On Tuesday at lunchtime, students navigated pizza boxes and a packed auditorium for the semester’s first Town Hall meeting. Dean Glenn Hubbard addressed the school-wide audience about the near and long-term economic impact of the current Wall Street crisis. He also addressed the job market, a source of great concern for many students, saying:

A question that may be on your mind is “Does financial services need to shrink?” There will be job losses and exits, not only with the firms that have exited but probably more. But I have considerably more optimism for the medium term in financial services, and there are three simple reasons for that:

  1. The global phenomenon of an aging society puts pressure on the demand for a whole variety of financial products and services. This isn’t as well developed as it should be in the U.S. or the U.K., let alone in many emerging economies, and the number of return income vehicles, insurance products and so on will increase.
  2. Many of the big emerging economies are improving their domestic demand, which will generate a huge demand for financial services as they exit from the state provision of services to the market.
  3. The overwhelming forces of globalization and the demands for international finance. Anyone who says that the financial sector is going to shrink out of business has not been through these cycles before.

Dean Hubbard urged students to remain flexible and keep perspective.

“We are behind you,” he said. “Ask yourself, ‘What are the right jobs for me on my career ladder?’”

Photo credit: Catherine New