Dealing with elitism while networking

I'm a sophomore at a community college and I had a call this week with someone at a highly ranked boutique. Halfway through the call he began to sound nervous, said "touchy topic but I need to ask you something", and pivoted the conversation to being about the fact that I go to community college. Acknowledged that I probably had some economic struggles that caused me to go to CC.

Started giving me a bunch of unsolicited advice about how I'm likely not going to break in NY offices, "not to discourage" me. Mind you I made no mention of New York or anything, I only asked about the firm. Told me I need to frame myself as underdog rather than someone with an inferiority complex (I don't think he was trying to say I had one as I made no mention of CC during the call) and need to say that I'm transferring next year, found out about finance through my friends and wanted to get a head start.

Edit: I didn't mention why I got interested in finance. I find it problematic that he would assume I found out about it through family and friends when I found out about finance the same way everyone else did: through an accounting course. Community college is not so different that I can't learn about "high finance" while I'm here.

Also told me my resume looked sparse even though I have a boutique IB internship and other internships on there. Not sure what he wants from a sophomore who hasn't had the chance to do a summer internship yet. [I don't have selected transaction experience.]

Edit: A mentor at a respected MM was appalled by his comments, so I don't think my resume is bad or anything.

Just wanted to rant.

Edit: Yeah, I know my odds are slim and what he's saying is true, but I'm just not a fan of his "CC is a dirty secret" ass tone. Haven't gotten that from other folks in the industry.

Fuck these guys who view me as not as qualified simply because my parents didn't have the money their parents did to drop $60k for me to do my first two years of college at a four year. Mind you my standardized test scores from high school are on there and confirm that I was accepted to solid 4 years but didn't go for reasons out of control.

Edit: Reading the comments its apparent that a lot of y'all don't understand that just because I don't like this dude's attitude doesn't mean that I'm not taking his advice or appreciative of his time.

Comments (164)

Most Helpful
Jan 18, 2020

OP - I hear you. Unfortunately you are going to find such attitudes in no short supply in finance and other such industries. Many come from cookie cutter backgrounds. They went to elite schools, got good GPAs, interviewed well/got lucky or knew someone and got in. Then they did what most other people do to get to the next step of your career. Yawn. They like to hang with, work with and interview people like themselves.

Some of the guy's advice is actually spot on. You will have to market yourself as a scrapper (and that's a good brand to have). It will probably take more time and effort for you to get in than others but if and when you do get in, you will probably work with people who are more open/understanding or come from a similar background. And that will make work much more bearable/enjoyable. And then you can continue the good JuJu but recruiting similar kinds of off-beat candidates.

Most of this work is far from rocket science and can be taught to many people. Seriously.

Good Luck

    • 32
    • 1
Jan 20, 2020

Classmate A: his dad worked on the street for many years, came from a very prestigious family. Whn his dad got married, the story was on NYTimes.

Classmate B: now works at a BB without any interviews. He told us acknowledging that he probably wasn't qualified enough but more than willing to take the job.

Classmate C: some people were discussing about top groups. Another guy said xyz, and this guy said not true. The random guy asked C how come he knows better. C said because my dad runs the place !

I know people who come from normal backgrounds and I am among those people working in finance now/have worked in a MM before, but people like ABC do exist in this industry.

    • 1
Controversial
Jan 18, 2020

To be frank, I've never met someone who attended community college in a reputable IBD firm.

Not to say it can't or hasn't happened, and not to say it's fair or right, but it is what it is.

If you're determined to go into IBD, I'd recommend transferring and taking on the debt for the right program (if you can't get financial aid). Although it's silly, the long-term sticker value of graduating from a prestigious college / university far exceeds the cost. This will continue to reverberate beyond your analyst years - assuming you make it in. PE firms are also very prestige focused - perhaps more so than banks.

If you want to make money and really can't stand this elitist ladder, I'd recommend pivoting to the tech industry, where traditional education markers matter much less.

Not trying to discourage you in any way - just providing my $0.05. Best of luck OP

    • 28
    • 10
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 18, 2020

It's true. Not sure why you got so many MS

    • 1
Jan 18, 2020

Because it's not true, I know some folks working in competitive verticals at both BB and MM.

    • 1
    • 15
Jan 20, 2020

I agree. I'm confused by the MS. I've never met anyone in M&A that went to a CC. I have, however, met people in S&T who never even went to college, but that was in the UK. It used to be fairly common for people in the UK to not go to university and still get a job in The City. Normally, they'd be 'runners' or 'blue bells' on the trading floor (literally running orders back and forth or getting people coffee/tea). Mind you, these were 16-18 year-old kids who had left school after their GCSEs or A-levels. Some of them worked their way up and became traders. Before the 2008 financial crisis, a lot of older traders didn't have (and didn't need) a lot of technical or mathematical skills--they just needed to be numerate and quick.

That said, I'm not sure how many of those guys still exist. They were dinosaurs when I was an analyst and I'm fairly sure they've gone extinct since then. I know only one VC and no one in IBD who didn't go to university at all, and the guy in VC went to Eton and started what became a major computer company directly after sixth form almost 40 years ago.

In any case, I think the advice the guy gave the OP was pretty solid. There are WAY more people applying for finance and consulting roles than there are roles available. Saying that you can't afford to attend a better school isn't sufficient to get past HR. Your resume will literally never be seen. The OP needs to transfer to the best school he can get into. If your parents make less than $120K per year, it's essentially free to attend Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and several other top schools. If you don't know that, it's because you didn't look into it. And no matter what your parents make, you can borrow up to the full cost of your education (including books, fees, room, board, tuition, and even expected transportation costs). If you're not willing to invest in your education because you don't want to take on the debt, that's your choice, but you can't then get upset when you're rightly informed that your education is going to be a problem breaking into the business.

Transfer schools, take on the debt if you have to, work your ass off, get a high GPA, and hustle more than the kids who have been there since their freshman year. Best of luck.

    • 22
    • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 20, 2020

There are multiple Baruch kids in top IBD groups and even several at megafund PE groups.

    • 4
Jan 20, 2020

Is Baruch a CC?

Jan 22, 2020

This sounds harsh but I couldn't agree more. I did and have been doing a couple of internships with big 4, boutique IB, and BB and realize that skillset is a bar minimum (well obviously you have to excel at it) - what matters on top of it is the pretige.

As an observation, some of my managers didn't have a background in finance (not at all when they started) but they picked up quickly along the way. Why prestige is important? Because they leverage pretige to gain credibility and trust from clients (who also come from very pretigous background). In the end of the day, you, as a client, come to a bank and sign a 1B deal with a stranger. Would it be a safer bet if he comes from the "qualified" backgrounds that you understand well? Or you throw 1B with a guy you don't understand at all? You might be an expert inside - but hey I can't read mind. That's why labels work.

Sounds exclusive, but it's how it operates. If you want to break-in, you have to play by the rules. I believe there are exceptions and it may take longer to finish the line. There must be a wa. Wish you all the best OP.

  • Subtly bullish -
    • 2
Jan 23, 2020

Here is what I don't understand. CC is 2 years and then you transfer to a 4 year school. I know someone who went on to Harvard from CC. Now once you finish your 4 year degree and attain your Bachelors you are putting down the school you got your Bachelors from. What I am saying is unless you are a mind reader or the background screening vendor no one will know. Lastly I have never heard of someone getting a job at any firm with just an 2 year degree unless its ops and even that is requiring 4 year degrees now. So my point is who cares if you went to CC because if you play it right and transfer to a good school its all just history. It is not uncommon for people to attend BMCC or KBCC and then jump to NYU so not sure why this is even a topic.

    • 1
Jan 23, 2020

The internship recruiting cycle has become extremely accelerated and students sign offers for the internship they'll do the summer after their junior year during the summer after their sophomore year. This means that you have to network/recruit second semester of sophomore year, which is when many transfer students are still at community college.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jan 18, 2020

May I ask what your standardized test scores are on your resume?

Jan 18, 2020

32/36

Jan 18, 2020

32/36 act

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 18, 2020

thats below average for kids going to EB, highly recommend you take it off and transfer to a semi target.

    • 5
    • 6
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 18, 2020

What's the average?

Funniest
Jan 18, 2020

ok intern

    • 38
Jan 19, 2020

You want him to take off his 97th percentile ACT score? Are you high?

OP 32 is more than good enough. I'd put "ACT: 32 (97th percentile)" on your resume verbatim like that. Transfer to a state school and take the community college off your resume completely and no one will ever know. You'll be fine.

    • 3
Jan 19, 2020

Yeah... you should definitely take that off your resume. I'd also agree that that is at best average among legit IB / PE firms. It's definitely not a bad score or anything and won't hold you down (unless you are interviewing for top selective firms (I've seen firms that have 33+ ACT as a strict requirement)), but I think some people reviewing your resume may not see it as a positive.

Array

    • 1
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jan 20, 2020

Can say with certainty that very few of my fellow interns, if any, scored as poorly

Jan 20, 2020

Who the fuck puts their ACT score on their resume?

    • 3
Jan 20, 2020

Lot of people. You screen resumes recently?

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 20, 2020

anyone with over a 34

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Comm
Jan 18, 2020

I personally know someone who interned in BB IBD and got a FT IBD offer to one of (GS/MS/JPM). This person got their GED, did 2 years at a branch campus of a large state university before transferring to the main campus. By far the hardest networker/grinder I know. The guy you talked to might have not told you what you wanted to hear, but unfortunately he is right. You're best bet is to transfer to a good 4 year college, keep a high gpa, become a technical beast, and network like an animal. Finance is essentially a big club where if you don't fit the mold you're going to have a hard time getting in. That being said most people in this industry would take the kid that can stay humble and grind hard over the one who's father got them the interview.

    • 5
Jan 18, 2020

His comments did come off as a bit pretentious from what it sounds, and here's my advice on how to take it, he's trying to help you frame yourself as someone who can break in but need the story behind it and also yeah there's some truth in transferring being important in breaking in. There is absolutely 0 wrong with community college but transferring is likely gonna provide the alumni base and clubs to do help land the job. Use that to build out your so called "sparse resume" and yeah always spin it as an underdog, that you've worked to land the interview by ways you can help the firm - lacking confidence or coming off as your university being inferior will get you dinged - yes it's possible to come off that you're from a non Target in the wrong way.

Also the fact he mentioned that your story about interest in finance coming from an accounting class being bland is fair - you need to be memorable, you can always spin this too - the fact you're on this website tells me you're definitely into finance, just sell your story about why harder. Is it that you find the markets appealing? and fundamental analysis is something you're interested in and you got exposed to that? you like the focus of a strategic reason for why a company might go into a merger?

Yes he probably came off as elitist and likely prefers talking to people just like him, but there's definitely a way to take out of what he said. He never had to bother picking up the phone to begin with.

This is all coming from someone who grew up in a blue collar household that also almost went to a community college because of 0 clue about what I wanted to do with my life.

    • 3
Jan 18, 2020

This is a helpful comment, thanks.

Agree with the importance of confidence when it comes to this kinda stuff. I could def come off as having an inferiority complex without even knowing it.

I didn't say accounting was how I got into finance. I didn't say how I got into finance at all. I just don't like how he assumed I heard about this from family and friends, not from school. CC ain't so bad I wouldn't be able to learn finance stuff in school.

    • 3
Jan 25, 2020

Whatever you do, don't give up on what you want. Where there is a will, there is a way even into IB. You have to be more creative than others however, your CC will eventually be history and no one needs to know once you transfer to a 4-year school. I've read thousands of resumes and coached hundreds of bankers and while there is truth to what some of the advice is here, there are skills that don't come from college that you either have or can develop that puts you ahead of others. Good luck!

    • 1
Jan 18, 2020

OP I did time at a CC :) and ended up at an elite bank

don't let that guy discourage you, in fact he has no business talking about your personal finances. i suggest you change your CC to the 4-year college you're transferring to on your resume. personally i don't really care what college you went to as long as you sound normal over the phone and email. back-up what you have on your resume, and can answer beginner to intermediate level technical questions.

if you want to get into IB bad enough, you'll do it. in retrospect its not that hard to break in, even from a community college. but from the starting line it seems almost impossible.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

    • 12
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 21, 2020

Second this. Went to a CC and currently at a lower BB in IBD

    • 2
Jan 19, 2020

Reminds me of when I had my first conversation with my assigned mentor during my internship. Looked at my school and resume and first thing he said was, "so how'd you get this internship?". Good times.

Never lose focus and keep grinding. That should ultimately be your differentiator. Rather be an underdog than more of the same...

Good luck.

    • 4
Jan 19, 2020

Thanks for actually getting the point of the post unlike some other folks on this post

Jan 19, 2020

Don't be a little bitch, yeah it's gonna be hard to break in from CC and a lot of people have a stigma about it. I've known 3 kids back in the day who got almost no interviews after transferring from a CC as they didn't have a real GPA to show for it on apps.

Think positively, but don't hate on someone because they told you an unpleasant truth.

    • 1
Jan 19, 2020

Big difference between just not liking someone's attitude and hating on them

Jan 19, 2020

Four year college isn't restricted to those with money. My folks barely had a dime, I took out loans, it wasn't a big deal. Nobody will believe that financial circumstances forced you into CC. I'm not sure what did, but this is an anonymous forum so feel free to give us the real story.

You will need to transfer to a 4 yr program to have a shot at IB. Being as proactive as you are, I'm sure you'll have no problem finding a place at college.

I wasn't on the call but I think this banker probably just wanted to help you out.

    • 3
Jan 19, 2020

It definitely can be. I have had friends turn down prestigious private schools like Carnegie Mellon and USC (Southern California) to go to their state school on a full ride because even after getting great financial aid the loans with interest were just too much.

I just didn't know what I wanted to major in and didn't want to take out so many loans because I wanted to go to law school after undergrad. Sounds reasonable to me but then again folks on this forum and in elite positions are crazy.

Agree the banker wanted to help me out. He seemed really uncomfortable talking about my background so I appreciate him going out of his comfort zone. But then again that's a pretty low bar.

Jan 19, 2020

But but but . . I said 4 yr college, as opposed to community college. I didn't say State U vs USC. If you chose CC bc you didn't know your major and wanted to go to law school, I'll tell you right now that is some strange logic and I don't need to have ever set foot on a CC to know that.

    • 4
    • 1
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 19, 2020

Nothing he said was wrong. Cry some fucking more, and when you are done hopefully you aren't a sensitive little kid anymore. You are most likely going to have to do at least 5 semesters when you transfer, as breaking in from a community college without a gpa is pretty fucking hard and even more rare.

I'm also a community college transfer who broke into a top group at a top bank.

    • 7
Jan 19, 2020

Did you transfer to a target?

Gun rights activist
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 19, 2020

Nope, transferred to my non target state school. I wasn't going to drown myself in debt, and breaking in from a non target isn't as hard as people make it out to be on this site.

Had interviews throughout all BB's and some EB's. I had no family connections or any connections prior to deciding that I wanted to pursue IB. It all came down to consistently networking (25 emails a week isn't hard...), not being weird, knowing why I wanted to do IB, and having strong technical knowledge from studying the guides.

I can't emphasize how unnecessary it is to take out huge amounts of debt just to transfer to a target school for the sole purpose of recruiting for IB. If you aren't weird nor lazy, you won't have any problem recruiting.

    • 8
Jan 19, 2020

I think this is the first time I've seen someone get roasted on Reddit and not on here....

Anyways OP, it sounds like you have a huge chip on your shoulder regarding this. It sounds like he was just trying to give helpful advice.

I went to a no-name school for accounting and it was difficult to break in the industry. Recruiters ignored me, my cold-call emails were never replied to, and I almost graduated with no job or internship. I did have to frame myself as an underdog and switch jobs twice to get the one I wanted. Now I have the same (or better) job as my colleagues even though they still have student loan debt and I have zero.

If you follow the non-traditional route in any industry, expect to be considered an underdog.

    • 4
    • 2
Jan 19, 2020

OP: Sorry to hear said individual came off as rude. He was probably just attempting to be productive. I go to an enormous state school in the south..I have a good friend that started out at our feeder CC, had a reasonable GPA and was able to get a NYC superday with BAML for IBD. Unfortunately, he didn't get the offer largely as a result of not knowing relatively basic technical questions. I would recommend transferring to a a four year uni, do well, take the CC off your CV, be a technical beast, and just come off as someone likable. Few people like working with IVY league obnoxious pricks.. It's just the nature of the beast. Best of luck!

    • 2
Jan 20, 2020

OP: Sorry to hear about your experience but unfortunately this is the world we live in. Business is about people, and when you involve people you will run into biases, poor first impressions, etc. This is why HYP, MBB, EB, BB, HBS/GSB etc are important and why they command such high prices -- they exploit these biases and help to give people with those credentials an advantage.

You have some natural advantages and skills unique to you, but you are at a disadvantage from a credentials perspective. Are you willing to play the game and ignore and grind your way to your objective?

If you are not, then you have no one to blame but yourself if you do not achieve your results because there is definitely another CC kid somewhere who is smart and willing to play the game and get that offer.

Jan 20, 2020

" a bunch of unsolicited advice " - Uhhh, wasn't the point of the networking call to give you advice??

He was being honest with you, and took the time out of his work day to speak with you. Sounds like instead of taking the advice/comments, you've decided to just get upset about it and pout.

One of the biggest things you'll need to learn in your career is to not take criticism personally, apply the points, and improve.

    • 10
Jan 20, 2020

I started at a community college and transferred to a 4 year and am now a banker at a top tier MM firm, so it can be done. If you want to avoid the elitism and being looked down on for going to a community college don't even bring it up, should not even be part of the conversation once you transfer to a 4 year university. In all the interviews I had I don't think it came up once.

    • 2
Jan 20, 2020

Congrats to you. Yeah, I didn't bring it up, but it's on my resume since I don't know which four-year I am going to until April.

Did you intern the summer after your junior year?

    • 1
    • 1
Jan 20, 2020

-

    • 1
  • Associate 3 in ER
Jan 20, 2020

I started out at an elite university and transferred to a community college before graduating from a complete non-target so I could complete multiple years of chemotherapy and multiple surgical operations.

My advice is to keep in mind that some people do have good intentions for you, they just cannot relate to you. Even now as an experienced professional I still get the occasional derogatory comment about not having an elite background.

I hope you leverage your experience into something great but first you also need to consider that there are many qualified candidates and you need to show people there is something different about you that will make an investment of their time worthwhile.

To that specific person it appears you have a sparse resume, whether others disagree with them or not you can learn from it and use it to your advantage. Work on building a body of experience even a harsh critic cannot say no to.

Start entering collegiate finance competitions, start a club, or join a finance society and supplement the weaker points of your resume in a systematic way which you can continue as you transfer to a four year university and move on to full-time recruiting.

FWIW I failed all my IB interviews and interned in research so that I could go on to work at progressively larger and more prominent hedge funds over time.

    • 2
    • 1
Jan 20, 2020

I'm not the OP nor a junior, but I wanted to thank you for leaving such a mature, constructive, and inspiring comment for everyone to read.

    • 1
Jan 21, 2020

Ditto

Jan 20, 2020

Sorry to hear that man. I think the analyst was trying to help you "best position yourself," and was pretty tactless about it. Obviously, your capabilities should be what matters most, but you also need to convince people to accept you as one of them. And most of these institutions are actually elitist.

    • 2
Jan 20, 2020

It's worth keeping in mind that it can be hard to be tactful about such matters and still provide a high signal-to-noise ratio. Some times good advice is a bitter pill to swallow.

    • 5
Jan 20, 2020

Both of y'all are right. Thanks to both of you.

I think you can be tactful by not being so uncomfortable about the subject matter at hand.

I've had a great time talking to folks at hand who have told me similar things about not being able to break into NY and whatnot (without me asking) but they said it in a very matter of fact way. Him being so uncomfortable about it is what made it weird. I think the less explainy you are about things the less condescending it comes across.

Jan 20, 2020

It sounds like he gave you great, albeit overly straightforward, advice.

You have work to do in the next few years to bury the CC on your resume so that it doesn't come up unless asked about. This goes the same for any resume "blemish" for IB recruiting - nontarget school, GPA, internships, extra curriculars, etc. You can make up for one of these factors through a great deal of effort, but you can't make up for two.

The way you will make up for having CC on your resume is to kill it in those other categories. Do internships during the year as well as summer. Get a 3.8+ GPA. Have a killer app extracurricular that makes you stand out and demonstrates your passion. Be the best networker at your university. All of the above would be ideal. Be impossible to say no to, to the point where the only time CC ever comes up it's "he went to a CC for financial reasons and grinded his way up to here, look at all this stuff he did."

I want to really caution you that recruiters do put people in boxes, it's a quick algorithm for separating candidates - the finance nerd, the D1 jock, the target school preppie, the STEM person, etc. There are positives and negatives to each one. The "community college grinder" is the exact same way -- positives could be someone who grinds and is down to earth... huge negatives are typically intellectual ability, risk taking (why not take out a loan and go to a target if you're so smart?), and HUGE chip on your shoulder (people hate this). Unfortunately in this thread thus far you're kind of teasing the huge chip attribute, and it is something you need to get rid of, immediately, to find success. Get ready to have a thick skin and be told "no" or looked down on a thousand times between now and your full time job... and don't take it personally.

You are standing at a cross roads and this really goes one of two ways. The bad way -- you transfer into a school, have this outcast mentality / chip on your shoulder attitude, don't really apply yourself to your studies (<= 3.5 GPA), stick to yourself (don't integrate within the school's clubs and student body which typically helps provide the right network) etc. You will intern at a small place, that doesn't give out FT offers, and you will struggle to convert that experience into anywhere hiring FT. You'll feel like your transfer / grind through college wasn't worth it, and your chip on your shoulder will grow, and grow, and you'll end up resenting the entire finance profession for passing on you because you're such a hidden gem, blah blah blah. You also will give up on your finance dreams after your first job because, oh what a racket and how unfairly you were treated, etc.

That sucks, right? Loser's mentality. Let's paint a better picture.

You get into a transfer school and resolve to be the hardest worker on this fucking campus. You go to all your lectures -- you go to all the TA sessions, and the midterm review sessions, and get tutoring. You crush all your classes. You join the finance club on campus -- and an extracurricular club that you're interested in, and build a lifelong network of friends and acquaintances. You work hard during the year, and you are a champion at networking externally. You're not worried about getting the perfect job right out of undergrad -- your focus is 10 years from now, and what paths will take you there. You know that perfect is the enemy of good, and so instead you're working on your skills, telling your story, and getting the best possible experience that you can get. Maybe that's banking, maybe it's AM, maybe it's Credit/ middle office work. Whatever you can get. You keep hustling. You might have to go to business school and take out more loans 5 years from now to break in, but you're going to do it. You will achieve your goals and 30 years from now, when you're 50+ years old, Community College will seem like a distant dream. You might be the keynote fucking speaker at graduation at your old CC as an example of how to make it work, and everyone will reach out to you for advice.

WINNING MENTALITY for the long term. Start adjusting now.

Signed, a nontarget UG, <3.2 GPA, boutique consultant who grinded up to be a BB VP after business school. It took me 11 years after I graduated undergrad but it happened. First step was getting rid of the chip and letting success motivate me rather than inferiority.

    • 27
Jan 20, 2020

Excellent write up and your consistent quality posts are a credit to this forum. However, based on this kid's responses and refusal to own his situation.... it will fall on deaf ears. Hopefully someone else besides OP sees this post and takes it as good advice rather than criticism.

    • 4
    • 1
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 20, 2020

This made me so pumped up to crush it this semester

    • 2
Jan 21, 2020

If you're getting this butt hurt over some sage advice wait till an MD hits you with the pls fix. Id recommend picking a different career. The fact the guy even got on the phone with you is nothing short of a miracle you ungrateful little CC brat.

    • 5
    • 2
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 21, 2020

I'm beginning to understand why cc kids don't even pass our first round resume filter

    • 1
    • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 21, 2020

Swing and a miss, take a lap

    • 1
  • Associate 1 in PE - Growth
Jan 21, 2020

Went to a community college and transferred to a state school. Got a front office job at a BB (not IB tho). Sure its not common and you have to bust ur a$$ twice as hard but it is VERY possible.

Also would like to add I took student loans for state school because my family did not have the money either.

    • 2
Jan 21, 2020

I worked in trading before moving over into banking. The work is extremely juvenile and really has no impact on the actual deal. I ended up working with a bunch of HYP who have the elitist complex and couldn't have felt more sorry for them. After two years as an independent sponsor and not having brought in a single dollar, they would still chirp and look down on others, including myself (as they think the trading floor is the "zoo").

I, on the other hand, really didn't care and worked exclusively with Citadel/Millenium/KKR/BX. They were my connections and only wanted to deal with me, which prompted childish behavior and running commentary from an Oxford/Cambridge chap who couldn't understand why one of the firms above with all his experience and prestige really had no desire to solicit his opinion.

At the end of the day, bankers don't put any skin in the game so no one cares about their opinion. They, in turn, need to feel a sense of importance to avoid the uncomfortable truth that they are dispensable and insignificant in their roles. And as someone who has led deals on his own with MFs, those with this sense of entitlement will find that their obsession with prestige and vanity is precisely the reason they don't make it to their ultimate goal.

    • 4
    • 2
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 21, 2020

Appreciate the input, Pussy Galore

Jan 21, 2020

I'm in my mid twenties and the global head of IBD at GS/MS/JPM just put my resume back in for IBD, so I'm not saying there isn't a role for bankers -- just that the ones who pull don't care about meaningless shit like where they went to college and the ones who don't are those who need to make up for it somehow. Hint: the overwhelming majority of feedback and advice on WSO is not coming from the former...

I guess my point is the smallest dog barks the loudest. The folks at the firms I listed above couldn't have been more generous with their time and feedback regardless of who I am and my background. Those are true professionals.

    • 2
Jan 21, 2020

This sounds like a fan fiction post where you just named a bunch of firms and threw out some buzzwords, but most of it doesn't make much logical sense. What trading were you doing where KKR and Citadel were coming to you (?) and the people sitting with you were from HYP (?) and you were bringing in business (?). Then you led deals but yourself with megafunds? The whole post makes no sense.

    • 2
Jan 21, 2020

Here we go...

I was a trader at Citadel/Millenium. Left for a startup independent sponsor in same industry when my product bottomed out. Turns out the senior bankers didn't really have the investor network they thought they did, so I was forced to reach out to people I went to high school / college with at KKR and BX. I ended up reaching back out to my old group at Citadel/Millenium for a deal I thought they might be interested in and voila, I'm now working with my old team on a $100mm deal because I know their whole trading book. I pitched Englander/KG on a several billion dollar fund to build out an asset footprint to supplement their trading and when they needed coinvestors, I went straight to KKR and BX.

We're one big happy family now.

    • 1
    • 1
Jan 21, 2020

Are you saying "After two years as an independent sponsor and not having brought in a single dollar, they would still chirp and look down on others, including myself (as they think the trading floor is the "zoo")"

They as in bankers?

Sorry I can't quote your comment I'm on my phone and don't know formatting

Jan 21, 2020

Bankers, yes.

Citadel/Millenium would only respond via text message and I can't tell you how much that pissed off senior bankers from Lehman/Bear/Merrill. Comically funny how much it got under their skin.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 21, 2020

Honestly speaking if that ticks you off, then I feel like you shouldn't even be interested in the industry. Bc if you thought that was bad attitude then you're probably gonna flip shit when ur MD asks you turn comments at 2 AM or there's a fire drill on a friday night

    • 3
Jan 21, 2020

The things you mentioned are just part of the job, not an attitude

    • 1
    • 2
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 21, 2020

Yeah but the point being is that you're just not ultimately cut out for the job if you can't handle a little serious talk

Jan 21, 2020

My 2 cents - enjoy every call, and simply glean every ounce of insight or advice you can get. What he's saying is so honest! You may well find this attitude - so prepare for it. He also gave you the perfect responses to use. Perfect! No hard feelings, take everything as feedback. There is no bad feedback, just information.
I understand that it sounded kind of hurtful, but it's really invaluable insight! Reframe it as a blessing. When you introduce your story, a final note can be that while you were accepted to excellent 4 year schools and have the GPA, you're taking the initiative to work your way through school to well position yourself for a future with little college debt. Spin it totally positive and bring it up if the issue is even slightly broached again. Don't go into negative territory...my parents can't afford to drop $60K. I get it, but it sounds like sour grapes, and you want to always sound like good scotch instead. Many people will love your hard work, ability to persevere, long-term goals.
You can always pivot any negative comment back to the great experience you have and what skills you've learned. Redirect, redirect, redirect. Confident without arrogance. Energy, excitement. That's what we love to see when we interview students. Don't be afraid to respond in a very respectful way, as long as you're not defensive.
It's a great lesson - you are always going to face naysayers. Always always. Do not let that stop you. Maybe that's a sign that's not the firm for you to work at. Just move on to the next opportunity. There are many ways to get to where you want to be. And truth is, this guy in the future may end up being your sponsor! Keep him updated when you transfer to a 4-year school, etc. Nothing says he's not on your team, he's just worried you have a lot of competition, and what you can say to position yourself. He even said, "not to discourage you."
Keep at it!

    • 6
Jan 21, 2020

Thanks for your helpful comment and positive energy!

    • 1
Jan 21, 2020

Have a young friend who did 2 yrs CC, transferred to a great college, 2 years back office at a BB firm, Executive MBA at a very nice school half paid by his company, now at a front office position at another bank. Your resume shows where you graduated from, you never have to reveal you went to CC. I think it's a very smart way to save $$ for 2 years and get your basic coursework completed.

    • 2
Jan 21, 2020

I don't really have skin in the game on this debate but what is being lost is actually logical analyses. Assuming a weighted average across target schools / non targets in terms of placement into IB and their relative CC class sizes its probably sub 5% of student bodies. So of course there aren't going to be a lot of these types of kids even if they had similar placements on a per capita basis. However, and more important, this does not exclude a CC transfer from getting into IB.

My biggest recommendation is not putting the CC on the resume. It will eventually come out no need to highlight the issue.

    • 2
Jan 22, 2020
Comment
    • 1
Jan 22, 2020