The College Jock – By Justin Baer



When Michael Savini came to Wall Street in 2006, banks and brokers had stocked their annual recruiting classes with a preponderance of new hires who shared at least one thing in common: They’d played college sports.

Michael Savini
Michael Savini

In New York and Chicago, trading floors teemed with former football and lacrosse stars, as well as veterans of college hockey, wrestling, tennis and crew teams.

Some ex-athletes, including former investment bank CEOs John Mack, Henry Paulson and Alan Schwartz, made it to the executive suite. Many others looked favorably on younger versions of themselves, building networks that drew athletes, typically male, from their alma maters.

Ex-jocks had the right stomach for risk-taking, the theory went, and the ideal temperament to win clients’ trust and business.

“You saw a lot of big guys” in Chicago’s trading pits, said Bernard McSherry, dean of the New Jersey City University’s business school, who spent many years on the floor of the NYSE. “Those were physical jobs. And in an open-outcry market, you could bully your way into a trade.”


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