Read "Monkey Business Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle" by John Rolfe available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first purchase. DOWNLOAD PDF .. MONKEY BUSINESS that love), a view of the world conforming with that of the . MONKEY BUSINESS rival of the MBA-to-be on campus. Download Ebook Monkey Business Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle They're investment bankers: They're rich. They're glamorous. They're movers.
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Not in United States? Choose your country's store to see books available for purchase. They Hit "The Street. Monkey Business pulls off Wall Street's suspenders and gives the reader the inside skinny on real life at an investment bank, where the promised land is always one more twenty-hour workday and another lap dance away. They had signed on as foot soldiers in a white-collar army of overworked and frustrated lemmings furiously trying to spin straw into gold. They escaped with the remnants of their sanity-and, ultimately, this book. Uncensored, unsanitized, and uncut, it captures the chaotic essence of the Wall Street carnival and the outlandish personalities that make it all hum
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The Unwinding. George Packer. We traveled the cou ntry by private jet, the i nvestors weren't u n s u s pecting i nd ividual investors, stayed in the best hotels, and ate in the best restau rants.
Rowe Eventual ly, though, we real ized that the compensation Prices of the world. They stan d i ng what an investment banker does may have been were in p l ace beca u se the job sucked. The i m p l ication? The banker's greatest enem ies are those O u r intent here is not to j udge.
Lots of our friends are sti l l bankers. The Seeds of a Drealll throng of wandering Bedou i ns. As some malcontent once. What we d i d and how we got out. How we lost o u r balance. Everyth i ng, man. Today, though, it is only a v ague reminder of what it once was. Vagrants use the back of the building to provide some relief from the summer sun , and o ccasio nal relief from a bottle of Boone's Farm.
From lower Manhattan to midtown, the well-oiled device hums around the clock and around the calendar. Its serpentine tentacles are rooted in nearly every well-regarded under gradu ate institution in the count ry and all of the top business schools. The effort to fill the pipeline with these bodies, therefore, is never ending. The Analysts At the lowest level of the investment banking hierarchy , are the analysts. The analysts are at the bottom of the shit heap. They are the algae under the rim of the public toilets at the Port Authority bus station, the scum below the scum at the bottom of a beer keg.
They'll spend two to three years being mentally, emotionally, and physically abused, and for that benefit they'll be well trained and extremely well compensated. No matter how bad things get, they'll never have anybody loweron the corporate totem pole to whom they can off-load their misery. Following their. There's very little upward mobility from the analyst programs into the higher echelons of the investment bank.
To the uninitiated this may seem, at best, shortsighted and, at worst, akin to infanticide. The answer is simple. The analysts have been tortured and abused for three years. They've reached the point of being dangerous. They learned a lot and enjoyed being paid more money than they ever thought they could make, but they also despised the work and the people that made them do it. However, amazingly, it seems that about 50 percent of those analysts who hated what they did go back into investment banking after two years in a graduate business school program.
Somehow, absence makes the heart grow fonder. As with a bad injury, they tend to forget how terrible the pain was. They know it was horrible, but they just can't remember exactly how much it hurt.
So these analysts go back into banking thinking that life as an associate will be different. Troob was one of these injured veterans who decided to return for a second tour of duty. The associates are recruited under the expectation that they know what it is they're signing on to do, and that once on board, they'll dutifully climb the corporate ladder to the top of the golden pyramid.
The path is clear. In reality, the attrition level for associates is fairly high. They leave for competing investment banks. They leave to work for clients of the investment bank. Whatever the reason, between the moles brought on board to climb the ladder, and those helicoptered in to replace the departing lemmings, the flood of fresh-faced associates is constant.
The Associates At the next rung up the investment banking ladder are the associates, that's what we were. Therein lies the beauty of the heirarchy. They want to make vice president in three to four years, senior vice president in five to seven years, and managing director in seven to nine years.
They all hope to be making seven figures by the time they hit managing director. The Breeding Ground-. Business Schools The most fertile grounds for the associate recruits are the nation's graduate business schools. Due to the sheer number of recruits now requisitioned by Wall Street, the preferred hunting grounds have broadened from their o riginal select subset of o nly the most arrogant Ivy League institutions of the East i.
As distasteful as this decrease in the overall level of enlistees' arrog;: The business school students, for their part, are in no way gullible victims of the evil capitalist pigs. Most have returned to business school with a sole objective: In all fairness, it should probably be acknowledged that a small minority of the graduate business school students ' do in fact return to school with the accumulation of knowledge as a primary objective. Following the receipt of the school's acceptance letter, which goes to great lengths to assure all budding MBA candidates of their status as members of an academic aristocracy, a large packet follows in the mail.
At Wharton and Harvard, the packet was similar. It was filled with policy manuals, health care application forms, and sundry other administrative delights. There was only one overriding statistic that really mattered to the budding MBA, though: The first time I saw these figures, my ticker skipped a beat.
We were entering the land of the obscene here. If the starting figures were up on into six-figure range, where would the madness end? A somewhat closer look at the heavily laminated pages should have yielded ano ther clue as to the goals and mind-sets of our future business school classmates.
A coincidence? I think not. Troob and I were about to jump into a velvet-walled cage with some of the JJ!.. We were about to start a frenzied two-year race with America's.
I most prized business school graduates, blindly thrashing our way toward the almighty dollar. Whatever delusions I may have had prior to this cozy little gathering were quickly dispelled.
When the progression of second-year students took the podium and began describing, in lurid detail, exactly what awaited everyone on the job-search front, the essence was laid bare. We were there for a two-year mating dance with the recruiters. What the Wharton name would get us was a shot at the best of those recruiters.
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Given that opportunity, though, it would be up to us to distinguish ourselves from the sea of equally qualified candidates in the seats all around us. Fuck camaraderie.
Something between a sizable minority and a majority of my new classmates that day already knew exactly what game was being played. There were bastards there who knew what awaited them, and had voluntarily come back to subject themselves to the process, all for the sake of professional advancement and the accoutrements that accompanied it.
The phenomenon, mind you, was in no way peculiar to Wharton. In fact, miles to the north, at that most venerable of all institutions-the Harvard Business. School-a like scene was being played out. Peter Troob. Yeah, I was goi ng through the same mating dance at H arvard Busi ness Schoo l. I'd worked i n investment banking before going back to b u s i ness schoo l. I knew the pai n, I knew the long n ights a n d the late d i n ners eaten i n the office six n ights a week.
The thing was that I had sworn off i nvestment ban king. The sixteen-hour days, the people who had institutional authority to kick my ass, the extra ten pounds I had put on si nce col lege, and my nonexistent social l ife. It paid me wel l for a twenty-two-year-old snot-nosed brat from D u ke, hel ped me get i nto Harvard, and taught "Where else am I going to make that kind of money? Anyway, it's a steppi ng-stone to a better job. It' l l open up opportu n ities for me in the futu re.
It' l l help me get to th e buy-side. No way. I prom ised myself that I wou l d fi n d a more reward ing ca- "Jesus, man, I don't know. I 've got to get out of th is. We were sucked in even before the - reer, one that m ade me feel good about myself.
One that c leansed my sou l i n stead of soi l i ng it. That's a good q uestion. I remem ber s itti n g with one of my good friends, Danny, i n the steam room at the beg i n n i ng of the school year d iscussing that very q uestion. Danny asked the question fi rst. Are you kidd i ng me? Kidder sucked and my l ife was hel l. Fuck banking. I'm gon na do someth i ng else. Making a l l those two-by-two charts and matrices and bei ng shi pped to some buttfuck place l i ke B i lox i , M ississ i pp i , to h e l p consu lt some manufactu ring company for two months?
No thanks. Not consu lti ng. You're good but either ' I you r dad has got to be loaded o r you've got to get the manag i ng partner l a i d if you want that job. Troob, are you fuc k i ng i nsane? We had fal len i nto the trap of money, prestige, and security. We were about to start the sel l i ng of o u r sou l s. We entered the Harva rd Busi ness School fray and away we went.
Presentations and Cocktail Parties. Rolling updates of scheduled recruiter visits were distributed to all the students on a weekly basis, and a prominent announcement heralded each day's corporate arrivals: The last classes of the day ended at 4: For Troob at Harvard, or for me at Wharton, it was all the same.
It was a swank fIrm full of young, aggressive bankers, many of whom were ex-Drexel Burnham Lambert employees. These were the guys who'd defIned Wall Street in the eighties, and they had a flair for the adventurous. They were deal makers, and junk bonds or, in the s' cleaned-up lingo, "high-yield bonds" were their forte. DLJ was the home of the high-yield bond, and high-yield bond sales were on a rapid rise.
By God, this man sounded like a genius! I'll polish shoes! I'll scrub toilets! I'll bugger a billy goat! Good God, Lou, where on earth did you get that tie? It looks like the tablecloth at the Mexican restaurant I dined at two evenings ago. An unprecedented level of mirth! They're such good friends that they're making fun of each other right here in front of everybody! Within a two-year period we P.
But that was later. This was the present. A question-and-answer session usually followed. MBA-speak filled the air.
Teamwork, mission statement, top-down approach, information age, global view, downsizing, it went on and on. Fortunately, these sickening ass kissers represented only a minority of the entire business school population, but the antipathy that they engendered among their classmates was far-reaching. Most of the other students made no attempt to disguise their loathing for this human detritus. At these receptions, the complimentary food and booze flowed as freely as the bullshit.
It was a golden opportunity to get a full stomach, a swelled head, and a skewed sense of reality all in one place. The orgy of backslapping would have made Hulk Hogan proud. W ill the emerging markets provide an important strategic opportunity for you? However, what really mattered was experience. We were going to live the high life. We just knew it. Step number one was the interview process. Troob's experience interviewing was extremely different than mine because he knew the ropes, but interviewing was stressful for the both of us.
Let's just say that Troob was stressed about different things than I. It was amazi ng. For a p r i me rec ru it, that meant that you were g u n n i ng for five, six, even seven different jobs i n a si ngle weekend. Here's how the weekend usual ly played out. Friday was i n itial screening day. You either sq u i rmed by and got to round two, which was on Satu rday, or else you got dinged.
The interviews on Saturday were usual ly two-on-one i nterviews. These sucked. If you passed th is stage you got to i nterview on the big day-Su nday. On S u nday, you cou l d potentia l l y have th ree i nterviews with the same fi rm. I knew getting at. However, th i s was now the big ti me. Yes, these reu sable Satu rday interviewees knew that they were the second choice, but because they needed a coveted i n vestme n t ban k i ng s u m m e r job they took what they c o u l d get.
It wasn 't the means that was important, it was the end that cou n ted. I gave the same shameless pitch to each and every bank. The pitch went someth ing l i ke th is: I ' m eager, able, and ready to work for you. I know the reputations of the fi rms because I worked on Wal l Street before and I know that you r fi rm i s a good fit for me. I l i ked what I did as an analyst and I real ly want to go back i nto i nvestment ban king as an associate for a premier fi rm , l i ke you rs.
H owever, th is was the e p itome of one bu l l s h itter b u l l sh i tti ng another b u l lsh itter, a n d usua l ly it worked. I was able to get through the fi rst roLind of i nterviews u nscathed. I moved on to the second round w ith a l l of the investment ban ks. N ow the fu n began and the pressu re mou nted.
The b u l lshit wou l dn't work as wel l i n the second rou nd. I n th is rou nd I needed to look and act sincere, and tel l them what they wanted to hear.
I was n e rvous. T h e second a n d th i rd rou n ds of i nterviews were held off camp u s i n hotel rooms. To their right was a king-size bed. I n front of them was a chair for the i nterviewee to sit i n. There was a seal ed wi ndow beh ind them that overlooked a cou rtyard, and a bathroom beh ind them off to the right. It was a pretty standard hotel roo m.
The ai r-condition i ng. One of the i nterviewers stood u p and said, " H i , I'm M i ke and I ' m a manag i ng di rector i n the Uti l ities G roup.
Peter, please sit down. No probl e m. Any wel l-trained baboon cou l d answer it. I shou l d have leaned over and given M i ke a big kiss. I s i t the money or the chal lenge? Th is was one of those questions where no matter what I said I'd be wrong. If I said the money, then I'd look l i ke a greedy l ittle bastard. If I said the cha l lenge, then they'd know that I was fu l l of crap.
They had to know that there was no way anybody cou l d have ever enjoyed being a n analyst. The clock was ticking. I s a i d, "May I use you r bathroom, p l ease? The two i nterviewers sat My stomach was grow l i ng. I was so nervous. This was my fi rst second-ro u n d i nte rview. I walked past M i ke and Joanne i nto the bath room.
The q uestion sti l l h ung in the a i r. The pai n in my s ide was excruciati ng. As q u ick as Flash Gordon, I h ad my pants around my an kles. H owever, the breaking wi nds were a l ittle l oud. I knew that it wou l d sti n k u p the whol e room with i n m i nutes a n d that there was no w i ndow to open. I t was not easy keepi n g a straight face when I came out of that bathroom. I wal ked past M i ke and Joanne agai n and sat down i n the i nterviewee c h a i r.
I l amely answered their q u estion and said, " Both the chal l enge and the money. We a l l p retended not to notice the rotten egg smel l surrou nding u s. I knew that I had no chance to get asked to the n ext rou n d. The worst part of th i s i nterview was that I knew that they knew that I d i d it. It wasn't l i ke when three strangers are in an elevator and o n e farts and no one except the c u l prit knows who farted.
Th i s was clear. That made me fee l good. I cou l dn't see both of them at the same time so I h ad to keep tu rn ing my head back and forth l i ke I was at a ten nis match. Th i s was a real pain i n the ass, and I knew that they had set the room up that way on pu rpose. I fi rst thought, damn, another one of these catch questions. If I say "excel lent," then I'm a pompous jerk. If I say "good," then they' l l ask me what my shortcom i ngs are. I sheepishly said, " Exce l l ent?
They were looking for the "I was good, a team player, and always looki ng to improve myself" answer. Actua l l y, I knew that they were looking for the "good and team p l ayer" answer. I felt l i ke a sch muck for screwing u p the question when I knew what they wanted to hear. It was that q u ick. One screw u p and I was out. Goldman wanted "good and i mproving;' and I gave them "excel lent.
I was di nged. Maybe I shou l d h ave. The i nterviews went wel l. The G o l dman interviewers sat me ing i nterview w ith them came on Su nday, when I m et at a l on g table. That was because he was tal l , good looking, and a smooth tal ker. B l ake l ooked l i ke a GQ model, and he was always the guy out on the front l i nes pitc h i n g the busi ness.
He was damned good at it. G reg Wei n stei n was a j ack-of-al l-trades at DLJ. Many people i n the fi rm wanted to whack G reg u pside the head. I wou l d soon l earn that h i s n i c kname was the Widow, as in the black widow spider, becau se a b l ack w idow spider ki l l s her lover i mmed iate l y after fucking it.
We cal led h i m Sweetcheeks. A l l the j u n ior bankers loved Sweetcheeks because he was real ly, tru l y n ice. That made h i m a prized commod ity. H owever, Syveetcheeks had to compete with guys w h ose c h ee ks were n 't as sweet as h i s, and th i s sometimes posed an i nteresti ng d i lemma for h i m.
I sat d own a n d B lake said, " H ow about those Knicks? We tal ked about Ewing and whether it wou ld be h i s last c h ance at a championsh ip. So, do you th i n k that you were a good a n a l yst or an excel lent analyst? B ut th i s ti me G reg Wei n stei n was aski ng the question. I cou l d a l ready tel l that he was a pompous ass. I was ready.
The answer was o bvious. For the Widow that was the I. I 'knew that I had a good c hance of getti ng. You're the man. You ' re a great guy and we want to tal k to you. Before we d i scuss what we have to ask you, though, do you have any other offers from any other i nvestment banks? If I had no other offers, then I was a dud and they, too, sho u ld th ink of me as a loser and not worthy of work i ng for them.
It was a wei rd, i nsec u re game the investment banks played. I actua l l y only had one other offer and one pend ing, but I wanted them to th i n k that I was a desirable candidate. They took the bait and the heavy amm u n ition came out.
The mati n g dance was stepped up a notch. You ' l l get paid the best here and you ' l l be treated wel l. Come on, j u m p aboard. You're oui' favorite guy. You rem i nd me of Les Newton [a very young and very successfu l banker]. Yes, you could move ahead quickly.
We' re also th inking of paying more th is summer.
Maybe a stipend or a bonus at the end of the year. That was good, especial l y because I was paying for busi ness school and I needed the cas h. The top brass were young, and I figu red that rapid acceleration through the ranks at D LJ was ach i evable. I thought that I wou l d fit right i n. I t a l l happened s o fast.
It sou n ds sort of a nticl i m actic, but it's the truth. I tru ly had no idea what I worse when it became clear to the interviewers that I had no idea what an investment banker actually did. I was promptly dismissed from their hiring roster. I'd always assumed that I could figure out that piece of the puzzle later on, but they saw it differently.
I could tell them that I had the tools but not the instructions. It worked. At least for a while. The second was Rod Ferramo, an associate. Now at the time, there was no way I could have known who was facing me, but later it would all become clear. Yves was fifty-five. Yves was thinning out up top but had grown out the hair on the sides and back of his head just long enough to put it into a ponytail.
Yves was a flashy dresser. The day I met him, he was wearing an Armani suit and a bright red Sulka tie. He looked like Steven Seagal meets Wall Street and I couldn't tell if he wouldn 't just as soon kick my ass as interview me. With t h i s one- m i nute con versation, I had sealed my fate for a s ummer job as wel l as for permanent employment after b u s i ness schoo l. I h ad made a career choice. I thought that I was on my way to heaven.
Troob knew the game, that was his advantage. I didn't, which meant that the path I took in order to catch the brass ring was a little bit more circuitous. While the usual suspec ts like Troob were getting slotted for interviews with every imaginable bank, the career-changers like me were fightin g for the remaining scraps. As for me, the distribution of over forty resumes and cover letters h ad landed me exactly three interviews: By the time I rolled into my interview with DLJ, the crumb ling of the dream was one step closer to being complete.
I'd already punted on my first two interviews. The First Boston interview had taken a turn for the 35 To most, they may be known as strip joints or titty bars, but to Yves they were always the "dance clubs. I was later told that Yves's infatuation with dance clubs went so far as to entail his having a custom-designe d computer database containing the names, addresses, and qualitative attributes of dance clubs worldwide, all indexed by city.
As I walked into the interview room, Yves and Rod were sitting back with their feet up on the interview table, plowing their way through a large plate of fruit. Nice to meet you. I hope you don' t mind if we eat while you're talking. I mean I like to work hard. I want to work a lot of hours. I don't know much about it right noW but I think I'd be good at it. I've done a lot of other shit, just never anything like this. I'll be honest with you guys, I'm not gonna waste anybody 's time here by trying to weave a tapestry of bullshit, I'm just going to tell it like it.
I was sitting at home that night when the phone rang. Good news. We're going to be holding them over at the Four Seasons tomorrow morning. We've got you slotted in for a nine A. Good luck. I'd actually cleared the first hurdle. The second-round interviews wouldn't be so easy. For the second round I interviewed with a senior vice president named Jack Gatorski, who I'd soon learn was nicknamed Gator.
His sidekick was a vice president, Mack Reeling. Gator sat down and threw the first punch. This time, though, it fell on deaf ears.
There were no chuckles, no smiles, no conspiratorial nods of understanding. I'd hit my iceberg and was too far from shore for anybody to hear my calls for help.
The phone rang. It's Mack Reeling from DL]. I'm sorry, but we're not going to be able to make you an offer for the summer associate class. All was blackness and death. I'd be the only first-year Wharton MBA student who hadn't been able to land a summer job. Years later the legend would have perpetuated itself, they'd remember me as the Loser of the Class.
I began to resign myself to my destiny. Little did I know, however, that much more powerful' forces were at work. The forces of sex and desire. That libido was busy working overtime in my favor. Flash back twelve hours. Now as it turned out, a close friend and classmate of mine, Veronica, also happened to be spending her Friday evening at the Dock Street Brewery with a couple of our other Wharton compadres.
One flick of her hair later, Veronica's blond locks had found their way into Yves's tumbler of overpriced scotch, thereby providing an ideal opening for conversation. And it wasn't long after that before Veronica did a further bit of digging to discover that Yves had actually been the one to lead the first-round interview with me.
Her devices: It wasn't long before Yves was feeding Veronica drinks, buying her dinner, and pumping quarters into the side of the pool table to keep her occupied. Once she had him fully enraptured, Veronica launched her subtle plan of attack. Veronica blithely turned the conversation toward the events of the day, namely Yves's recruiting activities. Moreover, she assured him, I already had numerous job offers on the table, and if DLj wasn't prepared to act.
That was the clincher. There was no way that DLj could pass up on a potential candidate who was wildly attractive to a bunch of other banks.
If the other guys liked me that much I must be good. Really good. Veronica's carefully crafted dialogue, coupled withjust , the right number of touches, caresses, and beguiling glances, was more powerful than the most potent magic spell.
All that mattered was that. Do you have a minute? It seems that when word got higher up in the organization that you hadn 't been made a summer offer somebody went to bat for you. That extra spot's for you if you want it. When do you guys need to know whether I want to accept the offer or not? The fox was in the henhouse. We were the best of the best, the e l i te of Sununer Boot Camp For the right amount of money, you 're willing to eat Alpo.
It was the fi rst time I h ad ever met Rolfe. I remember that Rolfe was sweating a lot. There were n i ne of us a l l told; eight men and one woman-th ree from Harvard, three from Col u mbia, Wal l Street's financial mavens.
And we weren't go i ng to be pussyfooting around that s u m mer, oh no. We were goi ng to be treated l i ke rea l , full-time associ ates. We were goi ng to have to h it the ground ru nn i ng because we were goi ng to do deals. By the end of the su mmer we wou l d know, they assu red us, what it was l i ke to be a fu l l-time assoc i ate at D LJ.
It wou ld be someth i ng aki n to the parish priest in S ioux City, Iowa, being chosen to become the Pope and turn i ng it down. It j ust d idn't happen.
There was noth i ng that any of us wanted more than a phone cal l i n the fal l offeri ng us a fu l l-time position at D LJ fol lowi ng graduation. The al l-n ight work and three from Wharto n. Ou r o r i entatio n w a s b r i ef, l asti ng o n l y about two sessions, the su bsu m i n g of any semblance of pride, the absol ute devotion to the job-a l l wou ld arise as a res u lt hours. A cont i n gency of fu l l-time associates, as wel l as a of that si ngle-m i nded desi re.
We a l l knew how the su mmer job was supposed to be handfu l of more sen ior bankers, came through to greet us. They m ad e s u re that we u nderstood j u st what it meant played. It was a game of surviva l. We' d l oathe o u rse l ves for be i ng s n i ve l i n g l ittl e ass-kiss i n g s u m mer bankers, but i f w e wanted to get the fu l l -time offer, then we had to play the game.
So, our su mmer was fu l l of carrying pitch books, run n i ng m odel s, faking s m i l es, l ate n ights, and self-degrad i ng ass k i ss i ng. We were the butt boys and i ndentured servants for a generation of sen ior bankers. We'd be fucked. The p roblem was that our des i re was no secret, and every banker i n the j o i nt was p repared to ful ly exploit it. The best of them wou l d dangle that golden carrot out in front as they cracked the wh i p beh i nd, exhorting us to push j u st a l ittle harder.
As members of a s u mmer assoc iate class, we were s u p posed to be there to s u p port each other. We were a l l i n i t together, after al l. B ut at the end of every day, none of us " knew exactl y how many fu l l -ti me offers woul d be made that com i ng fal l.
If o n l y six fu l l -time positions were associate class, then why the hel l wou ld we want to help each other out in a bind? Some other assoc iate's offer cou ld wel l be the one that we didn 't get. So as we sat around the table at orientation that morn ing, eyeing each other warily, j u st the s l ightest h i nt of distrust hung i n the air. Al l the critical i nformation was conveyed to us d u r i ng that two-hou r orientation: By the end of the orientation the secrets regard ing how to l ive the good l ife at the fi rm's expense had been laid bare.
The Bullp en Fol lowing ou r breakfast meeting we were l ed to our new offices. The sum mer assoc iate offices were in an internal area of the bank known only as the B u l l pen. N atu ra l l y, the g reener the b a n ker the h a rder he worked, which meant that the B u l l pen h u m med around the clock days a year. L i ke the hold of a s lave s h i p, it was i n the m i ddl e of the bui lding tucked away i n a n area where visitors to the D LJ offices wou ld never see it.
It housed eleven offices, five s i ngles and s ix doubles, which surro u n ded a s izabl e common area. The carpeting was dingy, the wal l s fi lthy. W hoever it was shou l d have known better. Each associate, i n h i s o r her w i ndowless office, had a standard-issue steel desk, fi l i ng cabi net, and adj ustable chai r.
The desks and fi l i n g cabi n ets looked l i ke they'd been carted off a NATO base. The chai rs were s l ightly more u p-to-date, a necessity given that we'd be spending the m ajority of both o u r waking and sleep ing hou rs i n them over the com ing months.
A l l this fu rn iture sat on a worn carpet. The wa l ls were scuffed with n u merous heel marks, and the fl uorescent l ights h u mmed constantly l i ke a set of h igh-voltage electric w i res. B y the time we moved once again j ust as it always had-a tangled mass of pitch books, financial fi l i ngs, and research reports. No personal effects. No pictu res of loved ones. D LJ was our fam i ly now, and there cou ld be no competing loyalties.
The B u l l pen stood in stark contrast to the majority of the D LJ office space. N ot the B u l l pen, though. The Bu l l pen was a l l about busi ness, which was befitti ng for a p l ace where m ost of the rea l work got done.
Wh i l e the B u l l pen's general atmosphere was in large part set by the wretched physical conditions there i n , of equal i m portance i n determin ing the ambience was the general stress l evel of its you ng bankers.
At any given moment, staccato expletives cou l d be heard eru pti ng from m u ltiple B u l l pen offices: On o u r fi rst day as s u m me r assoc iates, though, we didn't know any of this. As o n e of o u r c lassmates, Enrico de la Hernandez Franca-a Peruvian by bi rth-would l ater put it: It's impe rative least one member of the su mmer associate class wou l d be encou raged to put the wood to a t least o n e of t h e BAs over the course of the summer.
We congregated aro u n d the center of the B u l l pen, maki ng smal l tal k and wondering when we were going to start doi ng dea l s. Never m i nd that most of u s had no idea what doing a deal enta i l ed. We knew that we were there to do deals, that we weren't doi ng them presently, and that I h ave a taste.
For the du ration of the summer, their offices wou ld be i n the B u l l pen with o u rs. That day, they gave us some sage advice: They answered phones, did g raph ics work, prepared docu ments, made travel arrangements, and did database work.
Thei r tasks were to ensure that we al l had good s ummer experiences and to shepherd us through the pol itical maze that was DLJ. Don't ever wish for more, because that nightmare w i l l i nevitably come true.
If it's seven P. Go the fuck home. H eather, H i l lary, wise words. A second-year assoc iate wou l d l ater ing, and convi nce ou rselves that we, too, needed to be there doing someth i ng.
After several for. That bothered h i m. He began to worry that he was an u ntouchable. There were a couple of moments of s i l ence. Perentazz i, y o u o u t there? G et i n here so that I can get you up to speed. I need you to be on a p l ane to Cleveland with in the n ext two h o u rs.
H ig h yield? It all sounded so exciting. We cou ld see it, S l i c k had been staffed on a deal w ith in the fi rst cou p le of hou rs; it cou l d n 't be m uc h longer before the rest of us got staffed. Hel l , by the e n d of the first week we'd al l be doing deals j u st l i ke old-ti mers.
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We cou ld hardly wait. Eagerness and Fear Rol fe and I knew that desi re alone, u nfortunately, didn't get anybody staffed on deals. So we had to wait. I didn't understand how random the whole staffing process was.
With each passing day, as my summer classmates gradually got staffed on deals and I didn't, my paranoia increased. I saw the summer passing before my eyes with nothing to show for it.
When I finally got staffed, though, my demeanor would quickly change from concern that I'd never get a chance to prove myself to realization that I was incapable of proving anything.
If ignorance was bliss, my beatific aura should have rivaled that of a magic bus full of Moonies. The call, when it came, was from Wex. One of the financial sponsors we do work for is contemplating a buyout of a medical supply company. They may want us to provide some high-yield financing for the transaction. We ' re gonna need a model, comps, the whole nine yards. Why don't you corrie grab it and take a look at it. A junk bond financing for a hostile takeover, I couldn' t have asked for anything better for my first deal.
I knew nothing about the medical supply industry and had so much to learn. Wex had merely supplied me with five hundred pages of documents so that nobody would accuse him of not having given me all the relevant material. He was covering his ass and it was up to me to determine what really mattered and what didn't.
I'd made my way through about a hundred pages of the stack when Wex called back two hours later. We need a leveraged buyout model by late this afternoon. We've got a meeting with Greg Weinstein at six o'clock. They don't call him the Widow for nothing, man. You better get it together. This guy eats summer associates for breakfast. Who was this guy they were calling the Widow?
I'd built financial spreadsheets before in business school, but I'd spent days, not hours, on them. I thought briefly about buying a van, dropping a tab of acid, and heading out for Santa Cruz.
You've got to re. I'll get Troob. He's an ex-analyst. He'll know how to build a model. I didn ' t have to build the model. I'd been able to forestall inevitable failure. I sat back in my chair and breathed a sigh of relief. Problem was, it slowly dawned on me, I didn't know what a transaction multiple was.
There wasn't going to be any easy way out of this one, I' d have to suck i t up and confess my ignorance. I called Wex back. There's a little bit of a problem here. I'm not sure that I know what a transaction multiple is. Can you give me some help?
Call Troob and ask him to explain it to you, all right? Don' t forget, we have to meet on this at six tonight so you'd better get it together and figure this out. There was silence on the other end of the phone. This was a new one for him. He was also trying to secure a full-time offer, so why should he save my ass? He came to my office and shook his head.
Perhaps, in his mind, I was testing him, or more likely he worried that in some perverse way I could turn my idiocy against him like a weapon. Ignorance, after all, could be the most dangerous weapon of all. Troob knew the investment banking lingo.
He tutored me like a third grader with flash cards, imparting his knowledge. This is how you do it," he instructed. You just keep your mouth shut. Everything'll be OK. This deal's never gonna get off the ground, anyway.
You can take a quick look-at the numbers and see that. I threw in a few random Comments, ones that I hoped wouldn't further betray my lack of investment banking knowledge. Troob had been right. There was a consolation, though. I'd found a new friend in Troob. He' d saved me from the Widow's fatal clutches, and for that l owed him my life. H e owed m e one after that. H e was green, real l y green, but he was smart and he didn't have an attitude.
I figu red that if I taught h i m a few th ings, he'd be a guy I cou l d rely on. I knew I 'd need that. The Social Scene: The i r plan was a m icrocosm of what they wou ld try to do to u s once we' d signed on fu l l-ti me. At that poi nt, they'd pep per us with a parade of h igh-profi le events-black-tie dances, expen- The s u m mer assoc i ate experience at D LJ centered a ro u n d a c a l endar of soc i a l events: From our fi rst day a s s u m me r- D LJers, we were made to u n derstand that when it came to getting a fu l l-time offer, our attendance at the s u mmer soci a l fu nctions was equal in i mportance to o u r o n -the-job performance.
Of cou rse, t h i s advice had predi ctably fal le n by the wayside by ou r th i rd week o n the job, at w h i c h poi nt the majority of the summer being seated, the l iquor started to flow freely. The l iq uor barrage was a result of the efforts of one Rod Ferramo, the associate who had origi n a l ly i nterviewed Rolfe down at Wharton. Ferramo was an old-school vulgarian, born and bred in G reenwich, Con necticut.
Rumor had it that on a busi ness tri p to Mexi co for DLJ, he'd once spent th ree thousand dol l ars for two local whores to serv ice h i m in his hotel room. G iven that a U pon o u r arrival a t the restau rant, a n d prior to our moderately priced south-of-the-border whore was going for l ess than fifty bucks at the ti me, Ferramo's weakness for upper-end pleasu res was evi dent.
Wexler and B rown , the two fu l l-ti me associates ru n n i ng the summer program, h ad deci ded to break us i n easy on That n i ght, though, it wasn't Ferramo's l ust for flesh that wou l d d ictate o u r dem i se but h i s penchant for dru n kenness. Ferramo i m medi ately began orde r i ng u p rou n ds of shots for everybody, whether they wanted them or n ot.
Monkey Business: Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle
Th i s p resented the c l ass with so meth i ng of a di lem ma. We wanted to be p rofess i o n a l , but enough o u r fi rst n ight out and h ad p l a n ned di n ner for u s at a local barbecue dive fol lowed by some dancing at a Midtown bei ng dangerous. There we were with rounds of shots bei ng passed arou nd. It was clear that we were bei ng set c l u b-Le Bar Bat. I n addition to the summer associates, up for an eve n i ng of drun ken excess. The BAs' presence not o n l y ensu red to the greater good.
He q u i c k l y pos itioned h i m se l f beh i n d her, wh ipped out his hogan, and as she conti nued her l itany of expurgation he straddled her backside, grabbed her h ips, and began to grind her from beh i nd in a s i m u lation We a l l took o u r shots of jaegermeister. After we'd been seated, the waitress came over to take the appetizer orders. Ferramo took it u pon h i mself to order for a l l of us. I don't want to see a n y body's g l ass em pty.
Then came the debaucherous display of Rod Ferramo. One of the BAs, Hope, h ad been downing shots w ith i ncreasi n g rap i dity over the cou rse of the even i ng. The com b i n ation of the shots, the heat, and the level of the music at Le Bar B at had p u s hed her beyond her l i m its.
As she stood at the bar waiti n g for her next dri n k to arrive, an u n co ntro l l a b l e u rge to vom it overcame her. She ducked her head u n derneath the bar, and 'began spewing forth a fragrant m i xtu re of barbecue ch icken and Captai n Morgan s p i ced ru m. As we viewed th is display from across the dance floor we were thoroug h l y befuddl ed.
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