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Does it help to be a sporting god if you want to succeed in banking?

To assuage any lingering doubts that investment banking is a young person’s game best suited to competitive people with very high stamina, Deutsche Bank has appointed an former ironman triathlete and Scottish youth rugby international as its UK chief executive.

Colin Grassie isn’t the only sporting icon in banking. Financial News points out that the industry is also home to several rugby players, including Simon Halliday, former England wing, now head of emerging markets equity sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Nomura.

Banks obviously think there’s something to be said for employing people whose urge to success has manifested itself in great sporting achievements.

Phillip Hodson, a fellow for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, says it makes sense: “You need to be semi- [super?] human to work in the City. London is in a time zone which straddles the Asian and American markets, so it consumes young people fuelled by coffee and testosterone – you can’t do it for too long and you need incredible stamina.”

However, the head of HR at one European bank says he has no urge to target sporting types: “A lot of our most senior staff are into gardening.”

Comments (18)

  1. It’s about neworking. Some of the rugby boys come from certain backgrounds including universities. Some workers are ex-army officers.

  2. “A lot of our most senior staff are into gardening.”

    did he mean “gardening leave”?

  3. fuelled by coffee and testosterone….that’s just the cleaners. I am not sure that combination is going to keep any serious banker going!

  4. Of course sport is important, particularly for M&A. Do you want an office of strong, alpha male, high-stamina, 6ft+ university rugby players, well-connected to corporates and the buy-side, or one with diligent but scrawny, unhealthy wimps? One of the key things I look at when interviewing candidates.

  5. Henry,

    From all the BS you have been posting during the last weeks and months I recalled (beside that you have no story to tell) that you are in your mid 20s..who are you recruiting then…the cleaning lady or starters who are smarter than you (or are you the kind of professional that keeps smarter people at bay)..

  6. Is this article now telling us that you don’t need to know anything about what you do at work and have below-average education?

  7. Good at sports the new Goldman Sachs?

  8. Henry, what do you know about M&A? Judging from your comment absolutely nothing!

    Stick to converting into € for my holiday in St Tropez please!

  9. Fuelled by marching powder more likey

  10. Another great example of the superficial banking culture, fawning over Z-list sports celebrities. There’s more than a whiff of closeted homo-eroticism to the whole rugger-b*gger club. But, as we’ve now seen, when the chips went down, the club and all its connections fell apart.

  11. Jack, someone in their mid 20s, who has been at the bank for 5 years, interviews graduate applicants obviously. What are you on about?

  12. I think if you look at all the CEOs of the majors, such as Ackermann, Blankfein, Pandit it is safe to say that they are major league rugby players. Big time athletes oh yeah.

    In case you jack a&&es don’t know the definition of sarcasm, look it up.

  13. John Thain was capital of the wrestling team at college and Hank Paulson was a big football player at Dartmouth.

  14. People would rather employ physically fit people. Less chance of them getting sick, more chance of them being able to cope with stress

  15. No one really wants to work with a snivelling little weasel. Athletic bankers are the new goldman sachs

  16. Yes and Paulson failed as Sec. of state and Thain, well I wont say more apart from “much ado about nothing” after he was hailed as the saviour due to his experience on the exchange.

    please unsubscribe

  17. Hell yes an INTEREST in spot is important. Especially for sales roles. Is it right? Maybe not. But the fact is that, particuarly for men (though not exclusively), sport is something that brings people together. It’s common ground that can be discussed on the telephone as a precursor to market chat, or viewed with customers at entertainment events. There’s nothing worse (or more opportunistic for rival banks) than a chump sales guy at Twickenham trying to PRETEND to know about rugby, entertaining clients who are clearly avid fans. I’ve seen it happen a lot.

    With such an interest in sport, comes an increased likelihood of such people being athletes themselves. Interesting point made above about sporty types being physically “fitter” and therefore, on balance, better able to deal with illness and stress. This is a fair point.

    I interview people frequently, and notwithstanding exceptional “other skills” or an unusual dynamic that one could bring to the desk, wouldn’t really consider someone with no interest in sport, and would actively seek a sport enthusiast (i work in FI Sales).

  18. Henry,

    Mid 20s and 5 years at the bank..than you must be uneducated. But then again, that’s how you sounds!

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