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An Honest Defense of Investment Banking

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There are two competing narratives for junior bankers on Wall Street. From an outsider’s perspective, there’s the overpaid, immoral and hedonistic stigma that grew in prominence following the financial crisis. Then there are those within the ropes, who tell a story of overworked, underpaid doormats that are taken advantage of for a half-decade. Both are filled with a bit hyperbole it seems.

Famed Twitter handle Goldman Sachs Elevator, in a review of Kevin Roose’s new book on young bankers, offers up the brutally honest middle ground in a Business Insider op-ed. He badgers the industry plenty, but we’ve all heard that argument.  Here’s some of the other side.

  • After graduating from your analyst class, you’ll enter a meritocracy with little hierarchy, he says. People who make it aren’t bitter. They’re energetic, excited and hungry to make money. The bitter ones are those who aren’t very good and who end up quitting.
  • Yes, some of your relationships will crumble after entering the industry. “Boo-hoo. It’s called life.” The same thing happens to other hardworking people as they enter adulthood.
  • Investment bankers often aren’t those with a plan to take over the world. “Most people go into investment banking because they obviously do well in school and are smart and ambitious, but…have no clue what they want to do in life.”
  • Those with industry experience who often speak out against investment banking tend to be cynical, reluctant bankers who are predisposed to fail.
  • Is the grass really that much greener in Silicon Valley? Steve Jobs was no cupcake of a boss.

In a bout of coincidence, another former Goldman investment banker published her take on LinkedIn. Bethany McLean takes the industry to task too, but adds one interesting point. Investment banking builds scar tissue that makes you tougher later in life. “I wasn’t intimidated anymore,” she said after leaving the industry.

Both are thought-provoking takes and worth a read.

Resume Tips for Technophobes (eFinancialCareers)

While the content of your resume is always the most critical, there are a few small tricks you can use to better differentiate yourself and avoid confusion.  These tips also help make you appear more technological savvy, even if you may not be.

Backup Plan (Reuters)

Deutsche Bank is clearly nervous about the fate of its co-chief executive, Anshu Jain. The bank has reportedly lined up a potential backup, former UBS finance chief John Cryan, in case Jain is implicated in the ongoing FX rate manipulation scandal.

Jumping to Private Equity (eFinancialCareers)

Private equity remains an aspirational vocation for many a junior investment banker. Here’s what you really need to know if you want to make the switch. It starts with the “beer test.”

Pay Raise (HuffPo)

Bank of America is following in the footsteps of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan by giving its CEO a bump in pay. Brian Moynihan will earn roughly $14 million for 2013, representing a 17% raise.

New Investment Head (WSJ)

Charles Morrison has been promoted to the head of Fidelity’s asset management unit, replacing outgoing chief Ron O’Hanley. Morrison has been running Fidelity’s fixed income division.

An Issue of Perception (Bloomberg)

Every quarter, banks release crazy statistics about how few days their trading units lose money. It’s usually somewhere around never. But not under this new manner of measuring what constitutes a “losing day.”

Big Move (Business Insider)

Famed Oppenheimer tech analyst Carter Worth has left the firm to join Sterne Agee.

Buzz Around the Office

Silver Lining (USA Today)

In August of 2009, a man named Brian Acton tweeted that he was turned down for a job at Facebook. No big deal. Five years later, they paid $19 billion to buy WhatsApp, the company he later co-founded. Oh, and Twitter turned him down too.

Quote of the Day: “There’s no point wasting time on the people who can’t hack it, don’t know what they’re getting in to, or don’t want to be there (other than to suck out a six figure paycheck and bitch about it.)” – GS Elevator

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Listen: don’t use an MBA as a springboard for a sales and trading role

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