Why is I-Banking so selective?

JohnBrohan's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 500

Obviously we all know investment banking is a very selective field to get into, but I'd love answers on why they seek the kids from the most elite schools, and what intellectual horsepower does the job really need, vs. trading, etc. Is it more the work ethic and well adjustedness they seek in that field, or do you really need to be the kid who was in science research in high school and won prizes?

Comments (48)

May 26, 2013

they seek kids from elite schools because of the network. if the goal of ibanking is to mint new md's u need rich ass clients and therefore connections. u cant get those connections from non-ivies

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May 26, 2013
investmentpimp:

they seek kids from elite schools because of the network. if the goal of ibanking is to mint new md's u need rich ass clients and therefore connections. u cant get those connections from non-ivies

It's pretty rare that a comment is stupid enough for me to take time out of my day to respond. But yikes, this is just overwhelmingly stupid.

May 26, 2013

short answer 1: because they can afford to.

short answer 2: because it reflects well on them. If you surround yourself with hotshots from HYP, then it makes it easier for you to think you're also a hotshot. Self-congratulation.

Long answer: too lazy for that.

May 26, 2013

1. You need HYP kids to do business with HYP clients. That's why they want kids from elite schools; there are more alums from target schools
2. It's not a tough job that anyone, with a certain period of time, can learn how to run basic models on excel. You don't need a math & computer science genius to build an extremely complicated quantitative model for IBD. (relatively) Easy money if you can work hard, so a lot of people, especially from the middle class family, wanna get in.
3. It is almost the easiest FO job you can get in Finance. S&T/research needs the passion of markets, but IBD only looks for broad/general qualities (same applies to consulting). if you disagree on this then good luck with getting a job at buyside top funds

May 26, 2013
Xaipe:

1. You need HYP kids to do business with HYP clients. That's why they want kids from elite schools; there are more alums from target schools

It's pretty rare that a comment is stupid enough for me to take time out of my day to respond. But yikes, this is just overwhelmingly stupid.

May 26, 2013
FrankD'anconia:
Xaipe:

1. You need HYP kids to do business with HYP clients. That's why they want kids from elite schools; there are more alums from target schools

It's pretty rare that a comment is stupid enough for me to take time out of my day to respond. But yikes, this is just overwhelmingly stupid.

Without the alums from your school represented in the firm, no ocr at your school then. Rich people have higher chance of graduating from good schools (normally because kids have good schools have more opps) When your client goes to the same school, you do have one more "excuse" to approach him if you are a salesman or MD. It is a people business, i am just saying an idea, not in "absolute" terms.

May 30, 2013
Xaipe:

1. You need HYP kids to do business with HYP clients. That's why they want kids from elite schools; there are more alums from target schools
2. It's not a tough job that anyone, with a certain period of time, can learn how to run basic models on excel. You don't need a math & computer science genius to build an extremely complicated quantitative model for IBD. (relatively) Easy money if you can work hard, so a lot of people, especially from the middle class family, wanna get in.
3. It is almost the easiest FO job you can get in Finance. S&T/research needs the passion of markets, but IBD only looks for broad/general qualities (same applies to consulting). if you disagree on this then good luck with getting a job at buyside top funds

May 26, 2013

lol it's just part of the culture of investment banks... people accept this practice of taking HYP kids only and the elite MD's from HBS only want to take other elite school kids. If they can afford to, why not hire the best kids who will theoretically do a better job than the non target kids? (though with the weird ass admissions processes of top colleges, some people are starting to lose faith in the "system")

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May 26, 2013

They're presentable (both in person and on paper) and they only hire relatively few so if everything else is equal, why not?

May 26, 2013

keep in mind that occaisionally, BBs hire analysts from non-target schools "without much of a network" because analysts are not expected to go up that ladder - they're expected to quit after 2 years. Furthermore, analysts in BBs almost never are placed in front of a client so it's fine if they're some non-target schools.

However from associate and beyond (so called "career bankers") they will always have pedigree, since noone wants a UAlabama grad in front of a client - they want an M7 MBA, or at least a solid Ugrad degree.

May 26, 2013
crucifix.:

keep in mind that occaisionally, BBs hire analysts from non-target schools "without much of a network" because analysts are not expected to go up that ladder - they're expected to quit after 2 years. Furthermore, analysts in BBs almost never are placed in front of a client so it's fine if they're some non-target schools.

However from associate and beyond (so called "career bankers") they will always have pedigree, since noone wants a UAlabama grad in front of a client - they want an M7 MBA, or at least a solid Ugrad degree.

What percentage would define "occasionally"? Is it 50-50 target/non target at Barclays/UBS/CS?

May 26, 2013
tkid3400:
crucifix.:

keep in mind that occaisionally, BBs hire analysts from non-target schools "without much of a network" because analysts are not expected to go up that ladder - they're expected to quit after 2 years. Furthermore, analysts in BBs almost never are placed in front of a client so it's fine if they're some non-target schools.
However from associate and beyond (so called "career bankers") they will always have pedigree, since noone wants a UAlabama grad in front of a client - they want an M7 MBA, or at least a solid Ugrad degree.

What percentage would define "occasionally"? Is it 50-50 target/non target at Barclays/UBS/CS?

I don't think you can put a percentage on this. There are some groups that year that will get alot of what we think of as non target kids for summer or full time. So it depends on group and definitely location. I think you will see the typical target type candidates in New York more.

May 27, 2013
crucifix.:

keep in mind that occaisionally, BBs hire analysts from non-target schools "without much of a network" because analysts are not expected to go up that ladder - they're expected to quit after 2 years. Furthermore, analysts in BBs almost never are placed in front of a client so it's fine if they're some non-target schools.

However from associate and beyond (so called "career bankers") they will always have pedigree, since noone wants a UAlabama grad in front of a client - they want an M7 MBA, or at least a solid Ugrad degree.

I see what you're saying, but who exactly are these clients who would only accept, listen to, or buy from a person who went to HYP? Not every rich doctor, lawyer, etc. went to such kind of schools. Or is it more for the international crowd, who the only familiar American schools are HYP? If its all about selling stuff, whats the real difference between IBD and PWM aside from prestige?

May 27, 2013
crucifix.:

keep in mind that occaisionally, BBs hire analysts from non-target schools "without much of a network" because analysts are not expected to go up that ladder - they're expected to quit after 2 years. Furthermore, analysts in BBs almost never are placed in front of a client so it's fine if they're some non-target schools.

However from associate and beyond (so called "career bankers") they will always have pedigree, since noone wants a UAlabama grad in front of a client - they want an M7 MBA, or at least a solid Ugrad degree.

What???? Clients don't care where you went to college. They just care that you know your shit and are personable.

It is because you need kids to work hard and can learn a lot quickly.

May 26, 2013

Man, some of these responses are so ridiculous.

There is one and only one reason why IB is so selective, numbers.

There are a limited amount of IB jobs per year with many multiples of qualified people that want said jobs. Hence it is selective. Simple as that. If you are a BB and need to fill 25 analyst spots you are way more selective than say a big 4 that needs hundreds of analysts, or even more so industry that needs thousands of analysts.

Supply and demand, nothing more nothing less.

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May 27, 2013
ke18sb:

Man, some of these responses are so ridiculous.

There is one and only one reason why IB is so selective, numbers.

There are a limited amount of IB jobs per year with many multiples of qualified people that want said jobs. Hence it is selective. Simple as that. If you are a BB and need to fill 25 analyst spots you are way more selective than say a big 4 that needs hundreds of analysts, or even more so industry that needs thousands of analysts.

Supply and demand, nothing more nothing less.

I agree with this, but banks still take even bad candidates at targets. They wine and dine HYP kids and really try hard to bring them on board. If there are tons of talented candidates, who can do the job well, then why would so many resources be expended on target kids? If it's due to supply/demand then why not just have a resume drop at HYP? It's part of the high life culture and branding of banks, and it's something that wasn't questioned until the advent of sites like WSO. Taking target kids just like they always have, because it's always been that way, and because it has always worked out well, though IB prep programs like Indiana's are slowly changing things. Lots of state school kids in Chi/Hou. Ultimately, it's due to aggressive lobbying by alum of the schools that want more of their own in.

May 27, 2013
tkid3400:

I agree with this, but banks still take even bad candidates at targets. They wine and dine HYP kids and really try hard to bring them on board. If there are tons of talented candidates, who can do the job well, then why would so many resources be expended on target kids? If it's due to supply/demand then why not just have a resume drop at HYP? It's part of the high life culture and branding of banks, and it's something that wasn't questioned until the advent of sites like WSO. Taking target kids just like they always have, because it's always been that way, and because it has always worked out well, though IB prep programs like Indiana's are slowly changing things. Lots of state school kids in Chi/Hou. Ultimately, it's due to aggressive lobbying by alum of the schools that want more of their own in.

What the hell are you talking about?

Array

May 27, 2013

^ not saying they always have to be from specifically HYP, but 99% of them are from top schools. This is different from the stories you hear of non-targets breaking into BB IBD. That's from the analyst position (monkey slapped into a cubicle to pump out excel models and quit after 2 years). Those stories almost never happen for associates. It's kind of like consulting - rarely any consultant from MBB holds a non-top 10 MBA.

Keep in mind that investment banking is "ADVISORY". Basically the bank is giving advice to its clients. Now put yourself in the clients shoes - would you listen to the advice of a person who got their degree from Penn State, or from an ivy? Of course there are exceptions (and I'll probably get s**t on by all the non-targets lurking these forums) but beyond the associate level, pedigree isn't just "an addition" - it's almost a necessity.

May 27, 2013
crucifix.:

^ not saying they always have to be from specifically HYP, but 99% of them are from top schools. This is different from the stories you hear of non-targets breaking into BB IBD. That's from the analyst position (monkey slapped into a cubicle to pump out excel models and quit after 2 years). Those stories almost never happen for associates. It's kind of like consulting - rarely any consultant from MBB holds a non-top 10 MBA.

Keep in mind that investment banking is "ADVISORY". Basically the bank is giving advice to its clients. Now put yourself in the clients shoes - would you listen to the advice of a person who got their degree from Penn State, or from an ivy? Of course there are exceptions (and I'll probably get s**t on by all the non-targets lurking these forums) but beyond the associate level, pedigree isn't just "an addition" - it's almost a necessity.

What kind of stats does it take to get into a place like Tuck, Haas or Fuqua these days? Can a 3.5 at a top 100 school with a 700 GMAT in corporate finance still get in and make the transition to IB associate or are those days gone? (because of the competition)

May 27, 2013
crucifix.:

^ not saying they always have to be from specifically HYP, but 99% of them are from top schools. This is different from the stories you hear of non-targets breaking into BB IBD. That's from the analyst position (monkey slapped into a cubicle to pump out excel models and quit after 2 years). Those stories almost never happen for associates. It's kind of like consulting - rarely any consultant from MBB holds a non-top 10 MBA.

Keep in mind that investment banking is "ADVISORY". Basically the bank is giving advice to its clients. Now put yourself in the clients shoes - would you listen to the advice of a person who got their degree from Penn State, or from an ivy? Of course there are exceptions (and I'll probably get s**t on by all the non-targets lurking these forums) but beyond the associate level, pedigree isn't just "an addition" - it's almost a necessity.

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Array

May 27, 2013
reformed:
crucifix.:

^ not saying they always have to be from specifically HYP, but 99% of them are from top schools. This is different from the stories you hear of non-targets breaking into BB IBD. That's from the analyst position (monkey slapped into a cubicle to pump out excel models and quit after 2 years). Those stories almost never happen for associates. It's kind of like consulting - rarely any consultant from MBB holds a non-top 10 MBA.
Keep in mind that investment banking is "ADVISORY". Basically the bank is giving advice to its clients. Now put yourself in the clients shoes - would you listen to the advice of a person who got their degree from Penn State, or from an ivy? Of course there are exceptions (and I'll probably get s**t on by all the non-targets lurking these forums) but beyond the associate level, pedigree isn't just "an addition" - it's almost a necessity.

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Disagree with me all you want but facts stay facts. Yes there are many MDs with "non-target" degrees but keep in mind that Wall street was different then as compared to now. Back then. there are many stories of how the front-desk clerk ends up becoming a C-executive of a firm, but nowadays, those kind of scenarios happening is near impossible. Pedigree counts a lot more these days compared to the past.

And yes, once you're 50 years old and have built up a number of contacts that look for your advice consistently, then pedigree won't matter anymore (as reflected by the numerous MDs/Global Heads with non-target degrees). But it's getting those contacts in the first place (as a VP/Director) that is difficult and consequently where pedigree may play a big role

May 27, 2013

Well, I don't know about you guys, but I got a chance to intern at a BB this year and I met some of the most senior staff in EMEA.

The two Americans were from non-targets and the Europeans were mostly from elite unis from their own countries.

Still, from what I hear around here I think that i-banks in Europe are much more meritocratic than the American branches.

May 27, 2013

The answers in here still blow. 2 things:
1) They can. Until they post listings that get 50% as many apps as spots they're looking to fill, there will be no need to mess with the status quo. They're currently getting about 100x as many.... there's quite some room to fall there.
2) Who's more likely to jump ship on a job requiring consistent 100 hr weeks of Microsoft Office conneseurship: the kid coming off of a 4 year party, or the kid coming off of 4 years of grinding work in the library? The answer is both.... but the latter will take wayyyy longer to do so. Now while both schools will have these types of people, one will be a 70/30 concentration, and one will be 30/70. It's purely a numbers game.

May 27, 2013

Bottom line, if you come from a non-target you have to be much better than a target school guy to get the job.

May 27, 2013

Simple supply and demand. Low supply of available jobs. HIGH demand.

Have to have some way of weeding people out. Of course, networking and knowing your story/technicals and doing well in school will improve your odds.

May 30, 2013

Based on the discussion of how employers seek out students at target schools based on their familiarity with long, hard, study hours, I did a quick google search of colleges with most study time and have to disagree with the hypothesis based on the result. The list by the washington post is absent of any Ivies. The hypothesis does in theory make sense, though, and I think IB HR would do good to consider this more.

May 30, 2013

The stupid is incredibly strong in this thread.

OP - I would disregard the majority of statements on this thread made by people who are not Certified Users.

The real reason they hire from the pools they do is to acquire the necessary talent to apply Turbo leverage... for capital explosion...

May 30, 2013

The REAL REASON behind the selectivity:

I preface this by saying I went to a semi-target, wealthy private university.

The answer lies more than just simple numbers/supply & demand. Even if they wanted to go to a state school and pay kids $80-100k all-in and save money, it would be a disservice. At a target school, roughly 40-50% of a class goes into IB or consulting, meaning your peers are likely to have similar experiences and work schedules as you.

If your peers at a state school are earning 45k a year as an accountant in bum-fuck Oklahoma, working 40 hrs a week, it's going to change your perspective on things.

If you do go to a non-target, I'd recommend going to groups that traditionally hire more non-target kids, such as Energy (mostly Houston offices), restructuring, etc.

May 30, 2013
Ben Lorrelo:

The REAL REASON behind the selectivity:

I preface this by saying I went to a semi-target, wealthy private university.

The answer lies more than just simple numbers/supply & demand. Even if they wanted to go to a state school and pay kids $80-100k all-in and save money, it would be a disservice. At a target school, roughly 40-50% of a class goes into IB or consulting, meaning your peers are likely to have similar experiences and work schedules as you.

If your peers at a state school are earning 45k a year as an accountant in bum-fuck Oklahoma, working 40 hrs a week, it's going to change your perspective on things.

If you do go to a non-target, I'd recommend going to groups that traditionally hire more non-target kids, such as Energy (mostly Houston offices), restructuring, etc.

Huh?

Dirk Dirkenson:

Shut up already. Your mindless, reflexive responses to any critical thought on this are tedious. You're also probably a woman, given the name and "xoxo" signoff, so maybe the lack of judgment is to be expected.

May 30, 2013
Ben Lorrelo:

The REAL REASON behind the selectivity:

I preface this by saying I went to a semi-target, wealthy private university.

The answer lies more than just simple numbers/supply & demand. Even if they wanted to go to a state school and pay kids $80-100k all-in and save money, it would be a disservice. At a target school, roughly 40-50% of a class goes into IB or consulting, meaning your peers are likely to have similar experiences and work schedules as you.

If your peers at a state school are earning 45k a year as an accountant in bum-fuck Oklahoma, working 40 hrs a week, it's going to change your perspective on things.

If you do go to a non-target, I'd recommend going to groups that traditionally hire more non-target kids, such as Energy (mostly Houston offices), restructuring, etc.

May 30, 2013
Ben Lorrelo:

The REAL REASON behind the selectivity:

I preface this by saying I went to a semi-target, wealthy private university.

The answer lies more than just simple numbers/supply & demand. Even if they wanted to go to a state school and pay kids $80-100k all-in and save money, it would be a disservice. At a target school, roughly 40-50% of a class goes into IB or consulting, meaning your peers are likely to have similar experiences and work schedules as you.

If your peers at a state school are earning 45k a year as an accountant in bum-fuck Oklahoma, working 40 hrs a week, it's going to change your perspective on things.

If you do go to a non-target, I'd recommend going to groups that traditionally hire more non-target kids, such as Energy (mostly Houston offices), restructuring, etc.

Quite literally the worst post I've ever read on WSO, congratulations that is quite an accomplishment.

May 30, 2013
Cruncharoo:
Ben Lorrelo:

The REAL REASON behind the selectivity:
I preface this by saying I went to a semi-target, wealthy private university.
The answer lies more than just simple numbers/supply & demand. Even if they wanted to go to a state school and pay kids $80-100k all-in and save money, it would be a disservice. At a target school, roughly 40-50% of a class goes into IB or consulting, meaning your peers are likely to have similar experiences and work schedules as you.
If your peers at a state school are earning 45k a year as an accountant in bum-fuck Oklahoma, working 40 hrs a week, it's going to change your perspective on things.
If you do go to a non-target, I'd recommend going to groups that traditionally hire more non-target kids, such as Energy (mostly Houston offices), restructuring, etc.

Quite literally the worst post I've ever read on WSO, congratulations that is quite an accomplishment.

LOL

May 30, 2013

HEY GUYS WHY IS THE NBA SO SELECTIVE? WHY DO THEY HARDLY TAKE ANY SHITTY PLAYERS? WHY NOT TAKE A FLYER ON A KID WHO PLAYS GREAT IN HIS DRIVEWAY? WHAT IS BETTER ABOUT THE STUD D1 PLAYER THAN HIM?

Jun 1, 2013
Cruncharoo:

HEY GUYS WHY IS THE NBA SO SELECTIVE? WHY DO THEY HARDLY TAKE ANY SHITTY PLAYERS? WHY NOT TAKE A FLYER ON A KID WHO PLAYS GREAT IN HIS DRIVEWAY? WHAT IS BETTER ABOUT THE STUD D1 PLAYER THAN HIM?

yea but you can't actually do investment banking as a child and in high school or college, whereas in high school and college you can always practice/play basketball all the time. So your poor attempt to make fun of the question failed.

Jun 23, 2013

bump, this is a legit question that needs answer: are the financial models really THAT complicated that you need to have gotten a 5 on the AP Calculus test in high school and gotten an 800 on the Math part of the SAT and on the SAT II?

Jun 23, 2013

selective because they can be. Supply and demand, don't need to be a genius to do banking

BossMode

Jun 23, 2013
sick_willy:

selective because they can be. Supply and demand, don't need to be a genius to do banking

They could just pay less to reduce the number of applicants.

Jun 23, 2013
SirTradesaLot:
sick_willy:

selective because they can be. Supply and demand, don't need to be a genius to do banking

They could just pay less to reduce the number of applicants.

I highly doubt paying less would reduce the number of applicants. Most analysts are only breaking even as it is. People do it for the exit opps. You want the # of applicants to go down, find a way to make IB less appealing as a poaching ground of the more desirable fields.

Jun 23, 2013
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