Diversity programs are more good than they are bad

It is disappointing to me that many of you don't see ANY value in diversity programs and fail to see its intended purpose, originally. Many of these kids come from disadvantaged communities, where their parents, grandparents and great-grand parents were broke, had no formal education, sometimes couldn't even go to college due to existing laws/rules. Furthermore, you get stuck in a poor community that has shitty schools, severely underpaid, and often under-qualified teachers. It is a system that is perpetuated. And for black folks, has existed since slavery. 

Many will complain and call it "reverse-discrimination". Well boo-hoo. You grew up in a good neighborhood, with good schools, good friends, with parents that went to college. You've had a leg up your whole life. 

The original purpose of programs like this is PRECISELY to advantage minority and disadvantaged communities to the point where their representation in higher education and the workforce actually matches, or is consistent with, how the population looks. You might argue that it should be the best qualified no matter what! Yet fail to see that the way the system was set up (especially many years ago), greatly advantaged white people, especially men. So of course you come from a lineage of educated people who've created a POSITIVE cycle that, too, has perpetuated. 

The point of these programs is to forcefully break the cycle. If you're in this loop of poverty, getting subpar education, being discriminated against, not being able to get into good colleges, then how do you break the loop? An answer is creating opportunities within the workforce for disadvantaged folks (ie diversity programs, roles for nontraditional candidates, etc.) that have the potential to be successful in the role. This is a long term investment. That black kid who grew up dirt poor, went to a shitty high school, had to work 2 jobs while going to college, and currently sits next to you at work? He's breaking that cycle. He's on his way to middle/upper class. His kids will grow up seeing that, and will go to a better school, then better college, and guess what? Get a better job! Without the need of diversity programs! But it is la long term project.

I know most of you won't even try to understand this perspective. Luckily, I don't care. Universities don't care. Banks don't care. These programs are here to stay. Are they used for marketing purposes? Yes! Do they still help disadvantaged communities? Yes! So who gives a shit in the end. Clearly, many of you do. 

Pains me to work among such high achieving folks that are as ignorant as they are smart. 

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (31)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 11, 2021 - 9:13am

They obviously do more good than bad. But they don't directly do more good for SOME people who like to consider themselves the center of the universe, so it's very hard for those to cope with the idea that they're not getting extra special treatment in something. Just learn to ignore them. The banks will still get their perfect figures to run each group, and Excel jockeys to push revisions out at 2am, and the world will keep turning.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Mar 11, 2021 - 9:19am

I came into this country as a refugee seeking asylum because my family was so dirt poor it was detrimental to our health and have had the cards stacked against me all my life (no money, factory worker parents with no education, shitty schools etc.) but my skin is white and I am a male. So never mind.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Mar 11, 2021 - 10:17am

I don't resent success or advantages that people have. That's life. I resent being told that I have everything and anything I say is invalid because I am white and male.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Most Helpful
Mar 11, 2021 - 9:23am

Intern in PropTradYou grew up in a good neighborhood, with good schools, good friends, with parents that went to college. You've had a leg up your whole life. 

..... So of course you come from a lineage of educated people who've created a POSITIVE cycle that, too, has perpetuated."

I agree that there is some good from diversity programs, but I detest the attitude that you state above. This may represent an elite bubble where you come from but not the rest of America.

You simply assume that if you're white, you must have gone to a good school, must have a great family background, must have had good parents who went to college, must be from a good neighbor, etc.

Please just stop stereotyping people into large faceless groups and start treating them like individuals who all face their own unique problems and come from a thousand different backgrounds regardless of the color of their skin.

This idea of seeing people as privileged or not privileged simply based on their skin color is moronic and in fact racist at its core.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 11, 2021 - 9:26am

You live in a bubble that denies white privilege and assumes that everyone is treated equal. Clearly it doesn't, if it did then these programs would not have to be marketed and diversity would not be such a big topic.

Mar 11, 2021 - 9:35am

Well, please go tell that to people who live in trailer parks who are not part of the northeast upper class elite.

This country is very diverse and white people range the spectrum from people born with a silver spoon in NYC to hellholes like West Virginia. Same goes with black people who cover a spectrum of socioeconomics.

It's disrespectful and racist to both white and black people to lump them into a single group.  If you're white, you're rich. If you're black, you're dirt poor and uneducated. If that's really what you think:

a) You don't know many white people outside of your small elite social circle

b) You don't know many black people either.

Judge others by who they are. Is that so hard for you to do?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 11, 2021 - 10:10am

NoEquityResearch

Intern in PropTradYou grew up in a good neighborhood, with good schools, good friends, with parents that went to college. You've had a leg up your whole life. 

..... So of course you come from a lineage of educated people who've created a POSITIVE cycle that, too, has perpetuated."

I agree that there is some good from diversity programs, but I detest the attitude that you state above. This may represent an elite bubble where you come from but not the rest of America.

You simply assume that if you're white, you must have gone to a good school, must have a great family background, must have had good parents who went to college, must be from a good neighbor, etc.

Please just stop stereotyping people into large faceless groups and start treating them like individuals who all face their own unique problems and come from a thousand different backgrounds regardless of the color of their skin.

This idea of seeing people as privileged or not privileged simply based on their skin color is moronic and in fact racist at its core.

I definitely get what you're saying. I also understand that this might not be firmly based in fact either, but there is a different perspective than just disadvantaged vs advantaged background. On this other perspective, race does play a major factor, and it's not racist to consider it as the whole point is to stop ignoring this country's extremely racist history.

Mar 11, 2021 - 1:22pm

Ditto. It blows my mind how obvious your point is, yet people in here really want to make bold statements such as all white people are rich and all poor people are minorities. It's roughly the equivalent of Biden's comment that poor kids are just as bright as white kids. I mean fuck, are some of you this dense? Does "white trash" suddenly not exist? Do all black people grow up fatherless and in the ghetto? Is my rich well connected half-Hispanic friend actually just some poor underprivileged minority? Obviously that last one is anecdotal, but if you seriously believe skin color and socioeconomic status 100% overlap, I encourage you to leave your skewed social circle and actually explore this country. One road trip through the south and I guarantee you'll realize that not every white kid is some elite whose family name is on a school library. I just don't see why we can't focus on socioeconomic factors instead of skin color.

Mar 11, 2021 - 9:30am

If you're saying that the disadvantaged should be given opportunities i don't think anyone is arguing against that. But the issue is these programs equate being disadvantaged with being anything besides a straight white male. So what happens to the white guy who comes from a poor community, bad school district, and difficult upbringing? What about the minority or female who grew up wealthy with everything taken care of? Advantages and disadvantages are not determined on a race or gender line, yet these programs are... That's the issue

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 11, 2021 - 9:32am

I agree it's important for socio-economically disadvantaged bright kids to get a shot at making it big through both university and bank programs. However, why not set up programs that target people from low-income and low-education families primarily instead of all women or all people of color (except Asians ofc)? That would lift up the poor white kid and black kid equally while stopping rich girls and people of color from free-riding.

That's my main concern with diversity programs because it's so obviously targeted at PR.

"Helping all poor kids is not sexy enough for today's society, so we continue to let the 'wrong' poor people eat dirt and help all people with orange skin and gender Owl."

  • Associate 2 in AM - Equities
Mar 11, 2021 - 9:38am

I don't disagree with diversity recruiting programs per say but I do think your point here is a bit misleading. As far as I'm aware, diversity programs don't target 'disadvantaged backgrounds', they target gender and race specifically. Now there may be some correlation, but to say these programs aim to help people from disadvantaged backgrounds is wrong imo. They aim to help women and people from specific racial backgrounds. That's it. Nothing more nothing less. 

I do feel targeting underprivileged backgrounds on the basis of income and parent's education would be a fairer system vs the existing one. 

Eg in the UK they don't target universities in low income areas to help people coming from multi generation poverty. There is still rampant class discrimination, which no one wants to systematically target the same way race and gender are being targeted. Or where I come from originally (Australia) there are programs that target women and Aboriginals. But nothing that aims to assist 'underprivileged backgrounds' like poor rural people. 

Mar 11, 2021 - 9:44am

The issue I've always seen with your proposed fairer system is more of a logistical one. What bank is going to go around verifying the parental income and education of their prospective hires? Are they even allowed to do that? This would require an insane amount of work. 

Statistically speaking, I think that race and gender are just instrumental variables to target disadvantaged backgrounds without directly getting that information. It can and does get abused but the barriers to entry on the alternative (your proposed system) are pretty high.

  • Associate 2 in AM - Equities
Mar 11, 2021 - 10:00am

Yes there are some difficulties. You can use other proxies such as postcode/name of high-school (perhaps more applicable to the UK). If people really felt strongly about targeting the disadvantaged they could. However they resort to using race and gender yet still signal they are helping the disadvantaged. I'm not against it, but it does irk me. 

Mar 11, 2021 - 11:23am

Here at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant we give no credence to a candidate's skin color. As long as their family's net worth is at least 9 figures and can be tracked back at least 400 years, and they won't accidentally release toxic waste into the Springfield River (still dealing with the lawsuits), they will be considered with no bias.

Mar 11, 2021 - 12:43pm

OP is just a racist who does not want to help disadvantaged people whose skin is too light.

It's not ''reverse''. It's plain.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

Mar 11, 2021 - 1:13pm

When I was at a consultancy, we had required diversity subcontract hires (their whole company was diverse) and they pretty much all sucked. They didn't have to compete with anyone to win the bid and didn't have to do anything on the project as they couldn't be fired. We didn't give them any important work as they couldn't be trusted. 

It's one thing to be a diversity hire and get some work. It is insulting not to do the actual work, but they could avoid the work and they did avoid most work completely.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Mar 11, 2021 - 1:22pm

Welcome to WSO where people from their ivory towers tell you that diversity programs and affirmative action suck.  If you ever want to get showed with silver bananas start a topic on how affirmative action sucks.  For the most part, people who work in finance are conservative, so it should not be surprising that they are anti affirmative action.  Another group on WSO are butt hurt because a black guy might have taken their spot at an IVY or at Goldman Sachs.  

While I support affirmative action, I would never want to hire someone who is not qualified for the job.  This kind of practice is not good for anyone

http://www.series65examtutor.com
  • 1
Mar 11, 2021 - 1:22pm

Equality in opportunity I support, but not at the expense of meritocracy. 

That simple. 

The most qualified candidate should always be hired whether they are from a disadvantaged community or not; I could care less. (If you can make me 10's of millions every year and I only have to pay you a salary and for your health care I'll make that deal every time)

Sadly universities do not have a standardize grading system so GPA averages vary greatly between different institutions.  A 4.0 at  MIT is much different and harder to achieve than a 4.0 at Harvard or Stanford. This just becomes a bigger issue when we start looking at state schools who deflate their grades or inflate their grades making it hard to determine who really is a good student. 

This website has some amazing graphics if you are interested in grade inflation. 

https://www.gradeinflation.com/ 

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

June 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (205) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (116) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (97) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (27) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (427) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (341) $82