Record Numbers Of Elite MBAs Are Ditching Finance For Tech

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, finance has lost its luster for many elite MBAs, and a record number of graduates are heading to the white-hot tech sector instead.

According to data assembled by The Wall Street Journal, the percentage of graduates who went into finance dropped by 12% from 2011 to 2013 at Harvard, and by 13% at Stanford. Even Columbia Business School, where more than half of graduates went into finance in 2011, has seen an 8% drop.

The share of MBA grads heading to technology jobs is up, and not just in Bay Area schools like Stanford (where it’s up 19% over two years), but also at East Coast schools like Harvard, Yale, and Cornell.

Because prestige and job growth have shifted away from finance and toward tech, graduates are now more willing to accept lower salaries than they could earn in banking.

If you’re going to work incredible hours, why not do it at a company people look up to or that you can help grow, rather than in a sector many blame for the financial crisis?

In a recent survey, MBAs ranked the companies they considered their ideal employers. Google ranked No. 1, and Apple and Amazon placed in the top five. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs ranked No. 10 and was the only bank even near the top of the list.

At the same time, tech companies need finance types, product managers, and other business roles more than ever.

The highest-paid employee at Google isn’t CEO Larry Page or an engineer, but Chief Business Officer and Northeastern MBA Nikesh Arora.

The question is if there are enough jobs for the MBAs now flocking to the tech sector.

“I think unfortunately there are a lot of MBAs that have herd mentality, and they just gravitate to what’s hot,” Curalate founder Apu Gupta told Business Insider earlier this year. “I really hate that because it feels to me like you’re just sort of blowing in the wind.”

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