Is Social Class Still an Issue in Investment Banking?

For years, the investment banking sector has prided itself on the idea that it is fiercely meritocratic. Those who work hard succeed, and those who don't get chucked out fast if they don't make the grade. Recent research, however, has shown that the industry is dominated by people educated at private schools and Ivy League/Oxbridge universities, as well as those from upper middle class backgrounds.

Though banks have been encouraging students from poorer backgrounds to apply for jobs, a report by the government-backed Social Mobility Commission last year found "little evidence that investment banks have made meaningful alterations to mainstream recruitment and selection practices".

Some bankers claim that although things have gotten a lot better since the introduction of diversity and inclusion based programs at investment banks, the industry as a whole is still completely unrepresentative of the wider population. This could be for a lot of reasons, but some have gone as far as to suggest discrimination.

Dubbed the "brown shoes" effect by a report by the Social Mobility Commission last year, candidates from poorer backgrounds lack the social graces that kids with wealthy parents often learn intuitively, like knowing what to wear for an interview, or making small talk about skiing or their latest holiday.

For many years, investment banks have been offering work experiences and visiting schools to encourage students from poorer backgrounds to apply for jobs at their firms. Beyond that, some bankers believe that the burden lies on schools and colleges to do a better job of preparing disadvantaged students for the rigorous investment banking application process. After all, there remains a widespread agreement that banks should not lower their standards just to recruit candidates from poorer backgrounds.

What do you guys think? Is there an element of unconscious bias- around speech, around shoes, around dress codes- at investment banks that prevents students from poorer backgrounds from succeeding? Or have banks just become the latest target of activists who want to find bias everywhere?

From Financial News

Comments (197)

Oct 17, 2017

Without a doubt true. Keep in mind, that while 'high finance' employees do not represent society at large, neither do their clients.

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Oct 17, 2017

That's an interesting point. I suppose that if students from low-income backgrounds would have trouble fitting in with their fellow bankers, it would be hard for them to connect with prospective clients as well.

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Oct 17, 2017

Perhaps an element of self selection as well. Can't always assume that a career in investment banking would have a similar appeal to everyone,

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Oct 17, 2017

To be honest, I feel like this is not going to change any time soon, if ever even.

Oct 17, 2017

4 out of 40 people on my team aren't white...can confirm there's still bias.

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Oct 17, 2017

That's surprising. Racially, at least, I would expect a lot more diversity, especially given the numbers of Asian-Americans and Indian-Americans in IBD and all of the diversity programs designed to up the numbers of URM.

Oct 18, 2017

This is the low hanging fruit that has been somewhat addressed. As a white male my office certainly has a fair amount of visual diversity, at least at the junior levels, but it's not true diversity if everyone is from the same programs from the same schools with the same backgrounds.

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Oct 17, 2017

Colleges could certainly do a somewhat better job. Just giving admission to students from disadvantaged backgrounds isn't sufficient. Their other unique needs have to be addressed as well.

Oct 17, 2017

As a general life rule, the more a company touts its diversity initiatives, the more homogenous the racial makeup.

You never see the UN spend millions on diversity.
Same with Pablo Sanchez Tomato Cannery, or whatever.

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Oct 18, 2017

Social class is an issue simply because the job is so competitive that the successful applicants are ones who attend top schools, understand the process early, know how to dress and speak, and have family friends affiliated with finance. All these traits are FAR more common among kids who come from families that make $150K+.

From personal experience applying to spring week/insight programs in the UK this year, the students attending firm events and networking opportunities are almost all upper middle and upper class. Mostly because the vast majority of students who come from 'normal' families would never expect to have to network or apply for jobs in their first month or two of university.

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Oct 18, 2017

I think the major issue with diversity is the fact that most groups are looking for people that are similar to them. So when it comes down to final picks, foreigners and candidates who don't fit in but would probably be rock stars because of their work ethic don't make it. And that includes minorities and even a lot of middle class kids. If you don't speak perfect english, didn't play multiple sports throughout your life, and you weren't involved in some kind of social club in college you're going to have a tough time. And unfortunately that's the case with a lot of minorities, and foreigners in high finance.

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Oct 18, 2017

I agree with this 100%. Diversity cannot be forced, nor to people want it to be forced.

It's the same reason that when people migrate to this country, people of the same ethnicity/background live in the same area. That's why we have Little Italy, K-town and Chinatown. Same thing at work, if you are going to work 12+ hours a day wouldn't you want to work with someone who has similar interest. As previously stated, employees are needed from certain backgrounds to deal with certain type of clients.

It's like if you went golfing with a client and had to take someone from work. You would "discriminate" and take someone who knows how to golf and the social graces of golf. What to wear, where to stand, order to tee off, don't walk in someone's line, all this things can be explained to a non-golfer, but it's easier to find someone who knows this already and therefore wouldn't offend the potential client.

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Oct 18, 2018

As the balance of power and wealth shifts East; more Indians, Asian, and African financiers will be more common and sought after. A lot of wealthy business people coming from these emerging markets have a degree of anti-westernism (even though they got their degrees from HYP/Oxbri)--from what I've seen they'd like to have someone who looks like them (shocking in the 21st century I know) and culturally aligned to work on their behalf. Like a powerful Chinese firm will not be stressing for diversity to have more white guys recruited for the sake of diversity--they might do so to court westerners.

Oct 17, 2017

Really great point. Investment banking is a very client-focused industry, and interacting with clients and fitting in with the banking culture requires a certain kind of person. In industries that are a lot less client-focused, like tech, we see a lot more foreigners and minorities.

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Oct 31, 2017

Really a great point by you as well. As an Asian American myself, I can see why most Asian and certain minorities tend to choose certain job fields. For one, engineering and computer science has a lot of Asian people due their cultural differences and their natural socially-reserved personalities. Since it rewards the work they do individually or small-group work within the company, I do see why many tech firms or any other field with less client-focused industries has a lot more foreigners.
Now, I'm not saying all Asian Americans or minorities will choose those types of jobs but a majority.

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Nov 21, 2017

I have played multiple sports (including the "right" ones) but apart from one I did competitively the rest never came up in any stage of the process (CV, competency, interviews, chats).

Oct 18, 2017

Agree with all the comments above, but to me the most obvious is: banks recruit at elite colleges -> elite colleges are overwhelmingly full of upper class/UMC students ->banks hire overwhelmingly upper class/UMC students. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/18/ups...

Oct 18, 2017

As a URM male I believe part of the issue is that people from certain backgrounds value a certain career path more than the other because they directly understand the tangible result of working in a field. Many URMs don't understand the greater purpose of IB/PE/HF/AM. They more easily understand Lawyers/Doctors/Social Workers and the direct result of these fields.

Exposure to high-finance will help with these diversity initiative programs, but I still believe the impact will be minimal. It's not really about social values. It's more a cultural issue.

Another case scenario: a kid in the hood may live a few blocks away from a prestigious country club. However, the fact that the kid has to deal with dysfunction within his family, make grades, and also support himself/herself means that there's less time to golf. High-finance is very nuance and the intangibles that make a difference have to be ingrained early and deeply for a candidate to have a chance at breaking in.

Work hard, work clean, & most of all do not give up.

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Oct 19, 2017

Let's relax a bit, M&A is not some higher calling that's single-handedly brought society into the 21st century. It's certainly useful, but don't try to pretend that 98.5% (at least) of people specifically in IBD M&A aren't there for the money and the chance (however small) to make it big someday.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

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Oct 21, 2017

I would argue that high-finance as a whole and the concept leverage single handily brought us into the 21st century.. thank you Rothschild

Best Response
Oct 18, 2017

As an URM I believe this is very natural. I went to a top private HS where a lot of my mates went to colleges such as Notre Dame, Vandy, & Georgetown. Those guys had older brothers/friends that coached them towards IB. These guys eurostepped their way into IB jobs.

Background: Single parent home. My mom luckily finished HS and my dad didn't attend. Originally from the hood, and had a hard time socially adjusting in a prestigious HS environment. I had the drive to succeed but no guidance in college (non-target)/limited financial support. I worked a lot in school; gpa sucked. Thank God there's Grad School, right.

When it came down to interviews I couldn't put my finger on why I wasn't converting phone interviews into Superdays. After blowing multiple phone interviews I went back to the drawing board. I studied the guides more, used better diction, learned when to stfu. I became socially well-adjusted. Result: more interviews and Superdays. Currently waiting for an offer. Pray for me guys.

Many of the people around me growing up didn't care about traveling abroad, attending top schools, Rolexes, investments, and etc. They just want to live ok lives and post pics on social media. They don't understand IB unless I simplify it. Most don't care to understand.

Work hard, work clean, & most of all do not give up.

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Oct 18, 2017

I think this is largely to do with what a poster above mentioned. Lower class families place value in lawyers and doctors as prestigious careers but very few place high value in finance. As an URM myself, single parent household, nontarget, worked through school etc. I learned about banking early on in high school and will get there eventually. Now, I'm making good $ in corp finance 1 year post grad, I'm happy but not satisfied. these diversity programs may be helpful but will not recruit the poor kids, they will recruit the affluent minorities that are classmates with the rich white kids.

I've definitely had to teach myself how to conduct myself around others and I have gotten a lot better at it than when I was a lowly intern years ago. Anyways good luck all!

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Oct 18, 2017

I actually do not blame the banks...

It comes down to a lack of exposure and knowledge. Case in point = All public schools are the same..so if doesnt matter if you go to UVA or Bumfk virginia state university. Just work hard.

My parents didnt know. They thought just getting a college degree was enough and having a B+ average was good. I didnt realize until Sophomore year what was going on...and by the time I got the ability to transfer to a decent school, UG tuition was $40k + a year. Even though I got multiple 1/2 off scholarships, but 20k a year for 3 more years...when your parents do not have good credit and thus can't sign for the loans...you have a mega mountain to climb.

If my parents would have told me to gun for UVA from high school, my life would have turned out completely different...But no knowledge + no guidance = No direction

Oct 17, 2017

This is more or less exactly what happened to me. My parents are immigrants with barely any college education and this was my first shot it. UVA was actually my top choice for in-state schools too.

Oct 27, 2017

I think this is really the core of it - someone in a lower/middle social class, who goes to an regular high school, and whose parents aren't exposed to the high finance areas just isn't going to have that exposure at an early enough point in the process. That's not to say they wouldn't be interested - I think this is important to point out, just because someone from this background has seemingly little interest in finance when they're growing up or just starting college, doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't find it interesting or compelling if they were to learn about it later on.

I don't necessarily blame the banks either - it's just obviously not efficient for them to try to recruit from those channels. It's easier for them to recruit from the places that have already been successful for them, there is no true incentive for them to look elsewhere in most cases. So that's where you have the diversity programs for the most part only bringing in a thin layer of diversity. They're effectively recruiting from the same channels, but bringing in those that racially have a lower representation. It's a start I suppose, but those programs alone aren't going to bring in any sort of true diversity into the industry.

I also think that the argument above about recruiting those with similar backgrounds as the clients is a total cop out. You don't need to come from a yuppie family to interact well with clients. By the time any junior person is getting that opportunity, they've learned how to conduct themselves. If they haven't, I'd imagine they won't be in the industry for long. But to say that only those of a similar background can talk to clients is bullsh*t.

Oct 18, 2017

I think the funnier thing is the amount of race hustling that runs rampant at most firms. There are a shit ton of whites and asians who apply to BB minority programs. Lol.

Oct 17, 2017

Wow. Can't you get in big trouble for lying about that kind of stuff?

Oct 18, 2017

Nope. Look at how many asians and whites are in SEO/MLT/Jopwell/ModernGuild/etc. and a bunch go to firm events that guarantee an accelerated first round interview.

The worst part is most race hustlers are those who need these programs least. A white or asian kid at HYP doesn't need minority programs to get in.

Minority basically create a slam-dunk situation for non-URM students to take advantage of. Most of those programs I mentioned only seek out ivy kids to begin with.

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Oct 18, 2017

Most certainly is. Grew up poor, only two of my the people I knew from middle and high school went into IBD (Merrill Lynch, Citi) but left after 1-3 years and declined offers to lateral on. They ended up going into Financial Advising/portfolio management, and one went into technology as a Product Manager for a tech startup.

I think change is good.

As @datguy345 stated, No knowledge + No guidance = No direction. Most of the high school kids I went to school with had cars P/O by their family (BMW, Mercedes, etc). Credit will always be an issue in the lower income neighborhood, as most of the families strive to live off of food stamps + low income housing, work for cash and retire on it.

I don't want that, I want more. That's why I am here on WSO.

Oct 17, 2017

Yeah even high school can make a big difference. Kids who go to top prep schools on the East Coast like Andover, Exeter, St. Paul's, Choates, etc. have a lot more direction and connections to the industry from people they've known since they were really young. Love the attitude though man. Keep hustling.

Oct 18, 2017

Appreciate the reply @Tiger16

It is funny, actually. I was discouraged heavily not to go into finance, let alone look into it given my low income background. In fact, I was raised to only be insured that anything besides Engineering, Medicine, or Accounting (think the local tax guru or tax lawyer), would leave me starving on the streets.

Screw people, keep hustling and make it happen.

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Oct 19, 2017

Agreed. Having gone to a top NE prep school, those connections were very helpful for breaking in and learning the industry back in college. From my school 90% went to a top 30 school with exceptions for sports and the fuck ups. Of the URMs, many of them had certain advantages like mentorship programs or diversity opportunities or talents that allowed them the opportunity to go to my school and only a very few of the URMs that I knew were extremely poor (may have played down their financial struggles in hindsight).

Oct 18, 2017

Not just prep schools like Exeter, Andover, Trinity, and Dalton. But also going to a great public school has the same effect. There are a couple school districts in NJ/NY/CT that routinely send 20% of their student body to elite universities, and those connections also last a lifetime.

Oct 19, 2017

Colleges and Banks could fund a post high school "finishing school" of sorts , or sponsor more kids at prep schools. But, even that is a little late in the game.

It's not for banks to do this. Diversity of perspective detrimental in such a client facing business. Bankers are antiseptic by trade/necessity.

For S&T, there are plenty of opportunities for people to show and prove then move to BB. P&L trumps pedigree.

Oct 20, 2017

From my understanding, banks are primarily focusing on increasing their diversity from an ethnicity and gender standpoint. While I have heard of some banks/top consulting firms making an effort towards LGBT individuals, there hardly seems to be any emphasis on those with a chronic disease or that come from a poverty striken background. It is unfortunate, but yet this is the way things are. Hopefully things begin to change as banks looks to do more than incorporate one woman, one asian, and one African American in each of their photos with captions touting diversity.

Oct 18, 2017

Banks/corporations really don't care about diversity, it's more of a ploy. The basic idea of diversity is to get different ideas and different perspectives; but, as stated, if people of different races or genders from the same school and background don't bring starkly different ideas.

If a CEO was total they could boost income by strictly selling to/hiring one group or type of person, they would.

Oct 23, 2017

For the vast majority of people, finance is simply boring and uninteresting. Interest strongly favors those who grow up around people in the industry and are made aware of the wealth/prestige factor while young. This is why finance professionals have historically tended to be those with educated parents from coastal metro areas.

The average working class - middle class kid from small town middle America who doesn't grow up around educated people will probably not develop an interest in finance. The professions he sees on tv are cops, doctors and lawyers. The latter two he associates with high paying prestige professions. For him finance is likely to be regarded as boring number crunching shit and lumped with accounting.

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Oct 23, 2017

I don't think social class is the issue. It's more that coming from an underrepresented background changes the picture for you. People expect that if you want to get a job on Wall Street, you just need to call up people you know. But with no representation, you can easily extrapolate that the number of people someone from this background knows is effectively 0. That's the real issue. That's really an issue no matter if you go to a non-target, target, or even complete an MBA. The problem is only exponentially more impact if you attend a non-target.

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Oct 23, 2017

I recently spoke with a VP wealth manager at a BB.

Dude straight up asked me what my family's background and heritage were and used it as a gauge to determine my suitability. He seemed a bit disappointed my family isn't of financial stock (I'm descended from lawyers, engineers, and tech entrepreneurs), but I was able to make up for it by expressing my enthusiasm for finance and that seemed to please him.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
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Oct 29, 2017

Southeast Asian here. Most senior positions in Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur are all filled by family members of leading politicians and business elites. The worker bees from disadvantaged backgrounds never make pass VP position here.

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Oct 31, 2017

Strongly agree. Southeast Asian countries like South Korea for example, asks about your family's background and job on your job interviews. You have to write about your family background on the resume to apply. I sometimes think social class is tremendously more focused in job hunting at Asian countries. Any examples in other Asian countries? Feedbacks appreciated.

Nov 22, 2017
JayLite:

Strongly agree. Southeast Asian countries like South Korea for example,

Uh South Korea is most definitely not a Southeast Asian country.

Otherwise though, if what you said is true, that is not something I knew about in South Korea! Interesting.

Oct 29, 2017

Part of it is access to information. I hadn't heard of investment banking until I was two-thirds of the way through with college, and I come from an upper-middle class family (not in the US though). If it weren't for Vault and autoadmit (and then IBOasis), I probably would have missed the boat entirely. The internet is a big equalizer on that front.

With regards to relating to customers though, that is a whole different ball game. Your average counter-party (ex-high finance in NYC) probably likes golf and is dreaming of being a big shot at his local country club. Not a whole lot of people able to discuss Kendrick's catalog in the upper echelons of the business world yet although that will change with time I think (that's just an example, but there is definitely a vast gap between the references I can drop with a broker or someone on my desk versus an actual supplier or customer).

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Nov 22, 2017

There is some correlation, but I do not think it means anything for those from blue collar backgrounds who want to do something in finance.

What you said about kids from blue collar families receiving full rides from universities and going off to study science and engineering is probably the best explanation. Finance is more or less an elite field and the people interested in it come from elite backgrounds.

I think there are probably some kids who come from blue collar backgrounds, and I think it's those who are more motivated to go against the grain and become part of a more elite field.

So to summarize my post, I think your socioeconomic status has the effect of you wanting to be involved in finance and sharing similar experiences with those hiring you. Those without an elite background can still compete in recruiting if they really want it, however.

Nov 22, 2017

Well no I was actually genuinely curious. I do work in finance now but not in a traditional front office sell-side role. My parents don't work blue collar jobs but they are not as wealthy as my peers and I couldn't have afforded to attend the school I did without scholarships and financial aid. My parents also have no knowledge of any business-related positions and thus couldn't help me at all with my recruiting process.

I did apply and try to network my way into the traditional sell-side roles I mentioned before, but it was really difficult and too much time had passed and I ultimately had to give up on it. Maybe it's a matter of the networking capabilities of individuals and it just so happens those with such capabilities happen to be from wealthy/elitist families. But either way, there's no denying that the socioeconomic status of your family matters. I'm just curious as to how it matters, specifically.

Nov 22, 2017

I think lower-income families regard engineering/medicine/law careers with more prestige than finance careers. They are more stable and are perceived to be a safer bet for someone who may be the first person in their family to go to college.

I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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Nov 22, 2017
rogersterling59:

I think lower-income families regard engineering/medicine/law careers with more prestige than finance careers.

That is SUCH a false assumption to make. It sounds absurd and ignorant on your part.

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Nov 22, 2017

I would agree. Most low income / education people don't know what investment banking even is. Something like a doctor for example everyone knows and they see dollar signs.

Nov 22, 2017

Nothing in life is completely fair ... you can't sit around worrying about it

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Nov 22, 2017
adapt or die:

Nothing in life is completely fair ... you can't sit around worrying about it

SB'd. This is basically my mentality. It's unfortunate when people sit around and feel sorry for themselves instead of trying to change their life situation.

Here in Canada, if you want to get the big banking jobs (especially the ones abroad), there are basically two target university: Ivey and Queen's. The tuition for Ivey (generally considered to be the country's top business school, especially for undergrad) is about $24000/year, and the tuition for Queen's is about $15000/year. The maximum amount of student loans you can take from our government is roughly $13000/year, so even if you are eligible for the maximum amount, you won't be able to pay your tuition for these schools, let alone have money left over for other costs (e.g. books, residence, etc.). By contrast, the tuition at a normal school for a normal program is about $7000/year. Essentially, if you want to go to Ivey or Queen's, you are going to need to have a good amount of money. Yes, both schools have scholarships, but it is of course a minority of students who receive anything substantial, and I don't know about Queen's, but I know that Ivey does not do any "full ride" scholarships.

So, in Canada, I suppose that the high cost of attending the types of schools where banks actively recruit from is perhaps why you may find that a lot of the bankers come from well-off families. That being said, the students who go to these schools are still top notch, and regardless of your financial situation, you still need very good grades to get into these types of school. Also, banks wouldn't be recruiting at these places if the students were not any good.

The reason I go to the school I go to is because it is pretty much all I was able to afford at the time (the tuition is relatively low, and I can commute to school from home, so I don't need to pay for a residence). My school is very much a non-target. I know this is not a scientific test, but I went through LinkedIn for hours, and I could not find a single alumnus from my school working as an investment banker. That being said, I am in no way going to let that be an excuse for me to not get into investment banking. If anything it just drives me to work even harder.

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Oct 17, 2017
adapt or die:

Nothing in life is completely fair ... you can't sit around worrying about it

This. I swear this topic has been beaten to death on WSO.......

Nov 22, 2017

brilliant insight chucko
thanks for dropping this pearl of wisdom

Nov 22, 2017
adapt or die:

Nothing in life is completely fair ... you can't sit around worrying about it

While that may be true in a lot of things, I can think of 10 other cliches that add nothing to the thread and are just useless and stupid.

Nov 22, 2017

Maybe blue collar kids don't talk about it?? I honestly think it's pointless talking about what your parents job title is, it's basically bragging how much your parents pay in taxes. Even if my dad was Jamie Diamond I wouldn't talk about it. My folks don't define me...

Greed is Good!

Nov 22, 2017
CUBuffwg:

Maybe blue collar kids don't talk about it?? I honestly think it's pointless talking about what your parents job title is, it's basically bragging how much your parents pay in taxes. Even if my dad was Jamie Diamond I wouldn't talk about it. My folks don't define me...

**Dimon

Nov 22, 2017

It's an issue of exposure. I'm at MBB now, and didn't know consulting existed as an industry until right before graduation. Similarly, banking wasn't on my radar as a career choice, I just wanted to be like all the guys on the wallstreet movies yelling at people and rolling in dough.

Even in college, most of the kids there on scholarship had absolutely no idea about consulting, and only a few were interested in high finance compared to law/medicine/engineering.

With that said, there ARE plenty of folks from Blue Collar families working on wallstreet or in traditional white-shoe firms. It's just a pretty small number, and you can usually identify each other pretty easily.

Nov 22, 2017

I think the biggest issue is that schools make the "high finance" jobs seem almost completely unattainable unless you are one of the select few to make it through or have impressive connections. This breeds a mentality among students that investment banking or other finance positions are simply not in the cards for them, and it'd actually be easier to pursue a career in medicine, law, or science. My school is a definite non-target, but our business school's accounting program is Top 15 and they push accounting super hard. Kids (and parents) who come to school with scholarships probably view those fields as the most stable, and really for the most part as long as you show up to class and maintain a high GPA you can break in to those fields with no problem.

The biggest irony is that the amount of effort it takes to come out of an engineering or physics program with a top GPA is probably more than the effort it would take to maintain an equal GPA in a finance curriculum while teaching yourself modeling and networking in your free time. Finance and modeling aren't rocket science, but the hustle and self-determination required by a non-target is not something thats possessed by many.

Which really brings me back to my main point in that schools don't advertise the high finance positions as something thats realistic for most students because to break in requires an enormous amount of outside work on a student's own time, and even then its a shot in the dark.

This semester I've tried to curb this at my school by teaching weekly modeling & high finance workshops specifically targeted at freshman and sophomore undergrads, because the earlier someone is exposed to the type of work you need to do the more time they have to learn and perfect it. In addition, the earlier someone hears that it actually is possible to break in to these "elite" positions the easier it is to harness the motivation required to make it happen.

Nov 22, 2017

Great points raised here. I went to a semi-target and was a finance major. Even still, I wasn't really "aware" of investment banking, venture capital, private equity, hedge funds, etc. until literally halfway through senior year. If your parents aren't from that background the odds of high finance even being on the career radar is very small. When I entered college I thought there were 2 professions a person could be in--accounting or accounting. When I switched to being a finance major I thought it was a less boring version of accounting, setting me up nicely for a job as an accountant for a non-CPA firm...

Point is, poor people/poor minorities overwhelmingly wouldn't even know these other professions exist without some luck.

Nov 22, 2017
DCDepository:

Point is, poor people/poor minorities overwhelmingly wouldn't even know these other professions exist without some luck.

From what friends tell me, minorities need to step outside their comfort zone in order to look beyond medicine/law and accounting careers. And when their ideals differ from what friends deem to be cool/prestigious, then they become socially ostracized for toiling against the grain.

The same thing can be found in conversations about music. Certain races are expected to know about particular genres or else they're "trying too hard to fit in" or not as cool.

Incoming Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Master
Literally a problem, solve for both X and Y, please and thank you.
Hugh Myron: "Are there any guides on here for getting a top girlfriend? Think banker/lawyer/doctor. I really don't want to go mid-tier"

Nov 22, 2017

As above:

1) your point about same blue collar kids not going for finance is more telling than them not getting in - they aren't exposed to the careers or are not interested in them, and it's not that they can't get in because of socioeconomic status

2) lots of lower income families definitely place things like law and medicine and engineering on a much higher pedestal than finance

3) you are makings assumptions based on a very small sample set. I know plenty of people in finance and ib specifically, none that used family connections for first internships etc. Most I'm talking about went to non or semi target schools as well.

While I'm guessing being of a relative socioeconomic standing has an impact on recruiting indirectly through things like kids being aware ib exists etc, in most cases I'm pretty confident you're drawing a straight line between money and offers that simply isn't there - at least not one that helps in the way you assert

Nov 22, 2017

I am a first generation college student and a URM. I was raised by a single immigrant mother who has made a living selling clothes at the local flea market for the past 28 years and who still can't speak English very well. I received a full ride to the target school that I currently attend so I likely fit your scenario quite well.

I wanted to be a doctor before college. Why? The only wealthy people that those of low socioeconomic status deal with are either doctors or lawyers (for obvious reasons), so those are the only fields that carry any prestige. Then I stumbled across WSO shortly after receiving my college acceptance and my career goals took a complete 180.

I see what you're talking about every day. I'm hearing about projective summer plans from kids whose parents are BB MDs/VPs and it makes me sick. I have to work my ass off while it looks like everyone else is handed opportunities on a silver platter. It's frustrating, it's unfair, and it's disgusting.

What's even worse is that I realize that my only hope is to leverage diversity programs that I may not 100% morally agree with. I've accepted that if I truly want to land an IB gig, I'm probably going to have to do so in such a way that will make me hate myself at the end of the day. Such is life.

To answer your questions: Are there kids out there who care enough to try? Absolutely. Can it really be done? I'll get back to you in 3 years.

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Nov 22, 2017
Wall St:

Why? The only wealthy people that those of low socioeconomic status deal with are either doctors or lawyers (for obvious reasons), so those are the only fields that carry any prestige.

This is exactly right. The only well-paid and respectable professions that low-income to middle-income families interact with on a regular basis are lawyers and doctors. The parents strongly encourage their children to pursue these fields. My parents, although highly educated, had really no idea how investment banking or private equity worked until I started and explained it to them. I agree PE is a pretty opaque field, but still. Also, in developed and developing countries, engineers are highly regarded since their work is fairly quantitative. How many of us could walk into a thermodynamics lecture and figure out whats going on vs. an engineer walking into a corporate finance class??

When I moved to a higher income area as a teenager and went to a small private college full of prep kids, I came in contact with people who's parents were MDs, ran a hedge fund, worked at McKinsey, senior VP at some dope Fortune 100, startup CEOs, engineers that invented stuff we use everyday or even Ph.D.'s who discovered a drug that millions of Americans use. It was only then did I realize, damn, if I work hard and network I could do some baller stuff like this, instead of wasting away in graduate school.

Nov 22, 2017
Wall St:

I wanted to be a doctor before college. Why? The only wealthy people that those of low socioeconomic status deal with are either doctors or lawyers (for obvious reasons), so those are the only fields that carry any prestige.

Completely spot on, it's "Doctor, lawyer, Engineer" and a "Banker" is a kind of sleazy fat guy who is an after thought. It's an awareness issue more than anything else, though that being said, of all places finance is where the hustle it takes to come from a non-traditional background is appreciated most, in my view.

I became interested in finance (I'm young) because of the great meltdown of 08-09. I had no clue that such things as hedge funds and private equity or any of those things existed until way later after I started reading.

My thinking was something along the lines of "If they have the power to blow everything up, and they have all the money, they have to be on to something", from there I just started reading everything I could get my hands on.

Nov 22, 2017

Welcome to the real word. If you don't have any value to add (i.e. come from a super wealthy family), you better go to med school. Once you're rich, your kids will end up on Wall St.

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Nov 22, 2017

It's a really interesting topic and now that you said it I sort of see it around the finance people I know as well.

However, I disagree with the part about "hook me up for a summer". I think the real reason is the social education that your family provides you with. Like it or not you spend 18 years living with your parents and whatever worldview they have you get to share it. This means if they are business-savvy you are more likely to go into finance / law / corporate etc.

Also someone else pointed out above that among blue collar families medicine and engineering are more prestigious than law and finance. Although I can't comment on this myself it makes sense.

The way Ah see it, is that it took a revolution f a bihllion people for your darn short to work out!

Nov 22, 2017
HedgeWhore:

I think the real reason is the social education that your family provides you with. Like it or not you spend 18 years living with your parents and whatever worldview they have you get to share it. This means if they are business-savvy you are more likely to go into finance / law / corporate etc.

I'd make a broader statement and say that it could have to do with the education, period, that you get at home. When I think back to the things that I learned that have allowed me to get where I am in my career -- both soft skills (being able to work through disagreements constructively, engaging in polite conversation at social events, thinking ahead to figure out what your managers need before they ask for it, applying structure to unstructured problems) and more concrete ones (learning to spell, learning appropriate grammar, how to write a resume, how to write a cover letter, how to interview), I learned them at home, not at my shitty public high school.

I was lucky to have parents that had three things: a ton of motivation to teach their kids everything they knew to help them succeed, and not rely on schools to do it for them; careers that allowed them time to spend with us; and life experiences that had exposed them to a lot of careers and lifestyles. That combination is pretty rare, and it's something I certainly didn't have a hand in creating.

Sure, there are kids that come from disadvantaged backgrounds that, through pure force of will, can train themselves to learn things that will make them successful. But it's hard to do, and without mentors or experience, they're guessing, so it's much more of a shot in the dark when compared with someone who grows up with a long list of advantages.

Nov 22, 2017

I have seen and understand what you are saying, but I disagree. I came from a small town in southern Virginia and grew up in a community where your average neighbor was either unemployed or worked for the local gov't (in a blue collar position) or the local mart. My parents worked as a grocery packer and seamstress. But that has never stopped me or positioned me unfairly - sure it may have made getting here a bit more difficult, but it makes the success all the more sweet.

Bottomline, you are what you make yourself, and your parents are there to support you morally. But it is ultimately you to decide for yourself why, how, and when you will get there. Take control of your life and you won't be disappointed.

Nov 22, 2017

I can opine here as well. I come from a low-income family and I can confirm that medicine is probably considered the highest-prestige field to low-income individuals. Like OP and others in the thread have described, I am textbook with full ride to a non-target school, high test scores and GPA but completely ignorant about career paths, etc. I was bio-chem for my first 2 years of college at the urging of my family members but switched to economics halfway through. It may be a bit of an uphill climb but I take personal responsibility for my own path and education, and I'm honestly just excited that finance will give me the opportunity to financially support my parents and other family members. If one lives very modestly it's possible to save up huge amounts of money in this field. It did take a good bit of time to convince my family members that finance as a field is not inherently evil!

Nov 22, 2017
YoshiIsAwesome:

I can opine here as well. I come from a low-income family and I can confirm that medicine is probably considered the highest-prestige field to low-income individuals. Like OP and others in the thread have described, I am textbook with full ride to a non-target school, high test scores and GPA but completely ignorant about career paths, etc. I was bio-chem for my first 2 years of college at the urging of my family members but switched to economics halfway through. It may be a bit of an uphill climb but I take personal responsibility for my own path and education, and I'm honestly just excited that finance will give me the opportunity to financially support my parents and other family members. If one lives very modestly it's possible to save up huge amounts of money in this field. It did take a good bit of time to convince my family members that finance as a field is not inherently evil!

I'm friends with a lot of Hispanic people. Their parents tend to think finance is a bit questionable. My theory is that they are skeptical of finance because they come from socialist Latin American countries. I think most Hispanics do a good job of assimilating over several generations, so hopefully that bias will burn off over time.

Nov 22, 2017

n

Nov 22, 2017

I'm going to agree with a lot of the posters here- I come from a lower-middle class family, even though my uncle worked at UBS and my godmother was in accounting / corporate finance at the C-level I still knew nothing about Wall Street. As a kid, when the old people at shul asked me what I was going to be I said doctor or lawyer, because like most kids thats what I knew to be prestigious and lucrative. Thoughts of Wall St. consisted of wearing a suit and going from conference room to conference room. After I took some time off from school and seriously evaluated what I wanted to do in life, I looked further into finance, found myself researching hedge funds, then the path to get to a hedge fund which naturally lead me to IB. Its funny because as I've found myself more involved in the process (networking, transcript and resume building, skills) my friends have been very receptive to learning about whatever I would share with them, because similarly they know nothing about the field.

Nov 22, 2017

From what I've seen it definitely makes a difference in banking. Banking is more prestige focused than other areas of finance which naturally means that connections, school brand, and socioeconomic status are important. For other sell side jobs, like S&T, you tend to see more diverse backgrounds.

Nov 22, 2017

"We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." - Woodrow Wilson

Nov 22, 2017

I think having a wealthier background certainly helps. Not having one doesn't mean the end of the world, but it makes the whole "how do i actually get into finance" process confusing and harder for both candidates and their family.

Im a college senior with immigrant parents who come from very very poor backgrounds. I grew up being told to pursue being a doctor. They dont know anything about finance, and still dont understand it. We dont have distant relatives or friends who are knowledgeable in the space. I shot my own foot by not properly networking my way into a good position last summer.

I still think i'll make it but im working my ass off twice as hard to do it, since i basically know no one and have to scour over linkedin profiles and set up meetings on my own.

Nov 22, 2017

Wow a lot of responses here. Thanks for all the insight.

The most common answer here seems to be that for lower-income kids, medicine, engineering, or law are perceived to be more prestigious, which makes sense because they are all much more stable professions, a someone coming from a lower income family might value stability much more than someone from a wealthier background. Also, in some cases, medicine, engineering, and law can make more money than any function within an investment bank.

Also it should be noted that medicine, engineering, and law are knowledge-based, where many roles on Wall St. are social-based. Succeeding in business world likely places a greate emphasis on your social skills, because business is a social science. I even had a friend who used to work in PE (Formerly IBD) tell me the key to winning clients is to get them drunk (Maybe a little exaggerated), and it just so happens that the stuff bank clients like to talk about are things lower-income folks probably don't know about (Golfing, traveling, etc.).

And I didn't mean at all that it had to be parents who work on Wall St. too. I've had friends whose parents are doctors and engineers and they still went into banking (Or other related roles). So even though they probably know nothing about banking either, it would appear that simply being from a rich family helps in some aspect.

Nov 22, 2017

To echo what a lot of people are saying it's an exposure issue. I came from a lower middle class background in suburbia of a large metro area. I can probably count on one hand of the people that i know outside of professional circles (as in the population i would've organically interacted with up through undergraduate graduation) who even know what an investment banker is. Obviously you see people from blue collar backgrounds make it to finance but as a general rule the odds are slim considering this industry isn't even on the radar of a typical kid outside of an at least upper middle class background and to break in requires essentially stalking of current employees for an industry that frankly still places a premium on pedigree.

Nov 22, 2017

There's a rule one should keep in mind. Whatever adult members of society's lower classes think is "prestigious" or "honorable" or "respectful" is probably not correct. Modern finance has dominated the world for 200-300 years; it's financed Western civilization. Generally speaking, the lower classes will not be acquainted with historical detail or strong intellectual foundations of economics or finance, so it's very understandable why they would think the sleazy lawyer on television indicates a career path that gives their kids the best opportunity to succeed.

Nov 22, 2017

The lack of exposure argument only partially makes sense to me. I recall plenty of finance and consulting information sessions when I was in college, and I would think that kids who are smart enough to get into top schools are smart enough to do their research and take advantage of summer internships that sound promising.

If I were a minority or low income parent, I would be much more inclined to push my child toward medicine or engineering because I would assume that these fields are much more merit-based than finance. I would also assume that even if my child isn't the best or one of the lucky ones, he or she is guaranteed a job and a good quality of life.

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Nov 22, 2017

You recall plenty of finance and consulting info sessions at your top college? Given that blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented at colleges, let alone elite schools, I would assume that would follow through to their exposure to your information sessions.

Nov 22, 2017

Go to prestigious colleges, and you'll have top banks and consulting firms lined up at every career fair and OCR happening. Go to some random community college or no-name school and you'll be lucky if your local retail bank even bothers to show up once a year. The truth is that the vast majority of students are severely underexposed to any of these industries to even know what they're doing. If you ask some random student about "Wall Street", I'll bet that a huge part will only come up with a picture of the classic trader, and that's it. That's all they've ever been exposed to.

I've attended both non-target and target (In the country I'm from, that is) schools, and the recruitment plus general knowledge is like night and day. At the non-target college I went to, I think under 5% of all graduates went to Finance and Consulting, combined. At the target I went to, 25% went to Finance, 35% to Consulting, and rest to big industries...at the target school, students knew where to apply from day 1. Hell, some probably knew what they wanted to do before even going to college, as many had internships from the get go. A large amount of the students came from very similar backgrounds, from similar areas, and had parents, family or friends in the biz.

But that's just my experience. You don't know what you don't know, and that's usually the case with average students at average schools. No exposure.

Nov 22, 2017

Since we're on this topic, I'd figure my presence in this other thread might be relevant:

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/incoming-bb-...

I have a lot more comments to make but I realize whatever I say will probably result in more Monkey shit thrown at me, but i'll keep this simple:

If you read this forum, you'll see pretty much everyone telling a prosepective summer analyst (Not even full-time yet) to squander $3000+ on a wardrobe; how is anyone supposed to expect a college kid, probably in debt, to get $3000+ to buy clothes for an internship? I realize a good wardrobe can be an investment but this is a matter of upfront cost. If you or any incoming SA or FT anlysts hasn't gotten your first paycheck yet, where are you going to get $3000+? Probably parents. And if spending $3000+ on a wardrobe is an expectation, it would seem that prospective SAs and FT analysts are expected to ask their parents for that money.

Not to mention if this person decides not to pursue IBD full-time, that $3000+ worth of expesive suits, Allen Edmonds/Cole Haans/whatever other expensive shoes, ferragamo ties (I hope he doesn't get these) will probably be more oftenly kept in the closet.

While we're on that subject: lower price doesn't always mean worse quality, and higher price doesn't always mean greater quality. Plus the OP on this forum explicitly stated, he's "not that rich" so maybe I should apologize for ever thinking that he should save money when he can. Besides, can anyone even tell the difference between a well-tailored suit and one of-the-racks at Macy's without looking at the inside labels? Or whether your shoes have leather soles without actually looking at the soles? Unless of course, people in IBD actually ask interns and analysts "Hey, let me see where you've bought your suits, shoes and ties."

Nov 22, 2017

Everyone was disagreeing with you in that thread, get over it.

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Oct 29, 2017

For reference the IBD division at my firm is roughly:

  • 92% white British male
  • 5% asian British male
  • 3% white British female

'Class' is probably more of an issue in the UK, which has a much more entrenched class system than the US. Every single IBD employee went to a top 10 university and the VAST majority were privately educated with what would be considered 'posh' accents.

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Nov 22, 2017

SternMonkey, even if the situation were as you described it, how would that make banking a caste system? Be careful with such analogies.

When posing the question, it may have been worth keeping in mind that the people using this site may do so to blow off some steam and may try to outdo one another when swapping horror stories. I believe this may have been the exact intention of the creator when he set out to build IBO. Thus, the tone and content of the stories may skew towards the negative.

Nevertheless, going drinking with MDs, as you put it, is a relatively rare event, though not necessarily because MDs are excessively snobbish or because they regard their underlings with perennial contempt. Keep in mind the age differential and the fact that they may have long-neglected families to go home to.

Nov 22, 2017

I loved the group I was in when I worked in banking. Obviously, the analysts hung out with each other a lot. We would periodically take our summers out on the company dime and pool money together so that everyone had a good time. Analysts, associates and even VP's would show up for that. One director in particular was younger and would hang out with and take the analysts out, too. Aside from company events and parties, no MD's would come out, though. Probably better that they didn't.

Nov 22, 2017

I've known a handful of MDs who love to go out with analysts, especially in the summer when their wives and kids are in the Hamptons or otherwise not around.

Nov 22, 2017

Analysts are more likely to go out with analysts, associates with associates, etc. This is a function of age, experience, and common ground.

This being said, analysts who just got promoted to associate, or associates who worked their way up without B-school are much more likely to hang out with younger people. This is because they have probably worked together at a similar level for awhile and are similar in age and experience. A 23 year old analyst is, most likely, not going to hang out with the associate who worked a few years, got an MBA, is married and is 32 years old. They would be more likely to hang out with the 28 year old VP who got promoted all the way through.

For work sponsored/related/trip events, you will drink with people at all levels. Most of the time, however, its best to hang out with people you can be friends with.

Nov 22, 2017

In general MDs will very rarely hang out with Analysts unless one is especially young and unmarried. More than rank, though, there's a divide between those who are married (many Associates and above) and those aren't (some Associates and below).

People do tend to exaggerate how bad banking is and how poorly you get treated. Certainly there are some days that really suck and make you want to kill yourself, but it's not always like that. Higher ranked people will joke around with Analysts/Associates etc.

Nov 3, 2017

I think the advantage that upper class graduates have is not an explicit, deliberate thing on behalf of the bankers. But rather it's a mix of the general circumstances that the upper class and less privileged have.

The upper class students don't have to work part-time so they can focus full time to get that high GPA - so grades are there. Plus chances are they're friends/families with people who are already in IB or at least knows someone from IB / Finance. Not to mention the social graces mentioned earlier.

But consider a hypothetical scenario where you got a less privileged student who managed to get a scholarship at a target school, managed to get a high GPA despite working part time, and learned to develop the social graces of upper class students and managed to network and make connections with them and the higher ups. Then, in theory, with the exception of mom and dad's bank account as back up, they have pretty much the same advantages as the rich kids.

This is a highly unlikely scenario and it's difficult to achieve this, but heck, what isn't challenging in IB? So maybe the creme de la creme of the brightest minds have achieved this despite disadvantaged backgrounds. We've all heard of the proverbial rags-to-riches tycoons and entrepreneurs, so I think IB would be no exception to that.

Ultimately if you apply for IB, and the bankers and interviews tested you and think you have what it takes: technical skills, interpersonal skills, and what not, then you have a chance. It's not like they're gonna say "Okay this guy has all the qualifications knocked out but he comes from a less privileged background". If you can help the IB make money (or save money) just like any business. Why not.

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Oct 23, 2017

I agree with this thought too. If you have the ability to acquire the graces to make it through all rounds in ib interviews and be selected for an offer, you're probably one of the smartest people in your group. But, I just think that IB's recruitment structure is an admittance of how difficult it is to find extremely smart people, in a well-rounded sense. You need to recruit people who have essentially been trained from the womb ("like that 8 years old, too late for PE thread") in order to have a successful group that can complete deals and make it happen.

I think that reality is that people are either a good "fit" or smart enough to get the job done. If there are more people who fit than are that smart, it's easy to see why the numbers at banks favor the former, which is the upper class kids, over the latter. The top will always be recruited first no matter where you're looking--even the NBA seems to favor the kids who were trained earlier, as an example--and the upper classes have the most resources to train their kids longer and at younger ages to be prepared.

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Nov 22, 2017

Hilarious that you think people who break into Wall Street have "vast connections." Or that the people who go to Ivies can afford to attend any better than you can (ever heard of student loans?).

Try the search function. This has been discussed to death.

Nov 22, 2017

Keep working hard, and become a regular here on WSO. You'll have a better idea of where you stand going forward. For the record, you can definitely break in to finance despite going to a state school.

Nov 22, 2017

I went to a state school, so "impossible is nothing". Network network network & make the most out of your HF internship. Start with those two...

Nov 22, 2017

Are all new Navy S.E.A.L.s and Marines world class crossfit champions? Are all marathon runners from Zambia? Are all champion Tennis players Swiss?

No. Some people are more suited and/or have a head start and more backing, but most people can become at least competitive with effort. It's the same with finance.

You have less advantags than the kid from MIT, but with hard work and reaching out to people who can help, you can accomplish pretty much anything they can if you're serious.

Nov 22, 2017

Excuses are lame. Do not look for this lame excuse that you went to a non target school. Non targets break into IB/PE all the time. Do the work you will get rewarded for it.

Nov 22, 2017

For example, I'm not from a target school and I'll be doing amazing things.

Nov 22, 2017

The 'Average Joe' won't graduate from college. So, no the 'Average Joe' won't have a chance. You might though.

Nov 21, 2017

It's interesting to look at Linkedin pages of current analysts and see the percent of who went to 'target' high schools (i.e. private schools that send 15%+ of each class to ivies).. These kids went from top highschools-->target colleges-->IB analysts.. It's much more common that you would expect; I feel like that northeast prep schools have more of a presence on wall street than most semi-targets. Obviously the wealth/connections/family background of the students at these high schools has a huge impact, and many simply go into IB because it's the most risk-adverse way of maintaining the lifestyle that they grew up with

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Nov 21, 2017

"many simply go into IB because it's the most risk-adverse way of maintaining the lifestyle that they grew up with."

This is so true.

Nov 22, 2017
bIastoise:

do issues of class come up on Wall Street? if a working class kid makes it at a bulge bracket / top boutique / PE firm is it more difficult to fit in esp. when people shoot the shit about skiing or lacrosse or the vineyard, etc.? have you seen situations in which it affected relationships, either with other analysts or with the higher-ups?

i'm asking because i remember seeing posts about how some firms are a bit elitist with kids from nice prep schools and families, things like that, and going through some of the profiles at PE firms a ton of them look like they come from nice, preppy families

No, don't worry about this. This isn't the 1960s.

Nov 22, 2017

I've heard stories, most of them about Morgan Stanley but most of the occured a decade or more ago. I don't think it's as big of an issue now.

Nov 22, 2017
theBEEGEES:

I've heard stories, most of them about Morgan Stanley but most of the occured a decade or more ago. I don't think it's as big of an issue now.

Was about to say the same re:MS, except I heard about it from friends interning there in London last summer.

Nov 22, 2017

No, never. Kids worry too much.

Nov 22, 2017

It still helps to be one of the guys, just that the definition of this has expanded somewhat.

  • gnicholas
  •  Nov 22, 2017

No one "shoots the shit" about vineyards, that wouldn't make any sense.

Nov 22, 2017
gnicholas:

No one "shoots the shit" about vineyards, that wouldn't make any sense.

martha's vineyard

Nov 22, 2017

should not be an issue.

if the working class kid however is awkward about other people coming from wealthy backgrounds then this will be an issue.

With that I mean ridicouling wealthier peers for spending money, being astonished at the spending of money, constantly talking about/asking how much stuff costs etc...

Just dont make it an issue and you will be fine.

Nov 22, 2017

thanks guys, good to hear

Nov 22, 2017

I'm not from the upper crust and I use it to my advantage:

The manners, contacts, and mindset of the kids from rich families rubs off on me, so I benefit from associating with them. I like snowboarding, they like skiing, so there's a large overlap.

I had to work through college and worked at bars they hang out at now, so I introduce them to bartenders, and teach them how to work the system. While these guys belong to gun clubs, I can actually take them hunting. While they talk about starting a business: I have. And when they wonder what other states, countries, and jobs are like, I know.

It's a win-win situation, everyone walks away better off.

For what it's worth, my counterpart in our group IS from the upper crust, and does the exact same thing as me. The only advantage he has is that it was easier for him to get the job, but now we are equals. In fact, I'm killing him in terms of production, so I'm better positioned for a promotion.

Nov 22, 2017

Sounds like quite the tacit rivalry you got going on there, UFO

Does the upper crust inquire about dubious UFO sightings, while you tell them about how you've been abducted and encountered the third kind?

Nov 22, 2017
swagon:

Sounds like quite the tacit rivalry you got going on there, UFO

There is no rivalry, we get along very well. I just work a hell of a lot harder because I value the paycheck more than him - I have no safety net.

I overtook him a long time ago and have been recognized by very senior people within the company, so should it come to rivalry or competition for a promotion, I would very quickly beat him out. Since I'm not staying here too much longer, there should be no problem.

Nov 22, 2017

Depends on the firm. Luckily, I'm rich so I never had that problem.

Nov 22, 2017
Lord Blankfein:

Depends on the firm. Luckily, I'm rich so I never had that problem.

But evidently not well mannered. Stop behaving so "nouveau riche"...

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

Nov 22, 2017

Actually, nowadays there are more people who will dislike you for coming from a privileged than people who dislike kids from working class. Never really met a rich guy who looked down on poorer kids who broke in, if anything you will get some brownie points.
On the other hand, just look at the WSO posts with countless posts by people with a chip on their shoulder, saying shit like "If I'm ever a hiring decision maker, I will never waive in a kid from pep school". Too many insecure people!

That being said, please don't go around criticizing people for spending money or wearing a nice clothes or something. It's incredibly annoying when I see one analyst tell another "OMGOMG you spent 5K on watch I could like live off that for a year!!!!" We also had an intern who would CONSTANTLY talk about his budgeting, and how he saved every penny possible. I have nothing against that lifestyle, but please don't annoy others by preaching your cheapness.

Nov 22, 2017
feenans:

That being said, please don't go around criticizing people for spending money or wearing a nice clothes or something. It's incredibly annoying when I see one analyst tell another "OMGOMG you spent 5K on watch I could like live off that for a year!!!!" We also had an intern who would CONSTANTLY talk about his budgeting, and how he saved every penny possible. I have nothing against that lifestyle, but please don't annoy others by preaching your cheapness.

Great point, those kids are really annoying

Also all you pokemon kids may have trouble fitting in at a bank the same way you've had trouble your whole life

Nov 22, 2017

During my internship, I got the impression that the majority of people in banking nowadays were of humble origin. And truthfully, I find them rather intimidating. If anything, people will look down on pampered kids...

Nov 22, 2017

yea geeze i have such a fucking hard time conversing with coworkers since i apparently cant relate "when people shoot the shit about skiing lacrosse and the vineyard" since im from a nontarget working class family....my boss just uses my face as a toilet every other day, and once a week all the coworkers make me put on a hat and stand in the corner while they all point and laugh at me.

do yourself a favor, Btoise, PULL your head out of your fucking ass, you miserable cunt

Nov 22, 2017
mfoste1:

yea geeze i have such a fucking hard time conversing with coworkers since i apparently cant relate "when people shoot the shit about skiing lacrosse and the vineyard" since im from a nontarget working class family....my boss just uses my face as a toilet every other day, and once a week all the coworkers make me put on a hat and stand in the corner while they all point and laugh at me.

do yourself a favor, Btoise, PULL your head out of your fucking ass, you miserable cunt

mfoste1 sorry if i offended you, i don't come from that lacrosse/vineyard background either and was just wondering if it would affect analyst dynamics if most analysts and MDs came from that kind of family

Nov 22, 2017

Why would kids from truly rich families work as bankers? You guys think this job is prestigious or something?

Nov 22, 2017
monkeyThrowingDart:

Why would kids from truly rich families work as bankers? You guys think this job is prestigious or something?

I don't know but I have banker friends from super wealthy background (e.g. russian oligarchy). I think the parents are pushing them to work.

Nov 22, 2017

yeah me and my boys shoot the shit about the vineyard all the time dude, it makes us feel rich and cool

...what?

Nov 22, 2017

The vineyard is a great place. I was there a fortnight ago.

Nov 22, 2017

is fucking skiing considered high class? what kind of skiing are you talking about? WHITE POWDER skiing.. or WHITE POWDER skiing?

Nov 22, 2017
shorttheworld:

is fucking skiing considered high class? what kind of skiing are you talking about? WHITE POWDER skiing.. or WHITE POWDER skiing?

Haha true word

Nov 22, 2017

Most kids who are born into wealth go into liberal arts, law, nonprofit, and government. They don't need the money from banking.

Nov 22, 2017
starwin:

Most kids who are born into wealth go into liberal arts, law, nonprofit, and government. They don't need the money from banking.

you clearly do not have any wealthy friends.

Nov 22, 2017
starwin:

Most kids who are born into wealth go into liberal arts, law, nonprofit, and government. They don't need the money from banking.

This is definitely true.

Nov 22, 2017

I work with a bunch of "rich kids" and believe me they are not that "rich" they are bottom of the barrell. We all have fun there is a reason your fit questions in the interview are the most important. They need to know if you will FIT IN!!!
The real "rich kids" are working at big funds, fortune 500 companies, or just living off the family trust fund with "Daddy".

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Nov 22, 2017

I was an SA at MS Prime Brokerage. Perhaps being an intern won't give you too much exposure to the "rich kid" lifestyle, neither will Prime Brokerage I imagine. But I found people were mostly down to earth. A lot of ED's and MD's would talk about their homes in the Hamptons, lodges in Vale and Hermes ties, BUT if you think about it - when you've worked that hard and made it that far (or through connections) - you earn some bragging rights. I mean, saying "those are some fresh kicks man!" to a friend in HS is very similar to complementing someone on their Ferragamo loafers or watch when your'e an MD.

And, most importantly, there is always common ground. My Associate was a wealthy guy from Greenwich, but he was really down to earth and helpful. E.g. when he travelled to AC, he stayed in a suite at the Water Club (Borgatta). When I travel to AC I usually stay at Tropicana or Harrah's - everyone still got blitzed and had a killer time! However, this is not to say I will ever be invited back to my one of my wealthier colleagues' Greenwich estates. But it's not like I was ever overly ostracized or treated unlike an equal.

Nov 22, 2017

I would hire hungry, smart, middle-class background kids for analytics/research work and charismatic, street-smart, upper-class background kids for sales work.

Nov 22, 2017
alexpasch:

I would hire hungry, smart, middle-class background kids for analytics/research work and charismatic, street-smart, upper-class background kids for sales work.

I like this.

.

Nov 22, 2017
alexpasch:

I would hire hungry, smart, middle-class background kids for analytics/research work and charismatic, street-smart, upper-class background kids for sales work.

Let me know when you find this combination. Most have a ton of one and about none of the other.

Nov 22, 2017

Do you guys remember the Leveraged Sell Out blog? And the guy wrote a book - Damn, it Feels Good to Be a Banker: And Other Baller Things You Only Get to Say If You Work On Wall Street. Hilarious! It also throws some light (albeit very skewed and negative) on the potential elitism within banking and finance. Not to say, I believe any or all of it, just remembered that it cracked me up.

Nov 22, 2017

Why? You jelly?

Nov 22, 2017

.

Nov 22, 2017

...they let poors into banking now? I'm headed to JDOasis...

Nov 22, 2017

LMAO. On the Vineyard as we speak. Anybody in Vineyard Haven or OB, holla at me and we'll grab some drinks at Sharky's...

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

Nov 22, 2017

upper class and street smarts generally dont go hand in hand

Nov 22, 2017
shorttheworld:

upper class and street smarts generally dont go hand in hand

Upper class and propensity to have man-on-man anal sex, however do.

Nov 22, 2017
Marcus_Halberstram:

Upper class and propensity to have man-on-man anal sex, however do.

that's the best kind of sex...sooo much jelly is involved. U JELLY BRO?

Nov 22, 2017
shorttheworld:

upper class and street smarts generally dont go hand in hand

Word. Nail on the head man.

Still I Rise

Nov 22, 2017
maktec5:
shorttheworld:

upper class and street smarts generally dont go hand in hand

Word. Nail on the head man.

How about VERY upper class Arab raised in overseas and street smarts? exist or not?

.

Nov 22, 2017
shorttheworld:

upper class and street smarts generally dont go hand in hand

Word. True story.

Still I Rise

Nov 22, 2017

I didn't say they're universally mutually exclusive, but by in large, people don't have those traits in tandem. Maybe your definition of street-smart differs from mine.

Nov 22, 2017

I feel like the original question raised is a VERY valid one indeed.

Though I'm still an Undergrad (and am trying to break into banking!), I'm from the inner city of one of the top three most dangerous cities in the US. Fortunately, I was able to attend one of the best private schools in the state ( and now I go to a Top 10 Target school.

A lot of wealthy kids from my University go into I-banking. Whether you define wealthy as having a blackcard or wealthy as having a vacation home- the bottom line is that many of my peers have more money than I do.
Wealth doesn't really come up. It's douchey and classless to brag about your money. But when it does, just smile, be chill and don't be awkward.

Best advice: Don't be a hot shot and try to contribute to the convo. You'll look like an idiot. Silence is sometimes golden.

Nov 22, 2017

Someone raised in a "VERY upper class" setting probably isn't that street smart, by any real standards at least.

Nov 21, 2017

Things have got much "better". Automated interview processes (tests, Hirevue), the rise of PC, greater stigma about using connections, events reserved for minorities, minority lobby groups which give members an "unfair advantage" et similia all mean that minorities are becoming more represented.

I don't think banks should aim at improving diversity, they should take the best applicants. As for the social class aspect, it shouldn't be banks' responsibility: it's up to politics to make sure that the education system ensures equality of opportunity.

People from the same background also work better together. Efinancialcareers reports that a banker with a lower class accent was told not to talk during client meetings. A banker who talks in an unintelligible manner and possibly uses slang leaves a bad impression, no matter how socially "liberal" the client is.

I've read that 33% of UK bankers (I don't think we have data about IBD specifically) are privately educated. Comparatively, while it's true that 93% of students aren't privately educated, only 55% of Oxbridge intake come from state-funded schools. 33% is not bad and it means banking definitely isn't the exclusive, old boys club of the past.

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Nov 21, 2017

Can you really argue that the "best" candidates on paper (high GPA/SAT scores/Target School) all happen to come from the same few schools and have been groomed for success since preschool? These students are a minority even in the 1%, but I would guess make up 20-25% of classes at investment banks. The metrics you are using to determine the 'best candidates' also happen to be extremely highly correlated to family income/background/race, and allow banking to remain a stratified industry where legacy/connections/privilege is perpetuated from generation to generation.

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Nov 21, 2017

Coming from a prestigious university is important for several different reasons, as we all know. I don't think banks should discriminate too much on the basis of school before university, since an Oxford undergraduate from a state school isn't necessarily worse on the job than one from Eton. However, selective state-funded schools signal that you had academic merits, and prestigious schools are considered such because they provide a better education, therefore it can be assumed that they make for a better candidate. Other private schools also have higher academic standards than a state school. The result is that someone from these institutions is likely to be better educated (in case of parity of grades, which is a big caveat).

If the best applicants are those from top unis, and students at top unis are mostly privileged, I think the unfairness lies within the higher education system, not banks' recruitment. Maybe it's not even universities' fault, they as well take the students with better grades, which happen to come from the best schools and from higher income families. A fair school system could attenuate the problem, but in non-utopian societies grades will always be higher among middle class children, because of upbringing, family values and culture, support, tutoring, etc.

Nov 21, 2017

"People from the same background also work better together."

Not to be an asshole, but I'm fairly certain that almost all the available research actually shows the opposite to be true: That diverse backgrounds (not even just race) among team members lead to materially better outcomes in business. Last analysis I saw was from the Harvard Business Review.

Monkey see. Monkey Doo [Doo].

Nov 21, 2017

This is true, but somehow I don't believe banks promote diversity because they genuinely expect higher outcomes.

What I meant is that similar people find it easier to collaborate and relate. However, as you say, different perspectives may produce a better final outcome. For investment banking, I think that a classical scholar and a finance graduate form a more diverse group than two finance graduates from different backgrounds.

Oct 17, 2017
Usuals42:

I've read that 33% of UK bankers (I don't think we have data about IBD specifically) are privately educated. Comparatively, while it's true that 93% of students aren't privately educated, only 55% of Oxbridge intake come from state-funded schools. 77% is not bad and it means banking definitely isn't the exclusive, old boys club of the past.

Where is this 77% figure coming from?

Nov 21, 2017

Tiredness. It was supposed to be 33