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Silicon Valley Migration

Morgan Stanley’s chief financial officer Ruth Porat announced she would be leaving the firm to work at Google.  Porat follows in the footsteps of other East coast big shots such as former Whie House spokesman Jay Carney ( and White House aide David Plouffe (Uber) to accept jobs in Silicon Valley.  Porat’s move comes at a time when both Wall Street and Silicon Valley are having difficulty retaining and promoting female employees, leading to gender balance issues in both places.

This news also comes at a time when talent from top universities is shifting to Silicon Valley from Wall Street.  At MIT, for example, 31% of grads took jobs on WS and 10% went into tech in 2006.  In 2014, only 10% went into finance and 28% went into tech.



  1. sandersm15 sandersm15

    I would imagine that the financial crisis of 2008 had a relatively significant impact on this trend. It will be interesting to follow this migration and see if it continues at a similar rate over the next few years.

  2. Stephen Moore Stephen Moore

    I remember reading an article back in the fall about the shift from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. The article compared the prestige associated with Silicon Valley companies, such as Google, today to the prestige associated with investment banking jobs in the 1980’s. Ivy league grads have begun to look at tech jobs out west as more prestigious than the New York finance jobs. There also seems to be a large distrust in banks/finance among our generation after the 2008 financial crisis.

  3. wintera15 wintera15

    I also think there’s a migration coming out of Silicon Valley. It’s still the technology hub of the country but tech companies are popping up all over, including New York City.

    • Come on, “tech hub” only if your perspective is limited to things virtual. If you’re interested in “hard” technology then Silicon Valley is not a player.

  4. grieve grieve

    I think much of it also has to do with perception. Wall Street has the reputation of working until early in the morning, 7 days a week, even though many Wall Street Banks are trying to cut back on weekend hours. Silicon Valley and tech jobs, conversely, have the perception of a relaxed, more colloquial environment that I think recent generations are becoming more and more attracted to.

  5. klinedinstc15 klinedinstc15

    Articles such as this one makes me wonder… who is going to law school these days?

    • No one. W&L Law is downsizing, and it’s a comparatively good school.

      • Christian von Hassell Christian von Hassell

        Some students have been talking if it is in W&L’s best interest to keep the Law School. Could be interesting to see if the University makes a big decision sometime in the next couple of years.

  6. deplautt deplautt

    I agree with a lot of what you all have said about the preferences for tech jobs. Especially, the more relaxed environment appealing to students out of college. While there is upward mobility in both finance and tech, working at a big (or small) tech firm allows for more of a chance for innovation. It is really interesting to see the contrast of MIT students shifting into technology and I wonder if WS is trying to do anything to gain the interest of the brightest college students back from the west coast.

  7. grieve grieve

    I think salary is obviously one way in which Wall Street will continue to be competitive with graduates, although maybe this generation is valuing the chance at a one-time windfall (i.e. immensely successful startups being bought) over a significant, steady salary.

  8. HeeJu HeeJu

    I am surprised by the prevalent perception I see from the comments here about the work environment in tech field. Every single W&L graduate I know who works in IT related occupations work overtime all the time (often weekend as well). From what I can gather, they also have a very stressful environment.

    Also, I would like to address Catherine’s question about law school. Graduate school always has been a more attractive option when labor market outlook was dim. While the unemployment rate has been decreasing recently, it is not quite optimal either. Compared to medical schools or Ph.D programs, law schools require less years of school. Jobs that one can apply with JD degree also have become very versatile recently (if you question this point, talk to deans at WL& Student Affairs..most of them were ex-lawyers).

    • deplautt deplautt

      I don’t think there is a question about whether workers in the tech field work hard and long hours or not. I feel like it is more about the general perception of the work environment and atmosphere rather than the work itself. For example a more relaxed dress code or more on the job “perks”.

      • Christian von Hassell Christian von Hassell

        I also get the sense that there is something more rewarding about creating entire new markets rather than trying to make one more efficient. My view towards the financial services industry is that it is a bit of a fixed pie: only so much to be made each year. With tech, the opportunities are endless, and firms are not beholden to these limitations.

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