Dreadlocks in finance

Hi, just want to find out if having dreadlocks will reduce my chances when it comes to getting a job in the finance industry. Is there any professional here with dreadlocks? I keep them very clean and neat, tied back.

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Comments (70)

Oct 17, 2012

I would suggest cutting your hair.

Oct 17, 2012

Can't you at least not keep them till after getting an offer?

Oct 17, 2012

I've seen it done, but very rarely. The one guy I knew who had them, cut them off as soon as he was to become client facing. The safer bet is to have short hair.

Oct 17, 2012

ditch em man

Oct 17, 2012

keep em less competition

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Oct 17, 2012

well I've had these dreadlocks for close to 6years now. They have worked to my advantage. lecturer's easily remembering me and the like.

Oct 17, 2012
TheLuxion:

well I've had these dreadlocks for close to 6years now. They have worked to my advantage. lecturer's easily remembering me and the like.

The professional world is not the same as a classroom.

Oct 17, 2012
asiamoney:
TheLuxion:

well I've had these dreadlocks for close to 6years now. They have worked to my advantage. lecturer's easily remembering me and the like.

The professional world is not the same as a classroom.

of course its not the same.....that doesn't factor out the fact that its easy for people to remember me by describing myself as the guy with the dreadlocks right?

Oct 17, 2012

I've seen a black female with dreads work in GS M&A, but apparently it's not okay for white males.

Just get this:

Oct 17, 2012
BTbanker:

I've seen a black female with dreads work in GS M&A, but apparently it's not okay for white males.

Just get this:

GS M&A? Interesting...

Oct 17, 2012
rufiolove:
BTbanker:

I've seen a black female with dreads work in GS M&A, but apparently it's not okay for white males.

Just get this:

GS M&A? Interesting...

I don't know which group actually.

Oct 17, 2012
BTbanker:

I've seen a black female with dreads work in GS M&A, but apparently it's not okay for white males.

Just get this:

Lol I'm a black male. I don't think that would be possible even if I tried.

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Oct 17, 2012
TheLuxion:
BTbanker:

I've seen a black female with dreads work in GS M&A, but apparently it's not okay for white males.

Just get this:

Lol I'm a black male. I don't think that would be possible even if I tried.

Then I'd just cut it short.

Feb 11, 2017

Bump

Super rare. I actually have dreads, and am the only black person on the investment team. In the South!

I hear stuff but it's really other minorities (Latin, Asian) that are always commenting / saying something about it.

Most white folk just ask questions every now and again on the elevator. Haha.

It can serve as a hurdle for you just like your skin tone.

Just have to persist if it's something that you don't want to give up. It's definitely going to be harder, but it's possible.

And being a guy on the buy side with dreads is like being a unicorn. Haha. I tell people what I do and they're like "and they let you keep your hair?!"

The way I see it is if a firm passes on me because the way my hair naturally grows, then that's not a place where I need to be...

So I try to bust ass and make any firm that pass on me because of my hair reconsider their position on it when the next young black applicant with dreads comes across their plate

Feb 11, 2017
whateverrrrr:

fail to see why it is such a big deal provided that it has zero impact on my ability to do work

It has nothing to do with competence.

Feb 11, 2017

As above, it's about presentation and finance is a conservative field. I wouldn't worry about being asked to cut your hair for a job, because honestly you probably won't get an offer if you show up to an interview with long dreadlocks. I think you could get away with short dreadlocks at most but I would definitely cut my hair before interviewing.

Feb 11, 2017

Yea, I agree with this comment. I wouldn't interview w/ dreadlocks because of the perception that it could give off. As bad as it sounds, a lot of people still stereotype based on things as simple as hair and you don't want to lose out on an offer because of that. Although you're attached to your hair, you've likely put in A LOT more work to get to where you are now. I know this isn't what you wanted to hear and although I agree that your logic about your hair not affecting your work is right, I wouldn't chance it.

Feb 11, 2017
notthehospitalER:

As above, it's about presentation and finance is a conservative field. I wouldn't worry about being asked to cut your hair for a job, because honestly you probably won't get an offer if you show up to an interview with long dreadlocks. I think you could get away with short dreadlocks at most but I would definitely cut my hair before interviewing.

.... When by conservative you mean fraternity brothers pumping shots and ritalin, sure.

Oct 17, 2012
whateverrrrr:

Since it is 2014 i was wondering if anything has changed in terms of how corporate culture views black men with long hair.

This is where you have it wrong. No man with long hair can have a reasonable chance of succeeding in finance, not just black men. Long hair on a man is usually a sign that you care more about your hair than your career, and that perception is usually right.

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Feb 11, 2017
SirTradesaLot:
whateverrrrr:

Since it is 2014 i was wondering if anything has changed in terms of how corporate culture views black men with long hair.

This is where you have it wrong. No man with long hair can have a reasonable chance of succeeding in finance, not just black men. Long hair on a man is usually a sign that you care more about your hair than your career, and that perception is usually right.

Except John and Pete Najarian because "People always want to know what is their secret to trading the options"

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Feb 11, 2017
SirTradesaLot:
whateverrrrr:

Since it is 2014 i was wondering if anything has changed in terms of how corporate culture views black men with long hair.

This is where you have it wrong. No man with long hair can have a reasonable chance of succeeding in finance, not just black men. Long hair on a man is usually a sign that you care more about your hair than your career, and that perception is usually right.

My roommate in NYC had shoulder length hair and ran his own desk at GS. He didn't grow it out until he was already successful though so the principle still applies...

Feb 11, 2017

ahh, I feel like I keep going back to this, but this is further reason that people need to read John T Molloy's dress for success, it spells out all of this stuff. the short of it is you shouldn't have long hair (long=covering any part of your face, clothing, or ears) under any circumstances unless you're an owner of your own firm (remember kids, eccentricity is frowned upon). moreover, you shouldn't have a beard (unless for religious reasons), and you should wear conservative clothing.

while I can't say for sure if this would prevent you from getting hired, it will definitely hold you back. regardless of how silly people's prejudices are (not against dreads, against long hair), they see someone with long hair as someone who can't be taken seriously, and who wants to put someone in front of a client whose hair is more attention drawing than his work?

bottom line, as boring as it is, if you want to get a good job (in any industry save maybe creative ones), cut your hair, shave your face, and dress conservatively.

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Feb 11, 2017

Are you willing to sacrifice your career for your hair or your hair for your career?

Feb 11, 2017

@whateverrr: Are you serious??? What would you gain by having long hair in Finance? If you're asking, it means you care more about your hair than your career.. Cut your hair today or you can forget about a career.

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Feb 11, 2017

You won't be asked to cut them to accept a job because you won't get an offer for a job. Cut your hair. It's not a black/white thing, but finance is generally a conservative business and long hair or anything out of the ordinary will simply stand out in a bad way. There's no point in arguing conformity, fashion, personal style or whatever else. It simply is what it is.

Feb 11, 2017

My words from my initial response: "I wouldn't worry about being asked to cut your hair for a job, because honestly you probably won't get an offer if you show up to an interview with long dreadlocks."

We don't know each other, but I've seen a bunch of your posts on WSO (and know a bit about your background through reading them) and I am encouraged that my opinions reflect yours pretty often - while I'm clearly not the only one (and probably not even in a minority) it makes me feel like I'm getting stuff right haha

Feb 11, 2017

Unless you have a valid reason (read: religious), I would cut the hair.

Feb 11, 2017

Again, this is not even debatable. Being so attached to excuse me? Dreadlocks vs. a career absent religious reasons is just plain stupid. It has taken this many posts to arrive at this conclusion?

Feb 11, 2017

What's the most prestigious haircut? Do we have a ranking here yet? Did a search and couldn't find one for 2014.

Feb 11, 2017

Just cut the hair, a haircut shouldn't make you choose a different career path.

Feb 11, 2017

One of my rasta friends had the illest dreads. Kinda sad he got rid of em

mbavsmfin:

I don't wear watches bro. Because it's always MBA BALLER time!

Feb 11, 2017

Whenever you go outside the norm you are making a point to draw attention towards yourself. If you are good enough you can probably overcome it, but why deal with it in the first place. You are simply starting off on the wrong foot. The bigger question is whether you value hair over a career. They aren't mutually exclusive, but I absolutely guarantee you will be looked at less favorably (note, non un-favorably) because you will initially stand out.

Feb 11, 2017

When in doubt, don't do it.

Feb 11, 2017

When in doubt, don't do it.

Feb 11, 2017

Be a grownup and cut your hair.

I'm bi-winning. I win here, and I win there.

Feb 11, 2017

Grow them back out when you're on the buyside.

Feb 11, 2017

The Golden Rule of Finance: "Cut the locks and clean the chops"

LA Bull

Feb 11, 2017

The Golden Rule of Finance: "Cut the locks and clean the chops"

LA Bull

Feb 11, 2017

The Golden Rule of Finance: "Cut the locks and clean the chops"

LA Bull

Feb 11, 2017

.

Feb 11, 2017

This isn't even a racial issue. Long hair is generally a no no in a professional setting. I can count on no hands the number of people I've seen with hair longer than shoulder length.

Cut your hair and be an adult. Or get a job that doesn't care about thus crap. Has zero to do with being black and 100% with being professional.

Best Response
Feb 11, 2017

I'm going to go ahead and disagree with the people saying it's ok to have a clownish beard or hair for religious reasons. I do not respect that approach at all. I cannot fathom being controlled into marginalizing my career and life in general because a religion says I need to modify my appearance to look ridiculous. Leave the religion at home or even better drop that nonsense entirely.

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Feb 11, 2017

One of the douchier things I've read here in a while...I actually agree about shaving etc when possible (even if you're religious, as many do) but part of the point is that religion is the number 1 most important thing for many people and therefore more important than a career etc in many ways....you saying you can't understand marginalizing it for religion (something I agree with also, as I'm not religious at all) just shows you're missing the entire point...

Re: looking ridiculous. I, like you (I assume) have short hair and am clean shaven and am also preconditioned to think that long beards etc look out of place and don't look good....but I'm guessing a lot of girls in the sorts of places you're thinking about find that look bangin.

Finally, you're generally criticizing people for changing their appearance to adhere to a religion they respect/follow, but at the same time urging other people to conform to a certain look to adhere to corporate culture etc (in order to fit in career-wise, which is also important to them)...pretty hypocritical mate...

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Feb 11, 2017
adapt or die:

I'm going to go ahead and disagree with the people saying it's ok to have a clownish beard or hair for religious reasons. I do not respect that approach at all. I cannot fathom being controlled into marginalizing my career and life in general because a religion says I need to modify my appearance to look ridiculous. Leave the religion at home or even better drop that nonsense entirely.

Will SB when I get more. Most people agree, but would never admit it.

True believers of religion are generally dumber than average. This is probably the only thing that Communism had right.

Leave your Flying Spaghetti Monster nonsense at home.

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Feb 11, 2017

Roommate is in consulting and he has locks. I have a Drake beard at all times, and we're both on track for promotion. That said, finance is a lot more stiff IMO than consulting, so it may be a no go there. If your credentials are solid you might be able to slide through. I wouldn't work for a firm where I felt the need to have no semblance of physical self expression (within reason). Best of luck though bro.

Edit*

His locks are very neat though and he gets them twisted often. He doesn't have the Gunplay locks... Those are a definite no go lol.

Feb 11, 2017
IBTeaching:

Drake beard

Feb 11, 2017

I cannot tell if you're trolling or not. How have you not got abused for posting this.

Feb 11, 2017

Dude this isn't an Occupy Wall Street forum...

Feb 11, 2017

Guys, whatever the sky monkey tells you to do. Imagine if adults still believed in Santa lol.

@adaptordie

Feb 11, 2017
TNA:

Guys, whatever the sky monkey tells you to do. Imagine if adults still believed in Santa lol.

@adaptordie

Plenty of adults believe that a guy with a white beard is judging their every move, will burn them in eternal flames if their parents believed and taught them the wrong thing about who to believe in, and created the Earth in 'literally' seven days.

Santa Claus seems plausible or likely by comparison.

Feb 11, 2017

He knows if you've been bad or good, he knows if you have tithed, he knows if you've followed whatever arbitrary rule or not, so be good for goodness sake.

Feb 11, 2017

Great thread! I'm having the same dilemma. I have dreadlocks and I'm wondering if I should cut them to make it in finance. I've had plenty of interviews and offers(low end) but no offers from the places I want(even after making it to the final round) I do feel it is because of my dreadlocks. I still keep in contact with some of the people I've interviewed with and after a few conversations some where down the line they ask me if I ever thought of cutting my hair, my mentor has asked me the same thing.

Yes, it does some stupid to have to do this but then again you know what you sign up for when you begin your path of wanting to be in the financial industry. I'll probably cut it off after I finish my Masters. Yes, I'll probably become bitter and a little angry that I had to do this to make it in the industry but every career comes with sacrifices.

Reminds me of Richard Branson and how he said he had long hair etc and he cut it to get a job and after he became successful he grew it out again.

In this industry first you have to fit in and then you can stand out later. One of those things where you have to pay to play.

Great thread! It helped to confirm some things

Feb 11, 2017

Ok, stepping back from my religiousness tirade, the reality is we all have to conform or do shit we don't like for any job. Hair nets at McDonalds, uniforms at GM, business professional/casual for office work. Have to watch what you say and do for fear of offending someone. Dealing with office politics and fucked up personalities.Women face issues when dealing with clients in certain countries. On and on.

I don't see this as a "anti dreadlocks" thing, but as a clean cut and presentable thing. You can't rock a lax flow at work either. You have to shave. Tone down the cologne, etc. It's about being professional in a western sense of the word. We all signed up for this when we got into the game, no sense complaining about it now.

Feb 11, 2017
TNA:

Ok, stepping back from my religiousness tirade, the reality is we all have to conform or do shit we don't like for any job. Hair nets at McDonalds, uniforms at GM, business professional/casual for office work. Have to watch what you say and do for fear of offending someone. Dealing with office politics and fucked up personalities.Women face issues when dealing with clients in certain countries. On and on.

I don't see this as a "anti dreadlocks" thing, but as a clean cut and presentable thing. You can't rock a lax flow at work either. You have to shave. Tone down the cologne, etc. It's about being professional in a western sense of the word. We all signed up for this when we got into the game, no sense complaining about it now.

I'd like to keep talking about the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the sky because I really like Talk Like a Pirate Day as my high holy holiday, and I definitely think heaven is a beer volcano and a stripper factory, but that's just my belief system. IMO, fuck 72 virgins for blowing yourself to bits. My goal is to die by riding too hard and being suffocated by the largest mammary glands known to man and landing in an eternity that consists of unlimited booze and loose women. But I digress...

I feel like there's a post every week or two with a question like "can I wear dreads," " is long hair ok," "is it ok to interview for analyst/associate jobs with a beard," "should I get a tat on my forearm," even down to "can I wear this weird suit/tie/shoe," or whatever. Like @"TNA" state, it's just not. It's a voluntary decision to get into the finance world. It's a world of conformity. I can't believe that someone would work so hard their entire young lives, give up social lives in HS and college to score a 3.7+, and do stupid ass EC's that they don't really want to do and then when it comes time to landing a job even consider their hair, clothes, facial hair or personal style and ask if they should give it up to get a job that they've been aiming for for years. You are choosing a lifestyle of conforming to the suit and tie world where cufflinks and watches are the ways you get crazy when you're 10 or 15 years into your career. And, as someone who's much older than a lot of people on here, you know what? In a few years you won't even remember to think about having cut your hair, shaved your beard or not getting a tat on your forearm. It's similar when the girl dumped you when you were 17 and you thought it was the biggest deal in your life that you'd never get over but at 21 you can't even remember it.

And it's totally fine to not want finance. You can get a good job in a more creative yet professional industry like advertising, design, some tech co's, etc where you can express individuality. Alternatively you can also work at Starbucks or at a hipster bar. You can get away with anything at those places. But if you want finance, you have to realize that you're sacrificing any of that.

And you know what? Personally I'd probably look more like I'd just walked off the set of Sons of Anarchy than out of a Brooks Brothers catalog if I could look anyway I want. But a long time ago I choose the world of finance and I, at 40 and much closer to the top of the food chain than most people on here, still have to look the Brooks Brothers part. And I don't give a crap about it. I like my job and I like the money.

Feb 11, 2017

It doesn't affect your ability to use Excel, but it does communicate your attitude and the difference in your attitude is a bigger part of work than you difference in Excel skills vs. your peers.

The guys who are considering hiring you are trying to find someone dedicated enough to sacrifice quite a lot for work. They are trying to assess if you will be detail oriented when there is a lot of demanding work, if you will work late or weekends without complaint, if you will be there in the clutch.

You are debating if getting a haircut is worth it to get the job. Trust me, missing stuff you care about because you have to work is a lot harder than getting a haircut, they know that. They need someone dependable and you are communicating that you are going to do your fashion thing regardless of what people think, those don't really go together.

Feb 11, 2017

I don't think it's as much this^ as it is that the dreadlocks make it impossible to put you in front of clients. Investment bankers are supposed to be the smartest guys in the room to their clients and the general public. This is the way they bankers continue to make massive fees for work that could be done by anyone with half a brain and moderate excel and ppt skills. This image needs to be maintained to a high degree, because clients cannot for one second be under the impression their hired advisors might not be financial guru BSDs. Having dreads instead of a more conservative haircut could make a client start to think, "did I hired someone who will lead a well orchestrated M&A process start to finish or did I just hire a Alabama RB?"

People may not like these stereotypical perceptions but that's the reality.