Top Colleges Steer Grads Away from Wall Street

Students, staff encourage grads to expand horizons
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2011 2:44 PM CDT
Top Colleges Steer Grads Away from Wall Street
Many leave Harvard Yard for a job in finance.   (Getty Images)

For many seniors at elite US universities, Wall Street provides a straightforward path to a job—particularly since big banks often dominate campus recruiting. But recently, fellow students and staff alike have urged graduating classes to consider a wider array of options, the Los Angeles Times reports. A nationwide campaign called “Stop the Brain Drain” is collecting student signatures to support altering campus recruiting, while professors and administrators are setting up programs to encourage seniors to expand their focus.

MIT has a new entrepreneurship center; a Columbia professor established a broad-minded careers program. “Once it became clear that financial instruments were a big cause of the crisis, and that's what our incredibly intelligent students were being used for, we thought, 'Boy, can't they be used to do more useful things?'” says an MIT staffer. While 47% of Harvard grads headed to the financial sector in 2008, just 29% of the last graduating class did. But the schools can’t fight the banks too hard: Many university donors head Wall Street firms. (More college stories.)

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