and be successful.


Does anyone else feel like there are too many analysts and associates on this forum who feel the need to lecture people two years their junior about life? Where are all the 40 and 50 year old rainmaker billionaire empire builders MDs to drop some truth bombs on this internet forum. Wish one of those billionaires (minimum mid 9-fig net worth+) super humans would just carve out 5 minutes out of their 168 work weeks to spare us some realities of life instead of the 4000 word essay OP feels compelled to write


I’ll send another one over the top intern, since I have a long layover.

  1. There is actually a huge difference between someone who has worked for several years and someone who is applying for internships. Given how early recruiting is, the difference is actually closer to 5-7 years for most people on this forum and me. Imagine the advice a freshmen or sophomore in college could give to an 8th grader—that’s the gap between me and most on this forum.  
  2. Older people don’t post on this forum because they have more important shit to attend to. I’m basically actively trying to not comment anymore because it adds 0 value to my life aside from the dopamine hit I get when I write a comment or post that gets bananas and helps others (admittedly, this original post wasn’t helpful, but it needed to be said). Old habits from my analyst days die hard.
  3. Older people don’t comment because then they have kids like you and the kid posting a crying meme when they try to help. What you could do is be like the one poster who asked for advice on how to prep for interviews, but instead you critique the help I am trying to provide saying you will only take advice from a 50 year old billionaire. Guess what, some of the MD’s I had are absolute morons and I know numerous mid twenties millionaires and a few who are wise beyond most 60 year olds understanding.
  4. You have no idea my background aside from the fact that I’m claiming I worked at an investment bank and seem to have some idea of wtf I am talking about. What if I am a multi-millionaire who posts anonymously because I don’t want people to know my background, but still want to help others learn finance because I love it?

I’m out, have fun guys.


I'm the guy that "argued" with you abpve, and would still ask you to make posts, you are likely helping because you are giving back, it is helpful to people like me and a lot others.

Thank you 


Straight up 100% agree- this is why I have scaled way back to almost no posts or comments vs. previously. I head the non-target recruiting team and am at the table for all analyst and associate interview decisions at one of the EBs

Every time I post, there's some 4chan level shit or what quickly becomes quasi-racist/sexist tirades about diversity. Otherwise it's someone trying to nit pick me or tell me I'm wrong about my own experience. It's like everyone is trying to dunk on each other all the fucking time. Maybe it's the difference between coming to campus and speaking face to face vs. a faceless internet interaction, but it really brings out the worst in people - someone wrote up this huge article on their experience, and instead of taking it for what it is and asking thoughtful questions, this forum jumps on him like hyenas. 


OP what are your views on diversity recruitments at the top of the food chain, didn't solomon say something like a minimum of 25%of new partners should be females, imagine youve worked all thse years just to get cut on some diversity BS


Imagine spending your whole young adult life grinding for a banking position, along with getting some marginal benefit in terms of recruiting from a diversity program, only to face indirect (and oftentimes direct) sexism in the office and cyclical gender-based inequalities throughout your entire career. Diversity programs may make it a bit harder for you now, but remember why they exist and the impact they're intended to have. I agree that it sucks sometimes but it's really not BS


did you even read what i said, at the higher level of food chain, the other person who has his seat taken away has also worked his life off


Can someone speak to JHU/CalTech? Gonna be attending and wanted to figure out how much tougher it would be than from a traditional target


I sincerely doubt there is any on campus recruiting at either of those schools. If you’re smart enough to go to CalTech, just go into tech or quant bro. Screw banking.


OP here, don’t factor IB recruitment into your decision for a university. You might not be interested in IB after learning more about yourself, the world could change, it’s just a bad idea. Also, personally, I would say recruiting from those schools will be fine. I personally recruited to an office that had 0 alumni and got in processes with numerous others. If you go to a good school and have a high GPA and high test score, with good internships, people will likely take your call if you are persistent enough and time your outreach well. From there it’s in your hands.


As someone who only recently decided to do banking and now has ~1-2 weeks to be superday-ready, do have advice for studying technicals in line with what you did for that week over winter break or how you coach mentees over a single weekend? I've gone through the guides and done the practice questions, and I plan on going through the 400 question guide and whatever questions I can find online now - is there anything else you'd suggest? I feel like I can answer questions from the guides now but I still get tripped up on more conceptual questions.


Yeah, I’ll chime in on this one. My advice—stop studying the technicals. Most people don’t get an offer not due to technicals, but their story being not great. I knocked way more people for behavioral questions than technicals.

Key things most people flub or give crap answers to:

  • Why you want to work in IB
  • What people actually do in IB
  • Why that specific bank is where you want to work 
  • How your story makes you unique and someone people want to work with

It sounds simple, but I almost never got cohesive confident answers to the above. Those that did, always seemed on another level to me. It’s also why I was able to get away with such little prep—I had a unique life story, very concrete reasons for entering the role, was very targeted with my outreach, and was likeable. Numerous times when I was on the other side of the table interviewing and selecting MD’s or D’s would say, “how did x do on technicals? I liked them.” If the answer wasn’t he/ she shit the bed, that kids getting an offer. Pretty confident I was one of those kids. What I said just made sense and people trusted I wasn’t giving manufactured answers, I had done independent research and concluded this was the right role for me and I was a confident competent person they could trust in a fire drill. They were right.


Have said this under other threads but ill say it again. Coming from a non target where we send zero yearly to front office jobs, all I can do is laugh at the pity party hosted by top ivy/top 10 uni kids. Yall have been hand held your whole lives and its evident. I used to feel imposter syndrome and thought so much more of these ivy kids; no longer. Now Ive a rejuvenated sense of cocky confidence the sorts demonstrated by Conor McGregor. My chin is up and I almost laugh at top school kids now just by their mere existence. Almost like doing a try not to laugh challenge where the laugh is uncontrollable and explosive. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


On a practical note, let me teach you ivy/top 10 whiny bastards the way. Your fundamental issue is that you dont know how to answer the question “why”. Why did you go to that boarding school? Because my daddy sent me. Why did you go to that college? Because thats what comes next. Why do you want to do IB? Because im a sheep and all my other ivy classmates are doing it! I suggest you get your stories together and know your why’s. Each and every answer you give you should expect the follow up to be “but why?”. Not to mention be able to hold a conversation naturally throughout. Hard to do that when your entire lives have been pampered by mommy and daddy and youve never had to navigate a tense or a formal conversation.


Adding to this—I agree and also I’ll never forget something a mentor said who came from a not great background to me once. Paraphrasing, but it’s mostly in tact:

”rich kids who work hard scare the shit out of me. You are telling me life was handed to you on a silver platter with all these advantages and you still are grinding it out? They don’t need to be doing it, but they do it because they like it, something has to be broken or off with them. They could be off fucking around on daddy’s boat, but instead they chose to eat shit with the poor kids? What psychos.” 

Always thought it was funny and it also stuck with me. I am usually pretty impressed when you see kids that are absolute grinders who don’t give off rich kid vibes and you learn they went to like Andover or something.


My guess is many of you elite university kids are encountering the first time in your life where you aren't succeeding. Previously, you got great grades and your test scores were excellent so you all went to some of the best universities in the country and you know it-so you each believe you are special. Honestly, my personal take is many of you might have never actually really needed to try hard at something, even if you think you did, because school came easy and you were likely great at the activities you did. This is the first time where your natural talent just isn't cutting it.

as someone who was struggling to get a FT job two years ago and eventually made it - this man speaks facts. 


I think this thread goes to show the benefit of perspective. I broke in from a complete non target, but everyone who's done it from my school knew you had to grind and insert yourself into the process to have a shot. It's completely possible nowadays with all the resources available online. There's a reason why you see so many semi-target undergrads break in. They know the candidates at Harvard, Wharton, Stanford are getting a ton of good banks on campus, while they get some good banks and no attention from the rest. When everyone around them is busting their ass to network with the banks they really want, they know they're not going to get an interview without trying. It's a huge disadvantage to not realize how competitive this process is. Banks aren't just looking at five schools anymore; they want the best one or two kids from every solid school. The target school kids making these pitiful posts probably fumbled by not joining any of the numerous finance clubs, asking upperclassmen for advice, networking, studying for interviews, having good answers for rationale behavioral questions etc. Anyone from a target school who actually grinds should get into at least SOME bank eventually. Hilarious to even think about giving up in April when processes are still kicking off


This isn’t right—most shops at this point aren’t hiring with intentions to keep their analysts onboard as career bankers. Also, most harvard/ Stanford kids aren’t dropping out of analyst programs to pursue startups lol. More likely the student body just has different interests and opportunities. It’s a bit like MIT in the sense that it isn’t considered an IB school really, but a ton of people do do IB from it. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind Stanford and Harvard are actually pretty small schools relative to many others. 


I went to an average to above average state school with little BB connections. I had to fight to get there and face tons of rejections. There were times I would get rejection letters hours after applying because the computer software didn’t like my school despite my GPA. I finally broke in as an experienced hire and I’ve enjoyed it. I work hard and I do notice a sense of where people went to school based on how they approach every day and the challenges associated with it. At one point in time, the firm only hired from 10-15 schools. Schools like Northwestern and UChicago were not part of those 15. So I’m short, those of you who go to those 10-15 schools have an immense advantage getting in the door. You have no idea what we had to do just get a phone call or an email back.

I think I did this right

Could you elaborate on #3? How is the networking game supposed to be played? As a freshman right now what should I be doing


Recruiting usually starts in the winter of sophomore year with some banks going later for internships after a persons junior year (timelines for diversity are different). For context, my old bank was pretty early and gave offers this last month with several more offers likely happening from now until fall. Do research and understand what an investment bank does and maybe get a few practice runs calling people that don't work in IB and asking them what they do. Then, when late fall rolls around start sending your resume and an email to people at the banks you would like to work for asking if they would be willing to setup a call to talk about their experience in IB and at that bank etc. If they don't reply, follow up on the email a week or two later. During that call, you will want to give a 30 second background on yourself and why you are calling then shut up. First question: Would love if you could talk about your background and what led to you working at X bank? Then from there you need to ask insightful intelligent questions to the person. After the conversation, follow-up with an email thanking the person and asking if there is anyone else at the bank you should speak to. If they don't say anyone that's fine, just start the process over, cold reaching out to other people at the bank. Your goal should be to talk to 10+ people at the bank from MD down. MD's often don't have time, but might look at your resume and if a unique thing sticks out they could take the call and if you do well fast track you through the whole process. While you want to talk to a bunch of people, don't mass email 30 people on the same day. Show some restraint and maybe do 2-4 a week at each bank beginning in mid-late fall. This should give you like 30 people over the course of 3 months at each bank by the time first rounds start for many of the earlier places. These informal "Coffee chats" are often viewed as the first round interview and if you ask smart questions and come across as not weird, employees will refer you or pass your resume to HR which then will likely add you to an official first round interview list where they then will ask you questions. A few other tips:

  • Don't mass LinkedIn message people. Email is better than linkedin. A protip--you can usually use HR/ campus recruting's email or wealth management people's email to guess the email format like first [email protected], then use linkedin to find people who work at that firm. 
  • In your initial email, address the person by first name. i.e. Chad, don't send Dear Sir or Dear Mr. Bradford--it makes you look like a kid
  • Make the email short and attach your resume in a pdf. You don't need to say, see my resume attached--its obvious if you attached a file called Linda Zhao Resume
  • Offer times in the email and flexibility. "See below for my availability, however, I will gladly accommodate any time that works best for you:
    • Monday: 5pm-9pm
    • Tuesday: 2pm-3pm
    • etc.

There is an awesome old recruiting memo from i think AIG or some other bank floating around on Arbitrage Andy / accounts like that from the 1980s, and it states something to the effect of: "Hire poor people who are smart and have a desire to be rich. Those kids are the ones you want to watch out for and it's who i try to identify with as i rearrange logos at 2am. 

I'm always so thankful I grew up in a blue collar household where i was encouraged to work service/retail jobs growing up - I feel like it gave me a perspective on work and a chip on my shoulder that just simply can't be replicated without physically being immersed in one of those positions. I grew up watching my parents grind it out every day for 20+ years  in jobs that offered no prospect of upward mobility just so I could have access to the opportunities they were never afforded. I dont feel sorry for myself about having to do a few hours of admin work every week -  I wake up fired up that I get to work a job that affords my career endless possibilities and offers me the opportunity to give back financially to my parents and make a meaningful difference in their economic status. I swear, some days i wake up and it feels like this whole career thing is fake - I always thought you had to be a celebrity or the very best at what you do to be able to afford a vacation home. You're telling me all I have to do is show up for 70 hours a week and act enthusiastic about work that everyone else looks down upon for 5-10 years in order to