Nontarget at GS/MS wanting to go MF

Is there anyone with my similar profile that had success in recruiting for top PE firms that would be willing to give some encouragement or advice? I have top 1% ACT/SAT and a ~3.85 GPA in one business and one more technical major at a non target state school but made it to a good group at GS/MS. How much will the brand of my BB overrule the lack of respect for my undergrad? Are some big PE firms more willing to overlook undergrad than others? Any help would be appreciated.

Comments (27)

Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jul 23, 2022 - 12:38pm

Wouldn't worry about your undergrad that much. You'll get looks everywhere you want with that background. At the end of the day, the actual offer decision will come down to how well you present yourself in the actual interview process. 

Anecdotally, I was an analyst at a top boutique (EVR/CVP/PJT) from a non-target and got first rounds at most places on cycle. Starting at a MF now. 

Jul 24, 2022 - 1:26pm
wendyrhoades2016, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do headhunters really ask SAT score? I have a mediocre score (think less than 1400) and worried about my score limiting looks from PE firms

Jul 24, 2022 - 3:13pm
qweadgadfgdsfgdfgd fgsdf, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I wouldn't say he'd get looks "everywhere" especially the more prestige heavy ones 

My friend from GS TMT/MS M&A at a non-target school didnt get interviews at some MFs and the recruiters specifically stated it was school. 

Also, if you go to 4:20 of this video, the Peak Frameworks guy said even coming from Evercore M&A tech, he got way less interviews than Ivy League kids.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jul 24, 2022 - 5:24pm

This is just categorically false, as I received an offer from one of the above "prestige heavy" shops and first round invites with all three. If you're a good candidate coming from a top banking program, you will absolutely get looks from them. Obviously offers are difficult and far from guaranteed, but no shop is going to flat-out not interview you because of your undergraduate school (assuming good GPA and other stats).

Jul 25, 2022 - 5:41am
John Stuart Mill, what's your opinion? Comment below:


your best bet is to stop caring about this. If you focus on factors that are no longer in your control you're just wasting time.

Admit to yourself that it'll be a bit harder, and realising that, try to out manoeuvre your competition

Study harder, longer and smarter than your peers at Ivy League schools and focus on acing the interviews and networking

Also, just realize that even doing the above may not result in an offer to BX BCP. That said, get your foot in a good shop (which should be more than possible at GS/MS) and then from there focus on building your investing acumen So that in 20 years you'll be the guy they call when they wanna decide who they should make partner

It matters most longevity of your career vs where you start. So many people obsessed with these signals (and yeah I get it, it makes sense that we want to optimise) but so long as you keep staying directionally aligned, you'll be just fine :)

  • Works at Blackstone Group
Jul 25, 2022 - 8:52am

Honestly don't think this will hold you back if you have good SAT scores, solid deal experience, sound sharp and seem put together. I went to a semi-target (like UCLA or UMich) and I sensed some apprehension / weird vibes from headhunter but when I interviewed with the team I could definitely tell I was taken seriously as a competitor from the beginning. 

  • Works at Blackstone Group
Jul 25, 2022 - 10:39am

Ok fair point, my school is not a full-on non-Target.

But given 50% of BX is essentially Harvard+Wharton, I think it can be easy for any unconfident kid to get scared off thinking it's some exclusive secret society where elite credentialism takes precedence over competence. My comment was more to say that BX is more meritocratic than popular sentiment suggests. 

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Jul 25, 2022 - 3:57pm

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