Elis hold out hope for finance jobs

Jordan Greenblatt ’11 enters the Undergraduate Career Services building on his way to an interview.
Jordan Greenblatt ’11 enters the Undergraduate Career Services building on his way to an interview. Photo by Sanjena Sathian.

After the financial crisis threw off Wall Street’s groove, the allure of summer internships had fewer juniors donning suits and heading to interviews. Now that the job market shows signs of improvement, that student interest is also making a rebound.

The process is just heating up this week: Though a lucky few have already pocketed early offers, most are going through interviews or waiting to hear back from companies in coming weeks. Elis fared comparatively better in the job market than their peers at other institutions last year, and juniors this year remain hopeful about their chances in industries such as investment banking, consulting, and sales and trading. Recruiters and students said these sectors are starting to recover, and student interest is climbing too.

“There are fewer openings this year overall, compared to some earlier years this decade, meaning students will have to compete harder,” Director of Undergraduate Career Services Phil Jones wrote in an e-mail. “Regardless of the state of the economy, good people who work hard at the processes are usually rewarded, but it takes time and effort.”

Representatives from two firms said they have more spots to fill now than at this time last year, though still fewer than before the recession.

“I don’t think we’re at 2007 levels, but we’re definitely creeping up,” said Jackie Murray, a recruiter for Deutsche Bank. “We’re in an environment where there’s a lot of competition on campus and there are far more jobs available now than there were last year.”

Firms are using this impression that jobs are on the rise to re-generate interest that slipped in financial industries and consulting firms last year, said Mel Wolfgang, a partner at the Boston Consulting Group and the head of U.S. recruiting. He said that BCG is aiming to make this summer’s group its largest ever to regain interest lost last year.

“[Last summer,] people assumed the job market was sour and didn’t pursue jobs as aggressively as we would have liked,” he said. “We are seeing more interest in the fall hiring push for the class of 2010 and [summer internships].”

But it may be too early to get hopes up. Economics professor Benjamin Chabot, who teaches the course “American Economic History,” said though major banks are in a better state now than this time last year, the sectors in which banks traditionally expand, such as trading operations and investment banking, are not growing, so banks do not have a need for more hires. In addition, Chabot said if banks are hiring, they may likely prefer experienced workers to fresh-faced undergraduates.

“I don’t think we’ll see total employment in financial services get back to the level of 2007 for a while,” he said. “I’d say it could be decades.”

Still, students seem to be bolstered by the recruiters’ optimism. Two of seven students interviewed who are applying for summer internships said they have chosen not to diversify their job options because they trust the market for finance jobs will improve this year compared to last.

“[Finance firms] seem to think that things are picking up in the economy and in investment areas,” said a junior in Berkeley who asked not to be named because he is in the process of applying for investment banking jobs. “If they weren’t saying they were willing to hire, I might be more discouraged.”

Another junior in Trumbull who used UCS resources and brothers in his fraternity to find information on job opportunities said that because the banks had undergone layoffs, they were now on the market for “top-talent.”

Wednesday brought dozens of nervous juniors to UCS to undergo another round of interviews with firms including J.P. Morgan and Bain & Company.

Comments

  • notabanker

    Out of curiosity, what average % of the graduating class has traditionally gotten a finance job? How does it compare to the % who go to med school or law school?

  • nony

    Sorry to burst all your bubbles kids, but there ain’t much improvement in the finance jobs this year. These jobs likely won’t ever come back. There is no shame in using your brain power to do something useful for the world like engineering, research, etc. Look into it. The Golden days of Wall street are over.

  • OIR
  • Yale 08

    @#2,

    Go back to your grad school applications. I hear the New School has some great programs in Urban Studies.

    Finance is to the economy as blood is to the body.

    Whenever companies need capital, financiers are in demand. Wall Street (and other global financial centers) are already back to business as usual.

    Despite populist garbage from ignorant journalists and politicos, a vibrant financial system is a key component to a thriving economy and wealth creation.

  • nope

    I don’t know–Barack Obama wants to destroy all of the financial system as we know it, so maybe we should say goodbye to all these quality, well-paying jobs. All the populists talk about how we need, quality, family wage jobs that will stay in America. Well, those are finance jobs. And you know what, Barack Obama wants them gone. It is incredible how the privileged lose sight of the way the world works when they are desperate to hold on to their power. Let’s hope these job seekers aren’t aren’t out of jobs months after they get them when Obama’s horrific legislation takes effect.

  • Goldie ’08

    Yale ’08, I’ve seen your comments for a while on here and I like your style

  • @Yale’08

    A vibrant financial system is absolutely important. However, we don’t have one. And we look set to repeat past mistakes without serious reform. Volcker is way more in the right than Geithner or Summers, so I hope he gets taken a little more seriously. It’s ludicrous that Goldman Sachs is giving out huge bonuses after taking $$$ from the federal government. It’s ridiculous that their chairman says the collapse of the economy was “an act of God.” Please. We have 10% unemployment. People are hurting. CLEARLY mistakes WERE made by the finance system’s “best and brightest” – God had nothing to do with it.

    Try to keep your ego in check, Yale ’08. Finance isn’t the blood of this country (or any other country) anymore than doctors or lawyers or scientists or garbagemen or janitors or social workers or, yes, journalists and politicians. We ALL have a role to play (it sounds cheesy but it’s true). Stop pretending that people in finance are any better than anybody else. Get out into the world, gain some perspective and be grateful for the fact that while nobody likes your choice of job (and justifiably so), at least you’re well off.

  • Yale 08

    @ Goldie: I like your moves.

    @#7: Capital goes on strike when the gov’t continues to change the rules. The gov’t has done away with the security of bond contracts (GM). The gov’t has implicitly backed mortgage securitization. The gov’t has armed the bulge bracket firms with federal dollars and then changed the terms of that transaction after the fact. The gov’t threatened to take over health care (insurance companies hold premiums in the form of billions in stocks/bonds, what happens to the markets when the gov’t meddles in that industry?)

    For someone who seems to support a liberal education, you appear to have never understood a “moral hazard” nor the concept of “unintended consequences.”

  • Yale 11

    President Levin continually talks about globalization. Finance is the most easily globalized industry. Walls keep falling. Growth will continue.

  • Yale 08

    @ #7,

    The value of a worker is measured as a function of his productivity and the competition for that production.

    Financiers are capable of producing many multiples of revenue for a client’s capital, which makes them highly sought.

    At any given time, there are only the tiniest fraction of people capable of and willing to run complex global financial firms. Any moron can be a janitor.

  • @ Yale08

    Ahhh the arrogance of Wall St-ers. So that’s why you deserve ginormous bonuses – because nobody else can do what you do? Bulls***. You know what only a small fraction of people can do thanks to a combo of aptitude and/or physical dexterity/strength? Surgery. Research. Nursing. Fighting in the military. None of these careers pay as much as anything in finance and there’s no doubt in my mind that when push comes to shove, I’d rather have a top notch doctor than some cocky jerk telling me he’s the only one who can make me billions. Let’s not pretend that skill level and “value to society” correlate with salary. They don’t. You all believe that because your bosses have told you that from day 1 and it’s now gone to your head. I saw lots of friends with middling GPAs and/or majors that weren’t econ go to work for Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley or Bank of America. There was nothing particularly impressive about their credentials – I’m fairly confident that were I interested in sitting in a cubicle talking about investments all day, I could’ve gotten a job too. And the point of the earlier argument was, I think, to say that you guys are no more useful to society than other people (although you want to tell yourself you are) – which I actually don’t agree with, but you went off without considering what that person was saying.

    Also, since you brought up health care and insurance companies – I fully understand why health insurance companies don’t want to eliminate pre-existing conditions as a tool to deny coverage unless a mandate is put in place. They exist to make money, not to help people. I get that. Their profits were going down (and spiked back up on Tues when Scott Brown won) because they’re obviously scared of reform. Government interference could get more people insured, but the insurance industry is freaked out that they’d be risking losing money on (wait for it) helping sick people. Whine about government all you want but the only way the disadvantaged are gonna get a fair shake is if the government gets involved. Oh wait, I forgot – you don’t care because you work on Wall St and probably have oodles of money and a great health care package. Kudos to you. Does Wall St also give you a nice injection of callousness every day?