Harvard MBAs Are Saying No To BankingIt Might be the Right Time to Get In

Old storied college campus and a big lawn

Bloomberg posted an article that discussed how far out of favor Wall Street has fallen in the eyes of Harvard MBAs.

The article quotes a recent preliminary survey of this years graduates. The results show that only 4% intend to join an investment bank after receiving their MBA. Only 1 person amongst the top 5% expressed interest.

This is in sharp contrast to 2007 (just prior to the crash of the financial markets) when 13% chose to go into investment banking.

Where are they going instead?

Technology and startups. 17% of the class is going to join a technology company up from 7% in 2007, while 16% are going to startups.

Should you follow?

Perhaps not. In a famous, often cited study, a consulting firm coined a theory called the “Harvard MBA Indicator”. The study basically found that when more than 30% of Harvard’s MBAs end up in market-sensitive jobs, which is basically defined as investment banking, private equity and hedge funds, it’s a long-term sell signal. If that number is less than 10% it’s a long-term buy signal.

This theory has played out in history. The sell signal was strongest at the peak of the market in 1987, 2000-2002, and in 2007-2008, which makes intuitive sense. Human psychology results in a strong herd mentality. There is no difference when it comes to choosing a career. This plays out across colleges and graduate schools as jobseekers tend to target hot markets after they have peaked thereby missing the next peak.

So, with MBAs choosing to avoid Wall Street and finance, perhaps it’s the right time be a contrarian.

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Trendy Thomas is a team of Tapwage journalists who stay abreast of the latest news and gossip from the world of business and recruiting, so you always have the latest scoop.