The Rise of The Semi-Target
Don't you think it's weird how many kids from semi-targets are able to land good internships nowadays? I used to, but not anymore.
I go to a semi-target--a small LAC that has good connections in finance. I joke that half the people here want to be investment bankers, and I'm not far from the truth--it's probably more like one fourth. But somehow this school comes through and is able to hook up its students with good placement. I'm starting to see why.
The rise of the semi-target I believe is due to three phenomena.
First, the rise of the boutiques, especially in the middle market. This is primarily a function of the past few years' hot deal market, which drives up the demand for ibanks. Boutiques are able to step in and offer kids a job after they're denied by the big names, that's obvious, but now those jobs are worth a lot because of the demand for their firms.
Second, the falling importance of on-campus recruiting. This was primarily driven by the pandemic, but I don't see it returning once the pandemic goes away. It costs a lot of money to do OCR because the analysts and associates take time off work they could be using for a deal (or you have to pay (semi-)dedicated people to conduct OCR, which is also costly). And what's the point when you're going to get a ton of apps for your analyst spot anyway. Banks don't have to pitch themselves that much anymore--people learn about them through WSO or alums and the salaries speak for themselves.
And this is the last but perhaps more important one: The elite schools are not as elite as they once were. There's a lot of talent that's been pushed away from the elite schools for a variety of reasons, and the schools now have a comparatively less elite student body. It's a self-inflicted wound by the elite schools, but it basically means they don't have a monopoly on talent like they once did. You can find incredibly talented and intelligent people at schools with weaker names and banks and recruiters have been realizing this for a few years now.
And once a semi-target gets its foot in the door, the floodgates kind of open. They have alumni connections to rally for the semi-target and help out the students.
I think (and hope) that the rise of the semi-targets is here to stay.