The meme was an image of a head with '' I need to get rich '' slapped across it.

'' Freshmen after spending 0.02 seconds on campus,'' read the caption, posted in 2023 to the anonymous messaging app Sidechat.

The campus in question was Harvard, where, at a wood-paneled dining hall last year, two juniors explained how to assess a fellow undergraduate's earning potential.

It's easy, they said, as we ate mussels, beets and sauteed chard : You can tell by who's getting a bulge bracket internship.

'' What? '' Benny Goldman, a then-28-year-old economics Ph.D. student and their residential tutor was confused.

One of the students paused, surprised that he was unfamiliar with the term : A bulge bracket bank, like Goldman Sachs,  JPMorgan Chase or Citi.

The biggest, most prestigious global investments banks. A B. B., her friend explained. Not to be confused with M.B.B. , three of the most prestigious management consulting firms : McKinsey, Bain and Boston Consulting Group.

While the main image of elite campuses during this commencement season might be activists in Keffiyehs pitching tents on electric green lawns, most students on campus are focused not on protesting the war in Gaza, but will come after graduation.

Despite the popular image of this generation - that of Greta Thunberg and the Parkland activists - as one driven by idealism, Gen Z students at these schools appear to be strikingly corporate-minded.

Even when they arrive at college wanting something very different, an increasing number of students at elite universities seek the imprimatur of employment by a powerful firm and. '' making a bag ''  [ slang for a sack of money ] as quickly as possible.

Elite universities have always been major feeders into finance and consulting and students have always wanted to make money.

According to the annual American Freshman Survey, the biggest increase in students wanting to become '' very well off financially '' happened between the 1970s and 1980s, and it's been creeping up since then.

But in the last five years, faculty and administrators say, the pull of these industries has become supercharged.

In an age of astronomical housing costs, high tuition and inequality, students and their parents increasingly see college as a means to a lucrative job, more than a place to explore.

The Publishing of this Master Essay continues. The World Students Society thanks Francesca Mari.


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