A Job on Wall Street

Topics: Goldman Sachs, Private equity, Underwriting Pages: 30 (9936 words) Published: February 4, 2013
Sanford C. Bernstein

To all of you who have asked for my help in finding a job on Wall Street, I want to apologize for my delay in getting back to you. I do have an excuse though, -- as most of you realize Wall Street is not an altruistic place. So when you asked for our assistance in the late fall, the Street was in the midst of its annual bonus season. This is a period of the year when the finance careers are made or ended, annual compensation is determined and the partners of the Wall Street’s firms find out if their “option” has been picked up for another year. Well, the good news is that Sanford Bernstein decided to keep me around for a little longer and when the year end bonuses were awarded at year end I certainly had nothing to complain about. So now I have some time to turn to your concerns – finding a position on the Street. Please see the attached tongue-in-cheek “How to Guide” to Wall Street Careers.


Brad Hintz hintzcb@bernstein.com

Sanford C. Bernstein

A “How to” Guide to Wall Street Careers.
Wall Street is one of the most misunderstood areas of the U.S. economy. Underwriting, M&A, Risk Arbitrage, Proprietary Trading, Equity Block Desks, IPOs and Follow-Ons, Equity Program Desks, Prime Brokerage, High- Yield Bonds, Research Sales are all terms that even the most devoted MBA student finds somewhat baffling. Frequently, when I meet with MBA students and ask them about their aspirations on The Street, they mumble something about investment banking and then unknowingly say something about the industry that is either very outdated or simply untrue. Well, Wall Street isn’t just investment banking and getting a job on Wall Street is not like any other experience that you will have. It’s not like interviewing for a job at a consulting firm, or trying to get a position in a training program in an industrial company or talking with a bank about a lending job. Your professors and placement offices are likely to be “in the dark” about how to get a job on the Street. So as the Securities Industry Analysts at Sanford Bernstein, Todd Buechs (USNA, Tuck and Goldman Sachs) and Brad Hintz (Purdue, Southern California, Wharton, Morgan Stanley and Lehman) have attempted to draft a totally unvarnished “How to Guide to Wall Street Careers.” We hope that this guide will help an undergraduate or MBA to first determine if Wall Street is for him or her and, if they decide to pursue a life on Wall Street, will help them to successfully navigate the first couple of interviews.

Part One – Life on Wall Street
I’m Not a Preppie – I Don’t Go to HBS.1 Can I Still Get to “The Street”? For those of you who are not attending one of the “target” MBA or undergraduate schools that the investme nt banks recruit at, getting a job on “The Street” may seem like an impossible quest. However, just because you don’t have an undergraduate degree from one of the eight Ivies, Stanford or Chicago or do not have an MBA from HBS, Stanford, Wharton, UCLA, Chicago, Columbia, Tuck or Darden doesn’t mean that Wall Street is not in your future. Modern Wall Street is no longer an aristocracy of well-connected, arrogant preppies, rather today it is a true meritocracy of highly motivated, highly intelligent and remarkably commercially driven professionals. If you have these characteristics and have the chutzpa to pursue a position with no concern about being rejected innumerable times – then Wall Street has a career for you. But getting that first job will be difficult – you have to rely on your own initiative and to work diligently at finding that first opening. This means that you cannot rely completely on your placement office for the job. You will have to find contacts, write many letters, make innumerable telephone calls and 1

Harvard Business School.

prepare yourself with the discipline of an Olympic athlete for each interview. You will have to learn the jargon of the Street, the industry issues and the culture of each company...
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