Tuesday, February 7, 2012

High Finance Wants You!


“Yale University student Marina Keegan received an email last May from Bridgewater Associates, one of the world's largest hedge funds, offering her $100 if she said why she didn't apply for a summer internship.  Keegan, an English major, decided to take Bridgewater up on its offer.... Ever since she got to Yale, Keegan was bombarded with emails from banks, consulting firms and hedge funds, begging her to consider working for them; same with her friends.”

Wait—what—an English major???!

I usually listen to NPR podcasts on the way home, and this one had me doing a double take.

According to this story, English majors (as well as many other liberal arts majors—in addition, of course, to business majors) are being courted, actively wined and dined, by finance companies. Now—the take-away is not that this phenomenon is occurring only at Ivy League schools, as the article points out. And the article’s focus is on the problem that these undergraduates are being wooed into a career path which does not improve our lives overall, and where (as one of the comment-posters put it) the industry eats its young. (Eww. Anti-business bias, anybody?)

However, what I thought was noteworthy for English majors & our friends in related fields is that these companies recognize and value degrees in the humanities. We have skills. We have chops. We have talent.

Maybe they don’t value non-Ivy League schools adequately—but that’s easier to overcome that the (mis)impression that they don’t value English majors skills.

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