Why banks are quietly happy to reject your application
Banks, technology companies and universities have really elevated their game with a rather strange form of public boasting: how many doors they slam in people’s faces. Low acceptance rates are what’s hip in the streets these days it seems.
Blackstone Group was the latest to pat itself on the back for telling graduates to hit the road. And not through a press release or media flak. Its co-founder, 68-year-old billionaire Steve Schwarzman, delivered the news on last week’s conference call, telling analysts and investors that Blackstone hired just 100 of the 15,000 people who applied to become a junior analyst. That’s a 0.7% acceptance rate.
“It’s six times harder to get a job as an analyst at Blackstone than getting into Harvard, Yale or Stanford,” said Schwarzman, who owns degrees from both Yale and Harvard Business School. He also called the private equity firm an “earnings machine,” which it certainly was during the first quarter.
On the surface, it’s a bit odd to brag about crushing the dreams of 14,900 people, but acceptance rates have become a key metric. Goldman Sachs is always happy to offer up theirs – last year they received 270,000 applications for 8,300 positions, or a 3% acceptance rate. Morgan Stanley said last summer that it accepted just 2% of its 90,000 summer analyst applicants.
But none stack up to Wall Street’s West Coast nemesis. Google receives roughly 3 million applications per year, making around 7,000 hires. That’s a 0.2% acceptance rate.
Colleges and universities aren’t immune to the pressure. In fact, low acceptance rates are held in even higher regard in the Ivy League than they are on Wall Street. Harvard was happy to boast about its record-low 5.3% acceptance rate, which seems to fall each year.
Several reports have been published recently that suggest colleges and universities are recruiting subpar students with the specific intent to reject them just to improve their percentages. Surely banks aren’t doing the same – the recruitment process is far too costly – but they’re nonetheless happy to say no and tally up the numbers.
Now that banking isn't just about P&L and bankers need to think the right thoughts and do the right deeds, banks are hiring experts in psych ops.
As an experienced trader, you’ll need to adapt your resume according to the products you’ve traded and the risk you’ve run. But as a graduate looking for a markets job in an investment bank, there are some simple rules to follow regardless of the desk you want to end up on.
Bloomberg’s trading terminal suffered a two-hour long blackout early Friday morning that mostly affected traders in Europe and Asia. One trader even believed that the outage partially contributed to the market tanking on Friday.
Hillary Clinton named Gary Gensler, the former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and one of Wall Street’s biggest critics, as the chief financial officer of her campaign. Just a week in and Clinton has raised a few weary eyebrows on Wall Street, though most still think she’ll treat the industry with kid gloves.
Former J.P. Morgan broker Michael Oppenheim is accused of stealing $20 million from clients and using it for personal investments. He apparently was a terrible day trader. “Soon after each deposit, Oppenheim typically lost the entire amount,” the SEC said. Ouch. Oppenheim told clients he was investing in low-risk municipal bonds, not trading options out of his personal account with their money.
Wall Street matriarch Lynn Tilton is facing fraud charges from the SEC. Rather than hiding under a rock, Tilton produced a three-minute video calling for a “fair fight.” It’s worth a watch. There’s clichéd music and graphics that makes it feel a bit like an episode of Forensic Files.
Goldman Sachs’ outstanding quarter has some analysts thinking the bank ousted Morgan Stanley as the top equities trader on the Street. Morgan Stanley reports this week.
Buzz Around the Office
A Southwest Airlines flight was forced back to the terminal in Chicago to remove an unruly passenger. She was caught “poking her seatmate with a pen to stop him from snoring.”
Quote of the Day: “Always fun when @Bloomberg vomits all over on the pavement and sidelines an entire office mid-trade.” – one angry trader on the Bloomberg terminal outage