Are Top Targets (H/Y/P/S) Overrated?

Ok, so I know I am just an incoming prospect in the industry but you hear so much about HYP(S) doing super well on Wall Street and having slight advantages in some of the hardest jobs to get. Obviously anybody from any undergrad can wind up going to Goldman, MF, HBS, etc. but people on the forum seem to believe there are a few schools that give you a much better opportunity to do this. Forgive me, but I was just doing some EB LinkedIn stalking and came across dozens of names from schools like UM, NYU, Cornell, and some less reputable places like IU while not coming across a single name from Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. There are ofc numerous people from these schools that work in banking and they're much smaller than the likes of UM, NYU, etc but I feel like a few schools may be underrated on the forum.

Should we be equating a few schools closer to these Ivies based on placement? I'd like to hear people's thoughts on what schools may be talked about less than they should be and if anyone believes HYP are overrated.

Comments (23)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 29, 2020 - 9:29am

Stern is a hardo factory that takes in a bunch of mouth breathing 18 year old kids who didnt get into HYP but are dead set into IB willing to backstab anyone they need to get there

HYPS takes in a bunch of diverse candidates studying arts and philosophy and dont have an business for undergrad... so u tell me, does the number of cutthroat little shits in Stern (an undergrad business school) all gunning for IB and placing more by sheer number alone mean its a better school than HYP, where kids are studying latin or whatever and still place to top shops?

or wait, how many kids from NYU (not stern) actually place in IB? or IU (not kelley)? why didnt u put Wharton undergrad into that list with HYPS?

OBVIOUSLY its because many kids from HYPS just aren't as interested as those Stern and Kelley hardos to work 100 hours a week mostly on a ppt appendix taht u know will never EVER be seen by anyone other than ur MD.. they rather work on mUh StArT uPs

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
May 29, 2020 - 9:42am

Look at politics and stuff like the Supreme Court. Thats where people from HYPS go to, not IB. Those people are far too smart to waste their time in IB.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 29, 2020 - 10:14am

I go to one of those schools. On a purely numbers basis, Stern/Ross/etc will definitely outperform my school. However, on a per capita basis, I'm sure my school is miles ahead of any non-ivy.

I don't know a single person at my school who recruited for IB and didn't land a solid gig (BB/EB/top MM). In fact, all the best and brightest generally target either tech gigs, direct to buyside (HF, PE MF, VC, etc), or MBB, and its generally the middle/lower tier of kids who even want to do IB. While this is purely anecdotal, I know a few people from my town that went to places like Stern or Mich and wanted to land an IB gig but either ended up at some tiny boutique or couldn't get anything in IB.

At my school, every single bank posts on our career page and most come to campus to recruit. Cold applying landed me a first round interview at every firm I applied to, whereas from other schools I know you need to network just to get someone to even consider your resume. My point is that its relatively easy to go from HYP to an IB gig as long as you are decently competent and can interview, whereas I know it is incredibly cutthroat and difficult at other schools.

In conclusion- more kids from Stern get IB gigs, but it is easier for princeton kids to get an IB gig if they wanted.

May 29, 2020 - 11:13am

Serious question although it may be ignorant.

The kids that head to tech we're not also the kids that would enjoy banking, correct? I personally, have 0 interest in tech and it seems that way for most people I have met in banking.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 29, 2020 - 12:26pm

Yes. Completely different types of skill sets and personalities. Though I'm biased and this is WSO, there's no way to say that the students going into tech are of a higher caliber than those going into IB. Many of the people I met at HYP going into tech lacked the soft skills and sociability of the IB/finance people

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 29, 2020 - 2:00pm

There's 2 types of tech people that I lumped together- the SWE types and the business types that go into corp dev type roles.

Obviously the coders don't have much overlap with potential bankers, but the business minded folks that choose to go to corp dev at some fancy tech company likely could have been good bankers.

Jun 23, 2020 - 6:18pm

There's overlap in the people gunning for the small number of post-undergrad Product Manager positions in Tech. Qualities/skillset are more or less the same as they are for Banking or Consulting - i.e. being quick on your feet, polished communication skills, being able to structurally think through abstract ideas, interest in business etc. To a lesser extent, you could also add product marketing manager or growth positions.

The technical side of Tech (SWE, DS, Design etc) has close to 0 overlap in the types of people interested or the skillset required. Those areas very much require people who are willing to build a well-defined, narrow set of skills in order to be successful at landing a job. You can't just memorise Case in Point, Decode and Conquer or the BIWS 400 IB questions guides and sound smart like you can with consulting/banking/product.

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov
May 29, 2020 - 11:34am

Majority of the best IB analysts and summer analysts I've worked with came from non-target schools or non-HYPs ivies. Not sure if that is the function of the best HYPS grads not choosing banking or people coming from non-targets being "best-of-the-best" in their respective schools but for some different reasons decided / couldn't go to HYPS. Performance in banking in a lot of aspects is a function of work-ethic, ability to spin around and common sense (not just pure academic intellect). Non-targets largely outperform in that aspect in my experience. Had also seen a couple of fantastic analysts coming from HYPS, but usually not the case. Just my opinion and of course not the rule.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 23, 2020 - 8:14pm

I think this makes sense. From my non-target school, only the top 2-3 students from a business class of 700 break into IBD NY every year.

  • Prospect in HF - Macro
May 29, 2020 - 6:41pm

Maybe overrated for finance because you can get the same BB IB gig from any decent college, but probably not overrated in the sense that it gives you better optionality to pivot to something else, so name so why not have it on your resume for that optionality. Probably easier to get a clerkship if you went to Yale, to raise funding for your venture if you went to Stanford or Harvard, etc.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 29, 2020 - 7:15pm

a shit ton of people in ivy schools wanna do banking and there's lots of competition within each school. reports published by there schools show you what percentage of their graduating class is going into what industry and financial services & consulting are consistently, if not increasingly, the most popular choice across the board.

it does not has as much to do with the "higher" average caliber of people at ivys than non-ivys like stern (having a higher SAT and finessing the college application process does not mean you are better suited for landing jobs in a specific industry like financial services which simply requires a different set of skills).

many firms especially BBs also prefer to have a diverse range of students coming in and that includes hiring from diff types / tiers of universities.

however, at certain hyper competitive groups, you do see them focusing much more on the "absolute" caliber and capabilities - groups like PJT restructuring, MS Menlo Park, etc consistently have people from certain top schools / programs (e.g., MS Menlo Park used to only hire SAs at wharton from its most prestigious M&T dual degree program)

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 29, 2020 - 7:19pm

it wasn't true for class of 2020 or class of 2021 but was true the few years before. I could be wrong tho, nor did I mean it was a strict group policy

also I meant that the ppl from Wharton usually were in m&t. werent saying all SAs in the group went to wharton

  • Associate 1 in PE - Growth
Jan 8, 2022 - 1:21pm

Yes they are overrated and I came from a target. The reality is it is harder coming from a non-target, but if you have a great standardized test score, GPA, and intelligence; a mentor to guide you through the process/ help you learn what to study and what is needed to get a job; and you have common sense; it really isn't that hard to get a job in the industry. That combo is actually pretty rare though. For context, most my interviews at banks came from non-alumni connections and I have hired numerous non-targets. While alumni can be helpful, targeted cold reach outs can be pretty successful especially if your resume is solid. I think more often than not there is a correlation between non-targets and poorer quality of candidates that gets misconstrued. Many undergrads just aren't aware of how competitive these application pools are. These are some of the most competitive positions for undergrads in the country, paying an all in comp close to 3 times the average salary of the country. If you expect to break into the industry and you don't have a 90+% standardized test score and an A average, you are likely kidding yourself. 

I think to an extent it gets to why a candidate is going to a non-target. Really there are 3 reasons, 1) they couldn't get into a target 2) they have financial barriers 3) they had some other unique reason (athletics, activities, personal issues)

If it's 2 or 3, it becomes pretty obvious in interviews the person is sharp, but had a reason where it made going to a better school not possible. But often, the individuals coming from non-target are just slower, less motivated, less impressive people. If you are an impressive candidate at a non-target though, you will be fine. It will all workout.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 8, 2022 - 1:32pm

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