Venting my Frustration
I am a student at a non-target networking hard. I have found the few alum that work in wall street and connected with them, actually landing some phone calls.
I had a call with a guy (again, ALUMNI) and the first thing he fired off was that I should look at jobs "other than IB." I'm not going to have an external locus of control, because it is always still up to me, but I'm just sick of not being taken seriously. I knew every single question he was going to ask before he asked them and was able to give coherent answers, the fact was that he just didn't care.
I'm not looking for help, I'm just ready to be done grinding so hard just to get at the table. I don't know how many more different ways I can say that I can add value and be somebody you want to work with.
Quick aside, the labels of "non-target, target, etc." is unbelievably childish. I'm not saying I'll smoke any target student but what I am saying is that a lot of these Orvis-wearing, private school attending, Sperry strutters haven't bled for this shit like I have.
You realize that many top schools offer full financial aid for students with parents earning below certain thresholds. So not everyone at a "top" school is some rich person who hasn't struggled, that being said, money does give people advantages in life (tutoring, private schooling if needed, no stress around needing to work a job if your family can't afford life, etc).
The terms target vs non target aren't great, but they are just meant to represent where banks actively recruit. It isn't meant to be a "better" vs "worse", but rather where opportunities are easier to come by (and as you can see, that's exactly what happens). i am sure you are better prepared than other students at "target" schools, but banks recruit more heavily where they have had success, so it will be an uphill battle.
Additionally, firms (and people you speak to) look at the school as a filter. So again, you are fighting an uphill battle. So you will have to fight for a seat at the table. Not to say you won't get a seat but it'll be work.
Bro you should look at jobs other than IB. IB blows right now. Wfh is becoming less of a thing, people just got totally dicked over on bonuses, and banks way overhired during 2021 so people are getting laid off. Everyone is in a terrible mood rn. The last thing I could reasonably do is recommend someone join a bank right now when there are arguably better career paths out there
There are two distinct groups of people who do IB.
First group are people who want to be in finance long-term and do IB for the training, accelerated development and skillset it provides.
Second group is more of a recent phenomena, who see the large paycheck and base salary increases over the past few years. They arguably never should have joined in the first place but slipped through the cracks these past few years due to lower recruiting/internship standards, WFH, high dealflow and desperation for warm bodies.
This past year, IB has gotten a lot less attractive for that second group, but the upside is still there for the first group.
There's a small vocal minority that is very upset about this (something tells me you personally have posted several times across threads complaining). For the rest of us, it's still a pretty great opportunity.
Uh for full context I went to a target and even when I networked with target kids I was clear and told them to broaden their search…
investment banking is a ridiculously challenging industry to break into purely from a numbers / probability perspective. There is literally nothing wrong with your network / alumni being honest about it. Having done several years in IB before moving elsewhere (ignore title; AM now) I wish someone had told me to be more thoughtful exploring my options too. There's way more to life than investment banking. If you're this serious about your networking and interview prep there's nothing stopping you from finding an equally terrific job that won't ruin your life.
For context, I went to a school that is objectively a non-target. Despite having multiple IBD Directors tell me "I was one of the most prepared students they spoke with and asked really good questions" the worst people to network with were ironicall alums. You would think that because there are so few people actively pursuing the street that they would be sympathetic, but I actually found the opposite.
I had a connection in PE that I developed through my own hustle and he told me to reach out to a few Director level alumni and drop his name so they would respond, and both were at the Director level at top IBs. One didnt respond ever and the other rescheduled FOUR times until he eventually ghosted. I hadnt been left on read that hard since I was on Tinder, smh.
My advice? Hit up other non-targets and dont depend on alumni at all. Sometimes when you come from ultra-non-targets your own alumni are not super helpful. I had much better luck reaching out completely cold to others from non-target schools than my own alumni lol.
Also, it isnt terrible advice to consider interviewing for other roles regardless of your passion for IBD. Think of it as applying to safety schools, you need a backup plan given how competitive IBD is right now AND the brutal macro environment
Your alumni must suck and sorry you had that experience. I also went to a non-target. Networking with alumni connections was the only way I landed the handful of interviews I got. It's not bad advice to ALSO reach out to other "non-target" bakers that aren't alumni, but it's bad advice to not place any value in your alums ability to get students into interview rooms
What year are you? What internships have you done? What is your GPA and major?
You vented your frustration, but if you want help you need to disclose a bit more.
"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
Sophomore. Leadership positions in two clubs with real-world impact/involvement. 3.9+ GPA and Finance major. Everything I've learned/done has been on my own accord, there's no recruiter visits and few opportunities for professional networking. I'm not somebody that likes to gloom and doom and say woe is me, I know that a firm will eventually catch my snag if I continue to cast. It's just frustrating to see much less-capable students propped up on a fraudulent ideology of ultra-intelligence get a breadth of opportunities.
I've learned the hard way to not consider myself ever prepared enough, but I have gone to bed and woke up with IB on my mind since the first day of the fall semester. I deserve it.
Actually, intern, you deserve nothing. Go ahead and drop that entitled attitude. You bled for this? What did you cut your finger wanking to the 400 questions guide? Oh, you want to be in IB really badly? I want 2 cocks and 3 places to put them but that doesn't mean I get what I want. I'm from a non target. Not 1 recruiter came to my school. I landed coverage group at top BB by eating shit. If you're applying enough you'll get a super day at some bank and then you convert there. No one owes you anything. is it unfair target kids get the first swing? yeah. Could you be a better intern than them? possibly. Swallow your complaints and spend the time you would have spent spewing on making moves to lock down a seat.
2 cocks and 3 places to put them is genuinely a phrase i am going to start using. props to you
Spent 5 mins making the post so my apologies for the brief stream of consciousness. What I meant by bled for this shit is working 80hrs a week in the summer sun doing back-breaking labor because nobody gives the rural kid a fuckin second blink and I quite literally cannot afford college otherwise. I'm not gonna get in a pissing contest with you, in fact seeing posts like yours only puts a bigger reason to have a chip on my shoulder. Thanks
It's just not true that students at target schools are less prepared and even if it were true, saying this sort of thing in a networking call or interview is a sure fire way of making sure you don't progress any further at that firm.
I went to a non-target, but top 50 undergrad and a top grad school. I can tell you that the absolute top students at my undergrad would be average at best at my grad school.
all this isn't to say not to go for it or that you don't have a chance, but you shouldn't downplay students at top schools. These schools are insanely competitive and people got there for a reason
I get you're venting, and that's cool. I don't know how much of this is just raw emotion, but you're young, and life is hard. Life is going to get harder and more unfair. I'll echo what others have said; no matter how much you "feel" you "deserve" this, you really don't. Sorry, but no one owes you anything, especially a job. You're going to come across many people who will tell you things you don't want to hear. That's not going to change even if you get a job at a bank. Just keep grinding it out. Networking is a numbers game; one bad call does not correlate with how the next call will go unless you bring a bad attitude and baggage from the previous call. You do need some thicker skin (especially as a non-target) and work harder.
I also want to add you're an undergraduate looking for an internship. You don't add value and won't add value for a long time. Interns are liabilities. Just take a deep breath and keep grinding. There are a lot of people that have broken in that had it worse than you. You'll be ok. This type of stuff builds character.
IB isn't truly meritocratic. The main thing that matters to get the job is to have a school brand. And that's how it should be. It's not a hard job and you don't need to be extremely smart, you need to come across as a normal guy able to execute whatever is given to you. 90% of candidates fit those traits; as there's no difference whom you recruit, you might as well recruit targets (side note, if you're so smart to get into a "target", you're doing a disgrace to your intellect by going in IB, but that's a discussion for another time).
Realistically, OP, if you've put all this energy and intelligence into more entrepreneurial paths, I would say that long term you'll end up in a better place (and probably happier) than pursuing IB. Why pursue something where someone's starting odds are 90% and yours are 2% only because of a social construct (i.e. school brand) when you can pursue alternative paths where everybody begins with the same odds because it's about spotting opportunities, future, and input = output (e.g. Investing, real estate, law, building a business, etc.).
Life is unfair. Some people have it easier than others. You may have it harder than a "target", but you have it way easier compared to someone from India who also faces visa barriers. Focus on the opportunities, not the barriers.
People don't want to hear it but sometimes it is good advice to broaden your search. Banking internship recruiting has gotten so competitive that is extremely difficult to stand out and you need some hook that makes you stick out. I was reviewing resumes for my EBs diversity program and was amazed at the quality of talent (which people often wrongly think is less qualified) - to even make the first round cut you easily needed a 3.8+, leadership on campus (not just member, etc.), and a legitimate internship (no-name boutiques didn't cut it). There was at least 7-8 in my stack of ~30 that were going to be doing sophomore summer analyst jobs at like UBS/CS/etc. AND had the stats/leadership to back it up. This stack wasn't even traditional targets, it was like Wisconsin, UT, Purdue, etc.
I don't say that discourage people (my resume was nowhere near that good and I did not come anywhere close to landing a SA or FT position out of college, even at a target) but there's only so much I can do internally with an 'ok' resume (which the bar has now set at 3.7+ with some relevant no-name IB/PE etc. internship). Broadening the search can also be going downstream as well - maybe you won't stand out in a BB/EB stack of resumes but there are quality banks downstream in the MM that will give you good experience and a legitimate shot to lateral full time to a bigger platform.
I think its helpful to vet but NEVER lose that drive if you really want it.
Here's what I'll tell you: I'm a senior from a non-target (few alumni in banking), 3.4 GPA, athlete, 3 IB internships, on-campus leadership, and no family in Finance. I can tell you that profile will be passed over 10/10 times at GS/MS. But I don't give af. I made an excel of 650 VC/PE firms and 70 banks with recruiters and team members that align with my profile. My hit rate might be 5%. But it only takes one opportunity for those hours to pay off.
I truly believe no matter your background if you stay persistent and work your ass off, things will work off. I have had moments of thinking how unfair it is Ivy/ connected kids get to work not as hard for the opportunity. But realize this grit and determination will only make you more prepared for the grind in IB. It's your call but focus on your path, not what others are going through.
Can you share which school? There are many banks "non-BB" that offer a great lifestyle or deal exposure that many don't consider. Don't be pigeonholed on JP, MS, GS, etc. That was my biggest mistake. I wish I applied to "non-sexy" banks cause many of them pay well, and give you a transferable skillset. After 1-2 years, if you know your stuff you will be able to lateral to another bank.
Other ways to break into banking:
- credit rating agencies. Find a credit rating agency that has the best coverage in the sector/asset class you want to cover. You'll develop good accounting and analytical skills, and it helps to understand the secret sauce behind rating a transaction. Many banks have rating agency groups, and love to poach rating analysts. In general, a competent rating analyst has a shot to break into a BB. I see it all of the time.
- doing a back office/middle office role at a bank - Get some experience. If you're hungry, finish the CFA. CFA will help tremendously with getting noticed in interviews. Some BO FO office have some awful cultures, so ideally try to find a role that is chill, 9-5, and gives the flexibility to lateral. Do not do this at GS, GS back/middle office groups are insecure and will fire an employee that applies for a FO role.
Finance sucks in general. Too many people and competition, I would give myself the choice to join another industry out of college.
You got to persevere - it may look like these target kids have an EZ pass but a lot of them worked incredibly hard in high school. It probably means you have to work twice as hard but if you are determined you will do well. Even if you don't get a finance job right after college there are many other avenues to get in.
There are boutique IB firms that fly under the radar by focusing on family-owned businesses, where typical motivating factors for a transaction are retirement or divorce. Frequently, they partner with a local bank or branch, which may be a way to find them.
A few years with one of them while setting up an MBA at a top school could be a path to a bulge barcket role -- or you might find you like the sector, which tends to be adequately compensated but doesn't make you a 100-hour slave.
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