New report suggests banking recruits are rather drab

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On Monday, nearly every top business school program was busy on Twitter congratulating upcoming graduates who made the list of the top 100 “Best and Brightest MBAs” compiled by Poets & Quants. Employers, too, were happy to boast about the accomplishments of some of their new hires who were featured on the list. Banks, however, remained rather mum – and for good reason. Just a handful of the “best and brightest” are headed to work on Wall Street.

The list is extremely subjective, but that’s part of what makes the results so interesting. P&Q reached out to 68 of the top-ranked MBA programs (50 in the U.S. and 18 overseas) and asked them to submit up to four graduating students who best represented “the spirit and values of their programs.” So this isn’t a ranking of people with the best GPAs, though “academic prowess” was listed as part of the criteria, along with “extracurricular achievements, innate intangibles and potential, and unusual personal stories.”

Essentially, P&Q wanted a collection of top-performing students who had interesting and inspiring backgrounds, like those who have championed social causes, participated in the Olympics and launched startups as 21-year-olds. Other examples were more interesting than necessarily inspiring: An Oxford student won a breakdancing competition in Brooklyn, while a soon-to-be Boston University graduate plays drums in a Weezer cover band.

Of the 100 of these “service-driven, action-oriented go-getters,” only nine have taken jobs with financial services companies. In fact, not one financial institution can claim multiple members of the list. Goldman Sachs can’t claim any. As a point of reference, roughly 31% of the class of 2017 at Harvard Business School took positions at financial services companies. Around a third of recent graduates from New York University’s Stern School of Business entered the financial sector. Yet just 9% of MBAs worth reading about chose to enter finance.

Meanwhile, eight students have accepted jobs with McKinsey with another seven headed to Amazon. Bain & Co., Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte hired another five each. Google and Facebook both signed a pair.

Are banks just doing a poor job attracting all the inspirational do-gooders? Or is an interesting backstory just not a prerequisite for working on Wall Street?

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