Commercial banks can be thankful for business students like Stuart C. Malakoff.

While many of Mr. Malakoff's colleagues in the spring graduating class of Columbia Business School were bent on pursuing huge salaries in investment banking, the 27-year-old native of Woodmere, N.Y., had other priorities.

Mr. Malakoff, just out of the MBA program, wanted a job in financial services that would offer career challenges and a reasonable salary. He also wanted a post that would allow time for his wife and their 2-year-old son.

In June, he found what he was looking for: a position as account officer in the New York offices of Bank of Nova Scotia. In his new post, he works with relationship officers in the bank's media and communications group analyzing lending opportunities, preparing credit reports, and reviewing loan documentation.

Although this entry-level job can be demanding, he knows the pace is not nearly as frenetic as that faced by an investment banker or management consultant. The latter two careers lure a large share of MBAs from top schools.

"While I may work long hours now, I set those hours," he said. "I don't need to worry about my weekends being at someone else's mercy."

Mr. Malakoff is not new to banking. Before attending Columbia, he spend four years as an associate at Mitsubishi Trust and Banking's corporate finance department. "By continuing in commercial banking, I wanted to expand my experience on the relationship side and will continue getting experience under my belt," he said.

Though he wouldn't reveal his salary, he said the bank pays him what he is worth. And despite the merger activity that has made banking jobs less secure than ever, he's comfortable that he'll be employed for many years.

"One of the reasons I came here is that there are a small number of Canadian banks," he said, adding that there isn't much room for consolidation.

What does concern him is the dearth of information about commercial banks available at elite business schools.

During the spate of presentations by employers trying to woo Columbia students, Mr. Malakoff noted that those hosted by commercial banks were lackluster and sparsely attended.

"I saw a lot of slick presentations, and I don't remember any of them being by commercial banks," he said.

Mr. Malakoff said he plans to participate in his employer's recruiting efforts, and will make sure more students know more about potential careers at Bank of Nova Scotia than his class did.

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