What's the actual advantage of being at a target / super target coming from a very normal background for recruiting?

Super targets = Harvard Yale Princeton Penn Stanford ChicagoTargets = Duke Northwestern and the likes.

Very normal background = no connections, not rich (so can't fly to a place for networking for example), might not be in any finance-related clubs, maybe non-diversity.

I'm at a non-target that banks post internships/jobs on Handshake as "Apply Externally", but no banks post interviews in the "On-campus interview" section. I'm curious if students at target got interviews mostly from jobs/internships posted on Handshake/Symplicity as "Apply" or have banking interview applications in the "On-campus recruiting" in Handshake/Symplicity, or most opportunities are actually from clubs, or they just apply online, and whichever resume having a target school name will automatically be routed to the school's recruiting team at banks.

Or the actual advantage lies in the huge no. alumni in finance. Do target students have to network as hard as nontargets?

I know for consulting, the school recruiting team can be easily found online (e.g: McKinsey website -> on-campus -> enter school name), but it's not public for banks.

It's best if you can tell what school (sepcifically or in super target/target bracket) you were/are and how was your recruiting experience.

Thank you for your time!

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (17)

Oct 9, 2021 - 10:05am

I went to one of the better SEC schools. Only regional banks recruit on campus and even then only from a select few clubs. A handful of kids get MBB, but they all had near 4.0's. Less than 10 or so kids go to a BB each year, and all those kids were in the same club. A bank like Goldman Sachs simply doesn't recruit at my school. We have a huge alumni network, but far less than 1% work on Wall Street so your networking is limited to corporate finance roles.

Going to a target school opens up opportunities you simply will not have access to from even a good lower ranked school. Doesn't mean you can't get a good job - just means you won't get that prestige so many people on this website obsess over.

Most Helpful
  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Oct 9, 2021 - 10:59am

I went to one of the schools you listed. The main advantages are:

1) opportunities that aren't available at other places - so PE/HF firms will recruit, smaller/hard to break into places will be there. Some of these won't even have online career sites so you can't really apply without networking or through the "target" schools

2) network - obviously lots of alumni who work in finance. So more opportunity to network and to get help 

3) on campus recruiting - as you noted banks/consulting firms/etc come on campus. Getting an interview on campus is MUCH easier than applying online. The firm is already on campus, and they usually have 15-50 spots for interviews. So it is cheap for them to "screen" candidates on campus and then bring them to the office for a superday

#3 is a huge and advantage. I knew people with 3.0 type GPAs who got interviews on campus at the banks. 

Oct 9, 2021 - 4:43pm

So if I understand correctly, banks and HF/PE will post their on campus interviews on Handshake/Symplicity's On-campus Interview section, which everyone at the school can see it, not just a job with the "Apply Externally" button.

And do top hedge funds focus on OCR mostly at super targets?

  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Oct 9, 2021 - 5:28pm

Yes at these schools the application is internally, it isn't some link to the company site (unless things have changed a lot since I graduated)

As for HFs each one will have their own set of targets, but in general they will focus on a small set of schools (looking for fewer candidates, have specific needs, etc). There isn't some standard set of schools, but the ones that are generally well regarded are as expected (Harvard, Princeton, UPenn, etc). That being said more quant like funds will focus on schools stronger in math/CS (MIT) while others more on econ and traditional "finance" schools (UPenn). 

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
  • Prospect in IB - CB
Oct 9, 2021 - 2:01pm

Just wanted to add that I'm pretty sure Northwestern is only a target for consulting and around a semitarget for finance. The experience for finance opportunities at a established target school like Duke vs NU are very different.

Oct 11, 2021 - 6:54pm

It's HYPennStanford

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

  • Prospect in AM - Other
Oct 11, 2021 - 8:26pm

I go to Penn. Honestly, on-campus recruiting is overrated as all the major firms interview before the fall and so the only companies left and do OCR isn't that ideal. The biggest benefit to going to a target is that you can just apply online or handshake with 0 networking and get a ton of interviews. I got interviews at Mckinsey and BCG when I didn't really want to do consulting and just cold applied. 

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Oct 11, 2021 - 8:35pm

I was a top student at a "super-target" as you put it. During recruiting, going to a top 3 BB was my backup plan. I look at these massive state schools with like 10000 kids in the undergraduate business school and 5000 of them majoring in finance, and like 10 going to BB FO when my school doesnt even have 10k students total and sends like 300-400 to FO each year, and I realize how lucky I am to go where I go. Going to a target school is huge.

Just wanna clarify, going to a target doesn't guarantee you a top 3 BB or anything by any stretch. However, if you do everything right like this forum tells you to do, and you try as hard during recruiting as a nontarget who gets into banking does, you are guaranteed to get opportunities that nontargets just don't have access to, and I would argue at that point you would be guaranteed a top 3 BB honestly.

  • Investment Analyst in AM - FI
Oct 16, 2021 - 5:59am

I'm genuinely curious, is going to a "Top3 BB" the pinnacle of success for you? What about kids that get FO "high finance" roles in HF/AM/MMPE/ER that never wanted to do ibanking in the first place

Oct 17, 2021 - 10:23pm

Aliquid blanditiis esse soluta iste dolore. Et repellat rerum aspernatur et.

Est id placeat repellat eligendi. Rerum et at ut tenetur quia et non qui. Et asperiores omnis suscipit et nam sed sint. Error perferendis tenetur vel sint autem. Autem eaque facilis eos itaque. Est delectus non impedit praesentium vitae maiores.

Odio distinctio corrupti aliquid. Et iure harum id. Quia quae magnam iusto id.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

October 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (39) $363
  • Associates (229) $233
  • 2nd Year Analyst (137) $154
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (31) $147
  • Intern/Summer Associate (104) $143
  • 1st Year Analyst (501) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (387) $83