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  1. #1
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Default The "Correct Path" and the American Caste System

    I originally posted this in a thread about iBanking. I however found that my post ended up addressing more of my thoughts on how America is really a caste system. The top of that caste system that most people need concern themselves with, (the real top is going to be those who simply "own"), is going to be finance.

    --99% of finance involves very basic math
    --much of the "prestige" and elitism is engineered as a sort of coping mechanism to justify how much they are paid to play around in excel.
    --most of the success is due to following the "correct life path"


    The "correct life path":


    1. optional: private secondary school; mandatory --> positioning yourself for the Ivies by any means necessary.

    2. Ivy League; read: TARGET school for undergrad. {simply going to the right college and being in the right major (depends on the school) from day one in many ways decides the rest of your life}

    3. Good internships every summer; (at the non targets no one tells the students how much more important internships are for deciding the rest of your life)

    4. jr year prepare connections; resumes and interview suit (the kids at the other schools probably figure they have no need for a suit, poor bastards)

    5. summer of jr year; get that summer analyst internship that you can only get by having prior internships back when normal people dont ever think about getting an internship, at one of the top 10 firms that no one outside of target schools has a chance in hell of even applying to.

    6. sr year; early in the fall kids go through on campus recruiting that only happens at the "proper" target schools (kids at the non target schools arent even aware that all of these wallstreet jobs are being given out in the FALL way before anyone graduates).

    7. 2 years as an excel junkie; for the number of hours you work, you are paid like a mcdonalds worker. You basically do glorified admin work and build models in excel that most college grads could be trained to do.

    8. MBA at a top 10 school; some people view this a place where they can hop on the train if they missed out straight out of undergrad. Sadly it just doesnt work like that. Its like you're on a "tier", or a strata, that you are stuck at for the rest of your life. In many ways the people on the IB track arent "born with a silver spoon", but they early on had a day where they decided to suck on it -- they had the advantage of someone telling them to (wayyyyy before any normal person was aware that college decided the rest of their lives).

    9. make millions


    So in conclusion, the best person for iBanking is anyone who has the right parents to continually make sure the kid is on the "correct track". If you arent on the right track, it become near impossible to ever get on the "right track". Simply being on a lower track and attempting to "work hard", invokes more pitty among those on "the correct tract", than it does empathy. To them, you are a lowly peasant who is attempting to get out of his caste.

    If someone were to somehow make into in iBanking without having great parents guiding them every step of the way, they would probably have to be an ESFJ, ESTJ or ISTJ in order to do EVERYTHING "Correct".



    ...and yes this post is somewhat cathartic. In America you really are stuck into castes if you dont do everything "perfect" from day one. Meritocracy my ass. Im bitter, I dont even fucking want to be an iBanker anymore. They are so god damn concerned with "the prestige factor" of every fucking item on your resume. Simply being a smart person, knowledgeable about economics/finance, who can build models, put in grueling hours while looking "respectable" and being generally good with people, is of complete TERTIARY concern to the "prestige factor". Im at a second tier school, almost a 3.5 gpa, and yet i may as well have gone to fucking state school.

    EDIT:
    PS: iBanking is in many ways the gate way to Venture Capital, Private Equity and to a lesser extent Hedge Funds. So if you dont follow "the correct path", the american dream is pretty much dead. try putting multiple kids through college without living in the red without a "top tier" job in the US...from what I hear its damn near impossible.

    PPS: If you're thinking, "oh ill just be an entrepreneurs then!", many of the same hurdles are there. The best engineers and computer programmers are all going to be on a similar "correct path".

    PPPS: Medschool and law school are slightly easier to get into without being on some sort of "correct path". These are however extremely less lucrative, and you will again be living in the red for most of your life trying to make that american dream work.

    The world is so fucked up. Its all random luck of outliers...either that or they have time machines....

  2. #2
    ..... Intricate Mystic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post

    The world is so fucked up. Its all random luck of outliers...either that or they have time machines....
    Are you referring to the book, Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell?

  3. #3
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Wow, sounds bad. In Italy the same field doesn't have the same problems, they'll hire you as long as professors tell them that you're brillant. It works like this: from time to time - when there's need - the bank phones the professor and he gives the names of the students he thinks are best suited for the job. Which is not necessarily something easy to accomplish, but at the very least rather indipendent from your background. However, the pay is not as astronomical as in the U.S. - still quite good though.

    By the way, I don't think most finance is as easy as you make it sound. Stochastic Calculus-based stuff (what composes most advanced models, widely used for pricing of fixed income material) is at the same level of advanced engineering courses in terms of difficulty. Which doesn't mean it's impossible, of course - you just need to study a bit and you'll get it. Yet it does create a certain ability-bareer.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  4. #4
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Wow, sounds bad. In Italy the same field doesn't have the same problems, they'll hire you as long as professors tell them that you're brillant. It works like this: from time to time - when there's need - the bank phones the professor and he gives the names of the students he thinks are best suited for the job. Which is not necessarily something easy to accomplish, but at the very least rather indipendent from your background. However, the pay is not as astronomical as in the U.S. - still quite good though.

    By the way, I don't think most finance is as easy as you make it sound. Stochastic Calculus-based stuff (what composes most advanced models, widely used for pricing of fixed income material) is at the same level of advanced engineering courses in terms of difficulty. Which doesn't mean it's impossible, of course - you just need to study a bit and you'll get it. Yet it does create a certain ability-bareer.
    im familiar with stochastic applications in finance. I would however simply call it that: advanced math APPLIED TO finance. I would categorize anyone that does that kind of advanced math as part of their job, as more of a "Quant" than a banker/PE/Trader etc.

    But ya you're right. The math can be harder if you seek out that kind of job.

  5. #5
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intricate Mystic View Post
    Are you referring to the book, Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell?
    i wasnt directly...but ive read parts of the book, and it would apply here I think. Ive corroborated various parts of the book with people i know...its kind of creepy (like i know pro athlete people who fall into those bday ranges that all the pro athletes are more likely to have, etc)

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    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    im familiar with stochastic applications in finance. I would however simply call it that: advanced math APPLIED TO finance. I would categorize anyone that does that kind of advanced math as part of their job, as more of a "Quant" than a banker/PE/Trader etc.

    But ya you're right. The math can be harder if you seek out that kind of job.
    I think that part of job is likely the most accessible for people outside the caste. Mostly because you need to have technical skills in order to be proficient, they can't be faked through connections. I know a guy, 2 years older than me, coming from a village in the mountains - so with zero connections - that was hired just out of his model-building abilities.

    But anyway yeah, that's the type of job I want to look into
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  7. #7
    mountain surfing nomadic's Avatar
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    IB is falling out of fashion.

    More ppl are going into big tech or fortune 500 companies now bc its more stable.

    I think almost every computer science major I know is doing pretty well right now, and is still employed.

  8. #8
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Modern Nomad View Post
    IB is falling out of fashion.

    More ppl are going into big tech or fortune 500 companies now bc its more stable.

    I think almost every computer science major I know is doing pretty well right now, and is still employed.
    unless you're at a top tier uni (stanford/MIT/Berkely/Ivy League), wouldnt computer sci be one of the more outsource-able jobs?

  9. #9
    ..... Intricate Mystic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    i wasnt directly...but ive read parts of the book, and it would apply here I think. Ive corroborated various parts of the book with people i know...its kind of creepy (like i know pro athlete people who fall into those bday ranges that all the pro athletes are more likely to have, etc)
    Remember the part in the book about the Jewish lawyers from Brooklyn, who were snubbed by their WASP counterparts in Manhattan? As you may recall, they ultimately became highly successful by getting involved in hostile takeovers of corporations- a job that the other lawyers felt was beneath them. It seems that it is possible to be successful without having attended an Ivy league school... you've just got to be clever and figure out where things are going in the future economy, as opposed to what led to financial success in the past.
    Last edited by Intricate Mystic; 10-15-2009 at 01:26 AM. Reason: spelling

  10. #10
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intricate Mystic View Post
    Remember the part in the book about the Jewish lawyers from Brooklyn, who were snubbed by their WASP counterparts in Manhattan? As you may recall, they ultimately became highly successful by getting involved in hostile takeovers of corporations- a job that the other lawyers felt was beneath them. It seems that it is possible to be successful without having attended an Ivy league school... you've just got to be clever and figure out where things are going in the future economy, as opposed to what led to financial success in the past.
    well i have looked into stuff that is seemingly "beneath" iBanking:
    -management consulting
    -hedge funds
    -wealth management

    its just so damn competitive, that every other "correct path" is only slightly less ridiculous than the iBanking one.

    Even "sales and trading" (ie "S & T") looks damn hard to get into! (thats not a slight to S & T, it actually sounds cool. Though, I had originally thought it wouldnt be quite as ridiculous as an iBanking job search)

    1. Im not whining about people wanting to hire "the best".
    2. Im not whining about how many credentials and hurdles there are.
    3. I think I'm mainly just a little depressed because I now realize that for someone who really didn't fuck around in college too much (compared to some of my lazy classmates), my life has basically been determined because of what has transpired in the past 5 years... I see very little evidince that theres anything more to luck when getting "off" your current "track" or "out of" your current "tier"...

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