Tailored suits and silk print ties

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tailored suits and silk print ties

You're 20 years old and studying for a business studies (aka bullshit studies) degree on a day like any other on campus, with overcast skies, pouring rain and the odd lecture during the day, except the circus is in town today. It's the start of the milkrounds, the recruiting season for the investment banks, where armies of London based bankers make their way out of town, dressed to impress and guns a'blazin, firing more than 100 pieces of bullshit a minute (bpm is the industry norm, and 120 is the world record).

You're in the banquet room of the Plaza hotel, surrounded by the London suits, sipping on beers and wine, huddled around signs with flash corporate logos, below which you read "ECM","DCM","IB","FICC","GIR"...and you're just thinking "WTF - I just wanna get a job with them and get my suit done at the same tailor coz it looks sooooooo good". Sunndenly, you get cornered by one of the half-drunk sleazy chaps from GIR (equity research) and think to yourself "dude, not only does your breath stink, but you're wearing a off the rack four button suit, your shoes are fit for a stag night in Newcastle and you work for a department that sucks more than the infamous equity sales in Dallas". Unfortunately for you, the GIR dude can't read your mind (or the look of desparation on your face) and gives you a limp handshake and asks "So, why do you want to work for GIR?". You fight the urge to resopond candidly and explain why you do not see yourself as a loser and actually wanna be one of the BSDs (big swinging dicks) in the investment banking division, so you politely ask him if he wants another drink (phew...that's why you will be a cut-throat banker...thinking on your feet...give the baby some milt and it aint gonna cry no more...oh how you will put that sharp brain of yours to use when you become an (drool) investment banker! Your coworkers will stankd up in silence every morning you walk onto your floor, managing directors will queue in front of your office asking for advice on how to defend their client against a fantastic hostile offer they have just received, and you will walk out of pitches with a standing ovation following you out of the boardroom. Ah, the world will truly be your oyster, when you become one of the few (and eventually the undisputed leader of the) masters of the universe.

Wake up! Bugger. Whilst you were daydreaming, Rupert McMuppet, Managing Director in the investment banking division has been telling you about what a great opportunity becoming an investment banker is, and after a ten minute template spiel on why I-banking is the best thing that could ever happen to you, he is about to stuff your hand with his business card and an invite to lunch the next day. You wake up just in time to catch the eggshell white, thick paper business card with the bank's logo elegantly embossed in an understated rectangle in the top corner, and Rupert's name triumphantly embossed with a glossy black ink finish, below which the letters spelling managing director unmistakably allude to his BSD status. "Holy shit!" you think to yourself. Lunch with Rupert! All that bla bla you gave him about wanting to push the limit of what is achieveable, addign value as part of a team, working with the best people in the business, loving the work, being motivated by the prospect of reading about your deals in the FT...all that crap and he bought it!

As you politely thank Rupert, you swiftly make your way to the bar, as you know whilst there is no such thing as a free lunch, there definitely is such a thing as a free bar at the Plaza.

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