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What Women Want: Investment banking careers

In the past few years, investment bankers have heard very little good news about their ulcer-inducing, high-stakes industry.

But all the bad news is not slowing down a new breed of ambitious young women, who reportedly are looking for careers in investment banking … at least in European nations.

Sarah Butcher with eFinancialCareers has an interesting article in which she reports that a slew of young women in their 20s are now considering entry into investment banking.

Despite the long hours and all the changes brought by the financial crisis, the industry is apparently not losing its appeal among young professionals.  

And they’re oddly enough coming in at a time when many former executives who scaled those walls are publicly airing dirty laundry, suggesting the work environments are not exactly pleasant. Then, again, work is work … so judging quality of environment is always somewhat subjective.

First, there’s former Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Callan, who after surviving the Titanic disaster known as Lehman’s crash (she escaped right beforehand), ended up telling NBC News that up and coming professionals should not give up their work-life balance just to keep careers in intense, highly-paid work environments. But Callan came to that conclusion only after having such a career and watching a firm she helped lead go belly up.

Then, there’s Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer (who is in tech, not investment banking) always catching flack for trying to lead with HR tactics that force employees into the office when some believe the work-from-home option is the only way to offer families flexibility in competitive work environments. Mayer has gained supporters and detractors. 

Furthermore, I am sure Goldman Sachs wasn’t exactly thrilled when a former employee writing in The Atlantic referred to the environment as a ‘frat on steroids’, where a co-worker flossed his teeth at her desk.

Either way, the eFinancialCareers story suggests all of these scary insider articles are not exactly detracting future investment bankers from heading to places like Wall Street.

In some strange way, on the other hand, the negative headlines may actually be helping attract women into investment banking. 

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