In last Friday's Bonus Bananas one article stood out: it was the piece written by Bryan Goldberg entitled, "Young people are screwed… Here’s how to survive". The WSO community was split pretty much down the middle as to whether or not this was a valid (and/or valuable) addition to the debate on the problems facing young people today. What caught many people's attention is that Bryan described himself as a "failed investment banker".
So I've decided to highlight his next piece entitled, "Finance lost. Tech won. Here’s why…" because in it he describes exactly what he means by "failed" investment banker and he goes on to describe the different attributes it takes to survive on Wall Street vs. almost any other career path and why finance careers are increasingly unpopular with Generation Y.
Some of you are not going to like what he has to say. And it certainly doesn't apply to everyone on Wall Street (some finance jobs actually do require a modicum of creativity). But for the most part he's spot on. And he should be: he was the only SA out of a class of 100 not to receive a full time offer from CSFB in 2004. So he definitely knows what it takes to fail on the Street.
He also brings up the point that a career in banking is flagging in popularity among young people. In 2005,represented 9 of the 30 most desired employers. Today they only represent 3. So why the big shift in sentiment?
It’s not because of money. Those who want to get rich will find that Finance is still a great way to make big bucks. Have bonuses been reduced? Great, so now you will make a million dollars in a big year, instead of two million. Hedge Fund managers still make a fortune.
The reason is because people — especially smart and ambitious people — have determined that the skills which make you a great banker are not the skills that they want to develop or manifest.
He goes on to list the four attributes that make a successful banker and outlines how pretty much the polar opposite of those is a recipe for success in the start-up world.
I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this piece since you've presumably chosen to stay the Wall Street path, which makes you a bit of an outlier at least relative to your peers. Will Wall Street make a comeback? Or will it be relegated to the esoteric pursuit that it was considered prior to 1985? Before you get into a huff, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Imagine a scenario where you only had to work with people who actually wanted to be in finance and not just to make a six-figure salary right out of college. Is the shift in Gen Y's priorities a good or a bad thing?