How to Beat the Ivy League: Why You Shouldn’t Fear Top Schools, Top Pedigrees, or “Top” Anything Else

13 Comments | Recruiting Mindset

How to Beat the Ivy LeagueAbout a year ago, I was chatting with a new friend I had just met at an entrepreneurship/drinking event (yes, my two favorite things).

He had graduated from a Top 50 university in the US, gone to a highly ranked law school, taken a corporate law job, and then quit to accept a teaching job that involved 10-15 hours per week of “real work.”

When he found out where I went to school, he immediately asked a pointed question:

“Was it worth it?

I met quite a few students from Ivy League and similar schools at my law school, and I didn’t think there was a huge difference between them and everyone else.

It seemed like the emperor had no clothes.

I laughed and gave him my thoughts:

“Congratulations. You just saved yourself $150,000+.”

I firmly believe that if you’re ambitious, hard-working, and good at hustling, there is little reason to attend an elite university.

I also think the graduates of such schools tend to be overrated.

So if you’re not at one of these schools, this is great news because it creates new opportunities for you.

And if you are at an elite school, here’s how you can beat out your competition:

Why Does This Matter?

Will a Gap Year Really Help You Win More Finance Job Offers Than an Internship at Goldman Sachs?

22 Comments | Recruiting Mindset

Gap Year Investment BankingDo older people give better advice?

For example, can a Managing Director, a Partner, or a Portfolio Manager give you better career advice than an Analyst or Associate?

You might think that’s a clear “yes” because senior professionals have more experience…

…but after watching dozens of interviews and reading even more nonsensical articles, my personal answer is no.

The latest example comes to us from billionaire hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz, who said that students seeking internships should:

“Go do something different. Get on a motorcycle and travel through India and take photographs. Create a story where you learn something… I’m a big fan of the gap year.”

He pointed out that “kids” they interview always want internships at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey.

The reporter’s suggestion, which became the headline of the article, was that students might benefit more from traveling around India than from completing an internship at Goldman Sachs.

Before you cancel your IB internship plans and book a flight, though, you might want to pause and reflect for a moment.

Why Does This Matter?

Your Biggest Obstacle to Interview Success: Trying Too Hard?

16 Comments | Recruiting Mindset

Finance Interviews - Why Being Overbearing Kills Your ChancesSummer internship recruiting season is over.

And full-time recruiting finished a long time ago.

Maybe you made it through and got the offer you wanted…

…but in all likelihood, it didn’t go exactly as planned.

Maybe you got an offer in the industry you were targeting, but it wasn’t at the firm you wanted.

Or maybe you had to choose one of your “Plan B” options instead.

By now, you’ve probably:

But you might want to think again.

There’s a good chance that trying too hard and coming across as overbearing sunk your chances the first time around.

And that 51-item “to do” list might just sink your chances next time.

Yes, that’s right: you might get better results by putting in less effort, or at least concealing the effort you’ve put in.

Why Are You Trying So Hard, Exactly?