Do you know anything about investment banking? If you answered ‘yes,’ hold on to your seat, because today’s top story in Columbia’s The Eye, “Wall Street Indiscreet,” is going to blow you away. Writer Dan Haley interviewed the pseudonymous “Paul Owen,” a senior with plans to work on the Street after graduation and the results are pretty eye-opening. You should obviously check it out for yourself, but here are a few highlights:
Get the name right, chump.
I thought I was playing it cool by calling Owen’s industry “i-banking.” I thought I was showing Owen what an insider I was.
“No one in the investment banking industry calls it ‘i-banking,’” he snapped. “I mean, it’s not a fucking Apple accessory.”
The vast majority of you out there are not smart enough to go into I-banking. Those of you who attended state schools should probably just head down to Duane Reade and fill out an application now.
The majority of students who find employment in investment banks come from Ivy League-caliber schools. In the banking industry, these are referred to as “target” schools. Columbia is one. So is Cornell—but less so. Middlebury is not a target school. Don’t even think about Binghamton.
One way to get around not having the golden ticket to a job in I-banking (an Ivy-league degree) is to be really sweet at Sodoku.
“Investment banking isn’t this advanced math, these advanced quantitative techniques. There’s Excel for that,” he tells me. “Investment banking is really just critical thinking. They way I put it, if you’re good at Sudoku, you’ll be a good investment banker.”
When you get a job in I-banking, it doesn't matter if you were previously the biggest tool at school; the guy who always got picked last for gym, always got stuffed in his locker. You are now a certified badass.
With $145,000 in his pocket—projected earnings, it is not all actually in his pocket at the moment—Owen tells me that senior year has been “an absolute shitshow.”
“The best description of it I can give,” said Owen, “is that the third week of school I took Monday and Tuesday off from class to go to Puerto Rico.”
At first, it’ll be a lot of late hours and hard work, for sure. But once you pay your dues, it’ll be pussy, pussy, pussy.
“At first, as an analyst, you’re doing grunt work,” he said. “But then, as you go on, as you get to the vice president and managing director levels, it’s all about client relations. Expensive dinners, golf trips, schmoozing. I can’t say I would mind that at all.”
When you work in I-banking, you can, like, make people do shit for you.
“I was 21 and my secretary was about 15 years older,” Chan [who interned in Hong Kong last summer] said. “I could ask her to fax stuff for me, or get me coffee, or pens, or even ask her to bring me my bank account statement.”
If you work at a good enough firm, they’ll pay for your prostitutes.
Of course, it wasn’t all work in Hong Kong. On Friday and Saturday nights, with no work the next day, the bankers would cut loose. This meant hitting up one of the three big expatriate bars/clubs in the city. These clubs were usually filled with two groups of people: bankers and “models.” The “models” would get in without paying the cover charge and drink for free while the bankers would have to cough up $1,000 for a table, although sometimes the firm paid for them.
Wall Street Indiscreet [The Eye]