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Millennials and Investment Bankers


Millennials and Investment banking seem to fit together a bit like a square peg in a round hole. Information about this new generation tells us that they take it all in and look at the big picture of life.  While the investment banking industry has traditionally rewarded those who could keep their eye on the ball and ignore everything around them.

Intelligence Group studies of millennials have found that:

  • 64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.
  • 72% would like to be their own boss, or work for a boss that would be more like a coach/mentor.
  • 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one.
  • 74% want flexible work schedules.
  • And 88% want “work-life integration
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workplace image

Millennials are, in essence, “ventureconsumers”. They’re not looking to fill a slot in a faceless company, any more than a good venture capitalist is looking to toss money at a faceless startup. They’re looking strategically at opportunities to invest in a place where they can make a difference, preferably a place that itself makes a difference.

There are many industries where the way it has been done in the past has worked so well, it is hard for change to happen.  The investment banking industry is a prime example.  Take this article posted in the WSJ entitled Millennial Employees Confound Big Banks.  The article speaks of the behavior changes of Junior Bankers over the years.  And what Goldman Sachs is attempting to do in order to keep the young workforce engaged.  The problem they have is that they just don’t get it.  More “carrots” is the not answer, more “change” is.  The millennial generation, the leaders of tomorrow, are looking to have value in their life at an earlier age than the previous generations.  They want to do work that matters.  They want to do good while they are doing well.  Their personal worth is not measured as much by a status symbol or a title on a door, but more by being good ambassadors to the environment and mankind.  They are not looking to fill their bank accounts at any cost, but rather work for their cause and obtain far greater wealth.  And isn’t this the direction that we want the leaders of tomorrow to take?  It seems to me that the more encouragement and support that we give the bright young minds to break outside of traditional ways of thinking the better it is for all of us.

Hopefully the slow to change industries like investment banking will soon get it and succumb to the pressures that this generation of millennials is putting on them and can too become agents for a better tomorrow.