Curious if this is of popular opinion or not, but for Private Equity firms to ask a Banker for their ACT score is just so completely absurd. You're really going to judge someone how they studied/performed on a test in high school? You're truly going to make a judgment call off that? After graduating from college and having a couple of years of real world work experience under their belt? Would love to be enlightened…
In fact, if you have a high ACT score I just assume your were in a privileged home (which isn't a bad thing) with parents who made sure you cared about your education and emphasized going to "the best school." And if you have a low score it's most likely just the opposite or you were literally in high school and it took a couple of years to find some drive towards something. Yeah, oversimplified, but trying to emphasize just how stupid it is and kind of highlights how people at these funds are literally "cut from the same cloth" if they're concerned about ACT scores (which isn't s revelation for me, I get that's how it is). They all had aspirations of going to Harvard with a perfect ACT score but were disappointed when they had to go to Vanderbilt. It's always bothered them how they didn't get that 35, but they surely aren't going to let the kid get by with a 28 when they had a 31. Mostly just ranting and seeing if anyone else feels the same lol. It blows my mind and I feel like someone a long time ago decided to make it a factor and everyone just blindly followed and it's here to stay.
As a privileged Vanderbilt student with a 35 ACT, this hurts 🥲
Lol just so you know, I wasn't dogging on Vanderbilt. It's obviously a great school, which is why I was using it to make my point. So when you go to a MF someday, break this cycle of ACT scores mattering for the sake of all human kind.
This - I come from a low income backgrounds went to a high school where many don't even make it past hs let alone have even have average test scores. I'm sure if most kids had the money and a normal household they would score well in these tests. Fortunately I somehow made it, but it's going to be annoying knowing I am at a top bank but will be scrutinized on my hs scores.
As someone who worked their ass off for a good ACT score... but is from a family who lived paycheck to paycheck and struggled to make ends meet. this hurts
Love these stories. Just think the benefit of that was a good school or scholarships hopefully, which should propel you to better opportunities. IMO at some point it shouldn't count for or against someone.
Kids that got a 36 on the ACT are the same kids you never want to work for. Great junior bankers but never gonna thrive once they hit VP and need to start selling / leaning on their personality to win and excel within their role. There are, of course, exceptions, but generally these folks are extremely type A and are gonna be the guys to call out formatting errors in the footnotes.
Feel that lol. Got a 23, didnt give a shit, and went to non-target as it gets. Fast forward 6 years the I work in ER with 2 guys on my team from Princeton and Penn. Sniffin my own farts here a bit but I have same opinion when some gets crazy good test scores.
Even colleges are beginning to not require it lol
Seriously though, great point!
Did someone get a 28? Boohoo
Was waiting for this lol. I got a 25, took it without ever studying and was too busy playing basketball, football, baseball, and hanging out with friends. However, if I would have known my second employer post college would care, I may have thought about it differently. Doesn't that just sound absurd? Being told in high school, or telling a kid, your second employer post college will care about your ACT score…
I played two high school sports and one in college. Got a 1580 on the SAT from public high school and no private test prep. Also would say I had fun.
Agree that asking for a test score from over 5 years ago is stupid, but don't lie to yourself with the notion that you have to be rich and/or a loser to get a good SAT or ACT score.
Those aren't mutually exclusive - you can get a good ACT score AND HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE TOO? What a revelation!!!!
You seem more triggered than I am lol. Agree it's not entirely one without the other, but from my experience the ones pulling the highest tests in standardized testing aren't really involved in many extra curricular activities.
my brother in christ the ACT is not a hard exam
Call it a hot take, but what's the difference between asking for your ACT vs your alma mater. High ACT implies intelligence. Good School implies intelligence. Seem's the same screen to me?
I think that's a great point. The only thing I would suggest is somebody with a really high ACT score might decide to go to a school that is willing to provide a bunch of scholarships vs. paying for an expensive Ivey league.
I think this is the only valid argument for keeping ACT as a factor
I agree - everyone's story is different and standardized test scores are like the pacer test. You could hate running at 15 years old then you are an adult and the running club wants to know your pacer test score
It's just another datapoint. I've never seen someone get an offer or get dinged because of their standardized test scores but if someone is a borderline candidate who went to a non target school with a mediocre GPA, the SAT/ACT score might be the final nail in the coffin. With how early recruiting is, there's no real qualitative info to go off of, so stuff like that unfortunately becomes more important.
Secondarily, it's viewed as an intelligence test. There are plenty of people who get very high scores despite playing sports / having friends and the ACT theoretically helps you measure raw intelligence. There are obviously a million things wrong with that statement but people still believe it and there's a small amount of merit to it.
OP here and that's a great comment. Everything is relative, as I'm sure how much weight they put on the ACT score is. So maybe that's a better question is how much is it even being considered when it's asked for in these situations. I just have the hardest time putting myself back in high school and thinking that the test at the time was going to matter at all to my second employer post college (and to your point, it probably depends on the situation).
Imagining a hardo college senior retaking it to get a 36 as an extra resume bullet point
I mean if they're asking for it, and we have extra time during school, should we just go ahead and take it? I know there are better ways to use your time but increasing your ACT by a few points or SAT by a couple hundred wouldn't hurt.
btw I'm not talking like a SAT 1600 but maybe get close to 1500.
bro PLEASE get laid
this has crossed my mind as a 25yo lmaoo
I haven't thought about the ACT in years and I'm surprised to hear it's being asked for
u must live under a rock
I guess so lol
Would you put your GRE scores on your resume as a sophomore?
I didn't even take the SAT or ACT 😂
i bet u want a cookie for that
I got asked for it while recruiting as an associate this year so I ended up putting it on my resume. For reference, I graduated high school in 2011 lol. During SDs, multiple MDs were busting balls about GRE/GMAT, undergrad GPAs so if you have something that shows them you're not an idiot, it can help.
ACT/SAT scores are rarely going to be what pushes someone over the edge unless they are absolutely atrocious, like a sub-1000/1600 SAT or a 20 ACT. And in diversity cases, firms suddenly seem to care less when it comes to GPA and standardized test scores (at least speaking on behalf of what I have seen at my own firm). On the bright side, they give Asian/Indian kids who grinded through public high school something to show for. Legacy white guy from Harvard whose dad is an LP will still have the best odds at the end of the day :-)
Can't disagree it would hurt to get denied because of low ACT score but I wouldn't get too hung up on it. During the interview for my current job my boss asked me about my GPA and ACT. I told him I got a 26 on the ACT and that if he checks my transcript he will notice my GPA started lower in college but trended upward into my senior year. I took this as an opportunity to discuss how it took me some time to really figure out what I cared about and what motivated me. I didn't have much a drive for being an excellent student early on mostly because I straight up didn't know what I wanted to do. I kicked it in gear after learning what I was passionate about and pointed out that my personal academic improvement was an example of my ability to excel in what I cared about. I got the job so I assume this spiel helped. There is always more to the story so you can't judge a book by its cover.
If I know they grew up wealthy but they also got a shit ACT score, they are probably an entitled privileged fuck who only made it to banking because of their daddy.
If I know they grew up working class but crushed the ACT, I know they're legitimately smart and a fucking workhorse I can count on.
I would worry more about getting dinged for neuroticism than for your SAT score.
just kind of the way the game works. if your dad wasn't rich and/or worked in finance you probably didn't even know about investment banking until like your sophomore or junior year of college anyway. meanwhile rich kids have been on a banking track since 17 (and on the HYP path since preschool) and understand the game, which is like >90% of the equation to launch your IB --> PE career in the first place. just focus on what you can control at this point and your career will work out.
Agreed that it's ridiculous to ask for a test taken likely 6 years ago for candidates applying to be associates at PE firms. But, the idea that these standardized tests are meaningless and only cater to the wealthy is completely false and has been debunked by numerous studies.
In a study involving 155,191 students from 41 American colleges and universities, SAT scores predicted academic performance even after socioeconomic status (SES) was controlled. SES added negligible additional predictive power. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document
I don't disagree in principle with you, but wanted to play devil's advocate with some quasi-hard data: At Bain, the one metric that was most correlated with performance was ACT.
Now granted, this is super, super convoluted (e.g., me as a first0gen from a trailer doesn't have the same reps of social grace as a CEO's kid, and Partner's generally like people that are similar to them more), but as far as a ~proxy~ for how well the student might do, it has ~some merit.
I don't like it. I disagree with it. But it's not like it doesn't have some inherent value.
OP here. Love a devil's advocate. That's actually very interesting. Like you mentioned there is some context to the overall reasoning behind why someone is scoring well on the ACT besides just raw intelligence. But knowing the data says that, it makes some sense why a company would want to know that.
The ACT exists because it's another way of shifting through thousands of applicants.
Standardized tests are just that - a standardized test that is the same for everyone that takes it. I disagree with colleges discontinuing it as an application requirement - it levels the playing field, as every single applicant has to take the same test. Sure, kids from wealthier backgrounds might have an advantage in the form of tutors, but it is easy to find test prep materials for free - I did all my prep in high school using free materials through online and my school. Got a better score than kids whose parents doled out thousands for fancy tutors.
PE firms only use it due to the sheer number of applicants with similar backgrounds. It's just another metric to use for shifting through and narrowing down the applicant pool.
The ACT or SAT boards do NOT send official scores anywhere apart from colleges - so I don't understand this discussion. Surely you can say you got whatever score you want. Do PE firms ever ask for any proof?
Stayed up all night the night before on ket because I forgot about the test and snagged a 29 without studying. Never really told anyone this before.
Sorry but if you were too lazy to try two free online practice tests and check your answers (which will virtually guarantee you a 32+ if you have any brain cells) then I'm not buying your pity party. I didnt need rich parents, I just needed internet access and a few free hours on a weekend.
I already had a full ride for sports, why would I care about an ACT score? Stupid filter. I got a 28 and had absolutely no reason to take it again.
If your school gave you a sports scholarship with a 28 then you went to a total nontarget and shouldnt even be worrying about competitive buyside ops in the first place
I absolutely hate how kids can do all sorts of mental gymnastics to explain that they're still the smartest/hardworking people in the world despite the lack of any evidence for it.
The SAT/ACT are not difficult exams. I knew tons of people who were also athletes and focused on sports rather than studying for the exam (myself included) and several people got 2200+/over 34. Unless you were literally an inner city kid who spent all free hours working to support the family, it's just a fat, legitimized excuse for not being as smart or hard working as you think.
I have a shit ACT score ~24. However, I am currently an Associated at a solid MM bank. Are LMM or MM PE shops really going to ask for my ACT? I took it 10+ years ago? I am asking in all seriousness, as I plan to start off-cycling recruiting in the next few months. I never thought I would go PE, but I am just done with the sellside bullshit and feel grossly unprepared to recruit.
Go take the GMAT and crush it. Put that on your resume. Tell them your excuse for getting a 24 ACT and point to the GMAT.
There is at the very least a moderately strong relationship between IQ and ur ACT score according to the literature. That is not to suggest that everyone with a bad score is an idiot or that everyone with a good score is smart, but it's just one data point that helps to estimate a potential candidate's intelligence. Whether employers should prioritize IQ over other traits is a fair question.
I take pride in my perfect SAT score. But I also understand it doesn't (and shouldn't) matter past high school
I'm honestly shocked by some of the replies in this thread. Even aside from all the research correlating standardized tests to traditional measures of intelligence and success, take a moment to consider what is on the test
There will be a short passage highlighting the difficulties faced by working mothers, and a question will be like:
Does this passage....
I'm sorry but if you get that wrong, you're just stupid. There are full sample tests online that you can look at. The whole thing is frankly pretty easy. If you got a bad ACT score but think you're smart, just take it again and you won't have to question if it's hurting your recruiting.
If you get another bad score, you might just have to live with the fact that you have 70th percentile reading comprehension and someone at Apollo doesn't want to deal with your crappy emails
Thanks for giving us your own easy question which we all got. Looks like we all got a 36 on the ACT. Oh wait…
Easy solution, just take the GMAT. That will resolve any doubts about a poor ACT score.
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