No period in history better demonstrates the need for portfolio diversification than the late 90s Tech Bubble and the March 2000 crash. In the public markets and at the height of the bubble, speculators were in such a frenzy to get a hold of technology stocks that any newly listed stock with the word “tech” or “.com” in their name could shoot up over 100% in one day. Many of these companies had yet to properly develop their products and their financial health was often very uncertain, yet they commanded prices at very high price to earnings multiples. In private markets there was also a strong appetite among VC firms to invest in the technology sector and bring the burgeoning amount of tech startups to public markets in IPO exits.
The Harvard MBA indicator was started and maintained by Roy Soifer, consultant and former HBS student. It represents a long-term stock market indicator that evaluates the percentage of Harvard Business School graduates that accept "market sensitive" jobs in fields such as investment banking, securities sales & trading, private equity and venture capital. If more than 30% of a year's graduating class take jobs in these areas, the Harvard MBA Indicator creates a sell signal for stocks. Conversely, if less than 10% of graduates take jobs in this sector, it represents a long-term buy signal for stocks. In addition, it is also useful to analyse the attractiveness of jobs in finance. Indeed, during the last decade, the indicator has been heavily skewed towards jobs in sectors such as Venture Capital and Private Equity and, in particular after the crisis, Harvard MBA alumni have even further shunned IB and IM.