Does SEO actually help as much as people say it does?

I'm at a non-target interested in IB. A buddy of mine told me to apply to SEO, so I did. I've been having a lot of trouble finding up-to-date info about the program, but what I have been finding is people on here from the 2000s-2010s bitching and whining about how SEO kids have it so easy, and get handed internships they don't deserve, etc. Does the program actually get you internships at BBs and EBs if you're at a non-target? 


INROADS is this. It's an organization that aims to get black/Hispanic/women/underrepresented minorities into corporate jobs. Doesn't have the training component of SEO, but it was good to me so I still recommend it. 

SEO refers to SEO Career, which is the same shit but offers stronger connections into "high finance," as well as consulting and provides pre-internship training.

MLT is this whole org, but the people I met were in the program in the link specifically. All are a good idea to join, and it's worth making the time for anyone considering. 

There's also Girls Who Invest that apparently has good placement onto the street that I've seen as well.


From what I’ve seen, GWI blows the rest of the “diversity” programs out of the water. At my non-target, I’ve seen people land top PE/HF analysts slots almost solely due to Girls Who Invest. Not to say they weren’t sharp as hell, but the connections, etc are elite

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Not sure if this posted twice, but will delete if it did:

Apply for, and take seriously if you get into, SEO. It's extremely helpful to non-targets that qualify. It helped me and many other people I interned with get, and do well at, our jobs at my BB (GS, JPM, MS). I mean that both in terms of the group I interned in specifically and the IBD more generally; it's one of the few things you can do that's always and only a good idea. You'll definitely gravitate towards one network or program as you feel aligns best with your needs, but SEO is great even just for taking little bits and pieces of. 

The alumni network is very helpful too if you want to network; put SEO on your LinkedIn and cold messages to other SEO people become warm, just like that. People want to help each other in the SEO/MLT sphere. That’s really nice since strong alumni networks are not easy to come by from non-targets — certainly not ones you can tap into to get jobs in high finance. Which sucks cause you need the network to get a job, and the networks are more easily built after you get a job and have solid relationships.

It's a chicken-egg type problem I'm sure most people from non-targets are intimately familiar with. SEO is one solution to it, but certainly not the only one, which is another reason to take it seriously. The biggest benefits though are the free technical training you get after you find an internship -- that goes on for months before hitting the desk -- and the pipeline of firms that SEO partners with in IB/PE/HF/AM etc., that recruit through the program to help get a job in the first place.

There's also MLT which is, from what I've personally heard and seen a bit of, just as strong. 

As for the shit it gets on WSO, please remember that this site is primarily made up of upper-class, straight white guys. That's just a fact and idgaf if I get MS for it. It just is what it is. WSO's views, then, of programs and orgs like SEO, MLT, Inroads etc., are often informed by the fact that -- unless they're Hispanic -- they don't have access. Given how difficult it is to break in generally, there's lots of bitterness towards this and similar pathways into the industry as a result. 

There's also the frankly unabashed bigotry pervasive on this site that runs through those threads you found too. Like that "No Return Offer" thread with +375 SB on the front page today? It has people calling the analysts snitches, and wrong, for not playing around when the SA OP started throwing around homophobic slurs and lost his return offer as a result. See for yourself if you haven't -- it's actually embarrassing to read. There's much worse said on this website, and so please take the often ridiculously negative things said about programs and orgs like SEO, MLT, Girls Who Invest etc., with a real grain of salt. They're hated, often, because they're useful to a lot of people. People who aren't the majority demo of WSO or "high finance," in general, and banking specifically.

As a non-target, leverage everything you can to break in. Everyone else, including the guys on this forum that go to HYP/targets/semi-targets/regional targets etc., are too; OCR, just as an example, is an 'unfair' non-merit recruiting advantage just as much as "diversity recruiting." You're no less deserving of any seat you end up in as anyone else on this site.


I went to a non-target school and landed my BB internship mainly due to SEO and all of the networking / recruiting help they provided. While I do think there is some merit to saying that SEO kids have it easy, you have to remember that most of the students SEO targets (first generation, low-income or minority) really have no idea about "high finance" or how to even go about recruiting for these jobs. Speaking from experience, I wouldn't have learned about IB until too late if it wasn't for SEO, and I probably would not have been able to land an internship as easily without them. I also most definitely would not have earned a return offer if it hadn't been for their mentorship throughout the internship. At the end of the day, however, they can only do so much for you. All of the people I met in SEO were beyond intelligent and almost all of them actually performed better than peers who came from more privileged backgrounds. While SEO helps people get internships, nearly all of the SEO kids I encountered have earned their return offers and continue to excel full-time (can confirm as I and a few other of my SEO colleagues are top bucket at my BB). 


A random FYI for those who haven't heard of SEO and want to understand if its legit.

The chairman of SEO is Henry Kravis (Founder of KKR) and other BoD consists of: Amy Ellis-Simon (Vice Chairman at MS), Orlando Bravo (Founder of Thoma bravo) and many more high positioned people within finance. So safe to say it is definitely a good program to be a part of 


Damn WTF i didnt know bloody Henry Kravis was the chairman. I'm part of SEO London and they never stressed it


Definitely join SEO if you can. I received an offer from an EB in early May through them. Still have recruiters hitting me up for networking calls and interviews through SEO. Also, the best thing I heard about the program is the training they give you few weeks before your internship starts and the network is insane. 


I didn't do SEO but I qualified for it and it's one of the biggest regrets in my career, although I make several hundred K now (weird flex bro) so it worked out for me. I would say SEO is extremely helpful and truly a mutually beneficial relationship between the banks/firms and the participants of SEO. Do you know how hard it is to find a high achieving black woman or latino man to join a large corporate america firm? Trust me, these companies will happily overpay for not as much productivity that these SEO participants produce the first couple of years... if it means they get a loyal, fully productive, high achieving minority in their ranks by their mid to late twenties. Sadly, as SEO states, "natural raw talent and intelligence is distributed at birth equally throughout the world, however opportunity is not distributed equally." The raw intelligence and intellectual capabilities of these under-presented women and minorities per capita is the same as their white counterparts, but many of these individuals fall off the "path" to a high paying career. This is what SEO is trying to help with. 

Now with what path you should go with. SEO's investment banking path is by far the strongest, and once you get an IB job, you qualify for SEO Alternative Investments, where they basically help you get a private equity associate job as well. I will say where SEO fails, and I have seen this from many on LinkedIn and from my network, is by preparing these minority men and women for the culture of corporate america. For some reason, this is just from a large personal data set of mine from friend and those in my network, SEO has a very high drop out rate of IB analysts that don't make it to the associate level or to PE. Once you're in the SEO program, you're an alum for life, however it is very top heavy and they will put all their attention and resources to those analysts that are able to make it to the associate level/buy side/wharton-HBS. 

A personal complaint I have from SEO are the white latinos from Greenwich, Connecticut, the white children of wealthy Argentinian/Brazilian immigrants who live in Miami, or the half white/half hispanic guys whose last name is lucky enough to be "Lopez" or "Cruz" but who by all intents and purposes play lacrosse and have all white friends. These guys finesses the system (can't say I wouldn't do the same) and SEO will happily take them into the program to pat their stats of successful SEO grads, despite the program being target to low income minorities who are often first gen college student and have no idea what wall street is. 

We're not lawyers. We're investment bankers. We didn't go to Harvard. We Went to Wharton!

INROADs, the link posted above, is open to Asians as well. My friend ran into the same problem you did wrt SEO, but got a great job in software dev for a big, big tech co., through Inroads. He also got an interview at a great prop shop through them, which we both sadly learned are MUCH harder than either of us expected. And he's really, really smart. For FO roles, Inroads is helpful but not as strong connections as SEO/MLT. But it has good connections with big corps if you are open to CorpFin/LDPs etc.


I'd insert the article where it says banks have so many openings they're struggling to fill them, but I'm too lazy to. This is corporate america, where politics and greed is good. It's not a non profit government funded program where it is paid for by tax dollars and you may have a reason to be upset. These are vicious for profit companies that as I previously stated, are getting an equally beneficial proposition by hiring these minorities. If the work gets done, the work gets done. David Solomon doesn't care who makes the pitchbook, whether it's a middle class white kid from middle america or a black girl from Baltimore. If they are both prepared and meet the minimum qualifications to be able to work on excel, then surely they can have some room to try and match the 14% ratio of black americans that make up the population. Banks are overhiring. No reason to complain.

We're not lawyers. We're investment bankers. We didn't go to Harvard. We Went to Wharton!
[Comment removed by mod team]

Weird. I didn’t have a good experience with SEO for interview. I had a very strong resume and all but didn’t receive any interviews from them. I really enjoyed their technical training though! It was extremely helpful and helped me hit the ground running when I was an intern. The mentors and network (something in common for cold mails) were also very helpful!


From reading WSO, I understand that SEO is a drown-down menu that allows you to select which EB/Top BB you start your career at, which MF PE you exit to, and which HSW B school you go to. You then click the submit button and the offer emails start coming in. Note you can only select the firm and not always the specific group (that would be unfair to other applicants).


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