The Epicurean Dealmaker


Yet that’s only half of it. This is true: I admit it. We dastardly bankers and our evil management consulting cousins make it possible for students at elite colleges to apply for entry level positions. Having conceded Mr. Klein’s point that bankers are successful at luring many of our best and brightest to perdition, however, it will probably be worth enumerating the nice reasons why ordinary people shouldn’t take the vapors over this enormity. Second, the investment banking sales pitch is not snake oil: the financial analyst program which we hire new graduates into does indeed last for just two years, and two years only. From then on, the majority of the participants leave.

In order to stay, you must want to stay, and you must be wished by us to do so. This will not happen very often. Most analysts go off to graduate school, get careers outside finance, or vanish from our radar completely. Their indentured servitude is brief, and we encourage the vast majority of them to reenter society, where every opportunity is had by them to serve their fellow man as they see fit.

Given the type of meat grinder we put them through, it is somewhat of a surprise to me that as many try to come back after business college as do. The ones who do return must scrabble for a location on the slippery pyramid of Analyst, Associate, Vice President, Director, and Managing Director. Very few folks make it to the very best or, there once, stay for long. It is an unadvertised reality about my vocation that few who enter investment banking enjoy what normal people would consider a full career. I have no facts at hand, but I would guess the common tenure in my business for professional positions is less than five years.

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If we do impress your infants into our despicable crime syndicate, mommies, we earned’t keep them for long. Third, as well as perhaps most interesting to me, I see fewer of the type of befuddled, directionless soon-to-be-graduates via Ivy Little league or any colleges nowadays than Mr indeed. Klein implies exist. So, even if we agree that Harvard and its own peers are failing to shield liberal arts graduates from the evil banksters of Wall Street, I believe we can acquit them of inflicting massive damage to society by it.

But more to the point, really, I disagree wholeheartedly with Mr. Klein’s premise. Why should a liberal arts education give marketable skills to its graduates? What is the true point? There is a very good argument a liberal arts education is a luxury consumption good in its right. After striving for years to get into the “right” university, why shouldn’t a young person have the chance to explore learning and knowledge because of its own sake, without thought for its future marketability?

From this Writer’s perspective, it’s a downright pity that investment banking cannot employ more liberal arts graduates than it does. Considering that no-one else in society seems to be subsidizing this activity, I must admit just a little satisfaction that my co-workers and I can do as much as we do.