Wall Street loses luster with recent grads

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At Harvard Business School, the percentage of MBA graduates this year accepting investment banking jobs fell to 7 percent from 10 percent. The Wharton school sent 16.6 percent of its most recent class into Wall Street jobs, about the same as the previous year, compared with more than 25 percent in 2008.

As noted by the Financial Times, school officials say the mix of jobs that graduates are accepting has shifted. For those bent on Wall Street, more seem to be opting for hedge funds and private equity funds, foregoing the more traditional first jobs at the bulge bracket firms. That trend is disconcerting to the traditional sell-side powerhouses.

Much has been made of the decision by Goldman Sachs to get rid of its traditional two-year training program, which only rarely resulted in a job offer. New hires are no longer expected to leave the firm after two years, as the bank apparently would rather hang onto them. At a minimum, it wants to create that perception.

"For those who decide to stick with Wall Street, pay packages are down but not to penurious levels. Graduates who land a job at JPMorgan Chase, Goldman or Morgan Stanley can earn $60,000-$70,000 in their first year, with a potential bonus of one to two times that salary, according to recruiters. MBA graduates typically earn about $90,000-$100,000 in salary with a similar proportion of bonus on top."

In the end, money is what draws young people, especially those with lots of debt. At Harvard, the percentage of graduates going into consulting hit 29 percent last year. The consulting money is just as good initially, as it's where the jobs are at the moment. Longer-term banking, however, may offer more salary upside..

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