I know this forum and Wall Street as a whole places a large premium in prestige, and so have I (not willingly but just the way I was raised I guess) but it's really a race you cannot win. Remember how happy you were when you got into Harvard, Yale, or Princeton? Well, once you get in, you're not gonna be happy until you get into/MS, and then you're still not gonna be happy because you need to get into a top buyout shop like or hedge fund like .
Then there's business school - even if youre a pre-MBA associate at KKR you're not gonna be happy until you get into HBS, and then you're not gonna be happy until you get a post-associate at KKR/, and then you want to move up, and then you want to be MD/Partner.
And then you're just getting started. Think you'll be satisfied then? Partners bicker every year for bonuses, committee positions, C-level positions, etc. And then you have to worry about your kids getting into Andover and Exeter, and HYP, and the cycle starts all over again
Shit doesn't end. I'm very focused on the "prestige track" and I'm doing well on it, but I hate how shit doesn't end
And I'm happiest when I'm with friends and family, not when I'm thinking of how highly ranked my school/bank is. Personal relationships are what make you happy, not $100 million -- its weird to say that as a lecture but it's so true. Friends of mine were rich enough to buy $20k watches and were still miserable.