If you’re going to go into consulting or finance, I want to ask why most of you don’t have the spine to be publicly proud of it. 

The Office of Career Strategy clearly shows that about a third of the students here are going to go into consulting or finance. Yet so far, all I’m hearing are cries that “it’s a sellout career” from people claiming to be virtuous. The people that pursue consulting or finance have to exist among us. They aren’t just crawling out of caves — or at least I sure hope not. 

As the year ends, I’m starting to see the finance bros quietly emerge with their offers. But I’m astonished that they want to remain quiet. Some say it’s just a pitstop in their career. Some don’t want anyone knowing and then apply in secret. Others tell all of their friends except that one specific friend that is heavily against it. One professor said, “Some of you may think you won’t, but past years of empirical trends say otherwise.” If someone is so bold to go for the easy money-making career, how are they not bold enough to proudly defend their choice? If they can’t even be bold enough to defend themselves, I suspect some ethical self-doubt. 

I brought up the elephant in the room, the ethics of consulting and finance. Nobody wants to be the villains; we all either think that we’re the heroes or that we aren’t doing anything wrong. We want to feel justified. At this point, I’ve heard far too many people try to tell me their personal justifications, and they just get repetitive. At the end of the day, what I hear is that the rich are getting richer, nothing new. I’m not going to lecture you all on ethics because Yale has classes for that. But I will be hornswoggled if I’m going to sit through and let some privileged kid tell me that they’ll “change it from the inside” and then 40 years down the road we see them in a Senate seat with Wall Street connections. 

I want to emphasize that while there are clear tones of criticism here, there is still a valid point on shy Yale finance bros. This “community” has inner and outer moral judgment dilemmas. I think there should be finance bros willing to take a step back and view their life choices with some critical thinking skills after reading this. 

Now, you’re obviously going to find the kid from a rich family seeing an easy way to get money and going into consulting. These people might just be Econ majors through and through.  But some say they use it as a pitstop to build their resume. Was there not a single other job available? 

I don’t think we should necessarily call these under-the-radar consultants terrible people. Of course, some people probably only want money and have no qualms with  making the decisions that leave them better off. For everyone else, chances are you are very good friends with them — they’re probably decent people.

Some people are honestly not good people. But I can’t go around the entire school and tell them face to face because one-third of the school is a lot of people and would take too much time. I have papers to write. We must remember though, and this is for the extreme anti-consulting people at Yale, not everyone is so terribly evil. Instead, some people can be labeled with softer synonyms of the word.

If they want to be quiet about their finance job, they must not want judgment. That part is confusing: why would someone who is proud of their decision fear judgment? I have my suspicion that truly — deep down — they are not proud of it.  If they thought there was nothing wrong with their choice, they’d speak out in support of it. 

To all the finance bros reading this: you can double down in your secret pursuit of money or you can begin to question your shy and sly path. It probably hasn’t clicked yet, but you won’t disappear off the face of the Earth after you graduate. Within five or 10 years we’ll see and know what you’re doing. Here’s my a simple request: own up to it. Stop hiding. Stop giving a false image. 

Unfortunately, truth be told, what future consultant is going to read this with sincerity and take into consideration what I’ve said? What person who came to this elite institution just to follow the risk-averse route for money will decide anything other than that the writer of this piece is some extremely optimistic fool? If anything, they’d probably view me as some “triggered typical dem.”But my job is to just finally say what needs to be said. If finance bros are able to speak with their wallets, then they should have no problem speaking with their mouths.

  1. Israar Ahmed is a freshman in Branford College.  Contact him at israar.ahmed@yale.edu