Nice, snarky opener! Am I supposed to feel chastised for having an informed opinion? Or do I need to run my credentials by you for determination? Get back to me on that as you have time. In the interim, let me see if I can respond adequately:
1. I never worked in WS but my father, brother and sister were all career bankers. They noticed a significant change in perspective in the early 80's going forward of the influence of NOT risk-averse guys coming out of school whose role models were the Michael Milkens of the world. Get in, get mine, move on.
Maybe Paul Volker's words have some application here: "But I am struck by the number of not just friends but other observers who share the belief that there has been a real change in the mental approach of people in markets. They used to be more customer-oriented, with some sense of fiduciary responsibility that’s been very much reduced into an impersonal, “you’re a counterparty, you’re not a customer” caveat emptor.
That attitude lies behind a lot of these difficulties and has been spurred by enormous changes in compensation practices that have tempted people to cut corners."
Or to sum up, again from Volker:
“I wish someone would give me one shred of neutral evidence that financial innovation has led to economic growth — one shred of evidence,”
Now maybe you consider my family's 50+ yrs. of investment banking experience useless, or believe Volker a fossil or irrelevant, but I suspect that would be more a reflection on your perspective than his bonafides.
2. Having said that, I completely agree on the points you bring up re: non-finance related education and career opportunities. I'm not sure I'm willing to make a direct connection between those two areas either as a choice to pursue one vs. the other, OR whether the financial sector has a profound impact on supporting those other educational areas, but I'm willing to be open-minded.