Morgan Stanley, the "White-Shoe Firm"?

This continually comes up whenever I see a post online describing Morgan Stanley. Does anyone have any thoughts on the culture? Is it excessively formal and stiff, or do you think the firm is changing?

Comments (45)

Jun 23, 2017

By far the most ivy populated firm on the street.

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Best Response
Jun 23, 2017

My buddy went to a diversity event for MS and before standing up and asking a question the MD said "this better not be a stupid question about the economy or interest rates," My buddy asked the MD, "No, what is your perspective on diversity and how it effects the work culture at MS". The MD stood up and said "You have 10 seconds to prove yourself and that's the question you asked????? What's your first and last name???" Needless to say my friend almost started crying in the cab ride home.

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Jun 23, 2017

Know a few non-core students who were asked "who are you and how did you get in here!?!?!?!"

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Jun 24, 2017

it's non-target. Non-core sounds a lot better.

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

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Jun 24, 2017

Haha wow.

Jun 24, 2017

I don't know how people will take this, but your friend asking that shows a somewhat poor understanding of IB culture (ie, most FO people won't care about diversity/race of the employees rather than what can be produced). Sure, it was a diversity event, but it was most likely an HR mandatory diversity networking event that forced the MDs to go to it.

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Jun 27, 2017

You're such a troll, Howard. Or are you actually like this in real life?

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Jun 27, 2017

Really? How many MDs do you know that give a fuck about diversity? The ones in my office, and I'm sure most others couldn't care less.

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Jun 24, 2017

haha. I would have given a fake name to the MD.

Jun 24, 2017

That is a total SJW question though...

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

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Jun 26, 2017

Disagree - lots of great reasons to push for diversity at investment banks. LatAm $, Chinese $, Saudi $...

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Jun 26, 2017

But I doubt that the MDs really care.

Jul 7, 2017

Don't think saudis/chinese count as diversity...

Jul 7, 2017

those places are not who anyone has in mind when they talk about diversity.

Jun 26, 2017
bbqchipsguy:

My buddy went to a diversity event for MS and before standing up and asking a question the MD said "this better not be a stupid question about the economy or interest rates," My buddy asked the MD, "No, what is your perspective on diversity and how it effects the work culture at MS". The MD stood up and said "You have 10 seconds to prove yourself and that's the question you asked????? What's your first and last name???" Needless to say my friend almost started crying in the cab ride home.

Brutal.

Jun 27, 2017

MD is kinda an idiot, what kind of reputation is he creating for the firm, he is supposed to pretend that he cares about diversity on a fucking diversity event, and not abuse those URM kids... Should have bullshited the question and then asked the name.

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Jun 27, 2017

was at a diversity event... decides to ask about the diversity culture... look around you and where you are at....

Jun 27, 2017

I don't believe this story only because the culture might be like this in private but definitely never ever in public. The one thing all BBs have in common (especially at GS/MS) is public relations. Insulting a junior employee at his/her desk is normal. Insulting a junior employee in a public forum could get that managing director fired, believe it or not.

Furthermore, MS is hungry for talent. If I were a talented URM from a target school at MS, it isn't uncommon that I'd be poached by other firms, especially if I am an intern and trying to leverage a FT offer for something "better." Why would a managing director want to insult potentially a future, say, Rebecca Dorrian or Marlon Chigwende?

(feel free to look them up)

Furthermore, that question, although boring, isn't unreasonable. No one "proves" themselves by asking one question. Its hard enough to "prove yourself" with a 2 min elevator pitch let alone with a perfectly reasonable, on-topic question at a diversity event.

I call bullshit.

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Jun 30, 2017

'Leverage for something better?'

Why would they give a shit? There are very few 'better' options in the first place. Going from MS to GS/an EB is barely a trade up (if at all), not going to matter at all. Doesn't make sense to go into AM in this environment, and top HF's like Greenlight want ex-bankers so very, very few take out of undergrad. And forget MF PE at KKR/Apollo. One undergrad went to BX PE last year. One. The options IB at MS gives you after 2 years is virtually unparalleled, and every target school applicant furiously masturbates to it.

The MD doesn't care one bit about the 'talented URM.' They have another hundred kids with 3.9 GPA's at targets who are salivating over this same job. At the end of the day, banking doesn't require much talent, just a strong work ethic to grind like a slave monkey, and be willing to learn. The MD isn't 'hungry for talent,' the food literally delivers itself up to him whenever he wants it.

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Jul 1, 2017

You're making a few key assumptions:

  1. You're assuming that all offers at all the "elite" firms are equal. Is it better to be in the Utilities group at Morgan or FIG at Goldman? You tell me (I'll help you out: it depends on what you want to do post-IB). So one offer, subjectively, might be 10x better than the others at the time. If you wanted to work at a HY credit firm, then maybe you should have paid attention to that awesome lev fin offer at, say, Barclays vs. jumping on the MS-bandwagon settling for an unrelated group. Maybe. Well, I would have jumped ship if I was publicly insulted (which, again like I posited, was unlikely a true story).
  2. You're also assuming that the only thing better than a finance job out of undergrad is... ANOTHER finance job. Maybe you have a better offer at Microsoft, Facebook, or Snapchat (I think they used to offer undergrads equity)? Maybe the MD is telling you how rosy IB is and trying to convince you not to work at Google instead. Maybe.
  3. You're also assuming that a high GPA is the most important consideration for a job. Yes, I agree that there are hundreds of kids that fit that profile, but I think you would agree that its rare to find a 22 yr old that also has the soft skills to match. Couple that with a(n) URM, then you have a diamond who (see point 1) is juggling offers between multiple firms. Many of them seek advice on this forum. If you don't believe me then use the search function.
  4. Finally, you're assuming, quite blatantly, that the MD doesn't care about the 'talented URM.' Firstly, if you've been to one of these things (assuming you're not a 'talented URM' yourself based on your response) then you'll realize that its almost always run by current MDs who were once 'talented URMs' themselves at one point. Furthermore, who the hell do you think they want to hire to expand business to LatAm, EMEA, and other emerging markets? Who do you think are running those desks today? A talented person born and raised in New York or a 'talented URM?'

With all due respect, this is all just my opinion.

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Jul 7, 2017

I just saw this haha. Not sure how I can prove it to you but my friend isn't recruiting for banking anymore.

Aug 19, 2017
Chewco:

- You're also assuming that a high GPA is the most important consideration for a job. Yes, I agree that there are hundreds of kids that fit that profile, but I think you would agree that its rare to find a 22 yr old that also has the soft skills to match. Couple that with a(n) URM, then you have a diamond who (see point 1) is juggling offers between multiple firms. Many of them seek advice on this forum. If you don't believe me then use the search function.

I am just trying to better understand your message - are you making a link here between being URM and having strong soft skills? If not, then how does being URM increase your value? You do explain it but only in your 4th point.

Jul 7, 2017

If this was the URM event, I was there. This could not be farther from the truth, everyone from analyst to MD was super respectful answering any questions, and nobody asked for any names.

Jul 7, 2017

Do you know how many URM events there are? This happened in like Winter of last year

Jul 7, 2017

My point being, this would never happen, as many have outlined. This from experience at 4 BB diversity events.

Jul 7, 2017

I've def had the worst experiences that way with MS tbh.

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Jun 27, 2017

I'm always up for a challenge here I come.

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Jun 24, 2017

Respetto.

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Jun 28, 2017

Mr. Lahey is this you or the liquor talking?

Jun 23, 2017

Banking is like the anti-government. They think the same way, except banks can usually say it and govs can't. A bunch of hardos who don't realize it's 2017.

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Jun 23, 2017

they let me wear black or brown shoes when I was there

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Jun 23, 2017

But were they Cole Haans?

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Jun 26, 2017
TacosDeLengua:

But were they Cole Haans?

if you want to be uncomfortable. hush puppies all the way

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

Jun 27, 2017

This isn't the case anymore. That specific phraseology is antiquated. The term used to refer to, for example, law firms that only hired from one school (i.e. specifically Harvard Law School). You see this being played out in modern TV shows like Suits.

Despite being one of the earliest banks to IPO (1986), it still had that partnership mentality. Internship classes were small and the pool drew exclusively from Columbia, Wharton, and Harvard business schools. Think of these like banking "prep schools," where the culture is visibly distinct and a little more prim and proper than the average (especially at HBS... even today).

I had an old buddy years ago who once revealed his alma mater to his managing director at Morgan receive a "how the hell did they let you in here?" He went to Duke and his managing director was an HBS alum. Despite being jocular at the time, it could give you an insight into the subconscious somewhat.

Nowadays, private clubs in New York allow women to be members and Morgan Stanley hires kids from a diversity of backgrounds... even Duke, believe it or not. The term is called "progressivism."

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Jun 27, 2017

Is your profile picture Andy Fastow aka "the man who actually did nothing wrong but took the bullet for Ken Lay"?

Jun 27, 2017

Everything I did was either implicitly or explicitly sanctioned by Ken and Jeff.

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Jun 27, 2017

Username checks out . . .

Jul 7, 2017

Fastow came to my school to speak, 50/50 students interested to hear his story and SJW wanting to publicly roast him. The Q&A was great.

Aug 19, 2017

.

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Jul 7, 2017

How did you work in M&A at Morgan Stanley for 5 fucking years without making Analyst?

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Jul 7, 2017

Maybe he joined after his analyst years...

Jul 7, 2017

It's been a long week.

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Aug 19, 2017
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Aug 19, 2017
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Mar 20, 2018