The Misguidance at Non-target Schools

OpFin's picture
Rank: Baboon | 127

I am willing to admit that I did not make it into any of my target schools. I understood in any such industry talked about in WSO, my credential would put me at a disadvantage. As a result, I pushed myself to make the connections and steps necessary to earn a valuable Summer Analyst internship. I was very fortunate to get it, but even more shocked by the lack of understanding of how important this internship was at this school.

I have always been prepped to believe no one in my school had a shot at a major firm. In one of my finance courses, only myself and one other person knew the difference between private equity and IB. The teachers reinforce the idea that: "to work at a company like J.P. Morgan, the AMOUNT of experience matters more than the content of what you learn". As noted, I disputed that my 10-week Summer Analyst Internship was far more credible than that of a local Credit Union intern who only processes transactions (for 1 year).

The whole class rallied against me. Comments included: a financial analyst could be anything, 10 weeks is nothing compared to 1 year, my company was in New York and a boutique (not "Name Brand").

This kid with his one year experience described how he got offered a full time job there and is making $42,000 a year. The whole class applauded him. They then turned to me and described how they were right and I was wrong.

This is what angered everyone: I said that when I graduate, I will be making over twice the money he will be starting. I said this to explain that his method was not better than mine and that their views on an "Analyst" were misguided. The teacher was the first to get angry with me. She mentioned that pay is not everything ("Am I not successful because I am a professor and make less than you will").

It is hard to explain to non-target school culture that their is success beyond the boundaries set by the standard. They already adjusted to this idea that target schools will be more successful than them: so they justify that their total experiences will overtake their value. It is very similar to the idea that if someone does not think they are book smart, they are immediately street smart (to justify it to themselves).

Is there a way of showing these people the path without hurting their feelings? For many who I have shown WSO, they are very timid. The burst of credentials everyone online has makes them feel inferior. As a result, they tell me they don't want to be Analyst. I respect them if they did not want to be an Analyst in the first place, but I hate when people try to come up with a bs excuse for not being able to make the cut.

FYI I understand I was wrong to make a statement like that. It was hurtful and wrong for the guy to lose his enjoyment. I just hated the fact that the class relished their own personal feelings about being right over me (not his actual success).

Comments (96)

May 7, 2014

1. flaunting your pay probably didn't help, in that situation I'd be the bigger person, keep my mouth shut, and do a mini fist pump inside when they're taking my drink order in 5 years.

2. offer your advice to those who are willing to listen, but it sounds like these people don't care to know that something lies beyond. it's not like WSO is the Holy Graile, it's pretty easy to find. you can lead any horse to water, you just can never force it to drink.

3. forget about everyone else, they're obviously not your competition. focus on bettering yourself so you can get to a point where people come to you and ask for advice.

4. those who can't do....teach (exceptions for people who made their money in the industry and teaching is a 2nd career)

best of luck, keep up your hustle

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May 9, 2014
thebrofessor:

you can lead any horse to water, you just can never force it to drink.

I cannot tell you how many people I've lead to this site that still prefer to live in their own little bubble of security.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

May 9, 2014
Hooked on LEAPS:
thebrofessor:

you can lead any horse to water, you just can never force it to drink.

I cannot tell you how many people I've lead to this site that still prefer to live in their own little bubble of security.

That is the real issue, in my opinion. People are free to live however they choose, but if you step out of your comfort zone and see the world from the perspective of where you want to be, it's pretty obvious that there's always work to do and some truths are a bit uncomfortable to bear.

I am from a non-target school, and for a long time I lived in my own "bubble." It was through what I considered a huge put down - someone basically taking a shit on everything I stood for - that I woke up and smelled the bacon. I wasn't doing the work I'd need to do to succeed at starting a career in banking. In hindsight (always 20/20), I'm thankful.

And to the guy up top calling me "kid," I'm just a wee bit older than 22.

May 7, 2014

Yea, don't even know why you opened your mouth. They sound so clearly out of the loop that's there's no hope.

May 7, 2014

It really all comes down to perspective. Your classmate might be pulling in 42k a year, but with that salary he'll be able to buy a 1500 sqft house and live a decent life.

Your 80k salary in NYC will likely net you with sharing a 600 sqft apartment with 2 other people.

So now, which one of you is better off? It comes down to perspective and short and long term goals. Some peoples idea's and goals in life don't include even leaving the city/state they grow up in, so the idea of going somewhere else is ludicrous.

Also, your idea of working for JPM is starting off as an analyst in their 2 year analyst program. Their idea of working for JPM as an analyst is working at their corporate retail banking offices. So you're talking about the same thing... but you're not talking about the same thing.

Non-targets also tend to not even understand what investment banking really is. I had a friend that went to the same high school in me that "wanted to be an investment banker" but then found out all the "shady stuff that happens in IB" and went off spouting all this nonsense and now does mortgages or something.

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May 7, 2014

Why is it so important to you that they understand what you want them to understand? Let it go - ignorance is bliss, and it doesn't affect you.

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May 7, 2014

Less competition bro

May 8, 2014
Anihilist:

Less competition bro

This is what I got from it.

May 7, 2014

i go to a non target and this is a huge problem. most people think they aren't good enough and therefore don't network or even try to get good jobs anddon't understand what options are truly there. shouldnt have mentioned your pay but whatever. just ignore it

May 7, 2014

Let them live in their tiny bubbles. Like @"Anihilist" said, less competiton brah

May 7, 2014

I come from a non-target and this is highly common. I'm not even a finance major and I found out about and broke into Investment Banking. A lot of the finance majors have good experience, more skills and more knowledge than I do right now but they don't want to see past their current boundaries as you put it.

Still, as others said, don't waste your time and energy. Find the people who are motivated at these schools. There's always a few who, when given the chance, work for it, can recognize their shortcomings, aim higher and constantly hustle to get to where they need to. Those are the kids you want to talk to and raise awareness for.

May 8, 2014

Your professor should be fucking ashamed for being so defensive. I don't blame the students for defending their way of life, but the fact that your teacher made it personal disgusts me.

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May 8, 2014

You need to watch the Adam the Analyst episode when he talks to his mom about his job. Most people think a financial analyst is the guy in the window at H&R Block.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

Best Response
May 8, 2014

I learned several things from this post that I found interesting.

1. Apparently, there are still people in this country with college degrees who only earn $42,000 per year.

2. The kid who mentioned how much he was getting paid was a douche for telling the whole class his pay level. He is also a douche for thinking that is worth bragging about.

3. Your finance professor is also a douche. Leave that 'money isn't everything' shtick to the art and philosophy professors.

4. You give way too much of a shit what other people think. My hunch is that you only want these other students to learn more about the distinctions between retail banking and investment banking because you want them to know how prestigious you are. That's pretty fucked up too. There's always someone smarter, making more money, or has a bigger dick than you, so getting into these comparisons provides no real benefit to your life.

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May 8, 2014

preach! +1

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May 9, 2014

There are alot of post college graduates that are making alot less than 42k a year.

May 18, 2014

Mr. Fuld's wisdom, as usual, is impeccable.

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May 8, 2014

Same shit in my non public state school. And here's the kicker, I was the kid in class in OP's story who thinks "financial analyst" is the same everywhere. I call that my lession learned, NOT ALL FINANCE JOBS are created equal.

Getting placed in Big 4 Audit is considered the holy grail in my business school. Advisory was a step up. I blame the school for not "overreaching", to break down the importance of internships, the relevance of internship to your desired post graduate career.

After being on WSO, I strapped on my job helmet, crawled into job cannon, and fired myself to NYC and haven't looked back since. Just had an interview with an IB boutique that might play out within the next 3 months - 1 year. This post is amazingly relevant to where I was from.

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May 8, 2014

Don't be so sure that the professor makes less than a first-year banker, and tenured ones don't get fired when their boss has a hangover.

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May 9, 2014

This is interesting, at my non-target school every finance major has illusions of grandeur (getting into GS TMT and KKR straight out of undergrad, etc.). This on its own wouldn't be bad, except teachers instill a sense of entitlement in the students, basically guaranteeing them a successful high finance career upon graduation with no emphasis on networking or studying anything outside the mandatory (decent but pretty basic) curriculum which is asinine. The end result is that students don't network or study outside of the mandatory curriculum and then they become disillusioned when their attempts at scoring internships force them to face reality. Most then end up not giving a shit in their senior year and go on to shit jobs which they hate. Not sure which situation is worse.

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May 9, 2014

It happens at most universities. Semi-target (well not really, all universities are treated equally in some countries) student here, I was talking with a classmate earlier today and she mentioned she would start looking for jobs after she graduated. She mentioned applying for jobs while still studying would be 'too much effort'. Oh, and shes a top student among top students.

And OP, you're almost as bad as the professor. If the students are happy with 42k doing whatever they're doing, that's fine. Why do you care?

May 9, 2014

What grinds my gears is when you see some random non-target schmuck say he is an "investment banking analyst" at JPM, GS, whatever, when in reality they are an operations/finance analyst. They think they are the best thing since sliced bread.

At the end of the day OP, less competition. It's just not worth your time to argue/hassle with these people. You hate bankers? Great! Tell your friends too as well.

May 9, 2014

You're not kidding. I know a few kids like that from my school. I had to explain to one that she isn't an investment banker even though she's a teller at a bank.

What's worse are the number of kids who almost make it. There's always a group of kids who are "in the loop" at non-targets. Most don't make it into the industry, though. I have a friend who took the first corporate finance gig that came about, and now works operations at an analytics company (ie, Factset, etc). Another friend came to NYC for the purpose of finding a banking gig. 2 months into the search guy says fuck it and goes to work as a hotel clerk (not fucking around with this one).

The amount of misleading info at non-targets is incredible and I blame mostly teachers who have a confidence problem. They think that 22-year old kids should be "lower" than they on the totem pole of life, and they instill that same thinking into students. It creates a hopeless situation. And to compound the issue, as mentioned above, in my school the accounting program was considered the bee's knees. These kids walked around like they owned the world. I could never convince even a close friend that with a 3.9 in accounting and some internships, she could find a banking gig with (relatively) less hassle and make more cash and have a potentially more fulfilling career.

In short, I'm making sure that my kids go to target schools. They can major in basket weaving if they want. But I won't deal with the brainwashing that goes on at XYZ State.

Edit: to echo an above post, if I never discovered WSO, I would be in a completely different place in life.

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May 9, 2014
Kassad:

I had to explain to one that she isn't an investment banker even though she's a teller at a bank.

You 'had' to or you just felt like taking her down a notch? I swear some of you kids take a summer analyst position and you become a god in your mind.

You people need to cool your jets, live your life, and let others live theirs.

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May 9, 2014
Kassad:

I have a friend who took the first corporate finance gig that came about, and now works operations at an analytics company (ie, Factset, etc). Another friend came to NYC for the purpose of finding a banking gig. 2 months into the search guy says fuck it and goes to work as a hotel clerk (not fucking around with this one).

Corp finance is legit, tho ops anywhere is awful. I mean who even needs the finance major to really do ops aside from getting the job/interview in the first place? But thats what happens with the education bubble, American industry taking forever to innovate, crisis, etc. I feel like some of the problem is at non-targets, esp. small ones, kids have to pretend to think they're the shit just to be cool, respected, and its sad.

to the OP, what kind of school did you go to? Was is like a second tier SUNY, Michigan State, a non-CH UNC, etc, or a private school like Fairfield/Quinnipiac/Scranton/Providence? Mine was the latter and yea a lotta kids bragged BC they were doing PWM at BB, financial advisor, aka both salesmen, or ops at "an investment bank in NYC." It was truly sad.

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May 9, 2014

Same thing happened to me too.

Girl- "I work at JP Morgan Chase, it's a great job. I am an investment consultant"
Me- "That's sick, where is your work?"
Girl- "Some place in the middle of suburbia america"

May 18, 2014

Damn right.

Alright, Alright, Alright...

May 9, 2014

what kind of school is this? As in name some schools it competes/shares applicants and students with. My school was filled with finance majors who'd brag about getting an Ops Analyst at SAC, BBH, etc.

May 9, 2014

Who cares if your classmates understand? Is it that big of a deal to boost your ego through their acknowledgement of what your Analyst gig is?

May 9, 2014

Interesting, I go to a non-target and find that a surprisingly high percentage of people do succeed in IB/Consulting. Then again, non-target could mean anything from a top liberal arts school to Arizona State.

May 9, 2014

@"DickFuld" dropping truth in this thread, haha.

Just ignore what most people think. Everyone is on their own journey, a separate timeline, a different perspective. Let it be.

May 9, 2014

You sound quite upset

May 9, 2014

I think this problem at non-targets boils down to a structural issue. At target schools, there is a very strong high-finance culture. Every year, there are a bunch of seniors with FT offers at top BBs, MBBs, etc. and many juniors with SA offers. Professors usually have industry experience or are nobel laureates in their respective fields (maybe a slight exaggeration). There are many on-campus organizations related to finance, some solely focused on landing SA offers. And all this already on top of the fact that the alumni network is huge. Now compare that to a non-target which probably has almost none of this. Imagine you are a clueless freshman just starting college. I'm pretty sure if you didn't know anything about finance when you started college, you'd be way more likely to graduate with an FT IB offer at the target than the non-target.

As for the OP, you should try to see what you can do to motivate the freshman/sophomores at your school, not try to put them down by talking about your salary.

May 9, 2014

Well said. +1

May 9, 2014

I'm seeing my smart friends at my non-target settle for shitty jobs and internships... ive yelled at a couple to do better...they don't. I end up giving up because its their life and I can't force them

I have helped 2 or 3 get better...but somehow they revert back to being idiots when I'm not watching. oh well, they're all nice people at least.

May 17, 2014

It's generally not best to try to convince someone about the industry unless they approach you after having already done their homework.
It's too much of an investment, nearly impossible, to instill the internal drive/dedication needed to break in from a non-target.

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May 9, 2014

I have a pretty diverse friend group, and as a result I have had the opportunity to spend time at a variety of different academic institutions, going to parties, lectures, talks, etc. In my experience, there are three types of schools.

At tier 3/4 schools (Podunk State University, For-Profit College):

"You are here so that after you graduate, you don't get the worst jobs/life in society."

It sounds like this is the type of school you're at. People are incredibly excited to work at middling corporate finance jobs so they can eventually get married, buy a small house, and generally feel comfortable not having to worry about violence in their neighborhoods. There's nothing wrong with this and you can live a happy life this way.

At tier 2 schools (Flagship University of State, Big Private University):

"You are here so that when you graduate, you can get the best, most interesting jobs."

Schools like this graduate people who will go on to be high-level corporate managers, investment bankers, software engineers, and professors. They will make good money and have job security. They live in nice neighborhoods and eat organic food etc. But at the end of the day, they are working for someone else and often live a relatively obscure life. Again, there's nothing wrong with this and it's another way to live a happy life.

At tier 1 schools (We all know them):

"You are here because you are a future leader of the world."

From a non-target background, it's easy to idealize investment banking and private equity because seem like this amazing and glorious career path. The effect is mitigated when your classmates become presidents, senators, rock stars, movie stars, chairpersons of the fed, nobel-prize winners, pulitzer-prize winning journalists, etc.

---

Does that mean that if you come from a non-target (or, god-forbid, didn't go to college) that you can't be president? That you can't be an investment banker? That you can't work for Google? That you can't be a successful entrepreneur? That you can't start a hedge-fund? No. Of course not. You can do whatever you set your mind to. There will be lots (I mean lots!) of obstacles, but none of which can't be overcome with intelligence and action.

Which brings me to your original question, about how to help your non-target classmates understand the world of success beyond what they can see. My advice to you is that you don't worry about it. Instead, try to focus on the world of success that you're currently blind to, because I can guarantee you something: you are not that different from them. You want to be an investment banker. Awesome. That's an admirable goal and the effective allocation of capital in society is why we can have nice things.

But there is a world of possibility even beyond that, and your job is to figure out what it is.

But if you really feel the need to lead the horses to water AND make them drink, I am going to tell you a story about a friend of mine that might help in that regard. My friend is a member of one of the world's fastest growing religions (I am not, but he is). Throughout the course of our friendship, he has never tried to convert me, but I have watched him convert probably dozens of people at this point, from the very well-off to the not well-off at all. His secret? He is genuinely happy, compassionate, a fun person to be around, and has a deep sense of meaning and purpose in his life.

All he does is genuinely connect with people, and then eventually they ask him "How are you so satisfied/ What's your secret?" Then he invites them to come to church with him sometime. He introduces them to a bunch of other genuine people. Suddenly they are converted. It takes a few weeks. Granted, their beliefs are a little kooky, but he'll be the first to tell you: "I don't try to convert anyone, but rather I try to let my own light shine through to their darkness." I think it's an excellent philosophy.

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May 9, 2014

SB'ed. Love the story about your friend. As I said earlier, I come from a non-target and while these issues are prevalent, you can't force anyone to see the "light" or see the work they have to do. In time, they'll understand it if they want to. Plus some people are perfectly happy where they are and there's nothing wrong with that. I'll admit that I'm extremely driven and sometimes, I struggle to understand their mindset but it still does not make me any better than them.

IMO, it's best to keep working hard on your goals and when the time comes that someone asks you for help or advice, you let them know your opinions and suggestions and if they choose to act on them, great.

May 20, 2014

You think our magic underwear is kooky?

I'd have to agree to the success of this philosophy as well. I've been able to network with family friends in high school and grasp a new sense of what kind of "success" I should be striving for after I graduate. I owe those guys (PE, HF, IB) for my understanding of the finance world. They were kind enough to answer all my questions and even let me go to work with them.

Coming from a high school senior's point of view I find it discouraging when my friends say they're majoring in "business" but can't distinguish any career within the field. I see so much effort being put into getting good grades, and not any research on what's beyond the curriculum. It was extremely important for me to learn about these guys' careers for me to set the bar for myself. I've been interning at a small hedge fund for the past two years thanks to these connections, and I've learned more about what I want there than I have from any counselor/teacher I've had.

May 20, 2014

Getting rustled over your high school peer's lack of career direction is a silly thing to get rustled over. Nearly everyone you talk to at your age will change their major a couple times by the time they graduate anyway. Just worry about you.

May 9, 2014

odd thread, IMO.

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May 9, 2014

Everyone has stated great points. I would like to reiterate my stance (I probably did a poor job of explaining myself):

Everyone has the right to find a career that makes them happy. The big tragedy with non-target school is the ceiling the environment produces on its students. Obviously every school wants to have the most successful alumni, but the indirect messaging you promote can be fatal for their own well being.

We have all seen those commercials for technical schools with a family man that emphasis how the school got him a job (not how great it was or how he as an individual can succeed). We all know that students here neither care necessarily about the degree and the college would rather sell a safe job choice versus risking competing with the big dogs.

Non-Target Propoganda: Finance teacher hides whatever notion of why they did not go into the financial sector by making comments like "I thought about it, but I actually wanted to have a family and a life". Messages like this produce an unfair distortion of the exit opportunities presented in finance.

As a result, students only aim for a 9-5 job with x pay, x room to grow, x interest. It is not my place to influence them, but it is the responsibility of every university to prevent a cap ceiling of interest by not insulting an unmade decision.

Finally I would like to preface by saying I am a proud graduate of my university and do not look at my college as inferior. I would not make an issue of this topic if I did not think the students could compete with top tier school students. Moreover, I hope a structural issue is implanted that can better encourage teachers that were formerly in this sector be the liaison for department heads (rather than which teacher has been with the school the longest). Understanding what a firm is looking for and not what you are taught is a value that will no doubt spark interest and belief in students that they can accomplish more than what others think of them.

May 9, 2014

Good points, and I actually agree with a lot of what you said. People do make excuses to save their own reputations, the problem is when younger people are growing up and have limited influences, they start to believe those people making excuses since that's all they have. I used to get annoyed by that too but now I just worry about myself and things have been working out much better.

May 9, 2014

Odd thread indeed.

When I went to university, we learned what was on the syllabus and discussions on the post-university real world were pretty limited.

We relied on ourselves to research the real world and presumed (often correctly) that our university lecturers didn't know that much about the (non-academic) professional world.

I guess kids these days just want their university to spoon feed them and get very upset when they have discovered "the Truth", return to the Platonic cave of their tutorials and try to tell their classmates and professors that the sun exists and that bank teller jobs are nothing but shadows on the wall.

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May 9, 2014

Good responses. Not everyone is interested in IB or even Finance for that matter, let alone the pay or prestige that comes with certain positions.

One post was spot on about perspective. Ignorance is bliss after all. There's always somebody out there who's smarter, who works harder than you do, who succeeds despite even more obstacles. So what? You can't control anyone but yourself, so why bother trying to "show them the light?"

Don't forget, at the end of the day, your shit stinks just as much as everybody else.

May 9, 2014

I graduated from a non-target flagship state school myself, and I wish that I had the guidance of others well before my last semesters of college. But unfortunately I had little internship experience and I was too late in the game to become a competitive applicant for IB or similar career tracks. Target school students have the benefit of a dedicated alumni base who make sure that their company hires from their alma mater year after year. While I didn't have that same guidance, I know that any kid who tries to reach out to me is going to get everything that I can give them.

But what's so wrong about a kid who is excited for their corporate finance job or Big 4 position? My FT position isn't a 100% what I expected it to be, but I'm compensated well and I'm learning a lot. I'm sure that some non-target kids will end up changing career paths and deciding that IB or S&T is for them at a later point. Everyone's life is their own journey. So why bust their balls for it?

May 9, 2014

I'm at a non-target right now, but there is strong development going on amongst the UG business school (finance majors especially) towards IB and "high-finance". In truth, I think most of the kids at my school could really crush the interviews / prep / networking just as much as any kid from a target (yes I know, it isn't insanely complicated stuff but it still takes effort and the networking is harder). BUT, as someone said before, the world of IB / PE / HF isn't made to be believable until it is either too late, or never at all in most cases.

I believe that as my school gets more kids going into SA / FT programs, it will continue to spur the growth into the industry; however, many kids are tricked into the IB is shady / Finance is hell / Only a complete shit head goes into that - so they focus on Ops or corporate finance. For all they know it could make them incredibly successful and satisfied with their lives, but the same could be said if they went into IB / PE / HF at some point. This also works vice-versa.

My main point here is that coming from a non-target generally you are led to believe this industry does not gel with you and our school (although the school loves saying they placed 1 or 2 into GS / JPM) so you must go into Ops or CF to be happy without enough students doing the research and making the effort to really find their niche. It isn't for me to say that I will be happier in IB / PWM / CF or towards someone else, but segregating someone with potential for any of these areas before they've looked into it and tried a sample is just wrong.

...

May 9, 2014

very true. I go to a non-target and ended up in Big4 audit, for now. It's definitely about the culture the school creates and the kind of people you're around. At my school, everyone (professors, alumni, advisors, etc.) tries to feed us BS that Big4 accounting is the best thing since sliced bread. The accounting program gets the best professors, most resources, most attention, etc. But slowly as my peers start working they begin to see what's out there and want more. For some it's too late to move and they settle, for others they get an MBA and reset with new goals, while others sack up, get lucky, and make the switch into finance. I'm pissed I didn't realize this until now, but it's a learning experience to always take initiative and don't believe the BS that Big4 companies feed you... they're filling a quota. I second the fact that 90% of the accounting majors at my school could've crushed finance interviews as well as the targets did, and I think if people want it bad enough anything is possible. But I really think the "misguidance" you speak of is a combination of non-targets being very good at tricking students into thinking Big4 is the best option, and the students being oblivious enough to believe it.

May 9, 2014

I feel the same way, I went to a non target school and I had no idea how hard it would be to find a gig in corporate america, let alone a gig in finance. There were literally no emphasis towards internships and a large chunk of conversations with my counselor were geared toward the schedule of courses that was needed to graduate. Even worst after I graduated my attempts to reach out to my counselor for help in my job search were ignored, like no calls or emails back, it was as if I am cold calling my own school. Although that doesnt stop my school from mailing me donation letters every couple of months.

Obv I cant fully blame my school for my total lack of knowledge and experience but SHIT IF I would have known that I might not be able to find a job and pay off my "way too many digit loans" things will be different

May 9, 2014

One of the critical things that separates target from non-target is the lack of information on various elite industries in the latter. For instance, I have some really smart friends from high school who went to the flagship state school honors program. In terms of pure IQ, they were on par with most of my classmates from the elite undergrad I attended. But they simply knew nothing about top post-college jobs because they didn't have access to it, and virtually no one on campus pursued those opportunities. By senior year, my classmates and I knew not just the difference between IB, PE, HF, and IM, but which firms did what, which firms were more prestigious, exit opportunities available from each, which firms sent more people to elilte b-schools, etc. My high school buddies on the other hand had never heard of McKinsey, Blackstone, Bain Capital, DE Shaw, KKR, Citadel, etc. nor did they even know what sell-side or buy-side was.

May 9, 2014

I'm about to graduate from a non-target state school (think Pitt/UDel/Rutgers) and have experienced firsthand what a lot of people have touched upon.

bottera:
DickFuld:
Kassad:

I had to explain to one that she isn't an investment banker even though she's a teller at a bank.

You 'had' to or you just felt like taking her down a notch? I swear some of you kids take a summer analyst position and you become a god in your mind.

You people need to cool your jets, live your life, and let others live theirs.

the truth

Have to agree, a lot of people don't necessarily know the different "tiers" of finance but there's really no need to proceed to tell her that your dick is bigger than hers (figuratively). People have different goals in life and while yours may be to kill it in banking they may be perfectly content hanging around their hometown with a low COL. Different strokes for different folks.

JohnBrohan:
Kassad:

I have a friend who took the first corporate finance gig that came about, and now works operations at an analytics company (ie, Factset, etc). Another friend came to NYC for the purpose of finding a banking gig. 2 months into the search guy says fuck it and goes to work as a hotel clerk (not fucking around with this one).

Corp finance is legit, tho ops anywhere is awful. I mean who even needs the finance major to really do ops aside from getting the job/interview in the first place? But thats what happens with the education bubble, American industry taking forever to innovate, crisis, etc. I feel like some of the problem is at non-targets, esp. small ones, kids have to pretend to think they're the shit just to be cool, respected, and its sad.

to the OP, what kind of school did you go to? Was is like a second tier SUNY, Michigan State, a non-CH UNC, etc, or a private school like Fairfield/Quinnipiac/Scranton/Providence? Mine was the latter and yea a lotta kids bragged BC they were doing PWM at BB, financial advisor, aka both salesmen, or ops at "an investment bank in NYC." It was truly sad.

I interned in Ops at a non-metro area BB over the summer/last semester. It does suck depending on group placement. Some kids I worked with were doing some cool stuff though. For example, one guy worked with a consultant from McKinsey the entire summer on process improvement. Others did anything from answer phones all day to make copies (I kid you not, one kid made copies for about a month and a half straight with two other interns "underneath" him). However, don't think there aren't smart people who work in it. I worked alongside some very smart people, and at least one of them cited the financial crisis/stable income as a reason for making the jump.

The biggest issue I have with going to a non-target is the lack of upfront knowledge about career opportunities and on-campus recruiting. Sure, they may talk about the big-4, major BBs, and F100 companies recruiting on campus, but until you really understand what those roles are and what they entail, I don't feel that it's a very honest/accurate representation of what the school has to offer you. For example, when my non-finance friends asked about my summer or what I did over the summer, I told them I interned in finance. I left it at that unless they asked further, to which the reaction was almost always a, "Woah that's awesome! Congrats." Even if I did try to explain the role and its "lack of glamor", they wouldn't understand and it would seemingly come off as snobby. It got to the point where I would try not to name the firm, and if I did I would be embarrassed about it. That's probably saying more on my own personality but I'm not one to "brag", and in their eyes that's what it seemed to come off as.

OpFin:

...

Non-Target Propoganda: Finance teacher hides whatever notion of why they did not go into the financial sector by making comments like "I thought about it, but I actually wanted to have a family and a life". Messages like this produce an unfair distortion of the exit opportunities presented in finance.

This is a mixed bag at my school. Some professors that I've had have actually worked in the industry. For example, one of my professors this semester was a former MD at one of the major rating agencies that actually testified in front of Congress (along with Buffet and a handful of others) after the whole financial crisis. He's a really smart dude, but can't teach for shit. One more downside with going to a lower-ranked school is the quality of professors sometimes paired with their dated curriculums, but that's a whole different conversation. While it would've been "nice" to go to a school with better on-campus recruiting, I don't regret my decision. I've enjoyed my time here and while I still have no idea what the hell I want to do career-wise, I have a job that'll give me some time to think about it before busting ass to make it happen.

Also, solid writeup @dudewheresmycar.

May 9, 2014

I was one of those kids who thought all schools are the same and the only difference is the "name".
WTF was wrong with me? My non-target professors came from name brand schools and made me feel like an idiot. Unfortunately I didn't find WSO until my last year of school.

It's a shame. Students who major in finance actually plan on working at retail branches and nonsense like that. Almost no one knew what investment banking really is. I'll get a reply like "oh cool, you can tell me which stocks to invest in" whenever I told them I wanted to do IB.

It's also the reason why I was planning on doing an msf to rebrand.

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May 9, 2014

Makes me feel bad for dumping on my school though

May 10, 2014

I am a bit disappointed to see this on the front page of WSO. Perhaps I missed something, but this is a kid looking to validate his pretentiousness and prestige. His prophetic powers have led him to believe he has found 'the path', as if he has parted seas for his less informed clasmates. While it is great that you have found something that you can passionately pursue, do not for one moment think that your beliefs should be held by all. If the number on a paycheck is the only rubric for manhood, success or intelligence, then you have much to learn. To quote Bob Marley, "Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver and gold." While you may have learned how to calculate the NPV, it is important that you be humble in your endeavors. The posters I most admire on here are those that have pursued something out of passion, faced adversity, and humbly display their knowledge and success . Lastly, this is not the way to gain the attention of the pretty girl in your Intro to Corp. Finance class. She likely thinks you are a douche. With good reason.

May 10, 2014
Lester Burnham Lambert:

I am a bit disappointed to see this on the front page of WSO. Perhaps I missed something, but this is a kid looking to validate his pretentiousness and prestige. His prophetic powers have led him to believe he has found 'the path', as if he has parted seas for his less informed clasmates. While it is great that you have found something that you can passionately pursue, do not for one moment think that your beliefs should be held by all. If the number on a paycheck is the only rubric for manhood, success or intelligence, then you have much to learn. To quote Bob Marley, "Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver and gold." While you may have learned how to calculate the NPV, it is important that you be humble in your endeavors. The posters I most admire on here are those that have pursued something out of passion, faced adversity, and humbly display their knowledge and success . Lastly, this is not the way to gain the attention of the pretty girl in your Intro to Corp. Finance class. She likely thinks you are a douche. With good reason.

This, and every other reply in this discussion, is a load of hypocritical horse shit. If it's so okay to not know and live life however you like, then why don't you strive to attend community college and become an insurance salesman? Oh, "you're intelligent enough to do something else?" Could you elaborate? "You just don't have to drag people down"? It sounds to me as though you and every other Tom and Hank talking about "being nice" is failing to see how hypocritical you are. Succeed on your own and leave everyone else in the dust - that strategy is somehow better than placing criticism where it's due. You're the antithesis of the "humility" and "thoughtfulness" you think you are.

May 10, 2014

I do not see the hypocritical aspect of my post you have described. As a community of intelligent professionals, I am disappointed to have seen this garbage on the front page. I believe modesty and respect are the most endearing characteristics. Along those lines, one should respect the choices of others and their perceptions. Though I will not sit idly while someone spews bullshit. It is not about being nice. It is about being fair.

I did not attend a community college because I have greater aspirations. But that does not make me the arbiter of righteousness. I hold nothing against anyone for setting the bar lower or valuing their time differently. Freedom of choice is the most important thing that we have. As we have seen in history, pushing beliefs on others does not bide well for civilization.

May 12, 2014

It seems like there are two basic threads going on here: the first is some people being upset because they don't feel they got enough support from their non-target school with regards to internships, networking, etc. That seems like a totally valid criticism, and schools should definitely do everything they can to help students land the best job possible.

It seems like a few people, however, wish that their non-target would have opened their eyes to "high-finance" and fueled their KKR dreams, to which I say: What are you smoking? Why would non-target schools even bother telling their students what's "really out there" in terms of possibilities? They would just be wasting the time of HR departments all around the street as well as their students' time. From a global perspective, Big 4 Audit is actually a great job, especially if your alternative is being the assistant manager of your local Wendy's. On top of that, it's much more achievable than IB/PE.

I don't think there's anything wrong with non-target finance departments steering kids into Acct/CorpFin jobs. It's probably a lot easier to do that than deal with the shitstorm of broken dreams that would result from pushing IB.

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May 17, 2014

Don't bother.
I think there is plenty of exposure to wall street info nowadays (WSO being one) and those who are willing to learn will go and feed themselves.
Those who blindly listen to their professors and dont proactively seek the best opportunities that are out there (outside the crappy job postings at their career center) dont deserve these wall street jobs anyhow.
At the end of the day, mentality and willingness matter.

Besides, we need these non-target people to fill all the mediocre jobs and back office jobs

May 17, 2014

Seeing your achievement unrecognized is frustrating I understand.
However,
This is Life.
So suck it up.

May 17, 2014

The worst are the kids doing GS ops or HR at google at my semi-target who walk around like they're the shit name-dropping every chance they get

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May 17, 2014

WSO ruined and helped me.

The former: I would've been content wallowing away in Ops. Ignorance is, in many ways, bliss.

The latter: I wouldn't have met such great people and learned as much as I did. This site opened my eyes and for that, I'll be forever grateful.

May 17, 2014
MerinoDraped:

WSO ruined and helped me.

The former: I would've been content wallowing away in Ops. Ignorance is, in many ways, bliss.

The latter: I wouldn't have met such great people and learned as much as I did. This site opened my eyes and for that, I'll be forever grateful.

I'd like to say the same, I have learned an unreal amount from this site. Advice and information that I really wouldn't be able to find anywhere else.

May 17, 2014

The problems are functions of teacher/staff to student ratios at non targets aka kids fall through the cracks. Most importantly, you can't fault people for not "knowing"; firms don't recruit at non targets so there's no exposure to firms and what they actually do. Career center staff won't waste time with educating students about jobs that are stastically impossible to get. Low hanging fruit...

At target schools, knowledge is distributed through people who go through recruiting and land internships. Can't tell you how many kids went to banking info sessions and really didn't know the difference between banking and SnT.

Reality is this: who gives a flying shit about the misguidance. Focus more on filling YOUR gaps of knowledge instead of expending energy on others' gaps of knowledge.

May 17, 2014

I am sure everyone has met a huge douchebag in their life. If I met a huge, huge douchebag, I would do my best to undermine their argument. Why? Because he is a douchebag and it rubs off very badly on most people. Yes, you are very right, but you didn't have to prove your point in a way that would piss off everyone. There is a decent amount of the "IB is everything" type of kids at my school and people think they are extremely cocky and arrogant. I am glad to see you acknowledged your wrong in that statement.

As for non-targets being misguided, I feel that may honestly depend on the nontarget you go to. I go to a school that maybe 2-3 MM IBs will hold interviews on campus, and maybe ~5-6 have resume drops (mainly through alum). Most people have no idea what investment banking is, but they know the pay is great, the hours are terrible, and the reputation is notorious. Instead, many finance kids are generally pushed to do accounting because we are a massive Big 4 feeder school with tons of kids heading to Big 4. We have some wall street clubs, but our school resources are very limited. It honestly doesn't help when the vast majority of the kids in the Wall Street clubs are douchebags. Only very recently has there been a big push for kids to head to Wall Street, but it has been successful.

May 17, 2014

I go to a Top 15 public and we have your typical IB club, finance club, etc. however most people try for either F500 corporate finance or real estate (top real estate program). Most of the time when I tell people I'm going for IB they ask for a stock tip. The top students here are pretty smart, but most don't know the first thing about networking. I'd say the IB club probably has it down best, but most other kids simply rely on speakers at club meetings or career fairs. It baffles me that personal networking isn't stressed more. After doing my own personal research on IB, I ended up sending out close to 500 emails and doing around 100 networking calls and recently accepted an SA offer at a boutique in LA. I have a 3.0 and my school isn't some brand name that will make every banker on Wall Street drop their pants for me, but I networked my ass off and was able to build a connection with some guys.

tl;dr Networking is the most important skill for a non-target kid, yet non-target schools put zero emphasis on it. Oh well, less competition for me.

May 17, 2014

I attend what I would consider a semi-target for IB and a non-target for consulting. Our school has BB recruiting on campus for IB, but there are many, many more students who go to the Big 4. What I have seen, and what I believe to be true is that every student has their own personal idea of success, and I feel like no one should judge them for what that student's definition of success is. Plenty of my peers in my program have been much more successful than me in the classroom, and they are 100% happy with working in Big 4 audit. However, that is not my goal, and I would not feel successful if that is where I ultimately worked. This is do mainly because it does not interest me, but if they enjoy the work, then who am I to judge them for "settling" for an audit position. Also, I know the majority of us on WSO are gunners, but a corp fin/ops/audit position is a very good place to start your career if you look at the big picture.

I also believe that people who want these "high finance" positions will do what is necessary to get them. Yes, your school may have disadvantaged your chances, but I believe for the most part people who really want these positions will make it happen. Albeit, it may not be undergraduate, but in due time. Honestly, not many kids at my school give a shit where you go after graduation. A supply chain job is equal to a marketing gig is equal to big 4 audit. Only the finance kids get worked up over placement, which makes sense because 90% do it for the prestige and assumption that they will be CEO 10k a day. That sentiment changes after year 1.

May 17, 2014

This thread has made me realize one thing- that going to a non-target that actually has a grip on reality is worth something...

May 17, 2014

I can echo a lot of what has been said in here. At my school, Big 4 accounting is seen as the holy grail and the majority of finance students couldnt tell you the difference between buy and sell side, what IB is, what a DCF is, etc.(and neither could I when I was there). Finance was more or less the "bro" major because the majority of kids had the test banks and never showed up to class - so it was full of sorostitues/frat bros/stoners and the vast majority did nothing finance related after graduation.

However, I am really tired of the general sentiment on this site that getting into IB out of a non-target is some sort of mindblowing achievement that should be celebrated by all those around you. Nobody cares about what your doing. Nobody knows what your actually doing. Stop correcting people and trying to educate them on IB just to stroke your own ego that you "broke in". The only people who think thats cool are the 19-year old awkward kids shooting you cold emails and jacking off to threads about what group has the best PE exit ops.

May 18, 2014

@jss09 a 100% accurate description of my alma matter. At my school, most finance majors didn't even go into Big 4. Most finance majors go into insurance sales, become financial planners, or are just fuck heads without real jobs. Our accounting program is considered "prestigious" and Big 4 is placed on a pedestal. Nobody knows what high finance is - I was in the same group and partly why I am working Big 4 and hoping to break into high finance at this point.

May 17, 2014

The truth is a really funny thing. You could tell it to someone right in his face backed with tons of evidence and he still wouldn't believe you. Even if you had the best intentions, he would just rebuke you.

Obviously you could have rephrased it to be more tactful, but you're the not the first one who tried to tell people the truth in order to improve things only to get shunned for it.

So now, just focus on yourself and forget about the rest. It's their choice so why should you waste your time acting as a crusader? Besides even if they were aware, it wouldn't make much of difference since high finance really loves prestige and will still pick a target school any day. Not only that but you now have more competition.

Just let them live in their bubble.

May 17, 2014
boredviewer:

It's their choice so why should you waste your time acting as a crusader?

Not just a crusader, at that point you begin to act as the mother / mentor / father. It's a legit time sink, and not the best investment unless they approach you for help.

But yea, @"boredviewer", I agree

May 18, 2014

I did not read any responses after the OP's post, but I completely agree with the OP. I hate the un-amibitious people I go to school with who think making 45/k a year is the shit.

May 18, 2014

My non-target is a huge Big 4 feeder, and the rest of OCR is dominated by F500 BO/MO. Every now and again, a boutique advisory or trading firm will stop by the career fair, and that is it for the finance representation here. Our accounting school is very good - Top 15. The rest of the business school lacks horribly, and I would not say the students here are misguided, they simply are not guided at all unless it involves Big 4. Hidden in the depths of the finance department is a student ran investment fund ($1mm AUM) and the CFA Research Program. Both feed 1 or 2 kids straight into the buyside every year, but they are not advertised and are not found by anyone unless they have an underlying desire to locate those resources themselves.

Personally, I love that I don't have much competition here for high finance. I hear a lot of people around here sing the "I want to work in IB" song, but hardly anyone pursues that statement any further than to brag about being a finance major. The only difference between going to a target and non-target in my opinion is the brand name and network between the two. Finance and accounting are not rocket science - if someone has the drive to even google investment banking and spend half an hour reading what needs to be done, then I don't doubt that they're smart enough to follow through and execute. Its the underlying passion and desire which make or break getting in from a non-target school. Anything taught in the classroom can either be found in a book or online for free.

Anyone who has the drive to take that workload under their arms, pound the networking pavement and find a high finance position is also intelligent enough to realize that that the "ideal" route to success as generalized here on WSO and elsewhere as Target -> 2+2+2 -> BSD is not the only way to break in, and will be able to make things happen on their own.

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May 18, 2014

Thank you for explaining this in a way that is - apparently - far more eloquent than I ever could. People on here are so worked up about their special claim to being a special kid in a special job, that no non-target kid could ever hope to achieve.

Perhaps that wasn't so eloquent either. Whoops.

May 20, 2014

SB for you! It's so refreshing to hear this. And you're right -- even at my school, a lot of people sing "praises" of IB and how "they'll network [soon]" but very rarely follow through. By that token, though, aren't the kids who seek out the CFA research program you mentioned and the investment fund the ones that are most likely to get into IB? It's not because they get those experiences, but because they know what they want and are looking for any avenue to help them do so? And since competition is as low as you said, alumni will be happy to chat with them about more interesting things than this.

May 20, 2014

Yeah of course the students who enter those programs are going to be more ambitious than the rest, but thats only one piece of the puzzle. Out of that group of students you have to figure in that the majority are still not as up to par with their networking efforts/internships as they could be at that point (since those programs recruit only upperclassmen/MBA students), and due to a lack of alumni in IB, there are actually more kids going straight to the buyside than banking. The alumni response to networking from here has always been positive, though. I got my last internship through a cold e-mail to an alum.

May 19, 2014

It's kinda ironic how you're criticizing how these peoples attribute their self worth, when you are likely just as insecure and risk averse as they are. Most people pick IB because of they feel the need to prove their self worth through prestige. That's partly why target school kids are so interested in IB, it's like another two years school - guaranteed prestige among peers without taking realcareer risk.

You're giving yourself too much credit, the truth is if wso and m&i weren't available, you along with many other kids here wouldn't even bother shooting for IB either. You are just as afraid of disapproval as your classmates, you have just learned to cope with it differently.

Edit: I hope mods close this thread because this is one of the worst circle jerks I've seen here.

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May 19, 2014

If you mean me, then you're not wrong. At risk of throwing myself into the "self deprecating" or whatever bull shit that the guy above talked about, I admittedly do possess some of the flaws you mentioned. It is human, I believe. I mentioned all the "special"-ness with regard to how people in this topic can't seem to fathom the thought that someone not from H/S/W could possibly have been given the short end of the stick; that everything is right and non-targets deserve to stay where they are because they didn't work hard enough. I just don't think people attribute enough of their success to outside influences, something I've said a ton of times on this site before.

But yeah someone should shut this circus down. Screw this thread lol.

May 21, 2014
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May 21, 2014
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"Never settle for less"

Jan 18, 2015
Jan 23, 2015
Jan 23, 2015
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Greed is Good!