Is IB/PE the toughest job to get?

Just curious on what you all think. If someone gets a job in IB/PE, can they pretty much get any other job possible (aside from jobs they don't have skills for like programming, Comp Sci, etc.)?

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Comments (104)

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 26, 2020 - 7:56pm

Not sure it's that easy. Yes, IB jobs are easier to get from top schools but isn't any job?

IB is a career almost exclusively available to students of the best of the best schools (obviously with some exceptions). You have to remember that it's not just getting an IB job from a top school. It's scoring in the 99th percentile on SATs to get to that school (unless you go to UVA), keeping above a 3.8 in college, memorizing technicals, beating out a herd of other finance hardos from your school, and having the EQ to succeed in an interview.

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  • Prospect in Other
Apr 26, 2020 - 8:06pm

lol I'm at uva and got a perfect score on the ACT. keep playing the elitist card-some of us can't afford 80k/year undergrad

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 26, 2020 - 8:12pm

99th percentile SAT is pretty easy, GPA more like 3.5 is good enough for passing BB screens, memorizing technicals takes around a week, EQ is developed through being social

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  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 26, 2020 - 8:14pm

bro you just posted cringe...being "smart" without developing skills is an easy way to waste your life

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 10:16pm

No, and congrats for asking one of the more dumb questions of the day.

Don't believe for a second that a pimple faced analyst can do the job of a quantum field theory physicist or a fighter pilot.

Friendly reminder that you are not on top of the world and almost no one on earth gives one rat's ass what you do for a living.

Funniest
  • Intern in IB - Restr
Apr 26, 2020 - 10:23pm

Getting elected President seems harder. Millions of people involved in the decision process and even if you have years of experience, connections to previous management level people, and a law degree from Yale, a Wharton undergrad with 0 years relevant work experience still may get the job.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 28, 2020 - 1:24am

I think many would disagree with "0 years relevant work experience"

Regardless of political affiliation, nobody seems to really like career politicians or think that they are a good idea. Biased here, but I think that some of the crazies currently representing the left would never win an election today if it wasn't for the fact that their states could mindlessly push a well-known candidate, often irregardless of track record. I'm sure that you could say the same for many politicians on the right. I think that many would value experience in the world of business over simply being a politician. Let's also not forget something that many on this forum value extensively; networking. As a result of his lifetime practices of simply being a good and fair human (ex: Ellis Island Medal of Honor alongside Rosa Parks and Muhammed Ali.), Trump was able to effectively utilize his personal skills to land him a job, as many on this forum have done.

It's a shame that the degree from Yale doesn't mean as much as it could for Obama given his race. I wish that we could treat applicants without any regard to the color of their skin, as MLK would have wanted. Alas, we can only question whether or not Obama got into law school with a lower GPA and LSAT than would have been allowed for a white student, as often happens.

  • Intern in IB - Restr
Apr 28, 2020 - 2:19am

Obama went to Harvard. Hillary Clinton went to Yale. And she graduated before women had any preferential treatment in admissions. A Harvard professor told her not to apply because they had too many women

Apr 26, 2020 - 11:01pm

I love how you prefaced this with "except for the comp sci etc jobs" .

Yeah, except for the jobs that actually require an ounce of brainpower, then congrats! You're the creme de la creme, champ

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  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Apr 26, 2020 - 11:30pm
User45:

I love how you prefaced this with "except for the comp sci etc jobs"

Lmao this. Can't lose the race if everyone else only has one leg!

May 2, 2020 - 10:48am

Honestly, the compsci jobs nowadays are the coding equivalent of excel monkeys. Just go to SV and look at the quality of some of the firms being cofounded by FAANG engineers...

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
Apr 26, 2020 - 11:19pm

Any time I think to myself "do I really want to do this?" I bring up this document, and it gets my head on straight.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1h1N6rrvLRmapN2fwreSBL45I89azg2t…

Fact of the matter is that in your first few years you're making money just under a software engineer. (probably more if you consider the fact that about 40-50k of Software Engineer comp is in stock option while an IB's bonus is cash). Do you have longer hours? You bet. Do you sleep less every night? Obviously. Are you stressed more? Probably. But if you stick it out in banking, by year 7 you're making more than the software engineer. And assuming you go into the buyside by year 3? You blow that money out of the water. 20 years down the line if you have the grit to stick it out on the partner track at a PE firm, the amount the software engineer makes looks like the down payment on your house

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 11:29pm

Are these numbers only for top investment banks or general industry? Is there a huge difference in comp between banks like Mizuho/Nomura/RBC and a BB/EB?

Apr 26, 2020 - 11:31pm

Those are BB numbers. EBs pay a more than BBs, so keep that in mind. Idk how much MMs or smaller IBs pay.

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Apr 26, 2020 - 11:38pm

There is certainly a sizable jump between BB and EB pay, with BB being more like 140-160, and EBs being more like 150-180. This is obviously not including any sort of signing bonus. As far as Nomura/Mizuho/RBC I have no clue, but I'm sure there's others on this forum who can chime in regarding comp for those banks

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Apr 27, 2020 - 10:20am

This isn't true.

People get put on "PIP" (performance improvement programs) all the time in top tech. This is especially if you're not getting at least "meets" or better in your perf review. Guess what? If you don't improve you're canned.

There is also the concept of "terminal level". That is if you're not promoted to the terminal level in a certain number of years (think of the banking corollary as not making it to VP) you are also canned. It's effectively up or out until then.

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  • Incoming Analyst in S&T - Other
Apr 27, 2020 - 8:49am

It seems you're asking two different things in your question though. The title is asking how hard it is relative to the competition (in which case I'd be inclined to guess that MBB is the hardest to get out of undergrad jobs, if looking solely at acceptance rate). But the body asks whether the ability to become an IB/PE analyst implies something about the person's ability to excel in other fields. My perception of the average (incoming) analyst is that they work harder (proportionally/as a group) career-wise than peers on campus and that they 'get' that you need to do a lot of independent study/research/networking to get your foot in the door. I can't see why that won't translate into the ability to get their foot in the door elsewhere. As far as whether they'd be able to have done similarly well in petroleum engineering is a different question, and I don't think there's enough data for that--I will say though that I know plenty of 4.0 PBK hard science types at IB, but none of their friends in research labs would even think about doing IB.

Apr 27, 2020 - 11:40am

Certainly harder ones to get into. Few that come to mind:

Military: Navy SEAL, Delta, NSA
Finance: Quant Trader/Researcher
Medicine: Residency at top hospitals

Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.
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Apr 27, 2020 - 12:47pm

Edited - SEa Land and Air. Great grandfather was a Rear Admiral in Navy.

Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.
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Apr 27, 2020 - 12:52pm

From my experience in undergrad, getting an MBB job was more difficult than a top investment banking job.

This was because for MBB there was truly applicants from all over. They were taking the top students going into Medical School routes, public policy tracks, etc. Truly exceptional people. A few have gone on to Rhodes scholarships, etc. MBB seems to want to support the best of the best, even if there is huge flight risk.

Whereas in banking it was primarily just the smartest kids from finance and econ undergrads (albeit a very tough pool).

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Apr 28, 2020 - 11:34am

Perhaps.

My experience is skewed towards my regional school, where recruiting was for O&G offices.

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Apr 28, 2020 - 1:06pm

I think I can weigh in on this statement. I recruited for both MBBs and GS/MS/JPM. While I would argue that the MBB process is more rigorous than banking processes (multiple case studies and highly structured behavioral interviews vs. some finance technicals and off-the-cuff behavioral questions), the MBBs give students a plethora of resources to help them prepare. Before my first MBB interview I received a "case study buddy" to help me study for the cases, information regarding what they wanted from the cases, and multiple alumni connects to speak with regarding the process. As far as banking jobs go, they requires a bit more initiative on your part, but less overall intellectual rigor (albeit I would argue that neither process is too intellectually strenuous if properly prepared for).

Apr 27, 2020 - 1:18pm

IB/PE jobs and the skills needed for them are the hardest to get. In fact, the primary reason I joined the Clippers in free agency is because Jerry West scouts college basketball players by asking them finance technicals. Think about - teams like Philadelphia could have avoided the Markelle Fultz saga if they'd just asked for a paper LBO and a walk through his resume. The team and I know that if those kids can answer those questions, they can do anything on the court.

I’m a fun guy. Obviously I love the game of basketball. I mean there’s more questions you have to ask me in order for me to tell you about myself. I'm not just gonna give you a whole spill... I mean, I don't even know where you're sitting at

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 28, 2020 - 1:13am

I think in some sense, top IB/PE/MBB jobs are the toughest to get with the least skills, at least at the non "high target school" level. You compete fiercely with top students domestically and abroad attending the best universities in the world.

For law, to attend a top firm essentially all that you have to do is try-hard (not a bad thing) for 4 years of undergrad (3.8+), and 3 years of law school, and get a good test score. While this may a simplified version and may not be easy, I don't think it stacks up with the extensive networking and independent learning that someone looking to make it in IB or PE often has to do. Not to mention passing the often extensive behavioral exams while still maintaining a GPA above 3.5.

For medicine, it appears to be mostly the same. Do well on Standardized tests and perform well in undergrad and medical school (and to a lesser extent, residency). It's not that this information is easy to learn or that there isn't much of it, but in my opinion it is still largely memorization oriented and is not on the same level of being a physicist or an engineer.

However, in order to become a physicist, you must know physics. In order to become a mechanical engineer, you must know mechanical engineering.

As someone who is coming from a semi-target though, this isn't really true at all for students at top targets. I didn't try in high school, and definitely don't want to bring ivy-tier students down, as I think that most of them deserve everything that they have earned. However, they will often not have to perform substantive networking, independent finance learning, or perform as well in university (grade inflation). Then again, a student at Harvard could really get a job anywhere.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 1, 2020 - 5:17pm

So you're telling me amongst professionals with little skills, investment banking is hard to get. That's like saying bankers are the smartest amongst kindergarteners

In any case, no, most people going into banking are unimpressive. Having been in the process for competitive post-grad scholarships, I believe people going into public policy, law, engineering, academia, and medicine are far more intelligent and hard working than your average analyst who studied a guide and networked for a few months during their sophomore year. Maybe a few going into finance can actually hold a candle to the above but the vast majority absolutely cannot.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 28, 2020 - 3:24pm

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  • VP in IB - Ind
Apr 30, 2020 - 5:14pm

Come on, you didn't even change the copy pasta to be finance related?

What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little Prospect in IB? I'll have you know I graduated top of my class at IU-Kelley, and I've been involved in numerous secret raids on UIUC, and I have over 300 confirmed LBOs. I am trained in Microsoft Office and I'm the top Treasurer in the entire investment club. You are nothing to me but just another intern. I will MS the fuck out of you with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this message board, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of memelords across Wall Street and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, monkey. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your career prospects. You're fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, via VPN, and I can dox you in over seven hundred ways, and that's just with my gaming keyboard. Not only am I extensively trained in online combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little "clever" comment about RBC was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn't, you didn't, and now you're paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You're fucking dead, kiddo. DB not a BB.

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Apr 29, 2020 - 9:00pm

MBB as an undergraduate is more selective than top banking roles, both in a raw numbers perspective (acceptance rate) and the rigor of their processes (MBB interviews cannot be memorized, banking technicals can). I say this as someone who recruited in both industries successfully.

Apr 29, 2020 - 11:45pm

It is definitely more challenging to get a top consulting gig, a HF job, or VC position out of college. You can't memorize a compelling story and some technicals for MBB like you can for IB. The HF's are selective. And any decent VC fund isn't going to hire you unless they've known you for a while and you've been vetted by the partners

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
May 1, 2020 - 9:05pm

I'm going to get so much hate for this so I apologise in advance to anyone who may be offended by my post but I am just saying it how it is in the world of investment banking.

I'm an IBD associate at a BB and have seen the recruitment process over a few years so to answer the question it really depends who you are, we have 4 main applicant categories, there are more but these are the ones you see most, 1 being the easiest and 4 being the most difficult process.

  1. Black females, these candidates will get a job offer at pretty much any bank they apply to, in fact they will find the process so easy they will probably find getting an IBD offer easier than applying for a part time job at a supermarket. All my friends at one of the US BBs who are black females told me their interview process did not consist of a single technical question and all their interviewers were saying how they respect them for applying to banking as a black female and how the bank respects it too. If you're a black female that speaks multiple languages you probably don't even need to apply, just email GS HR saying you're interested and they'll probably arrange a call for you and tell you to apply online where they will flag your application for an interview (if you think im joking, im not, just try it lol it will work, a friend of mine got a job there by doing this)

  2. any other female, they still have to put in some work but they definitely have a good chance of getting in providing they prepare and don't make any major redflags during the interview. If they speak multiple languages then they will stand a very high chance at getting the offer and will probably be placed closer to category 1.

  3. Europeans/asians, still have to put in the prepartion work, there is no significant advantage during the recruitment process however the banks will favour these candidates (this is my category) for diversity reasons over the white male. i think aside from general bank diversity politics, this category typically speaks multiple languages which will allow them to stand out in the process providing no visa issues.

  4. the bottom of the food chain, the white male (white americans and english), I honestly don't know how white males still manage to get an offer when competing with the above 3 categories, bank diversity requirements really impacts the chances of these candidates getting an offer. In fact i've just realised my team has no white male analysts at all (although at the senior level still a lot given the old banking culture). It's a different world now compared to pre 2008 where being a white male was an advantage back then, it's now a disadvantage. they will have to work harder than anyone else to get an offer and might end up applying for 50 banks and get rejected by all. As an associate at a BB, I've seen the recruitment process over multiple years and have had numerous top candidates get rejected because they're a white male and having their spot offered to a black female / female who performed far worse during the process just because of gender / diversity requirements. My bank once told me to be "nice" before i went to interview someone who was a black female, this was HR basically saying make sure she gets the offer. Whereas for the white male im free to grill them to the bone on accounting and finance. If you're a white male the best thing you can do to compete is learn languages imo.

note: whilst the above is true for pretty much every BB, note that it differs on office locations and some boutiques are still slightly behind on diversity recruiting and tend to hire purely on performance during interviews. Additionally statistics of the number of applications for each category plays a role.

Apologies for the long message, working from home has increased boredom levels and there might be a lot of grammar / spelling mistakes as it is currently 2am. i hope this doesn't offend anyone and everyone takes this lightly but this is what ive seen over the years.

May 1, 2020 - 11:40pm

I mean apologizing for your opinions doesn't change the amount of hate you're gonna get lol especially when you say shit like "I honestly don't know how white males still manage to get an offer when competing with the above 3 categories." For starters, I hope you know that white males still are the most represented race/gender bucket on wall street including every new class every year. Also, it's not news that diversity pipelines feature less technically rigorous interview processes; this is on purpose. Diversity recruiting exists because banks have realized that for decades, finance has been a community that tacitly excludes many minority groups. This could be because of disparities in income, background, or other reasons that lead to minority groups being unaware of or unable to apply to and recruit for these roles. Doesn't matter why you think that's the case, but it is undeniably true that roles in finance receive not only a lower gross number of applications from minority groups, but a lower proportion as compared to their makeup of college populations. Thus, banks (as well as tech companies, F500 companies, and others) make a clear, and well understood tradeoff: they will accept applicants of an objectively lower quality from minority backgrounds at the expense of over-represented majorities in the hope that in future generations when minority students have parents, mentors, and representation in the industry, they can hold truly meritocratic application processes on the basis of ability alone. For the time being, holding such a "merit based" process will continue to exacerbate resource and knowledge disparities between groups. Many corporations also believe that there is realizable value in ethnic and gender diversity on teams

Maybe you think this is all bullshit. There are gonna be a lot of people that read this or come to this realization and feel angry that they are part of the group that has to, for no choice of their own, walk a seemingly more difficult path than peers from minority groups. I'd remind those people that they're not owed shit. No bank owes them a seat in their office. Like colleges, these financial institutions have independently assessed and determined that a different applicant adds more value to their operations than you. Doesn't matter how smart you are, or how good at the job you would have been -- a private business has decided they want someone more than you. Maybe they fucked up -- maybe you could have been a great banker and made partner there and made the business billions of dollars. Sucks. That's the way life is though -- unfair, just like many of the injustices your minority peers may have faced. Don't take that out on other college students just trying to hustle and find their way in the world like you.

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
May 2, 2020 - 8:51am

That is fair enough and I think you've made some good points, but I wasn't answering the "why" part or disagreeing with the logic/reasoning behind why banks have adopted diversity recruiting which is what you're discussing, I was just answering the OP and how it works from an application standpoint. Didn't mean to offend you.

  • Prospect in IB - CB
May 2, 2020 - 10:31pm

Exactly. All the old white alums of my school who are Senior MDs talk about how back then in the 80s when they graduated, all they had to do was just reach out to their uncle or dad at Morgan Stanley their senior year to secure an IB job out of college (no interview, nothing)

  • Prospect in Other
May 3, 2020 - 1:18am

But the minorities that are benefitting are all non-white.

It's a bit rich that someone that could come from an impoverished Bosnian, Irish, Scottish or Polish background and have their prospects blocked despite having arguably been much worse discriminated than hispanics / blacks in living memory.

So while you speak about the rest of us not being owed anything - and how this is all to help "minorities" - please realize, and acknowledge, your own - and the system's - bias against minorities who aren't black / hispanic.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 2, 2020 - 10:02am

By the way you described it, you'd think that investment banking consists of predominantly minorities at the junior level.

Do you really think that contention holds water? Is that statistically accurate at your school? In your banking group?

The vast majority of people in my target school getting offers, group, and firm are white males (only one minority in my BB group in fact at the analyst level, ~8% minorities overall). LinkedIn searches would absolutely weaken your assertion. As much as you'd like to bemoan the fall of meritocracy, I'm not sure how you can actually substantiate this.

Also, what's a bit odd is that you say that you're not trying to trigger anyone, but the most triggered person seems like you...

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