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Global Career 2003:

Investment banking is still the career of choice for many of Europe's graduates, even though the banks themselves have lost some of their allure as places to work, according to a new study. A total of 21 percent of the 7,000 European students who took part in an annual survey by Swedish research firm Universum wanted to work in investment banking.

Management consulting was the number one choice, with 36 percent of students expressing a preference for this sector, while 26 percent picked marketing and advertising.

McKinsey & Company, the management consultancy, held its top slot as the ideal company to work for, according to the survey, published at the weekend.

Goldman Sachs, the world's top M&A advisor, slipped to ninth from third place, while rival investment bank Morgan Stanley dropped to 32 in the rankings from 14 in 2002.

All the major investment banks, including JP Morgan , Merrill Lynch , Swiss bank UBS and Deutsch Bank fell back in the rankings of "ideal companies to work for" compared to last year.

Global banking group HSBC , however, jumped from number 218 last year to 47 this year.

Investment banking has suffered from a three-year downturn in global financial markets, which has cost tens of thousands of jobs.

The industry's image has also been tarnished by high profile scandals on Wall Street, where 10 major banks were fined more than one billion dollars for for misleading investors with biased stock research.

Universum, which has been conducting pan-European surveys of graduates each year since 1995, questioned 6,776 business and engineering and science students at 81 universities across Europe.

This year's survey included a new question: "Which company leader impresses you most?".

The top three executives mentioned were Microsoft's Bill Gates, Jack Welch, former chairman of General Electric and Florentino Perez, chairman of Spanish construction and services company ACS.

But Universum noted that many students' reply to this question was: "no one" or "not impressed by anyone.


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