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Business Students Rethink Wall Street Plans

After the economic slump scuttled their plans to enter the financial sector, business students at Duke University look at different alternatives, such as graduate school, or rethink their career paths altogether. Judy Woodruff talks to some recent graduates in the second part of her Generation Next series.

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    Now the second of our reports on Generation Next. Judy Woodruff is examining how young people are coping with the recession. She recently went to Duke University in North Carolina, where she talked to graduates who are having a tough time finding jobs.


    Over the past two decades, it became a tradition of sorts. Following the pomp and circumstance of commencement, many graduates from the most elite liberal arts schools in the country packed their bags and headed for Wall Street to seek their fortunes in the world of finance.

    Salaries and bonuses for new graduates often topped $100,000 a year, according to students we talked with at my alma mater, Duke University.


    To be able to make that much right out of school as an undergrad was kind of insane. So I guess my first taste of the money was sophomore year when I had the scholarship programs that gave us compensation. It was over time. It was a scholarship. It was like, "Oh, my gosh, I'm rich."


    At Duke and many of the other most competitive colleges and universities, finance had become one of the most attractive fields to enter, even more than law or medicine. It was a magnet career for the best and the brightest.

    But the meltdown in the financial markets has shaken those assumptions and scrambled the future for many students here.

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