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Ground-Breaking Study Reveals Shocking Results About Wall Street Hiring Practices

Gang, something big has come up this morning and we need to discuss it right now. Don’t want to scare anyone but also don’t want to minimize the enormity of this news so let’s just get right to it. Wall Street has been keeping a secret. Look around at your colleagues this morning. The ones who attended schools like Yale, Princeton and Harvard and played sports like lacrosse and squash and use the word ‘summer’ as a verb and describe the color red as Nantucket red and argue the HJs don’t count if you give them to a guy whose named ends in IV and get aroused at the mere thought of an ACK sticker? They might have had an easier time breaking into the industry than those who graduated from lower ranked universities and did not get their WASP on. Yes, really.

After you’ve picked your jaws up off the floor, you’re presumably going to want to fight us on this and shout “It can’t be!” and “You lie!” Sorry to say it, pumpkins, it’s the truth. But don’t take our word for it- someone actually did a study on the shocking phenomenon.

Lauren Rivera — a 32-year-old sociologist who teaches management and organizations at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management — has concluded it’s still where you went rather than what you did there that makes the difference…She says “elite professional service employers” rely more on academic pedigree than any other factor. For recruiters, it’s prestige that counts, rather than “content” like grades, courses, internships, or other actual performance. That’s because if you got into a “super-elite” school — which essentially means Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Wharton (University of Pennsylvania), and Stanford — you must be smart. Plus, time spent at those bastions in turn will make you “polished” and attractive to corporate clients. It is, according to Rivera, a largely self-perpetuating hiring process that prizes efficiency: Why spend effort looking for “that one needle in the haystack” at a “safety school” like the University of Michigan or, heavens forfend, Bowling Green, when the run-of-the-mill Yalie’s still a prince. Even “second-tier” Ivies like Brown, according to Rivera, are suspect for the top firms.

The most surprising finding in Rivera’s research — conducted through observation and anonymous interviewing — was about the role of extracurriculars. While going to a super-elite gets your penny loafer in the door, that isn’t enough. Rivera says it’s leisure pursuits that seal the deal. Employers use these as “valid markers” or “proxies” of a candidate’s “social and moral worth,” all the more so for time-intensive sports that “resonate with white, upper-middle-class culture.” Think lacrosse, squash, crew, and field hockey. Skip football, basketball, and soccer. And no sport at all suggests “nerd,” which correlates to future “corporate drone.”

Now that this wild news is out in the open, let’s get into something even crazier- the people who were able to get jobs on Wall Street without such “polish.” If you, for example, attended Columbia and played football, how were you able to land a gig? If you’re bashful about admitting it involved 2 pieces of Scotch Tape, a half empty sugar free Red Bull, a poster of the original Saved By The Bell cast, a used colonoscopy bag and the board game Chutes and Ladders, don’t be- it’s what we were expecting anyway.

Ivy League Is Still The Best Route To Landing A Job On Wall Street [CNN]

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224 Responses to “Ground-Breaking Study Reveals Shocking Results About Wall Street Hiring Practices”

  1. Guess says:

    Add Northwestern to the suspect list after this bullshit study.

  2. Tommy Boy says:

    Where does Rugby fit into the mix?

    Marquette ’92, ’93, AND ’94

  3. Brian1284 says:

    Insider Information got me on the street.
    -Bud Fox-

  4. Dr. Rosenrose says:

    I say let Harvard have its sports and academics. Yale will always be first in gentlemanly club life.
    C.M. Burns

  5. Nervous Jew says:

    I’m nervous. 

  6. guest says:

    all the kids i grew up with who went to harvard, yale, stanford, princeton and penn were nerds whether they played squash or soccer

  7. Guest says:

    If I’m not mistaken, this study confirms why there will be about 2k miserable souls spending a fine saturday afternoon jailed up in the Javits Center… 

  8. Gusto says:

    I got the full study from ScienceDirect – it is a must read for anyone hoping to send their kids/relatives to work at the top firms. Essentially puts a “scientific framework” onto hiring into the top firms – be that law or banking. The most incredible conclusion of the study is that in fact the high school is the most important period of your life rather than college or grad school – because your performance there will sharply determine everything else.  

  9. Hofstra Baller says:

    I went to Hofstra and play stick ball.  I can write my own ticket.  Suck on that. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    “You think the guy who ripped an average of 15 shots on cage a game is going to hire the guy who didn’t even total that at one top gun camp?  C’MON!”

    -L. Blankfein

  11. Dick Gross says:

    And here I am, thinking HJ’s only don’t count if you don’t kiss the woman giving one. I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  12. El Tigre says:

    Wait, there are schools other than Yale?

  13. Chuck Schick says:

    Are you going to Harvard?

  14. Hamilton says:

    I was not interviewed by Ms.Rivera, she’s got somethin against her guidos from Brooklyn.

    – Joe Cassano

  15. Guest says:

    I didnt have a hard time landing my job at all.

    -Zinfandel Wilcox-Bugsby
    (formerly Lamarr Flaminga Jones)

  16. Put_Option says:

    Right before finals, I used to walk into Uris wearing Tod’s drivers, a vintage Omega Seamaster hand-me-down, Vilebrequin trunks, a linen Brooks Brothers shirt, and topped off nicely with a pair of Mosley Tribes shades. I got all Ds, a first year analyst job at Piper Jaffray, and access to the back door at Dorrian’s any time I want.

    You nerds can have Quant. I’ll be too busy crushing natty lites and biddies to care about Monte Carlo or whatever…

    -The Man

  17. Drumm says:

    This slam piece sounds like a total bro hater. She needs to lighten up and take a ride on the pound town express.

  18. Andelt says:

    And a degree from SUNY Oswego with extracurriculars like the beer funnel team and intramural floor hockey gets u a job brokering the brokers at BCG or Euro Brokers…..  Big Deal.  Ivy league chicks don’t keep the change.

  19. guest says:

    But, Dick Fuld went to Univ of Colorado? 

  20. Guest says:

    This study is incomplete unless she notes that you get fired on Wall Street if you are too sexy for the job.

    -Debrelee

  21. Anonymous says:

    So Wall Street is ran by mediocre students with mediocre athletic talent? 

  22. Guest says:

    So uh, I didn’t go to any of those places but my extracurricular activities include a 5k marathon, so get in line.  Remember when booking my travel accommodations to book me first class with a car and driver to the Four Seasons.  And you better hurry because I’ve already got a number of other offers in hand from the Street.

    Jeffrey Chiang

  23. Guest says:

    I’m more interested in Bess explaining what one does with “2 pieces of Scotch Tape, a half empty sugar free Red Bull, a poster of the original Saved By The Bell cast, a used colonoscopy bag and the board game Chutes and Ladders” — I assume all pieces must be used.

  24. Guest says:

    Wait, so all this about a CFA is not relevent?

    –Mutumbo Kabanga
    Ghanaian CFA candidate

  25. BC says:

    The results of this research are extremely counterintuitive. It is my firm believe that Wall Street  hires the best, the finest, the smartest. That’s why these geniuses rightfully deserve: money, hookers, first class tickets, cocaine, luxury hotels, maids ready to service their needs,  tax payers bailouts and much more.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Always seemed to me like there were more people in this biz from Duke/UVa/Bucknell/NESCAC than from Hah-vuhd et al.

    -Conn Coll alum

  27. Miami says:

    Getting at job under Lloyd with a 3.3 from Suntan U is the NKI.

  28. Guest says:

    This study is bullshit, I went to Eastern Appalachian State University Hair Care and Tire Center, and I’m kickass.

    -Sr. AIG Quant

  29. PublicU says:

    Just like most things on Wall Street, we didn’t need a study to know this.  Again Main Street is slowly catching on.

  30. iit says:

    iit?

  31. impossible ins't nothing says:

    While we believe your ballroom dancing, Krav Maga black belt, gnarly 360 on ski’s, impressive bench press and 140 mph overhand serve is admirable, we regret to inform you that we will not be pursuing your application further with Goldman Sachs and Co.

    You neglected to include shot speed (overhand and side arm), face off percentage, GB averages, and scoring figures.  Thank you and we will keep your records on file if another position happens to become available in the future.

    -Goldman Sachs HCM

  32. Guest says:

    Lacrosse = male equivalent of field hockey

  33. PasteSpecialFormats says:

    BMCC, major in Human Resource Management, captain of IM Table Tennis team.

    Suck on my prestige.

  34. K. Owen says:

    Recent studies produced by a researcher at Duke suggest that school is also considered an elite institution so long as you are a mildly attractive female candidate looking to sleep your way to the top. 

  35. Theodore_III says:

    Please dont hate me because Im beautiful.

    -Ivy league graduate and ex-jock who’s father and grandfather kicked ass on Wall Street, now its my turn.
    -BTW, I wear Vineyard Vines, drive an Audi Q7, summer at Poppy’s house in Nantucket, have a hot wife and beautiful children in Westport and a weekday apartment on the Upper West side(where I bang a series of 23 year old assistants on the side).

  36. guest says:

    I went to tufts and i’ve fired many self absorbed, entitled aholes from all these schools.  in fact i’m thinking of foreclosing on this professor’s mortgage for wasting my associates time reading her study on dealbreaker.

    -J. Dimon, HBS MBA

  37. guest says:

    I went to tufts and i’ve fired many self absorbed, entitled aholes from all these schools.  in fact i’m thinking of foreclosing on this professor’s mortgage for wasting my associates time reading her study on dealbreaker.

    -J. Dimon, HBS MBA

  38. guest says:

    I went to tufts and i’ve fired many self absorbed, entitled aholes from all these schools.  in fact i’m thinking of foreclosing on this professor’s mortgage for wasting my associates time reading her study on dealbreaker.

    -J. Dimon, HBS MBA

  39. guest says:

    I went to tufts and i’ve fired many self absorbed, entitled aholes from all these schools.  in fact i’m thinking of foreclosing on this professor’s mortgage for wasting my associates time reading her study on dealbreaker.

    -J. Dimon, HBS MBA

  40. NakedShort says:

    37 FTW!!!!!

    -Nostalgic Dealbreaker Thread Guy

  41. NakedShort says:

    37 FTW!!!!!

    -Nostalgic Dealbreaker Thread Guy

  42. NakedShort says:

    37 FTW!!!!!

    -Nostalgic Dealbreaker Thread Guy

  43. NakedShort says:

    37 FTW!!!!!

    -Nostalgic Dealbreaker Thread Guy

  44. Guest says:

    They have sports at Brown?

  45. Most insipid comment thread ever?
    – guy who wouldn’t mind having those 3 minutes of his life back

  46. Bess Fan says:

    So given the choice between working for an IB or the Navy SEALs, the lesser men choose Vineyard Vines and CNBC over Danner boots and an M4.  Well done. 
    http://blog.usnavyseals.com/2010/03/navy-seal-recruitment-set-sights-on-athletes.html

  47. guest says:

    Bar tender at a state school. Troubled by fractions until there was money involved.

  48. Dotcomlover says:

    CFA, no MBA, Virginia lax team, no wife yet…..

  49. Guest says:

    wow

  50. Guest says:

    Economists have had the math worked out on this “phenomenon” for decades Ms. Rivera, its called signalling.

  51. Guest says:

    Wall Street = greatest Ponzi scheme ever; entrée to this scheme = ivy league education

  52. Guest says:

    never have so many[bankers] made soo much creating so little[value]; not that the music has stopped, the U.S. taxpayer is left without chair

  53. Lbc says:

    Lauren Rivera succeeded in getting her name known.Now go to JPMorgan, Jefferies, Credit Suisse in NYC, you’ll find lots of bright guys from Colgate, Cornell or anonymous unis but with a CFA title.
    And IBs do hire lots of MITs, because and HBS grad can’t be a quant but an MIT guy can.