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Bankers in the class of 2000

A loyal reader forwarded this story.

Do too many kids go into finance?

The first part of the question is predicated on the empirical fact that a disproportionate number of students from elite colleges end up on Wall Street. That result is particularly perverse since most top American schools eschew professional majors for humanities, social and physical sciences.

The cynical interpretation is that the Wall Street-educational complex has captured America’s colleges, which are too lazy, ill-equipped, or simply too beholden to banks who flood campuses each fall.

The second part of the affirmative answer of “too many kids in finance” is that such a result is, in fact, a problematic social outcome. The crisis of 2008-2009 lade bare a financial services sector that was bloated, and one reason was this unrelenting flood of talent each year from college campuses.

This secondary, normative question is interesting but difficult to answer (I’m personally unconvinced).

What I want to explore is a more practical question: Just because kids start in finance, do they really stay in finance?

Read the whole thing for an interesting discussion about what has happened to the author’s class of first year analysts at Merrill Lynch from 2000. The Williams connection?


Anyone know who the 6 Williams alumni are? Or where they are now?

There is a great senior thesis to be written about which students go into finance from Williams, why they make that choice and what happens afterward.

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#1 Comment By Edward W. Morley ’60 On August 7, 2015 @ 12:06 pm

Sort of apropos, when looking to see if the Williams Record had covered the sailing adventures of Leo Gilson ’57, I spotted a list of December, 1963 “Career Weekend” panels.

The opening set:





Were the same conversations being held then about the prominence of finance, I wonder.