By: Eldar Ben-Zikry  | 

YUIBS: An Exclusive Club on Campus?

Investment banking jobs are some of the hardest to land and among the most sought after by undergraduates heading into the business world. Students graduating from the top business schools in the country often choose this career path. One of the main reasons is obviously the pay: investment bankers are paid amongst the highest starting salaries compared with other bachelors degree holders. Unfortunately, life as an investment banker is not as fun as it sounds; there are a plethora of negatives that accompany that six figure salary. First year investment banking analysts often work 100 hour weeks and regularly work through the night. Many refer to analysts as “overworked and underwhelmed,” as cancelling plans at the last second and missing friend’s weddings are the norm.  Still, these minuses have not been enough to deter some of Yeshiva University’s brightest and most hardworking from seeking positions in the industry.

Yeshiva University has had great success getting students into some of the biggest names on Wall Street for many years, and due to an expanding network of alumni this number has only grown. Last year, a couple of graduating seniors decided to create a society on campus dedicated solely to assisting investment banking hopefuls. These types of societies have existed for many years at the best colleges, such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and the founders of Yeshiva University’s Investment Banking Society (YUIBS) felt that YU would benefit from creating something similar. Current junior and YU Investment Banking Society member Adi Pasternak (SSSB 16’) explained: “Our goal is to build, enlarge, and strengthen the network of successful Yeshiva University alumni on Wall Street. The idea is that in the near future, members who have advanced to senior positions on Wall Street will return to YU and enable current students to secure both summer and full time offers.”

YUIBS operates as an exclusive society and anyone who would like to join must submit a resume and go through a formal interview process that strikingly resembles those of actual investment banks.YUIBS member Josh Honig (SSSB 16’) explained: “We want YU to be a recognized and respected name on Wall Street - we believe that if we can continue getting YU students into top firms, we will be able to get YU the recognition it deserves for having some of the brightest financial minds in the world.” So far the society has seen a tremendous amount of success - 75% of club members received a full-time or internship offer from an investment banking firm, most notably Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Barclay’s. Adi Pasternak explained that “over the past two years, YUIBS has seen 12 members land summer offers at many of the top firms on Wall Street.” YUIBS has become so popular on campus that when recruiting for 5 to 6 slots for next year, they received approximately 30 resumes.

But while YUIBS’ exclusivity is giving it an edge on Wall Street, the society has found itself in hot water with the Sy Syms School of Business. Thus far, YUIBS has not been operating as an official club funded by the school. Leo Korman, the President of the Sy Syms School of Business Student Body told The Commentator that YUIBS has not been approved as an official club due to the fact that “they are in direct violation of the student constitution, as it explicitly states that no club shall be exclusive.” As such, the student council did not initially approve YUIBS sending ystuds and sstuds to the student body, as YUIBS was not considered a club. Furthermore, as many YU alumni will begin looking to YUIBS for potential recruits, students who are not in YUIBS may be shut out from being able to take advantage of YU’s alumni network. Those opposed also believe that students interested in other areas of finance should be able to join the society, as the resources and network that would be available to YUIBS could prove beneficial to them as well.

When asked about the controversy, society members explained that they must be exclusive in order to achieve their goal of getting 100% of their members into top firms, as the recruiting process is highly competitive and rigorous. Many firms have a GPA cutoff of 3.5 out of 4.0, and coming from a non-target school like YU, the students often must have much higher GPA’s. They claim that in today’s competitive environment, it is untenable to think that investment banks would recruit from YU’s general student body without the confidence (which they claim YUIBS affords) that the students possess the practical preparation and knowledge necessary to succeed in the workplace.

Questions about YUIBS remain. Has YUIBS directly helped students make it into top firms, or are the two uncorrelated? Does YUIBS hog valuable alumni networking opportunities and preclude other students from using the same contacts? Critics have pointed to nepotism within the club, a “fratty” club vibe, and a vetting process run by students - not professionals. “These are jobs we’re dealing with, not extracurricular positions,” one student told The Commentator.

Surely, the club does provide value in its group mentality. The current club presidents work hard to prepare members for the investment banking interview process. YUIBS plans to offer their members financial modeling lessons, technical interview courses, behavioral interview courses, mock interview nights, and site visits. They also plan to pair up members with mentors in the field, and already have YU alumni from Goldman Sachs, Nomura, Moelis, and many others on board.

However, as long as the club remains exclusive it will remain a point of contention among students, something that can only serve to split opinions of current and future YU alumni on Wall Street. Moving forward, the society awaits approval and eventually signs of success.