Ed. note: This is a new weekly column by Elie Mystal, Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline, wrapping up the week that was in law and finance. Elie is not a practicing attorney, and anything he says that you listen to can and will be used against you.
In broad strokes the world can be divided up into three types of people:
* Group 1: Yokels who hear “insider trading” and shout “rabble rabble” at someplace they think is called “Wall Street” while they sharpen their pitchforks.
* Group 2: Wealthy elites and their media spokespeople who believe insider trading is a “victimless crime” as if Peter Gibbons from Office Space is their spirit totem.
* Group 3: Prosecutors who want to be Governors and are trying to shore up the yokel vote.
It’s all terrible. EVERYBODY IS WRONG ALL THE TIME. The people who care about rich people “cheating” don’t even understand what insider trading is anymore. The people who cheat have priced in the risk of getting caught. Over-matched regulators bite at the ankles of symptoms while being totally unable to address root causes.
I believe that we could live in a world where people who trade on material non-public information suffered criminal penalties severe enough to make them stop. But I also believe the Mets are one bat away from being a contender. Reality, it turns out, doesn’t give a crap about what I believe.
Harvard-educated Harvard professor Ben Edelman has now apologized for threatening legal action against Sichuan Garden for overcharging him $4, and now Boston.com, where four of the top five stories right now involve the academic, breaks the news to readers that he may have done something similar in 2010. A now-closed sushi spot called Osushi apparently got an irate email offering “three distinct reasons” why Edelman’s Groupon was valid on the prix fixe menu. The restaurant had originally stated the deal did not extend to the set menu, which apparently rankled Edelman, who fired off an email claiming that failure to honor his interpretation of the coupon as well as extend it for six additional weeks would force him to dedicate his valuable time to fighting Osushi’s Common Victualler License and Alcoholic Beverage License. [GrubStreet]
Harvard and Kellogg MBAs (well, four of them, anyway) love to make a few million by day and catch some college hoops/eat beef sandwiches together by night. Penn State, Princeton, UT and USC alums, too. For Whartonites, two years at West Philadelphia’s College of Capitalism were more than enough time in each other’s company. Read more »
Once again, as it does every year, US News has released its ranking of the best, not bad, and okay business schools. As this is the sort of thing that inspires unbridled rage over perceived slights like finding out your alma mater dropped one spot or having to suffer the indignity of an inferior institution being too close on the list, and many of your are plain itching to get into a fight, everyone should feel free to do it in this controlled space.
If you’re having trouble working yourself up into a lather but don’t want to be left out of the fun, perhaps consider how it must feel for Wharton to finally have cracked the number one slot only to find out that it’s being split three ways not just with Harvard but with a school that will let anyone in.
One night that fall, Ms. Navab, who had laughed off the hand-raising seminar, sat at an Ethiopian restaurant wondering if she had made a bad choice. Her marketing midterm exam was the next day, but she had been invited on a very business-school kind of date: a new online dating service that paired small groups of singles for drinks was testing its product. Did Ms. Navab want to come? “If I were in college, I would have said let’s do this after the midterm,” she said later. But she wanted to meet someone soon, maybe at Harvard, which she and other students feared could be their “last chance among cream-of-the-crop-type people,” as she put it. Like other students, she had quickly discerned that her classmates tended to look at their social lives in market terms, implicitly ranking one another. And like others, she slipped into economic jargon to describe their status…As she scooped bread at the product-trial-slash-date at the Ethiopian restaurant, she realized that she had not caught the names of the men at the table. The group drank more and more. The next day she took the test hung over, her performance a “disaster,” she joked. [NYT]
After years of receiving scripted answers to questions from would-be business school students re: why they want to go to Harvard/Wharton/Stanford/Sloan or what they think of a company’s earnings potential or where they see themselves in five to ten years or what they ate for breakfast, admissions officers have lately been taking a new tack in an attempt to see the “real” side of applicants. Hoping to get a little “unrehearsed honesty” and insight into who these people really are, prospective students are being asked to submit “reflections” (“a short, off-the-cut note that must be submitted within 24 hours of an admissions interview”) and take part in “team-based discussions,” for which they’re told to “relax, be genuine,” not worry about giving the “right” answer, and just say what they really think, rather than what a coach told them to say they think. Unfortunately, Harvard and Wharton officials apparently have no idea who they’re dealing with here. You can’t make future b-school students relax and be genuine! You can’t! You won’t! Read more »
US News has regaled us with its annual ranking of the top business schools. I know you need a safe space to get huffy about perceived slights (be it your MBA program being lower than you believe is accurate or by having to suffer the indignity of an inferior institution being too close on the list), so let it out here and now. Read more »
On November 6, 2012, as the results of the presidential election rolled in, a member of the Harvard Business School Class of 2010 considered ending it all. “The thought crossed my mind to jump off my penthouse apartment balcony,” he wrote his fellow classmates yesterday. Sure, he had a lot to live for: friends, family, the earthly delights afforded to him by living in Southern California (“surfing, mountains, 78 degree sunshine, and hot babes everywhere”), as well as a new company and all that came with it (relationships with celebrities that straddle the line between “friend and service provider,” as well as invites to “the VMAs and private concerts in Vegas”). But he also had a lot of reasons to be good and angry at the world, including but not limited to: the state of California being “filled with so many hippie liberals” he just might snap and in doing so “choke out a street bum,” people who “sit around with their hand out and expect to be fed,” and, most vexingly, the reelection of Barack Obama.
And while he did not in fact end up leaping from his penthouse balcony apartment that night, make no mistake, he was and is exceedingly pissed about the direction this country is going, which is due south on the Pacific Coast Highway right straight to hell. So instead, he went to bed, got up, sat down at his computer and channeled his anger into something productive: a list of suggestions for how we can get America back on track and in four years, wrest it from the hands of the people holding it hostage, like forcing candidates to use bullet points and telling the commies who don’t believe in capitalism to pack their shit because in 20 minutes they’re going to be blindfolded and stuffed into the back of a Ford Econoline van with all the other non-contributing zeroes who don’t understand how much of a privilege it is to live in the greatest country in the world and shipped off to a place where their views will be tolerated, only then finding out what it’s really like to suffer and perhaps finally understand how they’ve destroyed the United States of America with their leftist, hippie, commie/socialist/teat sucking agendas.
First, though, some life updates, because it really has been too long. Read more »