where is all the diversity

From browsing on this forum, it seems banks put a big emphasis on diversity but from looking at LinkedIn i can barely find anybody who is Hispanic or black. I don't agree that race and gender should be taken into consideration but from what I have seen there are not a lot of investment bankers who are black and Hispanic. yes I know women (mostly all white and Asian women) are also considered diversity but I would have thought there were more African Americans and Hispanics. am I missing something or are banks not that good at diversity?

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Comments (55)

Jul 11, 2020 - 2:22pm

maybe people apply as black and hispanic and theyre not. There is also the possibility that since these programs are for interns many of those diversity candidates are not qualified enough to make it through and get the full time offer (remember the main reason they are there to begin with is skin color- not ability)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jul 11, 2020 - 11:16pm

There is some truth to people applying as URMs when they're not truly URM.

Anecdotal, but I know at least three people going to BBs who applied through SEO and are classified as Hispanic when in reality they're a 1/4 Hispanic, 3/4 white, 100% white-passing, and raised entirely white. Banks are truly just out for getting the statistic; I don't think they care about actually having a diverse workforce at all.

Also, know a psychotic Filipino guy with a Hispanic-sounding last name who lied about being Hispanic and he's in SEO and MLT.

Jul 11, 2020 - 11:21pm

You are 100% spot on. Banks just need to fill a data field in their system with "black" or "hispanic" they couldn't give a shit what they are in reality. Its all a facade that American firms have been forced to play into for the past 3 decades.

  • Intern in IB - ECM
Jul 12, 2020 - 4:02pm

I'd like to know your thoughts on legacies because there are a lot of unqualified legacies that do get the FT offer, but they don't ever get as much hate. Let's not pretend that every white males are always way better candidates, yet the industry is still dominated by them.

Jul 12, 2020 - 6:24pm
Brownfield Capital:

maybe people apply as black and hispanic and theyre not. There is also the possibility that since these programs are for interns many of those diversity candidates are not qualified enough to make it through and get the full time offer (remember the main reason they are there to begin with is skin color- not ability)



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Jul 17, 2020 - 4:19pm

This is a direct impact of systematic racism and the wealth gap - it has nothing to do with Banks not wanting to hire minorities. Trust me, they really do.

Banks hire analyst classes from target schools. That's all you need to know. Who make up these target schools? Well for BBs, mostly Ivy League schools, who have bosses who went there as well. The minority levels there are quite low.

Well, what about banking in Atlanta, Dallas, Chiago or Chicago? Same thing. Target schools there are either sub-Ivys (SMU, Duke, U Chicago) or the major state schools (UNC, UGA, 'Bama, Florida). These schools are also predominantly white. Moreover, the ones who know at 18 or 19 years old that they want to be Bankers, are already taking the steps to do so because someone in their family told them what to do. That all matters, as bankers have almost all been white in the previous generation.

It's tough, and for banking in particular (not so much consulting... that's quite diverse), I think programs that target diversity and have slots for minorities is needed. Trust me - they're not "taking someone elses spot."

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 11, 2020 - 3:16pm

Maybe hispanics and blacks gravitate towards law and medicine instead?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 11, 2020 - 3:25pm

This is generally true in my experience. The hispanic and black colleagues and friends I have always gravitated towards these two career paths. Don't know why but I know some of their parents instilled that these were the only paths to success for them.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 11, 2020 - 3:55pm

Well from my experience two reasons 1) Finance has a piss poor reputation 2) Being a lawyer or doctor has a strong connection with wealth, education and is deemed more valuable. This is a broad generalization but being a banker may yield earnings that trumps a doctor or lawyer however it doesn't have the same "prestige" and recognition by potential wives or husbands, friends or extended family.

Jul 11, 2020 - 4:27pm

but probably because there is discrimination in finance

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 11, 2020 - 4:53pm

Yeah pretty much an issue that wouldn't surprise me at all . I don't immediately think of finance as inclusive when you're not born into the right social and economic class or go to a non target let alone a skin colour that isn't associated with finance and subject to discrimination.

Jul 11, 2020 - 11:25pm

If you actually spent two minutes thinking about this situation with a clear and honest mind you would see that yes there is discrimination- but its based on income and wealth/connections. It doesnt matter if youre a black dude, if youre black and grew up next to will smith and have rich connections- youll have NO problem getting a job in finance. Many white/asian folks from low income families face the same struggles as black/hispanic from the same income.

Jul 13, 2020 - 6:37am

Very much true.

Most of the ambitious minorities I know head down the corporate law or medicine track. Very few aim to go into finance, tech or consulting.

A considerable number also do traditional engineering (particularly O&G) but that's not quite as "prestigious" or high paying so probably not comparable. Also not that many IIRC heading into corporate jobs or LDPs. Minorities in general seem to be lacking in representation in the business world outside of corporate law.

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Jul 11, 2020 - 9:59pm

URMs are by definition under-represented. If the bank wants more of them, it has to either lower its standards for URMs or it has to recruit more URMs to apply.

Recruiting more URMs sounds great because it's not discriminatory, but it may not be practical because at these top schools everyone has heard of IB.

So realistically, the bank needs to reserve spots for diversity programs and do whatever else to guarantee that X number of URMs are hired into each class. That is, if they want to hit their targets.

  • Prospect in S&T - FI
Jul 11, 2020 - 11:10pm

I'm half hispanic (mom is Hispanic) and I qualify for diversity programs so it could be possible that some of the people on LinkedIn are indeed Hispanic but don't appear to be Hispanic. (I'm mixed with clear Hispanic traits, but pass as white)

Jul 12, 2020 - 12:29am

Back at your sister's dorm room's where it's at


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

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  • Anonymous Monkey
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Jul 12, 2020 - 8:57am

To actually answer your question in a non-racist, non-retarded way OP, it's because Black and Hispanic communities a) don't see finance as a good career path, b) because finance is full of soft racism and c) the gatekeeping and prestige-driven nature.

Black communities have historically been fucked by the financial community. Banks in the aftermath of the Civil War refused to allow Black people to deposit their money, so the federal government created the Freedman's Bank that accepted Black deposits. However, even that bank was racist, and refused to give mortgages and business loans to Black people - basically they were taking money from Black people and lending it to white people. This has been common as fuck in US history, from Black people being discriminated against in federal New Deal programs in the Great Depression and redlining that prevented Black people from getting cheap homes in the 50s-90s. Black communities were just starting to thrive in the 2000s until the Great Financial Crisis, which hit Black people much harder than white people, basically wiping out 20 years of gains since Clinton ended redlining. The Black community has always been skeptical and mistrusting of banks and the financial community.

B is pretty obvious, finance is full of rich white men who (no matter how good intentioned) have their implicit biases and prefer to recruit people who look, talk, and act like them. Just look at the study about resumes, where 2 completely same resumes but one with a Black name like Jamaal and the other with a white one like Tyler. The white resume found way more success.

And C, the systemic racism of A and other factors had led to an enormous wealth gap between white and Black people. The average white family has a net worth of $171,000. The average Black family has net worth of $17,000. Think about the how important connections, "fitting in," and going to a top tier school is for getting into IB. All 3 are significantly correlated with wealth. Dartmouth University is 6% Black, despite Black people being 13% of the population. And taking in the self selection from A and the racism from B, it's easy to see why IB is still a white dominated field.

Jul 12, 2020 - 10:43am

I know this is a common metric for diversity topics, but I think we should stop comparing demographics between small sub population of X institution with the general population. The main issue is that there is too much variance for both the groups of people self selecting in and self selecting out of these institutions for these comparisons to be useful.

For instance, you say Dartmouth having only 6% black students is a problem because this group makes up 13% of the population. But the student population here doesn't reflect the general population in dozens of ways, yet we choose a single metric - race - and say that it should. The reality is that the population of kids who want to go to private school in rural New Hampshire is itself already a very non-representative group.

You can say historic racism has played a part in excluding black people from this group, and I would agree with you, but at some point we have to accept that different groups of people value different things, and leaving your home to go to school miles away is something that is more appealing to some groups than others.

Hell, I would argue that middle class white people from public schools are on of the most underrepresented group at a place like Dartmouth - it's simply much more common to go to your large in state public university for this demographic. This isn't due to discrimination though, people in these communities simply prefer to be near their friend and families.

This dynamic is true for Wall Street too. There's a very specific group of people who want to work in this field. Again, even middle class white people have no clue what investment banking is - they mostly think it's selling stocks. Do we really expect these people to be the same as the general population, all discrimination historic or present removed? I have not seen any evidence that middle class whites, Hispanics, or blacks value working in M&A enough to tip the scale toward a representative level.

Similarly, women who live in societies with more gender equality are counterintuitively less likely to pursue high paying careers. But this makes sense when you think about it, women are perfectly content with not working 100 weeks if they're free to choose their own path. They value different things.

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Jul 12, 2020 - 11:48am

Well said...

If most of the clients are white, who are you going to hire the black guy or the white guy who looks and sounds like the clients and the hiring manager.

Jul 17, 2020 - 7:00pm

Except finance isn't a white dominated field given the # And % of Asians and Indians who btw actually face more discrimination if you look at the resume studies you're referencing than any group (fewer call backs than black/Hispanic). Not a widely mentioned fact

Jul 13, 2020 - 6:48am

No, actually they mean the token minorities who went to Deerfield, Andover, Exeter or Stuyvesant, TJHSST or Eton, Harrow or {insert top grammar school} etc who have well to-do parents. Or for the private schools, were middle class kids given a chance via financial aid to mix with the elites of the world.

Additionally they also mean emerging markets kids who grew up jet-setting the world and went to international schools with professional parents working as expats or super wealthy kids from those locales with parents in high places.

At least that's been my experience in college / during recruiting / at work. Rare to meet a bonafide working class / lower middle class minority kid in these professional circles.

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Jul 13, 2020 - 7:08am

I tend to agree. Every time I am asked to attend a 'diversity' or 'inclusion' event for recruiting purposes, I am hoping to meet someone who actually comes from a disadvantaged background who has faced some real struggles and really wants to be there. I don't mind meeting already privileged URMs from Harvard, but I don't feel they deserve a special reception. Similarly, if I were forced to meet with the son or daughter of a client or an investor, I'd take the meeting because it's good business. Do I want that kid on my team, though? For me, the answer to that question is based entirely on the kid. If I wanted to hire someone else, and was compelled to hire a person I didn't feel was especially qualified, I'd have a problem with that.

That's the root problem with D&I programs. It's the same problem you see with affirmative action. A lot of the most qualified URMs don't want to be associated with AA or 'diversity' programs because they know it makes them look like they didn't deserve the job. Perversely, a lot of the well-connected sons and daughters of white privilege don't seem to have a problem flouting their status (probably because they don't think they're unqualified when they leave a lot to be desired).

I'm not sure what the solution is. If you hire more URMs because they are URMs, you are going to lower your standards unless there is a massive glut of qualified URMs waiting in the wings somewhere. An earlier posted made the point that everyone at Harvard already knows about Goldman, so an information campaign won't do much. If companies want to change their existing demographics, they simply need to hire more URMs and do more to retain them. That probably means lowering standards and coddling people throughout their careers. I think that's foolish, but society has gone a little batty recently, so maybe that's a choice shareholders would support.

  • Summer Associate in Other
Jul 15, 2020 - 6:55pm

i'm hispanic, a girl, and also working class. my biggest mistake in undergrad was not participating in SEO. For some reason I foolishly thought I didn't need the program at the time, but it could have made everything so much easier. With all this constant diversity discourse, I can't help but feel that the future is actually crazy bleak. But oh well, there's nothing else i'd rather be working towards

Jul 17, 2020 - 12:27pm

Idk if you heard but TJHSST this year admitted a grand total of TWO black/hispanic kids for a ~450 graduating class lmao. At least the hope with TJ/Stuy is that you get working class, average urm families producing elite students. Unfortunately, most of the diversity kids end up coming from the Deerfields, Exeters, and Etons, where the struggles they encountered are likely slim to none.

Jul 12, 2020 - 11:48pm

One reason why you probably see less URMs than expected despite banks boasting their improving recruitment efforts is that the finance industry still has a difficult time RETAINING black and brown employees. While these firms host diversity summits and bootcamps to try and 'close the gap,' diversity and inclusion are two different beasts. The reality is that more URM interns and junior employees are entering the door but they still have a harder time than their counterparts when it comes to seamlessly immersing themselves into the culture of the industry. This is especially the case in highly intense, culture-centric roles, such as IB and PE.

Jul 13, 2020 - 2:12pm

I think the inclusion aspect would probably solve the diversity part. if it was inclusive then we wouldn't need to worry about about diversity as a quota or anything like that.

I think there's something to be said though about inclusive by definition and outwardly and overly welcoming and pandering to certain groups. But either way if people felt comfortable there'd be nothing to worry about because it would be people just not liking what finance is. which should be considered- how many educated AA like finance over being engineers doctors lawyers etc. and does it really need to change I'm not sure.

in an industry that inherently has high turnover I'm not sure why coddling is necessary. again, no one actually cares about diversity to that extreme because it adds little to no real value other than value people dream of.

Jul 17, 2020 - 4:52am

Let's be real. If wall street was actually diverse, it wouldn't be wall street. Finance is like de beers diamonds; it creates demand through artificial scarcity of supply. None of the entry level jobs on wall street are particularly hard. In fact, most intelligent+interested people could succeed in analyst roles within a few months of training and experience.

The great irony in all of this diversity and inclusion BS, is that wall st "wants" these minorities, but only the ones that go to Harvard or similar schools. Thats not really diversity, is it?

Random fact
Depending on your interpretation of history, Its called WALL st because it was used as a wall to keep out natives. It is literally designed to be exclusionary.

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