Is the competition for banking artificially inflated?

helpinghand's picture
Rank: Baboon | 169

Everyone's input is welcome, but I'd really like to hear from veterans in this post--those above age 30 who have fully developed careers and lives.

I attend a target Ivy League school and the competition for investment banking internships has been beyond fierce. Without a 3.7 and somewhat relevant experience, it's almost impossible to get a single interview for the summer. Keep in mind that at many of these top schools, the average GPA is 3.3-3.4, You have to literally be the cream of the crop student at, already, the cream of the crop universities.

My question: How important is banking to have on your resume to have the most successful career one can have?

There are so many top-notch, brand-name companies out there and different roles--yet everyone seems to want banking. Is a word of mouth bias playing into effect here? Or is banking truly the best thing you can do? Can someone not go the banking route and still do great (as great as if he were to do banking?) I know answers on this forum will be biased, but please try to remain as objective as possible....

Thanks in advance everyone.

Comments (45)

Best Response
Jan 30, 2014

It's hard to provide an intelligible answer to a question as vacuous as "is competition **artificially** inflated". What could possibly be the meaning of "artificial" in this context? What is a "natural" level of competitiveness, if not the level that organically emerges?

And then your follow up questions are so exaggerated that they're unanswerable. "Is banking truly the best thing you can do?", "Can someone not go the banking route and still do 'as great'?" - how do you address questions like that? The best thing? Is there such a thing? How can this possibly be appraised?

That said, I'll try to address the crux of your musings here: does herd mentality play a role in the popularity of banking?

The problem with this question is that social psychology plays a role in the reputation of any career, artist, politician, etc. You can't disentangle "empirically justified" acclaim and "artificial" admiration; they are mutually reinforcing, and they both have concrete effects on the real world. It's likely the same reason you decided to go to a "target" school: because everyone held the college in high esteem, and that social esteem in turn affects the opportunities with which you are presented upon graduation. It's why you're even able to Ponder these questions in the first place - most schools have no IB recruiting to speak of! Every human value judgment is, in some abstract sense, necessarily arbitrary, but it's unclear why that's relevant ex ante.

Pluralistic ignorance / the Abilene paradox is, perhaps, a maddening aspect of social dynamics; but it's a thing, and fighting it doesn't seem very sensible. Every day, people endorse opinions that they deplore simply because they erroneously believe that their peers favor it. A number of surveys have suggested that gay-bashing by conservative youth, racial segregation in the American South, honor killings of unchaste women in Islamic societies and the prevalence of binge drinking on college campuses may owe their longevity to spirals of silence. The supporters of each phenomenon did not think it was a good idea when questioned privately so much as they thought that everyone else thought it was a good idea. And so turns the Earth.

In a classic experiment, a group of sociologists told study participants that they would be partaking in a wine tasting. Participants were seated round-table with five "confederates" of the experimenter. After sampling three cups of wine, they would grade each on bouquet, flavor, aftertaste, robustness and overall quality. They would then evaluate one another's wine-judging abilities. Unbeknownst to the participants, the three cups had been poured from the same bottle, and one was spiked with vinegar. The participants, before being asked for their own judgments, witnessed the judgments of four confederates who rated the vinegary sample higher than one of the unadulterated samples, and rated the other one best of all. Unsurprisingly, about half the participants defied their own taste buds and went with the consensus. Then the last confederate rated the wines accurately (evaluating the two pure samples even and the vinegary sample as inferior). When the participants were later asked to evaluate the wine-tasting abilities of the confederates privately, they respected the accuracy of the honest confederate and gave him high marks, even if they themselves had been browbeaten into conforming. But those who had to offer their ratings publicly compounded their hypocrisy by downgrading the honest rater.

The benefit of pre-vetted paths like IB is that the outcomes are identifiable ahead of time. Uncertainty is minimized, the downside is mitigated and the universe of readily available future options is clear. There are, of course, plenty of IB analysts who go down different paths other than PE or HF; but there is comfort in knowing that you have that optionality. If those careers are what you're shooting for or if you value limited risks, then IB is an excellent path. The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of people do not commence their careers in IB, and a non-zero percentage of them end up doing "as great". Proportions are different, paths are less established and the competition is less concentrated. Whether that makes it a "better" option is a question I'm unqualified to answer - and, frankly, it's a value judgment that each individual must make for himself based on his own preferences and proclivities.

    • 13
Feb 3, 2014

One of the best posts I've ever read on WSO. +1

Always easy to pick out another philosophy student.

"My dear, descended from the apes! Let us hope it is not true, but if it is, let us pray that it will not become generally known."

Jan 30, 2014

Gave you a silver banana. Thank you for making me realize how substance-less my question was, while still managing to answer the question....did you study philosophy?

Jan 30, 2014
helpinghand:

Gave you a silver banana. Thank you for making me realize how substance-less my question was, while still managing to answer the question....did you study philosophy?

Haha. No worries, mate. I had to at least attempt to answer the question. And, yes, I did.

Jan 30, 2014

"Can someone not go the banking route and still do great (as great as if he were to do banking?)"

I am not sure I understand this question. For me "doing great" (strictly career wise that is) is ending up in a situation where you have a lot of influence. Earning a lot of money is a corollary of having influence, and is therefore (at least for me) not a goal in itself and cannot be separated from the desire to influence people and/or organisations. Thus, I see the careers of prominent CEO and board members as the true success stories. I would tend to assume that this is a fairly widespread notion.

The next question is therefore; do most CEOs/Executives/Board members in large companies have a background in IBD? Probably not. Completely non-empirically I would even say it's quite rare if you look among FT500 companies.

So what do you really refer to when you write "still do great"?

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Jan 30, 2014

I appreciate the responses. I guess doing great could mean any of the following:
1. High net worth
2. Management of a F500
3. A salary of 200-250k and above? (I know, sounds silly)
4. Influential businessman as an adult

I guess a simplified question is--can going into a F500 straight out of undergrad and attending B-school translate into just as many great opportunities as going into IB? (looking beyond PE, because it seems like if you're not doing banking straight out of undergrad, theres a small bet you'll ever be doing PE)

Jan 30, 2014

Other than buyside jobs, you're not particularly 'precluded' from any other positions in the business world, from what I've seen by, not being a banker.

Jan 30, 2014
kidflash:

Other than buyside jobs, you're not particularly 'precluded' from any other positions in the business world, from what I've seen by, not being a banker.

pretty much this. in fact if anything, finance is a bit of a niche skill set for most of the business world. for instance i've never heard of a banker becoming a CEO of any major company (except a bank obviously). operational, engineering, product development or consulting experience is usually more common for C level executives and most of the business world

as for why most ivy league kids leave for banking?
1. they don't- lots are going into other fields these days
2. ivy kids live in a stupid type A herd mentality (actually my school does too)
2. banking is good money (any ivy tuition needs good roi)
3. lots of kids have no idea what they want to do after graduation - incl. yours truly - and banking is a great place to start
4. banking still has solid cachet (although preftige has admittedly taken a big hit after '08)

Jan 30, 2014

I think you're over-stating how hard it is to get a banking job from a target... especially a top target. what you're saying might be true if you know literally no one and didn't go to any of the networking events or put forth any effort whatsoever, but it's SO easy to network from a target so there's really no excuse for that. banks don't care at all about recruiting the smartest people, they just need to as sure as possible that you're really interested and know what you're getting yourself into, which is demonstrated by networking and learning inane technicals that you could easily pick up after getting an offer with 0 prior knowledge

Jan 30, 2014

I don't think it's an overstatement - the guys I see at interviews all have previous finance experience, either at an investment bank or an asset manager. There's a core group of about 5-10 people who will literally land every single interview, so that takes away from the slots for the rest of us. These guys typically have done MBB/BB IBD sophomore internships. There are typically about 20 interview slots per firm at a target school, with the 5-10 from the core group, and then factor in a couple of athletes and connected people - suddenly, there are only a couple of spots open for everybody else.

There are so many kids with high GPAs that a 3.7 just doesn't cut it, especially without prior experience. Networking definitely helps, but I've seen even effective networking completely fail. Firms are now just too selective, and sometimes not having a strong enough resume, or perhaps networking with people who aren't on the core recruitment team, will lead to rejection.

Jan 31, 2014
7xEBITDA:

I don't think it's an overstatement - the guys I see at interviews all have previous finance experience, either at an investment bank or an asset manager. There's a core group of about 5-10 people who will literally land every single interview, so that takes away from the slots for the rest of us. These guys typically have done MBB/BB IBD sophomore internships. There are typically about 20 interview slots per firm at a target school, with the 5-10 from the core group, and then factor in a couple of athletes and connected people - suddenly, there are only a couple of spots open for everybody else.

There are so many kids with high GPAs that a 3.7 just doesn't cut it, especially without prior experience. Networking definitely helps, but I've seen even effective networking completely fail. Firms are now just too selective, and sometimes not having a strong enough resume, or perhaps networking with people who aren't on the core recruitment team, will lead to rejection.

Networking that fails is not effective

    • 1
Jan 30, 2014

I agree with @kidflash. I think going into banking simply puts you at the front of the pack in almost any career path and gives you the most flexibility. If you decide being a CEO is ultimately your goal, you can pretty easily (I would assume) get a job at a F500. If high finance is your career path, obviously banking is the foundation. Also I would argue that it is one of the best ways to position yourself for an MBA. A lot of this is due to the "prestige" of banking be it real or perceived in addition to the fact that financial knowledge is valuable in virtually every business. So I believe that you can be every bit as successful by not pursuing banking, but going into banking gives you a better chance of being successful in the long run.

    • 1
Jan 31, 2014

There are a lot of investment banks out there... have you really applied or reached out to every one? In my opinion, it is a numbers game. Obviously your resume (grades, exp, etc.) matters. The stronger your resume, the higher your hit rate. You just need to consider your resume and adjust the number of positions you apply to (read your effort) accordingly. This will get you what you want.

Jan 31, 2014

7xEBITDA is absolutely right. You need solid prior experience going into junior year and without it, only a >3.8-3.9 or being good friends with someone on the recruiting team will push you through. What 7xebitda described is exactly how OCR has played out at my top target (HWP). Unless you go to a target you don't know...

    • 1
Jan 31, 2014
helpinghand:

7xEBITDA is absolutely right. You need solid prior experience going into junior year and without it, only a >3.8-3.9 or being good friends with someone on the recruiting team will push you through. What 7xebitda described is exactly how OCR has played out at my top target (HWP). Unless you go to a target you don't know...

So let me get this straight, you have to put in some hard work over a few years just to get a shot at recruiting? Sounds like what everyone else has to deal with. Oh wait... Targets actually have exposure to shops that will recruit them? So hard work + networking = interview opportunity? Wow sounds tough bro...

Listen I'm giving you and 7x a hard time because you guys sound like huge pussies. That's probably not the case but I'm giving in to trolling a little.

Per the grade issue, it's competitive everywhere bro and the Ivy's are notorious for grade inflation. Wake up, everyone else is shoveling GPA shit to get by what makes you think that you don't have to? No shit I would pick a 3.8 over a 3.5 (all else equal), GPA is an effort thing and I'd want to be working besides someone that's on the same wavelength as me. Secondly, you point out that you have to have relevant finance experience and also a high GPA just to even recruit, well no shit! But what you're forgetting is that you actually get to recruit. There are plenty of smart, motivated, and qualified candidates at non-targets and semi-targets that never get that chance simply b/c they lack OCR. I'm not arguing whether its fair / not fair but you're in a fucking fantastic position. Finally, if someone's network isn't going to bat for them and telling he/she its a GPA issue then they clearly give zero fucks about said person. It's never solely a GPA issue.

    • 1
Jan 31, 2014

I guess I wasn't clear - I'm not saying target recruiting is more difficult than non-target recruiting. That would be absurd. I'm saying it is still very difficult, and sometimes others underestimate its difficulty by assuming that just because target students have exposure to the field, everybody who drops a resume will automatically get an interview.

No - I transferred from a non-target to a target. I know how difficult non-target recruiting is, and while I am happy I got to where I am now, I have nothing but respect for you guys. I have a couple of friends I still keep in touch with at non-target schools, and the ones who've found success hustle far better than I do.

    • 1
Jan 31, 2014

SB +1. Being a non-target myself and having recently seen several top target school OCRs - with all respect due to the great contributors here on WSO who come from target school backgrounds - I think some of them are 'out of touch' with how difficult it is coming from a true non-target school. I also think some don't realize just how INCREDIBLY fortunate they are to have the OCR / job postings they have. Oh and lets not forget grade inflation.

Took a look at one friend's top target OCR recently. It's SA recruiting season, but still saw top BB/MM positions up for FT. Saw bunch of postings for top HFs (Bridgewater, Citadel, and the like). Even saw pre-MBA PE associate jobs on their job postings. Who needs headhunters when you can just access your school's network? Target kids always try to lecture me to 'network' when their version of networking is to simply apply on OCR companies they're interested in or go to career fairs / info sessions where the COMPANIES COME TO THEM. Not interested in finance? Saw tons of postings from top F500 companies like GE, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, etc... not for FLDP/OLDP type of positions, but for things like Strategy, Business/Corporate development, product development, brand mgmt, etc. Oh and of course... there's MBB...

I don't think it can be overstated that there's a real social stigma for non-targets (perhaps minorities in particular) and how difficult it is for them to get into banking/top white collar job.

Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.

Jan 31, 2014

Is it too late to try to get an internship at a bank that isn't on OCR? I have a solid resume, above a 3.6, experience (non-finance) at a financial services company. The competition for BB's on-campus is just too stiff.

Jan 31, 2014

I attend a target Ivy League school and the competition for investment banking internships has been beyond fierce.

Doesn't artificially inflated suggest that it appears to be or is presented to be much more than it is in reality? In which case your own statement belies your asking the question.

I'll assume it just poor phrasing and hop to your next question:

How important is banking to have on your resume to have the most successful career one can have?

That's an extremely vague question. Most successful career one can have? How do you define success? How can you make that statement for "one" person?

At the end of the day, getting a degree from Princeton will help you achieve much more "success"... (i.e., wealth, social status etc). But is that to say that someone without a Princeton (or comparable) degree won't achieve success? No. Is that to say that it will be easier to achieve success with it? Depends on the person. There are many people who would actually achieve less success by going to Princeton than say dropping out of high school and starting a landscaping business that ends up growing into a massive enterprise. These people don't need Princeton. The Princeton's of the world are for the homogeneous bunch who want/need that seal of approval on their resume.

Case in point, I didn't go to Princeton and I've had more "success" (performance reviews/bucketing, earnings, promotions, better jobs etc) than peers that went to elite schools. Had I went to Princeton, I suspect I would have had a comparable level of success. Maybe marginally more just because I would have had more opportunities available to me... but I could even argue less because I wouldn't have the same drive (potentially).

Anyway... in case you hadn't picked up on it by now, Ivy League schools are an analog for banking... or any other elite institution really. In my opinion, these are institutions that strongly favor a certain socio-economic background. That background is the WASP crowd. More recently Jews/Asians/Indians figured out how to push down the door and crash the party that they were never invited to. 50-75 years ago, you went to Princeton/Harvard etc because you were cut from the "right" cloth. And you went to Wall Street for similar reasons. If you were a full standard deviation smarter than the smartest kid at Princeton, but you happened to be a Jew or heaven forbid black, the question wouldn't even be entertained. This is apparent in the example given in Malcom Gladwell's Outliers about Joe Flom being rejected from BigLaw for being a Jew (I know he went to Harvard). F. Scott Fitzgerald flunked out of school, but then ended up going to Princeton, how does that work?

This whole notion of being the smartest guy in the room has become a more prevalent mentality as the days of the old boys clubs of yesteryear have dissolved into a more meritocratic society (mainly from immigrants overthrowing the system). But that DNA still exists and its for that reason that the average household income of a Ivy League student is meaningfully higher than a non-Ivy League student (even across private only non-ivy sample). Its also the reason that the kid from Camden, NJ with a super thick Jersey accent just doesn't show well in interviews... even if he was the absolute best candidate by a long shot (true story). The presence of the residual DNA of this "ivory gate" is affirmed by the more recent examples of the benefits afforded to those with wealth and privilege... GW Bush (a sub-par student) went to Yale and HBS... John Huntsman Jr dropped out of HS, eventually got his GED... he graduated from Wharton.

I didn't mean for this to turn into a debate on socio-economic inequality. My point is that lion's share of benefit that elite institutions provide is to people from a certain socio-economic background. The people hard working and driven enough to achieve to get to Princeton/Goldman without coming from a privileged background would likely have success in their lives with or without a Princeton degree or Goldman Sachs internship.

The main point is that what you can seek to get out of banking is dependent on a variety of factors including:
(1) What you are actually capable of (with or without a banking job)
(2) The unique circumstances of your life and background
(3) and obviously the infinitively more complex question of how do you measure success

    • 1
Jan 31, 2014

I don't buy this. If his 'relationships' were that strong but he didn't get an interview, the relationship wasn't that strong.

I interviewed at the vast majority of top banks from a 'nontop' target (this kind of dick ranking is so dumb, but for context) with a 3.5 and an unpaid shit sophomore year internship at a microboutique purely through networking by cold emailing alums and going to nyc/sf/la to cement the relationships.

Feb 3, 2014

Yes at targets BBs/EBs COME to us. Yes we have a bunch of "networking opportunities." Yes we have a guaranteed amount of kids the firms will take each year. BUT, we also have 200-300 other kids applying for the same jobs, to try and get ~28 interview slots, and ultimately be 1 in 5-7 kids who get offers. Nontargets dont have 200-300 kids as set on banking.

At my school, having 2-3 solid contacts is not enough to overcome a 3.5 (for a BB at least). Period. Good experience helps, but the thing with targets is that people there have good experience. Because they got to a target -> More firms are willing to take them on for internships before junior year (or connections because they are ivy league students) -> Come junior year, if you have a 3.7+, you are likely to get interviews.

The guys that have a 3.5 with good experience at a target won't be able to get interviews with "just" 2-3 people going to bat for them. I personally had to have the whole recruiting team (or majority) 6-7 people know me, like me, and go to bat for me. At the end of the day, as negative as it sounds, networking does have its limits. People on WSO preach networking because it opens up the "possibility" for people to get interviews. But people at targets have to realize that because they are at a target, everyone will have access to these professionals and their emails, and WILL network. A lot of people will network. There isn't a reason for you to pick a 3.5 guy over a 3.8 guy who both networked with you, and who you both like.

I was able to overcome this through 1) Reaching outside of the "recruiting team" and getting MDs, VPs, and recruiting captains to like me. 2) getting literally the majority of the recruiting team to know me and give me a chance.

I would actually argue that at a non-target, yes you do have to go out of the way to get noticed, but at least its easier to get noticed in the sense that you will be one of the few people from your school to reach out. They don't have other kids from the same school to go to bat for, so in my opinion, its actually easier to get interviews/noticed at boutiqes/BBs if you are proactive AND driven at a nontarget. I got more interviews by simply having 1 contact at a firm that my school was a nontarget for than through networking with 2-3 people at firms that actually come recruit on campus, which makes me believe that its not a thing about "liking me enough."

And not all targets have grade inflation (UChicago, MIT comes to mind).

    • 1
Feb 7, 2014

.

Feb 3, 2014

what are you talking about.... i go to a target. reread my post. and my STEM major doesn't have grade inflation.

all my interviews except 2 (out of 10+) were through 1 'solid' contact. granted, I started networking a lot earlier than most, but, if you couldn't get interviews with 2-3 solid contacts, i don't think that's 'solid.'

i haven't met anyone at my target that networked as hard as i did. going to an information session and standing in a circle and then shooting up a generic follow up email isn't 'networking.'

Feb 3, 2014

No, banking isn't the most important slave like entry level job in your quest to become a famous actor. Given my state alma mater's XXXXXXX* research crushes most of the ivies, I'm not sure why you think ivies are necessarily the 'best'. If you want the best career start in law, serve as an assistant to a powerful senator for a few years and build a Rolodex that banking MDs would fellate you for.

If you're asking if banking is a great way to kick off your career in business, then yes, a lot of very smart students at prestigious universities are all going to compete for the highest paying / highest profile jobs....but it is not at all necessary. Most billionaires never did a stint in banking. They mostly DID find a way to own their source of income.

Consider your own goals maybe just a bit more, and the herd opinion of other 20 somethings maybe a bit less.

* research area redacted to remain anonymous

Feb 3, 2014

The only reason I worked at an investment bank is because I disliked an internship at MBB so much (loved the people, hated the lifestyle). It wasn't a herd mentality. I wanted to work in finance, and eventually become someone who invested/analyzed for a living in some capacity.

It didn't really matter what other people said, I wanted to work at a good firm to learn those skills. I don't know why someone with no interest in it would apply because some dude in a suit said they should. There's more than enough demand for these jobs already - I don't think many people are being tricked into doing banking.

Feb 3, 2014

Appreciate the traffic, but I'd rather this not turn into a debate about whether its harder to get into banking from a target or non-target. As a target school student, I will be the first to admit we have much more opportunity. On the same token, non-target students don't understand the level of competition at target schools and how being above-average or even good is not enough to even get an interview nowadays.

Let's move back to the original question---as an average, unsure person who is intelligent and motivated but not sure what he wants to do, is banking (or consulting) truly the best move or can it not be?

Feb 3, 2014
helpinghand:

Let's move back to the original question---as an average, unsure person who is intelligent and motivated but not sure what he wants to do, is banking (or consulting) truly the best move or can it not be?

Of course it isn't, once you properly adjust your perceptions to account for survivorship bias (it ain't easy for us humans).

Feb 3, 2014

If your goal is to be successful in business, the best move is to start your own company and skip working for other people altogether. Being an employee is radically different than running something.

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014

Background: I'm a junior studying engineering at a top three school in the U.S. (Though sadly not a target for banking)

It is kind of amazing, if you want to go in a technical direction, there are plenty of jobs. I have friends who are getting jobs at Microsoft, Google, Yelp, and so forth, that are making 100K plus right out of college. The only difference that I am seeing is that, sure they will be making similar salaries outside of college, but the upward growth potential is not the same as in banking. You might make 100k, 200k, hell 500k, for the rest of your life, but it is unlikely that you will be making 2-3 million plus. Unless you start your own company, or make it into an executive position. You will however lead a both financially and mentally satisfying career path with a much better work life balance.

That's just my 5 cents. Also, the environment in tech is counterintuitively not as exciting as east coast finance. (In my opinion, having worked at a tech firm this past summer). This is a question I get asked repeatedly in all interviews I have had so far. (Why not tech, it's so exciting!)

Feel free to reach out if you want to talk more.

Feb 4, 2014

working at Microsoft is sure as fuck not at all exciting but if you think BANKING or whatever you mean by "east coast finance" is more fun/exciting than working at a hot early stage or growth start-up, especially in a product role rather than pure engineering, then you are either really weird or have never done the latter. you make your own hours, work from home whenever, get amazing benefits, by necessity work in a lot of different areas beyond your "primary" function (partnerships/biz dev, marketing, product, QA, coding, analytics, maybe sales, etc.), have a TON of responsibility... sometimes too much -- at a true early stage company with less than 10-15 employees, whether or not you suck at your job can literally determine whether or not the company succeeds or fails, which of course isn't for everyone. and depending on which company, i.e. not necessarily Instagram but certainly a lot of others, you might even be doing something that actually matters, or at least that you AND your users/customers love and enjoy.

comparing that to working on working on a tiny section of one feature of Google Docs or the Windows Start Menu icon apperance or SkyDrive or whatever, or to formatting pitchbooks and spreading comps, and I'm not sure "exciting" is the word you're looking for. exceptions of course exist and there are certainly reasons to do those things but saying it's more fun strikes me as pretty out there.

Feb 4, 2014

This is pure bullshit. I don't know how many people you know that work at a start-up, but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone that is making their own hours, working from home etc, especially "true start ups". That TON of responsibility may include things like preparing online surveys, sending status update news letters to list serves and trolling freelance design message boards looking for someone to create a decent graphic that's actually usable.

I'd caution against romanticizing any career track regardless of what it may be.

Feb 4, 2014
GeorgiaTechEngineer:

Background: I'm a junior studying engineering at a top three school in the U.S. (Though sadly not a target for banking)

It is kind of amazing, if you want to go in a technical direction, there are plenty of jobs. I have friends who are getting jobs at Microsoft, Google, Yelp, and so forth, that are making 100K plus right out of college. The only difference that I am seeing is that, sure they will be making similar salaries outside of college, but the upward growth potential is not the same as in banking. You might make 100k, 200k, hell 500k, for the rest of your life, but it is unlikely that you will be making 2-3 million plus. Unless you start your own company, or make it into an executive position. You will however lead a both financially and mentally satisfying career path with a much better work life balance.

That's just my 5 cents. Also, the environment in tech is counterintuitively not as exciting as east coast finance. (In my opinion, having worked at a tech firm this past summer). This is a question I get asked repeatedly in all interviews I have had so far. (Why not tech, it's so exciting!)

Feel free to reach out if you want to talk more.

Graduated from GaTech w/ degree in eng and got all those same questions in interviews. Many times I was looked down upon because I WASN'T interviewing for tech/eng firms, as retarded as that sounds.

Feb 3, 2014

Case in point, Dale Doback had dropped out of school to join the family business (father is a doctor)...he always said it is about who you know.

Feb 4, 2014

first of all, why would a hot VC-funded startup hire you? what as a new college grad have you done? maybe you are a truly gifted software engineer or you are really well connected to other sources of financing and partnerships. The vast majority of people would not meet these requirements.

I sympathize with people at targets. The competition is crazy. The same 5-10 people get all the interviews. If you're not a jock or frat guy with a bro who pulled your resume to the top, you are probably not going to be working in IB.
Although there is grade inflation in some subjects in the ivies, it definitely hasn't hit STEM. I'm not aware of any ivy league school that hands out A's like candy is math, science and engineering. As a result, you are majorly screwed in STEM classes unless you are genius. Meanwhile, your 3.8-3.9 competition generally plays it safe. As an econ or finance major, do not take a 300 or 400 level math class because you are interested in the material if your main goal in college is to go into banking or S&T. Only take classes you know you can do well in. Same advice applies to pre-med and pre-law students where GPA is paramount and no consideration is given to course/curriculum difficulty.

I have met very few people who have graduated from an ivy with a 3.8 or 3.9 in a hard science. Those people tend to be off the charts smart. I would think they would be able to get hired by a hedge fund for sheer brainpower alone.

Feb 5, 2014
LouisWinthorpe3:

first of all, why would a hot VC-funded startup hire you? what as a new college grad have you done? maybe you are a truly gifted software engineer or you are really well connected to other sources of financing and partnerships. The vast majority of people would not meet these requirements.

I sympathize with people at targets. The competition is crazy. The same 5-10 people get all the interviews. If you're not a jock or frat guy with a bro who pulled your resume to the top, you are probably not going to be working in IB.

Although there is grade inflation in some subjects in the ivies, it definitely hasn't hit STEM. I'm not aware of any ivy league school that hands out A's like candy is math, science and engineering. As a result, you are majorly screwed in STEM classes unless you are genius. Meanwhile, your 3.8-3.9 competition generally plays it safe. As an econ or finance major, do not take a 300 or 400 level math class because you are interested in the material if your main goal in college is to go into banking or S&T. Only take classes you know you can do well in. Same advice applies to pre-med and pre-law students where GPA is paramount and no consideration is given to course/curriculum difficulty.

I have met very few people who have graduated from an ivy with a 3.8 or 3.9 in a hard science. Those people tend to be off the charts smart. I would think they would be able to get hired by a hedge fund for sheer brainpower alone.

I was one of those that got many of the same interviews. I would say there was 75% overlap between the 40-60 first round slots for each of the major investment banks at my school (non-harvard target). Almost all of that 75% received offers full-time.

I would say your resume format matters more than any technical skills.

At the same time, I don't really think fraternities play that much of a role at the BBs as they used to. I've tried getting underqualified fraternity brothers through the door but to no avail. And being a jock helps and gets you through the door, but if you are playing a tier 1 sport at a top 10 school, thats pretty impressive especially given most don't have scholarships at the targets.

Feb 5, 2014
Comment
Feb 5, 2014
Comment