Morgan Stanley is promoting special 21 year-olds after 4 months

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Want to get a quick promotion to associate at Morgan Stanley? Forget the investment banking division (IBD). Forget sales and trading. Try the tech team. Specifically, try the tech team at Morgan Stanley in New York City. There, it seems, you can make associate within record time. 

How fast? Well, according to multiple public profiles of Morgan Stanley's New York-based technology associates, it's eminently possible to join the bank as an analyst in tech and to get promoted to associate anything from four to nine months later. People are making associate in Morgan Stanley's U.S. team within less than 12 months of leaving university.

That's pretty impressive given that it's traditionally taken three years to make associate in an investment bank. Yes, Goldman Sachs and others have expedited associate promotions in investment banking divisions, but as the box below shows, it still takes two years (minimum) to make associate in IBD at most places.

Morgan Stanley's fast tech promotions don't always apply in Europe. In London and Hungary (where Morgan Stanley has a tech hub), plenty of tech analysts are still promoted to associate after two years or more. However, there are examples of UK technology graduates joining the bank as analysts in August 2016 and getting promoted to associate four months later too.

What makes Morgan Stanley's technologists so special? The bank declined to comment. However, the hasty promotions come as banks everywhere are battling to attract and retain top technology talent. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein said this week that the bank is particularly interested in hiring STEM graduates and that 25% of Goldman staff are technology "engineers."

Morgan Stanley's fast tech promotions may be based on more than just eagerness to keep its technologists happy. We understand that progression from tech analyst to tech associate at the bank is incumbent upon completing the bank's training program and passing a test. Maybe some new hires are able to do this quicker than others? Either way, if you want to make associate fast, Morgan Stanley's technology business looks like the place to do it.

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