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Poets & Quants: Scott Rostan “Banking Bounces Back: Starting MBA Salaries Rising”
By Jeff Schmitt

Banking is dead. Millennials would rather start their own businesses, critics say. They don’t want to work 80 hours in a burn out job. Of course, they’re looking to make a difference, not a fortune.

At this rate, why would anyone want to go into banking?

Three words: Money…power…access. Oh, and it’s easier to help others from the boardroom than the sidewalk.

If you’re among those looking to score big on Wall Street, here is some good news. In the latest Training The Street MBA Employment Survey, 43 percent of respondents received base salary offers of $125,000 or more. That’s up from 26 percent last year and 9 percent in 2013. What’s more, 79 percent reported offers of $100,000 or more, up from 74 percent in 2014. And that was a boon for the MBA financiers. 92 percent described themselves as either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their offers. Although eight percent claimed to be “dissatisfied,” that number is actually down 4 percent from the previous year.

“A healthy banking sector anticipating further deal activity is also spurring more competitive offers for MBA students,” wrote Scott Rostan, Founder and CEO of Training The Street, in a statement accompanying the survey results. “We’ve seen these salaries rise the past few years, especially as Wall Street is more cognizant of retention issues and the quality of life concerns of their junior bankers.”

As expected, bulge bracket banks remained the most popular destination, with 26 percent of MBA respondents ultimately looking to work there. That was followed by consulting at 19 percent (down from 25 percent in 2014), and private equity and hedge funds at 16 percent (up from 11 percent).

Fortunately, bulge brackets are recruiting, with 45 percent of MBAs citing such firms as among the most active recruiters. They were followed by consulting firms (44 percent), boutique advisory firms (28 percent), and private equity and hedge funds (20 percent). Ironically, on-campus job hunting declined, with only 61 percent sharing that recruiting visits and events helped them land jobs – down from 66 percent in 2014. However, the slack was picked up by independent job search, where the success rate climbed to 19 percent.

Not surprisingly, New York City remains a destination, not a stopover, for aspiring MBA bankers. Two times as many MBAs (45 percent) preferred the Big Apple over San Francisco (22 percent), with Chicago coming in a distant third (9 percent). However, the survey respondents also indicated that MBAs should spend more time on soft skills and less on modeling to land a job. 54 percent of respondents considered interpersonal and communication skills to be the most important skills for getting in the door. That dwafed industry expertise, which came in at 24 percent.

Training The Street (TTS) is a leading provider of financial courses to investment banks, federal government agencies, law firms, and educational institutions. In the annual MBA survey, 75 percent of the sample consisted of men, with 59 percent of respondents being between the ages of 26 and 29.