In 1984, when he was a junior at Horace Greeley High School, in affluent Chappaqua, New York, he wagered his father $2,000 that he would score a perfect 800 on the verbal section of the S.A.T. The gamble was everything Ackman had saved up from his Bar Mitzvah gift money and his allowance for doing household chores. “I was a little bit of a cocky kid,” he admits, with uncharacteristic understatement. Tall, athletic, handsome with cerulean eyes, he was the kind of hyper-ambitious kid other kids loved to hate and just the type to make a big wager with no margin for error. But on the night before the S.A.T., his father took pity on him and canceled the bet. “I would’ve lost it,” Ackman concedes. He got a 780 on the verbal and a 750 on the math. “One wrong on the verbal, three wrong on the math,” he muses. “I’m still convinced some of the questions were wrong.” [Vanity Fair]

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Comments (60)

  1. Posted by InfiniteGuest | February 27, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Well, that explains why the older kids picked on him.

  2. Posted by English Lit Quant | February 27, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Kind of embarrassed to say I'm somewhat stoked I got a higher verbal score than Bill Ackman.

  3. Posted by Carl Icahn | February 27, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Us older kids are still picking on him

  4. Posted by Carl Icahn | February 27, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Us older kids are still picking on him

    xoxo, Carl

  5. Posted by UBS + HLF You & Us | February 27, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Huh? He only took two sections of the SAT? He just skipped the third? What a putz.

    -UBS MD and Herbalife Distributor

  6. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    …and having short term memory issues.

  7. Posted by Miranda Priestly | February 27, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your optometrist and you select… I don't know… those blue contact lenses, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you place on your eyeballs. But what you don't know is that those contacts are not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean, like Bill Ackman's REAL EYES. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, the estate of Frank Sinatra did a collection of cerulean contact lenses. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn't it who showed cerulean lens caps for basic eyewear? I think we need a Herbalife shake here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic LensCrafters where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the contact lens industry when, in fact, you're wearing the lenses that were selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of plastic.

  8. Posted by Lynn Tilton | February 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Wow, I'm surprised that Ackman has any clients. Even I achieved a perfect score on the oral section.

  9. Posted by Deleveraging | February 27, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    1530 on the SAT's; that's no surprise. Just surprised it took you this long to tell us.

    – Guy who took future Valedictorian to Belmont Park on a Saturday afternoon to help him handicap the ponies only to end up at a Big Ten school and eventually as an adult at UBS.

  10. Posted by Mexi_Cant | February 27, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Talking about your SAT score 30+ years after you took it = still haven't come to terms with being a virgin throughout HS. It's ok Billy, none of that matters now, you've made it and your daddy is proud anyway!

  11. Posted by Chazzy the Greek | February 27, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    I'd like to wager that before the sun sets today, Ackman will have hysterically cried no less than two times.

  12. Posted by Alt_EST | February 27, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Getting four questions wrong: “I’m still convinced some of the questions were wrong,”
    :: Down 40% YTD : "The market is wrong."

  13. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Anyone know an of an anonymous 'I enjoyed TDWP,' group? Think I need to go to a meeting after +1'ing that.

  14. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    see, the fashionista commenters aren't so bad

  15. Posted by NakedShort | February 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Anonymous? Let your freak flag fly brother!

    -Guy who thinks The Wedding Date with Debra Messing is underrated

  16. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Worst comment since before Ackman had gray hair.

  17. Posted by Matt Vs. The World | February 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    So for his next feat will Matt square off against Ackman in a retake of an 80s era SAT?

  18. Posted by John Paulson | February 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    I'll come back.

  19. Posted by Bored Guest | February 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Never saw it, but Debra Messing, so I'm sure it's underrated.

  20. Posted by GeezerOilTrader | February 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    CEOs and other top financial industry mullets who brag about 30 year old scores on the fucking SAT tests are ruining the goddam trading industry! STOP AND THINK A BIT: All the best fucking thinking many of you top WALL STREET PRICKS could do eventually RUINED THE FUCKING TRADING BUSINESS as evidenced by all the fuckstick smarmy Dodd-Frank consultants walking around trading rooms today with their SHIT EATING GRINS plastered on their faces because they'll have a JOB FOR LIFE thanks to all you high IQ dumbasses who convinced trading institutions to hire you to shit the golden bed of finance and trade that it took those of us of average intelligence decades to build!! Back in the 80's when we were groovin to Robert Palmer's "Gonna Have To Face It — I'm A Dick To Love", we avoided you smart motherfuckers like the plague because if we didn't understand the word "temporal" or "tenor" in your fucking presentation, you'd get all pissy and whiny about why we had the jobs we did. And you'd have to bring a "beard", usually some coked-up, bribe paying shithead broker to "translate" all your industry ruining verbage into plain old golf playing, waitress fucking English!! Asswipes! My fucking employer has a "Career Path" program and some dumbass up in the fart smelling C-suite has assigned som MIT fucker to learn the oil trading business for a while at the knee of your Geezer. He was in medical school but dropped out to be in the energy business it seems. I asked him what brand of fucking leech/blood draining he was studying at the time of dropping out of med school. He was in urology rotation when he left the program. I asked him why he thought that might help him in the energy business. "Well", he started," I think I'll fit in..I met a girl at Kay's Lounge the other night and told her my story and one thing led to another and we were soon back at my apartment. We got naked and she said, "Since you were in urology, could you look at a little scratch I have 'down there"?" She pointed to her groin. So I told her sure…just do a headstand facing the floor to ceiling mirror on my closet sliding door and I'll take a look. So I bent down very close to take a look and said, 'It's nothing…don't worry about it." She asked, why did you place your chin right in my groin when you were checking it?"

    I waited for the MIT guy to reply. And now I know why he might make a good energy trading guy. He said his answer to her was…."I wanted to see what I'd look like with a beard…."

  21. Posted by guest | February 27, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    With or without skinny girl margaritas?

  22. Posted by Laxbro | February 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    throughout HS and most, if not all of undergrad*


  23. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Athletic, ok, but enough to beat Greg Smith at table tennis?

  24. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    'Some of the questions were wrong', like some of the ones he got right?

  25. Posted by Your SAT Tutor | February 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    *no fewer

  26. Posted by Im_a_Dude | February 27, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    makes sense that the Jewish kids from the Bronx would hop the turnstile on the Metro north to go beat up the nerdy Jewish kids outside the private school in Chappaqua.

  27. Posted by quant me maybe... | February 27, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Back in the day, there were only two sections.

  28. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Let me know when you're benching 250.

    – Ghost of Anal_yst

  29. Posted by ILoveLamp | February 27, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    "WE" older kids are still picking on him.

    -800 Verbal score achiever

  30. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    I enjoyed that as usual, but based on what I'm hearing from the younger interns, all the girls shave down there now. It's possible he wanted to see what he looked like with a cleft chin.

  31. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Put another way: if loving Bill Ackman is wrong, I don't want to be right.

  32. Posted by Anal_yst + Laxbro | February 27, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Got it, thanks for clearing that up.

  33. Posted by Laxbro | February 27, 2013 at 1:26 PM


    Are these the first interns you've eavesdropped on this… millennium?

  34. Posted by Horace Greeley | February 27, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Horace Greeley is not a private school.

    Go West,

  35. Posted by Bill Ackman | February 27, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Why I dropped out of the bicycle race. Failures of trend following systems.

  36. Posted by John Henry | February 27, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Hey !

  37. Posted by Steve | February 27, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    I am a graduate of Horace Greeley High School, and overweight all the while using some Herbalife products… you think I can get some facetime with Mr. 1530 himself?

  38. Posted by Not Carl Icahn | February 27, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Never has a "cool story, bro" been more warranted. What a fuckin' tool.

  39. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 27, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Not only is the Forty Year Old Virgin a real person, but he's a Dealbreaker commentator. Who knew?

  40. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 27, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    research your memes

  41. Posted by Mr. McKnuckles | February 27, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I think Ackman should challenge Evie Stevens to a race up River Rd hill.

    Would be fun to see him get crushed by a chick.. .and then cry.

  42. Posted by HR Puffinstuff | February 27, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Top 5 Dealbreaker postings of 2013- discuss amongst yourselves
    -Linda Richman, no big whoop

  43. Posted by Laxbro | February 27, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Listening to '90s on 9 in your Audi is akin to having a 1600 scale SAT score in that both will immediately make you seem like an old creep to young slams.

  44. Posted by Du Hast | February 27, 2013 at 2:18 PM


  45. Posted by Banging Randos Quant | February 27, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    If you're SAT scale is coming up in conversation you're probably an awful long way from pound town to begin with.

  46. Posted by Mr. Ed, CFA | February 27, 2013 at 2:29 PM


    -Burger King Horsemeat Hedging Quant

  47. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Hey Ackman, "Cut It Out!"

    -David Coulier

  48. Posted by Laxbro | February 27, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Not uncommon for SAT scores to come up during some alma mater pillow talk, i.e., after you've slammed, b-school conversations, etc. I recommend you pick up a copy of "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" from your local library. Might help with that whole your v you're thing you seem to be struggling with.

  49. Posted by E. Texas Gas Trader | February 27, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Urology nurses aren't much fun on a date.

  50. Posted by guest | February 27, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    We see you've decided to double down on those Full House jokes. We're all for nostalgia, but moving forward, let's limit it to say once a month.

    -DB compliance

  51. Posted by NakedShort | February 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    What ever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV.

  52. Posted by Homecoming Queen | February 27, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    And now you know why I turned you down for prom.

  53. Posted by Not a genius | February 27, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Kind of embarrassed (for him) that he missed 3 math questions. Must be TSTRAHF.

    – Guy that got 800 on the math portion

  54. Posted by Hardscrabble | February 27, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Still talking about your SAT scores 30 years later is the new killing it

  55. Posted by Love it | February 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Minus 100, actually plus 1000

  56. Posted by Jew from da Bronx | February 27, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Also, no turnstiles on MetroNorth

  57. Posted by C. Sheen | February 27, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Confused. She just counts her money and just leaves, right?

  58. Posted by Guest | February 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    You got it, dude!

  59. Posted by Alexander Sideman | February 28, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    Carl, you could still kick his ass.

  60. Posted by biddie macker | March 31, 2014 at 3:26 AM

    if you pretend to be asleep the metro north wont demand payment.