I’m tired of all the hate directed at diversity candidate/programs.

As a diverse candidate who worked harder than most individuals in my school's investment club to get my offers, it annoys me when we're painted as less competent. First of all, for many of us black students, getting to a good college (mine is a non-target nonetheless) is already harder work than usual. Connecting with predominantly white male finance dudes who are culturally different from us is another thing to learn. Constantly working to break the stereotype that we're incompetent is another. And then for the less privileged of us, accessing resources to be as competitive as someone who could afford the WSO guides is another thing. I have never met a black person who made it in banking who was glaringly incompetent. Stop acting like you are the smartest bunch and are so much more knowledgeable about banking when you apply for the internship programs. How basic level the WSO guides are is testament to the shallow knowledge we all possess anyway. P.s: I know a lot of incompetent diverse candidates who did not make it through the process. Stop blaming us when you don't do as well as you thought you would.

Comments (36)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 24, 2020 - 5:42am

I'm also tired of it. Diversity is a good thing and the argument that diversity candidates have an easier process isn't valid when so many of banking hires are nepotistic. I'd much rather have more diversity hires and less nepotism than the other way around. And I'm saying that as a non-diverse candidate

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 24, 2020 - 8:43am

This argument always comes up and it acts like you can't be against both. I don't like nepotism or diversity programs. Both are bad. It's like college admissions someone always goes "but what about white legacy kids?" Fuck those kids too, I just want meritocracy.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Sep 24, 2020 - 9:46am

I'm willing to bet that most of the people who rant about diversity programs aren't doing so because they actually care about the "most qualified" candidates getting the offers, but they just feel threatened that their piece of the pie is shrinking. If there was a way to increase the size of the pie so that candidates, diverse and not diverse, all get a bigger piece, would anybody be complaining? Obviously no. It's all just veiled insecurity and fragile egos in my opinion.

  • Works at Houlihan Lokey
Sep 24, 2020 - 1:16pm

actually, yes, people would actually still complain because (as many studies have shown), most humans compare what they have to what their peers have...  it's all relative... 

Most Helpful
Sep 24, 2020 - 9:46am

I agree with you but you have to consider the source. WSO is mostly prospects who are in direct competition with you and are also working very hard to earn a spot. First of all, I roundly condemn all the racism, sexism, etc. that people say. What I will do is try to frame where this is coming from a political point of view because I feel like the argument typically stops at "diversity sucks" vs. "you guys are racist/sexist" when it may be a little more complex.

Consider that the majority of the site is young, straight, white males from non-targets (this is not a bad thing, just a descriptor). From their perspective it's no surprise that they may not be down with recruiting preference aimed at legacy candidates (nepotism), target schools, women, LGBTQ, racial diversity, etc. It may feel as if there are programs everywhere that are conspiring against them to move up their own career ladder and they feel a lot of pressure. This also explains the obsession with defining target schools, ranking banks, etc. - it's all compensation for a significant amount of fear and insecurity, which can manifest itself as anger, spite, and frustration.

Most people working in the banking industry nominally support diversity and inclusion efforts. Where people fall on that spectrum of support depends a lot on how they got the job in the first place and their own personal background. I find it's also a socio-political aspect. Rich kids from targets (the classic "limousine liberals") have no problem supporting D&I because their own recruiting chance and overall lifestyle was never at risk and never in question. The non target kids are in a different spot and they're full of anger. Being asked to sacrifice some of what you have (privilege) when you look elsewhere at people who have a lot and aren't sacrificing anything (wealthy target kids) is a tough ask. In my opinion this same effect has created a lot of the alt right, by the way.

Yes, people should have empathy and everyone should support a more equal society. But everyone seems to have their own scapegoat for why their personal success isn't manifesting itself. People tend to blame an external force so they can avoid personal responsibility. I will cautiously say that may be true on both sides of the recruiting aisle. On a group level it may be correct - yes, there are systemic problems that need to be fixed with D&I efforts, and yes, recruiting as a non-diversity non-target is getting harder. But on an individual level I feel the best way to get around that is just to be the best candidate you can be, and stand out through your own merits. Life tends to work out better when you focus on an internal locus of control rather than credit or blame your success/problems on something you can't control.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Sep 24, 2020 - 10:42am

I agree with you. I understand that it's harder for white straight men, it should be harder, but it's extremely harmful to perpetuate the narrative that D&I programs make it easy for incompetent diverse candidates. I think it has racist undertones. Why is the default that diverse candidates are less competent? Why can't it just be that they're being recruited at a higher rate, making the share smaller for white men? You can complain about your hardships without putting down whole races. No one said white men were incompetent when most of the intern classes were full of them. This process of correcting for a skewed system does not lack flaws but the problem is directing the hate toward diverse candidates and not the process itself. I would love for the white people complaining to discuss better ways to improve D&I over undermining diverse candidates.

  • Prospect in CorpDev
Sep 24, 2020 - 10:42am

I think a lot of people are also resentful that their own chances at an internship at marginalized at the expense of diversity programmes (it's a zero sum game - if someone else gets a spot, there's one less for you). Especially when those people have endured their own hardships - having grown up with a single mother and numerous drug addicts in my family, watching friends get arrested and go to rehab etc, I feel pissed off when someone says "oh, but diversity have it harder" sure, in some respects, as that is intersectionality.

But it's bullshit to give them a leg up because of their skin colour when the majority of diversity applicants come from a middle class, nuclear family and haven't experienced any real adversity. I wish I could have come from a background like that. But I'm a straight white dude, so woops - doesn't matter I'm descended from a bunch of peasants, PoWs and working-class people. I have privilege..

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Sep 24, 2020 - 11:35am

I feel you. But let me ask you something, between you and a POC /woman/LGBTQI+ with the same background as yours, who would have a better chance at getting a role if bias considerations didn't exist? You would. Now, with diversity programs, there is no evidence that diverse candidates with the same background as yours have it easier than you. That's the misconception about D&I. People here make it seem like they increase your chances by such a large margin that it is becoming unfair to the straight white man with a similar background. When the truth might be that it is leveling the playground. Eliminating the burden of race, sexual orientation, or sex. It is still incredibly competitive for diverse candidates and most don't make it. If 50% of the intern class is diverse, that might not even represent the true proportion of diverse people in society. Considering that women alone are over 50% of the population. The gag is that the pie is still not evenly distributed. You are mad that it's becoming as hard for you to get in as it is for diverse candidates after D&I considerations.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Sep 24, 2020 - 10:42am

Ok I'm a diversity hire and I can definitely legitimize some of the criticisms. MOST diversity hires are competent and it isn't really about ability or meritocracy. Is the bar lower for us? Definitely, but it's on purpose so that someone else can break in; plus, it's not like we're 50% of the workforce, we're still under 10% of it which isn't too much. Second: is it unfair? Yeah, life is unfair so find a way around it (yes I am literally saying this and this only about unfairness). Third: I feel bad for poor and unconnected white guys, they probably suffer the most in this system. Fourth: diversity programs have probably made racism worse not better, because everyone thinks we're less competent. Fifth: as a member of the """diversity community""" we need to learn to take criticism because the main reason nothing gets better is because every single thing that is critiqued about us literally gets thrown into the "yOu'Re RaCiSt" pile and we never learn from our mistakes, there is a difference between constructive criticism and closing yourself out because everything bothers you and gets labeled as bigotry or something. Both sides need to improve and unfortunately, it is a long road that we are working on.

  • Associate 2 in S&T - Comm
Sep 24, 2020 - 1:16pm

Most of the diversity candidates gathered by HR are terrible. It's like HR just look for race attribute and no consideration into interest/fit within what the team does. I have no qualm hiring a candidate with green skin as long as they can bring value to the team. 

You have one of the better takes in this diversity debate just b/c of sheer empathy. Wish the world had more empathy.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Sep 24, 2020 - 12:28pm

Just responding to your last part, as someone who came from a non-target. I have seen way more people break in to banking from my school through diversity programs compared to the amount of non diverse candidates. They also went to significantly better banks and I spoke to all of them about how easy their interviews were to mine. Not saying they're incompetent but coming from a non-target, it is significant easier to break in if you're going through diversity programs. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 24, 2020 - 1:16pm

I don't have an issue with BIPOC men and women breaking in although I wish asian males were considered POC but cut the bs, there is no way you use the race card for white males but white women are exempt because they struggle of being a woman when BIPOC men and women have it much worse. Seriously, there is no way anyone with a straight face is going to tell me that a black or latino man or black, latino and asian woman has the same struggle as a white woman when attempting to break into banking.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Sep 24, 2020 - 1:16pm

First of all, I'm all in for diversity and inclusion recruiting and I think it's a great thing. I think banks should make special program for historical black colleges like Morehouse / Howard and all women schools like Wellesley.

The point that I'm trying to make and I believe a lot of people are saying is that diversity shouldn't be based on race / gender / sexual orientation. If you're Asian / White that come from 1st generation college student or from underprivileged background, but work extremely hard to break into IB or high finance roles.

- Should the spots just be handed off to someone who falls in the D&I recruiting bracket and just ding the Asian / White that work extremely hard to get there? For example, Me (Asian) and my friends (1 Black / 1 latino) come from the same extremely non-target school. My academic / work experience was on par with my "black friend" and way better than my "latino friend" on resume. Every time when each of us have 1st round, we will meet up and listen in. There were few times we all interviewed for the same firms, I kid you not when I say the question that was thrown at us was very different. People was asking me technical question until I break, while my buddies was being asked the 3-4 standard IB interview questions. I have interviewed with 11 banks through extreme networking and resume drops, and most of my interview was towards the end of recruiting season. While my black / latino friends got early start and easy application through D&I opportunities and almost 80% interview opportunities. These are just some of the difference that I have witness first hand. Obviously in the end, we all landed at a BB, but looking back I was surprised that I didn't quit, because the odds was heavily stacked against me. For the record, I landed 1 offer out of 11 banks (the only bank that give me superday and the 10 other banks didn't even give me a second round). 

  • Intern in PropTrad
Sep 24, 2020 - 1:16pm

I agree with your post and applaud you for the courage for writing it.

Endless daily posts about the unfairness of diversity/AA notably written by members of one particular race group targeting another specific race group for being the beneficiary of the very scheme they oppose but would gladly accept if it was extended to them, is essentially  incitement to race-hate and normalising racism on this site.

It has to stop. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 24, 2020 - 1:16pm

Thank you for this! I am sick of the daily "Let's hate on diversity programs and ignore centuries of racism and sexism" posts.  I am a woman (international student. liberal arts college with a small IB alum presence). I got interviews at EVERY single bank that sponsors international student. Only 1 through a diversity program. Rest through the regular process. I can assure you that it wasn't because of a "diversity quota" (As most of you seem to think) but because I worked my ass off. I wrote 300 cold emails every single day, started learning the technicals in my first year and did a crazy amount of interview prep. Ended up with multiple offers. Just because you go to a "target" school, doesn't mean you are automatically entitled to more interviews than me. At the end of the day, banks only care about themselves and if they were taking dumb diversity candidates just for the sake of diversity, they didn't need to take an international student who they'd have to sponsor. I have never seen a post on this forum about the gender/ racial disparity in wall street execs or centuries of systemic discrimination on the street but a bank starts a diversity program and Oh wow look at the amount of insecure racist energy. Please don't reduce my abilities and hard work to my gender and race. Thanks. 

  • Associate 2 in S&T - Comm
Sep 24, 2020 - 1:16pm

Selection bias.

Candidates in diversity programs organized by HR are terrible. The normal folks in the regular recruiting process were stronger candidates because they had to fight to get there. You actively sought out folks and studied hard for it. It's a common attribute of hardworking people. This has nothing to do with diversity programs.

If you studied all these technical questions and got grilled by the team, but another person just cruised in with behavioral questions how would you feel? 

To normalize external attributes, how do you feel about female athletes losing to transgendered competitors (men to women with extra testerstone post op)? 




  • Intern in IB - Ind
Sep 24, 2020 - 1:16pm

As someone who is part of diversity programs and had to grind very hard to get interviews, even getting some at EBs without diversity programs and with no connections whatsoever (as well as being a non-target), your naive and banal perspective is pretty much everything that's wrong with diversity candidates and it's the reason why no one takes us seriously. "Systemic discrimination" this, "insecure racist energy" that, honestly you just sound like a chlid. I'm incredibly happy that you were able to break in and you definitely went through a grind at 300 cold emails a day, but every time you tout your speech about the fictitious "anti-everything not white" complex you just make the rest of us look bad. No one would dare discount your efforts in a serious way, at least no one who is level-headed or rational. On the other hand, your closed-off view on society and your instant assumption that everyone assumes that you just got in because you're a minority or a woman is the reason why some people think you only got in because you're a minority or a woman. Until you stop making everything about race and ironically segregating yourself, you will never be discerned purely by your own abilities; getting international sponsorship is an impressive feat that few people accomplish, that is something that was purely your abilities, but trust me when I tell you, there is no one out to get you but yourself.

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