A message to all young people/students who browse this forum

If you're a young person interested in IB and you like to frequent this forum, let this post be a warning to you. This forum has a serious problem; there's a toxic streak of elitism, obsession with prestige, and looking down on non-IBers and people who work in "lesser" groups/banks/offices (like non-BBs/EBs). Just look at the million posts on this site abritrarily ranking bank tiers using half-baked criteria involving misleading information, unsubstantiated rumors, and just flat-out ignorance. It's clear that a lot of people active in this community are snooty Ivy league trust fund kids who feel the need to compare their SA offers with their peers to feel validated.

There's also a very dismissive attitude towards other finance career paths (I know, I know, this is the Investment Banking forum) as well as towards lesser known banks not listed on the Vault 50. This can promote some seriously harmful mindsets to students and prospective recruits who may become unable to expand their horizons when it comes to setting their goals for the future. Kids who may not be cut out for IB will be unequipped to deal with failure to land an offer as they're now unable to be open-minded enough to consider other opportunities in finance. Some kids may even neglect to pursue opportunities at firms that aren't BBs or EBs due to dismissive attitudes they may read on this forum.

Browsing this site could also lead one to focus on the wrong things from like firm prestige, exit opps / long term career plans (at least while recruiting as a student), and industry gossip instead of shit that actually matters like learning the ins and outs of investment banking and the skills required to be a good asset to a firm.

Don't get me wrong, WSO can be a fantastic platform when used for the right reasons. The salary, interview, and review data is super useful. You can get some excellent advice and insight from your peers in the industry. The community can also be incredibly positive, helpful, and introspective a lot of the time; some of the most insightful discussions I've ever read have been on WSO threads. I'm not saying the criticisms I laid out are indicative of this site as a whole, in fact I think WSO provides a net benefit to people in finance. There are just certain elements on this forum that've caused me to keep a healthy distance as of late.

I know what I'm saying here is nothing new to frequenters of WSO, but I think it's important to get this message as a lot of young people (analysts, interns, college students, even high schoolers thinking about IB) who browse this forum.

Anyway that was my rant. Any thoughts?

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Comments (54)

Controversial
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 6, 2020 - 2:33pm

My thoughts are this sounds like words spewed by non-targets that didn't make the cut for BB IBD SA, buddy. I'll sit my preftigeous behind in the GS TMT seat that's rightfully mine as an upper ivy, top tier target candidate.

Jokes aside, I appreciate this post but perceptions won't change and this thread won't see the front page of WSO.

Jan 6, 2020 - 4:54pm
Intern in IB - Gen:

My thoughts are this sounds like words spewed by non-targets that didn't make the cut for BB IBD SA, buddy. I'll sit my preftigeous behind in the GS TMT seat that's rightfully mine as an upper ivy, top tier target candidate.

Jokes aside, I appreciate this post but perceptions won't change and this thread won't see the front page of WSO.

The "upper ivy" self-designation kills me. So does "top-tier target". I put that up there with "Incoming Horse Shit Shoveler" on LinkedIn type cringe.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 6, 2020 - 4:59pm

You gotta let them know how close to the top you are whilst remaining humble - you know what I'm saying? I mean we can't all go to school in Cambridge or have a house out east...

Most Helpful
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 6, 2020 - 2:48pm

You are absolutely right. It's sad to say, but I feel identified with your words. I read constantly WSO and I have become somehow obssesed with prestige, and this is not a good attitude; as you say, it is toxic.

After I got my SA offer, I started to look for opinions of other people about the firm, the prestige, the ranks... All bullshit. I know that it is a great firm, I should not be worried about that shit.

Once I realized that, I knew that I had to change my mindset. However, reading WSO all day it's difficult. For sure I am not blaming WSO, I am a part of it; however, it has its "dark" side.

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 6, 2020 - 2:50pm

Well you shouldn't be reading WSO every day after securing the bag.

Jan 6, 2020 - 4:44pm

CryptoKnight sorry you didn't get an FO offer

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Investment Banking Full-time Analyst Programme (London) at JPMorgan Chase. After a thorough review of your application, we regret to inform you that we are unable to move forward with your candidacy at this time.
Jan 6, 2020 - 4:45pm

jokes aside, i come here for the satire

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Investment Banking Full-time Analyst Programme (London) at JPMorgan Chase. After a thorough review of your application, we regret to inform you that we are unable to move forward with your candidacy at this time.
Jan 6, 2020 - 7:57pm

https://media1.giphy.com/media/l3vR8EuY6vjtuUPqE/source.gif

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Investment Banking Full-time Analyst Programme (London) at JPMorgan Chase. After a thorough review of your application, we regret to inform you that we are unable to move forward with your candidacy at this time.
  • 2
Jan 6, 2020 - 4:58pm

Who cares? You can choose to go and be poor if you want, just like all the rest.

  • 2
  • 1
Jan 6, 2020 - 8:11pm

You are making an assumption that WSO is the reason such attitudes exist. I can promise you elitism, rankings etc all exist in people themselves who then write it on WSO. Also it is natural that people want to identify themselves as better to justify self worth. Also keep in mind most of the user base is immature college kids. There's going to be some fooling around/trolling.

Jan 6, 2020 - 10:02pm

Depends on what you're using the forum for. It's helpful if you're looking for job search tips / interview prep / knowledge / etc.

If you're truly focused on that, dumb trolls and random debaters won't faze you. Ignore everyone who's negative and doesn't add value - you'll meet enough of these people irl

Jan 7, 2020 - 1:52am

This forum makes it feel very easy to not feel successful if you dont land JPM/GS. Hell, I almost went into IB, in part because of how it was portrayed by this forum. IB no doubt is a great path, but it isn't for everyone. People have to define success themselves to actually be happy with the job they accept.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 7, 2020 - 8:24am

MS is good too - don't forget about it. Haha agreed tho.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 7, 2020 - 12:40pm

Problem is there are lots and lots of trolls who spread false information and it serves to confuse young and "innocent" people on the forum who are trying to learn. I'm quite surprised that the moderators allow those type of obvious bullshit posts to exist. Its frankly not that funny and shows the stupidity of the authors. And wastes a lot of time. But I guess, the more time tweenies spend on the site, the more ads WSO can show and all that. But i bet if there was more useful information more people would read.

Only one way to solve it, which is don't let the trolls win. When you see an obvious troll post, call it out for what it is.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 7, 2020 - 3:01pm

Not following the logic here. How can they not be innocent? And what's the relationship between innocent and networking?

Jan 7, 2020 - 1:08pm

I agree with you on a lot of what you said. The attitudes of these pretend elites that have yet to accomplish anything real is always good for a snicker. That being said, I don't really care if this forum does not cater to people who can't cut it in high finance. It is not for them. I don't really know what resources they do have, but again, I don't care. This place is not for them, just as the career path is not.

Jan 7, 2020 - 1:29pm

You use a lot of feel-good phrases and call out the forum for being snooty, elitist, and obsessed with prestige but you should also realize that many times these are prospective students who are interested in IB and have yet to mature and given that this is an internet forum, everyone should be allowed to voice their opinions. Additionally, having spent a long time now browsing these forums, most people who act elitist get almost immediately called out for it. If anything, the vibe you've gotten from WSO is more of a function of your internalized feelings regarding high finance than what the forum is in actuality so maybe look at why you feel this way as opposed to a vague call-to-action that's as ungrounded as the "misleading imformation" that you claim to call out?

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

  • 2
Jan 7, 2020 - 1:49pm

Thank you for this post. This forum desperately needed it. Some of the questions/responses I see on other posts are beyond cringe-inducing in the way they go on about prestige.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 7, 2020 - 3:38pm

Ya know, there's this tiny bank on the corner of West and Murray Street in Fidi - I hear it's really on the come up. They've been mandated on a ton of sell-side M&A deals over the past few years so I think they have a shot at becoming the next bulge bracket.

Want me to ask my buddy for the name of the firm? Apologies, I'm forgetful.

Jan 7, 2020 - 3:31pm

Good uses for WSO forums:
- Career advice from verified users in your field(s) of interest (this includes advice on networking, interviews, choice of school, choice of firm, etc.)
- Technical questions and answers to broaden your knowledge and answer niche questions hard to find elsewhere
- AMAs that aren't just humblebrags and rehashes of the same advice that's been given dozens of times over more than a decade
- Getting a diverse set of reads on current affairs impacting markets
- Shooting the shit with harmless off-topic threads

Bad uses for WSO forums:
- Ranking schools/firms/career paths for arbitrary purposes just for the sake of it
- General prestige-seeking without an eye toward actual, ground-up professional development
- Spending an hour reading a thread about the hottest women on Wall Street

Mar 14, 2020 - 2:23pm

Great point! I'd say that is society at large with this intense focus on presitge amd status! I hear alot from my folks when comparisons sre made between me and their other family members pass and present.
I'd like to know if anyone has taken interest in Paul Tudor' s Just 100, carbon foot prints and corporations, and the increasing wealth gap discussed by the likes of French economist Thomas Piketty.
Not to mention the bail out which I was informed is still being payed for today!
However, everyone has their own prioriities and no one is obligated or can be compelled to think like somone else.

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