Why Prestige Really Matters

Goldman Snacks's picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 744

So, everyone is a prestige whore in some way or another. Let's be honest. For every 1 person who can afford to pay cash for an S500 AMG but drives a Prius for the mileage, there are 100 million people who finance a car they can't really afford. The same applies to school - How many people take the full ride to State when they got into Harvard with no financial aid? Probably very, very few.

My point here is this; prestige matters.

But why?

I think, ultimately, people care about prestige, especially at the school level, because it provides you with opportunities. A Harvard trained English major can get a job at an investment bank, when a non-target English major is either stuck paying out the nose for a masters to be a teacher, or doing social media for their high school (hyperbole for effect).

An Internal Problem

Some people view this as a privilege thing, or injustice, or whatever you want to call it. The Haves vs the Have Nots. I think this perspective, especially seen in people who are obsessed with searching for examples of those with non-traditional backgrounds who have cracked the silk barrier, looks externally for the solution to an internal problem.

The Early Track

High finance jobs hire from prestigious schools for multiple reasons, but the main one is the quality of the candidate (eye roll). Captain Obvious here, but hear me out. You don't hire someone from a target because they went to a target. You hire someone from a target because they got into a target, and continued to perform. Getting into a target school says something about discipline, especially when most high school students are too busy trying to get laid or too undisciplined to put in the work. There are lots of other factors at play, but what I'm getting at here is the fast track isn't the fast track, its just the early track. Were you disciplined enough to get into a top 5 undergrad? Congrats, you're 4 years ahead of the majority of people. Were you disciplined enough to graduate Cum Laude? Congrats, you're light years ahead of some. Were you savvy enough to network and land a job at the top of your field, whatever it may be? You did it, but you're just scratching the surface.

The Drive to Succeed

Now, were you unable to do these things? Well, every tick on your background sets you back. Do you have gaps, did you go to a non-target, did you get a shitty GPA, etc etc etc. So you're wondering why no one with your background is an investment banker? Well there are minimal job openings, and it's incredibly competitive, so why would they hire someone like you? Most people who get these jobs have already established a track record of excellence that spans close to a decade, and they have something else that is driving them to succeed. And, 99,999 times of out 100,000, someone with your background probably isn't going to figure it out or make the effort if they do.

Stop Looking for Validation

So why does this matter? It matters because the people searching for others with non-traditional backgrounds are looking for validation, or the easy way. Everyone seeks validation at some point, but this is not the time. Someone with a non-traditional background didn't achieve success because they got lucky or because they got a chance that was handed to them when they asked nicely, they excelled because they figured out what needed to be done and set off to do it.

So you have to go Big 4 audit and bust it for 3 years, transition to TAS, study like a maniac for the GMAT, kill yourself networking to get into an M7 and compete for a job at smaller MM Banks or PE firms or Advisory shops because you still aren't quite there.

Well guess what, you figured it out before your senior year in college, and by my count, it's been 7 years of grinding. Someone who graduated at the top of their class from a target had already been grinding for 8 years from high school through undergrad.

Keep Grinding

So what are you going to do? Is this when you give up and blame the system, or is this when you realize you're an associate at a small shop and you're finally in the industry, so you step on the gas even harder? Hone your skills, keep grinding, and now, despite a different background, you have the experience and the hustle to make the next jump somewhere else. Maybe you stay put, make VP then MD and pull in a fuck ton of money because you've been working your ass off for over a decade now and you're getting a reputation in your space. So maybe you only make high 6 or 7 figures compared to 8, cry about it.

Is that not good enough because you didn't make it to GS SSG or BX HeMan Woman Haters Club or fuckin' Citadel as a PM? What the fuck? Hell, maybe you love Big 4 accounting and you never take the next step and you make partner at a massive firm and pull in a big salary with great job security and that's that. Or you can quit in your twenties and go sell fuckin' insurance because, whatever, Commerce Insurance responded to your application and made you an offer.

You and a Machete

Everyone is so concerned with making sure there is a path laid out for them, and people just assume prestige is the qualifier. Its an indicator, not a rite. There is no path - only you and a machete, and the sooner you pick it up and start hacking in the right direction, the sooner you'll get somewhere.

TL;DR - you gotta earn it.

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Comments (85)

Mar 23, 2016

I think this mostly hits it on the head. Overall, there are exceptions and for sure disadvantages, but at the end of the day, we can only do the best with what we have

    • 3
Mar 24, 2016

Absolutely. I didn't want to get into bloodlines or the socio-economic stuff but it certainly plays a large factor, especially early on. Overall the point is to make the best of your own situation and work as hard as you can, because there is no career path that allows you to be lazy and immensely successful, no matter how hard you search for it on a forum. I am definitely not a traditional background person and I'm finishing up school, but I'm also not going to scour the web searching for validation that I can make it, or give up when I don't find it. Will I make less money initially than someone who goes right into the front office? You bet. Have I already put myself at a disadvantage for the rest of my career? Most likely, but so what.

Its like the perfect 10 at the bar, are you going to not approach her because you think shes out of your league, or are you going to let her decide? There's more than one smoke bomb out there, but you're not fucking any of them if you don't make the effort.

    • 2
Oct 3, 2018

Quants are the ones most in demand on the buy-side.

Apr 9, 2018

Well, I am reviving this post almost 2 years later, but it helped me so much in fighting some internal issuses. One of my friends got into GS TMT SF (international student but target) and I was contemplating on how life is. I was hoping to go into a Phd in Econ to become a researcher and got into a top 10 econ program, but only realized later that Finance is what I like. He always knew what he wanted so he did the drill - Target (finance)->Top IBD. Why compare with someone else when your life is YOUR life!

    • 1
Mar 24, 2016

Looks like an outstanding post. I'm too inexperienced to know how much truth there is to it - hopefully the more experienced guys will give their input. Either way, thanks for taking the time to write it out.

Looking forward to seeing others' responses.

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Mar 24, 2016

Outstanding post. SB

Mar 24, 2016

Great post. Fully agree with this.

Mar 24, 2016

We are creatures of an evolutionary process. At some point, prestige became a proxy signal for mating fitness.

    • 3
Mar 24, 2016

Or this, haha.

Mar 24, 2016

There are some interesting points. Here's some things I wanted to point out:

  • This idea that all people who got into a target busted ass through high school is not entirely true. I know of plenty of people who benefited from legacy and were able to get into a target without putting in much work. On the flip side, I know people who worked their asses off but were simply drowned out in the sea of competition. Admissions for top schools has become somewhat of a shitshow, and there's no guarantee that any particular set of grades, test scores, ECs, etc. will get you in.
  • You cannot discount the family background factor. IB has become competitive enough that if you are not preparing for it by the beginning of your sophomore year (at the latest), you odds of getting in drop dramatically. Most of the kids who have found out about investment banking did so because they have family connections in the industry. This is the case at practically all targets and semi-targets.
  • We need to put to rest any talk of people earning high 6 figures, 7 figures, or 8 figures in finance. This is the domain of a very exceptional few. You need an extraordinary amount of skill, background, connections, and luck to reach that level, and even if you have all of those four things in abundance, you still might not make it.

My points above don't discount the fact that if you have the will and determination to get into IB, it can definitely be done. However, hustling and doing well in school may not be enough to get in, and there are people who have gotten in without putting even half the amount of effort that their peers have.

    • 15
Mar 25, 2016

Totally agree, and I was trying to make that point that, on average (not always) sustained effort and determination will take you places you maybe didn't think were possible, so don't give up because someone maybe had an easier road. This was intended to be motivational to the people who don't have the connections, etc. I wrote this in response to recent threads that start as "What is a career in PE like vs VC" that end up being, "well you make 8 figures here and only mid 7s here". I think that is stupid, if you want to argue salary just go write a blog about rich people and try to get traffic onto your page, never mind that making more than even mid 6 figures puts you in a category with a fraction of the top 1% of earners in the world. No easy task no matter what your background is.

Mar 24, 2016

Ultimately, most people, young and old, don't realize what it takes to "compete." Most people don't have an innate understanding about getting into a "target" school or an understanding of how competitive the job market is; in fact, most kids are told: "Employers just want to see that you're trainable." Success is built on momentum, the more "wins" you have under your belt, the easier it is to obtain more. You do that by building your pedigree, which starts with test scores, brand names on your resume and generally ends with your performance in various roles/job titles.

I don't like your initial examples; financial stupidity is still financial stupidity, irrespective of the "brand name" of the school or car. I'd rather not be a freshly minted college grad with an English degree from Harvard and $250k in student debt, especially in the pursuit of a highly unlikely IB position. You'd feel that cluster-fuck for the rest of your life.

Mar 25, 2016

I was trying to say that the idea of prestige results in financially stupid decisions, because the idea of better opportunities clouds our judgement about long term consequences, and then the rest was supposed to highlight the importance of being realistic that you're almost guaranteed to not get the ultimate wet dream of a job right away. It definitely reads like I was advocating the debt route now that I look at it again, but I was hoping to promote exactly what you're saying about racking up small victories no matter what your circumstances are so you can build toward your goal.

    • 1
Oct 2, 2018

But if you have that Harvard degree, you'll at least get an interview... so the bottom line is, prestige does matter, it at least gets you in the door, and the rest is up to you.

Whereas non-prestige, leads to 2nd tier companies (nothing wrong with that).

Jul 15, 2017

How this does not have more silver bananas, I have no idea. SB to you, my friend.

Jul 15, 2017

Prestige matters. That's why HYP get into IB and state-schoolers don't.

Plain and simple.

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Oct 12, 2018

I swear to God this forum is made up almost entirely of state schoolers wondering why their 3.5 GPA from UF isn't enough to land them a job at Goldman Sachs

    • 1
Apr 9, 2018
Goldman Snacks:

So, everyone is a prestige whore in some way or another. Let's be honest. For every 1 person who can afford to pay cash for an S500 AMG but drives a Prius for the mileage, there are 100 million people who finance a car they can't really afford. The same applies to school - How many people take the full ride to State when they got into Harvard with no financial aid? Probably very, very few.

My point here is this; prestige matters.

But why?

I think, ultimately, people care about prestige, especially at the school level, because it provides you with opportunities. A Harvard trained English major can get a job at an investment bank, when a non-target English major is either stuck paying out the nose for a masters to be a teacher, or doing social media for their high school (hyperbole for effect).

Some people view this as a privilege thing, or injustice, or whatever you want to call it. The Haves vs the Have Nots. I think this perspective, especially seen in people who are obsessed with searching for examples of those with non-traditional backgrounds who have cracked the silk barrier, looks externally for the solution to an internal problem.

High finance jobs hire from prestigious schools for multiple reasons, but the main one is the quality of the candidate (eye roll). Captain Obvious here, but hear me out. You don't hire someone from a target because they went to a target. You hire someone from a target because they got into a target, and continued to perform. Getting into a target school says something about discipline, especially when most high school students are too busy trying to get laid or too undisciplined to put in the work. There are lots of other factors at play, but what I'm getting at here is the fast track isn't the fast track, its just the early track. Were you disciplined enough to get into a top 5 undergrad? Congrats, you're 4 years ahead of the majority of people. Were you disciplined enough to graduate Cum Laude? Congrats, you're light years ahead of some. Were you savvy enough to network and land a job at the top of your field, whatever it may be? You did it, but you're just scratching the surface.

Now, were you unable to do these things? Well, every tick on your background sets you back. Do you have gaps, did you go to a non target, did you get a shitty GPA, etc etc etc. So you're wondering why no one with your background is an investment banker? Well there are minimal job openings, and it's incredibly competitive, so why would they hire someone like you? Most people who get these jobs have already established a track record of excellence that spans close to a decade, and they have something else that is driving them to succeed. And, 99,999 times of out 100,000, someone with your background probably isn't going to figure it out or make the effort if they do.

So why does this matter? It matters because the people searching for others with non-traditional backgrounds are looking for validation, or the easy way. Everyone seeks validation at some point, but this is not the time. Someone with a non-traditional background didn't achieve success because they got lucky or because they got a chance that was handed to them when they asked nicely, they excelled because they figured out what needed to be done and set off to do it. So you have to go Big 4 audit and bust it for 3 years, transition to TAS, study like a maniac for the GMAT, kill yourself networking to get into an M7 and compete for a job at smaller MM Banks or PE firms or Advisory shops because you still aren't quite there. Well guess what, you figured it out before your senior year in college, and by my count, it's been 7 years of grinding. Someone who graduated at the top of their class from a target had already been grinding for 8 years from high school through undergrad.

So what are you going to do? Is this when you give up and blame the system, or is this when you realize you're an associate at a small shop and you're finally in the industry, so you step on the gas even harder? Hone your skills, keep grinding, and now, despite a different background, you have the experience and the hustle to make the next jump somewhere else. Maybe you stay put, make VP then MD and pull in a fuck ton of money because you've been working your ass off for over a decade now and you're getting a reputation in your space. So maybe you only make high 6 or 7 figures compared to 8, cry about it. Is that not good enough because you didn't make it to GS SSG or BX HeMan Woman Haters Club or fuckin' Citadel as a PM? What the fuck? Hell, maybe you love Big 4 accounting and you never take the next step and you make partner at a massive firm and pull in a big salary with great job security and that's that. Or you can quit in your twenties and go sell fuckin' insurance because, whatever, Commerce Insurance responded to your application and made you an offer.

Everyone is so concerned with making sure there is a path laid out for them, and people just assume prestige is the qualifier. Its an indicator, not a rite. There is no path - only you and a machete, and the sooner you pick it up and start hacking in the right direction, the sooner you'll get somewhere.

TL;DR - you gotta earn it.

Excellent post. Well written

Visionary | Lead | Enthusiast

Apr 9, 2018
Goldman Snacks:

TL;DR - you gotta earn it.

Gotta hustle for that MONEY!

No pain no game.

Apr 9, 2018

the car is called s55 amg.

Oct 8, 2018

Yes, let's all really focus on the correct alphabet soup of the Benz model.

Apr 9, 2018

As a longtime Mercedes owner (SL), there's no such thing as an "S500 AMG". (unless you're driving a knockoff). "Mercedes AMG" < the new monicker as of 2016 only produces 2 S-Classe variants- the S63 (and very very rare S65). The vanilla model is the S550. Keep up with the times young (old?) man.

As for your argument, I'd say it's largely true of the "aspiring wealthy".
The really really rich folks have enough trouble trying to HIDE their assets.

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    • 3
Apr 9, 2018

OP is for sure referring to the S-550

Apr 9, 2018
MonacoMonkey:

As a longtime Mercedes owner (SL), there's no such thing as an "S500 AMG". (unless you're driving a knockoff). "Mercedes AMG" < the new monicker as of 2016 only produces 2 S-Classe variants- the S63 (and very very rare S65). The vanilla model is the S550. Keep up with the times young (old?) man.

As for your argument, I'd say it's largely true of the "aspiring wealthy".
The really really rich folks have enough trouble trying to HIDE their assets.

They exist in other countries (OP probably made a mistake though)

https://www.europeancarimports.co.nz/listings/merc...

"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

Funniest
Oct 2, 2018

Nothing says "150k a year with no personality" like knowing a lot about Mercedes/BMW/Audi.

    • 15
Oct 2, 2018

A lot of these kids used to become engineers and make stuff....no longer

Oct 3, 2018

One of the reasons I come to this forum so often is for quips like this one. Spot on. I cracked up laughing.

"Now you's can't leave." -Sonny LoSpecchio

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Apr 9, 2018

true

Sep 20, 2018

this is totally true

Visionary | Lead | Enthusiast

Oct 2, 2018

People in this strange world mistake "target schools" and "prestige BBs" for the real world. It isn't. Go get a loan and open a small business and grow it into a larger business and go from there. That's what drives our economy. Too many smart kids obsessed with Wall Street - there are other paths.

    • 5
Oct 2, 2018

This post is an interesting counter perspective to today's podcast on the "prestige trap".

https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/podcast/jean-denis...

    • 1
Oct 2, 2018

The prestige of your university doesn't really matter at all. What matters is your intellectual horsepower, which most Ivy Leaguers (and similar) possess in abundance.

https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-college...
Dale and Krueger concluded that students, who were accepted into elite schools, but went to less selective institutions, earned salaries just as high as Ivy League grads. For instance, if a teenager gained entry to Harvard, but ended up attending Penn State, his or her salary prospects would be the same.

In the pair's newest study, the findings are even more amazing. Applicants, who shared similar high SAT scores with Ivy League applicants could have been rejected from the elite schools that they applied to and yet they still enjoyed similar average salaries as the graduates from elite schools. In the study, the better predictor of earnings was the average SAT scores of the most selective school a teenager applied to and not the typical scores of the institution the student attended.

In other words, intelligent people succeed regardless of what school they attend. The Ivy Leagues don't produce talent--they recruit it. And talent almost always rises to the top.

Most Helpful
Oct 3, 2018

I had a "non-traditional" upbringing relative to most finance guys and I didn't give a damn about anything (except football and girls) in high school and didn't even want to go to college. I started off at a community college part-time (worked full time in a factory) before transferring to a directional state school and getting an accounting degree. I started in public accounting and through a long series of winding moves (including three cities and three firms) I'm now about to start my first role on the buy side with a CFA Charter and CPA in hand.

So I agree with what @real_Skankhunt42 posted here. If the innate intellectual horsepower is there (and let's be honest, finance isn't rocket science) then it comes down to all the decisions you make over time, and you can gain a lot of ground.

I'm 30 now and I see guys on this forum who are still in college asking whether it's "too late" because they missed recruiting for some summer internship in IB. No, it's not too late. Not even close. I didn't even know what "investment banking" was when I graduated from a very good accounting program and joined a big CPA firm as an auditor, but here I am. Land a front-office (revenue generating) role in anything relevant--audit, consulting, transactions, etc.--and then go from there. Network hard. Pass a few CFA exams. Move to NYC, Chicago, etc. Learn everything you can from this site.

Again, neither of my parents finished college (actually, my mother didn't even go) and I graduated high school with a 2.3 GPA, and I made plenty of missteps along my path in this industry. That's how life works.

One thing I can tell you is that if you actually like finance---like you really think it's interesting and you're not just in it for money---that will shine through. It will shine in your networking, your interviews, the questions you ask, everything. And people will be much more willing to help because they will recognize that you really want to do the job and earn the salary rather than have the job and receive the salary.

"Now you's can't leave." -Sonny LoSpecchio

    • 26
Oct 5, 2018

This comment made my week

    • 1
Oct 6, 2018

Glad to hear it was encouraging. Keep grinding man.

"Now you's can't leave." -Sonny LoSpecchio

Oct 6, 2018

Well said. I appreciate your comment. +1

Work hard, work clean, & most of all do not give up.

Oct 3, 2018

figured @michigan10483 should take a look at this comment/article so he'll stfu about prestige and apologize for making all of us stupider by reading his comments

    • 2
Oct 30, 2018

thank you for sharing this study, I found it very interesting. Sam's story is also great.

"We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered."

Oct 3, 2018

dorsia

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

    • 2
Oct 3, 2018

Thank you

Oct 3, 2018

I needed a post like this right about now. +1

    • 1
Oct 3, 2018

Target school people make good employees - especially C-level executives. Nothing wrong with that. But it doesn't mean that they are cut out to be billionaires. If you see the list below, more than 53% of the people on this list did not go to target schools.

https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/#version:...

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Oct 3, 2018

Ecole polytechnique is definitely a top target bro... get your rankings right

    • 1
Oct 3, 2018

NA is also highly regarded, get your shit right bro

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

    • 3
Oct 3, 2018

Indeed; nice catch...

Oct 4, 2018

Target as in US-based Ivy Leagues only since this is a US centric audience.

Oct 4, 2018

Didn't know Cambridge was in the US...

    • 1
Oct 5, 2018

"Stanford University" - please fix

Oct 7, 2018

List of boomers and trustfunders != helpful to website full of young Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Z'ers.

Oct 3, 2018

"Comparison is the thief of joy." - Teddy Roosevelt

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

    • 3
Oct 3, 2018

Am I the only one on here that doesn't consider studying for tests, doing your homework, and participating in fun activities such as clubs and sports as "hard work"?

I just don't find getting A's in high school and doing a bunch of clubs and activities all that impressive, especially if it's not even the student pushing for this but their well-educated parents who have planned every step of their life and have paid for a dozen SAT prep courses.

    • 7
Oct 5, 2018

Completely agree. It always saddens me when I see parents posting online for their kids.

"Jimmy is such a smart boy and needs to go to college! What schools would be best for him? He likes cars and baseball, can't function in <70 degree temperature, and NEEDS to have a Chick Fil A AND a Five Guys on campus. This is non-negotiable."

"Jennifer needs a summer internship. She wants to work as the Incoming Aspiring Editor-in-Chief at Vogue or be an Instagram influencer chilling in Bali. Pls advise. Thanks!"

With some hustle, Googling, and knowledge of/desire to do whatever it is you want to do, in the vast, vast, vast majority of cases, the kids above can find something better than what their parents find for them (barring your parents being Warren Buffet or something), because the motivation will come from within. Everything done by parents like the ones in my and @NoEquityResearch's posts is just for bragging rights when it comes to other parents.

    • 3
Oct 3, 2018

.

just a monkey trying to find his way in the finance jungle

Oct 3, 2018

I almost made another account to give you two silver bananas

Oct 3, 2018

Totally agree. This hits close to home for me as your example of non-target --> Big 4 audit ---> Advisory ---> MBA is the path I've taken. The difference is I busted my ass at a shitty public high school to get into a decently ranked college and top feeder to the Big4.

Truth is, there were a select few people at my school who got into IB directly out of undergrad, mostly because they knew what the hell IB was through family connections, etc. I assume that's the way it is at Ivies. This knowledge gap is definitely shrinking due to the internet and information sharing, but we still have a long way to go.

Did I need to bust my ass and work a little harder than the private school kid who was the son of an alumni, went through SAT prep courses, and knew what high finance was during middle school? Yes. But I did it, and will continue to do it.

Life isn't fair and some people have a shorter path paved for them than others. Everyone can concoct some slant about how external factors are against them, or how life isn't fair for them specifically, but if you really work at it you can do it and will end up where you belong sooner or later!

Oct 5, 2018

I have a friend who was an immigrant in the country, only started to learn how to speak English at the age of 17 or sth, got into a half decent school because of his half decent grades (his English was not the best back then and his education before then was even worse. His family was lower middle class at best), got into a semi target and busted his bollocks to get into B4 and post B4. Only learned about IB in his final year of uni. Now he's in a BB. His mum was a factory worker.

Some people just came a long long way even tho their achievement may not seem better than kids who have more privileges.

    • 1
Oct 3, 2018

Interesting view...

Oct 4, 2018

I read that entire post from a "Remember the Titans" perspective. Like, imagine Denzel Washington waking up a bunch of non-targets at 3 am to run from Virginia to Wall Street, and when they get there (6 weeks later) he gives a monologue similar to the OP.

Oct 5, 2018
  1. Non-target School
  2. Average GPA (3.5)
  3. Top of League Table Sponsor Leveraged Finance (Analyst > Associate)
  4. Boutique IB (hired as yr.3 - did 1.5yrs)
  5. Middle Market PE (>$2BN AUM, Associate > Senior Associate)

That was my path. Keep your head down and WORK. More importantly though, complement your hard work with personality. Have opinions on deals / handle pressure with a smile / make people laugh at happy hour (with you, not at you; stay 1-2 drinks behind your MDs).

Good luck.

    • 4
Oct 5, 2018

I mean there is a fundamental problem in here, right off the bat. In 99.99% of cases, the brand and model of the car you drive won't have a statistically significant impact on your career. Taking on 200k of student debt to go to Harvard versus a free ride to Montana State University (or wherever, apologies if you went there) absolutely will. It's the classic good debt vs bad debt paradigm. Going to Harvard gives you good prestige, helps you network, opens doors. Driving a Range Rover vs a Jeep doesn't.

Oct 5, 2018

Excellent point. However Montana State versus Harvard probably a bit of a stretch. What about Penn State with aide versus Wake Forest (very good school) and a bunch of debt? Different discussion entirely.

Oct 7, 2018

These exaggerations about "$200k in debt to go to [Ivy]" are so ignorant. Elite colleges are filthy rich, with many moving to no loan policies. Nobody at Harvard undergrad has six figures in loans. Avg loans for a Harvard grad is only like $6,000 total!

Oct 8, 2018

That "whoosh" sound you just heard? That was the point, going right over your head.

    • 2
Oct 9, 2018

+1

Oct 5, 2018

Or study computer science and make 300k at Citadel at yr1, and start your own company at yr5 without getting caught in the rat race...prestige shaming is like the faster rats laughing at the slower rats for not running as fast when really all of them should be thinking about getting out of the race altogether

    • 6
Oct 7, 2018

So damn true.

Oct 6, 2018

Why oh why do so many of you think that you need to go through Big4 audit, then advisory and then MBA to get into some MM PE firm if you come from a non-target? Such a waste of time. I know plenty of people who skipped audit to do Big4 Corp Fin straight out of uni and then moved to MM PE, myself included. Just network smart, get cosy with a top headhunter and rock interviews. The probable answer to my own question is that the people that need 17 moves to land in PE simply don't belong there (getting ready to get thrown some monkey shit for saying this). If you can't get a headhunter's attention after doing hands on work in M&A/capital raising at a Big4 Corp Fin group with good deal flow, the problem isn't the resume, it's you. Take it from someone who took that path and who works with three others who did Big4 advisory before landing associate roles in a 3-6B fund. Some have MBAs, others don't, but the message is the same.

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Oct 6, 2018

Why oh why do so many of you think that you need to go through Big4 audit, then advisory and then MBA to get into some MM PE firm if you come from a non-target? Such a waste of time. I know plenty of people who skipped audit to do Big4 Corp Fin straight out of uni and then moved to MM PE, myself included. Just network smart, get cosy with a top headhunter and rock interviews. The probable answer to my own question is that the people that need 17 moves to land in PE simply don't belong there (getting ready to get thrown some monkey shit for saying this). If you can't get a headhunter's attention after doing hands on work in M&A/capital raising at a Big4 Corp Fin group with good deal flow, the problem isn't the resume, it's you. Take it from someone who took that path and who works with three others who did Big4 advisory before landing associate roles in a 3-6B fund. Some have MBAs, others don't, but the message is the same.

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Oct 6, 2018
CorneliusLux:

Why oh why do so many of you think that you need to go through Big4 audit, then advisory and then MBA to get into some MM PE firm if you come from a non-target? Such a waste of time. I know plenty of people who skipped audit to do Big4 Corp Fin straight out of uni and then moved to MM PE, myself included. Just network smart, get cosy with a top headhunter and rock interviews. The probable answer to my own question is that the people that need 17 moves to land in PE simply don't belong there (getting ready to get thrown some monkey shit for saying this). If you can't get a headhunter's attention after doing hands on work in M&A/capital raising at a Big4 Corp Fin group with good deal flow, the problem isn't the resume, it's you. Take it from someone who took that path and who works with three others who did Big4 advisory before landing associate roles in a 3-6B fund. Some have MBAs, others don't, but the message is the same.

That wasn't the route I took but my thought is that your path to where you are is extremely atypical. People climb the ladder in the way you describe because it's safe and doesn't rely on luck. Lots of jobs available at Big 4, relatively, which means you need to be competent to get in the door but not necessarily have crazy connections, networking skills, or an Ivy League finance degree to land it. From there all you have to do is execute and you can climb that ladder and move up safely. Kudos to you for skipping 5 years of the process, but you make it sound far easier than it is.

Oct 26, 2018

Granted I've been lucky, but I'm a firm believer in making you're own luck.

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Oct 27, 2018

I smell arrogance and ignorance.

You're only saying that because you've been lucky, most likely from the minute you were born. Some of us who came from a developing country and grew up extremely poor but whose family worked hard and used all their saving to send us aboard to study. Maybe we had to go to big four for a couple of years before we made it to BB IB, were we wasting our time? No, we've achieved much more than your typical white middle class Ivy Leaguers.

Was I lucky to have a family who worked hard to send me abroad? 100%. I didn't make this luck. I was just lucky to be born into this family (and to think we lived in a tiny one bed flat, the six of us, for 10 years before my dad got a better job).

While you like to think so highly of yourself and put down everyone else, it's maybe good to have a dose of reality. Those people who work hard but hasn't made it yet, when they do, it'll be unstoppable.

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Oct 27, 2018

Sorry to ruin your pity party but you've sized me all kinds of wrong. I went to a non-target school, worked full-time throughout my degree and had a kid the day before starting my first job out of school (the Big4 M&A role). I went weeks without seeing my kid because of the work hours. If you think I'm saying that people can make their own luck because I had it easy, you're ridiculously off track. Making your own luck doesn't imply that luck can be made entirely. What I mean is that you need to be prepared so that when luck strikes, you can manage to squeeze as much as possible out of the opportunity you've been given, whether it's an interviewing process for your dream role or something else.

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Oct 28, 2018

Pity party? What pity party?

My point was to not look down on anyone just because they had to go dowin the big four audit route. Or if they had to make 107 moves. If any successful entrepreneurs or businessman today had stopped at the 106th move just because they talk someone like you seriously who looks down on those people and asks them to stop cos they suck if they didn't even make it after 17 moves, there would be no Starbucks, Alibaba, Airbnb etc. People's background is so different and a lot of factors decide if someone make it quicker or not. Some people may be born very very introverted or have other characteristics that require their years and years of effort to work on before they could even nail that informal interview.

I in no way want to put down your achievement but just because you made it before someone it doesn't give you the right to look down on them.

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Oct 29, 2018
CorneliusLux:

Granted I've been lucky, but I'm a firm believer in making you're own luck.

Yes, people who work hard are more likely to be able to take advantage of being lucky. I'm not saying hard work means nothing.

But plenty of people work really hard, as hard as you do, or harder, and don't get that break. I agree with the first guy who responded to you, your answer stinks of entitlement and ignorance.

It has nothing to do with your background. I'm not saying you haven't earned whatever it is you've achieved, I'm sure you have. But there are likely thousands of people working just as hard, doing everything right, just like you did, who haven't gotten the same break. That doesn't demean your accomplishments, but maybe have some perspective? One can be a hard worker and never "get cosy with a top headhunter". Or maybe they have a bad egg the morning of their interview and blow it. There are a million ways for shit to go wrong and only a very few for them to go right, so why look down on people who take a safer, surer route? I'm glad you succeeded in skipping a lot of the drudgery, but just saying "I made my own luck" is the most absurd BS I've ever heard. You're hard work didn't create your luck; you got lucky and your hard work put you in a position to exploit it. There is a world of difference between those two .

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Oct 30, 2018

Again, because it seems that what I wrote afterwards was completely ignored by both you and the other person, I'm not saying that all luck is made. I'm not being arrogant and most definitely not ignorant by stating that "luck can be made". If you wish to take it as a literal statement and turn a blind eye to the true meaning behind "making your own luck", go at it. Whatever tickles your pickles at this point.

The path to where I am today was filled with opportunities, brought on by actual luck, something I'm not denying whatsoever, but my ability to take advantage of each of them and making the best out of situations that didn't quite go my way is me making my own luck. Every single interview and final rounds that I've had before landing my current role have made be a better interviewee. Each case that I've had to opportunity to do during interviewing processes have helped me crush the one that gave me my current role. That's what I mean by making my own luck. And then there's the fact that so many people I know will absolutely never make it to PE/VC/IB because they get bummed out when they fail to progress in interviewing processes and stop applying to other roles for a little while because they need weeks and even months to recover from a single "no". I had a friend who wanted to get into a VC team in which I knew someone, so I mentioned my friend's name to this person and he asked for my friend's resume. It then took two weeks for my friend to send his resume, as if time wasn't an issue in the type of recruiting processes where hundreds of qualified candidates apply. Needless to say he'll never get a break into the industry with that kind of attitude. That's yet another example of making your own luck and making sure that you're well prepared for opportunities when they come about. Now if you guys still can't see that what I'm saying is raw truth, I'm afraid nothing will.

As for looking down on people that take the "safe" route of Big4 audit, then Advisory, then MBA and then PE, I believe that taking a long multi-step road to PE can actually hurt your chances. Trying to get into PE at the age of 30, after spending a few years in each of the mentioned roles, isn't safe nor sure when you have 25 year olds with 3+ years in investment banking or another deal-related functions applying for the same role. All this to say, be aggressive and reduce the steps taken to reach your desired role rather than waiting around, claiming that your non-target school or early disadvantages in life requires it.

Oct 30, 2018
CorneliusLux:

And then there's the fact that so many people I know will absolutely never make it to PE/VC/IB because they get bummed out when they fail to progress in interviewing processes and stop applying to other roles for a little while because they need weeks and even months to recover from a single "no". I had a friend who wanted to get into a VC team in which I knew someone, so I mentioned my friend's name to this person and he asked for my friend's resume. It then took two weeks for my friend to send his resume, as if time wasn't an issue in the type of recruiting processes where hundreds of qualified candidates apply. Needless to say he'll never get a break into the industry with that kind of attitude. That's yet another example of making your own luck and making sure that you're well prepared for opportunities when they come about.

See, this is the arrogance again. You have a giant blind spot regarding your success. No one is disputing you work hard and made the most of your opportunities. No one is disputing that there are tons of people who don't have those qualities, and haven't succeeded The point folks are trying to make you see is that there are tons of people who work as hard as you do, f not harder, and who also learn and get better in the face of failure, and STILL won't have your success. Because succeeding in the manner you have doesn't just take hard work (though that is also a pre-requisite), it takes luck. You keep saying you understand that, and then immediately go ahead and compare yourself to someone who doesn't care to put in the work. That sort of implies you don't really get it. My guess is if you, personally, rewound the clock ten years and tried the same path, you wouldn't succeed.

Whereas, as everyone else has said, going Big 4 means having gainful employment at a good salary, the opportunity to prove through hard work that you deserve advancement, and a springboard into other opportunities. It's safe and sure in the sense that you have a career, and even if it doesn't lead to PE, it means you have financial security and a well paying and "prestigious" job.

Oct 30, 2018

Are we even speaking of the same thing? I'm solely expressing my opinion on people who are CONVINCED that getting into PE without getting into BB IB straight out of undergrad requires a Big4 Audit > Advisory > MBA path. I'm not implying at all that Big4 experience or a Big4 career isn't "enough" or lacks prestige lmao

And how does my example about a friend who lacks the drive to swiftly jump on a golden opportunity has anything to do with others not working hard or harder than me? How does that imply that I haven't been lucky, when I've repeated several times that I recognize the importance of luck when striving for a particular role and getting there rapidly in one's career? It doesn't. If anything, I'm saying that luck on it's own can't get you a role. Hard work and a self-driven personality will allow one to make his own luck, in the sense of being well-prepared for an opportunity when it comes about. And even then, as you say, it may not even be enough IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE because of some random preference on the recruiter's side, but over time, being prepared will inevitably allow for success. That's it, nothing else. No subtle meaning or downplaying of others' efforts or implying that I work harder or haven't been lucky. Nada.

To put so much emphasis on luck as the majority of the reason for someone's success is weapons-grade ignorance as it downplays the smart moves someone's made to get to a certain point career-wise. I'd be interested in getting to know what your path was. You genuinely seem to have a massive chip on your shoulder.

Oct 8, 2018

Just you and a Machete

F*k yeah

Oct 9, 2018

The notion of professional prestige is almost only confined to finance, consulting, law, and similar white-collar jobs.

For some jobs, like consulting, it's easy to use for sales, when pitching someone a consultant "Oh, he/she's a top graduate from [prestigious school], has a lot of experience from [prestigious firms] - great match!"
Many clients will probably just nod along, and think the clients are super humans that'll solve any problem thrown at them.

For other jobs, it's easy to use as a point for measure. If you have hundreds of applicants, all above minimum threshold, how do you start sorting them out? By school. If someone comes from Harvard, they certainly must be sharper than someone from Podunk State, right?

Not always, obviously, but for the majority, probably. So it's just an easy way to filter out - no real work required.

But that, IMO, can be a big flaw. I 100% believe that once you've crossed a certain level, it doesn't really mater what GPA the candidate has, or where they've gone to school - they're all excellent candidates, and things like GPA essentially becomes a useless measure. That is to say, the correlation between their GPA and job performance will go towards zero.

You might as well just draw candidates randomly, put them on the job, and your production output wouldn't be much more different than if you hand-picked the "best".

Top schools tend to produce more executives because going to a top school will open doors that "lesser" schools doesn't, and it's been like that forever.

Oct 9, 2018

FSU doesn't produce NFL draft picks. FSU recruits elite high school talent that, not surprisingly, produces disproportionate NFL draft picks.

Nobody becomes an executive because their alma mater opens opportunities. People who go to top universities are really smart and really driven. Harvard doesn't produce talent; Harvard recruits talent.

Oct 9, 2018
Oct 10, 2018
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Oct 30, 2018

"We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered."