On Monday night, Citi CEO Mike Corbat appeared on a panel at NYU’s Stern School of Business alongside hedge fund manager John Paulson and private equity chief Joseph Landy. The conversation was free flowing and touched on a number of subjects du jour, like too-big-to-fail, post-crisis regulation, and the future of the global economy, but, as he was speaking before students, Corbat was also there to make the case for people to come work at Citi. Knowing full well that the banking industry in general and Citi specifically probably holds little if any allure for the junior banking set these days, he put on a happy face nonetheless and really committed to the part, telling those assembled:
1. Despite regulatory constraints, it’s still a super fun time to be a banker.
2. Banks are going “digital” so you could think of yourself like a pioneer, on the Oregon Trail.
3. Bottom line: We’re all adults here. Everyone knows you all want to go to a PE firm or hedge fund but not everybody’s gonna because there literally aren’t enough chairs to go around at these places. Their offices aren’t that big, relatively speaking, and there straight up are not enough places for people to sit. I’m not stupid, I get it. Who wouldn’t want to go work for Paulson and Co. over a bank, especially when that bank is Citi. But again, it just comes down to math. So when you get the “We’ll be in touch line” from them, you come give me a call. Read more »
To the outside world, these changes seemed reasonable and maybe even long overdue. But inside, there was a fear that it was possible this was all happening too fast. After years of being told to not make plans, ever, that the only personal relationships they could have would be with their desk and chair, and that they were to be reachable at all times via Blackberry, whether Pop-Pop was on his deathbed or not, how would the junior bankers take to all this freedom? Would they know how to exist in a world in which they only had to work 80 hours a week? Would they even like it? Or like prisoners who’ve adjusted to life under their captors’ regimes, or house cats that suddenly find themselves out in the jungle, would they be unable to adjust to and navigate an existence post-release, wishing to go back to comforting if confining lives they once knew?
Hundreds of undergraduates are starting internships at banks this summer, typically eight to 10 weeks with a salary equivalent to £45,000 a year. Soon follow the graduates, starting their careers as banking analysts, earning about £45,000 plus bonus. The median salary reported by university-leavers last year was £20,500… At the banks, there is a concern they might not meet the younger generation’s expectations. Bruce Tulgan, author of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, characterises this cohort as worldly, precocious and needy. Used to instant feedback and hands-on parenting, they are less likely to toil away quietly, paying their dues. Not yet teenagers on 9/11, they entered university in a recession that made many suspicious of institutions. One graduate had this to say to Mr Tulgan about financiers: “I know they think they are masters of the universe, but the Soviet Union disappeared overnight. So could they.” [FT]
Like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Bank of Montreal, and Citigroup before it, Barclays has decided that all work and no play make for grumpy junior mistmakers. Unlike the “protected weekend” adopted by JPMorgan and Citi, and the 36-hour weekend favored by Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, the Brits are taking a three-pronged approach to unshackling its little workers bees from their desks by: making sure they take their vacations, not letting anyone work more than 12 days straight without a break to catch their breath, and forbidding the assigning of projects after 12 on a Friday, unless it’s really important in which case, settle in. Read more »