Non-Target hustled like hell, got offer at BX/Apollo/KKR, but feeling urge to get prestigious degree?

nontargetwoes's picture
Rank: Monkey | 31

Ok guys so this is something that's been on my mind for a while. Kind of drunk typing this but hey why not.

I go to a non-target / borderline semi-target. Think Rutgers or American. Maybe quite good in the mind of the common man, but in high finance we all know my school's currency is worth jack shit.

I'll save the details for a future AMA but basically I came here for personal reasons (I had a 2300+ SAT, got into ivies). Hustled like hell starting from the summer before freshman year. I did BB summers in both my sophomore and junior year, and then I delayed graduation another year due to personal reasons. This summer I will be going to a megafund in their credit team, the only non-target in their roster. The MF does not give returns, but has superb track record of placing into FT at top EBs/BBs.

All the places I've worked since sophomore year have been filled with the Ivy League. I know it's really silly, but I can't seem to ever lose the huge chip on my shoulder from coming from a shitty school. Would it be stupid of me to apply for a masters program at a prestigious target? I can get decent attention from BBs with my current resume, but I just feel like having that target school degree opens doors and puts you into a complete different "club".

My goals are to be in a megafund doing opportunistic credit or LBOs after a 2 year stint at a BB, which would be fully achievable with my current degree. But....I just feel so out of place and I hate how some people act surprised when someone like me lands a megafund role in college. If I do a 2-year MFin, I will be 26 entering as an analyst - would that be weird?

Region: 
United States - Northeast

Comments (37)

Apr 12, 2017

You will waste time and money getting that MFA for the reasons you stated. Unless you're going to be a quant where an advanced degree is a pre-req, there's no need. Also, a lot of people see through the whole, went to a shitty school and then going to an ivy for masters and saying you graduated from an ivy to whitewash your entire resume. It's frankly unnecessary. If you're good at your job and crushing it who gives a sh*t.

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Apr 12, 2017

Pm me - sort of can relate but not as extreme

Apr 12, 2017

First of all well done for being a scrapper.

secondly - good sat score surprised that you did not go to at least a public Ivy.

3rd save your ego boost for a t10 MBA

4th which Ivy masters are you thinking about I.e which school, which degree?

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Apr 12, 2017
  1. Thank you.
  2. That's another story.
  3. Makes sense, guess I'm just impatient. Thanks.
  4. Not necessarily ivy, but mainly MIT / Princeton MFin. Also considered HYS Law. Maybe even an MA in a subject of interest (econ, politics, IR)
Apr 12, 2017

MIT / Princeton Mfin are actually elite degrees, you have a good chance.

Apr 12, 2017

Stop being an insecure prestige whore. Do what makes you HAPPY, not what you think will make people impressed.

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Apr 12, 2017

Must've went to Rutgers because you sound like a kid from a township in Jersey. Kid, don't sweat it. You'll exit from whatever prestigious job you land, do an MBA in a top 5 program and your idea of prestigious will be complete.

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Apr 12, 2017

Thank you. You are right.

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Apr 12, 2017

Strong deduction, makes sense too, lol.

Apr 12, 2017
nontargetwoes:

Would it be stupid of me to apply for a masters program at a prestigious target?

Yup.

Best Response
Apr 12, 2017

No. Stop being dumb. A MFin is irrelevant for you career-wise, and won't help you prestige-wise nearly as much as you think it will.

When people ask you what school you went to, if you say "oh I went to Princeton", you'll then have to clarify that you only got your MFin there and actually went to [insert non-target] for undergrad. Then everyone will wonder why you're so dumb for even considering a 2 year MFin when you have two BB internships and a MF internship on your resume. You'll then have to make up some lame excuse of being "super into finance(!!!)", while your fragile dreams of your newfound prestige concurrently shatters as each one of your coworkers slowly smirks and realizes that you have the permanent underdog mentality and you're just a wanna-be clown.

Don't be a wanna-be clown. You already have the in. Stop acting like a little bitch.

Note: Learn how to ask the tough questions while you're sober. Using alcohol as a crutch is another bitch move, and is so un-Ivy, bro.

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Apr 12, 2017

Thank you, you're right. I'm being silly.

Apr 12, 2017

On a lighter note, try changing your mentality. Look I get it. Surrounded by people that went to "better schools" than you may be slightly uncomfortable at first, but it's all about your mindset. If you really want to belong in the club, then you have to be comfortable with yourself and your background and feel that you already belong.

Having that perma-anxiety of always feeling like the underdog is just doing yourself a disservice.

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Apr 12, 2017

Also note: Getting a job on your own merit is also un-ivy. Remember to always ask mommy and daddy for hook ups.

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

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Jun 21, 2017

.

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Apr 15, 2017

Credit at a MF isn't a bad place to be though. Sure it's somewhat less "sexy" than equities but keep in mind that fixed income is a much bigger market than equities (roughly 75/25 split in favor of fixed income).

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Jun 21, 2017

.

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Apr 13, 2017

This sounds like The Social Network except instead of final clubs its Ivy League schools.

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Apr 12, 2017

First off, congrats on those offers. Seriously, great fucking job my man. The hustle you had to get these offers, is what is going to distinguish you over your peers, not the name on your degree.

As a non-target myself, I wouldn't have that brand name as a "chip on my shoulder" as you stated, rather wear it like a fucking badge. Be proud that despite coming from a lesser brand, you can compete with/kick ass against Ivy Leaguers. It shows a lot about your hustle and character. If a fellow looks down upon you for being from a non-target, it means that they are an elitist fuck who can't handle the notion that hard-workers are coming for their jobs. If you get any kind of nasty comment, just smile and then be motivated to work 10x harder to beat that motherfucker's ass.

Frankly the only advantage I see to a target name is the job opportunities it opens up, but you already have the opportunities so put your dick back in your pants and get ready to kick some serious ass out there. Proud of you, hoping to get similar results myself. I have a very similar story to yours, but I'd love to see you explain your story in more depth in a post. It'd be extremely helpful to other students. Congrats again.

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Apr 13, 2017

I can relate a lot to the OP (to a lesser degree, as I went to a lower tier target undergrad, and had always gotten the judgmental look from people who went to slightly better schools. Although there are lots of good comments here, let's be careful not to downplay the importance of "brand name" and "preftige." It might not matter on the job, but it matters A LOT in interviews, where first impression is everything.

OP, contrary to what everyone is saying here, I don't think you'd be wrong by going for a better school to rebrand yourself, assuming that you have the financial resources available. The network you get is invaluable and it does open up a lot of doors.

Plus, even if you can shift your mentality overnight, it doesn't mean you will shift other peoples' perception overnight as well. Human beings are shallow creatures, and building your brand can only help. Now that I'm on the IB side, I've seen lots of egregious comments go on that assert this statement (i.e. analysts shitting on non-target resumes/candidates all the time). Sure, you can be the one in a million superstar non-target, but there will always be that stigma because other non-targets may not be as great as you are.

Just my 2c.

Array

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Apr 15, 2017

Key word there is "analysts" there.

I've also been told by some seniors(BB) that his team would probably feel more comfortable hiring a T15 MBA over a H/S/W guy because the guy who went to Emory/Indiana/UNC because they're less of a flight risk. It's kind of luck of the draw depending on who you talk to, but there is a huge benefit of the doubt given to people just because they have "Harvard" on their resume.

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Apr 15, 2017

Have a similar story to OP. I come from a place with no network in finance, nobody ever heard of my uni.

Currently I am at a MF, and sometimes I thought about getting a "prestigious" degree. My conclusion is that it's not worth, if you are already at a top place there is no point to waste money and time just to make yourself more similar to the mass. Your experience is worth 10x more than your degree.

Then, if you really want it then a MBA would be better than a MSF.

Apr 15, 2017

Once you are full time, your associate/VP/MD is not going to care what school you attended, rather your commitment and how well you do your job. I've seen people place into mega funds who went to garbage undergrad programs because they are smart, incredibly good at their job, and generally pleasant to be around. Sure, some kids may scoff at you for not being as "prestigious" as them, but who gives a fuck? Work harder than anyone else and everything will fall into place. You need to change your mindset.

Apr 15, 2017

First off, who here is shitting on MF credit? Contrary to what some may think in my experience there isn't a big difference between that and MF PE in terms of ability to be accepted at top MBA programs - rather it's more reflective of way fewer credit guys wanting to do B school (since they really don't need to, while it's essential for PE).

Second, others have said it already - I get why you are insecure about your undergrad but you are wrong and you just need to live with it. Get over it. If you pursue the MSF you will 100% regret it later.

Third, some have said prestige matters, others the opposite. Is there a negative to having a random degree vs Harvard or Wharton when you meet new people? Obviously. Does that mean you should do a random ivy masters? Absolutely fucking not. Also just FYI, I have an ex top Ivy kid working for me now (who frankly could have gone anywhere given pedigree alone), and he is really just not good. Do you think I give a shit that he went to this top Ivy? Do you think that's going to get him a good bonus / promoted when the time comes? No, it isn't.

Stay focused and keep your head down. Hard work and hustle hasn't let you down yet - keep it up.

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Apr 16, 2017

If you want to re-brand your education, particularly for 'prestige', do it at the MBA level. You'll likely have a very strong GMAT, interesting story, and great work experience -- leaving you with pretty good chances of making it into the M7.

As others have said, don't do the MFin. Unless you actually want to do it primarily for the benefits of the degree, not prestige. If you do, then by all means, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

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Apr 16, 2017

I don't understand this mentality at all. You already are in the industry. What is your ultimate goal? To become partner/MD/PM? To start your own fund? What the hell is having "extra prestige" via a target master's program going to do to help you towards your goal?

As others mentioned, you seem too concerned with gaining the approval of your coworkers. The satisfaction stemming from this will last a very short amount of time.

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Apr 16, 2017

The combination of your hustle and drunk posting on WSO makes me want you on my team.

Apr 16, 2017

Ok. I think I can relate to OP. A lot.

Non target, from a different country altogether, internships in finance in tier-2 finance cities (outside USA). Got an intern in one of the MFs you had mentioned. They told me they wouldn't convert my internship to FT. Next thing you know, I was invited for interviews with a "prestigious" group within the MF (non PE), thanks to referrals of the MDs I had worked with. Screwed up my first round, lost all hope.....but they gave me a second chance, apparently. Got the offer. In a tier-1 finance city.

Now I'm working in that group, and frankly, my supreme non-target background isn't a point of discussion come bonus season or whatever. Working in the group isn't much of a matter of "who went where for undergrad" but rather who melds best with whom. One thing I really enjoy about my team is the leaner team. Although the bottom is filled with Ivy-leaguers and LSE/Oxbridge guys, the top is populated with guys with years of experience and non-target backgrounds. Understandably, breaking into MF was easy in their time, but for somebody who can hustle as much as you, it's very much possible to do so. Especially with the MF intern and the EB/BB experience (yes, my story was harder).

As for anybody mentioning your non-target background in discussions, just know that it's a small team, word spreads fast, and often anybody who even mentions the undergrad "target/non-target" shit, gets an automatic ding from the rest of the team - especially the top level guys. And that hurts during bonus season. Kind of like using the word "n**ger", except that even the AA guys can't use it.

Oh yeah, bonus may be lower, but at least I'm primed for B-school.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

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Apr 16, 2017

First off congrats! I actually went to one of those 2 non-target/borderline semi-target schools you mentioned for undergrad so I can very directly relate. I'm also pretty familiar with MFin programs as I looked at a few before and it honestly won't serve you well and waste your time. Its more for people coming into finance with an untraditional background (engineering, military, etc). As Patrick mentioned above, you'd be better suited for an MBA program down the road than a MFin. Doing any type of additional schooling at this point in your career would not be worth it. You're learning more vital skills in what you want to do at your fund than you will in a graduate program. Keep up the good work and you'll get there!

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Apr 18, 2017

Hi! So I am from a very very very non-target college based on statistics, but I have not let that restrict me or make me feel less qualified than a student from an Ivy-League or prestigious university. I have engaged in activities and programs where I have been the only person from my region and a non-target, but this has not made me nervous even though sometimes it may feel daunting.
I'll say that you choose what you want to do. Do not make a decision based on people's perception or expectation of you. If you think obtaining a Master's is what you need to do at this stage, then go for it. The most important thing is that you make decisions based on your dreams and goals, not based on the stereotypes that come along with attending a non-target school.

Thank you and good luck with your decisions and endeavors.

Apr 18, 2017
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