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Rugged individualist? Try Deutsche before Goldman Sachs

Banking culture

Probably a Deutsche Bank profile photo

Where do you find the most cheerful bankers? The most sullen? The most corporate? The most outdoorsy? The most arty and the most freakishly weird?

After scrutinizing the LinkedIn photos of a sample of 600 bankers from Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Citi, Credit Suisse, UBS and Deutsche Bank, and using them as a proxy for the personality traits above, we are able to answer all these questions with some degree of accuracy.

Basically, our (detailed) research suggests the most smiley, happy bankers are to be found at Goldman Sachs, where a full 86% of staff are beaming in their profile photos, compared to just 66% at Citi.

Equally, Goldman staff are by far the most corporate and samey: 80% of them are using professional headshots (probably taken by Goldman itself), compared to just 40% at UBS (whose employees are far more eclectic and considerably more likely to present themselves standing in front of a bush, or by a bridge).

What Goldman seems to be lacking, however, are the mavericks and mountain climbers and the people who wear sunglasses for no real reason while standing next to an unidentifiable river. There are none of these at GS (or at least we didn’t come across them in our 100 person sample). By comparison, there seems to be a cluster of them at Deutsche Bank.

John Cryan’s team includes several people using arty-whimsical-scenic shots as stand-ins for themselves, as well as someone who’s using a cartoon as their profile photo, someone who’s substituted their own photo for that of Bruce Willis and an MD who’s skateboarding down a street and waving to the camera.

Over at UBS, meanwhile, there’s a handful of people looking coy in sunglasses on park benches and several people in puffa jackets in mountain tops. Best of all, however, there’s someone at UBS who’s jogging down the street with a cheetah on a lead.

Conclusion: Goldman bankers are nice, cheerful, compliant types, while Deutsche bankers (and UBS bankers a bit too) are more likely to be non-conformists and are as easy to manage as a herd of cats.

Of course, it’s quite possible that the discrepancies in LinkedIn photos mean nothing at all. Maybe Goldman’s bankers are simply cheerful pragmatists who upload their internal identification photographs to LinkedIn because it’s easier? Either way, it might be nice to see some Goldman profile shots which involve MDs in shades riding BMXs in the desert. Just a suggestion.


Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com

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