Students Revolt Against Big Bank Recruiting

Protests spread across Ivy League campuses
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2012 9:51 AM CST
Students Revolt Against Big Bank Recruiting
Students at Ivy League schools are rallying to stop the financial 'brain drain.'   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Half of those surveyed in Harvard's class of 2010 went into finance or consulting; at the University of Pennsylvania, the figure was even higher—and some students are fed up with the "brain drain." Inspired in part by the Occupy movement, students have launched protests against recruiting by big banks, consulting firms, and hedge funds at top universities ranging from Princeton to Stanford, NPR reports. "You've got 20% to 30% of some of the top talent in this country going into a sector that is not necessarily contributing to economic and social productivity," says movement leader Teryn Norris.

While many kids enter college looking to save the planet, "four years later, they go to work for Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan," he explains. Norris helped launch a "Stop the Brain Drain" campaign whose online petition—which shines a light on the issue and pushes career alternates like public service and entrepreneurship—has garnered 1,400 signatures. At Princeton, students stormed a Goldman Sachs recruiting session to warn classmates that they could "do better for society." Morgan Stanley holds that a "healthy banking and capital markets system is vital to economic growth," giving new grads who take a financial path "a unique chance to shape how we contribute to a healthy economic environment." But financial sector jobs have "grown as a proportion of the economy in a way that we haven't seen since the years leading up to the Great Depression," says an economist. (More big banks stories.)

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