Is investment banking not as prestigious as most people think? Are kids that break in sub-par?

I think we've all already come to the conclusion that Investment Banking certainly doesn't pay as well as it used to when you adjust for the cost of living, but is it still prestigious and does it still have good exit opportunities? Does breaking into banking mean you're a special, unique, snowflake (yes, probably the snowflake part).

I have an interesting side of story to tell, which many bankers will probably disagree with, and I hope you'll hear me out.


Investment Banks are really behind the times when it comes to recruiting / employment. In any other industry we would likely consider this a serious risk to the future viability of the industry, but because of the sheer number of monkeys chasing "prestige", "exit ops bro", and (financial) models and (coke) bottles, these companies have an endless supply of hardworking drones with a slightly (if that) above average level of talent.

Let's be honest, the reason 90% of people think investment banking is cool, is because it sounds cool (even to people who aren't in finance).

I hate to break it to you, but the prestige of investment banking is a marketing ploy and most people probably got suckered. It is actually one of the least interesting jobs out there and I'm frequently told by other bankers that it's such an easy job that any kid fresh out of high school could do it. Banking is basically a glorified powerpoint / sales job.

I know many of you monkeys are probably already going apeshit and will have difficulty seeing clearly, but please try to get to the end of the post (you can do it, I promise).

For the following reasons banks end up with high turnover and mediocre employees:
1. Relationship-based recruiting
2. High availability of better jobs (seeing many top PE firms hire analysts out of undergrad)

I will now begin breaking down my assumptions into digestible, logical pieces, while simultaneously making all of monkeys go wild for your entertainment. You can expect to see some really interesting feedback in the comments, most of it ineligible, but some will be valuable.

How Investment Banks Recruit

Investments Banks, unfortunately, recruit based primarily on relationships:

  1. Did you go to school where we recruit? (40%)
  2. Do I know you personally? (25%)
  3. Have you done investment banking before? (20%)
  4. Can you meet with me 3 times and not be weird? (15%)

That's pretty much it. If you can meet 3/4 of these requirements and apply to enough banks, you're pretty much in banking. Maybe not at your dream bank, but definitely at a bank. It's not hard, I promise (unless you go to a non-target).

I don't really see anything prestigious or difficult about any of that.

Some people might argue there is more or less to it, and I might agree, but I would still say that the weight of the first question matters more than anything else when going into banking and that's one of the reasons weaker candidates get in.

Why target schools produce the mediocre students

The silver spoon kids will really disagree with me here, but banks don't recruit at target schools because the students are outstanding year after year. Banks recruit at target schools because students were phenomenal in one single year and have since worked at the bank while helping their alma matter break in.

The first students to ever break into banking for their schools are some of the top students to ever graduate from their school because they broke in against all odds. These students are the cream of the crop. They had to network and jump through x10 the hoops any other student would have to, to get into banking because they were competing against people who could answer question #1, #2, and #3.

Their school likely didn't even tell them what banking was... They had to teach themselves. Sometimes these students break in and sometimes they don't. Their still likely phenomenal for the sometimes superhuman things they accomplish.

After a school is successful at becoming a target school it develops a relationship with the bank and future students have a MUCH easier time getting in. No longer do they have to compete in 5 competitions, be president of 2 student organizations, have a perfect GPA, pound the ground networking, while working 2 full-time jobs, and just be an all around outstanding human being to break in.

Students from target simply need to go to the right school and not be a complete idiot and their pretty much guaranteed a job in banking. They don't even need to be a finance major. Don't believe me? Check out how many kids from target schools with liberal arts majors made it into banking.

I realize some people may argue that getting into target schools in itself is prestigious, to which I would argue that it's simply not. There is nothing difficult about doing SAT prep and overpaying for an education which has little to no real world value.

There is nothing prestigious about getting into banking either, it's about who you know inside the bank and how well you know them. It's about what school you go to, not the quality of person you are and the level of talent you bring with you.

Breaking into banking doesn't make you smart (unless you come from a non-target) and it doesn't make you talented. There is nothing special about bankers (sorry snowflakes)

The only good thing about investment banking is that the name sounds cool even to people outside of finance. We want to work here because of the way people look at us with admiration when we tell them what they do only to be disappointed when the inevitably ask "what stocks should I invest in?". The only ones left to admire us at the end of the day are other monkey's trying to break in, and all of this depends on us continuing the narrative that investment banking is prestigious. Meanwhile, we're beating ourselves over the head. It's not so bad, only a few years, right?

We spend 100 hours a week for two years where we sacrifice our health, our hair, our loves ones, self-development, and the precious joy of life. And for what? Exit ops bro?

Good shops are cutting out the middle man

People keep talking about exit ops for IB and I keep wondering what the hell their talking about. PE, VC, HF, and corporate development (really, you are going to spend 2 years in a hell-hole to stay in finance?). Thats pretty much it and you don't really need to do IB to break into most of them anymore.

Frankly, boutique and even huge, reputable PE/HF are starting to cut on the middle man (bankers) and recruit straight out of undergrad.

Why would they wait and get someone from a bank when they could mold the undegrad's from the start and cut down the hours for the associates while paying a fraction of the price for the work? It's easier to learn how to perform on the buyside from actually being on the buyside. Being a glorified excel / ppt monkey will only get you so far. I think in the coming years we will see more of this behavior.

Anyways, congratulations to everyone still in school who won't have to put up with any of this in the future.

Thanks for reading

Well, I think that's all for now folks - back to work. Feel free to go apeshit or grab some popcorn and watch the monkies defecate themselves.

If you have any other suggestions on what I should write about in the future, feel free to leave some in the comments below.

Hope you enjoyed my post!


Just wanted to say that I actually work with a lot of investment bankers and they are actually some of the smartest, funniest, most hardworking, well-spoken people I know. Were they they smartest in their class? I'm not sure, but they are phenomenal people.

Would they have been successful regardless of what career path they chose? Probably. Could they have spent their first two years our of college doing something better? I have no idea.

This post is for those that are debating going into investment banking or choosing to jump in simply because it's prestigious. Tons of groupthink going on this forum. Most kids on this forum seem to be going into IB simply for the name with no idea what the work actually entails. It could be a horrible decision and a waste of time.

Comments (103)

Mar 23, 2017 - 2:16pm

At the end of the day, IB is a relationship driven business. So it makes sense that just about everything related to its practices are based on relationships. Your points about non-targets are stupid. I came from a non-target which has recently started a big push into IB roles - idiots get by all the time, you don't have to be the smartest person in the room to get there... BUT I would find it far fetched to say that people in IB are not in general pretty smart people. Companies hire from target schools because of the relationship amongst its current staff, and because you can't get yelled at for hiring the guy from Harvard. (similar to how companies will hire McKinsey to justify their strategy). It may be "fake" to some extent, but there is a reason pedigree is valued.

Your argument for PE hiring undergrads because it is cheaper and less hours is also dumb. While there has been recent growth in PE firms hiring UGs direct, the main reason most companies pry talent away after a year or two is because THEY DO NOT WANT TO SPEND DOLLARS TRAINING YOU. Do you know how fucking expensive training a new employee is? You don't just join a company and instantly know everything from modeling to deal execution. It takes time.

Other exit opps - PE, VC, HF, Corp Dev, etc. => Dude, you're talking to people who want to go into IB and finance related roles. Do you 100% need to have a finance degree for these? Of course not, but it is a signal of interest. Not that you actually know shit relevant to the job. These are the exit opps for the industry because they are related in terms of job functionality, operations, and general interest amongst the industry(ies). Try using that argument for someone in HR or an Engineer... the same end result would be there, just with different industries.

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Mar 23, 2017 - 2:18pm

I haven't been around these forums that long... But your posts are negative and never helpful. Maybe chill about not getting into banking and focus on something else?


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Best Response
Mar 23, 2017 - 2:35pm

You're wrong.

The intellectual requirements for the job have nothing to do with the quality of the candidates that want it. The fact that investment banking requires the intelligence of a mildly retarded housefly doesn't mean that people in the field aren't very hardworking, persistent and smart.

Truth is that the banking skillset doesn't teach you how to invest. If anything, it teaches you a way of thinking that will actually make you worse at investing. So why do hedge funds and private equity firms recruit exclusively out of banking? For smart kids who are already prepped in financial statement analysis. They don't want to train associates, and they want people who know how to 1) work hard, 2) build models, and 3) learn.

People always complain about the fact that the work seems so mundane. Of course it is - you're 22 years old. What did you expect? You haven't done shit with your life. You've never sat across the table from a client, you've never dealt with real business challenges. No matter how smart you are, how inherently gifted, just by virtue of experience you don't deserve to be doing anything more than grinding through Excel models and making PPT slides. You do it so that you can learn how senior bankers think, how they build and maintain relationships, how they position businesses for sale. Slowly through all those slide decks and Excel models you'll be able to pick up the skills to be successful in banking.

My parents are engineers in some dead-end town in the middle of nowhere. I knew nobody and nothing about banking when I started college. I got my job by sending cold emails, submitting applications and interviewing well.

As for the massive chip on your shoulder as a non-target - I lead recruiting for my office so I know what I'm talking about when I say that the quality of candidates we get from top schools is consistently better than the candidates we get from non-targets. And by consistent, I mean 1) more well rounded, 2) smarter, 3) more technically proficient, even pitting English majors against Finance majors, 4) more polished, and 5) more interesting. It's like having two distributions - one higher and one lower. Yes there's some overlap where there are some non-targets that are better than target candidates, but on average there is a very significant difference in quality. The reason is that this difference exists is because Harvard has a 5% admit rate and Penn State admits 50% of applicants.

And since when was banking a low-paying job? When you're 22 and making 150k/year, you're massively overpaid if anything, no matter what your hours are. There are incredibly smart and hardworking kids working 60 hours/week in a mailroom making $30k/year just wishing they could have the honor of making shitty PPT slides for the prick whose mail they're sorting.

You seriously need to humble yourself. You're worth nothing. You haven't done shit. You deserve grunt work because it's all you're capable of doing. Over time, as you prove yourself you will be given more responsibility and better compensation. But to ask for the world as a recent graduate is an incredibly misguided and entitled mentality that will hinder your climb to success.

Mar 23, 2017 - 3:25pm

sounds really discriminatory and ageist.

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
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Apr 2, 2017 - 3:56pm

So 100% this. StateofNature really laid it out nicely. This will be stream of conscious, but OP's post is part of what is wrong with today's state of mind...

I went to a non-target liberal arts (still top 30, but by no means a bank household name) and had to fight my way into Bear Stearns in the mid-2000s. My analyst class had a kid from a major (think Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth) who from day 1 complained as he believed he was above the work and was underpaid given his background. At 22, I first thought, 'wow this guy must really be right to be this upset', then a month in I realized just how wrong he was. When Bear collapsed he was disrespectful to equity holding MDs and kissed JPM's ass while slamming his colleagues. People don't forget and I haven't heard from him since 2008. As far as I know, his reputation never recovered.

Next. At the Analyst/Associate levels, technicals matter. It isn't rocket science, but you need to be able to be detail oriented and lucid even when working 80hr weeks (which is tough even for the most resilient of us), but beyond those levels to VP and beyond, you need to be personable, see the 'big picture', and be excellent at sales without being 'used car salesmeny' about it. A great Associate could potentially be a terrible VP. Conversely, a mediocre Associate could be a rockstar VP. Also, it's 2017, large corporates that do vanilla senior issue with a term A & B with a revolver kicker know they can squeeze banker fees during a bake-off. And there will be so many banks on syndicate that does it even really matter? Bankers charging retainers and success fees are winning deals because of their relationships. Clients know they could shop non-binding terms, engagements, etc., but the banker with the relationship can sweep in the deals.

As for target vs. non-target. Look there are some brilliant people that can't afford Ivys and end up going to their state school. They end up graduating top of their class and break into banking. I have an enormous amount of respect for those people as they truly clawed to get where they are. Most are also humble, which is the mark of a true professional. The hard fact is, however, targets typically produce high quality. I'd say you'd have a 70%+ and a ~20% probability of bringing in talent from a target vs. a non-target, respectively. I did go to a non-target undergrad, but to two target grad schools and I can safely say the quality of person was noticeability different. Think of the recruitment cycles for bulge brackets. Do you really think they want to spend the time/money/effort to gamble on the off chance they will get a diamond in the rough or go to the normal watering hole and have a high chance at something good?

Finally the pay. StateofNature is so spot on here. At 22, anything over 100k and you should be thankful. Most of the people on here have parents that financed/sponsored their undergrad. You come out debt free, making top salary, and are a kid? Sounds pretty great to me. Oh and after 2 years of hard work you get the shot at--what some believe to be--the apex of financial services (PE/HF/etc.)? During which you get full benefits, a chance to learn deals, and build a network? Doesn't get much better than that in the corporate world.

I love A-type personalities, but--fuck man--a little humility goes a long way. What else is there to say...

May 13, 2017 - 3:12pm

Completely agree; obviously there are outliers who are not in top schools but have 1. strong work ethic 2. good personal skills 3. is interesting, but on average top schools demand more from students, hence the reason.

Jun 19, 2018 - 8:23am

Simply by virtue of only being on planet earth for 22 yrs (virtually none of it as a responsible citizen taking care of themselves and others), they know nothing. Being able to solve problems is great. They've demonstrated they can do that in an academic (and maybe quasi professional) setting. Hooray, BFD. 22 years from now they will look back and realize they knew nothing at a22. For all you quant guys / gals out there, it's like dealing with a whole new set of variables to your equations. The good thing is you know how to think, so after time spent living with these variables, you will know lots of things in time.

It's called experience and there is no shortcut.

Mar 23, 2017 - 7:03pm

A few short thoughts:

  1. You can't write so negatively and at such great length and expect people to read through all of it. People will only go through that much text if they believe there are good points throughout it and your level of negativity indicates you don't have an argument that you are confident in.

  2. Saying getting into an IB is easy is rude to all the people who tried hard and weren't able to land the job they wanted.

  3. All of your points seem to be based on discrediting superficial aspects of investment banking. You call people mediocre students for going to target schools and say it's not prestigious to work at an IB. Both of these points can be invalidated by a single Big Lebowski line. If prestige is at the top of your priorities list you should go on The Voice or something.

  4. Saying PE/HFs are "cutting out the middleman" is robbing yourself of one of the classic digs against IBs. It also sounds like someone saying "I didn't want to get into Harvard anyway, their placement stats are down YoY".

Mar 24, 2017 - 1:25am

OP, how are you enjoying selling your Mary Kay products?

Facts about OP:

1) Currently still in school at a non-target

2) Tried extremely hard to break into IB

3) Could not break in, probably because he seems super fucking weird and anal

4) Has to self-rationalize why IB actually sucks so he can protect his fragile ego

5) Starts to smugly look down on investment banking, while secretly wishing he could have gotten a job

6) Starts to bash things like "exit ops", "prestige", "comp", "modeling" because these are aspects he realizes he will miss out on at the start of his career and so he wants the kids that actually broke into IB to feel bad

7) Starts trying to believe that there are loopholes in the high finance industry, i.e. "you can just go to the buyside STRAIGHT OUT OF UNDERGRAD!!" without realizing that private equity analysts for the most part have the exact same responsibilites as investment banking analysts in terms of mundane powerpoint formatting, modeling, and other random BS that all fucking 22 year old analysts have to do

8) Continues to blame being from a non-target as the sole reason why he can't get success, without shouldering any responsibilites

Mar 25, 2017 - 11:54am

I stopped reading after the first section, but I still gave you a silver banana because I agree to some extent.

First, no one outside of investment banking really knows what it is. Ask anyone on this site - people who ask what we do think we are involved with investments (stock brokers or something to that effect).

I will agree that it is a LOT more marketing and salesy than incoming bankers and students think it is. Students and incoming monkeys find the allure in IB because they think it's going to be like their school projects where you need to value company A and make some form of recommendation. It's not all that. For many monkeys, it's making a chart in powerpoint through 100 iterations. For the senior bankers, it's a relationship game - and probably a fulfilling job for them (though high pressure).

I do hate to say it, but I often think of my job as a glorified business broker - maybe a little more professional, with more resources at my disposal, and working with larger clients. In the end, I don't find satisfaction in that, and I don't see myself being a career banker/broker. That's just me.

I'd also agree with what StateofNature said minus the hateful speech in the end (I don't think it was personal, but who knows) and a few other small components. The kids in IB are generally very smart. But I totally agree with the persistence. I went to a state school and did my master's before I went into IB, so I definitely did things differently. You don't need to be a genius in the industry, but you do have to "want it" - and I know that sounds fucking cheesy, but it's true. I took other internships that gave me that high-end financial experience while my friends were partying and not even thinking about internships. I didn't network as much as I should have but I had the skills - I did my fair share of modeling, research, presentation work, etc., and it was an easy transition when I got into banking, and I've always been told my work is "great." Again, I wasn't a target by any means, but I worked hard for the skills that are relevant.
Just a side note, I would also add to StateofNature's post that not all banks limit you to powerpoints and models early on. It's probably more common at boutiques, but some will get you in management meetings from the get go, and even though you may not contribute much to the discussions, I think being "involved" (also, communicating with clients through e-mails - even if it's just forwarding a teaser or something) is a very very very valuable thing for the younger bankers because it not only exposes them more and sooner than banks that don't do that, but the junior banker will more than likely enjoy the experience a bit more.

Mar 29, 2017 - 10:57am


I stopped reading after the first section, but I still gave you a silver banana because I agree to some extent.

First, no one outside of investment banking really knows what it is. Ask anyone on this site - people who ask what we do think we are involved with investments (stock brokers or something to that effect).

I've had people who suggested that I might be interested in attending financial adviser give you an idea how impressed most people will be with it. Half of the rest who do know what it is think you're an evil Wall Street crook of some kind.

Mar 30, 2017 - 12:47pm

Consulting is probably a bit better, especially with their recruiting.

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
Mar 25, 2017 - 5:40pm

The manner in which the OP is written makes me think of a summer analyst who didn't get a return offer and, in order to cope, swore off investment banking and started telling people how those who actually did get return offers were not as smart and only wanted to chase "prestige" or pay or something similar. What actual work experience do you have in this field as an intern in m&a that allows you to critique and marginalize such a vast industry? Did you learn how to use Excel, prepare relevant research, and schedule meetings for FT employees? Your posts seems to project a whole lot as well. Not everyone got into investment banking for the same reasons you attempted to get in for so you'd be wrong in making that assumption. I can see the point that (in my opinion) you were attempting to make but you let your own bad experience(s) dictate your opinions on the whole industry which is a huge mistake.

Mar 27, 2017 - 4:26pm

Yes and yes. You fucked up if you got an MBA and ended up in banking.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
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Mar 28, 2017 - 3:03pm


OP, I think you could really thrive in compliance

Generous. Way too generous. His attention to detail is likely shit, can't have idiots in compliance. Oh wait...

Better use of his "talent" would be used car sales.

I've been on WSO for a long time. I've seen kids straight up lying on resumes to folks who worked extremely hard and yet still can't break in for one reason or another but this is the first time I am witnessing genuine bitterness.

It sucks ass you didn't break in but in a way, be glad. You would have gotten destroyed by your deal team with an attitude and self entitlement mentality like yours, OP. You remind me of brady4mvp.

Mar 30, 2017 - 12:48pm

You're a special snowflake aren't you?

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
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Mar 31, 2017 - 11:24pm

Hey ass licker and c**k sucker, I did agree with OP abt what he said and why did you have to label other's "insight" in the business as some sort of self protectiuon or kinda shit? If you are fine with baning just fucking stick with it and that's it. I think his point is really "Most kids on this forum seem to be going into IB simply for the name with no idea what the work actually entails. It could be a horrible decision and a waste of time." which is a kind reminder and it is true.
(oh btw if u think I am someone who also failed to break in I m telling ya I m with a BB).

I could tell you could be a real sycophant in banking, a good characteristic to have in the business. Congrad.

Mar 31, 2017 - 11:28pm



OP, I think you could really thrive in compliance

Generous. Way too generous. His attention to detail is likely shit, can't have idiots in compliance. Oh wait...

Better use of his "talent" would be used car sales.

I've been on WSO for a long time. I've seen kids straight up lying on resumes to folks who worked extremely hard and yet still can't break in for one reason or another but this is the first time I am witnessing genuine bitterness.

It sucks ass you didn't break in but in a way, be glad. You would have gotten destroyed by your deal team with an attitude and self entitlement mentality like yours, OP. You remind me of brady4mvp.

Hey ass licker and c**k sucker, I did agree with OP abt what he said and why did you have to label other's "insight" in the business as some sort of self protectiuon or kinda shit? If you are fine with baning just fucking stick with it and that's it. I think his point is really "Most kids on this forum seem to be going into IB simply for the name with no idea what the work actually entails. It could be a horrible decision and a waste of time." which is a kind reminder and it is true.
(oh btw if u think I am someone who also failed to break in I m telling ya I m with a BB).

I could tell you could be a real sycophant in banking, a good characteristic to have in the business. Congrad.

Mar 28, 2017 - 6:48pm

I'm gonna pretend this is a serious post, cause I'm stuck on the train and there aren't any good political flame wars going on at the moment. To address the questions in the title:

Is investment banking not as prestigious as most people think?

Since prestige is, by definition, a word referring to society's aggregate impression of a person, occupation, or activity, this question is conceptually broken. IB is EXACTLY as prestigious as most people think. The argument you're trying to make is that people have a misplaced sense of respect for people in these roles, based on their lack of familiarity with the realities of being an analyst.

Are kids that break in sub-par?

Couple issues here: 1) relative to what? based on what metric? ; 2) you don't actually address this question, at all. I assume you thought proving that targets produce mediocre student addressed this, but it should be obvious to anyone unburdened by a crippling inferiority complex that students at targets /= all future bankers and mediocre students =/ sub-par professionals (also, for what it's worth, a mediocre student would be EXACTLY par, not sub-par). 3) even ignoring those issues, you have to be aware that comparing the top .05% of non-target students who make it into banking to 100% of the students at a target IN NO WAY proves that targets produce worse results (the fact that you felt it necessary to slice the data that way actually argues the opposite)

Your other point:

Good shops are cutting out the middle man
1) You offered exactly 0 data to support that good shops are doing this (rather, you showed that more shops are doing this, at best) 2) you comment "Why would they wait and get someone from a bank when they could mold the undegrad's from the start and cut down the hours for the associates while paying a fraction of the price for the work" - weird, wouldn't that create a system wherein undergrads came in at a much lower compensation level than the associates (hmm, like 150k all-in, say) and did all the less complex, less interesting shit (like, say, excel & ppt monkey shit)? Sounds like a system that would attract precisely the same prestige-chasing demographic seeking to break into IB.

Life's is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
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Mar 29, 2017 - 1:00pm

I think OP should just calm down. IB is very preftigious because that's just what it is. Can't have IB without the prestige. It's almost like what a company pays for, to get the shiny embossed stamp.

But in all fairness, it's a job that pays well and lets [poor] hardworking kids hangout with rich people. So, in a way, you get to step up in life. But being rich from IB is not very realistic; thinking that you are solving world hunger is not realistic; and looking at it as if anyone cares or values it is a joke. Just get into it for the right reasons, stay realistic, and it's a great place to work. By the time you make it to senior levels, you might even enjoy it.

OP sounds like he's living through a tragedy, hope whatever it is turns out ok. And, just let it go already.

EDIT: I want to add that I think the target/non-target distinction is warranted in some ways, even though I hate it and view it as quite archaic and inherently inefficient. My view is that there's a wide view that people who go to target schools are already vetted under pressure and compared against thousands of their top peers and beat them out. Then did the same thing in achieving high marks in school, as well as to be outstanding enough to make it through the interview process. So, I get the linearity of the process, and that unless you're a genius, it doesn't make a lot of sense to look outside of this process.

I, personally hate it, because I just think that I have been through a lot of pressure in my lifetime having gone through so much to get where I am and even earned the support of much older people when I was 18, having worked in a prestigious law enforcement agency, while also going to school FT. So, I feel I'm much more mature than these guys are able to see from a resume, just might not be as polished with the coat of the Ivy since I never went to those schools. So, I have a hard time getting interviews and top spots at large BB firms, that I was aiming for, for awhile and even recently. But, with that said, it doesn't mean your life should end there.

Fuck BB firms is the mentality you need to gain. No one cares about you not liking them, but they will care if one day you're sitting on half a billion in net worth, because you worked your ass off in spite of (they'll be begging you to look at their pitchbooks). I'm at the point where I'm just looking at myself and trying to figure out how to make that more impressive and more successful. If BB banking can help, great. But, if not, that's cool. Just move on. If you didn't have your head fixed towards IB at a young age and go through that rudimentary process, can't help that now. Better to just move on and keep your eyes on the prize whatever that means for you.

Going to a target school is like a golden ticket, because people's eyes automatically light up and it seems so cool because of the preftige. I think it's more important to keep the reality of that in mind. I mean, would you buy TSLA overvalued by 1,000x, or would you wait until owning it is no longer the cool thing to do, it becomes undervalued in the opposite direction and then recovers halfway, but you still make 500x on your money? It's all perspective.

Mar 29, 2017 - 7:34pm

I would say that curriculum at private schools is more challenging on average. That's why they are smarter on average. I wouldn't count out kids from non-target schools, though. I don't care if you took online classes at University of Phoenix. If you can do the job and you show some promise over others, you deserve a shot. It just sucks that firms don't have the resources to sift through 1,000+ resumes, so they screen for those ivy league resumes. They're only going to be able to see that life experience that you or I have if you are lucky to get an interview. Like you, I do look forward to day that I can sell my business (and yes, I do have that goal of running my own business again after I leave banking) and if I am fortunate enough to have it be worth a pretty penny, I'll go to a bank that gave me a shot, and I've worked for a few now. The bulges wouldn't have a chance. I'm not bitter, it's just that I have established relationships with people at smaller firms now, and banking is all about relationships.

Oh, and I just have to get this out of the way. Pitched to a PE group the other week and one of their partners was a typical pretentious finance fuck. Didn't have a background in our industry but he's the "always right" type and couldn't say anything positive about anyone else, including his own coworkers and peers he had worked with, or at least they were also below him. Even though we were pitching to sell a portfolio company of theirs, my god, I would not bring a deal to them in the future, even if it was the best fit you could imagine, just because that guy was a dicknose and not personable at all. To sum: no matter how prestigious you think you are, you need to fucking tone it down a few notches because most high-finance jobs are heavily dependent on relationships for success. I'm just guessing that his coworkers wouldn't hire him in switched roles, but that's just a guess.

Mar 29, 2017 - 8:19pm


I would say that curriculum at private schools is more challenging on average. That's why they are smarter on average.

Do you mean to say that "curriculum at private high schools" is more challenging than public high schools, thus making rich kids coming from private schools smarter?

And the bulges would never get a piece of my business. I plan on being in that position but will definitely make the banks pay, mainly because they told me at one point I didn't "speak their language" so why should that change later? I'm not going to have someone lead my deal that doesn't understand what I want.

The EBs and PEs are probably even worse than the BBs when it comes time to looking at resumes and would never even consider a phone screen unless you went to H/W/S or at least not far from those schools. That pretentious PE douchebag probably doesn't even like to entertain deals unless it's from specific banks.

Mar 31, 2017 - 2:11am

I wouldn't say IB is a shit job (srsly 22 year olds making 100k+). However, I agree that IB is over-hyped for its prestige and pay. A lot of college guys think "I can do finance for a few years to get rich, then pursue their real passion after"

Apr 2, 2017 - 2:33pm

Spot on.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
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Mar 31, 2017 - 1:08pm

It's interesting to me how negative someone could be about IB...on a forum about IB. If you aren't interested in a career in banking, that's cool and that's not a problem. Find a career that you love. I think most senior people in finance would say that people aren't meant for the career if they aren't interested. From my point of view, you had better have genuine interest in the capital markets, because many of the career tracks are certainly a grind, There's a ton of pressure, and for the younger people on this forum, that pressure only goes up as you get into more senior positions, which is a point I think is often overlooked. I am well into my 30's and am a senior portfolio manager at a smaller traditional fixed income asset manager. Yes, I make more money than the days in the past when I was an analyst in my mid-20's. So there is somewhat less financial pressure (also more in some weird ways as you are "supposed" to be in a certain echelon but that could fill an entire post). As for these posts about "paying your dues for 2 years" and "getting out", I can't speak for MDs in M&A but I can speak as an MD and PM. The work might get more interesting but life is hardly in cruise control. How about that benchmark lurking out there for you to outperform every day? It is very easy to say "I'm a long term investor" so don't worry about quarterly performance. It is quite another thing to say, "Hey, I'm sorry xyz $100 mm institutional client, this is why we are down by 80 bps vs. the benchmark right now but we believe in our positions and think they offer relative value for a variety of reasons." And about target/non-target schools....I think that for the most part, kids from "target schools" are smart, successful and hardworking. I also believe there is a lot of grey area as plenty of kids from non-target schools are also smart. Then there's the issue of your lower-tier "target" schools that are ranked very similarly to highly-ranked, allegedly non-target schools - are these kids really that different? The answer is obviously "no" in my opinion. But are the kids at MIT/Harvard smarter generally than an average state school graduate? The answer is obviously "yes" (disclaimer: I didn't go to an Ivy League school or MIT). I understand that a lot of the posts come from the banking perspective, but my concluding thought from a portfolio management perspective is this: get into this industry because you love the capital markets/economics/finance/valuation, etc. and if you are a competitor. Get out if you are in it purely because you think it will impress people or that it is prestigious. You will end up making great money if you are good and you create wealth for others (businesses in M&A, your investors in AM/PE, your HNW clients if you go into WM). The money and prestige will take care of itself if you concentrate on being great at what you do.

Mar 31, 2017 - 1:25pm

I think I speak for many of this forums constituents in saying we would be very interested in hearing your experience with the pressure from expectations around financial success. Our interactions with senior guys are typically more surface level, and it would be very enlightening to hear your perspective on this...since you said it could fill an entire post :)

Thanks, let me know if you ever need an introduction in the industry.
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Mar 31, 2017 - 2:23pm

This reply is too good to be buried in this shitty thread. Would love to read more if you opine further.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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Mar 31, 2017 - 1:29pm

I don't think anyone goes into IB thinking they'll have "impact' or get interesting work straight out of UG. Does the "prestige" not come from having done the shit work for 2 years, shown potential and climbed up the firm? Surely if "exit ops" are on your mind when you're starting you don't stand much of a chance?

Apr 2, 2017 - 12:43am

Nobody loves IB

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
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Apr 1, 2017 - 11:26am

As stated by an SVP in Mortgage Investment at large FI I know: "It will always be cheaper to source young hardworking kids, than expensive senior employees, but regardless of that it is still the best two years a finance professional can do".

Apr 1, 2017 - 12:27pm

Lot of hate vs the BB's here. I personally found out that it is very hard to directly go to a BB (currently big 4 M&A intern) when you start on an IBD track too late (last year bachelor lol). Messed up hugely during the large recruiting event of IBD's at my semi target during my Masters (somewhat due to lack of experience in the process, somewhat due to not having luck), and still regret it. Had 1 SA locked in at a major BB and because of the fast track process I just had to do the online assessment (passed all the interviews etc.), which I already passed 10+ times. Got horribly ill over the weekend and tanked it. I already have been rejected at 100+ banks as well, which made this very "tangible" offer that got cancelled hurt even more.

Life sucks, but if you are really interested in the industry it is just a small setback on your personal career ladder. I'm planning to go for a long term IBD career and while it sucks I currently do not have an offer at a major international bank, this isn't going to hurt me one bit. The road to the top is just getting a bit longer.

What helps are the words of a major JPM MD I once had the luck to have coffee with: "You are going to be rejected because the IBD recruiting process is very random. Someone with a bad day could mess you up (even if you are well connected). Just keep applying and do not take rejections personal".

While writing this my post seems somewhat weird in this topic, but I suddenly got the urge to share lol.

Apr 1, 2017 - 12:58pm

Okay, I'm sick of this dumbass. And I realize I'm late to this party, but whatever.

IBD is a relationship business. Deals are closed based on whether you're Frank Quattrone, or whether you're at least not Justine Tobin (s/o to TOBINCO ).

PE is more mundane. At most PE shops, the work is more or less ticking off boxes in a checklist. There's excel work, and there's negotiation work, but honestly, these aspects take up much less amount of time than the other more mundane stuff. Even more mundane is the due diligence work which is usually passed on to consultants (who hate it too). The only consoling factor is the higher paycheck, and to some like me, the perception of being vested in some of the portfolio companies.

Honestly, you want all the prestige when you're 22 and out of college? Let me tell you this - you are replaceable. We don't give a shit about your thoughts, much less a penny. We need somebody who can get the work done, regardless of whether its IBD, PE, consulting or even tech. Or even assembly line work in a factory or a line cook. Once we figure out that you can do the grunt work, we'll give you greater responsibility, because we trust that you won't blow up shit with one button. As you go up, the work becomes less grunt and more prestigious. You become respected in society as somebody who rose up in station - that kind of respect.

This goes for everyone else out there too - there's no prestige as an analyst whether you're in BB IBD or MF PE or MBB consulting or AFGM tech. There are thousands of others like you too. Only once you prove yourself in either of these companies/professions and keep moving higher (just as in any other company), do you get the "prestige factor" to your name. Prestige begins with hearing not good but great things about your WORK when I hear about you from someone else or read about you.

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."
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Apr 1, 2017 - 1:07pm

"Title: Intern"

Op, all you do on these forums is write about how IB sucks and isn't worth it, despite the fact that you're still a senior in college and have never worked in IB. And here's the thing: don't want to work in IB? That's OK! Want to work in IB, but couldn't break in? That's also OK! But getting on here and giving advice or opinions bashing IB when you have no idea what you're talking about is just kinda pathetic (and no, having talked to some bankers or interned in a related industry doesn't count here).

I've never worked in IB, and don't ever want to, and I would never pretend to be an expert on a career I never worked in. Your poor attitude and insistance on pretending that you are an expert (both traits show pretty clearly in this post) are probably what's holding you back. I know that I would never hire someone like that.

"There's nothing you can do if you're too scared to try." - Nickel Creek
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Apr 1, 2017 - 1:37pm

Finding a candidate who is disciplined and humbled to be working in a job is a rarity to find these days, regardless whether it is in Sales, Engineering, Finance, Law, and even Medicine. No one is entitled to anything, literally. I don't care how old you are, or think you are worth anything. If you are the one being interviewed, you are essentially asking for a shot at work (therefore not so much different from the homeless, right?).

Grow up and quit whining, I am tired of hearing people like you.

Apr 3, 2017 - 10:42am

I agree wholeheartedly.

The issue with banking is it teaches processing and glorified paper pushing over critical thinking. It also often glorifies form over function. Finally, bankers often become "yes" men, meaning they want to do every deal that comes through the door.

There are many different types of smarts. It takes a degree of intelligence to balance competing tasks, work overload, and recall data at an instant. I don't think good bankers are terribly smart when it comes to critical thinking.

That said, banking does teach a few key technical skills which are highly useful as long as a banker can recover from the brain rotting issues described above. Namely, bankers can often do a lot of work in a short amount of time, juggle multiple priorities better than normal people, and have some important technical skills.

Lawyer turned VC, turned banker, turned VC and never leaving again.
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Apr 3, 2017 - 1:55pm

Building models and other excel skills. Building lovely PowerPoint decks.

Lawyer turned VC, turned banker, turned VC and never leaving again.
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