Has Silicon Valley replaced Wall Street as the prestigious post-college job?

Mod Note (Andy): Add it to your calendars: Kevin Roose will be doing a live Q&A on WSO next Wednesday (Feb 19th) from 3-5pm ET

Hi WSO: I'm the author of "Young Money," a new book about junior Wall Street bankers. I'm a writer with New York magazine (formerly with The New York Times), and I've been an avid WSO reader for years.

This week's question: Has Silicon Valley replaced Wall Street as the prestigious post-college job?

The comment with the most silver bananas will win a signed copy of "Young Money."

Rules: Comments must be submitted by Wednesday Feb 19th 11:59pm ET and the winners will be announced next Monday.


Click inside the post for more info about the book, and Click Here to purchase a copy.

YOUNG MONEY
Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits
Becoming a young Wall Street banker is like pledging the world's most lucrative and soul-crushing fraternity. Every year, thousands of eager college graduates are hired by the world's financial giants, where they're taught the secrets of making obscene amounts of money-- as well as how to dress, talk, date, drink, and schmooze like real financiers.

Comments (28)

 
Best Response
Feb 14, 2014 - 11:52am

Your 3 topics on this forum have been "submit your best i-banking horror stories", "are Wall Street's best days behind us", and "has Silicon Valley replaced Wall Street as the prestigious post-college job". Most of your articles and tweets are critiquing Wall Street or big business in one way or the other.

Your book description is eye-roll worthy. The analyst program is not a frat or some obscure secret society. No one is being taught "secrets of making obscene amounts of money". It's a lot of nerdy kids on Excel who work a lot, and only a minority end up becoming masters of the universe. I get that you want to sell copies and you need to dramatize and exaggerate, I get that Wall Street is an easy target, but you don't seem to be bringing anything new, exciting, or insightful to the party.

To answer the question, it's possible for more than one industry to have prestige. This isn't binary. Wall Street recruiting by the numbers is as competitive as it's ever been, and telling someone you're a software engineer at big company ABC or a startup no one's ever heard about isn't going to get more wow's from people than saying you're an i-banker.

Maybe it's different at a place like Stanford, I can't be sure, but I'd say Wall Street is still more "prestigious" than tech at the top schools in the northeast. But at the end of the day, they'll both set you up for great careers, so you don't get into pissing matches about it.

 
Feb 14, 2014 - 12:22pm

Jon258:

Your 3 topics on this forum have been "submit your best i-banking horror stories", "are Wall Street's best days behind us", and "has Silicon Valley replaced Wall Street as the prestigious post-college job". Most of your articles and tweets are critiquing Wall Street or big business in one way or the other.

Your book description is eye-roll worthy. The analyst program is not a frat or some obscure secret society. No one is being taught "secrets of making obscene amounts of money". It's a lot of nerdy kids on Excel who work a lot, and only a minority end up becoming masters of the universe. I get that you want to sell copies and you need to dramatize and exaggerate, I get that Wall Street is an easy target, but you don't seem to be bringing anything new, exciting, or insightful to the party.

To answer the question, it's possible for more than one industry to have prestige. This isn't binary. Wall Street recruiting by the numbers is as competitive as it's ever been, and telling someone you're a software engineer at big company ABC or a startup no one's ever heard about isn't going to get more wow's from people than saying you're an i-banker.

Maybe it's different at a place like Stanford, I can't be sure, but I'd say Wall Street is still more "prestigious" than tech at the top schools in the northeast. But at the end of the day, they'll both set you up for great careers, so you don't get into pissing matches about it.

 
Feb 14, 2014 - 12:28pm

euroazn:

Jon258:

Your 3 topics on this forum have been "submit your best i-banking horror stories", "are Wall Street's best days behind us", and "has Silicon Valley replaced Wall Street as the prestigious post-college job". Most of your articles and tweets are critiquing Wall Street or big business in one way or the other.

Your book description is eye-roll worthy. The analyst program is not a frat or some obscure secret society. No one is being taught "secrets of making obscene amounts of money". It's a lot of nerdy kids on Excel who work a lot, and only a minority end up becoming masters of the universe. I get that you want to sell copies and you need to dramatize and exaggerate, I get that Wall Street is an easy target, but you don't seem to be bringing anything new, exciting, or insightful to the party.

To answer the question, it's possible for more than one industry to have prestige. This isn't binary. Wall Street recruiting by the numbers is as competitive as it's ever been, and telling someone you're a software engineer at big company ABC or a startup no one's ever heard about isn't going to get more wow's from people than saying you're an i-banker.

Maybe it's different at a place like Stanford, I can't be sure, but I'd say Wall Street is still more "prestigious" than tech at the top schools in the northeast. But at the end of the day, they'll both set you up for great careers, so you don't get into pissing matches about it.

 
Feb 14, 2014 - 12:29pm

I don't know that it's completely replaced it yet, but it's looking to be on the way. Just judging by why so many friends in b-school are working on or looking to do, people are very much focused on joining tech companies and similar businesses when they get out. That, and so many people have misc. apps they want to make.

I think there are misconceptions about tech and people see stories like Snapchat and Instagram and think: "hey, it's just a photo taking app, how hard can it be?" Non-tech people have no real appreciation for the difficulties involved in that sort of thing and the level of luck involved in something like that.

 
Feb 14, 2014 - 2:03pm

TheKing:

I don't know that it's completely replaced it yet, but it's looking to be on the way. Just judging by why so many friends in b-school are working on or looking to do, people are very much focused on joining tech companies and similar businesses when they get out.

Lol, bschool people have negative alpha. Whatever they're doing, you should do the opposite.

 
Feb 14, 2014 - 1:02pm

It will never get old lumping those in high finance into the evil, greedy sociopath box. The only question is who wears the white hat these days? Nowadays it's tech. So somehow the masses have been deluded into thinking that Steve Jobs was a teddy bear who nurtured innovation into the 21st century to make life for everyone better. An 'Orphan Annie' turned Tesla. It fits great into the hollywood triumph story we all like to watch.

The truth is that all of these industries are as top heavy as the other. And all are controlled to some extent by sociopaths who want to control the direction the entire industry goes in, without regard for the competition they step on or the workers who haul the stone on their backs up to the top of the pyramid.

Heads of movie studios use the same people over and over for every film. Those actors make millions while the people who set up, support, and subsequently break down a set are paid pennies on the dollar compared to the leading actors. It's no different than what you see at JPM with Dimon vs. an analyst. Steve Jobs was known for having vision but as Bill Burr* (see below for link) said brilliantly on stage, 'He told other people what to invent. I want my entire music collection in this thing. GET ON IT'. You see those people being lauded? Are they billionaires? No.

Every industry in this country (and moreso in the world) is "soul-crushing" for those who don't get to the top. Tech is no different than banking. Try inventing something and having your life's work sued into oblivion because you are accused of infringing on a patent - even if you didn't.

My point is this. These industries are all mature and controlled by powerful people who have our government's ear. That means we will never see them crumble. Tech is hotter right now than banking because of the feel-good Matt Damon & Ben Affleck stories of kids creating something in their dorm room that changes their lives overnight. All too many others will follow the Zuckerbergs into tech and crash and burn. The question 'Is X more prestigious than Y' is lame for exactly the reasons above. Because it doesn't matter. It's based on public sentiment which changes with the wind on the back of the latest rags-to-riches story. When all of us with experience know that nothing is changing the paradigm that dramatically. 2009 didn't change banking. So don't think asking over and over is going to make us regret our career choices. We still operate in a more meritocratic industry than most with huge upside potential.

* Bill Burr brilliant commentary on nerd jesus aka steve jobs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iGm4dl0Ys4

 
Feb 14, 2014 - 2:15pm

"YOUNG MONEY
Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits
Becoming a young Wall Street banker is like pledging the world's most lucrative and soul-crushing fraternity. Every year, thousands of eager college graduates are hired by the world's financial giants, where they're taught the secrets of making obscene amounts of money-- as well as how to dress, talk, date, drink, and schmooze like real financiers."

lmfao...

 
Feb 15, 2014 - 2:26pm

i've seen worse, maybe 20? if i think of it i'll send it your way

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

 
Feb 15, 2014 - 2:34pm
[quote=patternfinder]

Of course, I would just buy in scales.

[/quote]

See my WSO Blog | my AMA

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