Where will you find Wall Street’s most intelligent? Not at Goldman Sachs. Not at Citigroup. Not at Credit Suisse. Not even at cultish hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. No, you will find them at Pine River Capital Management, a self-described, ‘global alternative asset management firm founded on the values of intellectual honesty.’
Bloomberg reports that the team from Pine River won Saturday night’s ‘Midnight Madness’ event. Popularized in 2013 by a group of Goldman Sachs employees and their friends, Midnight Madness 2015 was billed as, ‘the most exhausting, uplifting, deflating, enlightening, fun, and multi-dimensionally challenging competition you’ve ever participated in.’ More prosaically, it was a charity scavenger hunt, which required teams – mostly from financial services firms – to solve some very esoteric questions to get to the finish line.
Among other things, the 21 participating teams of 10 people were asked to read sheet music comprised of grapes and sausages, to reverse engineer a Scrabble board, and to put parking signs into binary code. They also had to work out the identity of a mystery woman and come up with a means of helping her. Pine River’s intellectually honest, hard-working and ‘curious’ staff came in first place. The journalists at Bloomberg News came in second. The hedge funders of Cantab Capital came in third. It’s not clear where the teams from Goldman, Citi and CS ranked, and we may never know – Pine River’s staff had agreed never to talk about the event again if they lost. The event wasn’t just about teamwork and intelligence, it also raised $3.1m for a charity with links to one of the Goldman partners who helped to organize it.
Separately, if you want to get ahead in finance and you are a woman, try wearing make-up. The Atlantic highlights studies which shows that women who wear make up earn more and are treated better. It points to one study in particular which showed that women wearing cosmetics in an interview are more likely to be awarded prestigious jobs.
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(Photo credit: Pratap Sankar)