PPE grads are supposed to change the world, so why do they always end up in banking?

Meet Hugh, he’s sold his soul to the city

When you think of PPE you imagine a pasty, floppy-haired Ed Miliband, spluttering about budget cuts that affect the worst off. Old beyond his years, the PPE-r knows far too much about big society, and not just everything but the ​reasons​ behind everything.

He is the original social justice warrior, using university to enrich his already overwhelming knowledge of “people”. He is middle-class, yet selfless, and has known his one purpose in life since he got an A* in Economics GCSE – to fight this country’s biggest injustices from the corridors of power.

And this is all true of Oxford grads, at least. They are exactly the port-quaffing boys you’d expect them to be. But then there’s Hugh. Hugh didn’t get in, and went to either Warwick, Manchester, LSE, or York instead. He assures you it was the “the second best after Oxford” and actually preferred the atmosphere there, yet he’s still derived his entire identity from what he thinks the Bullingdon is like.


So what happens to those people, like Hugh, who don’t make it to Westminster? Well, the city, of course. You’ll find him at Deloitte, KPMG, EY OR PwC in a red tie, doing spreadsheets and turning down lines of coke. Sure, there are worse places to work, it’s just a shame he’s scored the same soulless grad scheme as someone who did Business Management at Loughborough.

For the few remaining SJWs, any job with a “politics” in the title will do. Perhaps a libertarian think tank, or an account executive role at a political PR firm. Teach first is also a popular choice, probably because it gives the impression of giving back to the less fortunate.

“Well, you know, the thing about the budget is”, he explains at supper, “when you analyse exactly how they’re making the cuts, it makes economical sense.” This is his thing, you see, having an answer for everything, analysing things that don’t need to be analysed and making you feel intellectually small. Watch his face turn into a picture of smugness as you ask what he studied at university. He could have said “PPE”, but god forbid someone mistakes that for personal protective equipment, so it’s an elongated, “Politics, Philosophy and Economics” with plenty of intense eye contact so you can think long and hard about how well-rounded he is.

Having matured ten years too early, his biggest fears are typical of any young fogey: not getting on the property ladder, the price of a zone 5 annual rail card, or if he’s feeling particularly naughty, missing out on a table at Forge on a Thursday night.

It’s not that Hugh is awful, he’s just not the arsehole you’d expect them to be. There’s no pig-shagging, no spraying vintage Moët – just red wine on a Friday night with his long term girlfriend in their Putney one bed, like most Oxbridge rejects.