The OPIA Blog

Looking Beyond the Corporate Salary

As a recent College graduate remarked in the New York Times, “We came to Harvard as freshmen to change the world, and we’re leaving to become investment bankers – why is this?” His question addresses the growing trend in which students from top schools are being funneled into high-paying corporate jobs and away from other fields, especially public service.

In response to students’ increasingly myopic focus on financial security, schools are starting to place a greater emphasis on alternate career paths. Some, including Harvard, have started to expand their public service fellowships and internships. In her address to seniors during commencement week, Dean Faust urged students to look for measures of success beyond financial compensation. This same call to public service has been echoed by Barack Obama, who warned Wellesley graduates last month that the pursuit of narrow self-interest betrays a “poverty of ambition.”

Even so, the appeal of Wall Street salaries and prestige remains strong, and applying to corporate jobs is still the automatic option for many students. They continue struggling to balance real-world concerns with high-minded ideals. To read more, click here.