Harvard Business School graduates are some of the most sought after potential employees in the world.
They’re among the top choices for companies in just about every industry. Wall Street investment banks in particular have coveted the elite grads.
It turns out the industry is no longer an attractive option for the majority of them, however.
Only 4% of the 2015 graduating class said they wanted to work at an investment bank, reports Bloomberg’s Jennifer Surane.
Of the 46 students in the top 5% of the class, only one expressed an interest in banking, according to the report.
The report cited data from a member of the graduating MBA class, who blogged about the findings of a class survey he received from the university.
Banking is no longer sexy
This may not come as a surprise.
Entry-level jobs on Wall Street are notoriously gruelling: young people work 90-hour weeks perfecting pitch books, scrolling through Excel spreadsheets, or making Powerpoint presentations.
MBA grads would typically join banks at vice president level, but many of them started out their careers as lowly interns and analysts and may not have shaken the memories.
The Harvard blog’s author started out in M&A at Morgan Stanley, according to his bio. Now he’s running a startup Internet retailer as well as a family health-care business, Bloomberg reported.
Industry veterans, too, know that banking is no longer as sexy. Ex-Credit Suisse managing director Fred Lanes said: “The opportunities elsewhere … are more attractive outside of investment banking.”
And then there’s the buyside
That doesn’t mean that bright Harvard MBA-holders are leaving finance altogether.
Many young financiers, after doing their time at investment banks, make the jump to the “buyside” — meaning hedge funds or private equity firms.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that many MBA students are now only interested in becoming activist investors like Bill Ackman or Carl Icahn.
Ackman’s Pershing Square even holds an annual investing competition at Columbia as part of their recruiting efforts there.
Ex-Merrill Lynch analyst and Financial Times writer Sujeet Indap published a study on Wednesday on where his banking analyst class from the year 2000 now work.
Over half the class, he found, had taken a break at some point to earn graduate degrees, two-thirds of which were MBAs. More than 40% of the analyst clast now work in private equity or in the hedge fund/investment management industry.
Fewer than 20% still work at investment banks.