Target is Paradise

The start of senior year of high school

You begin to apply to your dream schools. You were always much smarter than your peers, you were valedictorian and the amount of AP classes you took exceeded your body count by 10-fold. You graduated with a 4.28 gpa, putting the ugly salutatorian who rejected you to shame. But that's besides the point, you want to make sure your hard work pays off. You are interested in looking the best to others, so you decide investment banking is the optimal career path. You search online, and you find "IB Target School Prestige List Updated 2020" and it is the greatest page you have ever found. You feel great about yourself, as you have effectively positioned yourself for the Super-Mega-Ultra Target tier: Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Wharton.

You send in your applications, but due to what you call an "awful recruiting year" you get rejected by every single Ivy, but you haven't opened your Penn decision letter yet, this is your last chance. As Wharton Class of 2024 appears you almost faint at the pure injection of prestige that has filled your bloodstream. All of the sudden, you are invincible. You rush to tell the hottest girl at your high school who is going to Alabama, she has never heard of Wharton but it doesn't matter, you know the women will begin to flock your way. The salutatorian who rejected you got into Dartmouth, you scoff at her lack of prestige. You immediately search up, "Goldman freshman internship", knowing your Wharton background makes you an instant lock for their freshman program. You've officially made it.

Two years go by, and recruiting season rolls around

This is your time, you've been waiting two years to show everyone your true prestige. After a freshman internship at a small boutique bank (think LongJohnAdvisors/Qatalyst/Centerview), you can crank out DCFs like the growth of your tiny manhood relied on it. Already, first round interviews flood your inbox. You aren't surprised, you're at an Ultra-Mega Target anyway. First is Goldman. You are ready, you apply face paint before your phone interview. It goes very well, you are obviously awkward and anti-social but it doesn't matter, as long as you don't bomb it you will be alright. But you don't get the superday and you question yourself. You call an inside source who says there were over 400 Wharton applicants for 12 spots, you simply weren't good enough. It's ok, you tell yourself you are better than the 500 kids all gunning for IB in your class. Then, you decide to go to a Deutsche event on campus assuming nobody at Wharton would stoop as low as DB, you are confident DB is a lock for an internship. To your surprise, there are 150 determined hardos at the event. You don't even stay five minutes before leaving, whispering loudly, "I would never work at this firm anyway". 

Bank by bank (think Evercore/MS/UBS) you begin to lose hope

Most of your first rounds didn't convert to superdays, and those that do simply don't work out as you think to yourself clearly Jefferies and RBC rejected you because of yield protection, not because you were anti-social. You are considering swallowing your pride and prestige, and you begin to believe you should recruit for consulting. But just as you take the prestige leap of faith your phone buzzes. You receive an offer from Citi IB. Relief floods your body for 13 seconds as you immediately believe you can leverage the offer for a top boutique bank (think CVP/Evercore/FTP). You hang up on the Citi recruiter and immediately ring Moelis HR up, but after telling them you had a Citi offer they laughed in your face and hung up. While at least they did in your head, you won't call them and take the chance to save the embarrassment. But after dozens of missed shots, you are about to give up hope. Maybe you'll just have to suffer making 20k in your junior summer at an unprestigious bank like Citi. Embarrassment floods your mind as you can't fathom working around losers from terrible state schools like UVA, UNC and Michigan. You begin to cry, "all of this for nothing" you think to yourself.

But all of the sudden, a hidden gem appeared

You found a pdf under the Lippincott library printer titled "Warburg Pincus 2023 Summer Internship". This is it, this is what you've needed. You quickly stuff the page in your folder hoping nobody else sees, as there are only 3 spots open for Wharton students. You've been directed to show up to a conference room where a presentation occurs, so as the day arrives you walk over scoffing in your head as you walk by every Wharton student with unprestigious "sell-side" internships (think FTP/UBS/Goldman). You've heard they are no better than car salesmen anyway. You approach the doors and walk in, but to your disgust as you look around there are 300+ sweaty students like yourself all eagerly waiting for the presentation to occur.

You look to your left at Jacob (incoming Evercore M&A 2023) who pushes his round glasses above his nose and states "I'm just here to explore my options". You smile, but you struggle to hold yourself from stating how your GPA is 0.03 better than his. Moreover, he didn't even get to a 4th round at Wharton's prestigious club that sends 37 kids to PJT RSSG each year. You, on the other hand, made it to the 8th round for the club. It's ok, you'll save him the stress. When you are about to exit the building, you run into Chadwick (a clear legacy Wharton recruit) who puts his hand up for a high five exclaiming his father got him a job at Morgan Stanley as he is a managing director at the firm. You tell yourself to punch him in his face and beat him up, but you spare him the embarrassment. You would totally beat him up anyway. You high five him and tell him you got an offer at Citi. He wholeheartedly says congratulations, but you know he doesn't mean it anyway. How can anyone command respect from the "mid-tier BB" as labeled by the WSO threads you read every single night.

You walk home defeated, but recruiting isn't over and you still have a day left to accept your Citi 2023 IB offer

You start to come to your senses, maybe an offer from a great firm that pays $180k+ out of college isn't a bad option after all? Until you get a text from your buddy Thad at IU Kelley (an embarrassing negative-target school). It reads, "DUDE! I was at Sigma Ligma absolutely boozing it up when I got a call from JP Morgan, I just got an offer for their 2023 IB SA!!". You aren't as excited as he is, jealousy floods your mind and you get dizzy as you simply can't fathom that the John Pierpont Morgan has extended an offer out to that unprestigious scumbag. Thad hooked up with your girlfriend in high school when you were studying to raise your 1550 to a 1570, you haven't forgiven him since.

You ponder how many more women drop to their knees when they hear he has a JP Morgan internship. You pay your 35k second semester tuition with anger as you approach a dark edge in your mind. Recruiting season is over, but you look to full time recruiting as your comeback story. You immediately rush to the M&I 400 pdf saved on your laptop to annihilate more technicals, "it's go time". But hey, at least you can sleep well at night knowing you go to a supermegainfinite-target school. You are rejuvenated with pure prestige. You sleep well

Comments (56)

Jun 27, 2022 - 4:33pm
ASdASdASdASdaSdAsads, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A Harvard/Wharton candidate at Bofa/Citi/CS/Barclays has a better chance at MF PE than a non-target/IU Kelley at JPM for MF u do know that right? Is there a single IU Kelley kid at a single MF?

No one will tell you this bc most of WSO is nontargets, but if you speak to guys who went thru on cycle, PE shops are extremely pedigree focused, far more than IB firms are. For prestige heavy shops such as Silver Lake, KKR, Apollo, BX etc there are hardly any, if at all, non-targets at these shops, but there are plenty of people from Bofa/Citi/CS/Barclays (usually all from targets or at the very least a semi-target). Source: I'm a first year analyst that signed at a MF

Also, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUN4X2jPqQ4&t=398s&ab_channel=PeakFrameworks go to 4:20 of this vid. This dude from Evercore M&A said that he got way less interview than the ivy league kids, and also says school is very important.

Have fun coping with the fact that you went to a non-target and will end up at a shitty PE firm!

Jun 8, 2022 - 10:04pm
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

decent store, not gonna lie

Jun 27, 2022 - 4:34pm
ASdASdASdASdaSdAsads, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A Harvard/Wharton candidate at Bofa/Citi/CS/Barclays has a better chance at MF PE than a non-target/IU Kelley at JPM for MF u do know that right?

Jun 9, 2022 - 5:25pm
Master of Prospects, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yield protection is paradise. Congrats on being a mega-target. Sorry FTP didn't work out.

The post has my blessing, well done sir

Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams
  • 2
  • Associate 1 in HF - RelVal
Jun 13, 2022 - 1:24pm

You approach the doors and walk in, but to your disgust as you look around there are 300+ sweaty students like yourself all eagerly waiting for the presentation to occur.

Along with the jab about Deutsche, this line is wildly accurate. Can't count how many times I would show up to information sessions from low-radar banks like SMBC only to find like 100+ kids there for ~3 open spots. Just by math, there's gotta be like 70% of those guys who never even landed a gig in IB yet they continue to waste their time and energy sitting front-row in a Macy's dress suit with their own notebooks asking questions about "SMBC's Japanese group's deal flow"

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 13, 2022 - 2:12pm

lmao this is 100% the truth

Jun 17, 2022 - 9:17pm
ASdASdASdASdaSdAsads, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Trolls aside, going to an ultra top tier school is EXTREMELY helpful for PE recruiting. Non-targets, even from GS, have trouble getting UMM/MF offers, while for top target kids it doesn't matter nearly as much what firm you are at. 

Just take a look at Silver Lake's associate profiles on their website. The worst schools there are UVA and Middlebury, and the rest are Harvard/Wharton/Cornell/Chicago/Yale etc. If you take a look at other MF/UMM profiles, nearly everyone is from a target school

  • Intern in PE - Other
Aug 6, 2022 - 8:17pm

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Aug 7, 2022 - 4:45pm
MidwestChedda, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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