SAT scores for PE/HF recruiting

Will a low SAT score (2000 - 2100s) hold someone back from top tier PE firms even despite a target undergrad, strong GPA (3.7 - 3.8), and solid BB IBD firm/ group? Just wondering if I should retake the SAT or take the GMAT if that was the case.

Thanks for the help in advance.

Comments (99)

 
Jun 13, 2013 - 1:01am

what the fuck? SAT scores? really? do they really ask this? this is a joke, I was 17 and would be 23-ish going through PE recruitment. that's literally 6 years ago, shows nothing of my work ethic now, knowledge of an industry sector, how business models work, how PE deals are structured etc. etc.

im losing more respect for PE the more I hear they use ridiculous proxies like this for applicant screening

I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things. Read Sun-tzu, The Art of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought- GG
 
Jun 13, 2013 - 1:08am

AnalystMonkey2769:

im losing more respect for PE the more I hear they use ridiculous proxies like this for applicant screening

If SAT is truly used as a metric for PE recruiting, the industry is either a) that ridiculous, or more likely, b) it's just so competitive that they're looking for any reason to reject people.

 
Jun 13, 2013 - 1:15am

Ipso facto:
b) it's just so competitive that they're looking for any reason to reject people.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 13, 2013 - 4:13am

I'm not endorsing / rejecting the use of SAT scores, but it is just an additional metric that is ridiculously easy to collect and measure people with. In the grand scheme of things, PE firms care most about your banking experience and undergrad, that's why they are recruiting investment bankers and consultants rather than engineers. You're already through multiple filters before SAT scores even come into play, if at all. GMAT scores, on the other hand, play a larger role.

CompBanker

 
Jun 13, 2013 - 9:48am

If they ask you, you can speak about how you've changed your work ethic/goals. All about how you spin it.

With respect to recruiting, it's just another screener - tbh as long as you have a decent score, it doesn't matter. However, sometimes it make come back to bite you - I know several PE firms that require a minimum SAT Verbal + Math of 1500. They don't even look at writing.

 
Jun 14, 2013 - 12:01pm

The SAT is one of those things that can help you slightly if it's high enough (i.e. 2300-2400-level), but isn't one of those things that can really hurt you if you went to a target, had a 3.7 and are at a good group at a top BB.

It's like a par 3 in golf. Great if you birdie (2300-2400), but more than fine if you par (2000+ [lower and I'd start to question how you got into the target school, but it's still a par]).

The process comes down to how well you play the rest of the 17 "holes" on the golf course (academic rigor at your target school, what bank/group you're in [there's a difference - albeit slight - between a UBS and a JPM], what school you went to [there's a difference between Harvard and BC, even though they're both "targets"], deal experience [difference between IPOs and M&A], how well you talk about said deal experiences in an interview, recommendations, the model test, etc.).

 
Jun 15, 2013 - 5:44pm

I beg to differ with most of the responses above. I work at a megafund. In the latest round of recruiting, we cut a candidate when we found out his SAT score in his final round interview. When you only have a handful of spots to fill and "binders" full of candidates, you can ding people for almost whatever reason you want.

To the OP, I would leave your SAT score off of your resume and hope that nobody asks you for it. If you have time, I would also take the GMAT and get a killer score. If an interviewer found out that you took the SAT now and reported that score, you would be laughed out of the room -- after all, it is a test for high schoolers.

 
Jun 15, 2013 - 6:52pm

seamlessftw:

I beg to differ with most of the responses above. I work at a megafund. In the latest round of recruiting, we cut a candidate when we found out his SAT score in his final round interview. When you only have a handful of spots to fill and "binders" full of candidates, you can ding people for almost whatever reason you want.

I'm curious: How low was this score? We're talking typical pre-MBA PE position?

 
Jun 16, 2013 - 1:29pm

seamlessftw:
I beg to differ with most of the responses above. I work at a megafund. In the latest round of recruiting, we cut a candidate when we found out his SAT score in his final round interview. When you only have a handful of spots to fill and "binders" full of candidates, you can ding people for almost whatever reason you want.

Interested as well!

 
Jun 16, 2013 - 3:36pm

seamlessftw:

I beg to differ with most of the responses above. I work at a megafund. In the latest round of recruiting, we cut a candidate when we found out his SAT score in his final round interview. When you only have a handful of spots to fill and "binders" full of candidates, you can ding people for almost whatever reason you want.

To the OP, I would leave your SAT score off of your resume and hope that nobody asks you for it. If you have time, I would also take the GMAT and get a killer score. If an interviewer found out that you took the SAT now and reported that score, you would be laughed out of the room -- after all, it is a test for high schoolers.

so don't you see the flaw in your logic?

your exact words- "after all, it is a test for high schoolers"....so why the fuck should it matter now almost 6/7 years later? im really shocked the firm would cut someone after he got through the first round and made it to the final round just because of a standardized exam he took when he was 17. there were obviously reasons the candidate got accepted to be interviewed in the first place and even more reasons why he was pushed on to the next round of interviews....its a shame and embarrassing on the part of the megafund that they failed to see what they liked in this person and discredited the positives over the exam. and ya, this ticks me off because I got between a 1950 - 2050 and that didn't stop be from being interviewed with Goldman.

I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things. Read Sun-tzu, The Art of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought- GG
 
Jun 16, 2013 - 8:37pm

#1) LOL @ the idea that 2000 - 2100 is a "low" SAT score. Does everyone on this website appreciate that a composite score of 2000 is the 93rd percentile? That a mid-2100 is a 98th percentile score? Don't be silly. It's not low, just leave it off your resume.

#2) @AnalystMonkey: I don't think you're appreciating his point. It's not as though they turned down a kid with a low SAT score in favor of some less qualified, high SAT candidate. The MF processes are so competitive that they are virtually guaranteed to be interviewing almost exclusively extremely qualified candidates. Deciding on a small group of them to hire inevitably becomes an arbitrary process.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 16, 2013 - 10:57pm

holla_back:

I'm curious: How low was this score? We're talking typical pre-MBA PE position?

His score was approximately 2000.

AnalystMonkey2769:

what the fuck? SAT scores? really? do they really ask this? this is a joke, I was 17 and would be 23-ish going through PE recruitment. that's literally 6 years ago, shows nothing of my work ethic now, knowledge of an industry sector, how business models work, how PE deals are structured etc. etc.

AnalystMonkey2769:

your exact words- "after all, it is a test for high schoolers"....so why the fuck should it matter now almost 6/7 years later? im really shocked the firm would cut someone after he got through the first round and made it to the final round just because of a standardized exam he took when he was 17. there were obviously reasons the candidate got accepted to be interviewed in the first place and even more reasons why he was pushed on to the next round of interviews....its a shame and embarrassing on the part of the megafund that they failed to see what they liked in this person and discredited the positives over the exam. and ya, this ticks me off because I got between a 1950 - 2050 and that didn't stop be from being interviewed with Goldman.

SAT scores are strongly correlated with IQ, and IQ generally does not fluctuate significantly after adolescence. For this reason, a person's SAT score from high school can be a relevant measure of his or her reasoning abilities years later.

Of course SAT scores do not reveal anything about current work ethic or industry knowledge (which is why firms also need resumes, interviews, and references). But great work ethic and deep industry knowledge aren't enough -- firms want to hire candidates who also have strong quantitative and verbal skills. Given the practical time constraints in the recruiting process, firms sometimes rely on SAT scores to fill in the gaps in their own assessments of candidates' abilities.

Don't take all of this so personally. I'm just reporting the facts and realities of the recruiting process. If you feel that your SAT score does not accurately reflect your abilities, then I have the same advice for you as I do for the OP: take the GMAT and get a killer score. That will allow you to address any doubts or concerns that recruiters, headhunters, or interviewers might have due to your SAT score.

 
Jun 16, 2013 - 11:06pm

NorthSider:

#1) LOL @ the idea that 2000 - 2100 is a "low" SAT score. Does everyone on this website appreciate that a composite score of 2000 is the 93rd percentile? That a mid-2100 is a 98th percentile score? Don't be silly. It's not low, just leave it off your resume.

My guess is that when people say 2000-2100 is "low," they mean it's low relative to competitive finance applicants. But I agree with you, it's not low in the scheme of things

 
Jun 16, 2013 - 11:12pm

seamlessftw:

SAT scores are strongly correlated with IQ, and IQ generally does not fluctuate significantly after adolescence. For this reason, a person's SAT score from high school can be a relevant measure of his or her reasoning abilities years later.

I do believe SAT scores roughly correlate with IQ when the test-taker takes the exam with the intention of trying to do well. However, a lot of kids (especially ages 17-18) don't give a shit/don't take the exam seriously and end up doing pretty average. Of course, this is much to their chagrin a few years later during finance recruiting.

 
Jun 16, 2013 - 11:35pm

Ipso facto:

seamlessftw:

SAT scores are strongly correlated with IQ, and IQ generally does not fluctuate significantly after adolescence. For this reason, a person's SAT score from high school can be a relevant measure of his or her reasoning abilities years later.

I do believe SAT scores roughly correlate with IQ when the test-taker takes the exam with the intention of trying to do well. However, a lot of kids (especially ages 17-18) don't give a shit/don't take the exam seriously and end up doing pretty average. Of course, this is much to their chagrin a few years later during finance recruiting.

However, most of those kids who didn't give a shit in high school never made into the interview room with a megafund after a year of banking in a top group.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 17, 2013 - 12:04am

NorthSider:

However, most of those kids who didn't give a shit in high school never made into the interview room with a megafund after a year of banking in a top group.

That's true. But I do know a handful of average high school performers who managed to turn it around in college and make it into banking/consulting/buy-side finance/med school/etc...

 
Jun 17, 2013 - 12:15am

Ipso facto:

That's true. But I do know a handful of average high school performers who managed to turn it around in college and make it into banking/consulting/buy-side finance/med school/etc...

And the unfortunate fact is that for every one of those, there are 50 others that held it together the entire time.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 17, 2013 - 12:50am

when I was interviewing with hedge funds, a lot of them definitely wanted to know my SAT scores. One partner at a fund even asked my why my gpa from an ivy was so low (at 3.7); he said that he had people walk in all the time with 3.9's.

I know that personally if I saw somebody who had below a 700 on any section of the SAT I wouldn't hire them for an analyst position.

 
Jun 17, 2013 - 10:52am

xqtrack:

when I was interviewing with hedge funds, a lot of them definitely wanted to know my SAT scores. One partner at a fund even asked my why my gpa from an ivy was so low (at 3.7); he said that he had people walk in all the time with 3.9's.


I know that personally if I saw somebody who had below a 700 on any section of the SAT I wouldn't hire them for an analyst position.

Unfortunately this is the truth - nothing you can do about it, tbh.

 
Jun 17, 2013 - 3:20pm

I would absolutely cut a candidate with a 2000-2100 SAT score unless he has like a 4.0 ORFE degree from Princeton or something.

SAT is a great way to weed out people who got good banking jobs through luck/networking/bullshit. I've never met someone who I know is brilliant but has a shitty SAT score.

Is it fair? No, but like others have said, if we're going to interview 50 candidates, we already have way more than enough 2300+ candidates to fill the spots.

I generally wouldn't cut based on GPA unless I was intimately familiar with the individual's major, because GPA is so much less standardized.

 
Jun 17, 2013 - 3:34pm

abcdefghij:

SAT is a great way to weed out people who got good banking jobs through luck/networking/bullshit. I've never met someone who I know is brilliant but has a shitty SAT score.

ugh. I get it. The industry is competitive, so you need to consider all metrics to weed people out, fair or not. But I really hate using the SAT as an indicator for ability. I had the equivalent of a 2300+ SAT, and I'd be the first to admit that I'm pretty dumb.

 
Jun 19, 2013 - 2:01am

seamlessftw:

holla_back:

I'm curious: How low was this score? We're talking typical pre-MBA PE position?

His score was approximately 2000.

AnalystMonkey2769:

what the fuck? SAT scores? really? do they really ask this? this is a joke, I was 17 and would be 23-ish going through PE recruitment. that's literally 6 years ago, shows nothing of my work ethic now, knowledge of an industry sector, how business models work, how PE deals are structured etc. etc.

AnalystMonkey2769:

your exact words- "after all, it is a test for high schoolers"....so why the fuck should it matter now almost 6/7 years later? im really shocked the firm would cut someone after he got through the first round and made it to the final round just because of a standardized exam he took when he was 17. there were obviously reasons the candidate got accepted to be interviewed in the first place and even more reasons why he was pushed on to the next round of interviews....its a shame and embarrassing on the part of the megafund that they failed to see what they liked in this person and discredited the positives over the exam. and ya, this ticks me off because I got between a 1950 - 2050 and that didn't stop be from being interviewed with Goldman.

SAT scores are strongly correlated with IQ, and IQ generally does not fluctuate significantly after adolescence. For this reason, a person's SAT score from high school can be a relevant measure of his or her reasoning abilities years later.

Of course SAT scores do not reveal anything about current work ethic or industry knowledge (which is why firms also need resumes, interviews, and references). But great work ethic and deep industry knowledge aren't enough -- firms want to hire candidates who also have strong quantitative and verbal skills. Given the practical time constraints in the recruiting process, firms sometimes rely on SAT scores to fill in the gaps in their own assessments of candidates' abilities.

Don't take all of this so personally. I'm just reporting the facts and realities of the recruiting process. If you feel that your SAT score does not accurately reflect your abilities, then I have the same advice for you as I do for the OP: take the GMAT and get a killer score. That will allow you to address any doubts or concerns that recruiters, headhunters, or interviewers might have due to your SAT score.

actually the correlation between sat and IQ is strong from about (roughly) 1300 to about (roughly) 2000. The correlation tends to break down for scores high and lower than that.

 
Jun 19, 2013 - 9:38am

poonslayer:

actually the correlation between sat and IQ is strong from about (roughly) 1300 to about (roughly) 2000. The correlation tends to break down for scores high and lower than that.

culd u pssbly share link? not that i m dbting u bt i just want to peruse the artcile.

"so i herd u liek mudkipz" - sum kid "I'd watergun the **** outta that." - Kassad
 
Jun 19, 2013 - 10:31am

poonslayer:

actually the correlation between sat and IQ is strong from about (roughly) 1300 to about (roughly) 2000. The correlation tends to break down for scores high and lower than that.

From what literature I have read on the topic, the relationship between IQ and SAT is simply non-linear. Therefore, the correlation only "breaks down" if you're stuck in a pure linear correlation universe. Adjusting for non-linearity, the correlation doesn't "break down", you just don't get the "beautiful" linearity of a point-for-point movement between IQ and SAT score.

I definitely have never read this bit about the low end of the SAT score range, please post a link. Given that a 2000 score is ~93 percentile and a 1300 is ~30 percentile, you're saying that the SAT is linearly predictive up to the top 7% of students, but isn't predictive for the entire bottom 30%?

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 20, 2013 - 12:53am

abcdefghij:

I would absolutely cut a candidate with a 2000-2100 SAT score unless he has like a 4.0 ORFE degree from Princeton or something.

SAT is a great way to weed out people who got good banking jobs through luck/networking/bullshit. I've never met someone who I know is brilliant but has a shitty SAT score.

Is it fair? No, but like others have said, if we're going to interview 50 candidates, we already have way more than enough 2300+ candidates to fill the spots.

I generally wouldn't cut based on GPA unless I was intimately familiar with the individual's major, because GPA is so much less standardized.

I never took the SATs, but I have an observation to make about your logic. The fact that you have "never met" a brilliant person with a low SATs (and you define top 7% as low) does not indicate that there are no brilliant people who took the test and did not perform as well.

My message is not meant as a comment on your intelligence or anyone else's. Rather I want to point out that some people, and you might not be one of them, have only been exposed to a very narrow group of individuals within society. Thus, your claim and similar ones might be valid generally for people within that group of people (class, educational opportunity, way they were socialized, etc.), but plain wrong if you turn it into "brilliant human beings would all score highly on the SAT" it sounds pretty uninformed.

You might be tempted to say that all people you will interact with in "The Track" will come from that background, but a) you can't really tell what someone's backgrounds is and your assumptions might be unwarranted more often than you think; b) your comment is still not necessarily true for humanity and at least the way you wrote it is not properly qualified; and c) some people just don't do well on tests.

I know a non-native English speaker who spend a year at my grad school as an exchange and did really well. He is pretty smart and has good English; however he got a 64 on the TOEFL (that is a SUPER low score). He later applied to a full grad program in the US and they forced him to do all this additional language instruction that made no sense. He offered to do an impromptu writing test, interview with as many people as necessary or any other thing that would spare him from spending tons of time and money on the courses, but a person with a super narrow mind insisted that the TOEFL is God when judging English ability and that remedial English was necessary. You might not be the type of person that would have been such a tight-ass about it. I am just trying to point out the silliness of overreliance on tests.

The way this applies to finance/consulting etc. recruiting is that if someone has all these other marks of success it doesn't necessarily mean that this person is less qualified than people without blemishes. If you believe that people shouldn't be unduly favored by "networking," "bullshit" or "luck" to get a job then you would agree that those things shouldn't impact people from not getting one, for example, circumstancial stuff that led to a number being a bit off realtive to peer group.

In short, don't suspend you own judgment in favor of one number. Otherwise, what is the point of being "smart." Saying that someone with a 2000 is less intelligent than someone with a 2200 without putting the test in the context of those individual's circumstances is not a sign of brilliance, but of intellectual laziness. Once you get to a certain level you can't meaningfully distinguish among individuals based on those measures. This piece of fact does not favor the egos of the top 0.01%, but it is not meant to.

 
Jun 20, 2013 - 10:03am

Ash_nash:

abcdefghij:

I would absolutely cut a candidate with a 2000-2100 SAT score unless he has like a 4.0 ORFE degree from Princeton or something.

SAT is a great way to weed out people who got good banking jobs through luck/networking/bullshit. I've never met someone who I know is brilliant but has a shitty SAT score.

Is it fair? No, but like others have said, if we're going to interview 50 candidates, we already have way more than enough 2300+ candidates to fill the spots.

I generally wouldn't cut based on GPA unless I was intimately familiar with the individual's major, because GPA is so much less standardized.

I never took the SATs, but I have an observation to make about your logic. The fact that you have "never met" a brilliant person with a low SATs (and you define top 7% as low) does not indicate that there are no brilliant people who took the test and did not perform as well.

My message is not meant as a comment on your intelligence or anyone else's. Rather I want to point out that some people, and you might not be one of them, have only been exposed to a very narrow group of individuals within society. Thus, your claim and similar ones might be valid generally for people within that group of people (class, educational opportunity, way they were socialized, etc.), but plain wrong if you turn it into "brilliant human beings would all score highly on the SAT" it sounds pretty uninformed.

You might be tempted to say that all people you will interact with in "The Track" will come from that background, but a) you can't really tell what someone's backgrounds is and your assumptions might be unwarranted more often than you think; b) your comment is still not necessarily true for humanity and at least the way you wrote it is not properly qualified; and c) some people just don't do well on tests.

I know a non-native English speaker who spend a year at my grad school as an exchange and did really well. He is pretty smart and has good English; however he got a 64 on the TOEFL (that is a SUPER low score). He later applied to a full grad program in the US and they forced him to do all this additional language instruction that made no sense. He offered to do an impromptu writing test, interview with as many people as necessary or any other thing that would spare him from spending tons of time and money on the courses, but a person with a super narrow mind insisted that the TOEFL is God when judging English ability and that remedial English was necessary. You might not be the type of person that would have been such a tight-ass about it. I am just trying to point out the silliness of overreliance on tests.

The way this applies to finance/consulting etc. recruiting is that if someone has all these other marks of success it doesn't necessarily mean that this person is less qualified than people without blemishes. If you believe that people shouldn't be unduly favored by "networking," "bullshit" or "luck" to get a job then you would agree that those things shouldn't impact people from not getting one, for example, circumstancial stuff that led to a number being a bit off realtive to peer group.

In short, don't suspend you own judgment in favor of one number. Otherwise, what is the point of being "smart." Saying that someone with a 2000 is less intelligent than someone with a 2200 without putting the test in the context of those individual's circumstances is not a sign of brilliance, but of intellectual laziness. Once you get to a certain level you can't meaningfully distinguish among individuals based on those measures. This piece of fact does not favor the egos of the top 0.01%, but it is not meant to.

That's fair. I could see a smart non-native english speaker with a low SAT score. But considering that English skills are quite relevant for a PE associate, I still don't see why that's an argument against using the SAT score as a screening criteria.

I just have a hard time seeing how someone who was strong in both English and Math would get a low SAT score. This isn't like some statistics quiz where you forgot to study the material the night before. You know the test is important, and you can retake it as many times as you like. If the highest score you were able to get was a 2000, I'm going to bet that the likelihood your actual score should be 2300 is

You can debate whether it's fair or not, but we don't want to interview candidates who "just" scored in the top 7%. We want top 1%, or top 0.1%. And we know we can get them.

Btw, I fully agree that a high SAT score is by no means proof of intelligence. That could just be luck. I'd never hire someone simply because they had a 2400.

 
Jun 20, 2013 - 10:25am

I think the whole premise of referring to SAT scores are indicative of someone's intelligence. I understand that on first glance, it seems like a great tool. However, it is my understanding and rememberance from high school that the kids that do great on these tests usually:

A) Have the money to take multiple tests and send them to a multitude of universities. While it may not seem like so much to some families, I remember seeing the price of disseminating this info and was honestly shocked that it would cost anything.
B) Are extremely focused at a young age and therefore take the test multiple times, study specifically for the test, and even use tutors or online courses.
C) Some people are not good test takers, or conversely, are great test takers. Many of the kids in my school had great grades and SAT scores, however were not inherently that "intelligent" but were very book smart and dedicated a lot of their time to acquiring the requisite knowledge to do well.

I'm not saying that the determination and book smart attitude isn't admirable, but it is counter intuitive to the claim that SAT is an indicator of IQ. When I was 17, I took the test once, did not study, and honestly didn't do nearly as well as the scores that you all are saying but really didn't care. Regardless of IQ, it is really about the mind set when you are that age. I was more interested in other things at that age than my career (which I didn't know would be at the time), or getting into an Ivy or target because frankly it was just not something that kids where I was from applied themselves to and the school system wasn't geared towards placing kids in those kind of schools.

I think that there are much more sure fire ways to understand someone's intellectual level than sitting them down when they're 17 on a Saturday morning and have them take a 6 hour test, but those are just my thoughts.

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
 
Jun 20, 2013 - 11:08am

Ash_nash:

I never took the SATs, but I have an observation to make about your logic. The fact that you have "never met" a brilliant person with a low SATs (and you define top 7% as low) does not indicate that there are no brilliant people who took the test and did not perform as well.

My message is not meant as a comment on your intelligence or anyone else's. Rather I want to point out that some people, and you might not be one of them, have only been exposed to a very narrow group of individuals within society. Thus, your claim and similar ones might be valid generally for people within that group of people (class, educational opportunity, way they were socialized, etc.), but plain wrong if you turn it into "brilliant human beings would all score highly on the SAT" it sounds pretty uninformed.

You might be tempted to say that all people you will interact with in "The Track" will come from that background, but a) you can't really tell what someone's backgrounds is and your assumptions might be unwarranted more often than you think; b) your comment is still not necessarily true for humanity and at least the way you wrote it is not properly qualified; and c) some people just don't do well on tests.

I know a non-native English speaker who spend a year at my grad school as an exchange and did really well. He is pretty smart and has good English; however he got a 64 on the TOEFL (that is a SUPER low score). He later applied to a full grad program in the US and they forced him to do all this additional language instruction that made no sense. He offered to do an impromptu writing test, interview with as many people as necessary or any other thing that would spare him from spending tons of time and money on the courses, but a person with a super narrow mind insisted that the TOEFL is God when judging English ability and that remedial English was necessary. You might not be the type of person that would have been such a tight-ass about it. I am just trying to point out the silliness of overreliance on tests.

The way this applies to finance/consulting etc. recruiting is that if someone has all these other marks of success it doesn't necessarily mean that this person is less qualified than people without blemishes. If you believe that people shouldn't be unduly favored by "networking," "bullshit" or "luck" to get a job then you would agree that those things shouldn't impact people from not getting one, for example, circumstancial stuff that led to a number being a bit off realtive to peer group.

In short, don't suspend you own judgment in favor of one number. Otherwise, what is the point of being "smart." Saying that someone with a 2000 is less intelligent than someone with a 2200 without putting the test in the context of those individual's circumstances is not a sign of brilliance, but of intellectual laziness. Once you get to a certain level you can't meaningfully distinguish among individuals based on those measures. This piece of fact does not favor the egos of the top 0.01%, but it is not meant to.

Posts like this certainly make you feel good inside. It's hard not to find yourself nodding along as you go through. And it's all certainly true! There are, indeed, intelligent people who score poorly on the SAT. But, again, you guys are creating the false dichotomy between a "more qualified, low SAT-scorer" and a "less qualified, high SAT-scorer". When you're talking about MF PE shops, they can have their cake and eat it too. Why would you take a chance on the "well qualified, low SAT-scorer" when you can have an "equally qualified, high SAT-scorer"?

It's not as though MFs are hiring Associates based solely on their SAT scores, but when you are dealing with the level of competitiveness inherent in MF recruiting, you can select near-perfect candidates on paper and don't have to make sacrifices / take risks with talent. Plenty of kids with sub-2100 SAT scores will get jobs in PE. The funds that realistically have the ability to outright screen based on 2100+ SAT scores is a handful of MFs.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 20, 2013 - 12:05pm

NorthSider:

Posts like this certainly make you feel good inside. It's hard not to find yourself nodding along as you go through. And it's all certainly true! There are, indeed, intelligent people who score poorly on the SAT. But, again, you guys are creating the false dichotomy between a "more qualified, low SAT-scorer" and a "less qualified, high SAT-scorer". When you're talking about MF PE shops, they can have their cake and eat it too. Why would you take a chance on the "well qualified, low SAT-scorer" when you can have an "equally qualified, high SAT-scorer"?

It's not as though MFs are hiring Associates based solely on their SAT scores, but when you are dealing with the level of competitiveness inherent in MF recruiting, you can select near-perfect candidates on paper and don't have to make sacrifices / take risks with talent.

+1, exactly right

 
Jun 20, 2013 - 12:13pm

abcdefghij:

you can retake it as many times as you like.

This is exactly why I don't take these tests seriously. Comparisons between scores become stupid.
Is the guy who got 2300 on his fifth try smarter than the guy who got 2100 on his first try?
 
Jun 20, 2013 - 1:11pm

bengigi:


abcdefghij:

you can retake it as many times as you like.


This is exactly why I don't take these tests seriously. Comparisons between scores become stupid.
Is the guy who got 2300 on his fifth try smarter than the guy who got 2100 on his first try?

Certainly shows a bit more drive, though.

"so i herd u liek mudkipz" - sum kid "I'd watergun the **** outta that." - Kassad
 
Jun 20, 2013 - 2:27pm

Fuck man, I remember taking the SAT in high school. I was such a little shit back then and didn't care about anything. I only took it once, didn't bring a calculator, and did absolutely terrible. Same with the ACT. I somehow managed to get into a good school and got my act together around my senior year, but still, SAT scores? If I was interviewing at rival PE shop and they asked me about my SAT scores, I would probably laugh. That's just ridiculous. I highly doubt interviewers are going to judge your intelligence based on a test you took when you were 16.

Also, to all of you idiots saying that kids who never gave a shit in high school never make it, you're dead wrong. I was one of those kids, I have friends in the business that were those kids, etc. Hell, I just had a good time during undergrad all the way up to my senior year. It's definitely harder to make a mark, but it's not impossible.

I don't know what my SAT scores were, but they were very low. I remember just closing the book because I was such a little rebel and never even finished the math section since I didn't bring a calculator. I think my ACT scores were like 22 or something really shitty. I remember filling in bubbles that made up the letters to my first name, lol.
White collar anarchy.

 
Best Response
Jun 20, 2013 - 5:39pm

Justalurker:

Fuck man, I remember taking the SAT in high school. I was such a little shit back then and didn't care about anything. I only took it once, didn't bring a calculator, and did absolutely terrible.

A calculator? For the SAT? Completely unnecessary.

If I was interviewing at rival PE shop and they asked me about my SAT scores, I would probably laugh.

And they probably wouldn't hire you... so... that's not really useful advice.

That's just ridiculous. I highly doubt interviewers are going to judge your intelligence based on a test you took when you were 16.

And despite your highest doubts, you'd be wrong.

Also, to all of you idiots saying that kids who never gave a shit in high school never make it, you're dead wrong. I was one of those kids, I have friends in the business that were those kids, etc. Hell, I just had a good time during undergrad all the way up to my senior year. It's definitely harder to make a mark, but it's not impossible.

Oh goodness. Yet another feel-good post. For the third time, no one is saying that there are not smart people who performed poorly in high school. There absolutely are!! Moreover, there are absolutely smart, qualified people who performed poorly on the SAT! But there are also smart, qualified people who performed well on the SAT (probably more, in fact), and the firms that have the ability to be the most selective tend to go with the marginally less-risky investment in the person who hasn't missed a beat for the last 10 years of his/her life.

Smart, qualified people will certainly find great jobs and excel at them, regardless of their SAT score. A tiny fraction of the largest PE firms in the world decide to consider SAT scores when screening applicants. Who cares? You won't get a job there, and - most likely - you wouldn't want a job there anyways.

I don't know what my SAT scores were, but they were very low. I remember just closing the book because I was such a little rebel and never even finished the math section since I didn't bring a calculator. I think my ACT scores were like 22 or something really shitty. I remember filling in bubbles that made up the letters to my first name, lol.

White collar anarchy.

Call me an elitist, but if you told me that in an interview, I probably wouldn't hire you either. And, FWIW, it has nothing to do with the low score part.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 21, 2013 - 9:48am

Ha, I would never say any of that during an interview. It sounds ridiculous, and I wouldn't want to hire myself either. It's just how it was back then. I didn't care about anything and was just relaying the attitude I had.

I agree with most of what you say, and apologize for the "feel-good" since I clearly didn't read all the comments. Just saw one really dumb one.

Overall, I guess I probably should have said that 1) SAT scores, while important, will not weigh heavily on interviews after having a few years experience in banking or PE, if at all. 2) If they do bring up your scores, which may have been bad, address them and explain why they were so low. Most likely, people will understand. If they don't, and judge you for it, like NorthSider said, you wouldn't want to work there anyway. And 3) Don't let anyone on this forum tell you that you can't do something because you had a low undergrad GPA or bad scores. I see that in just about every thread when I come on here periodically. Everyone has their own story, and exceptions are made when connections are made.

 
Jun 20, 2013 - 6:34pm

NorthSider:

Justalurker:

Fuck man, I remember taking the SAT in high school. I was such a little shit back then and didn't care about anything. I only took it once, didn't bring a calculator, and did absolutely terrible.

A calculator? For the SAT? Completely unnecessary.

If I was interviewing at rival PE shop and they asked me about my SAT scores, I would probably laugh.

And they probably wouldn't hire you... so... that's not really useful advice.

That's just ridiculous. I highly doubt interviewers are going to judge your intelligence based on a test you took when you were 16.

And despite your highest doubts, you'd be wrong.

Also, to all of you idiots saying that kids who never gave a shit in high school never make it, you're dead wrong. I was one of those kids, I have friends in the business that were those kids, etc. Hell, I just had a good time during undergrad all the way up to my senior year. It's definitely harder to make a mark, but it's not impossible.

Oh goodness. Yet another feel-good post. For the third time, no one is saying that there are not smart people who performed poorly in high school. There absolutely are!! Moreover, there are absolutely smart, qualified people who performed poorly on the SAT! But there are also smart, qualified people who performed well on the SAT (probably more, in fact), and the firms that have the ability to be the most selective tend to go with the marginally less-risky investment in the person who hasn't missed a beat for the last 10 years of his/her life.

Smart, qualified people will certainly find great jobs and excel at them, regardless of their SAT score. A tiny fraction of the largest PE firms in the world decide to consider SAT scores when screening applicants. Who cares? You won't get a job there, and - most likely - you wouldn't want a job there anyways.

I don't know what my SAT scores were, but they were very low. I remember just closing the book because I was such a little rebel and never even finished the math section since I didn't bring a calculator. I think my ACT scores were like 22 or something really shitty. I remember filling in bubbles that made up the letters to my first name, lol.

White collar anarchy.

Call me an elitist, but if you told me that in an interview, I probably wouldn't hire you either. And, FWIW, it has nothing to do with the low score part.

+1

 
Jun 20, 2013 - 8:13pm

socman:

What would constitue a lower SAT score in your opinion? GMAT score make up for a lackluster SAT score level, and what would those scores need to be?

There's not a cutoff score -- it's a scale. The sub-scores matter too. That said, scores of 2200+ should be fine for most firms.

If you want to compensate for a low SAT score, I'd aim for 740+ on the GMAT. A score significantly below that isn't impressive enough to overcome a very low SAT score.

 
Jun 20, 2013 - 10:43pm

seamlessftw:

There's not a cutoff score -- it's a scale. The sub-scores matter too. That said, scores of 2200+ should be fine for most firms.

If you want to compensate for a low SAT score, I'd aim for 740+ on the GMAT. A score significantly below that isn't impressive enough to overcome a very low SAT score.

Adding to this, I would say that, generally speaking, having a higher score (780+) on the math section of the SAT can compensate for a lower score (~700) on verbal in finance interviews.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 21, 2013 - 9:27am

Justalurker:

I don't know what my SAT scores were, but they were very low.

no 1 4gets their SAT scores

"so i herd u liek mudkipz" - sum kid "I'd watergun the **** outta that." - Kassad
 
Jun 21, 2013 - 1:49pm

Justalurker:

Ha, I would never say any of that during an interview. It sounds ridiculous, and I wouldn't want to hire myself either. It's just how it was back then. I didn't care about anything and was just relaying the attitude I had.

I agree with most of what you say, and apologize for the "feel-good" since I clearly didn't read all the comments. Just saw one really dumb one.

Overall, I guess I probably should have said that 1) SAT scores, while important, will not weigh heavily on interviews after having a few years experience in banking or PE, if at all. 2) If they do bring up your scores, which may have been bad, address them and explain why they were so low. Most likely, people will understand. If they don't, and judge you for it, like NorthSider said, you wouldn't want to work there anyway. And 3) Don't let anyone on this forum tell you that you can't do something because you had a low undergrad GPA or bad scores. I see that in just about every thread when I come on here periodically. Everyone has their own story, and exceptions are made when connections are made.

Agree with everything here. Like everything else in this industry, it's all about striking a balance between a number of different qualities firms are looking for (ECs, GPA, college brand, standardized tests, degrees / certifications, work experience, personality, communication skills, etc.).

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 21, 2013 - 4:20pm

leveredarb:

I'd prefer judging by GMAT from what I remember sat has way too much rote memorization based testing (but this may be wrong I never took SAT only went through some test material). I care alot more about GMAT than gap in recruiting cause its a lot more standardized, there's a million reasons for GPA variance.

You must be remembering incorrectly, because outside of vocabulary (and arguably grammar / syntax), there is no rote memorization on the SAT. It functions much more as an IQ test than as a barometer of knowledge.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 21, 2013 - 8:27pm

Guys here honestly sound like they're trolling.

'We dinged a guy because his SATs were too low' and "You won't get a job (at the select private equity firms that look at SAT scores)"? You guys sound like guys in PE ops/accounting trying to the encourage the wannabe Schwarzmans of the world to line up and take the SAT next weekend for s**ts and giggles (or they could score at least 740 on the GMAT - then they would surely qualify for a job at TPG!). Give me a break. To those that are seriously reading this thread, private equity is not an episode of Suits.

Like I said earlier, the process is like a round of golf - but played at a high level. You need birdies and pars and need to avoid bogeys (joke school/major, joke bank, terrible GPA, fat/ugly over-represented minority [hard to even get in the door if you bogey any of these four; I'm joking about the last one, but only sort of], bad interview, lack of recommendations, busted model, tool, etc.). Best ~5 scores win at the large firms. Best score wins at the small firms.

By the same token, if you're honestly spending your time asking what the importance of the SAT score is on buyside recruiting, you've missed the point completely. There is no magic formula for SAT scores (i.e. if you get beyond a 2210 you get shortlisted for a job at KKR / if you scored only 2090 you can compensate with a higher percentile GMAT score). You should know how good your score was based on what schools you ended up at - period. If your score is in the bottom quartile of your school's scores / you weren't in the 90th percentile or above nationally, just leave it off. It's really that simple.

Your time would be much better spent making sure you a) get interviews, b) practice for them and c) dominate them than it would be worrying about how to polish line 57 of your resume and whether or not people will care. Just my two cents.

 
Jun 21, 2013 - 9:21pm

no homo:

Guys here honestly sound like they're trolling.

'We dinged a guy because his SATs were too low' and "You won't get a job (at the select private equity firms that look at SAT scores)"? You guys sound like guys in PE ops/accounting trying to the encourage the wannabe Schwarzmans of the world to line up and take the SAT next weekend for s**ts and giggles (or they could score at least 740 on the GMAT - then they would surely qualify for a job at TPG!). Give me a break. To those that are seriously reading this thread, private equity is not an episode of Suits.

Like I said earlier, the process is like a round of golf - but played at a high level. You need birdies and pars and need to avoid bogeys (joke school/major, joke bank, terrible GPA, fat/ugly over-represented minority [hard to even get in the door if you bogey any of these four; I'm joking about the last one, but only sort of], bad interview, lack of recommendations, busted model, tool, etc.). Best ~5 scores win at the large firms. Best score wins at the small firms.

By the same token, if you're honestly spending your time asking what the importance of the SAT score is on buyside recruiting, you've missed the point completely. There is no magic formula for SAT scores (i.e. if you get beyond a 2210 you get shortlisted for a job at KKR / if you scored only 2090 you can compensate with a higher percentile GMAT score). You should know how good your score was based on what schools you ended up at - period. If your score is in the bottom quartile of your school's scores / you weren't in the 90th percentile or above nationally, just leave it off. It's really that simple.

Your time would be much better spent making sure you a) get interviews, b) practice for them and c) dominate them than it would be worrying about how to polish line 57 of your resume and whether or not people will care. Just my two cents.

Ugh. You're not reading at all. For the last time: no one is saying that "a 2210+ guarantees you a job at KKR!!!!!" However, it is indisputable that MF PE shops look at SAT scores. Headhunters ask you to put them on your resume, more than one PE firm requires them and having a low score has some non-zero effect on your ability to obtain a job at a small number of PE firms. Your point re: having other items on your resume / experience that sets you apart is absolutely true. But, for better or for worse, the largest PE firms tend to select heavily based on pedigree. Your IB experience isn't meaningfully better at GS TMT than it is at a random coverage group at BAML; nevertheless, the kids from the former tend to find themselves at MFs at a far higher rate than those from the latter. It's arbitrary, sure, but it's reality.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 22, 2013 - 12:14pm

Just my point of view here from personal experience with the SAT. An applicant for a junior position for the investment team for my firm came with a "less than desirable" SAT score (just below 2100). He sold a story of constant self-improvement and the ability to self reflect and handle "failure". That actually helped him stand out amongst the others because in reality, almost anyone is going to mess up one way or another. Granted, I'm not at a MF but at a top MM, the applicants are noteworthy nonetheless.

I feel that recruiters tend to place an unnecessary value of past academic scores. That being said, it is the only plane on which we can normalise the potential of an applicant without going through the pains of working with one.

 
Jun 22, 2013 - 2:02pm

thecoldburns:

Just my point of view here from personal experience with the SAT. An applicant for a junior position for the investment team for my firm came with a "less than desirable" SAT score (just below 2100). He sold a story of constant self-improvement and the ability to self reflect and handle "failure". That actually helped him stand out amongst the others because in reality, almost anyone is going to mess up one way or another. Granted, I'm not at a MF but at a top MM, the applicants are noteworthy nonetheless.

I feel that recruiters tend to place an unnecessary value of past academic scores. That being said, it is the only plane on which we can normalise the potential of an applicant without going through the pains of working with one.

I agree with everything here. It's possible (even fairly easy) to overcome in the interview rooms. But if you're applying to a couple of the MFs, they have much harder cutoffs for random numerical judgments of academic success. If you don't get into the interview room to tell that story of constant improvement, you won't get the job. Looking "good" on paper is the first step.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 25, 2013 - 10:09am

CodeBlue:

Absolutely not. Just report your ACT score.

Thanks. I have only seen talks about the SAT, so I didn't know if ACT scores were even accepted.

PE recruiting is nothing like applying to university. There are no "requisites" or "not accepted" scores. Recruiters tend to be less familiar with the ACT because the SAT is much more common, but as mentioned above, you can't list a converted score. I would just list your ACT score and the applicable percentile - i.e. ACT: 32 (9xth percentile).

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 26, 2013 - 12:25am

Well... looks like I'm not getting in anywhere that places a lot of importance on SAT scores.

Competition is a sin. -John D. Rockefeller
 
Jun 26, 2013 - 12:35pm

NorthSider:

no homo:

Guys here honestly sound like they're trolling.

'We dinged a guy because his SATs were too low' and "You won't get a job (at the select private equity firms that look at SAT scores)"? You guys sound like guys in PE ops/accounting trying to the encourage the wannabe Schwarzmans of the world to line up and take the SAT next weekend for s**ts and giggles (or they could score at least 740 on the GMAT - then they would surely qualify for a job at TPG!). Give me a break. To those that are seriously reading this thread, private equity is not an episode of Suits.

Like I said earlier, the process is like a round of golf - but played at a high level. You need birdies and pars and need to avoid bogeys (joke school/major, joke bank, terrible GPA, fat/ugly over-represented minority [hard to even get in the door if you bogey any of these four; I'm joking about the last one, but only sort of], bad interview, lack of recommendations, busted model, tool, etc.). Best ~5 scores win at the large firms. Best score wins at the small firms.

By the same token, if you're honestly spending your time asking what the importance of the SAT score is on buyside recruiting, you've missed the point completely. There is no magic formula for SAT scores (i.e. if you get beyond a 2210 you get shortlisted for a job at KKR / if you scored only 2090 you can compensate with a higher percentile GMAT score). You should know how good your score was based on what schools you ended up at - period. If your score is in the bottom quartile of your school's scores / you weren't in the 90th percentile or above nationally, just leave it off. It's really that simple.

Your time would be much better spent making sure you a) get interviews, b) practice for them and c) dominate them than it would be worrying about how to polish line 57 of your resume and whether or not people will care. Just my two cents.

Ugh. You're not reading at all. For the last time: no one is saying that "a 2210+ guarantees you a job at KKR!!!!!" However, it is indisputable that MF PE shops look at SAT scores. Headhunters ask you to put them on your resume, more than one PE firm requires them and having a low score has some non-zero effect on your ability to obtain a job at a small number of PE firms. Your point re: having other items on your resume / experience that sets you apart is absolutely true. But, for better or for worse, the largest PE firms tend to select heavily based on pedigree. Your IB experience isn't meaningfully better at GS TMT than it is at a random coverage group at BAML; nevertheless, the kids from the former tend to find themselves at MFs at a far higher rate than those from the latter. It's arbitrary, sure, but it's reality.


Lol, I think we're talking past each other in your effort to get the last word. After I literally said there's no magic formula in terms of scores, you proceeded to say I'm not reading at all and then repeated the same exact thing I said :)

That being said, I think you and others are honestly overstating the SAT factor. While pedigree is a huge factor, not just for MF PE but for any job, pedigree in MF PE is significantly more defined by bank and school than it is by SAT. What I'm trying to make sure we get across (to the wannabe Schwarzmans of the world that peruse this forum, in particular) is that you will not improve your pedigree much (if at all) if you retake your SAT this weekend and get a 2400. If you went to Harvard and are at GS TMT you're going to be better off than the BC / DB guy - period. The Harvard / GS TMT guy can have a 2000 SAT score for all I care and he will get EVERY MF PE interview (while the BC / DB guy will be lucky to get one). Likewise the Vanderbilt / Rice / Emory grad at BX / Lazard / Moelis will - in general - do better than the graduate from the same school at Citi / DB / BarCap / UBS / JeffCo / RBC. Finally, the Harvard grad at UBS will do better than the Carnegie Mellon grad at the same firm in terms of MF PE recruiting. Might SAT matter if one Harvard / GS TMT guy has a 2400 and the other has a 2000? Sure. At that point, though, we're talking technicalities that will not come into play 99% of the time or at least for 99% of the group of people looking for these jobs. Are there exceptions? Sure, but there are explanations. I've seen cute girls from semi-targets / non-targets get MF jobs (and literally claim to have been asked 1-2 even remotely technical/deal-related questions over the entire interview process) while similarly pedigreed males at the same firm will end up at ~$1bn AuM shops (and struggle through more grueling interviews to get that result).

I've seen this played out a million times so if anyone doesn't want to believe the above tiering I encourage you to go through the process, come back to this thread and tell me how right I am.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 12:44pm

I think what Northsider was/is saying (overall) is that for competitive jobs, it's not a choice between the Harvard/GS TMT/2000 SAT guy vs. the BC/DB/2400 SAT guy. He's saying that megafund PE and top HF can get the Harvard/GS TMT/2400 SAT guy. i.e. they can get the perfect person on paper. they can afford to split hairs over a 2200 vs. 2350 SAT.

EDIT: I think that's the 1% of the cases that you're referring to.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 2:58pm

Completely agree with everything you said, and it's a very accurate depiction of how the recruiting process plays out. SB for you.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 26, 2013 - 1:15pm

Ipso facto:

I think what Northsider was/is saying (overall) is that for competitive jobs, it's not a choice between the Harvard/GS TMT/2000 SAT guy vs. the BC/DB/2400 SAT guy. He's saying that megafund PE and top HF can get the Harvard/GS TMT/2400 SAT guy. i.e. they can get the perfect person on paper. they can afford to split hairs over a 2200 vs. 2350 SAT.

EDIT: I think that's the 1% of the cases that you're referring to.


Yeah, right on. And my point is that your time is better spent working on the 99% of things that do come into play.

Same philosophies apply to the actual investing profession as well - yeah when you're selective you might turn down the opportunity to invest in a company that has an underperforming segment that represents 1% of sales. In the normal course of business, however, you're more focused on the segments that represent 99% of sales as you look to make a well-informed decision.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 2:59pm

no homo:

Ipso facto:

I think what Northsider was/is saying (overall) is that for competitive jobs, it's not a choice between the Harvard/GS TMT/2000 SAT guy vs. the BC/DB/2400 SAT guy. He's saying that megafund PE and top HF can get the Harvard/GS TMT/2400 SAT guy. i.e. they can get the perfect person on paper. they can afford to split hairs over a 2200 vs. 2350 SAT.

EDIT: I think that's the 1% of the cases that you're referring to.

Yeah, right on. And my point is that your time is better spent working on the 99% of things that do come into play.

Same philosophies apply to the actual investing profession as well - yeah when you're selective you might turn down the opportunity to invest in a company that has an underperforming segment that represents 1% of sales. In the normal course of business, however, you're more focused on the segments that represent 99% of sales as you look to make a well-informed decision.

All of this is accurate as well.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 26, 2013 - 6:36pm

So if I have a 31 ACT (approx a 2050 SAT or 96 percentile), should I bother retaking? I'm going to UMich/Ross this fall... so taking it again now probably wouldn't be as laughable as when I'm 23. I wouldn't mind spending a few hours if getting a 33/2200 could potentially help my career outlook. Honestly thought that if I was accepted into a target it wouldn't matter.. I'm guessing if MF cares then summer internships etc will too.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 6:46pm

Pat1120:

So if I have a 31 ACT (approx a 2050 SAT or 96 percentile), should I bother retaking? I'm going to UMich/Ross this fall... so taking it again now probably wouldn't be as laughable as when I'm 23. I wouldn't mind spending a few hours if getting a 33/2200 could potentially help my career outlook. Honestly thought that if I was accepted into a target it wouldn't matter.. I'm guessing if MF cares then summer internships etc will too.

I really wouldn't recommend retaking. As mentioned before, it's a tangential consideration and almost certainly won't affect the broader trajectory of your development.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."
 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:07pm

SAT Score Importantce - Buyside Recruiting (Originally Posted: 01/12/2009)

I am going to be a first year investment banking analyst. I plan on going through the buy-side/head hunter recruitment process for Private Equity and Hedge Funds. I've been told they ask for SAT scores, is this true? If so, does anybody actually follow up, verify, and ask for you to produce your SAT transactipt from the College Board?

Thanks.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:10pm

Nobody will ask you for your transcript or actual College Board reports, but you should put your SAT score on your resume if you did well. High school was many years ago for me, but I had a nearly perfect SAT score so I still leave it on my resume. If I do well on my GMAT's, I'll also add those to the resume too. There can only be upside in your candidacy if you score well, and it takes up less than half a line on your resume. Seems like an obvious call to have your scores handy.

​* http://www.linkedin.com/in/numicareerconsulting
 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:14pm

Thanks xqtrack. I should clarify a bit - say 790 Math, 560 Verbal on SAT - would that be viewed as a positive or negative? I know that's an absolutely disgusting verbal score, but the math is semi-impressive and the "excuse" for such a poor verbal score was extremely poor preparation in high school. My GMAT verbal is above the 90th percentile, which shows a significant amount of improvement - I feel like this may be something to highlight? Of course, I don't know a whole helluva lot, which is why I'm asking those who do. Thanks!

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:15pm

this is just my opinion, so don't take it as gospel truth. i'd still shy away from listing the SAT score because a 560 on verbal is going to be a pretty big turnoff. and really, nobody will care about "excuses" (especially since nobody asks you about your SATs in your interviews, it's more of a screen to get an interview). truth is, you never want to get into a situation where somebody's looking for the excuse, because that means they're thinking about a negative part of your candidacy instead of the positive ones. and generally, "poor preparation" is never really an excuse anybody's going to tolerate. finally, only listing your SAT math will beg the question to anybody with half a brain of what your verbal was.

the 750+ GMAT will be viewed as a good score no matter what. so just list that, leave out your SAT unless they specifically ask for it, and everybody will automatically assume that you're a good standardized test taker/smart enough/whatever.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:18pm

The only buyside firms I can see that would possibly even ask or care about SAT is very quant hedge funds (the type of funds that ask for your MBA GPA even if you go to a grade non-disclosure school). I put my SAT score on my resume simply because it doesn't hurt me and its one more data point.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:19pm

Buyside Recruiting - SAT Verification (Originally Posted: 01/12/2009)

I am going to be a first year investment banking analyst. I plan on going through the buy-side/head hunter recruitment process for Private Equity and Hedge Funds. I've been told they ask for SAT scores, is this true? If so, does anybody actually follow up, verify, and ask for you to produce your SAT transactipt from the College Board?

Thanks.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:20pm

Yes, some will (especially hedge funds). In my experience, no one has followed up by most, if not all, the PE shops and HFs employ outside consultants to do background checks. They will be the ones looking for this info and will not need to go through you.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:25pm

Because it is a standardized test. Apples to apples.

In a way, it's hilarious because it's representative of the typical finance mindset. Afraid of ambiguity and being second-guessed, so they do their best to create a comparable regardless of how correlated/applicable it may be in aligning them to their goal.

But hey, I'm not complaining.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:26pm

I dunno, even if somebody had experience in GS TMT, I wouldn't want them advising me on how to invest my PE fund/doing the analysis on potential acquisitions if they couldn't get above AT LEAST a 1400 on their SATs (and really, a 1500+)...

Everybody knows that people get into the top IBD or consulting groups often for reasons other than analytical ability (networking, diversity, connections). This makes sense for a lot of reasons related to their sell-side business models, but as Jonathan Knee pointed out in his fantastic op-ed "Must I bank?" in the WSJ earlier this year, the buyside is fundamentally different: more analytical, less social. Sales ability and the potential to connect with clients is less important than being right and correctly analyzing a target company's prospects. (And yes, I realize that analysts don't actually interact with clients--that doesn't hurt my argument since it's about what the organization as a whole looks for).

And when you only have two years of experience, that experience is somewhat questionable. So yeah, having other metrics make sense. Standardized tests aren't perfect, but they aren't completely worthless either, and probably do help "align funds to their goal"--if that goal is having smart people who can do good investment analysis.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:28pm

hard to say. but there definitely are some that you would think probably did:

mitt romney (Bain Capital) - graduated valedictorian of byu, summa cum laude. jd harvard law, cum laude; mba hbs, baker scholar

david rubenstein (carlyle) - graduated baltimore city college, then magna cum laude from duke university, jd university of chicago law

steve schwarzmann (Blackstone): yale (from a public school), hbs

then again people like henry kravis maybe not.

HF'ers, people like Ken Griffin (well not doing so great now) probably, Steven cohen probably, etc.

Not saying that every founder is going to have great academic stats. I'm just saying that the bar at most of the top funds is pretty high, and given the choice of somebody smart or somebody not smart, if you think intelligence is important for success in the business, you'd try and pick people you thought were likely to be more intelligent. Again, as Knee points out, in a field like banking (which at its highest levels involves a lot of sales), this may not be as necessary. But if you think analytical ability is relevant to your fund's performance and the ability to make smart investments, you're going to try and get analytical people.

 
Jun 26, 2013 - 8:30pm
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