I’m a Diversity Candidate... do you hate me?

Hey,

I'm a diversity candidate. I had a semi-late and rather lazy start to college due to lack of guidance and vision for the future, but I've bust my ass this past year to get where I am today. I know there's a gap between my "competition" and me, but I'm locked and loaded on narrowing it.

All glory be to him that I've somehow, someway landed a spot at an EB. I completely acknowledge and don't take for granted the fact that there are some folks out there who have just been working longer (not necessarily harder) than I have to end up where I am today.

Currently in an environment surrounded by all kids I admire, respect, and am a little afraid of because they don't come off as the most welcoming.

A part of me wonders if they hate me or if they're just as afraid to connect with me as I am with them. I'm afraid because I feel like they hate me, they may be afraid cuz I'm black (idk).

Kind of a vent session, but feel free to share thoughts.

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Comments (67)

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  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Sep 6, 2021 - 8:55pm

First off, almost no one will know you are a diversity hire, so there isn't much too worry about on that specific front. 

With regards to concerns about racism, there are certainly racists and generally condescending, classist people that you'll have to deal with and no matter what you'll do they'll almost always look down on you as a junior employee and will never truly connect with you. However, these people are not even close to the majority and will not determine your success or your experience a junior.
 

Just do a good job and be friendly and the rest should work out. There are certainly nuances but these points should be your focus. 
 

Sep 6, 2021 - 9:00pm

Associate 1 in CorpDev

First off, almost no one will know you are a diversity hire, so there isn't much too worry about on that specific front. 

With regards to concerns about racism, there are certainly racists and generally condescending, classist people that you'll have to deal with and no matter what you'll do they'll almost always look down on you as a junior employee and will never truly connect with you. However, these people are not even close to the majority and will not determine your success or your experience a junior.

Just do a good job and be friendly and the rest should work out. There are certainly nuances but these points should be your focus. 

Very helpful. I appreciate you!

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 4:10am

If you're black they'll assume you're one regardless and once someone gets mad at you they'll tell you how they really feel about you.....

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 7:08am

This is sadly very true. Ive heard people rant about others and slip out their thoughts about them being diversity or minorities. Which means those thoughts definitely existed when they weren't frustrated/ranting. 

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Sep 8, 2021 - 11:47am

No one ever made any comments about black analysts being diversity hires. They were all capable and pleasant people, so there was nothing to talk about with regards to their background. I'm sure things could have been said, but I never heard anything being a minority myself. 

The one comment I've ever heard referred to our diversity hiring policy but never about an individual.

Most Helpful
Sep 6, 2021 - 9:09pm

People won't hate you, and I think you know that. I personally am against diversity initiatives, but I don't hate minorities for using them. It's not in their control whether or not these programs exist, it's in the firm's control. What are these minorities supposed to do? Not take advantage of an application boost that is literally being handed to them? That would be unreasonable. The hate is not towards candidates, but towards the companies for implementing such disingenuous and unproductive programs. I mean what is even the point of a diversity initiative? Is it to combat "subconscious bias"? Just make the resume screen anonymous and make a person of the same race act as the interviewer. Is it because of a minority person's lived experience? I call bullshit. Are wealthy black, Hispanic, or female students (who make up most of these diversity hires) struggling so massively that it warrants putting all Asian and white male candidates at a disadvantage? Oh please. These programs don't exist to help people. They exist to protect the firm from bad press, discrimination lawsuits, and government intervention in its affairs. It's a load of bullshit and everyone knows it.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 7:13am

Your hate may not be towards the candidates/employees themselves, but for many others it naturally extends to that. I've worked at 2 BBs, and I've heard people say some pretty insensitive things about those who used diversity programs, sometimes during times of frustration and other times without realizing it

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 6, 2021 - 9:25pm

No. Definitely not. This is your opportunity to prove that you are just as good as the people who had to truly grind for your role. 

The only candidates that I hate are the ones who get handouts left and right, are lazy & occupy a spot that could have gone to someone who would have crushed it. I think this is a much bigger deal with entry level roles than at the senior level where meritocracy plays a much bigger role. 

Here, it doesn't matter if it's URM or Nepotism. Just make the most out of the cards youve been dealt

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 4:19am

No. Definitely not. This is your opportunity to prove that you are just as good as the people who had to truly grind for your role. 

Fuck you he doesn't haven't to prove shit

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 6, 2021 - 9:29pm

Maybe they don't like you because you are the type of person who assumes that anyone who is not warm and welcoming with you is a racist bigot. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 6, 2021 - 9:42pm

I fall into the "diversity" bucket and the vibe I've gotten on my team is no one cares. The only time it was ever even touched upon was when the team recruiting captain briefly mentioned how we should all make it a goal to be involved with recruiting because we are the highest revenue producing group and also the most "diverse" (diverse is in quotes because we have 4 women on the team lmao). Once you're on the team, you're on the team, no one really cares and if they feel strongly about it in a negative way, they are smart enough to keep their mouth shut because in my team you'll be shown the door.

If anyone actually makes snide comments to you claiming you are terrible and they hate you they are a shitty person and just ignore them. If they are in writing or on any call that is recording they are just plain stupid (see BAML girl). Also would try to lateral because that's a sign of terrible culture.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 6, 2021 - 11:08pm

In my experience- nobody shits on diversity candidates unless they're bad. And then they will do it behind their back ("this diversity bullshit is getting out of hand, X is terrible and got in with Y background"). But even those people are treated professionally.

  • Research Associate in AM - Equities
Sep 7, 2021 - 1:51am

Most people at my banking internship assumed if you were black or Hispanic that you were a diversity hire…no one thought highly of them for that

that said if you crush it then who cares 

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Sep 7, 2021 - 2:22am

Get in any way you can. Once you're on the desk make sure you hold your own. There is no need for 'diversity' of skill or output. Grind and no one will give you shit. Every time you fuck up or doubt yourself just know there is another kid who would take your place in an instant. Make sure there is always a reason you're there instead of him

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 7:24am

As someone who actually went to diversity programs, this isn't always true and it depends. For the BB programs, the interviews were easy and not technical, but they get a ton of applications  and have limited spots. But if you get in, not hard to get an offer, and if you dont, you can go through the regular process (which is also mostly behavioral but tougher overall). For the EBs (at least at mine), they're more selective and the interviews are fairly technical, and most people in the program dont get offers, but overall difficulty is a bit lower and acceptance rate is higher than normal. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 7, 2021 - 1:46pm

Is this a cope? I've gone through both diversity and standard processes. The latter are substantially harder than the former

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 7, 2021 - 7:58am

The quality of your work and academic rigour will speak for itself. Diversity recruiting is a piss take (coming from a BAME banker who earned his/her stripes) it allows poor quality and untested juniors into a team that resulted in a friend of mine having his promotion delayed due to the hiring of a shit analyst that got fired resulting in my mate doing the job of 2 people and hence resulting in low quality work

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 11:47am

If you're so insecure about what people think if you using diversity programs - recruit without using them. Plain and simple. Will people still shit in you subconsciously assuming you used X program? Sure, you can't control that anyway though. Hopefully that'll let your little insecure heart sleep at night - Love, another "diversity candidate"

Sep 7, 2021 - 11:50am

Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

If you're so insecure about what people think if you using diversity programs - recruit without using them. Plain and simple. Will people still shit in you subconsciously assuming you used X program? Sure, you can't control that anyway though. Hopefully that'll let your little insecure heart sleep at night - Love, another "diversity candidate"

I didn't use one.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 12:32pm

Diesal

Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

If you're so insecure about what people think if you using diversity programs - recruit without using them. Plain and simple. Will people still shit in you subconsciously assuming you used X program? Sure, you can't control that anyway though. Hopefully that'll let your little insecure heart sleep at night - Love, another "diversity candidate"

- expand -

I didn't use one.

I think this is the part where you're supposed to put some respect on my boy's name.......

  • Associate 1 in PE - Growth
Sep 7, 2021 - 1:02pm

They secretly hate you. the ones who didn't make it, more so. Crush it and then point and laugh at them. YOLO. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 2:44pm

OP, a Godly Man: "I successfully broke into an EB using diversity initiatives all thanks to the Most High, Glory and Praise be unto Him."

OP At 11:30 PM On Saturday of Month 7 With No Remaining Meal Allowance: "When did You abandon me."

  • VP in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2021 - 2:50pm

In reality the only people who really care about this stuff are other applicants who may feel slighted. The type of posts in this thread just don't reflect the reality of office culture, no one really cares. I think the diversity programs are a good thing and I've worked with many talented candidates from them (and some not so good, which is the case with candidates from the standard pool too). I'd argue the counter balance for non-minorities is nepotism candidates (family friends of MDs, sons/daughters of clients, etc.) who make up equally large chunks of analyst classes (it's kind of sad actually how few 'normal' spots there are at an EB).

The only thing I will say is that once you start the job everyone is evaluated on the same scale. If you are behind in academics, technical prep, etc. you will be at a disadvantage and it will hurt your compensation, ability to work on better assignments, move up, etc. Best advice - make sure on day one you are as prepared as the Wharton 4.0 who has been training for the last 3 years because that is now who you are benchmarked against for the rest of your career (except maybe MBA), not the applicants in the program.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 7, 2021 - 8:58pm

(it's kind of sad actually how few 'normal' spots there are at an EB).

This is so true - I am a target, white male, worked so hard to get EB RX roles and had to settle for a lower place (Gugg/Ghl) even though I literally did everything right since day one in college (3.9+. 2 IB/PE internship, knew technicals well, ton of networking)

Sep 7, 2021 - 3:39pm

hey bud, I'm mixed so can relate but not entirely as I've never worked IB. I've noticed that if someone never grew up around different cultures or different races will have a hard time approaching you. and not for nothing, but in today's environment where everyone's hypersensitive, they'd rather come off as cold than racist so they may just say "fuck it, we don't need to be friends" even if they are not prejudiced. further, and I know I sound like a boomer, but the generation younger than I am I've noticed has more reservations about approaching someone cold and saying "hey man, I noticed you're new here, I'm Jeff, nice to meet you, would love to get to know you better, wanna grab lunch together?"

and in all seriousness, that's the best way to break the ice. be the guy that does it. say they all eat lunch at their desks, well my idea is shit, but do you guys ever do happy hours? does anyone ever meet up for dinner/games during free time? is there some downtime when you're waiting for comments where you could shoot the shit with the other analysts and get to know them better? if you haven't read dale carnegie yet, you should. just be a good question asker, be inquisitive. ask people their stories: where they went to school, where they grew up, what sports they like. and be humble when you mention your own story so as to 1) not make them feel bad if you had a rough upbringing and 2) to not let them think you were only hired because of your skin (because you weren't). say you came from a broken home, I may say "I'm from a small town in Alabama you probably haven't heard of, went to school at X, found finance and investment banking, and wanted to break in" you don't need to go through all of your trials and tribulations early on, if they're curious they will ask.

finally, fucking crush it at work. put out quality work, ask thoughtful questions, be assertive but not domineering, don't be a complainer about anything that's not a federal crime (e.g. MD doing coke off of stripper's ass but doesn't offer you a line), and kill 'em with kindness. worst case scenario, everyone you work with are racist assholes but  you just got some great deal experience and will be getting a great offer in 2 years' time. best case scenario, the office tension relaxes and you've just made some new friends.

godspeed bruv

Sep 7, 2021 - 6:35pm

Diesal

Currently in an environment surrounded by all kids I admire, respect, and am a little afraid of because they don't come off as the most welcoming.

A part of me wonders if they hate me or if they're just as afraid to connect with me as I am with them. I'm afraid because I feel like they hate me, they may be afraid cuz I'm black (idk).

Maybe your fear of reaching out to others is why they are standing off? It takes two to build a relationship, and it sounds like you aren't doing your part. That is likely part of the problem. I'm not saying that racist individuals don't exist, but this is a little extreme. No one hates you. I never considered whether a black colleague was diversity or not...show up, and do your job. Do it well, and people will like you.

I had a black roommate in NY who grew up on the Southside of Chicago dirt poor and ended up in IB at a BB. We talked a lot over the years about race and what it means (this was 20 years ago, but we're still close...lots of conversation around BLM). His view was that all he could do was be himself and do good work. Screw everything else...that attitude has worked out well for him. He went into PE, top MBA, VC and now runs a tech company.

I'd encourage you to embrace his approach. Not everyone is ever going like you for whatever reason, regardless of race...don't let that pull you down.

  • 5
Sep 7, 2021 - 8:26pm

If you're in the door you deserve to be there. Period. There are plenty of diversity candidates who applied for your job, that's a fact. You were selected because you showed promise and you were worthy in the firms eyes. I can't help you navigate the challenges of being a minority in this cultural setting because it would be naive to do so. But remember this-you deserve to be where you are, now go and do your very best.

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Sep 7, 2021 - 8:38pm

This instance is just a drop in the bucket of life. While it is hard and it is painful... you are young. There is so much more to experience. Give yourself a fixed time to beat yourself up about it (10mins to a weekend) and when that time expires, wake up.

Take a moment to acknowledge the good in life. What are you grateful for? What's going right? What can you control and what can't you control?

Heart break is hell, but healing starts with your mind. Mindset, outlook, and attitude can go so far. Change your mind and your body and heart will follow.

Just wake up.

Sep 7, 2021 - 10:11pm

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  • Business School in IB - Cov
Sep 8, 2021 - 2:31am

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