Is Harvard a target school?

Klenper's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 18

Hi everyone,

I'm a rising junior at a top non-ivy school. Through a recent internship, I had the opportunity to talk to a number of professionals, many of whom had attended top ivy league schools. The analysts and associates I talked to told me that due to increased competitiveness for IB jobs in recent years, Harvard is no longer considered a target school but rather a semi-target at best. I found this information rather surprising, since most
online threads had previously led me to believe that schools like Harvard and Penn, while they barely made the cut, are indeed target schools. I would really appreciate some clarification. As the title mentions, is Harvard a target school?

Comments (23)

Aug 10, 2017

With the economy in its current stagnant form, it's difficult to tell exactly which schools should be perceived as target schools. As a 3rd year banker who has worked, cooperated, and talked with JP Morgan managing directors, the only true target school, the school that they MUST recruit at above all else, in their opinion would be Princeton. Everything else is of lower priority and frankly, they seem to believe that the talent found at Harvard is compared to that of even a NON-target like Columbia.

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Aug 10, 2017

Harvard is a core school, meaning most banks HAVE to hire at least a couple of Harvard kids (whether they're on par with others or not). However in our day in age, banks pay much closer attention (especially the EBs) to the kids at top UG business schools such as UVA, UPenn, UMich, NYU, Georgetown. Why? Because they hit the ground running. Banks are starting to realize that the kids at these schools come in prepared and ready to take on real work and the kids at Harvard/Yale/Princeton spend the entire summer asking their peers how to do their deliverables.

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Aug 10, 2017

This is not true. Finance isn't a hard subject whatsoever and these banks have multiple weeks of training that compensate for the lack of undergraduate business knowledge that Harvard students face. The main reason why Harvard representation in IBs and particularly "elite boutiques" is decreasing is because these kids are so smart that they don't even go to banking directly but rather jump straight to a megafund or a reputable PE shop. And these banks are, frankly, just salty that they are missing out on top talent. Our "day and age" hasn't really changed much - there were boutique banks like DLJ, First Boston, Wasserstein Perella, etc back in the day that still valued the merits of someone from Harvard. It's just that back then, PE shops were not hiring out of undergrad. Point is that Harvard is still Harvard and that top students from Harvard don't get rejected from banks, they just decide not to go there.

And this is coming from a student at one of the schools you mentioned by the way.

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Aug 10, 2017

As someone who has been recruiting for almost 10 years, I can guarantee you that students at undergraduate bschool have a huge leg-up in knowledge and skills which help those students during recruiting (it's easier to learn technicals when you have had multiple finance, accounting, econ classes) and integration (most of what is taught at training is a rehash of what bschool students have already covered). Now, BBs will have huge classes every year and long training that everyone has to go through so it's not that much of an advantage. But for boutiques and PE firms that will have much smaller classes, running a 3-month training program isn't always doable so focusing hiring on bschool students make sense, they can hit the ground running much, much faster. I'm less knowledgeable about EB recruiting, but I can assure you that PE firms strongly prefer undergrad bschool students. I mean, if you look at MFs, 80%+ of their analysts come from Wharton. Silver Lake is probably the firm that hire the most analysts and 100% of them came from undergrad business schools (all Wharton except 1 of each Berkely, Ivey and UVA).

Now as it relates to Harvard, Yes some people are making directly to the buyside, but it's a tiny tiny number and doesn't fully explain the drop in interest in banking. I think the reason you see less people in banking is mostly down to self-selection and much reduced interest in finance.

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Aug 10, 2017

No

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Aug 10, 2017

wtf?

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Aug 10, 2017

It's a good thing I was already sitting down to read this. The room is spinning quite fast

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Best Response
Aug 10, 2017

Next we'll have kids asking "Is M&A at JPMorgan really investment banking? Heard from professionals only Goldman does IB."

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Aug 12, 2017

Holy fuck dude your prediction came true

Is M&A at JPMorgan really investment banking?

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Aug 12, 2017

You sound as if that other kid didn't read this thread... Naive?

Jun 12, 2018

[Deleted]

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Aug 10, 2017

Since recruiting has become earlier, there are no longer target universities. There are only target high schools like Phillips Exexter.... nice trolling btw

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Aug 10, 2017

I never expected to see a thread like this on WSO.

Aug 10, 2017

Wut

Aug 10, 2017

Do bears shit in the woods?

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Aug 12, 2017

Seems like OP is trolling but to clarify, the following are generally considered target and semi-target schools (in no particular order).

Target: NYU, UChicago, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, UPenn, UMich, Northwestern, Georgetown, UC Berkeley, UVA, UNC.

Semi-target: Emory, Boston College, Notre Dame, Indiana, USC, UCLA, UT Austin, Rice, Vanderbilt, Williams, Amherst.

I understand that there may be minor disagreements but let's not make this an argument over the details, as I'm just posting this to give the OP a general idea.

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Aug 12, 2017

What? For sure Harvard is a target school

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Jun 10, 2018

It's a year late, but just inputting my ten cents. I am a student at an Ivy League college, and can assure you that all HYPWharton schools are top picks for IB recruiters. Talking to a number of departments at various IB firms, some groups are almost entirely comprised of either Harvard, Princeton, or Wharton undergrads. Harvard is less a target school than a bullseye in the chest school.

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Jun 11, 2018

As someone graduate from one of the ivies, i hope other posters realize the fact that students from elite universities do not mean they are smart or good at studying or fast learning, etc.

But more about how the students and their wealthy parents market their kids

Do some shitty eca, be good at running or football, get into a decent high school, take a few retarded grade inflated college level courses before college. Also remember to take sat and get a 2200+ and a few 800 in sat ii and 4/5 in several APs

Easy af and tell nothing about ur "smartness"
Seriously there are way too many kids out there with those sat and ap scores

Colleges just choose base on eca, sports, recs, legacy, etc. At the end students with better academics but cbf to do those 0 value activities just get placed into some state school or lower tier private

Jun 12, 2018
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