Targets represented in senior management?

I've done some browsing around LinkedIn, and noticed that a lot of the top partners at GS in London tend to have odd backgrounds. Most graduated from an evident non-target with a fairly non-standard degree (e.g. English), with a few maybe having a top MBA. The only 'target' I saw frequently pop up (around 3 times) is Bocconi.

It changes for some companies. McKinsey for example is pretty much exclusively Oxbridge/LSE/Other European/Other American Targets. But a lot of banks I've noticed are like this.

What is the reason for this?

I can think of these:

1) At the time, banking was way less selective and having a degree was 'having an edge'. People got lucky getting into the right industry at the right time and worked hard.

2) Those from targets left for 'greener' pastures (not sure how many roles are better than a GS Partner though).

3) Target schools had less hardos, and people from these schools were more likely to either come from money or just were not interested in banking at all.

4) Target kids got burnt out - those from non-targets who got in by showing exceptional dedication and/or a reduced ego were able to outlast target kids.

5) Selection bias - maybe those in more meritocratic fields (e.g. trading) are more likely to be active on LinkedIn?

6) Target kids as a whole will have more people interested in just the monetary aspect. Those who don't enjoy the work (from entrance rates, more as an absolute figure) will have retired a few years into MD.

7) Diversity reasons in upper management? Looks bad having 'non-inclusive' leaders?

I'm not discrediting this individuals at all (not that they would give a shit). Obviously making partner is a hell of an achievement, perhaps even more so from a non-cookie cutter background.

Where did the target kids end up though?


I’d say it’s a mix of everything but mostly a way less competitive environment back then. Competition today with globalisation and the internet is absolutely insane for 1 IB seat (or any “prestigious” job)


I'm not sure about the US, but in the UK the Econ/Finance kids are normally the most 'fratty', having been to private schools, playing rugby etc the most. Sure a lot of the STEM students do, but not traditional finance kids. And of course, the hardos.


I would say it's a combination of the two factors below.

1) +90% of target kids go into IB with the ambition of exiting to PE ASAP. Higher prestige, higher long-term comp, higher control over your time, more interesting work etc.

2) People from non-targets and non-finance fields are much more "grateful" to be in IB. They think the comp is insane and that it's super exciting to be working on transactions etc. They compare everything in IB (comp, impact etc.) to the jobs that they would otherwise have landed from their non-target or non-finance degree. They don't go into IB with the target of going into PE, they are just grateful to have landed a spot in IB. Meanwhile, the people from targets just see IB as a necessary evil before they can proceed to greener pastures. 

Being an MD in banking these days isn't a prestigious thing. The way I see it, MDs in banking just stuck it out long enough and were either too bad to recruit for PE or were too stupid to realize the long-term comp difference vs. PE


I can definitely somewhat see that, but surely there are not that many seats available for target kids in PE/HF/VC or whatever? Unless half of them are in 'secret' roles. And also, just checking the MFs, a lot of the Partners are still not from targets (again Bocconi is the most represented?).


Bocconi is a top target for finance jobs in Europe and you will find them in the top 5 at pretty much any bank if you look at LinkedIn. Another reason is that Italians from Bocconi are the worst hardos you will ever find. They are the type of people who legit take pride in working past 4 am and even better if you can also say you worked the entire weekend. I'm not surprised that a lot of people from Bocconi have grinded their way to the top. 

PE / VC is a huge industry. Especially when you consider the fact that the vast majority of people in banking in London are not from the UK. With that said, a lot of people from targets who did banking in London will end up doing PE in their home country in Europe / Asia. Then there's also quite a few people who just grow tired of the shitty culture and long hours in finance and exit to a corp dev job / other industry. 


IBD comp is good but I don't think anyone can argue that long-term total comp is higher in PE given the carry component. 


Likely due to fact its a lot easier to lateral into the industry in IBD than MBB. For example in UK, especially back then you could do nothing at uni and end up at big 4 audit, network to switch into big 4 CF then lateral to an IB. One more lateral then you're at GS. This isn't exactly that difficult compared to other stuff. 

MBB for example is very selective on target unis. Back in the day they would pretty much only recruit from oxbridge. Also a lot more difficult to lateral upwards in consulting.

Your post also acts like target kids have some god given right to upper management positions just because they got into a better university at 18... Making partner is all about how actually good you are nobody cares what university you went to then.


OP is guaranteed to be a kid at a finance target who is now trying to determine his final destination. He thought he was guaranteed to become partner at GS or a MF but is now super nervous because it turns out the school u get into at 18-19 years old does not determine your future career path. 

OP, sorry to say this but you will see people from Oxbridge ending up at Big 4 as well. Having a target on your resume helps you get a first interview for your first job and gives you a network of talented people who are likely to do well in the future but that's it. After that, it all comes down to you performance.


When I look at the senior folks in my firm in London - university is diversified but it’s generally good (top 10 UK with representation across all of those, top French, Bocconi, US targets).

what is also true is that other continental Europeans, no one studied economics / finance - classics, English, maths, engineering, government, law. This is the telling point. However every European studied finance.


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