Desperate former VPs trying to get back in as associates

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The head of recruitment at one major bank says he's begun receiving CVs from former VPs who've graduated from MBA courses and are trying to get back into banking as associates.

It's a move that's likely to become increasingly common as out of work bankers resort to MBAs to fill their time and improve their employment prospects. Business schools say applications from former bankers have increased substantially - at LBS, there's increased interest from financial services professionals with 3-8 years' experience; at Cass, financial services applications for the February MBA programme were up 30%.

However, with most banks only hiring MBAs into associate positions, VPs who take the course may find themselves over-qualified when it finishes.

"I would not hire a former VP as an associate," says the head of recruitment. "You just know that he'd be ok for a year or so and would then start to complain that he was really a VP and wanted a pay rise."

Other MBA recruiters agree. "I wouldn't hire someone back into an area in which they previously occupied a more senior position," says one.

On the other hand, some previous banking experience is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for MBAs who want to get into the industry. "At the associate level we are looking for people who can hit the ground as quickly as possible," says Ros Hillard, an MBA recruiter at Goldman Sachs.

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