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The most elite students in America have had it with investment banking

MBA Grad
MBA Grad

Harvard MBA grads are no longer interested in banking.

Harvard Business School graduates are some of the most sought-after new hires in the world.

They're among the top choices for companies in just about every industry — including Wall Street investment banks.

It turns out, however, many of them are no longer interested in that industry.

Only 4% of the 2015 graduating class said they wanted to work at an investment bank, reports Bloomberg's Jennifer Surane.

Of the 46 students in the top 5% of the class, only one expressed an interest in banking, according to the report.

The report cited data from a member of the graduating MBA class, who blogged about the findings of a class survey he received from the university.

Banking no longer sexy

This may not come as a surprise.

Entry-level jobs on Wall Street are notoriously grueling: Young people work 90-hour weeks perfecting pitch books, scrolling through spreadsheets, or making presentations.

MBA grads, of course, would typically join banks at the associate or vice-president level. But many of them started out their careers as interns and analysts and may not have shaken the memories.

The Harvard blog's author started out in M&A at Morgan Stanley, according to his bio. Now he's running a tech startup as well as a family healthcare business, Bloomberg reported.

Industry veterans, too, know that banking is no longer as sexy. Ex-Credit Suisse managing director Fred Lanes said: "The opportunities elsewhere ... are more attractive outside of investment banking."

And then there's the buyside

That doesn't mean that bright Harvard MBA-holders are leaving finance altogether.

Many young financiers, after putting in their time at investment banks, make the jump to the "buyside" — hedge funds or private-equity firms.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that many MBA students are now only interested in becoming activist investors like Bill Ackman or Carl Icahn.

Ackman's Pershing Square even holds an annual investing competition at Columbia as part of its recruiting efforts.

Ex-Merrill Lynch analyst and Financial Times writer Sujeet Indap published a study on Wednesday on where his banking analyst class from the year 2000 now work.

Over half the class, he found, had taken a break at some point to earn graduate degrees, two-thirds of which were MBAs. More than 40% of the analyst class now work in private equity or in the hedge fund/investment management industry.

Less than 20% still work at investment banks.

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