Tests

A future subsidiary of the IntercontinentalExchange is getting pretty confident about not having to pony up $40 million-plus for fucking up a certain highly-anticipated market event. Read more »

Earlier today we learned that executive search committees tasked with finding people to run banks now look for candidates who possess”self-awareness” and “humility,” in a departure from pre-crisis hiring practices. Also changing is the CEO interview process, which is much more rigorous and places a significant amount of emphasis on one’s ability to deal with a wide array of pressures, from the need to inspire employees whose morale has taken a hit, telegraph confidence on earnings calls, and survive scrutiny by the press. But saying you can do all those things and more during an interview is quite different than actually doing them in real life, which is why some firms have gone so far as to make candidates engage in some high-intensity role-playing.

Recruiter Korn/Ferry International was tapped by a Wall Street firm to put a prospective executive through a two-day interview session in which the candidate played CEO. The candidate had to give a webcast presentation and get filmed being ambushed by people posing as television journalists, among other tests. “It’s your most challenging year, crunched down into one day,” Mr. Maxwell-Grant says.

For those worried about how they’ll perform during the CEO simulation, breathe easy. We’ve prepared a study guide filled with mock test-prep questions likely to appear on the test, broken down into questions that could be posed by journalists and “scenarios” you might be thrown into. We recommend doing the exercises with a friend or co-worker; to ensure real-life accuracy, they should be completed within 15 minutes. Read more »

  • 14 Aug 2012 at 12:23 PM

Carl Icahn Gives Son Four Years To Prove Himself

Ten years ago, Carl Icahn hired his son Brett to be an analyst at Icahn Enterprises and the kid didn’t fuck anything up so he got to keep his job. Two year ago, Carl gave Brett and another employee, David Schechter, $300 million to invest under the “Sargon portfolio,” and the guys returned 96 percent (before fees) through June. Last month, Carl tossed the duo an additional $3 billion and a contract that expires in 2016, at which time Papa Icahn will either officially deem Brett a worthy successor or offer to serve as a reference when he looks for a new job. Read more »

A couple weeks back, we noted that Bridgewater Associates had informed employees that they would be required to sit for an exam on the contents of Principles, a 123 page company handbook of sorts, written by founder Ray Dalio and comprised of hundreds of “principles” that guide every aspect of life at the firm. Though familiarity with them has always been an essential part of the job, there has never been a formal test determining that all employees met the required level of proficiency and some people were said to be a bit nervous about what to expect. Luckily, a group called the Principles Training Team sent out an email yesterday walking everyone through what “Test Day” will entail and it appears there is nothing to worry about. The exam, which will begin at 9AM and end at 5PM with a break for lunch is simply “meant to feel like a day-long conversation on Principles.” That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Sure, parts of that conversation (which will take place between you and your computer), during which you “should have no materials on your desk,” will be graded, but Bridgewater is just trying to determine “what you know and honestly think about Principles.” Think of this thing as just a coupla wildebeests, havin’ a chat. Of course, as is the case in any animal kingdom, sometimes you’ll find a few wildebeests looking to cut corners via cheat sheets– you don’t want to be those wildebeests, as the PTT will “audit for cheating, and cheating will be dealt with severely.” To that end, don’t be a weaselly wildebeest who suddenly comes with a stomach bug on Test Day. The PTT will “keep track of lateness or unexpected absence,” and cautions that one might want to “think twice about calling in ‘sick’!” Read more »

As many of you know, Bridgewater Associates is mega-successful, multi-billion dollar hedge fund guided by Principles, a company handbook written by founder and Mentor Ray Dalio, which instructs employees to go on radical truth seeking missions in order to better themselves and in turn the firm. Bridgewater takes the principles very seriously and each member of the staff is given spiral bound copies to read, highlight, and imbue their souls with. While the idea of Truth above all else is the overarching idea, there are literally hundreds of principles (such as 31a. “Ask yourself whether you have earned the right to have an opinion,” 130. “…Firing people is not a big deal…” and 184. “Use checklists”), which span 123 pages and are broken down into outline form after being explained at length. Though familiarity with them has always been an essential part of the job, there has never been a formal test determining that all employees met the required level of efficiency. Until now. Read more »

  • 16 Aug 2011 at 10:17 AM

Let’s Talk About: CFA Level III Results

Fifty-one percent of Level 3 takers have reason to feel really good right about now: the opportunity to attend CFA Camp is so close you can taste it. For the rest of you, whose state of mind is not helped by the fact that more people passed this year than last and yet the Chartered Financial Analyst gods chose not to bring you along for the ride, the promise land is still nothing but a dream.  And, as long as we’re all being honest here, the last several months (/years) have been a nightmare from which you feel like you might never wake up. Read more »

  • 03 Jun 2011 at 1:03 PM
  • MBAs

Good Luck To All

It’s CFA time tomorrow and we know everyone taking it is going to do great! And if you don’t, it’s not like this shit matters– just ask any of your MBA friends. Alternatively, think about it this way– becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst will spell the end of your budding pornography career. If you’re truly beside yourself with worry, just breathe and remember that as someone very wise once said, it’s about the journey, not the designation. Plus, we’ll be throwing a special pity party for the failures, so there’s that to look forward to. And because I know some of you are sensitive:

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