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Wells Fargo Takes A Firm But Understanding Approach To Junior Banker Cheating

What we have here is a teachable moment.
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Goldman Sachs. JP Morgan. Why should their junior bankers have all the fun when it comes to cheating on training exams, a bunch of associates at Wells Fargo must've thought to themselves one day. Luckily for the WFC kiddies, while their counterparts were canned for "breaching rules," the higher-ups at Wells took a lighter approach. From a person in the know:

"Summer 2015 - the new associate class met in Charlotte for orientation training. After one month of summer training, the class was divided into groups and asked to complete a Case study as a Final Project. The Case was based on the On Assignment acquisition of Creative Circle that Wells had recently advised on in May 2015. The class was given the appropriate background information and asked to devise a buy-side advisory strategy for the acquisition. The Case required the completion of a merger model (Wells' internal Integrated Merger Model), as well as the necessary due diligence and background research. Wells asked the class to present the findings as a pitch - as though the class were presenting to On Assignment's senior management prior to the acquisition. The class was instructed not to use internal documentation (actual financing docs, ratings agency presentations, etc.) and to complete an ORIGINAL pitch.

Because Wells advised on the actual deal, the class, and members of the LEV FIN team, in particular, had access to all of the internal documentation. As it turns out, the associate class utilized these documents - some groups went as far as presenting the EXACT financing scenario that Wells actually utilized - for their Final Project. The cheating was widespread and more than half the class used these internal documents against the instructors' specific instructions. The instructors caught on when the pitches appeared nearly identical to one another- the assumptions and strategies the groups looked to employ were identical to the ACTUAL advisory work down by Wells several months before.

The cheating scandal resulted in several inquisitions into student behavior - several students were pulled aside and questioned based upon email chains that blatantly indicated cheating. And the head of the investment bank held a mandatory phone conference with all associates. The phone conference made all parties, even innocent ones, feel like children, as we were reprimanded for our actions. But that was it - just a stern talking to. No action was taken against the cheaters."

Related: Goldman Sachs Junior Banker Cheating Ring Ends…Poorly; JP Morgan Junior Bankers Not Gonna Sit Back And Let Counterparts At Goldman Sachs Have All The Cheating Fun


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