Older WSO users, how do our lives differ?

Appley's picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 557

What were many of your lives like while you were in college? Were you also expected to have a job by the time you graduated? What were the competitive forces back in your days (i.e being outsourced by tech, greater focus on programming, etc.)

Was it more okay to stay longer in school than the typical 4-years? Was there a "college culture" life stage at that point in life -- for example, were schools more focused on your academics or your college experience?

What type of careers were considered "prestigious" during your younger years? Was it considered less remarkable to work in a blue-collar job than a white-collar one?

Or have things generally stayed the same despite the radical shifts in our social and cultural climates?

Resume Review Service

  • Match with one of WSO's financial experts to get your resume reviewed.
  • We ensure that the most critical documents in your job search are ready.
  • Rigorous, iterative process with over 2,300 clients over 10 years.

Comments (27)

Aug 13, 2017
Appley:

What type of careers were considered "prestigious" during your younger years? Was it considered less remarkable to work in a blue-collar job than a white-collar one?

When I was graduating, it was typically frowned upon to turn down an IB/Management Consulting position to become a Plumber.

Although, you do get to lay a lot of pipe.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 4
    • 1
Aug 13, 2017

lol sorry I probably should have clarified that, I meant if there was that classist air that made white-collared fields look down on blue-collared workers... I have no idea how else to put it, hopefully that made sense.

Was that worse back then?

Aug 14, 2017

Two words: No. Internet.

...Just kidding, I'm not that old. I do remember what it's like to work on research projects off of CD-based encyclopedias, but not in my professional life.

The 00's were a weird time. Between the domestic (first the dot-com crash, and then when the sky fell in 2008 and we thought modern financial markets would cease to exist), the foreign policy (9/11, and the beginning of our tumultuous involvement in Afghanistan & Iraq), and the musical (Britney and butt rock), most people I knew were just happy to be employed.

I'm sure the prestige- and success-chasing was still going on, but it was over my head, and all of my friends' too. Remember, this was the start of the whole "millennials moving back in with their parents" phenomenon, and it was extremely widespread. My parents' neighborhood was full of kids who had gone to college and then moved back home. If anyone would have whined about all this FO/MO/BO crap, people would have looked at you like you had a third eye.

    • 6
Aug 14, 2017

Encarta 95 for life.

    • 2
Aug 13, 2017
Synergy_or_Syzygy:

Encarta 95 for life.

hahahahahaha I haven't heard that term in decades

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Aug 17, 2017
Synergy_or_Syzygy:

Encarta 95 for life.

Are you fucking kidding me? Encarta 97 was far better, not even close

    • 2
Aug 14, 2017

Early 00's:

Much cheaper rent. My baby brother just moved away for college...and the prices are outrageous! Everything is more expensive, obviously, but the rent is fucking killer. I read that some students spend like 60%-70% of their income (student loans) on rent.

Many more student-friendly jobs. Back then, you could just go to any supermarket, store, or whatever, and ask for a job. Usually they'd tell you to meet the day after, and you'd go over the formalities. Today, applying at some megacorp supermarket is as much of a hassle as applying for Wall Street jobs. You need to send your CV, cover letter, take psychological tests, and there are multiple rounds of interviews. I'm not even kidding.

Some of these cashier jobs get like 500 applicants. It's INSANE. There are simply too many unemployed, or under-employed people to compete with these days.

    • 1
Aug 14, 2017

I keep hearing this, but I wasn't working shitty jobs that long ago, I had a lot, and they were all easy to get.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

    • 2
Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Aug 14, 2017

Wasn't as much pressure to do something "pretigious" for most students. Identity wasn't as tied your desired profession and you didn't have to look cool on instagram. This was only like 10 years ago so take it with a grain of salt, it was still mostly similar to today.

Now compare that to my parent's generation, before social class was so stratified. Used to be commonplace for people of all social classes to associate; work together, marry, date, hangout etc. I don't talk to any non-college grads on a regular basis and it is not a conscious decision of mine. I briefly dated a girl who didn't go to college once, but I don't know any of my friends who are dating or married to someone who didn't go to college.

I come from a pretty regular place in the US too.

    • 3
Aug 17, 2017

"I don't talk to any non-college grads on a regular basis and it is not a conscious decision of mine. I briefly dated a girl who didn't go to college once, but I don't know any of my friends who are dating or married to someone who didn't go to college."

This is what I read: https://streamable.com/csg1o

Aug 17, 2017

It was much, much harder to find loud.

[Edit] Also, nobody called it 'loud'; it was still K.B. back then.

Aug 17, 2017

2007 - 2008 was such a HUGE turning point for so many reasons. It seems like literally everything happened in those two years. iPhones became ubiquitous and part of western culture. facebook (and by extension social media) became ubiquitous and part of western culture. The market crashed with obvious global ramifications. Everything changed during those two years, and I think this is the transition period (we're still in it) that will be written about in history books (history ipads?) for hundred years.

Pre 9/11 2000s: Life was different. Shit like the internet was still * relatively * young and novel. More importantly, I think the period pre- 9/11 was the last normal time. It was almost like innocence was lost post 9/11. Iraq, Afghanistan and Bush were wildly unpopular from about 2003 and onward. Honestly looking back post 9/11 2000s just seem like twilight zone. I think there's a case to be made that the current generation of teens / kids in their early 20s are just vastly, vastly different in so many ways than those of us who are 30+

I blame social media and "24/7 everything" for a lot of the social and political conflicts we're seeing today. Listen, problems were always there, but we weren't hit over the head with them every waking moment of the day. Like, our President tweets as a means of communicating with his constituency. Technology changed the game...

    • 4
Aug 18, 2017

Bruh you're still a 1st year analyst haha talking like you're a VP already.. we were like 5-6yrs old in your "Pre 9/11 2000s" section lol

Aug 17, 2017

...there were some good times, though.

https://youtu.be/dQw4w9WgXcQ

    • 1
Aug 17, 2017

In terms of careers, the following were different (early 00's):

Online resources- We didn't have WSO or the wealth of other online sites that exist to teach us about wall street-type jobs. The only two companies doing it were: (1) Vault and (2) Wetfeet. Both were good but nothing compared to what you have today. Vault had a message board where you could ask questions like on the forums here but not nearly as people would use them hence the value wasn't quite there. You could also get info from your school career services center, but often it was also limited in helpfulness.

This made it tough to truly understand what careers were like at places like Investment Banks and Consulting firms. This is not to say we were clueless, but often times to be "in-the-know" you had to talk to others (e.g. family, network contacts, and older students/alums who worked in the industry). It was much harder for those of us coming in "blind", for instance first-generation people like me born to immigrants. I didn't really learn what exactly consulting and banking meant until junior year. Now you have fully-informed HS students.

Early starts - When I was in school, the summer between junior year and senior year was the big time for internships. There really wasn't a push for work experience at the the underclassmen level. A lot of my friends just worked "regular" jobs the summer between sophomore and junior year (e.g. working in a movie theater or hotel front desk). In addition, recruiting started later. We started recruiting for summer internships in Jan/Feb of our junior year.

    • 4
Aug 13, 2017
23mich:

Early starts - When I was in school, the summer between junior year and senior year was the big time for internships. There really wasn't a push for work experience at the the underclassmen level. A lot of my friends just worked "regular" jobs the summer between sophomore and junior year (e.g. working in a movie theater or hotel front desk). In addition, recruiting started later. We started recruiting for summer internships in Jan/Feb of our junior year.

Isn't this still the case for most people who are not going into finance? At least from what I've noticed...

Aug 17, 2017
Appley:

23mich:
Early starts - When I was in school, the summer between junior year and senior year was the big time for internships. There really wasn't a push for work experience at the the underclassmen level. A lot of my friends just worked "regular" jobs the summer between sophomore and junior year (e.g. working in a movie theater or hotel front desk). In addition, recruiting started later. We started recruiting for summer internships in Jan/Feb of our junior year.

Isn't this still the case for most people who are not going into finance? At least from what I've noticed...

It may be. I'm in my mid-30's so I'm not in the loop in terms the college recruiting scene. I just know from the talk on this board that early starts seem to becoming the norm for at least some.

    • 1
Aug 17, 2017

Was not that long ago but I would say it was totally possible to buy a house on a combined salary of $60k. This is in CT- so not the lowest COL place. Everyone could afford new cars and you could even get a decent job without a college degree.

Best Response
Aug 18, 2017

What were many of your lives like while you were in college? Were you also expected to have a job by the time you graduated? What were the competitive forces back in your days (i.e being outsourced by tech, greater focus on programming, etc.)
- Undergrad (2003-2007). Thought CFO is pretty cool job. In 2003, it was still very much banking dominated.

Was it more okay to stay longer in school than the typical 4-years? Was there a "college culture" life stage at that point in life -- for example, were schools more focused on your academics or your college experience?
- In 2007, near Lehman crisis, I saw a lot of jobs getting eliminated and people were shocked about the massive structural changes in the banking industry. A lot of peers had to go back to graduate school for re-training. Was at Merrill in 2008, when shit hit the fan and the entire team at my desk was eliminated.

What type of careers were considered "prestigious" during your younger years? Was it considered less remarkable to work in a blue-collar job than a white-collar one?
- 2006-2008: Everyone wanted to be in New York. The hottest place to be was structured products (securitization) at BBs.
- Post-2008: Everyone try very hard not to be associated with any structured products.
- 2008-2012: A lot of bankers started this "Move East" strategy (moving back to Asia), and "Move West" strategy (moving into silicon valley). It wasn't as obvious as it is in today but everyone around me is already doing that.
- 2012-2014: Everyone moved out of New York to do business/ corporate development in the sector that they covered.
- 2014-2016: I saw significant rise in FinTech when all banker bros become tech bros.
- 2016-Present: At least in Asia, everyone is hustling to be a part of "One Belt One Road" (OBOR) initiative.

Or have things generally stayed the same despite the radical shifts in our social and cultural climates?
- Financial Services Industry will still be here to stay. But at least in Asia, the center of power has shifted. Instead of Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore, I believe that the financial centers will move to Beijing and Shanghai. OBOR will accelerate the use of RMB as the default currency for international trade slowing replacing USD, especially in ASEAN and CLMV.
- Standalone pure investment banks will lose market share and you will see the rise of financial groups which are backed by the government. We are already seeing that in China and Hong Kong where most clients want secured financing arrangement to back their deals rather than purely a financial adviser.
- FinTech will become popular not as a standalone but more as an "enabler" to facilitate financial services. There will be a battle between bankers trying to be tech bros vs tech bros trying to be bankers. And I think the guys with the strongest financial banking will win. A lot of big banks and tech companies are competing in the same market (i.e. banks trying to get into group buying vs. tech firms trying to do payment processing).

    • 10
Aug 17, 2017

Plan B - Both literally and figuratively

Aug 18, 2017

In 1987 when the entire Texas economy was imploding and I was "lucky" enough to be graduating from Texas A&M with a finance degree, I had the chance to move to NYC with frat brothers, about 8 of us to share rent in a 950 sf apt and look for work. Like an idiot I didn't do it.

It was easier back then to get work, but you didn't do it from a couch. You did it with printed (actually typed and copied) resumes and a pair of shoes. You sat in reception rooms and filled out paper applications with HR.

I figured out I hated paper applications. As such I would time my drop in around when I knew assistants and receptionists were at lunch or leaving for the day and the hiring managers were still working.

There were no [email protected]!n$ acronymns. "Analyst for the ABL CS execution team in IF/PE and LF" was not a job description. . . (BS - acronyms, get it?)

Hard work and being hungry was a big plus.

Nowadays web application forms are scrubbed by computers and not a staffer who likes the fact you used 11 pt Times font.

There was no workplace "PC" crap. If you screwed up you knew it, plain as day immediately. MD and others taught other than criticized.

I muddled through and got into commercial lending then IB, and made it-- but it was a 15 yr process. You guys have it harder in a lot of ways but advance faster if you are good.

Stay at it, you will earn the golden bananas fast enough but the second you stop learning in a role haul A$$ and find another gig.

    • 1
Aug 13, 2017
cowtownPE:

Nowadays web application forms are scrubbed by computers and not a staffer who likes the fact you used 11 pt Times font.

I actually hate using web applications because I'm paranoid that somehow or another, my application gets swallowed up in the HR void (I have also noticed that a lot of platforms companies use for job applications are just clunky and not user-friendly at all).

But... I did not think of what you said... maybe I do have it better applying online, lol.

    • 1
Aug 18, 2017

Graduated from an Ivy in 1985. For the most ambitious and hardworking seniors (I was definitely not one), the top career picks were medicine, law, and management consulting. Medicine and law required admission to grad school, so the top "dream job" pick for those not continuing schooling was McKinsey or BCG. They and other top consultants had OCR and structured training programs. Yes a number of people were headed to Wall Street/banking, but the internship --> OCR --> analyst class pipeline didn't exist as it does today. Wall Street then was much more of a club in which breaking in depended on whom you knew. Being on certain athletic teams (football, crew) was a huge leg up.

Re the psychological expectation to have a job by graduation, it varied. People who got dinged at medical school or a decent law school were the worst off. They had to scrap all their career expectations and start again from scratch. Other people did career prep systematically over several years much as wannabe bankers do today. The rest would chill through senior year until about March then suddenly realized they had no postgrad plans and were going to be living at home, with the 'rents but without income -- and constantly asked "How's the job search going?" That unpleasant prospect inspired some to apply to grad school for the humanities, but also sent many seniors to the career office around March and they would consider themselves lucky if they got a gig in commercial RE brokerage or the brand rep training program at Procter & Gamble.

Tech? Nobody I knew had any interest. That was for engineering school students. The computer science dept. had just stopped using punchcards. Computer programming, as it was then called, was considered a dreary if well-paying career, like accounting. This was just before Microsoft took off and the "tech" career field became much more desirable.

The intense careerism we see today, with finance at the apex (and granted, I'm seeing it at Wharton at its most extreme), is far beyond what it was in the Ivies 30 years ago.

    • 4
Aug 18, 2017

I remember the only porn on the internet was just pictures of naked women. It would take 2-4 minutes to download(top down). This was all done on a dial up modem and most likely a Gateway computer with Windows 95.

Aug 19, 2017

What age group would you consider "older"?

Aug 13, 2017
Comment