HBS Class of '13: More Women, Fewer Bankers

by Derek Loosvelt | June 13, 2011

It wasn't long ago that a three-year stint at Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley after a top-tier undergraduate degree along with an impressive GMAT score pretty much solidified your spot at Harvard Business School. Today, though, it's looking like a Goldman or Morgan analyst position and a 720 might not even give you a spot on the HBS waiting list.

zuckerberg"According to preliminary figures from Harvard's admissions department, about 25% of the 919 students in the class of 2013 are from finance industries -- including private equity, banking and venture capital -- compared with 32% last year."

That's quite a slide, and seems to point to the fact that the days that Wall Street analyst jobs are seen as some of the most prestigious entry-level positions in the country are numbered. And it appears that taking their place are jobs in tech and manufacturing.

"Students with manufacturing backgrounds make up 14% of the class of 2013, up from 9% the previous year. Technology rose three percentage points to 9%."

Why the tides are shifting away from finance has more than a little to do with the Facebooks, LinkedIns, Groupons, Zyngas and Twitters of the world. Those firms, the most talked about in the country, if not the world, fall in the tech space, and are currently being led by young, innovative entrepreneurs -- the type that Harvard would like to see leaving its doors and promoting the HBS brand. (This image comes to mind: an HBS admissions officer deciding between admitting an applicant with the potential to be the CEO of a crimson-hot tech company looking to go public, and an applicant with the potential to be a mere associate at an investment bank vying for the chance to co-lead said crimson-hot tech company's IPO.)

The shift also has more than a little to do with how far bankers and traders and, for that matter, all finance-related professions have fallen out of favor since that little financial crisis thing crippled the U.S. economy. No longer are banker and trader types viewed as the sharpest and smartest guys in the room; instead, they're often looked at as the most crooked. (Who comes to mind now is perhaps the most infamous HBS graduate: Rajat Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs board member and McKinsey & Company managing director who figured prominently in the highly-publicized Raj Rajaratnam insider trading trial and who's currently facing and fighting some fraudulent accounts of his own.)

Speaking of crooked guys, perhaps because so many of them have been atop headlines in the past couple of years, HBS has decide to admit more ladies. In fact, "about 39% of Harvard's class of 2013 will be female, its highest percentage ever."

Also, Wharton's class of '13 will have a much higher percentage of women than its class of '12: "nearly 45% of next year's incoming class will be women, up from 40% last year."

And so, to summarize, in the world of the MBA, women and tech are in, men and finance are out.

(Related: Harvard and Wharton Grads Shun Wall Street for Diapers)

Filed Under: Finance | Technology


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