Hey all, hope everyone is doing well, and has had a nice holiday season.
I have seen a bunch of posts talking about "diversity", and it might come as a shock to you when I say, as an African man in finance, I'm quite sick of it.
Bit of my background: I am an African who moved to the U.S as a kid. Went to a non-target school, interned in IB in Chicago, and now work there full time. Studied Comp Sci, kept a 3.8 GPA, interned at an asset manager and a local PE shop, read all of the finance books in my school library, and studied technicals until i dreamed about Unlevered free cash flow. So when I got my SA role, I was really pumped, and felt like i had truly worked for it.
I made friends with other summer analysts from firms all over Chicago, and met a lot of great and intelligent minority interns. However, I also met minority interns who did not know what EBITDA was, had 3.2 GPAs in Finance and could not calculate a revenue multiple. I have to say, as a black man in finance, it didn't make me happy to see these kids at firms simply because there were more black people and the banks were more "diverse". It actually made me extremely annoyed. It made me feel like my white coworkers assumed that I had a 3.2 and only got my job because I was black, and just labeled me "diversity". Just as I've never wanted anything taken away from me because of my skin color, I have never wanted anything handed to me either.
Make no mistake, as a minority in finance, I truly understand how hard it can be, especially in a city like Chicago. I absolutely love Chicago, it's a gorgeous, beautiful and lively city. However, sometimes i truly felt like i was the only black person in the city lmao. I was the only black intern at my firm, and i often could not relate (or even understand) what the other interns were talking about. I knew nothing about golf, the midwestern culture, the school sports rivalries or even the fancy clubs they went to. However, I never judged these people for having a different upbringing than i did, just as i wouldn't want them to judge me!
Here's where it gets a little controversial. I Don't believe that it is the responsibility of firms to try to increase the minority populations in their company. I mean it. I'm serious. I'm sick and tired of hearing this diversity push on the news everyday. I believe that as minorities, it is OUR responsibility to send the ladder back down and let our people in. Why should these firms make it an effort to force people they don't know (some of whom are highly unqualified), into their firms, simply because of the color of their skin? Goldman (for example) wants the best and brightest employees, why should they have to screen for race too? Again, as a minority in finance, i understand how hard it can be to break in. I don't come from money, and didn't have any fancy connections to get into finance. But I'm quite sick of hearing about pity job offers, and seeing people with 3.2 GPAs in places where quite frankly, they don't belong. As minorities it is up to us to teach aspiring financial professionals in the places we come from. Keep in mind that there are also white kids who don't have the fancy resources to break into finance either. Should they just be thrown to the side? I don't think that's completely fair either.
What are your thoughts about this? Would love to hear from some black professionals (if there are any on this forum), as well as some white folks (not the ones who want to come at me with that MAGA stuff though, not on your side lol).