How hard it really is to get your 1st "big boy" job

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I really don't want to come off as pessimistic but with all of the back office bashing and "prestige" rankings it seems as though people are forgetting about just how hard it actually is to get in most jobs that require a BA or BS degree. It's a little presumptuous for people with no full time experience acting like they "MUST GET IN GS TMT" or else they will be screwed for life.

I thought I'd mention someone who went to Harvard, graduated with honors, and still didn't get hired in banking at GS: Lloyd Blankfein. He was just like many us looking to get in finance. He didn't have a md dad or come from a hnw family and actually lived in the projects. After being dinged at goldman he went to law school and was a lawyer before coming back to goldman and the rest is history.

Look at any stats on applicants and hires for any investment bank and it's quite staggering how difficult it is. Any BB SA application you see on linkedin will probably have at least 200-300 other applicants. Not to say it can't happen to you because obviously people will get hired every year (I try to read a couple of the wso success stories every week), but by no means is it the end-all-be-all if you don't get in. There are so many reasons why you couldn't get the job and hiring isn't always an exact science. I'm sure just about everyone has been denied a job at least once.

Comments (30)

Oct 25, 2015

Ehh keep finding excuses for yourself. You're clearly just trying to make yourself feel better just in case you don't break in, but don't bring everyone else down.

I don't go to an ivy, and yet we have scores of kids getting into Wallstreet every year. I have a friend who goes to a non-target flagship state school, and they send ~25 kids to Wallstreet annually thanks to IB Workshop. Bottom line is, no it's not as hard as you think. Pre 2008, maybe it was hard. Now, no.

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Oct 25, 2015
AspiringInvestor:

Ehh keep finding excuses for yourself. You're clearly just trying to make yourself feel better just in case you don't break in, but don't bring everyone else down.

I don't go to an ivy, and yet we have scores of kids getting into Wallstreet every year. I have a friend who goes to a non-target flagship state school, and they send ~25 kids to Wallstreet annually thanks to IB Workshop. Bottom line is, no it's not as hard as you think. Pre 2008, maybe it was hard. Now, no.

If you're in the IB workshop I know of (Not the original at Kelley, they're larger than 25) then that's not a good indicator. The IB workshop you're attending has a good reputation because they know that the kids in that program are pre-selected by the faculty to be capable of doing the job and are then trained. Workshop kids from different programs have also performed pretty well around the street so most banks are eager to pick them up.

The situation is VERY different for people who are applying without that or an ivy-league credential as a general rule. While I recognize that there are some exceptions(veteran and female networking groups being a notable one), keep in mind that your experience at a recognized program is very different from what most people experience.

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Oct 25, 2015

As I have a network of "non-target" friends from high school days that I keep in close touch with, I can tell you right now that I know a few kids who broke into WallStreet without any sort of workshop or ivy credentials. They weren't that impressive TBH. Studied hard, got a 3.7+, cold-called a few boutiques before junior year and got internships (where they didn't even do any legit work), and embellished the fuk out of resume. Oh, and read M&I / did some prep course for the interviews.

The biggest obstacle is not knowing that you want to to IBD early enough. I only discovered what IBD was in my SENIOR year, so too damn late as you can imagine. If you enter some non-target state school (granted it can't be absolute shit, rank 30-60 preferable), bust ass starting as a freshman and dedicate your efforts, 100% possible to break into IBD. Time is your greatest resource, you don't need to be a genius to get into IBD analyst programs (unlike for CS majors who want to get into Google/Apple/FB, you actually have to be smart).

Disclaimer: The above are all just based on my personal observations.

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Oct 26, 2015

l

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Oct 25, 2015
Human Capital:

Are you in IBD? No. So don't be so presumptuous. IBD is hard to get in and even harder at a BB. Let's face it 3% of people who apply at GS are hired. Is it easier to get in from a target and as a minority? Absolutely but obviously there are no guarantees.

I don't think you know how minority recruiting works. When banks have these workshops for minorities and women, it's not like they're picking up kids who would otherwise not have a shot at IB. Most of the minority and female applicants coming from these workshops are still at Ivies or other top schools and would most likely get in anyway. So, the idea that banks are just opening the floodgates to unqualified applicants via minority workshops is not only wrong, it's insulting. As a white male, you will never be at a disadvantage when applying to bank. Don't sweat it.

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Oct 25, 2015

You're the one making presumptuous statements as a sophomore in university. I'll concede that neither of us are qualified to make sweeping conclusions about the difficulty of breaking into IBD, so why don't you try it first before coming on here to tell us all that it's nigh-impossible?

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Oct 25, 2015

Also worth pointing out while there's nothing wrong with "back office", it's just not what a lot of people here want to do. If you're here it's probably because your desired job function has to do with either company valuation, deals, or working with capital markets. There are a lot of great back office career paths: I've met folks who are very well off from building either tech or project management expertise on Wall Street. They're technically "back office" but very good at what they and paid very well. The catch is that it's just not finance work.

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Oct 25, 2015

So what? Do the work or shut up. No body cares how hard you tried.

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Oct 25, 2015

Not to rain on your parade but if are discouraged by this then IB probably isn't for you. You need to be optimistic and motivated. This line of thinking is a sure way NOT to get a job in IB

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Oct 26, 2015

.

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Oct 25, 2015

ITT: OP officially announces his retirement from the IBD rat race. One less to worry about!

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Oct 26, 2015

s.

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Best Response
Oct 26, 2015

OP I hate to be that guy, but you are drinking some real strong kool-aid if you think you're just gonna hop on over to Asset Management or that it will be any easier to break in than IBD. AM jobs, especially out of college, are even harder to land than BB IBD.

You need top grades, top school, legit buyside internships and a demonstrated interest / experience investing to just get interviews. When I was interviewing and doing FT OCR at a top target, I progressed to several IBD superdays because my resume screamed banking. While I received an equal amount of AM first rounds as I did IBD, I got ZERO AM superdays simply because of my banking experience. These shops are looking for VERY specific candidates, not just banking monkeys who are happy churn away in excel 90 hours a week.

I also find it semi-hilarious how deluded you are in thinking you're just going to hop on over to Fidelity or BlackRock once you get "some experience". Do you know how hard it is to get a job at those shops? You will be recruiting into a smaller pool than banking against some of the most talented investors in the world with quantifiable experience and track records, who came from Ivys with top grades.

Your statements scream that you no chance to break in anywhere, and you need to reevaluate your attitude and how bad you want it:

"...but I think AM is more of what fits me. I've been wanting to start on the CFA for a while and think equities is my calling."

That is a losing, entitled mindset and is going to bury you before you even get a chance. You wouldn't mind ER or HF? Who would?? Candidates like you are a joke and need to start taking accountability for your failures and change approaches, or stop trying, but for the love of God please stop whining and making excuses.

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Oct 25, 2015
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Oct 27, 2015

The amount of hate OP is getting is ridiculous.

Most married couples at the peak of their careers in the United States - never mind the rest of the world - do not make what a first year IBD analyst makes all in. High finance is a bubble, and an exclusive one at that. OP is merely trying to say that you should realize where you are in the context of basically the rest of the world when you're complaining about only a 120k paying BO or MM gig instead of a BB IBD top group role. Some humility and perspective are hardly bad for you.

I'm also willing to bet that all the idiots on this thread deriding OP are non-target kids who seem to think their "positive attitude" makes up for long term ass busting, intelligence, or just the ability to crack a >1800 on the SATs.

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Oct 27, 2015

I don't think the OP was trying to get at humility or perspective. The tone of his post is one of pessimism and borderline justification for why the OP cannot get a job. It's always good to have humility and perspective but when someone starts complaining about why they can't get a job and providing justification for that fact... Did you expect people in IB to have any sort of sympathy for that kind of attitude?

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Nov 1, 2015

@imaseo and @OleBurnSides What Oleburn said is completely my intention. I just wanted to get a discussion started.I never once said that I can't get a job. In person I have much more of a "be seen not heard" kind of attitude. I mean let's not act like IBD is a cake walk. Even the CEO of Goldman Sachs didn't originally get in when he had intended and he went to harvard. Is ibd doable? Yes absolutely but everyone knows that there might be intangible reasons why you didn't get hired. The job market is a numbers games. More connections, more applications, better grades, target student, etc. will all increase the odds.

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Nov 1, 2015

@imaseo btw congrats on getting in IBD

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Nov 2, 2015

The hard part for most people is that they don't realize how competitive the job market is until it's too late (not just IB). Beyond that, once you have your first good internship out of the way life gets easier, as in the next year internship it gets easier to differentiate yourself from people who didn't have one and the same goes for full time recruiting. A lot of success can be attributed to momentum, so your job is to build a foundation to position yourself for that. Getting the right offer is pretty tough, because when you're starting out you don't have much negotiating power and usually cant afford to pass up a decent offer. I know a guy who couldn't find a job and ended up in logistics, so a few years later the choice was to either start from square one or move somewhere else higher up within that field.

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Nov 2, 2015
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