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There are still quite a few from top fee paying schools, however.

Morgan Stanley's front office interns are mostly state-educated

Among the big U.S. investment banks, Morgan Stanley has a traditionally had reputation for being 'white shoe.' This means that while Goldman Sachs - for example - has long claimed to hire people who've struggled to overcome a difficult start in life, Morgan Stanley's historic reputation has been about all hiring upper middle class White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs).

This, however, is changing. As Morgan Stanley welcomes its new summer intern class in London, most have been educated in Britain's state schools. This applies even in the front office (eg. M&A and sales and trading), where privately educated students tend to proliferate. 

‘Hiring young, diverse talent that reflects the communities we operate in remains a priority at Morgan Stanley," says Steph Ahrens, head of talent acquisition in EMEA for the bank. "This year’s cohort of UK summer analysts is strong evidence of that, with graduates from state-run or state-funded schools recruited to fully two-thirds of front-office positions," she adds.

Accordingly, several of Morgan Stanley's incoming from front office interns list British state schools on their profiles, including the likes of Studley High School, Brampton Manor Academy in London, and Perth Academy in Scotland. Many of the bank's state educated hires appear to have come from overseas, however, or to have attended elite schools within the state system, including grammar schools of King College London Mathematics School, a school for gifted mathematicians in London. 

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley's incoming front office intern cohort includes also multiple ex-pupils of St. Paul's and St. Paul's girls schools in London, plus alumni of Charterhouse, Cheltenham Ladies' College, Godolphin and Latymer School, and Oundle School, among various other fee paying institutions. 

Most banks are striving to diversify their intakes amidst accusations that they discriminate against working class applicants. Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley launched a UK Future Generation Scholarship to provide up to 25 ethnic-minority and/or socially disadvantaged students scholarships of £10k towards their tuition and living costs and a placement on the bank's summer analyst or industrial placement programmes. Six have so far been accepted for the inaugural intake class in 2022.

Even though 'just' 33% of Morgan Stanley's front office London interns are now privately educated, the bank's intern intake remains disproportionately skewed towards students whose parents pay for their education: the Social Mobility Commission calculates that just 7% of all British students are educated at fee-paying schools. 

Photo by Axville on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Fi
    Finance Hardo 101
    15 June 2021

    diversity recruiting gone too far

    looking at MS & GS recruiting policies - *mandatory* quotas on female and blacks? ridiculous

    not hiring the best anymore, just whatever looks good for PR...

    I feel bad for Indian/Chinese dudes and white working class kids that aced straight A*s through school and can't get into finance because black chicks with Bs get free passes into IB...

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