Feature

Wall Street schools the Ivies

All the deans deploring finance’s irresistible pull should wake up to their own responsibility to better prepare their students for employment, said Ezra Klein at The Washington Post.

Ezra Klein
The Washington Post

Graduates of elite colleges gravitate to Wall Street jobs mostly because their liberal arts educations “are failing them,” said Ezra Klein. Sure, finance pays well and promises a high-status city life. But Wall Street’s real attraction is that it offers an easy destination for smart, hard-working kids who haven’t been provided with “any better ideas about where to go.” Many students at prestigious schools are encouraged to study English literature or political science; only when senior year rolls around do they realize that they have no marketable skills. “The finance industry takes advantage of that confusion,” promising to give them “the skills their university education didn’t.” Wall Street firms have made applying for a job just like applying for college, and they sell themselves as a “low-risk opportunity” for landing a high salary. All the deans deploring finance’s irresistible pull should wake up to their own responsibility to better prepare their students for employment. Graduates don’t choose Wall Street over making another contribution to society. “They go to Wall Street because they’re not sure what other contribution they can make.”

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