My greatest disappointment after joining academia was to see my most promising students accept jobs at Goldman Sachs or McKinsey. Engineering students with ambitions to save the world would instead become financial analysts—who used their skills to “engineer” our financial system. Or they would take grunt jobs in management consulting—another waste of valuable talent.
Why would they sell their souls? Because they had no choice, the burden of debt they amassed while getting their degrees was just too great. They had six-figure student loans to repay and couldn’t take the risk of joining a startup or founding their own business.