MBAs FAR HAPPIER WITH INVESTMENT BANKING THAN NON-MBAs
The overall rankings changed little between 2015 and 2016, particularly after the Top 20. The prestige rankings were even more vegetative, with the biggest difference being Deutsche Bank dropping from 7th to 12th. In addition, Houlihan Lokey ran the table in Vault’s diversity rankings, notching the top scores from employees in the overall diversity category, as well as with employees with disabilities, minorities, women, the LGBT community, and military veterans. Like the 2015 rankings, Houlihan Lokey also topped the charts in several categories. This year, the firm ranked first in ability to challenge, benefits, compensation, firm culture, formal training, green initiatives, hours in the office, informal training, client interaction, internal mobility, international opportunities, overall business outlook, philanthropy, promotion policies, supervisor relationships, and satisfaction. So how in the world does Houlihan Lokey rank 6th instead of 1st? One word: Prestige. While Houlihan Lokey undoubtedly houses the happiest employees, it lacks respect from its banking peers – ranking 22nd among survey respondents who answered Vault’s prestige question.
Like the 2015 rankings, MBAs comprised the happiest investment bankers. In all 25 categories examined, MBAs rated their firm higher than non-MBA holders. No surprisingly, MBAs were more satisfied with client interaction (8.94 vs. 8.20), with MBAs traditionally considered more ready to hit the ground running and go face-to-face (and sometimes nose-to-nose) with clients. MBAs also rated the ability to challenge (8.96 vs. 8.40), overall satisfaction (8.38 vs. 7.89), and promotion policies (8.12 vs. 7.67) higher than their peers. In fact, MBAs gave their best marks to the ability to challenge and client interaction, while leaving their lowest scores for work hours (7.36), vacation policy (7.40), and internal mobility (7.58). Ironically, non-MBAs were also the least satisfied with work hours (7.18) and vacation policy (7.25), along with work-life balance (7.27).
QUALITY OF LIFE UP AS DIVERSITY SLIPS AMONG INVESTMENT BANKERS
Wondering if there is a silver lining in this year’s rankings? Look no further than work-life balance scores across the firms surveyed. According to Vault, employees gave their banks higher marks in work-life balance and work hours by 3.5% and 4% margins respectively over the previous year. And Loosvelt attributes this to the example set by firms like Goldman Sachs. “It seems clear that, from the qualitative comments we received from bankers who took our survey this year, the new workplace policies enacted by Wall Street firms are to thank. And the firm that began the trend of enacting radical policy changes to young bankers’ historically difficult work schedules was none other than Wall Street’s top dealmaker Goldman Sachs, which two years ago enacted a ‘Protected Saturday’ policy whereby junior bankers would not have to work between Friday nights and Sunday mornings.”
As a result, Loosvelt continues, other firms fell in line to create a domino effect. “What occurred in the wake of the Protected Saturday announcement was scores of other investment banks, both big and small, following Goldman’s lead, enacting similar policies of their own. This was followed by banks across the Street beginning to instill a new type of culture, one that doesn’t simply churn and burn out young professionals but tries to treat them like the next leaders of their firms.”
However, the 2016 rankings represent a step forward and another step backwards, as diversity ratings fell for the first time in several years. Employees scored their firms 3% lower in racial and ethnic diversity scores, with female, LGBT, military veterans, and disabled scores also slipping. And Loosvelt offers a theory to why this is.
“Our hunch is it had more to do with diversity being such a heatedly discussed topic at the moment, rather than with specific changes at firms with respect to policies and recruiting. That said, many bankers told us this year that ethnic diversity is ‘nearly nonexistent’ at their firms. And, like years past, many bankers also told us that the industry still has a lot of work to do with respect to female and racial diversity among the more senior professionals.”
DON’T MISS: WHAT BLACKSTONE SEEKS IN AN MBA HIRE
- See next pages for how bankers rank firms in career development, quality of life and diversity.