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Wall Street, once a magnet for America’s best and brightest, is facing a recruiting problem.
The industry’s cachet, which was tarnished during the financial disaster, has been further stained by the lingering economic slowdown and a series of highly publicized industry scandals that have drawn critical attention to the big banks.
The most recent public relations storm stemmed froma resignation letter this week on The New York Times Op-Ed page, written by Greg Smith, a former Goldman Sachs executive director. Mr. Smith, who took the bank to task over what he described as a “toxic and destructive” culture at the firm, said his moment of ultimate realization had come while extolling the benefits of a Goldman career to college students.
“I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work,” he wrote.
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The controversy has raised fears — perhaps within Goldman itself — that skittish clients and down-in-the-mouth employees could bolt. But financial firms should also worry that the incident might scare off college and business school students, some of whom are looking askance at once-prestigious jobs in finance.
Cory Finley, a recent Yale graduate, applied to work at Bridgewater Associates, a large Connecticut-based hedge fund, during his senior year of college. Mr. Finley, 23, said there was “definitely something tempting” about the structure and prestige of a high-paying finance job. But he decided to follow his dream of becoming a playwright instead.
Casey Kelbaugh for The New York TimesCory Finley applied to work at a hedge fund, but decided to follow his dream of becoming a playwright instead.
“It’s something that fulfills me in a...