How seriously do you take this forum?

everyone here is so concerned about "exits modelling deal flow lateral target rainmaker" it's honestly quite cringe but also quite hilarious to see

no way do you all work in the top tier teams at the top tier banks. yet there is an insane amount of snobbery about everything and anything.

no one really thinks about other people's career as much as you think they do.  no one cares about your career as much as you do. no one cares. i don't mean this in a harsh or mean way. i'm just speaking the truth.


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Comments (113)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 19, 2021 - 3:35pm

Many of the posts in question seem to be mental masturbatory exercises concocted by the undergrads at IU Kelly

Apr 24, 2021 - 10:39pm

Lloyd BIankfein

IU Kelley is a target school if you're fucking an ear of corn from the Midwest 

Go, Go, Excel

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 19, 2021 - 3:37pm

Once people start full time they realize how much nonsense is on this website I think. You have interns claiming deal sizes/ deal flow/ good groups of firms based on just their summer experience and hearsay lol. I've been stunned by the amount of undergrads now that I will talk to that will make wildly inaccurate claims about my bank because I assume they read a post about it on WSO and assumed it to be true rather than talking to real people. Demographics I think are largely undergrads with a few first years or really immature second years. From my experience when I was a first year, I think as people miserable first years often like to justify their misery by claiming that their bank is vastly superior to others, which propagates rankings etc. and undergrads just don't know what they don't know.

Jun 6, 2021 - 12:56am

Haven't commented in a while but this post compelled me to say I completely agree with you. I have started FT months ago and now I see just how silly the elitism is on this website. People make these careers seem so linear, which when you take a step back and think about the advice given here makes life seem so boring. Whoever is reading this, you'll be fine and you'll make money. Just save, invest, and don't splurge recklessly like an instagram influencer.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 19, 2021 - 3:54pm

I think the main thing that this website has totally twisted is the prestige of certain things and how prestige = happiness. 

I would rather be dating a wonderful woman making 10-15% less at a less prestigious MM firm than at GS, Moelis and contemplating suicide due to WLB. 

I'm pretty sure some hardo will throw MS, but it's totally true. 

Apr 19, 2021 - 5:42pm best friend is an MD at Moelis, has a banging hot 9.5 wife, makes ~2 milly a year and works less than 40 hours a week...has plenty of time to play with his kids and go out with the friends...and he throws an awesome holiday party

just google're welcome
  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 6, 2021 - 2:35am

The irony is that so many times you make more at a MM firm. The prestige often allows places to pay you less at nearly every level.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 19, 2021 - 4:34pm

This website is pretty toxic tbh. I care way more about what people do than i should

But at the end of the day it is entertaining and just a part of what we do 

Jun 13, 2021 - 12:27pm

Truth. How people talk about females on here can be horrendous. Yet, it's permitted, possibly encouraged.... The female version of that speech wouldn't be welcome. It would probably talk about dick size, driving a very nice car to compensate for a tiny dick. Stuff like that... like, many of these people can not get women. It's not happening, I promise you.... moreover, I posted something once from a different account/username, and I was "punished," or my ability to post/throw was taken away. I don't recall the details, but the correct response would have been to "protect" or look out for the female. To acknowledge the audacity or issue at hand.... so yeah. In short, this is a shit show. And I feel very bad for some of the men on here. If more women were witnessing the thoughts in their heads, it's like "repellant." They can be gorgeous with hearts of gold, they're not going to go near males who think like this... its probably common knowledge, that other forums/industries/social groups, will not/do not have the same disappointing tone.  

Apr 20, 2021 - 7:55am

yep same for me. this site has been integral for me to break into the street, some of the users here are amazing.

Go all the way

  • NA in IB-M&A
Apr 21, 2021 - 11:21pm

RuneScape from like 2006-2012 was unbelievable..I was logging banking hours on that game..and I'm not even a nerdy type, former college athlete. Your post gave me nostalgia

Apr 19, 2021 - 5:16pm

Some information on this website was invaluable when going through recruiting. I learned things about banks/groups/etc that I would not have learned otherwise. However, once I moved past recruiting I began to realize how much of the information on this website was just regurgitation from prospects. It's such an echo chamber.

Apr 19, 2021 - 5:44pm

As a person who used to cover banks in ER, I think it's substantiated to use this forum to be worried about the declining reputations and conditions of certain banks and their respective tiers (like DB or CS). I remember back in 2016 when CS was restructuring their Markets division all while going through MIFID II and everyone was like "relax". Well 1/2 my entire floor in research turned over and 1/3 of the first years in my class were culled. The business of banking is literally all about reputation and prestige and yes even some clients love the idea of having GS as an adviser out of namesake.

Also how is thinking about maxing out your paycheck + bonus a cringe thing? Not too many years ago, it was ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. It was all about getting as stupid high of a cash payout as you could. Hookers and blow were actually a thing among teams (I see this more often among my lawyer friends now lol) and not just a meme people joked about. 

Lastly, I definitely think focusing on exit opps is valid. IDK how many of you people have state-school friends but the "prestigious" job out of college there tends to be Big 4 accounting and many of them feel stuck because they realize they don't like the job but the exit opps are very, very narrow. At least with banking you can jump ship to some strategy/ops role in Uber or something. 

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  • 7
  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Comm
Apr 21, 2021 - 11:23am

Why does this have MS?
He's being completely honest and it seems 100% true...

Jul 6, 2021 - 9:45am

If anything, people like this are why I'm here. Not gonna give some sob story about my upbringing. But people who are willing to open doors (or even just provide insight) are invaluable to anyone looking to better their situation.

  • Intern in PE - Growth
Apr 19, 2021 - 6:05pm

I´m on cold turkey from 4chan, so this is the only outlet for my shitposting needs

Apr 19, 2021 - 6:12pm

I hope most people are here for entertainment. I'd find it hard to believe that the actual forum content on WSO is considered trustworthy.

There is no way to know if someone  is fake posting or impersonating. Some people know that I work in corporate development, but how do you really know?

I could have easily posed as a VP at GS and no one can verify if my claims are true.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Apr 19, 2021 - 7:30pm

This forum has made students hyper focused on rankings, prestige and exit opps, when in reality, those things matter a lot less once you enter the industry

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 19, 2021 - 8:50pm

I like the people with the gold stars. If you think this is bad though, look at the ApplyingToCollege sub on reddit. It's like this but with 14 year olds.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 20, 2021 - 1:12am

I will say this, I couldn't have broken into IB if not for this website. For all the shitposting, I am grateful to have had the chance of coming across WSO when I was about to start recruiting.

Apr 20, 2021 - 3:42am

There are also crotchety old timers around who have been through some things who come back to keep a pulse on what's going on. You need to focus on posters who might provide the right amount of info with authority, not the general froth. 

  • 1
Apr 21, 2021 - 11:36am

Thanks man, hope you've been doing well.

I'm good...just raised another round of VC money (series C), and am only expected to grow revenue at least 100% a year, every year. Semi-joking aside...doing very well. Hope you are too!

  • 1
  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Apr 20, 2021 - 6:08am

2 parents earning a combined 200k income does sound pretty normal & middle class? could be e.g 125k & 75k....assuming older parents at e.g. 50-60 years old that doesn't sound too preposterous or "out of touch rich"? Sure I am aware that the median / average income in America is like 50-60k or w/e per household but that doesn't mean that that is what the middle class is. Sure there are cost of living considerations to take into account as well but still.

disclosure not from USA 

Apr 20, 2021 - 6:00am

I think over the years this forum has changed a lot. After attending WSO events in both London and NYC a long time ago, I can see how changes in demographic, politics, a pandemic and the internet as a whole have altered attitudes online (not just here, generally).

It seems there is more hostility, aggression and more opinions than before. Wouldn't be a surprise if meetups will either note be held in the future (for various reasons), or if fewer people were willing to attend them.

Apr 20, 2021 - 11:56am

agreed - moderation is one very tough nut to crack.  We have  a lot of automated moderation going on that allows us to keep the forums largely free of spam, but I think we could do better.

Maybe we can have something where we can allow users to "mute" certain users so they don't see them on their version of WSO (just not sure how much that would impact performance).  

any other suggestions?

Apr 22, 2021 - 5:57pm

I don't know that I have anything really actionable to recommend unfortunately. Any time you have an open online forum you're going to have a broad distribution of content.

The "garbage" I'm referring to is the stereotypical shitposting, occasional flaming, and armchair experts commenting on stuff they're ignorant about, but all that just comes with the territory in an online forum. I'm not sure if you currently do, but adding community moderators might help with low-quality content management, but there's a fine line between moderation and censorship and frankly it's a bit of blurry line to me. If folks rack up X number of monkey shits on a comment or overall perhaps they get automatically hidden or something, but again... where's the line? I can't say - I'm just spitballing here. I will point out that I've never come across anything so offensive that I've wanted to block somebody though.

On the whole I do find the WSO forums to be a positive place in many respects and I read it nearly every day (along with reddit, lol). I've been coming here long before I created an account and it does seem to be getting bigger and better, so kudos to your team

Apr 24, 2021 - 10:45pm

Maybe we can have something where we can allow users to "mute" certain users so they don't see them on their version of WSO (just not sure how much that would impact performance). 

That's an excellent idea.

Go, Go, Excel

Apr 25, 2021 - 10:01pm

I have been dying for a "mute" ever since the accountingmajor.

It would be great to be able to completely hide posts from certain people. As an example, there was a former poster on the RE Forum (I think his name was tthhdd but RIP he doesn't post anymore) who would post in every thread about his experience at Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac / Capital One even when it was completely irrelevant. He wasn't a bot, he just really enjoyed talking about his Freddie Mac experience. If I were to make a post, I would love to be able to ban the AccountingMajor or tthhdd from mucking up the comment section. Similar to how you do "certified user only" posts. I just want to exclude a few key shitposters.

Also, don't worry about the haters in this comment section. If this same post were made in the RE forum, the comments would be more positive. IB has a lot of hyper-focused undergrads that make the comment section a bit more toxic.


  • 4
  • Works at CorpFinance
Apr 20, 2021 - 11:13am

*Insert that Denzel Clip from Training Day on his speech about Newspapers*

I look at this website these days like Hip-Hop: You have to decipher between the BS and truth

The interesting thing about this forum (and site) really has been its evolution from the mid-2000s to now. The site used to be like a secret handshake where people in the know for finance were predominant users and provide great resources for younger folks looking to break in. Sometime in the mid-2010s, the site's popularity among undergrads and HS grew quite a bit and the forum has begun skewing towards that crowd (not passing judgment, more of observation) 

The way I see it these days on some of the main forums:

IB - thread skews more towards people younger people (HS through 1st years)

PE - thread skews more towards professionals with a few years under their belt

CF - Not as active in the past so not much of skew there

OFF - all over the place and basically red light district for the forum (always entertaining for different sets of people)

Sep 25, 2021 - 2:59pm

Some of the content in the HF and AM sections were extremely helpful to me when I was in undergrad and getting into investing. The posts by simpleas, blackhat, macrobruin, martinghoul, bondarb, etc. were all amazing and I spent many hours from my senior year in HS through college scouring posts and comments by those users on here. 

That's one of the primary reasons why I came back after all these years, just to pass it on. I agree re: the garbage on this site, the prestige circle-jerk over IB will probably always be here and sometimes reminds me of kids on college confidential "chancing" each other for schools that nobody has gotten into and has no business ranking each other on.

But there's also a surprising number of older professionals (HF PMs and such) on here willing to share their knowledge and experience and that to me is invaluable and worth wading through shit for. 

Apr 20, 2021 - 11:58am

[] and AndyLouis, I still believe the anon posting feature is detrimental to the quality of this site, or the bar to enable anon posting needs to be even higher than it already is. Otherwise I'm of the view this only adds to the shitposting and garbage. People can still stay truly anonymous by creating burner accounts, and that slight barrier to entry I feel would cut down on a ton of shit that gets posted here.

Apr 20, 2021 - 12:08pm

I think it's obvious that it increases the amount of shitposting/trolling, but it also comes with a major benefit = more people comfortable sharing information about specific firms. 

The ratio requirement means that anyone that is posting anonymously has a better than 2:1 ratio for SB:MS (70%+).  I feel like this is a sufficiently high bar and excludes the members that are most likely to troll/shitpost.  Is the system perfect, no, but it does come with benefits AND even though the community can't see who is posting anonymously, that doesn't mean we can't moderate the people that are misbehaving and posting anonymously.  so if someone posts anonymously and their comment is flagged, for example, they are still sent a warning and their content can still be removed if it violates our TOS.

Part of the issue is making sure that the community helps us continue to police the bad actors to try and get their content removed ASAP.



Apr 22, 2021 - 5:50am

As I've said in the past, I think the anon feature is important in some places, but it should be regulated by the OP - whenever you start a new topic, you choose whether to allow anonymous answers or not. This way you can allow is you're looking for information that might be sensitive, or you can disallow if you're trying to have a discussion that has nothing to do with people's careers and potential to reveal one's identity.

Apr 20, 2021 - 12:17pm

Don't take it that seriously. It's my impression that >50% of the posters on here are students pretending to be bankers. Take everything you read here with a grain of salt. People will talk down on phenomenal shops just because they aren't GS or MS... Little do they know that career bankers often leave the BBs for smaller boutiques if they're serious about a long-term sustainable career in sell-side M&A. 

Also, people within the industry know that team matters more than firm. If you think GS is undoubtedly the top shop in the world across the board, I've got a bridge to sell you! GS is a phenomenal firm, don't get me wrong.. but it depends what team you're talking about and in which location. 

The best way to be successful in this game is to take the role which is the best *for you*. The best bank for you is the one you fit in at the most. If you're impressed with the team, like the deals they've been doing, and get along with the bankers.... take it. Everything else is smoke at the end of the day. You *will* burn out if you hate the team you're on. 

These are all obvious things to anyone who actually has worked in finance for more a couple years. But the amount of posts on this forum which are blind to these basic facts leads me to believe there are a lot of posers on this site.

Apr 20, 2021 - 1:24pm

I'd be completely clueless if not for forums like WSO.

My family and friend group was all O&G  growing up. All I ever knew until high school was this vague idea of 'becoming an engineer like my dad'. Literally 0 people in my circle of friends had any connection to finance or tech or consulting or whatever other high paying, big city young prof gig people on these types of boards clamour on about (now my network is basically 90% those people). Every early career opportunity I had the fortune of being given (including spending time over the summer in HS at MIT in a startup accelerator, interviewing for top boarding schools, learning about the process of transferring universities, pre-college career insight programs) was because I discovered it through boards like WSO

Once you wade through the bullshit, sites like here and other college prep / career forums have literally democratised the career discovery process. It is insane how much of a goldmine of info exists on these boards written by experienced professionals giving sage advice - aka people who really have NO INCENTIVE to be doling out this info. There are extremely well thought posts that dive deep into the details of careers that, frankly, are pretty inaccessible to most unless you were born into a family with connections in these fields. Over the past ~10 years WSO (+ Reddit, TSR, CC, etc) has fundamentally changed the game for regular kids.

Genuine thank you to [] for having the vision and conviction to build this platform. 

  • 6
Apr 26, 2021 - 5:56pm

Quick question, what other forums are you referencing, i.e., "+ Reddit TSR CC etc" - I pretty much just read WSO, as it's been amazing insight. But what about TSR & CC - what are those (Still pretty new, and not fully aware of all the acronyms)s Also, what Reddit forums were you referencing? Any insight is appreciated. The more quality information I can get, the better

Apr 26, 2021 - 7:40pm

college confidential, the student room, r/financialcareers, r/cscareerquestions, r/fatfire, r/productmanagement, r/MBA...

Apr 20, 2021 - 4:09pm

Want to change the dynamic of this website either:

  • Relax and realize that a good portion of posters have worked less than 2 years.
  • Enjoy the mostly inane banter / questions / humblebrags
  • Segregate users by experience level and show it as an Icon similar to the monkey ratings
  • My favorite:  No anonymity.  Post as yourself.

Just my two cents



  • 2
Apr 20, 2021 - 4:51pm

It's not the posts that are the worst part. It's the immature comments by underclassmen who think they know everything about every college and career in the world.


  • Associate 3 in IB - Cov
Apr 25, 2021 - 11:58pm

LOL even reading those words make me cringe. so many non-target kids

Apr 21, 2021 - 12:04am

I don't take everything on this site as gospel, but it has been and still is a tremendous help to me. It may sound funny but this site was a major resource in figuring out what I want to do for a living.

Apr 21, 2021 - 1:47am

Usually take opinions with a grain of salt, recognizing that the majority of traffic includes lurkers who don't post. Similar to how only really happy or really unhappy people post reviews, that's how I look at threads about "what is it like at XYZ".

The comp related threads are helpful to compare against what you read in the annual reports.

That said, back in 2015 when I was first researching what careers in Finance were like, these forums were a godsend to a non-target non-finance orangutan like me. I even used the WSO template to build my LBO model for my current job's interview, so there's definitely value in this forum - you just have to approach it like any other form of internet research / community.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Apr 21, 2021 - 12:20pm

I can't take 90% of the IB stuff seriously since it is mostly rankings created by college students who have never physically been inside of an investment bank. There is certainly value here though as some of the other members offer good insight into different firms/groups. It is pretty clear who actually works in IB and who doesn't, title aside.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Apr 21, 2021 - 3:40pm

There is a lot of BS and misinformation on here spread by interns and undergrads but there are some pockets of insight here and there if you know where to look. I came from a non-target and lateraled into the industry from a valuation firm which has given me a unique perspective on how to break into IB. Many times there will be posts about people trying to break in from similar circumstances and the prestige whores, many of which don't even work in the industry yet and have no idea what they are talking about, will chime in saying there is no chance so I do what I can to shoot down such misinformation and help where I can by giving others my playbook on how to break in.

Apr 22, 2021 - 3:40am

I'm mostly here for the banter. 

However, there are incredibly informative threads and that amount of insight is really hard to get elsewhere, especially if you are not in the industry yet. So long that you are able to distinguish when to get serious and when you can have fun, it's all good. 

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

Apr 22, 2021 - 5:29pm

Pareto principle baby; nuggets of gold wisdom here through vomit streams of consciousness.  I for one never would've had the confidence to break into IB without this site.  Funny though spewing my pitch back when I was networking, they always ask, "What made you interested in IB?"  Of course I tell them my great rehearsed answer that ticks all the boxes but in my head I'm thinking, "I spent too much time reading WSO threads".  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  

  • 1
Apr 24, 2021 - 5:38am

People here can be really toxic but honestly, when I ask a question they have been really helpful and nice. 

I take into account what people say but I do not take it as absolute truth.  

  • 1
Apr 25, 2021 - 11:22am

Unfortunately, pretty much everything beside the very very very basic things (how to send emails, what banks exist in certain cities, etc.) is just completely wrong on this site. I had some people on this site tell me I was wrong about a certain group when I literally work in that exact group. 

  • Associate 3 in IB - Cov
Apr 25, 2021 - 11:53pm

The only thing worth listening to or to take seriously on WSO is the podcast. Other than that, its just another Reddit channel - just a bunch of gibberish. I don't think anyone who's actually working comes here looking for anything other than entertainment or to complain

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 29, 2021 - 5:24pm

As much all the bantering, I honestly got a lot out of this website. I can safely attribute ~50% of my success in landing IBD roles to this website. When it came down to choosing between offers, even more so. At least for me, the website's been incredible useful in comparing specific banks and groups against one another. It was helpful to actually PM and eventually meet up/ call with ppl who worked at banks (GS, Evercore, PJT) that I considered.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
May 24, 2021 - 9:16am

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