How To Stop Caring About BB Rankings?

Every couple of weeks, some intern posts or comments their "Official 2020 BB Rankings" and gets a ton of MS thrown at them because no one's asking. I get the idea that once you're working in the field already, no one really cares that Bank A is marginally better than Bank B. Yet for some reason, I still find myself clicking on those posts just hoping to see that my BB will be ranked one step higher than the last time.

I know this post might get some MS, but I am looking for a serious answer about how to view BBs in a healthier way. Is there any real significance to the rankings? Am I just being ungrateful about having an internship at one of these banks?

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Comments (67)

May 30, 2020 - 9:00pm

Just try your best to ignore it. This site is full of weird, weird kids who wouldn't be able to hold a conversation with a girl

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 30, 2020 - 9:08pm

I don't think in this situation it's healthy to try and find ways that the person looking down on you is somehow worse than you. That doesn't do anything to remove your focus away from status.

Edit: There will always be people who are at GS/MS or BX or HBS or something like that that will also look down on you. Not all of them are "weird kids who wouldn't be able to hold a conversation with a girl." The root problem here is internal vs external validation, not necessarily who the comments are coming from.

Jun 1, 2020 - 1:14pm

The kids at top BB's who DO care about stupid rankings are probably the ones who struggle socially. But I feel like the vast majority of people at top firms and schools don't really give a shit about rankings

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 30, 2020 - 9:00pm

It's normal to compare yourself to others. Quite frankly without competition we would have not made such progress in society however there is a fine line between being competitive for the purpose of wanting to become better or enjoying the process of reaching a milestone and obsessing over rankings to the point that it irritates or saddens you.

If it's the latter then you are never going to be happy in life, your car isn't going to be good enough, house not big enough, prep school not elite enough, clothes not expensive enough, wife not hot or smart enough and as such leads to a grim outlook.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 30, 2020 - 9:00pm

This is going to come down for not caring what other people think for things just in general, not just what bank you work at.

I dreamed of going to HYPW, but was rejected and am now at a T5 state school on a merit scholarship. I've seen a lot of success here, more than I think would have happened at HYPW due to the whole fish/pond analogy, but I still can't help but feel bad about not going to HYPW. That in some way I'm still a failure some how.

You have to understand that these things don't define who you are in life. I actually keep a copy of my Harvard rejection letter in my desk in my dorm. It talks about how the school you go to doesn't define success and that sort of thing.

I suggest you try to stop caring what other people think. Thats not just easy to do in one night, but keep reminding yourself of it, and eventually it will make sense to you. Sure you may not be at GS/MS, but you're still at a BB which is a fantastic opportunity. The bank you're interning at saw great potential in your resume, and the people who interviewed you pbviously liked you. Work your hardest there, and it will pay off.

Most Helpful
May 30, 2020 - 9:16pm

You have climbed and are standing on K2 (the second-highest mountain in the world), and are looking jealously at people climbing Everest. Climbers gotta climb, but you also have to appreciate the journey and not just the destination.

Did you watch Free Solo? I thought what Alex accomplished was awesome, but my overarching feeling was mostly pity for him. He simply can't properly appreciate his accomplishments and always feels empty, thus his need to push the boundaries constantly. It's way more fun NOT being Alex and watching him climb than if you were to truly step in his shoes. It's the same feeling I have for social climbers -- I mean, good for them, but I wouldn't swap lives with Donald Trump (or any other President or CEO, or anyone else) for anything.

Part of it is just being happy and confident in who you are, and maybe a small part of it is coming to grips with how pitiful and small we all are in the grand scheme of things. Don't look to others to validate your worth.

P.S. a lot of people in this industry have massive insecurity complexes. Writing about "why" this is the case would take much more time. Suffice to say, please internalize that money will not make you happy, and this job basically provides you with money and some challenge. If you don't like the challenge, the money certainly won't do you any good, and you will be an empty vessel.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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  • Intern in IB - Ind
May 30, 2020 - 9:46pm

Rankings on WSO shouldn't bother you because everyone has a different opinion on here, and most of them are freshman that won't get into a single BB. League tables is a different thing, but you don't have to be at the best bank to be the best banker you can be. Maybe your BB will give you a slightly better lifestyle/stress than GS TMT/MS M&A, so you can actually spend time with friends/family. Just remember, there will always be someone in "higher rank" in life- this is a fact in life that everyone has to deal with. The Yale kids are looking at Harvard, the GS/MS kids are looking at the kids that went straight to BX/KKR out of undergrad, the MM Partner looks at the MF Partner (even if the MM makes more money), the F500 CEO looks at the F50 CEO. It's okay to use rankings for motivation, but not if it adds negativity in your life.

I used to feel similar to you about rankings and prestige. I used to feel unsatisfied because I didn't get into a T10 undergrad and went to a "public ivy" instead. Now, I wouldn't trade schools for anything. I've been closer to family and made so many great memories here. I also met my girlfriend in college. I also ended up with a BB offer- an achievement that many people at T10 schools are desperate for. You're at a BB dude, be grateful! You are making more money than almost anyone else your age. Live your life and don't try to be someone you're not. In the end, none of this matters.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 30, 2020 - 10:45pm

A lot of the people concerned with rankings on this website are somewhere between their senior year of high school and their sophomore year of college. I've seen the rankings shitposting frequency shoot through the roof since quarantine started and I think people just need something to do. Drink a beer, go on a date, facetime your friends, facetime your grandparents.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 30, 2020 - 11:55pm

be in MS M&A or GS TMT and it won't matter...

in all seriousness as someone in one of those it doesn't matter. the job sucks and the experience at a BB is just as meaningful to all corporate roles which is where everyone ends up in the long run once you get tired of this shitshow of a treadmill sprint

yours truly, an analyst done with this shit and can't wait to leave to PE and have my life suck all over again. I'm just fucking jaded man

May 31, 2020 - 12:05am

I actually wonder if most of the people who are at the top of finance like partners in PE or HF or even IB are people grinding since their analyst years or if they started as associates in banking.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
May 31, 2020 - 12:07am

Do you still care about what college you are going to? No, not really, right? Same way when you are in banking, you wn't really care what bank you are at. The worse of a position you are in, the more you'll think about it. If you're at Harvard or GS TMT, you won't care at all. If you're at Poduck Uni or AGC Investment Bank, you'll think about it more.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
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May 31, 2020 - 3:50pm

I gave some great advice. I dont understand...

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
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May 31, 2020 - 9:56pm

You are exaggerating how active I am on this site. I respond to one in every ten posts. Do the amst right.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
  • Intern in S&T - FI
May 31, 2020 - 3:38pm

I've been thinking along those lines for a while now. Since we're behind a screen, we can unleash the cockiness that we usually conceal. And this applies to most of us, we'll seek ways to prove superiority, seem exclusive et al.
Truth be told, it's a double edged sword. It often comes across that if you haven't followed THE path (you know the one) you're a failure already. At the same time it's inspiring and pushes you to do better.
For instance if you go to a non-target, you're cancelled. Or if you work at RBC/WF, you'll get shit on. I get it, some colleges have a better shot at this industry. And some firms may be inherently better than others. But it's not the end of the world if you didn't go to a target school or didn't intern for a BB/EB.
I'll prolly get MS for this lol but I had to put it out there.

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
May 31, 2020 - 3:47pm

You haven't made it four years into your career. It doesn't matter where you start it matters where you are 10+ years down the line. That's when there's a real difference in what you're making. Plenty of the people who start out hot burn out and plenty of people with a chip on their shoulder end up being much more successful. You're probably under the age of have so much time. If you look across the board at partners not everyone is GS to Apollo to HBS to etc. You can become anything from anywhere

May 31, 2020 - 3:51pm

Yes, very rare to find someone who as GS TMT KKR HBS then PE Partner then Supernatural Entity

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
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May 31, 2020 - 4:09pm

I think generally you'll start looking past this as you mature. As I've gotten older I've managed to tune out unproductive thoughts like these. Sure, a competitive mindset could be valuable, but sitting around obsessing over rankings made by anonymous users on some website ran by college students is stupid.

  • Investment Analyst in PE - Other
May 31, 2020 - 5:09pm

I'm not in IB, didn't do IB, will never do IB. But, from what I saw in college some of the absolute smartest people I know ended up at "lower tier" banks and some absolute morons with 3.0 or lower gpas got to Goldman, MS, JPM, evercore, etc. This was both people who were not only awfully dumb, but also in some instances some of the lowest EQ people I have ever met (granted in this instance they would have a 4.0 but I would never want to interact with them in or outside of work).

I think end of the day you need to understand the ranking makes no difference, UBS could pull the absolute smartest analyst class on the street and it wouldn't make the bank better or worse becuase it's the MD's and their relationships that make an investment bank money.

You'll do your 2 years move onto PE/HF/corporate finance/consulting or whatever it may be and you will know that you're intelligence and skill, and that of your peers, played practically no influence on the success or failure, and thereby the ranking, of your bank.

So end of the day, who cares, you are a drone formatting ppt's, some drones drew a short straw others long. It really doesn't matter. And the length of that straw will in no way whatsoever determine the outcome of your career, and I think that is the most important thing to keep in mind.

May 31, 2020 - 5:10pm

I think you will also learn after working in industry that the bank matters, but the group also matters a ton, and experiences can be made or broken by a single deal, a great/shitty VP, or a great/shitty bullpen within your group. Certain banks that may be considered lower or middle tier have certain groups that may be top players in their coverage or product area. Of course, at a marquee name, you are more likely to be tossed into a top group because there are more of them.

May 31, 2020 - 5:23pm

the group also matters a ton, and experiences can be made or broken by a single deal, a great/shitty VP, or a great/shitty bullpen within your group.

Can confirm that all three of these things have happened to me in my first year of banking and I absolutely hated banking as a result.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
May 31, 2020 - 10:43pm

Bro honestly the only reason why BB ranking would matter is if your an egotistical fuck who gets hard by bragging that he works at GS. Most normal people outside (even in finance) couldn't tell you what banks are top BB, Mid BB, and low BB. Telling someone you work at an investment bank alone is enough to make someone envy you. Just enjoy your internship and focus on doing as good as you possibly can. Tons of people would kill you be in your shoes

Jun 1, 2020 - 5:35pm

Yeah, dude. Once you're working, no one gives a shit. People will obvi in your group be like oh, did you hear about GS's latest deal and be like damn, I wish I worked there...other than that, you'll be way too busy to even think or care about that stuff......

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
Jun 3, 2020 - 10:35am

I think the way to think about rankings is all about HH looks. Just ask if you're in one of 3 categories. It really isn't going to matter within the 3 ranks. Like no one is going to turn you down because you have CS over MS once you actually get to the interview stage.

  1. Have a shot at megafunds and UMM (pretty much all BB and EB)

  2. Have headhunters actively reaching out, but very unlikely you'd get megafund / maybe UMM (RBC, WF, JEF, WB, HL, HW)

  3. Significantly fewer headhunter looks (most other banks)

Jun 3, 2020 - 2:15pm

The real question here, to ask yourself, is: why are you bothered by this?

Why do you care about the rankings?

Why can't you scroll by, why even look?

Everyone likes bragging rights. Ain't no big deal. Brush it off.

You're not ungrateful, but maybe your confidence needs a tweak? Why do rankings rankle you?

All BB's are pretty awesome. You won the prize. Enjoy it. Don't overthink. Remember - they all keep shifting around, these rankings, so that shows you something

Jun 4, 2020 - 5:51pm

BB Rankings are really a college-student-driven thing - once you graduate college and start working, trust me noone cares.

No headhunter or PE firm is going to be like "wow this DB Sponsors kid is really impressive but it's not as a Top BB like GS/MS so let's given preference to the MS guys". I've seen countless people from what WSO views as "lower BBs" get offers over kids from what you guys view as "Top Groups" (including the all time famous and this forum's beloved - GS TMT), and this is not just a 1-2 time phenomenon - I see it more often that you think and I'm just one sample size.

The reason EBs tend to place so well is because their recruiting process is a lot more stringent, and are therefore able to weed out the kids who just simply are not well prepped (or did not bother to). BBs hire such large classes that it's impossible for them to make sure every kid is top notch and knows how to do a paper LBO on the spot and describe the tax implications of a Section 363 asset sale, whereas a place like PJT/EVR/MoCo can afford to do so. (obviously I'm exaggerating but you get my point). Naturally those kids who are better prepped tend to do better in buyside recuriting, not because their firm name is so amazing and whatnot, but because they were driven individuals to begin with - I'm willing to bet you that if the PJT RX kid had chosen to go to UBS Sponsors instead, he would have done just as well in buyside recruiting if that's what he/she was aiming for from the get go - a point that most of you college kids on this forum are unable to comprehend because "omg PJT RX >>> UBS, so all PJT must 100% place better right???"

Post ended up longer than I had expected but hope this provides some insight. When I was a banking analyst, the banking college peers who I was most envious of were not the ones who were at the "more prestigious" banks, but more so the ones who were able to go home earlier than me that night. It might be funny reading this but trust me when you actually start the work, you'll understand what I mean. I bet you my peers all felt the same way.


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Jun 4, 2020 - 7:11pm

FWIW, I don't think goldman TMT is even that great on exit opps compared to other goldman groups or other top groups in general. Seems the goldman tmt stuff is super outdated from like 5-10+ years ago.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jun 4, 2020 - 8:22pm

I mean it's still one of the best groups but ya this forum makes it seem like you can do literally ANYTHING after. Sure you get access to a lot of prestigious roles and firms but if you are an idiot and not truly a top tier candidate and a good person, you'd be very foolish to think you'll still get the spot over a "lower bank" kid who is better.

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