Do Ivy League Grads Have More Fun on Wall Street?

Published: Sep 10, 2014

 Finance       Workplace Issues       
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If you went to undergrad at one of the so-called Ancient Eight and work on Wall Street, chances are you're having a much better time than your non-Ivy League-educated colleagues. 

That's what data from Vault's latest Banking Survey suggests. Consider the below table, in which we compare the ratings that Ivy League-educated banking professionals gave their firms in various workplace categories with those that non-Ivy League grads gave their firms. We've also included the percent difference between the ratings (the scores are all based on a 10 point scale, with 10 being the highest).

ivy table

You'll see that former Ivy Leaguers rated their firms higher in nearly every category, with the most significant differences coming in the areas of work-life balance and hours. In fact, Ivy League alumni rated their firms more than 7 percent higher in work-life balance and nearly 6.5 percent higher in hours. (Note: 20 percent of the 3,600 banking professionals who took Vault's Banking Survey were Ivy League alumni—those who did their undergrad work at Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Penn, or Yale). 

Given the difference in scores, you might think that (1) perhaps Ivy League grads work fewer hours, or (2) Ivy League grads don't mind the hours as much. 

As for (1), that's most definitely NOT the case. As far as pure number of work hours goes, 43 percent of Ivy League grads told us they work more than 70 hours per week, while only 28 percent of non-Ivy League grads said they work more than 70 hours per week.

Which leads me to believe that (2) is a very good possibility. Perhaps, on average, Ivy League grads understood better what they were getting into with respect to hours and work commitment when they accepted their Wall Street job offers. 

In addition to work hours and work-life balance, you'll see that Ivy League alumni gave their firms significantly higher scores in informal training, promotional opportunities, compensation, supervisor relationships, international opportunities, formal training, and overall satisfaction. 

Perhaps most interesting are the three areas in which Ivy League grads did not rate their firms higher than non-Ivy League grads but lower: female diversity, ethnic/racial diversity, and LGBT diversity.

Although the percent differences weren't all that high (close to a 1 percent difference in each diversity category), it is noteworthy that diversity was the only workplace area that Ivy League grads rated their firms lower. What might account for this difference isn't initially clear, so we'll be diving further into the data, both the qualitative as well as the quantitative. In the meantime, if you have any ideas about what might be the reason(s) for the difference, let us know in the comments below.

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Read More:
Have Wall Street’s Gay and Female Diversity Policies Gone Too Far or Not Far Enough?
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