What do you do when your career on Wall Street has come to an ignominious end and you need to keep busy lest you end up spending the rest of your days playing bridge or golf? Take a job in academia! Greg Fleming, the former president of Merrill Lynch, is now a member of the Yale Law School faculty: This semester, he's teaching a class that will explain the "economic events of the past year," which should also help Fleming shed some light on what exactly he was doing as the man in charge of risk management at Merrill Lynch the past few years. Fleming isn't the only one.
Frank Yeary, Citigroup's former head of M&A, is now a vice chancellor at the Berkeley; Citi's ex-head of investment banking, Michael Klein, is now teaching at Princeton; and at least one former Wall Streeter is now at Harvard, Goldman Sachs's former head of investment management, Edward Frost.
Although it may be tempting to imagine that these former top execs are "decamping for dormitory life," as Time puts it, don't think for a second they're living like resident assistants and subsisting on cafeteria food. (Klein, for one, is currently using his golden parachute to expand his house in Southampton.) But there are some harsh realities involved:
"You get a tiny office, none of your colleagues talk to you for a while, and you have to figure out what to say to students for 36 hours a semester," says Roy Smith, who left Goldman 21 years ago to become a professor at New York University. "It's hard work for little pay."
Of course, there isn't much pay to be had on Wall Street these days either, and joining a university does entitle you to your summers off, so we'll call it a tie.