Bank CEOs Didn’t Have BlackBerries Before BlackBerries Were Available, Former Bank CEO Said

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And that’s just one of the amazing, inspiring and self-congratulatory stories with which 81-year-old Sandy Weill—who stepped down as Citi’s CEO the year the first proper BlackBerry smartphone was released—sent out this year’s crop of UC-Davis MBAs into the world.

Sanford “Sandy” Weill has never owned a BlackBerry and doesn’t send emails. But that didn’t stop him from connecting with people who worked for him, the former Citigroup Inc. chairman and chief executive told a class of 212 graduates last Saturday….

Mr. Weill told the graduates that six of the big financial companies in the U.S. are run by people who used to work for him, including James Dimon, the chief executive of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

“You can go work for Goldman Sachs and make a lot of money or you can work for me and look at it as continuing education,” Mr. Weill says he told Mr. Dimon when he was recruiting him from Harvard Business School in 1982. “You’re going to make a little more than a secretary, but you’re going to learn a lot.”

Now that the patting-of-himself-on-the-back portion of the speech is over, let’s talk a little about you guys getting a piece of paper from UC-Whatever: It’s the required commencement platitudes!

– Be a team player. Teams are the ones that really win.
– Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you’re not willing to make a mistake, you’re not going to make the right decisions.
– Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with or hire people who are smarter than you…I’ve had a lot of people working for me that are smarter than I.
– If you don’t understand something, don’t do it. Like Warren Buffett talking about derivatives…he was right, it didn’t make any sense.
– Make long-term commitments to the things you really value. Be consistent.
– Don’t do anything you’d be embarrassed about seeing on the front page of a newspaper three years hence.
– Find a great partner to enjoy life with.
– Whatever you do, be passionate about it. Always keep a sense of humor.

Life Lessons From Former Citi CEO Sandy Weill [WSJ MoneyBeat]

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