Mark Zuckerberg versus Jamie Dimon, Who's More Iconic?


"Greed is good" is out.

"Don't be Evil" is in.

Mark Zuckerberg

America's young people, tomorrow's economic engine, are deciding which icons of success to follow, and their gaze has shifted from east to west.

While MBAs, engineers and other fortune hunters once sought wealth on Wall Street (where the pay can still be higher), they're increasingly more interested in striking it rich in Silicon Valley.

"Everything's converging and heading in that direction," says Raul Meza, a student at California Lutheran University. "So I think it's a safer bet."

A survey of 6,700 early career professionals last fall shows that one in five would like to work at Google , making it the most popular professional destination. Apple came in second with 13 percent of the vote, followed by Facebook at nine percent. The most popular bank? J.P. Morgan , way down in 41st place, with a little over two percent of the vote.

"It just seems like the market is really volatile right now," says student Nicholas Simpson, who also prefers tech to finance as a career path. When asked "Who would you rather be, Jamie Dimon or Mark Zuckerberg?", every student CNBC surveyed answered "Zuckerberg." Most didn't even know who Jamie Dimon is, but all of them knew of Facebook's founder.

They called him "a successful man," and "successful at such a young age." "He's a billionaire!" laughed student Laurel Yetter.

Computer Engineer Barbie
Source: Mattel

Four years ago, CNBC reported on concerns by the defense industry that it was losing engineering students to both Silicon Valley and Wall Street.  Now, there seems to be only one preferred destination.

A New York Magazine article called "The End of Wall Street as They Knew It" quotes an unnamed hedge fund executive who says, "If you're a smart Ph.D. from MIT, you'd never go to Wall Street now... You'd go to Silicon Valley."

Perhaps the biggest proof that "kids these days" prefer tech to finance — Mattel has a Computer Engineer Barbie. There is no Stock Broker Barbie. No Wall Street Ken.