Physics And Engineering Grads Forced Into Careers Of... Physics And Engineering

We like to think that all the physicists who found their way onto Wall Street did so with a pang of guilt: My dream was to come up with the unified theory, but in the end, the money in finance was too much to resist. We’ve met a few that talked like this. Of course, the crisis may make selling out unrealistic, at least for a while.

Today, BusinessWeek runs a really obvious piece about how engineering and maths grads aren’t getting job offers from Wall Street (of course), and instead are looking for work in their own fields. We could’ve told you as much without any evidence or anecdotes. Still, this part depressed us a little:

Another Duke student, Vinay Lekharaju, says his dream since childhood has been to become an investment banker. He believed that a solid education in engineering and mathematics, combined with courses in financial management, would position him well for this career. He says he has been applying to every financial service company he can, but unlike previous semesters, when peers would get multiple job offers, he hasn’t even been called for an interview. So Lekharaju is looking for a job in information technology.

It’s sad because all these bright kids studying hard, real stuff like engineering and mathematics wanted to sell out from the beginning (from childhood, even). The maths wiz never dreamed about factoring primes or becoming an expert in cryptography or finding a way to sequence the genome even quicker. It was all just a stop on the path to Wall Street.

Vinay might not have luck in any field right now, cause there are thousands of others who are making the exact same calculus. Maybe grad school beckons?

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