Morning Coffee: Most intense man at Goldman Sachs made another video. Students opting for less alluring finance jobs
If Jim Donovan, a Goldman Sachs managing director of three decades and 'vice chairman of global client coverage, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, were to hang up his MD hat and do something else instead, he could probably become a YouTube sensation. Already well known for his 2016 talk 'Are you destined to deal' to students at the University of Virginia School of Law, which has had 2.6m views on YouTube, Donovan is back with a sequel. Titled,'The making of an investment banker,' it was also filmed at the University of Virginia School of Law, three days ago and already has nearly 50,000 views.
While the title might imply a Frankensteinish attempt to assemble a banker out of Ferragamo loafers and dress shirts, the video is actually Donovan talking to the students about a) getting a banking job, b) keeping it. While some of his advice seems likely to render anyone acting upon it highly irritating ("Never ever ever ever give up, don't take no for an answer"), there are also some good observations that explain Donovan's YouTube popularity.
When you're in a banking interview, he says the ideal thing to do is to steer your interviewer onto talking about themselves. "People enjoy most talking about themselves," observes Donovan. If you can get them into this sweet spot, you'll turn the interview into a "dialogue not an interrogation." Ask the kinds of questions which won't elicit a one word answer - things like 'Why did you decide to become an investment banker?', and "What was the most interesting deal you've worked on?" People love this stuff, says Donovan, blind to the risk that millions of students will ask the same questions.
Once this has got you an analyst or associate job, Donovan says you want to find someone who's already very good at the job, and copy them. "Study that person, learn as much as you can by watching them and then model your behavior [on theirs]." By becoming the best banker on the team, he says you'll earn the right to take time off for things you want to do: "If you're one of the best investment bankers, it's a lot easier to avoid spending time on things that you don't want to spend time on."
However, in the early days at least, Donovan says the embodiment of the best banker should not preclude an extreme willingness to do menial tasks. "Make it clear that you have no ego," he repeats. "That you have no task that's given to you that's beneath you." It's not clear why this is.
More helpfully, Donovan has a hot tip for making people think they're important: when you're in a meeting with them, take notes. "It conveys to people in the room that you're serious. It also conveys to the people who are talking that what they're saying is important, you're writing it down."
When Donovan spoke to the students at Virginia four years ago, he told them to return client calls and emails and 2am, 3am and 4am. This time around, he's not talking about clients and doesn't specify times, but he does say: "There's nothing more frustrating for a senior investment banker than to send an email text to an analyst or an associate and have that email or text go unanswered for an extended period of time." The email sent by the PJT VP demanding that juniors respond at 3am springs to mind.
Donovan says banking isn't for everyone. Only the hardest core survive. There's talk of trenches and forging and adversity and Nietzschean vanquishing. Banking requires "incredible discipline" and "mastery" says Donovan. Don't let your emails build up, he says. It all ends without clapping, or a smile.
Separately, students who paid a lot of money for MBAs in the hope of becoming like Donovan, or maybe just a consultant, are having to compromise. The Wall Street Journal reports that there's not much MBA hiring happening this year and that MBAs who might have answered banking emails at 3am are going into corporate development jobs instead.
While these jobs are known for offering a good life and reasonable pay, they're not quite the same as working on Wall Street. One 28 year-old MBA said he wanted to work for large banks or mid-size banks, or small banks, or in corporate development, even though he'd come to business school "to bridge that gap to go into investment banking.”
53 year-old Marc Nachmann might be Goldman Sachs' next CEO but people internally have been calling him Greg and saying, "Why bother remembering names of the bosses when they keep changing so often." (Bloomberg)
UBS cut 24 bankers in Hong Kong. They were mostly focused on China. (Bloomberg)
Sam Bankman Fried needs some more Adderall to focus on his trial. (Fortune)
Hedge fund Two Sigma sent an employee email pointing employees to five international organizations — including the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders — to donate to support humanitarian efforts in Israel and Gaza. Employees complained and the initial list was replaced by 15 charities including 14 Israeli aid organizations. (Business Insider)
Ray Dalio bought himself a luxury beachside residence on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island as hedge funds flock to the Middle East. (Bloomberg)
Winterflood Securities cut 20 people in London. (The Trade)
My personality was peak Wall Street and I viewed everything in economic terms, and by that measure England is something to be laughed at or pitied. That hasn’t changed in the last three decades; if anything it’s worse. (Unherd)
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