It’s hard to feel sympathy for your classmates who aspire to be bankers. But if there is any satisfaction in their misery, you should know that the circles of hell in Dante’s “Inferno” are purgatory compared to the recruiting process for Wall Street. If you find that econ major in your dorm sobbing in the kitchen and stuffing his face with donuts at 3 a.m., he’s probably had a rough interview. Unfortunately, the very campus institution designed to ameliorate such ends–the Career Development Center–has weaknesses when it comes to this already horrendous process.
Quite simply, Stanford undergraduates are at an enormous disadvantage when it comes to finance and consulting recruiting. There are three specific areas the CDC needs to improve immediately before we start losing bright economics majors to Harvard.
First, the website is a disaster. You’re always half-suspicious you’ve signed up for a full interview slot because of all the glitches in the system. You can’t upload PDFs so you just have to pray your resume doesn’t turn into Windings. After you’ve spent hours on the phone making small talk with analysts at JPMorgan, proofread your resume until you’ve gone blind and ignored all your p-sets so that you can study DCF models for your interview, the last thing you want to worry about is if the CDC website screwed up your application.
Second, there seems to be a determined lack of resources with regard to preparation for case and professional interviews. The Ivies, to their great benefit, hire and train professional interview coaches. “Case in Point,” the must-have guide for every wannabe consultant, was written by Harvard career counselor. Why couldn’t it have been a Stanford counselor? Why are we always second-best? A greater investment in such professional resources would be a boon to the campus community for both short- and long-term successes.
Finally, there are staff members at the CDC who are kind and good-natured, but we are concerned about some undergraduates’ perception that the atmosphere around the center is less than convivial. We Stanford students are historically known for needlessly kvetching at times, but we urge the entire staff to remember the emotionally charged environment in which career planning plays out.
The road to finance and consulting is already lonely, dark and deep. At the very least, the CDC should assist students in overcoming the already myriad hurdles that lie before them.