Late Lunchtime Links: Is it worth doing an MBA past 30? And Goldman’s co-head of IBD says there's big potential in Europe

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It’s been a while since we’ve looked at the issue of ageism and MBAs. In light of the Economist’s new MBA ranking, it seems appropriate to reconsider the issue.

As you’ll see if you click through to the Economist’s list, most MBAs are callow-ish youths. IMD, the Swiss business school, is known for having older MBAS, but its average age is only 31. US MBAs seem to be more youthful: at Harvard, Chicago-Booth, Cornell and Kellogg, the average is only 27.

This is understandable –  at US investment banks MBA courses have traditionally been undertaken following two year analyst programmes (of the kind that was recently discontinued at Goldman Sachs). MBAs coming out of financial services firms are therefore unlikely to be aged much more than 25.

The youthfulness of MBAs does, however, cast aspersions on the value of the course as an instrument for career change. If financial services redundancy strikes post-30 and you need a lever to switch into another industry, is an MBA really the right choice?  Maybe, but you’ll need a good story for the admissions staff and a willingness to start again at the bottom. The oldest MBA in the class of 2013 at London Business School is 37.  At Bath, which has appeared on the Economist’s MBA ranking for the first time this year, the oldest MBA student is 56. 

Separately, and in view of the terrible time being had by many M&A bankers in Europe this year, people may be pleased to know that David Solomon, co-head of the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs, is feeling bullish.

In a new video posted on YouTube, Solomon points out that although European M&A and corporate finance activity is currently being held back by concerns about the Eurozone, the long term potential for European capital markets bankers is still huge.

Solomon points to disintermediation – a favourite of both Gary Cohn and Jamie Dimon, as a source of growth. Right now, he says, 70% of corporate funding in the US comes from capital markets. In Germany, only 10% does – with the rest coming in the form of loans from German banks.  As the regulatory net draws tighter, European banks will be less able to make these loans in future and European corporates will be obliged to seek funding directly from the markets (thereby ‘disintermediating’ lending institutions). This is where investment banks like Goldman step in.

“A real dialogue has developed about the ability of corporates to transfer funding from banking institutions into the capital markets,” says Solomon, suggesting jobs for IBD bankers in Europe may yet be safe after all.


Questioning the Economist’s MBA ranking. (Poets and Quants) 

JPMorgan has rehired Ben Ashby, who was a prop trader, as lead researcher in its CFO. (Financial News)

Deutsche Bank analysts question the sustainability of M&A businesses: "We think that investment banks are providing an excess of advice over execution. Headcount analysis shows that there are too many front-office employees in advisory businesses, and that clients are not willing to pay sufficient revenues to make this model viable." (Telegraph)

Quant developers can earn $1m in New York. (NY Post)

Cactus Raazi, Nomura’s fixed income sales star, might be leaving. (Financial News) 

Another profit warning at Michael Page. (Guardian) 

Are you a next generation data scientist? (MathBabe) 

Average revenues per head at Spire Europe, a high frequency trading firm with 7 employees were £13.7m. (Financial News) 

4 psychological mechanisms which bias the rich against benevolence. (Stumbling and Mumbling)  

One single Michael Lewis article for Vanity Fair cost $125k. (Twitter) 

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