You're not polished enough

mmmm123's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | banana points 229

I made all the way to superday at a BB. Making it past resume screening was a big deal to me because I go to a non-target with very few alumni in the industry.I made it past 5 rounds of interview, got to superday, then I was told I was a back up candidate. I called to follow up and the recruiter said all the people who received their offers accepted.

I asked for feedback on what I could have done better and all he told me was "you're not polished enough." I was very heartbroken and frustrated at the moment so I just said thank you and got off the phone. I have been pondering on what that means for a while now and was wondering if anyone could give me more color as to what that means.

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Comments (77)

Mar 28, 2017

it's nice they gave you an answer at all, I've never been told why; but i know the feeling. I know it can be discouraging but all you can do is keep trying.

If you made it that far you did damn well, who knows if that's even the real reason.

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Apr 6, 2017

I really want to know who the hell would ever provide that kind of feedback to a back up candidate, let alone a college student. Not polished enough? What a complete dick.

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Apr 6, 2017
JuicyJuice:

I really want to know who the hell would ever provide that kind of feedback to a back up candidate, let alone a college student. Not polished enough? What a complete dick.

Interviewer didn't volunteer it. OP asked for feedback. I personally would have couched it a bit more gently by saying that "something tells me that in a couple of years you'll be at the level we need you to be at" but the interviewer told him where he was lacking after being asked for it.

That's not being a dick; that's being helpful.

If I ask WSO for all of the ways IlliniProgrammer is a douche, and I (perhaps rightly) get an earful, I may not like what I hear but you guys would be acting in a way that is honest and helpful and responsive to my request, not mean.

OP was brave and very adult in asking for feedback. And he got it and if he can address it it will help him in the long run.

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Apr 6, 2017

The guy went through 5 rounds and was told he was in the running. Give the guy specific items he can work on for the next interview as opposed to crushing a kid's dream with a one sentence remark.

He earned proper feedback, and the feedback he received is pathetic. Even a dick can be specific and provide material feedback.

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Apr 6, 2017
JuicyJuice:

The guy went through 5 rounds and was told he was in the running. Give the guy specific items he can work on for the next interview as opposed to crushing a kid's dream with a one sentence remark.

He earned proper feedback, and the feedback he received is pathetic. Even a dick can be specific and provide material feedback.

Point taken. The five rounds does suck. I always hated it when the firm interviewing me wanted to go past round three.

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Apr 8, 2017

I came out of a non-target a year ago, and I can say with complete sincerity that "polish" is actually legit feedback. I had a mentor who went to my school for undergrad and then Wharton MBA before banking at a rather "preppy" BB, and he coached me hard - technicals were fine, story fine, but the thing he had to work most with me on was, to quote, "having the same polish as a Wharton undergrad". Some of that is unfortunately wardrobe. Some of that is knowing how to work a room. Ultimately the best way to boil it down is that there's a certain je ne sais quoi to it, but that it's being supremely at ease and comfortable speaking about your experiences and interacting with people at all levels, from the most senior rainmakers to the most junior receptionist. That doesn't mean to be a dick, but instead to be able to make someone who has never met you think that your father is a politician, your first words were "country club", you were part of the Jerome Fisher program, and you performed such tremendous community service that you met Bill Gates and Jimmy Carter and a charity gala in high school, all while maintaining a halfway decent personality.

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Apr 8, 2017

No. I'm in MBB consulting, even though we pride ourselves on feedback and the feedback to our employees is plentiful and incredibly helpful, there is very little value in giving proper feedback to a candidate. Generic BS like "you're not polished enough" or "not structured enough" may be completely true or utter crap.

A candidate doesn't "earn" proper feedback until they are adding value to the company they interview with. Full stop.

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Mar 29, 2017

What a subjective load of bull. I suppose good on the recruiter for letting you know, although.

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Mar 29, 2017

I guess my question is: is it really letting me know by saying you're not polished enough. I feel like that is so vague it could mean anything.

Apr 8, 2017

This is entirely correct. It lets you know nothing. Ask someone close to you (classmate who you feel is very polished, mentor, etc) about your level of polish and get specifics and coaching if they agree with the feedback. If people you respect with credentials say it's crap, it's crap. See my above response to JuicyJuice.

Mar 29, 2017

Are you bald?

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Mar 29, 2017

lol no...

Mar 31, 2017

If I had a penny for everytime I was dinged because the MD couldn't see his face in my bald head, I wouldn't need to interview at all

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Mar 31, 2017

At 26 I've already decided I'm not going to allow myself to go bald. I'll get plugs if it comes to it, but I'm 100% not going to allow baldness to happen to me regardless of cost, effort, or temporary embarrassment required to maintain it.

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Mar 31, 2017

What's wrong with plugs? You make it sounds like it's an embarrassing procedure. Either way, safest best is to wait till you're 30 at least

Mar 31, 2017

because hair plugs are outdated, I think. Hair transplant is the new tech. Quite frankly this is the first time I've ever heard of hair plugs lol

Mar 31, 2017

Really, I thought they were the same thing? Huh makes sense. Only 22 (but losing a bit of hair), but I heard about this procedure that reactivates your hair follicles and makes them grown (rather than transplant it). It was under experimentation over 10 years ago, so not sure if people are doing this now or if it's just a high end procedure

Apr 3, 2017

I've always referred to them interchangeably, didn't even know there was a difference.

Apr 6, 2017
Apr 9, 2017

Hahaha I have been shaving my head for 10 years + and it feels great.

Mar 30, 2017

Was this for JPM? Don't feel bad, it was competitive.

Mar 31, 2017

It means they went with someone else for whatever reason and couldn't think of another reason to reject you. The other person quite possibly has better contacts.

Either that or you didn't speak or enunciate very well in your interview, you didn't by any chance open with "yo wassup" and a fist bump?

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Mar 31, 2017

No way to know what they mean, but I would use "not polished enough" to essentially mean a bit too green, would require too much guidance (so effectively in terms of knowledge/experience).

Although tahts in the HF/S&T space, in IBD i guess it could mean your presentation just isnt good enough

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Mar 31, 2017

I've sorta been dinged because of it, the 19 year old me was an idiot. The exact words used were "I need some fine tuning". So, as someone who actually was not polished enough, if that was actually true, you wouldn't have gotten a callback after the first interview. You survived 5 rounds of interview and were the backup interview. Have some confidence in yourself, man.

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Mar 31, 2017

It's because you go to a non-target and didn't amaze them.

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Mar 31, 2017

Pretty much spot on. A target is a safe hire in the beginning, because the team can rationalize the decision to others. If the target applicant doesn't work out it's not really a big deal. If they use a SA offer on a non-target they have to a perfect candidate that they can rationalize to themselves and others on why chose them over a H/P/Y student.

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Mar 31, 2017

Polished can mean anything. However, when I hear it used in that context I think of your appearance and how you project yourself.

Was your hair a mess? Suit fit like your dads? Shirt wrinkled?

Believe it or not, these will make or break an interview decision.

Best Response
Mar 31, 2017

I think the majority of posters here are simply dead wrong. First off, the recruiter did you a huge solid by actually giving you feedback. Very, very few recruiters will ever do this. Second off, the recruiter's feedback was real feedback. It's just that you and the majority of people here don't understand it, and that's understandable because neither did I when I was in undergrad.

When I think of an unpolished candidate, I think of one who rambles (maybe this is just projection judging by the length of my post lol), cannot properly walk me through a transaction on his/her resume, cannot give me a succinct answer to an easy question, cannot form a simple opinion on a complex issue, cannot answer my off-the-wall behavioral questions, etc. Frankly, the vast alumni network, IB-related clubs, and just overall environment at most targets do a much better job than their counterparts at non-targets polishing the students.

Since you got this far in the process, you can rule out your experience as the issue. What you need to work on is your delivery (i.e. how you answer questions). A starting point would be running through a mock interview with either an alumnus or the WSO Wall St. Mentors program. That should give you a clue as to where your weaknesses lie. I would then spend some time pouring through WSO as everything from how to walk someone through a transaction to how to answer an off-the-wall behavioral question (I actually posted about that yesterday) has been asked and answered here before.

I hope that helps and makes sense. This is understandably frustrating as the solution to this issue is not as linear as just studying technicals more.

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Apr 4, 2017
Sil:

I think the majority of posters here are simply dead wrong. First off, the recruiter did you a huge solid by actually giving you feedback. Very, very few recruiters will ever do this. Second off, the recruiter's feedback was real feedback. It's just that you and the majority of people here don't understand it, and that's understandable because neither did I when I was in undergrad.

When I think of an unpolished candidate, I think of one who rambles (maybe this is just projection judging by the length of my post lol), cannot properly walk me through a transaction on his/her resume, cannot give me a succinct answer to an easy question, cannot form a simple opinion on a complex issue, cannot answer my off-the-wall behavioral questions, etc. Frankly, the vast alumni network, IB-related clubs, and just overall environment at most targets do a much better job than their counterparts at non-targets polishing the students.

Since you got this far in the process, you can rule out your experience as the issue. What you need to work on is your delivery (i.e. how you answer questions). A starting point would be running through a mock interview with either an alumnus or the WSO Wall St. Mentors program. That should give you a clue as to where your weaknesses lie. I would then spend some time pouring through WSO as everything from how to walk someone through a transaction to how to answer an off-the-wall behavioral question (I actually posted about that yesterday) has been asked and answered here before.

I hope that helps and makes sense. This is understandably frustrating as the solution to this issue is not as linear as just studying technicals more.

This is very accurate. The only thing I would add is that I would also use "not polished" if a candidate didn't use good grammar, didn't demonstrate a broad vocabulary, or regularly said "uhhh" or "ummm." My biggest personal pet peeve is when someone uses a word for something that it doesn't mean.

A great recent example is that I interviewed a sales candidate, and twice in the interview she used "ventricle" in place of "vertical." I could have forgiven it once as a slip-up since we're in healthcare, but twice was painful. She won't be getting an offer.

Apr 4, 2017

Agree with Sil here. Not polished for me is the kid who's bright but "immature" and can't adequately bridge between smarts and rhetoric / persuasion. An unpolished kids describes a good idea, but uses a lot of slang, rambles, etc.

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Apr 7, 2017
Sil:

I think the majority of posters here are simply dead wrong. First off, the recruiter did you a huge solid by actually giving you feedback. Very, very few recruiters will ever do this. Second off, the recruiter's feedback was real feedback. It's just that you and the majority of people here don't understand it, and that's understandable because neither did I when I was in undergrad.

When I think of an unpolished candidate, I think of one who rambles (maybe this is just projection judging by the length of my post lol), cannot properly walk me through a transaction on his/her resume, cannot give me a succinct answer to an easy question, cannot form a simple opinion on a complex issue, cannot answer my off-the-wall behavioral questions, etc. Frankly, the vast alumni network, IB-related clubs, and just overall environment at most targets do a much better job than their counterparts at non-targets polishing the students.

Since you got this far in the process, you can rule out your experience as the issue. What you need to work on is your delivery (i.e. how you answer questions). A starting point would be running through a mock interview with either an alumnus or the WSO Wall St. Mentors program. That should give you a clue as to where your weaknesses lie. I would then spend some time pouring through WSO as everything from how to walk someone through a transaction to how to answer an off-the-wall behavioral question (I actually posted about that yesterday) has been asked and answered here before.

I hope that helps and makes sense. This is understandably frustrating as the solution to this issue is not as linear as just studying technicals more.

This.

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Apr 9, 2017

Spot on.

"Polish", as vague as it sounds, is very important as you progress. It goes beyond the interview process and weighs heavily in day to day interactions.

Incoming rant: (I am going beyond OP's post now and the following is not aimed at him) It blows my mind how some people lack manners. I have seen analysts slurp their tea loudly in the office, are messy AF, and keep interrupting people when they speak.

Apr 9, 2017

I was once at a superday dinner where some candidate spit his food out onto the plate because he did not like it. The candidate was sitting next to an MD who gave him this, "Wow, well, that's a ding." look.

Apr 9, 2017

Classy.

Mar 31, 2017

These seemingly nonsensincal rejections are the worst. My recent experience was the opposite. At my final interview I was told by the interviewer that my resume, composure and attire was fault-free. The interviewer argued that I fit the profile of someone who might be arrogant.

This was completely new to me, especially as a I see my CV as mediocre aim to be passionate but objective during interviews. I don't think there is a magic formula other than doing due diligence by talking to previously successful applicants and trying again in 6 months. However, sometimes these things are rooted in our DNA - in such instances, maybe the job and the firm simply doesn't fit your profile.

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Mar 31, 2017

Mind if I ask what sort of position you were aiming for?

Mar 31, 2017

This is really good, helpful advice. Don't take it too hard, and don't take it too personally.

"Not polished enough" does not mean "never"; it just means "not today".

If it helps, I'm exactly 10 years ahead of you in this cycle. I look back at the stuff I was saying and doing in interviews 10 years ago and part of me feels really embarassed. But part of me also knows that I was just a kid, and those mistakes were totally forgiveable and expected for a 21 year old-- but they just meant that I wasn't quite cut out for the FO in that interview.

My toughest interviewers were the ones that helped me improve the most in the long run.

If your biggest issue is polish, you're going to pull this off eventually. Especially if you're coming from a school that doesn't typically place a lot of people into banking. You might not pull this off at 21 or 22 (I'm calling the odds 50/50), but you'll pull it off by 24, especially if you spend 18 months in a white-collar job.

If it helps, my first job put me in a group similar to GS or MS Strats at Lehman Brothers-- I was an excellent programmer, but I lacked the polish for a true FO role. Today I am a quantitative researcher developing alphas on the buyside, and the mistakes I made and the tough interviews I survived at 21 and 22 helped me pull off a really polished interview at 29 that got me the job I have now.

Keep at it, you'll pull this off.

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Mar 31, 2017

@mmmm123 as an honest assessment of yourself did you catch yourself rambling or speaking more than you needed to? Did you answer questions as if you were reading from a textbook?

If not, like others have mentioned its because you were a non-target (I think this is BS but there are countless threads on debating this).

I see one of two options:

1.) Next time you have an interview be ballsy and ask the interviewer, "If my resume said Harvard, UPenn, or some other target school instead of Generic State U would this change your opinion on me as a suitable candidate for full-time role?"

2.) Move onto something else. Look at alternatives like Corporate Banking and see if you can use the skills you learn there to lateral into IB.

Unfortunately for any job you can be rejected for the dumbest things. Someone didn't like your face, your hair, your suit, the fact that you may be Asian or black, you were a woman but not as attractive as Katie...who the hell knows.

Truth be told its much better to be at a place that wants you rather than one that doesn't or is on the fence about you. You made it this far as a non-target and although there is no consolation prize you have what it takes to get into the room so maybe reach out to people who know you such as friends in the industry or career advisers and get their feedback on your interviewing skills (i.e. not necessarily technical but behavioral and body language wise).

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Mar 31, 2017

Not sure it he's joking, but don't take option 1. If I had a candidate say that to me, and considering that I am actually from a target like most in IB BB/EB, I'd either way be looking to take the candidate from my school if at all possible. Tbh it would just be annoying that she 20 year old kid is here trying to aggressively question that, would be a huge turnoff.

This being said, I've only been an interviewer in first/second round interviews, not superdays. Also, I'm probably a bit of a dick anyway

Mar 31, 2017

@therealgekko #1 was purely a sarcastic comment and one I would never seriously recommend. However like you said brand loyalty is true (i.e. Texas A&M which is borderline a cult).

2 probably won't be a popular option but there is no shame in getting into a role close to IB in terms of transferable skills (e.g. Financial modeling, creating pitch books or decks, time management in high stress, demanding environments, etc.)

Mar 31, 2017

Hey when you look at some of the advice on this forum, you can definitely see people presenting something like this as serious advice and for a college sophomore/junior lurking on here, it's highly possible they wouldn't pick up on the sarcasm. Just playing it safe man

Mar 31, 2017

I was rejected about 3 months ago on "fit". Sounds like somewhat of the same feedback as "not being polished". I got great feedback, that might help you.

Apparently I ramble a bit and sounded too much like the perfect "well practiced" finance interview candidate. They even told me that at a BB they would have hired me, but they wouldn't take the risk at the small EB regional office they were. In hindsight I can see what they meant though. Basically I would look at all the things you think you normally do that might annoy people or aren't your best treats, and then figure out if you did them during your interview. You probably did.

Apr 8, 2017

I give consulting candidates this feedback quite a bit. If the firm doesn't feel like they got to know the real you (not the rehearsed you), it ain't happening. We spend too much time together for a firm to risk a hire that they don't truly know.

I bet it has more to do with coming across as genuine rather than annoying habits.

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Mar 31, 2017

In the Canadian perspective, "polish", really has to do with the prep provided to students/candidates.
Most non-target schools have literally zero support for students trying to break into ib while the target schools all have clubs, counselors and hordes of alumni who really do make that difference in a candidate's polish.
Little things like attire, personal grooming and, yes, language, all make a big difference in getting into the "yes/offer" pile.
If one's school doesn't help, candidates have to fend for themselves. WSO is a great place to start....

Mar 31, 2017

It meant that they just wanted the target school kid, she/he's less risky as a candidate to choose. Think about it, he killed it in high school, got good SAT's and has already been vetted to be chosen by a top university and carries a 3.6 here. Statistically speaking, on the bank's end it is safer to choose him since they are really looking for just an excel monkey who can log in the hours. Plus most of these guys are from targets and looking to recruit from their alma mater, so they will be looking to weed out non-targets. You made it pretty far, try looking for other ops

Mar 31, 2017
therealgekko:

It meant that they just wanted the target school kid, she/he's less risky as a candidate to choose. Think about it, he killed it in high school, got good SAT's and has already been vetted to be chosen by a top university and carries a 3.6 here. Statistically speaking, on the bank's end it is safer to choose him since they are really looking for just an excel monkey who can log in the hours. Plus most of these guys are from targets and looking to recruit from their alma mater, so they will be looking to weed out non-targets. You made it pretty far, try looking for other ops

Cynicism like this doesn't really help. If anything, brazen optimism, sometimes on the border of getting yourself called delusional by WSO, is what changes the system.

Our firm tends to pick the guy who gives the best technical interview. Incidentally about 60% of us have some sort of state school on our resumes; 40% exclusively. (mind you these are often flagship schools like Berkeley or UNC Chapel Hill or UMich, but in a field like finance, the guy from Berkeley identifies more with UC Irvine than he does Stanford) We do get a boatload of applicants from HYP, but Berkeley, Ga Tech, UMich, UT Austin, and UIUC often produce higher quality developers, and there's just a better cultural fit. So if anything, being from a state school can be an advantage at some firms.

For the positions where competence matters, where you go to school gets you the interview to be sure, but in the interview, it's all you and what you can bring to the table.

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Mar 31, 2017

It's not cynicism, just a recognition of the realities that you have to work around. And sometimes the truth is harsh, but at least by knowing it, you can see how you might be able to circumvent or address those concerns to solid material effect. And you're right, brazen optimism is what changes the system, but a college sophomore/junior is realistically not going to change in the system. Therefore, a strong understanding of the system itself is going to serve OP better in navigating it.

Also, I'm not questioning that some firms could have preference for state-school kids for cultural dimensions, but BB IB, and then PE/HF recruiting after at the better firms typically do evaluate based on target school. All else being equal at a good PE firm, they will choose the candidate who went to the target over the nontarget, and same with BB IB. It's just a matter of risk and supporting the alma mater

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Mar 31, 2017
therealgekko:

It's not cynicism, just a recognition of the realities that you have to work around. And sometimes the truth is harsh, but at least by knowing it, you can see how you might be able to circumvent or address those concerns to solid material effect. And you're right, brazen optimism is what changes the system, but a college sophomore/junior is realistically not going to change in the system. Therefore, a strong understanding of the system itself is going to serve OP better in navigating the system.

Out of curiosity, do you have personal experience with this as an interviewer? Or not?

Having been on the other side of the table, I've never seen it overtly. I try to be fair to kids from Stanford and Harvard; and my coworkers from Stanford and Harvard try to be fair to kids from Illinois and Princeton. It's always been kinda like that in S&T and QR. Of course it's easier to stay objective in technical interviews.

One exception: there are two mafias out there-- Notre Dame and McKinsey. But so far as I've seen there's no Ivy League mafia.

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Mar 31, 2017

I've been pretty involved first or second round interviews, but typically not super days as usually the more senior people handle those. I don't have anything against non-target school kids, but coming from a target does help tip the balance if the non-target candidate and the target candidate are close in the other metrics. At this point it is just a matter of risk in terms of vetting.

It's the same concept as PE firms taking almost IB kids exclusively (along with some conulsting and obviously other PE firms). Typically the better candidates tend to have gone to target schools (vetting #1) and then to a solid investment bank (vetting #2) and so you are getting the cream of the crop.

Now are there kids outside this track who would be as good or better than the kids who came from IB? Certainly, I'm sure there are. But the simple fact is, it is far less risky to take the candidate outside this track which may not present several checkpoints along the way. At the junior levels, these positions don't require an insane level of skill, just a strong work ethic and ability/desire to learn. These are abilities much more common on a percentage basis from the kids who worked harder consistently throughout their lives to get through these checkpoints (assuming they want whatever end result is at the end of this track).

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Mar 31, 2017
therealgekko:

I've been pretty involved first or second round interviews, but typically not super days as usually the more senior people handle those. I don't have anything against non-target school kids, but it does help tip the balance if the non-target candidate and the target candidate are close in the other metrics.

Fair point. All else being equal I'm going with the kid from UIUC. All else being fairly close I'm going with the kid from UIUC over the kid from Harvard, simply because the kid from the state school is going to be approaching his finance interview sophistication asymptote a little more slowly, and I expect the state school kid or even CMU kid to improve a bit more than I expect the kid from Harvard to improve.

At this point it is just a matter of risk in terms of vetting.

It's the same concept as PE firms taking almost IB kids exclusively (along with some conulsting and obviously other PE firms). Typically the better candidates tend to have gone to target schools (vetting #1) and then to a solid investment bank (vetting #2) and so you are getting the cream of the crop.

That may be true, but our target schools are Berkeley, Berkeley, Berkeley, CMU, UIUC, CMU, UMich, MIT, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Princeton, and Wharton. Those tend to be the safe bets for us. Of course we're also going to interview a solid candidate from UIC, NIU, or UW Madison. We want the best people with the best ideas and sometimes it's good to have people in the room who think differently than we do.

Now are there kids outside this track who would be as good or better than the kids who came from IB? Certainly, I'm sure there are. But the simple fact is, it is far less risky to take the candidate outside this track which may not present several checkpoints along the way. At the junior levels, these positions don't require an insane level of skill, just a strong work ethic and ability/desire to learn. These are abilities much more common on a percentage basis from the kids who worked harder consistently throughout their lives to get through these checkpoints (assuming they want whatever end result is at the end of this track).

But that's not how things go in quantland. We do an interview, we ask challenging questions; they prove they're smart or they don't. It's rare that we get close calls in technical interviews.

And the hardest working kids studied Computer Engineering or Computer Science at CMU or UIUC. Having gone to UIUC and having gone to Princeton, the work ethic in Engineering at UIUC is a lot stronger than it is at any Ivy; and the value delivered at the end of the day is greater (not that Princeton's isn't excellent as well-- just that UIUC is better by a noticeable margin). And it's evident in the differences between the graduate students who are paid to do the research and the undergraduates whose parents make donations. As noted earlier, something like 40% of HYP comes from the top 5% of earners. The class has a certain demographic of Asians for instance (typically less than 20%). The professors all tell their students that the brightest graduates go on to get PhDs, which is largely true if you look at the valedictorians and salutatorians. But when it comes to PhD students, the class makeup changes dramatically. More like 40% of graduate students are Asian (I am a white guy), and well over half of Princeton's grad students come from state schools.

So I think the evidence points to the fact, even by HYP's own admissions department admission, that many of the smartest and hardest working undergrads don't go to Ivies. Our firm makes an effort to find them, and they really contribute to our success.

At the end of the day, it's pretty darned simple. If you're CS, I throw a problem at you and ask you to prove it's NP-Complete or give me a polynomial time solution. Or I give some oddball sorting question that I found in some journal publication. If I see a strong stats background, we'll go into some proof about skewness on top of that. If I see stochal, we might derive black scholes and then solve for the value of some option with a really oddball payoff. It's pretty easy to differentiate people if you ask really tough problems, and invariably, the top 5% of any program is roughly the same everywhere.

If you give a kind and gentle interview but ask incredibly hard questions (letting people know this is a tough question and we don't expect them to nail it to get the job), the cream DOES rise to the top. And much of the time (not always), we find it doesn't have Princeton or Harvard on its resume.

The awesome thing is that quants are going to be managing these companies in 15-20 years. They're already managing the money. We'll have a more scientific approach to management, activist hedge funds and PE shops will be run by PhDs or at least STEM people, that will translate to the CEOs, and eventually those that serve them in IBD will pass a really tough interview similar to the one I deliver as well.

Liberal arts schools like Yale will always have prestige and always be a mecca for rich families, but if you want someone who can run stuff and frame decisionmaking properly and come up with a scientific approach to solving problems while having an awareness of the real world, just hire a CS major, engineer, or an MFE from Berkeley. (To be sure, we need a diversity of approaches, so hire CMU, UT Austin, MIT, UW Madison, Cornell, and maaaybe Princeton too if they are more competent than they are elitist)

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Apr 7, 2017

What firm do you work at that seemingly pulls so hard from Berkeley?

Apr 7, 2017
syu95:

What firm do you work at that seemingly pulls so hard from Berkeley?

The most I'll say on WSO is that I work for a large well known buyside-equivalent firm based in Chicago that pays better than any NYC bank. I'll also volunteer we pull harder from CMU (in addition to Berkeley) than we do Princeton or Harvard. Heck, we pull harder from UIUC than most Ivies. If you really dig into my background or ask one of the WSO old timers or obsessively search Patrick's social network friends and friends of friends for UIUC you can probably figure out which firm I work for. But I'm not going to post it publicly.

If your Sharpe is above 2, competence is more important than prestige and a huge chunk of the competent kids study CS or ORFE at Berkeley or CMU to be perfectly honest. (Basically everyone who would have gotten into Princeton were they non-Asian or a development candidate or slightly more sophisticated and graduated a tougher program than ours' or had the admissions process otherwise been fair, sane, and reasonable)

To be sure these comments are in respect to ORFE, CS, and Engineering at Berkeley more than traditional finance at Haas (which is also excellent but doesn't play as well for HFT and systematic strategies)

If you want to do IBD in NY, go to Harvard or Yale. If you want to go where the money is (Chicago prop shops), make twice as much for half the work, and actually make serious decisions for the economy, study CS at Berkeley.

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Mar 28, 2018

delete

Mar 31, 2017

Don't underestimate the BYU mafia.

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Apr 3, 2017

If you're referring to Notre Dame as a mafia you must live in Chicago.

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

Mar 31, 2017

Why don't you reach out to your interviewers and request feedback?

If I don't get a role, I simply follow up one more time after the thank you email. It couldn't hurt to reach out and say something like, "Thanks again for taking the time to speak with me. I came away with a good impression and was very impressed with blah blah. Any feedback you can provide regarding my interview to better position me in any future interviews with this company would be greatly appreciated"

Worst they can do is say no or ignore your email. Then you are back where you started.
Best case, you get an answer AND they appreciate your proactivity.

Mar 31, 2017

This article might give you more insight. It's for London but in principle most likely also applies for all other financial centres in the world.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep...

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Apr 3, 2017

Did you grab your ankles when you bent over? Otherwise, try KY instead of Vaseline next time.

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Apr 3, 2017

I think being not polished enough is just a reality of attending a non-target. I've been told I'm not polished several times. Many of us non-targets have been competing against a certain type of person for xyz years, when you enter banking interviews you're competing against a whole new breed of people.

Apr 4, 2017

I think articles on this topic was passed around last year:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/01/to...

Apr 4, 2017

Did you wear a brown suit?

Apr 6, 2017

It's true... I interviewed a couple guys for our Vol desk... One of the guys at my desk was making fun of a candidate's cufflinks. He was a terrible candidate anyway, so we were calling stuff out... Every interview I go to, I make sure my hair is short and tight, shaved, make sure my tie is nice size to my belt, shoes are polished, make sure my dress shirt isn't tucking out... Everything is perfect.

Apr 6, 2017
mswoonc:

It's true... I interviewed a couple guys for our Vol desk... One of the guys at my desk was making fun of a candidate's cufflinks. He was a terrible candidate anyway, so we were calling stuff out... Every interview I go to, I make sure my hair is short and tight, shaved, make sure my tie is nice size to my belt, shoes are polished, make sure my dress shirt isn't tucking out... Everything is perfect.

Every interview I go to, I wear jeans, a plaid shirt (typically with a tear or two), thick rimmed glasses, and IlliniProgrammer DiSheveled Quant Hair Cream (TM) for that geek-who-rolled-out-of-bed-look. Interviewers yell at me that I'm supposed to wear a suit, then I get asked a bunch of technical questions about statistical learning and behavioral finance, and I get an offer a few weeks later for some hedge fund thingajobber.

Agreed 100%. The secret's in the clothing and appearance. And my Quant Hair Cream is on sale at Circuit City for $29.95 if you hurry up and buy now.

In all seriousness, QR candidates should be expected to wear a suit and tie to an interview, as well as dress shoes and (maybe) a belt and appropriate socks. They should look like they've showered in the past 48 hours (ideally that day) and their hair (including beard) should be well trimmed. You don't gotta get everything right as a quant-- you just have to show you understand the system and have made an effort. Beyond that, the polish is in nailing the technicals and understanding what the job entails.

Calm down kids-- don't be intimidated by this fellow with an apparent inferiority complex. You can do this.

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Apr 6, 2017

Almost every time I've heard that term in a post interview deliberation room it relates to how organised and effective an applicant responds to questions as well as how they do the resume walk-through. Were they to the point? Did they emphasizes what are clearly their most important accomplishments, tone of voice etc. Essentially it all boils down to: would I be comfortable having this person present to senior leaders and clients? Will they make me look good or bad? this is very subjective too but at least now you know so you can adjust accordingly for next time. good luck.

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Apr 7, 2017

Bingo. Do they sound like they know what they're doing, know what they want, and do they stay on point? Do they know how to solve a technical question in front of an interviewer.

That said, if superdays are American Idol, I generally find myself playing Paula Abdul (one of the judges), or at least playing her in the interview. Interviews are tough; they're stressful. On top of that, a lot of us quants have issues with social anxiety as one could probably imagine. On the one hand I want to find the best candidate (so I ask a tough question and state it as such); on the other, I don't want to make it any harder than it has to be and I am constantly making it clear I am not expecting too much from a 21 year old kid.

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Apr 7, 2017

Agree with Coote that you did very well getting as far as you did, and you are lucky that you received feedback (although it could have been given more tactfully). You could use that feedback and talk to a public speaking coach, and get more specific feedback about how you come off (first impression) to a stranger. Even get videotaped. I did this and was amazed at what the camera showed.

Apr 8, 2017

Worth reading books like Importance of Being Earnest, anything from PG Wodehouse, etc These are not only funny but give you great examples of polished delivery of thoughts (modern, not medivial). I picked up reading just recently and regret not doing it in my youth. Also, Plato's works are rather conversational as well. It will take time of course to implement elements of their style into your way of speaking, but if you have more than just a few days to prep, this can certainly serve as addition to your comms style.

P.S. The above mentioned books were written by and about people one could consider "target", i.e. members of the aristocracy and leading thinkers/writers of their times. A glimpse into their lives and how they interact could be of use.

Apr 8, 2017

this is straight retarded.

Plato is a "target?" wtf dude?

The Academy of Athens on the other hand, THAT was a fucking target.

Apr 10, 2017

you display a great example of polish :)

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Apr 9, 2017

Ah, to be young enough to think that 'incorporating the elements of [Plato's] style' would mean shit-all in banking. For what it's worth, Shakespeare would be the closest comp for IB's approach to language --> write a lot, please the masses, and, when in doubt, make words up to fit your needs.

Apr 10, 2017

just an example of fludity of delivering thoughts in a relatively simple language, simpler than Shakespeare's

Apr 10, 2017

The entire point of IB is to present uncomplicated thoughts in language complex enough to render them opaque.

Apr 8, 2017

It means you weren't WASP-y enough.

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