Drew Faust is joining the board of Goldman Sachs

Historians in the News
tags: Goldman Sachs, Drew Faust

Jonathan Zimmerman teaches education and history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author ofCampus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Last Thursday, less than a week after Drew Gilpin Faust ended her 11-year stint as president of Harvard, Goldman Sachs announced that she was joining its Board of Directors.It’s the first post-presidency appointment for Faust, who is the third woman on Goldman’s board.But the first question that Goldman receivedfrom The Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper, was about her salary, not her gender.

"I mean, is that really what you’re going to focus on?" replied Goldman’s chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, who holds two Harvard degrees.

Um, yes. All of us should be focusing on that.

Over the past few decades, in fact, elite American universities have transformed themselves into recruiting agencies for the banking and consulting industries. We talk a good game about diversity and social justice, touting our growing numbers of female and minority students. But we channel everyone into a narrow occupational niche, which anoints future scions of the One Percent….

If we teach students that more is better, they’ll be less inclined to select professions that aren’t as lucrative. And they’ll also be less likely to discover a path that sustains their souls, instead of just lining their pockets.

Which brings us back to Lloyd Blankfein, who scolded Harvard student journalists for inquiring about how much Drew Faust will be paid at Goldman Sachs. Instead, he urged, they should ask why she chose his firm in the first place. And the answer, he said, lies in the special history of Harvard and Goldman Sachs: Over the years, Blankfein noted, many Harvard students have worked at Goldman after graduating.

Well, duh. But why do they do that? If you think it’s because they want to change the world or find their passion, I’ve got $500,000 in restricted stock units to sell you. That’s what Drew Faust will receive each year from Goldman Sachs, along with an annual retainer of $75,000.

Nice work, if you can get it. And I’ve got nothing against Drew Faust, who has every right to enrich herself in whatever way she chooses. I just wish we weren’t teaching our students to do the same thing.

Read entire article at The Chronicle of Higher Education

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