In the past, relatively few of Wall Street’s movers and shakers have moved from the steel and glass towers of high finance to the ivory towers of higher education. Most of the movement from Wall Street to academia either involved professors lending themselves out to investment banks, or grey haired Wall Streeters nearing retirement agreeing to teach a course or two.
But now that seems to be changing. Several big Wall Streeters who held top jobs and are only in their mid-40s have taken jobs at colleges. Time Magazine explores the new phenomena. Some recent prominent moves to academia:
- Merrill Lynch’s Greg Fleming is now at Yale Law School.
- Frank Yeary, Citigroup’s former head of mergers and acquisitions, is a vice chancellor at the University of California at Berkeley
- Michael Klein, Citi’s head of investment banking, has gone to Princeton University.
- Ed Frost, head of investment management at Goldman Sachs, is the exeuctive vice president at Harvard.
This could have a transformative efffect on financial scholarship. Allowing professors this kind of intimate and longterm access to financial professionals could well bring new insights into the scholarly literature. It might also open up the minds of financial professionals, many of whom have long assumed that academics–other than perhaps some quants in physics and maths departments–had little to offer because the professors allegedly didn’t understand the way the real world works.