A banking equity analyst at a major bank talks about the growing uniformity in banks:
In the old days you got people who had applied in their last year at university or who had other careers, in the industry or in trade papers. These days you get people who have started working at getting that job from the first year of university. The recruitment process has been industrialised and professionalised, it’s become so difficult to get in.
“The result is paradoxical. Diversity has increased, with far more women and ethnic minorities than before. On the other hand it’s become a terribly homogenous bunch of people. You don’t get graduates who did not at 18 want to work at a bank. You only get people who spent their summers in internships at banks, who went straight from college into the bank. Their biggest exposure to the world outside is… business school.
“This homogenous bunch deals quite badly with paradigm shifts. Quarter to quarter they are really, really good at cleaning out a bank’s books, digging up the one-offs, accounting tricks. What they’re missing is the big picture.
“Also, they are not sufficiently cynical. Quite a lot of regrettable stuff was written in the last years of Lehman Brothers. This was in part because the young people writing it were unable to take a step back, psychologically, and ask themselves if they were being lied to, flat out.
The whole interview is interesting.