Summers Aren’t Impressive?

I don't know how to say this without sounding condescending, so I'll try and keep it factual. I'm a summer analyst at an EB and finished training last week. I go to a nontarget, have interned every summer and semester since hs, and busted my ass to get this job. Training was pretty eye opening… the kids I'm interning with just aren't good. They don't know how to complete a template of the most simple 3SM, they can't build a DCF in a template, don't know much of anything about accounting, etc.

Am I missing something? I was the most impressed by other nontargets. Do target kids just all have connections/easy interviews? Is this my bank specific? I was expecting to work with smart, driven kids. Instead I got rich, preppy, and moderately intelligent kids. Just looking for some color of why this is + why nontargets have to work so hard when the bar is apparently not that high.

Comments (142)

Jun 12, 2022 - 6:14pm
levfin1550, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You and I both. Non-target worked my ass off during the entire process, summer internship starts and come to meet the others at semi and targets, all had connections from the start with a few exceptions. The exceptions are definitely hard workers but still fall short of exceptional individuals. They know more people than they do finance topics. Knowledgeable colleagues are the more tenured ones but even they had a soft start and only know as much as they do because of the time they spent in their role not the time they spent working for it. Still a long road ahead, lot more to learn and a lot more people to meet, it's just the beginning brother no need to start questioning everything already, learn what you can and become familiar with those in the positions you want to be in. Best of luck!

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 12, 2022 - 7:35pm

The top HYP kids will always be better than the top non-target kids. However, you will see more HYP kids in banking so the average is lower, whereas only the best of the best nontargets get into banking.

Jun 13, 2022 - 1:53am
elonwithoutamask, what's your opinion? Comment below:

After decades of being systemically excluded from these opportunities,  the last thing diversity hires are thinking about is talking to you mate! I can assure you,  none of them will be losing sleep because some random intern decided to not talk to them. 

Jun 13, 2022 - 11:59am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is flat out inaccurate. When you start working you'll realize that there are both diverse and non-diverse hires who are incompetent and both diverse and non-diverse hires who are competent. And all that matters is if your closest coworkers are actually competent, not if they're diverse or not. Interview criteria such as GPA, technicals, etc. are at best mediocre predictors or job performance.

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Jun 14, 2022 - 12:03am
marketMergerMaddie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have to comment since I find the above comment to be extremely accurate. With more and more time, I can come less and less to trust the interview process, and now really just care about people's performance at work. I generally also find that some of the best workers come from non-targets and don't even have great GPAs sometimes, while other top performers are shining stars who had everything going for them

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 13, 2022 - 5:24pm

This is the correct answer. From easiest to hardest segments to recruit from, I would go target diversity -> non target diversity-> target non diversity-> non target non diversity. If you're talking to people in non targ non div vs targ div, it's very likely the former is more well prepared. I'm non targ non div at a BB SA, and everyone who is non diversity regardless of school seems intelligent. It's the diversity candidates that are asking retarded questions like how to do a year over year growth rate formula or what's the difference between EBIT and operating income. Salty diversity hires must be giving you monkey shit.

I will caution tho OP it's very important to stay humble. The best way to lose a return offer is come as an arrogant know it all. I also feel like I have a really strong grasp on the technical stuff, but I'm sure I will still come across stuff that will challenge me. I'm okay making mistakes. Just focus on yourself and being as best as you can. Don't focus on others and look down on them for being worse than you. Not the right attitude to have. Be grateful for the position we are in

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 14, 2022 - 8:38am

This is the correct answer. From easiest to hardest segments to recruit from, I would go target diversity -> non target diversity-> target non diversity-> non target non diversity. If you're talking to people in non targ non div vs targ div, it's very likely the former is more well prepared. I'm non targ non div at a BB SA, and everyone who is non diversity regardless of school seems intelligent. It's the diversity candidates that are asking retarded questions like how to do a year over year growth rate formula or what's the difference between EBIT and operating income. Salty diversity hires must be giving you monkey shit.

I will caution tho OP it's very important to stay humble. The best way to lose a return offer is come as an arrogant know it all. I also feel like I have a really strong grasp on the technical stuff, but I'm sure I will still come across stuff that will challenge me. I'm okay making mistakes. Just focus on yourself and being as best as you can. Don't focus on others and look down on them for being worse than you. Not the right attitude to have. Be grateful for the position we are in

Nice try, non-target but bashing diversity candidates wont make target kids respect you. 

Jun 18, 2022 - 11:54am
nrackstar, what's your opinion? Comment below:

People are just racist in the open these days

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 12, 2022 - 6:24pm

Couple thoughts

1-Not everyone in IB is a finance major

2-Kids goof off during this time (I recall this being true)

3- All schools have a spectrum target and non target alike. Non-targets and anyone else who may have more to prove why they are in IB likely prepare harder.

At the end of the day if you are just hitting the desk as an intern or full-timer, you won't be holding the pen on any modeling and will likely assist with slides and process oriented stuff. What matters is if your are teachable, easy to work with and humble.

As advice, ditch the "everyone else sucks and im the only competent person" attitude. People pick up on it and it's not a good look. If true, help your analysts be better as this will make your life easier so you don't have to pick up the slack.

Jun 12, 2022 - 7:05pm
BreadCo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The attitude does have to go. If you want to bring value in what you perceive as your superior position, build value.

Be easy to go to for the others, help them learn what you already know. And don't be a dick about it. I still recall a fellow student of mine from undergrad trying to help me, but he was such a dick that I ended up hating him...and then everyone did for the same reasons.

I also remember some of my colleagues early on who did not know much about accounting or finance like I did, but they knew the systems and the people at the firm. I would risk my entire career to help those people out, just as they did for me. 

  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Jun 12, 2022 - 6:37pm

Most "target" schools don't have finance majors (or accounting or similar), the closest you get is economics (again, usually, not always the case).

So with that, many recruits from top universities are hired for their grades, interviews, extracurriculars, etc. Most banks (and other "top" firms) aren't expecting people to come in ready to go, they are looking for "smart"/determined/hard working people they can train. You can't become hard working (or smart) overnight (or ever in some cases) but you can train people on how to build models in a short amount of time, that's the basic idea. 

Then you have the added hurdle that to get in from a "non-target" you need to stand out and show interest in the field, etc. So you normally get non-targets that have been preparing for this for years. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 12, 2022 - 8:06pm

This is exactly it. Went to an ivy and the closest thing I studied to IB content was a few Econ classes which are not remotely helpful.

Then you hit the desk and you meet this state school kids that majored in IB, have entire classes devoted to building DCFs, etc.

One isn't necessarily better or worse, just different backgrounds.

As to why banks don't want a bunch of kids that are purely just model machines, look at senior bankers. Being successful in IB beyond analyst/associate is about being sociable, connected, and confident, not knowing how to do a DCF. Even in the analyst role, 90%+ of the job is doing stupid shit, not building excel models

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Jun 12, 2022 - 6:40pm

Thanks for the faith. This is why so many nontargets have a chip on their shoulders

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  • VP in IB - Cov
Jun 12, 2022 - 7:31pm

Agreed that this is often the case, once the non-business ivy / target school kids learn the fundementals of finance they quickly pass most people. The top analyst in the past 6 classes in my group was an ivy kid with a liberal arts major, i think 2 studied religion lol. They all went to a MF or UMM fund. All were very nice down-to-earth people, very helpful to the other analysts. Of course, there are some dumb, entitled target school kids that are just well connected and aren't good, pretty easy to identify in a couple weeks and are easily beaten out by some of the non-targets,

I am a non-target myself and as good as I am, there are just some people I can't comptete with technicial wise, they just have more "horse power" and can outperform me in the long run. All that being said, the modeling / technical skills are less important as you move up so you can overcome it with the right skill set.

Jun 12, 2022 - 8:43pm
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

this is correct. target kids on average have higher learning abilities than non-target. just because a non-target kid learned some accounting before a target kid did doesn't make them a better fit for a career in IB. it's like saying that if a 16 yo learned about 3 statements, they should be hired at Goldman Sachs cause almost no other 16 yo knows about 3 statements because people usually study this in their later years of college.

Jun 13, 2022 - 5:27pm
NoEquityResearch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well, if you are a sophmore business major and don't know your 3 statements at an Ivy League school, that does say something.  We're not comparing a 16-year old kid studying accounting with a Ivy Leage graduate studying Art History. 

The assumption is that both are interested in business school. And if both are truly interested and driven, they should both know the 3 statements.

And you're right. People study this later in college which is exactly why the drive of someone who learned it ahead of time is impressive.  Potentially more impressive than some Ivy League kid waiting for someone to teach it to him.

Jun 13, 2022 - 5:24pm
NoEquityResearch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

they are actually smarter and hard working (which is why they are at a target and not T65). 

So hard-working that they know less than the non-target at the beginning of the internship. 

Had to make fun of that one line but beyond this, degrees become largely irrelevant after your first few months.  You get a reputation based on your work product and work ethic. It's amazing how quickly you forget about people's degrees post-recruitment. There are only two types of people on a team that matter when you're in the thick of it. People who get shit done and people who don't get shit done. If you fall in the latter, it doesn't matter where you graduated from.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jun 12, 2022 - 7:24pm

Wow non target hardo you're so smart

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jun 12, 2022 - 7:25pm

Targets / non econ majors tend to have slightly less technical interviews... there's just less expectation that they've spent multiple semesters in finance/accounting like finance majors have. They are smart and driven but just didn't need to learn to build major models to get the interviews like a non target may have to. They might have a tough first few weeks figuring it out but in my experience will ramp up very quickly

Jun 13, 2022 - 5:03pm
thecheckeredvans22, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As a diversity/non target/ non finance candidate I can say that my superdays were VERY technical…

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jun 13, 2022 - 6:47pm

Sorry I specifically meant target school kids. They have proven themselves to be very smart and capable by going to HYP (etc) and it's assumed they will be able to pick up the financial concepts

As a non target you're a completely unknown entity and even non finance majors are expected to demonstrate you can understand and self-study the technical side of things

Jun 12, 2022 - 7:45pm
bluechipdude, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bruh, it's called training week for a reason. Most of us learned the basic concepts just to get through the interview process. Only people I know that already had a hold on it are returners and semi-target kids who are IB hardos. Trust, last semester I wasn't worried about financial models when I was spending my weekends partying with actual models.

Jun 12, 2022 - 8:17pm
reformed, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Joke's on you.

Everyone else uses training to party and socialize with the rest of the class. 

No one cares about building models in training and you're not exactly going to have to learn for your summer so why bother?

Array
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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 13, 2022 - 6:01am

Before attending college I set out a few goals for myself: (1) bust my ass to get into the best possible school, and (2) once in, do the bare minimum to maintain a 3.7+ and party like there's no tomorrow. And I did just so. Majored in history with a minor in philosophy (very Michael Lewis-esque). I spent 80% of my college years meeting like-minded degenerates and getting wasted together. A few years back when I was doing my SA stint, I came to a rude awakening. I was fucking lost! Kids from Strawberry and Pineapple State University were kicking my butt on a daily basis. A few months after I hit the desk, the gap in skills fully closed. Wanna know why? Because those same kids from Strawberry and Pineapple State University had my back and were not condescending idiots. Target / Non-Target doesn't make you smarter or dumber. My mom got very sick during my senior year of HS and I came very close to attending a state university 30 min away from home. Let's face it, investment banking is not that hard. Be humble, be likable, learn from and teach others. And that applies to life, not just to a dumb summer internship that in the great scheme of things is pretty damn meaningless. Never forget that this is just a job and if you see it as something other than, you'll lead a very unhappy life. Anyways, good luck on that internship! I'm getting back to my stupid diligence call

Jun 13, 2022 - 9:21am
rabbit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As far as we are concerned, (we as in the people who you will work with), you all start at the same line once you hit the desk. None of you will hit the desk and be assigned DCFs, LBOs or models of any kind. You need to build reps and earn trust by doing basic things right.

If you want to scope out competition for FT, don't look for the peeps who know how to model etc. Look for those who are confident, socialize well, ask smart questions etc.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jun 13, 2022 - 11:15am

You are valuing all the wrong stuff. The stuff that separates excellent SAs with average ones isn't whether they can build a great DCF during training. It's whether or not they can crank out mind numbing slides at 2am on a Thursday night after already working 80 hours that week. Moreover, given how many reps of modeling everyone is going to do and how much more granular the modeling gets over the summer, the true skill is going to be shown in how quickly someone can learn and improve over the summer. Focus on improving your skills this summer and being a good teammate. Everyone else was also hired for a reason. 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 13, 2022 - 11:21am

I completely agree with you OP.

I had the same experience out of undergrad landing into T2 consulting. When your told your whole life that these Ivy/target kids are 2 standard deviations smarter than you, its a shock when you see how average most are. The shock goes away once you get to know them and the whole school identity thing goes away.

This comment section illustrates how ego driven ppl are and wont admit how silly and destructive the notion of target vs non-target is. The most people are avg. I was average but used sweat equity to get into T2. A target kid utilized their school platform. Its not a big deal.

Reading claims that Target kids will do better than you because of their SUPERIOR intelligence is laughable. 90% will quit within 2 years. Most juniors washout due to lifestyle/culture issue not an inability to do the work. 86% of analyst are middle bucket. Very dumb to claim targets kids will do better than you because of they attend a T10 UG lol (not because they are passionate about their work or have better attention to detail. Apparently HYP only grad demi gods lol)

Keep crunching it man. Let your passion drive you. WSO is full of cynics and larpers. From a fellow non-target UG who went to an at M7 and now is considered smart lol IB is a great time. Nothing wrong to like what you do.

best of luck.

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Other
Jun 16, 2022 - 6:58pm

Maybe if you were smart enough to get into a target, you'd realize this simple truth: 

It is possible (even likely) that the HYP guy is 2 deviations smarter than you while also being worse at…making powerpoints 

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 13, 2022 - 11:35am

Congrats, you did a few practice modeling exercises you found online and your peers didn't. The reason they didn't is because they know they're smart enough to learn it on the fly. Give it 10 weeks and you'll be sniffing glue and eating crayons while trying to figure out why your IRR analysis says #REF all over it while the target kids are throwing nerf balls at the back of your head. 

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Jun 18, 2022 - 3:00pm

Target schools kids are nerds... if anyone is bullying each other it will be the other way around

Jun 13, 2022 - 2:29pm
Bank Slut, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Was hoping you were complaining about not summering properly like a true WASP based on the title. Very disappointed

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 13, 2022 - 4:25pm

Cuz you have insecure non targets like this who feel the need to get their egos stroked

  • Associate 2 in IB - Cov
Jun 13, 2022 - 5:54pm

It sounds like you know 0.2% of what it takes to do this job, and they know 0.1%. If you need the "Congratulations" then here it is - congrats.. you know twice as much as they do. Both of those numbers round to zero.

A lot of these mid ranking target kids were the best their shitty towns had to offer, show up to HYP thinking they're hot shit and then eat their humble pie for the next four years getting smoked by the talent that's out there. By the time they hit the workforce they've learned the context of their abilities because they've seen the horsepower that's really out there and they know they don't have the platform to act like arrogant assholes.

Think of it this way. You are absolutely, 100%, about to be smoked - either this summer or as a first year. I see it every year of this job. Like clockwork. You have the telltale signs, including the classic misunderstanding of how senior bankers define "top junior banker." You are about to go through what a lot of these median on the HYP curve peers faced years before you. It's healthy, and I do hope you get an offer on the other end.

But for now, don't focus so much on how your peer doesn't know the logic behind deferred taxes or hasn't used their 8th grade algebra yet to un-lever and re-lever beta. Instead, look up at the top juniors and top seniors you get to see this summer and have a think about why they're so well regarded. Humble yourself a little bit and really learn from them. I think you'll be making more mistakes than you can even fathom for the next few years, hell few decades, as you learn and grow in your career, and I believe in those moments you'll remember this post and cringe about how immature and ill-conceived it was.

Jun 13, 2022 - 9:12pm
her interest-nah-carried interest, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm a rising sophomore at a target busting my ass in lower middle market IB this summer while my rich buddies are touring the world or partying in Greenwich/NYC/pick your destination. I'm from the dirty so I have no NYC connections only some Charlotte. Just hoping this grind will show but the staggering diversity statistics definitely are telling me that I can't take my foot off the gas in any aspect sophomore yr. Respect to all you nontargets hustlas getting after it.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 13, 2022 - 11:54pm

lol as someone who can do all the tts modeling no problem since I've done it before, I've noticed several people who couldn't are picking it up faster than I did the first time. 

Jun 14, 2022 - 1:30am
Steam, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Anonymous Monkey

I don't know how to say this without sounding condescending, so I'll try and keep it factual. I'm a summer analyst at an EB and finished training last week. I go to a nontarget, have interned every summer and semester since hs, and busted my ass to get this job. Training was pretty eye opening… the kids I'm interning with just aren't good. They don't know how to complete a template of the most simple 3SM, they can't build a DCF in a template, don't know much of anything about accounting, etc.

Am I missing something? I was the most impressed by other nontargets. Do target kids just all have connections/easy interviews? Is this my bank specific? I was expecting to work with smart, driven kids. Instead I got rich, preppy, and moderately intelligent kids. Just looking for some color of why this is + why nontargets have to work so hard when the bar is apparently not that high.

OP, let me fill you in on a secret from someone's who's been in your seat. You add literally zero value as an intern, actually, you add negative value in most cases and more so if you come in thinking you know fuck all about running a deal as a shitty intern.

Yes, in my experience the "non-targets" were often more knowledgeable on basic finance concepts than "targets" but only because we didn't have business schools at our schools. Further, none of this ended up mattering once you hit the desk; everyone else stood on their own fairly quickly and this generally is a major waste of time and focus to be posting these observations publicly. You should worry about going out and fucking shit up socially and professionally this summer, not running back to your online community to ask if it's weird you know more about a financial statement than a Yale kid.

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 14, 2022 - 12:31pm

Give it a few months - these kids will supersede any course knowledge you paid for and learned while studying at your non-target

Jun 14, 2022 - 2:25pm
mrebeazy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The world of high finance is and always will be based on prestige and pedigree. Unfortunate as it may be, having kids that can maintain your brand and maneuver with the upper crust of society will always be more important than someone who can crank out models like there's no tomorrow. Esp when you want to climb the ladder, being able to chat with MDs about being part of the same final/eating/secret society club or which shitty dorm they were in will go much farther in building rapport and being welcomed into the "inner circle."

Jun 14, 2022 - 5:01pm
HardestOfHardos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ok non target hardo

Lmao seriously though, just chill about it. You're an SA, no one cares what you know in advance. Get on your desk, be eager, and work your ass off. Above all else, enjoy yourself.

Jun 14, 2022 - 9:56pm
[email protected], what's your opinion? Comment below:

Annoying mentality that you have to 100%  understand the daily dynamics of a job before you even start training. It's a learning process, what benefit do you have now that you spent your entire youth chasing a dumb job rather than building a life.  

Jun 15, 2022 - 2:11am
dave.thoma.1978, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm a summer analyst at an EB and finished training last week. Such little touches as she laid upon his arm whenever she had anything particularly impressive to say .

Jun 15, 2022 - 10:41am
aisleO44, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I find it absurd and frankly hilarious how much people on WSO are obsessed with nomenclature like target and non-target. OP sounds foolish, not to mention angry at the "rich, preppy" kids who apparently have it better than him (not sure how preppy matters at all here, but this further proves my point). Ironically it is you that sounds like an elitist, not these darn target kids!

  • Teller in Non-profit
Jun 15, 2022 - 1:08pm

Am I missing something? Here's a list:

- Building relationships with these kids. Maybe one of them will become a CFO, co-founder, etc. Don't underestimate the potential of your cohort as you progress in your career.

- Lunches, coffees, chitchats, parties. 
- Potential future spouse - never say never.

If your basis of intelligence is flexing excel skills, there's a far deeper issue… See this as an opportunity to be generous and helpful to your fellow interns. You'd go much farther that way.
 

Top Bucket is Paradise

Jun 15, 2022 - 3:03pm
Smoke Frog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why be mad at the target kids? Shouldn't you be mad at your parents for being losers and not giving you a good head start in life? Never understand why people hate life and others and not their parents.

  • PM in HF - EquityHedge
Jun 15, 2022 - 3:40pm

The target kids were recruited for their brains / academic pedigree, not because they did Wall Street Prep in college, learned to do a DCF a few months ahead of time, self-studied the SIE, etc.

Being a decent summer is easy as shit to begin with / not exactly worth bragging about, and any (preparative) advantage you currently have over your liberal arts classmates will wash away after a few months on the desk.

Jun 15, 2022 - 5:23pm
KRMcNamee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm a state school dude that attended a pretty good MBA program, and in my experience both professionally and in business school the kids who went to an elite undergrad are almost always the least competent. I have no explanation for this, other than just to get in the door the rest of us have to be all stars.  

Jun 15, 2022 - 7:51pm
Ravena, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Other
Jun 16, 2022 - 6:50pm

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 17, 2022 - 9:13pm

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 19, 2022 - 1:48pm

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