Wharton Students to Occupy Wall Street: Get a Job!

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on November 3, 2011

The University of Pennsylvania business students that taunted Occupy Wall Street protestors in Philadelphia last month may have to explain their behavior when it comes time to interview for jobs.

OWS protesters descended on Wharton October 21. Their picket signs were met with some of the Ivy League students chanting “Get a job! Get a job!”

The students’ jeers were broadcast in a number of YouTube videos, including one with the title “99 Percent Mocked by Wharton Business Students.” One student stood on a balcony above the protesters holding a sign that read “Get in our bracket,” as seen in a photo from the campus paper The Daily Pennsylvanian. (Click through the gallery of photos from the protest to find it.)

Wharton is highly prized for its finance programs. Sixty-one percent of the school’s undergraduates and 50 percent of MBAs entered the finance and accounting industries in 2010. The school routinely sends new recruits to Citigroup, investment management firm BlackRock and bond fund manager PIMCO.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement has gained momentum, a number of top finance executives have expressed compassion for the protestors — namely, the CEOs of Citigroup, BlackRock and PIMCO.

"The protesting is a statement (that) the future is very clouded for a lot of people," said BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink. "These are not lazy people sitting around looking for something to do. We have people losing hope and they're going into the street, whether it's justified or not."

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit said, "their sentiments are completely understandable. Trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the U.S., and that is Wall Street's job, to reach out to Main Street and rebuild that trust."

PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian wrote in a blog on the Huffington Post, "This is more than just a nascent movement that will grow in the weeks and months ahead. It is part of a worldwide drive for greater social justice."

It's worth noting that Citigroup was the second-top hirer of Wharton undergrads and seventh-top hirer of MBAs in 2010, taking a total of 29 students. BlackRock and PIMCO each hired three or more Wharton MBA grads in the 2010-11 school year, and BlackRock hired five Wharton undergrads in 2009.

As on-campus job recruiting continues this winter, some of the taunting Wharton students may end up in interviews with financial companies that are consciously trying to project an image of empathy with the protesters, and those YouTube videos may need some explaining.

Did the Wharton students act appropriately? Will their behavior influence recruiters? How do you explain "Get a job!" when you're trying to, well, get a job? Leave your thoughts for us below.

-Erin Zlomek

Reader Comments


November 3, 2011 2:46 PM

I would LOVE to get a job, one that pays a living wage, not one that pays what workers made at the turn of the LAST century, Dinosaur.


November 3, 2011 2:51 PM

reaction of the Wharton students further proof of how out of touch most finance industry folks are with reality that surrounds them. i work in finance but know that most people out there are struggling to get by on something like $30K / year, which no one on Wall Street can comprehend. Even the low tier analysts who make $150K / year think that everyone makes about that much and think that folks who make much less than that are idiots for not working on Wall Street too.


November 3, 2011 2:55 PM

These business students at Wharton has just as much a right to voice their opinion as ows protestors do. Should an ows protestor need to explain themselves to a potential employer?


November 3, 2011 3:05 PM

Wharton executive ethics class:

Step 1. Lay people off.
Step 2. Enrich self.
Step 3. Repeat.


November 3, 2011 3:15 PM

Nearly ALL the MBAs I have worked with are morons.
These mouchers can't do anything.

always waiting for the real workers accomplish something meaningful,
then the MBA manager finds a way to take all the credit.


November 3, 2011 3:27 PM

These MBA should not be hired so they can see whats life is like being the 99% with no jobs and student loans due.

John F

November 3, 2011 3:35 PM

Let's try to remember that these Wharton students are just children who have been brainwashed and don't have the time, with their busy quest to make money, to do any critical thinking. Hell, wharton doesn't even bother to teach critical thinking anymore, and business ethics is a joke in business schools. The only thing they are taught is that corporate responsibliity begins and ends with maximizing shareholder returns. Don't blame the children. They haven't yet experienced life as anything other than "Mommy and Daddy will take care of me". OWS is messing with their gravy train.

Jay W

November 3, 2011 3:37 PM

They are right - OWS protesters need to go get jobs. Stop depending on tax payers for their subsistence.

The CEO's are bunch of self-serving wimps. Their lack of backbone is the reason for the financial meltdown in the first place.


November 3, 2011 3:44 PM

Good for the Wharton students. These occutards are losers. They need to get a job and stop whining.


November 3, 2011 4:06 PM



November 3, 2011 4:21 PM

LOL.. Give me the job of a banker and liberty to give myself bonuses as much as I like. I will also earn millions in commission while I hand out loans to anyone who applies. When there is no money left in the bank, Bennie Mugabe should take over, do QE number n and fill up the bank. I will come back again and repeat.

But I will not get that job because elite MOFOs form an unholy alliance that only ends with a bloody revolution where elites are burnt on the stake alive. They there us a peace for 50 years or so


November 3, 2011 4:35 PM

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Biased media reports such as this do nothing but infuriate each side of the issue in an obvious effort to boast your own ratings and/or readership.

The real ironly lies in the fact that this post will probably be deleted or ignored, in an effort to repress true freedom of speech.

Shame on you, hypocrites.


November 3, 2011 5:08 PM

Maybe the students were actually offering the protesters jobs. Get a Job! Get a Job! Get your Jobs here! We are offering great quality jobs!


November 3, 2011 7:28 PM

I am a lucky applicant and I am currently interviewing with Whartan, Harvard and Tuck for their full time MBA programs. I have to say, that, many Whartan students that I have worked with in my career and in my personal life are incredibly arrogant and this video does not surprise me. I am by no means an "Occupy Wall Street" supporter, but, the behavior of the students at Whartan is not acceptable and I hope that it shows Whartan students that their arrogant nature at times will catch up to them.

BW's Louis Lavelle

November 4, 2011 8:30 AM

@SickAngTired: I edited this blog post, and I'm sorry you found it so offensive. But I think you're wrong. There's nothing biased about this blog post. It reports what happened, and what was said, and raises a question about the impact the Wharton students' behavior may have on recruiting. That's all. I know this may come as a surprise to many, but not every problem in the world is the media's fault (some of them are, but not all of them). And for the record, it wasn't like the OWS gang and the Wharton students were having a tea party before BW showed up--they were pretty infuriated at each other long before this post.

Louis Lavelle
Associate Editor
Bloomberg Businessweek


November 4, 2011 11:01 AM

It will likely not affect recruiting. The CEOs voicing their "support" of the OWS folks is not, I suspect, their true feelings on the matter. They just want to deflect any crap that comes their way from this movement. I'm not on board with OWS (it's a little too chaotic and unfocused) and I'd say it's even possible that this reaction from Wharton students will bolster their chances of getting hired; they clearly have the love of money necessary to be very successful at business.


November 4, 2011 9:01 PM

Comments on this board proves that a mule remains a mule wanting more work.

Warton school of Scam teaches you ways when you DO NOT need to work ! Yup.. you form an elite alliance called alumni unholy alliance. Then you take over Polcy making on Washington. Then you make bets. If you win , it's your money. If you lose, you pass it off to the government. That's what Wharton School Of Scam teaches you.


November 7, 2011 12:14 AM

I don't believe this will affect recruiting because companies who recruit at Wharton know exactly what they're getting. With its strong focus on finance, high percentage of students going into investment banking (where a primary goal is to make millions of dollars as quickly as possible)even relative to other top b-schools, infamously unethical grads such as Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken, and well-deserved reputation for arrogant students and alums, nobody should be surprised by this behavior.

Beth Ryan

November 8, 2011 3:41 AM

I did my MBA from Wharton in late 90's. Wharton was still an ethical institution teaching risk taking and prudence.

In more recent years, it has been doing lip service to ethics and society with trivial courses on Ethics that do more harm than good.

For instance, I went back to a senior executive course recently. In the ethics component of our discussion examples of how someone beat the system were presented. In one way it was meant to prevent people doing those mistakes, but the tone of discussion was not about the wrong, but how not to get caught!


November 8, 2011 10:27 AM

The OWS sniveling whiners need to 'get a job' and they could...but they want specific jobs, that meet their pay requirements and their hours and allow them to 'work from home' and 1 month + paid vacation etc...

This entitlement society mentality has got to stop.


November 8, 2011 8:50 PM

I heartily commend the Wharton students for their well-placed hostility to the freeloaders and losers who are otherwise known as the Occupy movement.


November 10, 2011 10:23 PM

I go to Harvard Business School (HBS) and I support the Occupy Movement. I want to work in a respectable industry and I think Wall Street needs some serious reform.

Also, Wharton sucks. It is a bunch of people who got rejected from HBS or Stanford. They...may think of themselves as "Masters of the Universe" or "Captains of Industry" but we use another phrase to describe Wharton..."Safety School"


November 14, 2011 1:33 AM

Hey NYCyankees fan...perhaps you should learn how to spell the name of the school you are applying to before the interview! Wharton has a great ethics program and for those that are concerned the ethics programs don't adequately teach you right from wrong, perhaps you should think about why you are seeking that lesson in a classroom in your mid-20s. The students didn't act in the most pleasant of ways, but their school was stormed by people chanting nonsense. If the Wharton people took to the pws tent city this would be more offensive. As is, ows, stick to public spaces, hopefully with wifi so you can keep checking the old job boards and hustle and get yourself a full time gig, just like every MBA students busts their butt to do, year in and year out.


November 15, 2011 1:18 AM

My two pennies - I think there is a real problem in the system. But lets look at the root of it. People in developed nations have become increasingly dependent on social security. Not just that, they have also gotten used to buying whatever they desire. How? Take a loan. What happens when time comes to repay it? They have zilch - they aren't earning enough so they default.
The root cause of the problem is the tainted mentality that one can own anything he/she desires - THAT, is WRONG. I cannot own a million dollar house because I don't have that much money - I don't even have a fifth of it for that matter. Difference is - I know it, I accept it and I will go for a million dollar house when I can afford it.
Stop playing blame games people - financial companies were wrong in doling out free loans. That doesn't mean the people were even remotely right in taking them. These two statements are connected but in no way are inter-dependent.
So what happens now? The pain has to be endured till the mentality is set right. Tax-payers and corporations alike will need to take the pain and work together to iron this out.
Last, but not the least, just because the majority feels in a particular manner - DOESN'T make the majority right. Its the public opinion. That's all. In the same way, the irritation of Wharton students should be taken in only that much capacity - it is their opinion, no more, no less. Why sledge one of the greatest institution of the world which has played a huge role in sustaining the economies for ages?

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