The 25 people you should avoid on Wall Street

A few years ago, CNBC’s Ash Bennington compiled a fantastic list of the people you should avoid on Wall Street. Recently, the Wall Street Journal’s John Carney issued a Twitter challenge for an updated version of this list.

In an industry where people often take themselves too seriously, or even define their own existence by their job title, it’s easy to dismiss this challenge with a flippant, “Just avoid everyone on Wall Street.” Fair enough, and that’s why I’d rather get a Sriracha enema from Guy Fieri than be seen at the Hunt & Fish Club. But nonetheless, I’ve managed to restrict my list to just the Top 25 in this year’s version of people to avoid on Wall Street:

  1. Avoid the guy who bitches about affirmative action. Odds are he’s benefited from nepotism more times than he cares to admit.
  2. Avoid the guy who acts like his parents’ place in Nantucket is really his beach house.
  3. Avoid the guy who name-drops college. A good education is a prerequisite for a job on Wall Street, and as Carney says, “A guy who drops the H Bomb clearly thinks his biggest accomplishments are behind him.”
  4. In New York, avoid the guy with the pocket square and greasy hair.
  5. In London, avoid the guy with the pinky ring and floppy hair.
  6. Avoid the serial connector on LinkedIn, a.k.a. eHarmony for the underemployed.

Young Money? Perception vs Reality on Wall Street

Mod Note: Each day we'll be posting the top WSO forum posts of 2014. This one was originally posted on 3/6/14 and ranks #9 for the year by total silver banana count. You can see all our top ranked content here.

There has been a lot of discussion around Wall Street taking the nation’s best and brightest away from more honorable fields, and how the work/life of Wall Street isn’t what it used to be. Two main sources of this: an article titled “How a Duke Undergrad With No Finance Background Got Lured by Goldman Sachs” by Laura Newland (who, I note, had one interview with GS on campus and likely never received a 2nd round, and seems to just be attempting to parlay the fact she got an interview at Goldman Sachs into selling copies of her self-righteous book), and also Kevin Roose’s book ‘Young Money: Inside of the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits,’ which highlights the lives of some people during their first few years on Wall Street. I think Kevin actually did a thorough job of tracking these kids and being candid in his interview process. And I definitely have seen some of the things he describes first hand.

I myself am one of these recruits – I started working at a bulge bracket bank in the 08-09 crash time period and tons of my friends from college did as well. Kevin Roose’s marketing for the book focused largely on how some of the people who joined Wall Street ended up being depressed/bummed out, while Laura Newland’s columns have nothing substantial to say about anything…because she never worked in finance and has minimal exposure to it outside of getting dinged at interviews…but she does talk about how kids might be tricked into working in finance, which is an interesting point she brings up - how do people react to working in jobs that they don't really want to do?

Five Thoughts on Wall Street Bathroom Breaks

Mod Note (Andy): Throw Back Thursday, Originally posted on August, 2012

When you work 80-hour weeks regularly and the staples of your diet are $25 Seamlessweb pasta dishes and burger combos, inevitably, nature is going to call – on your office line. For the majority of analysts on Wall Street, working at an investment bank is your first time in a professional office environment.

To the uninitiated, the bathrooms at investment banks might be imagined as marble palaces, freshly stocked with the finest supplies for bankers’ quiet time atop gold-plated commodes. To those in the know – well, you know it’s not so. Five observations regarding your favorite place to catch up on Words with Friends while at the office:

How to deal with THAT associate

TBT: Originally posted on September, 2012

Props to bankerella for an insightful post delving into the mind of the newly-minted first-year investment banking associate. The only thing it was missing was a blanket apology for all of the seasoned analysts who, for the next few months, have to put up with the insufferable “value add” of their MBAed colleagues.

Analysts, if there’s anyone you shouldn’t be afraid of, it’s a bumbling first-year associate fresh out of b-school. Remember, you already do all the work around here – make it clear that until they find their footing, you will be running the show.

When speaking to a new associate:

The MD likes the comps in this exact format, with these metrics.”
Do not attempt to “add value” by “adding work.
“I’ve double checked the numbers, but will wait for you to sign off before printing and sending.”
I did not check these numbers at all. Please do your job and check them.

Lifestyle of Young Wall Street: 5 Banker Neighborhoods

Mod Note (Andy): #TBT, Originally posted on April, 2012

The New York City area is home to nearly 20 million people and 20 trillion cockroaches living together in blissful harmony. Well over 1 million people alone are packed into the 23 square miles that make up the island of Manhattan. New York is known for high rents, high couture, and of course – high finance. Every summer, waves of newly-minted investment bankers descend upon the city, snapping up apartments left and right in several of the many neighborhoods and areas in proximity to Wall Street.

Let’s take a walk down NYC’s East Side and survey the typical mistmaker lifestyle in a few of the City’s most banker-heavy nabes:

We Are The Street: USA for Wall Street

There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When The Street must come together as one
There are layoffs happ’ning
And it’s time to lend a hand to bankers
The greatest gifts of all…

Deep in the throes of wintertime, I tend to listen to my iPod on shuffle mode more often. Maybe it’s because my Beats by Dre headphones double as cozy earmuffs. Maybe it’s because my eardrums are liable to spontaneously collapse if I am subjected to a minute more of Christmas music. Maybe it’s because my taste in music is so terrible I can’t fully appreciate the lyrical genius of Beauty and the Beat. Regardless, beyond the immortal Michael Jackson (RIP), trusty ol’ shuffle usually pumps out some inspiring, introspective tunes – and they often relate to my thoughts about Wall Street.

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somehow will soon make a change
We are all a part of The Beard’s great big family
And the truth, you know
Liquidity is all we need

You see, when you’re a young banker, the lines between your worklife and lifework can get blurry. And in these tough times, it’s especially difficult for those outside the Wall Street bubble to really understand what our lives are like. For some, life is more easily expressed through song, so I put together this shuffle-inspired playlist to help your mom better understand the nature of your work.


Timeline of an Investment Banking Analyst, Year 1


Training’s over, and you’ve just hit the new group. You’re getting to know your bullpen-mates and you’ve picked up a few bullshit staffings. You’re settled into your new apartment in Murray Hill (no roaches yet!) and you’re loving the nightlife in NYC. You head out to the bars with your newfound work bros on Thursdays for happy hour. Life is good, and Joshua Tree fuckin rocks.


After Labor Day, things start to pick up a bit...

What Does Your Drink Say About You? Part II

mod note (Andy) see part one here

The breeze is brisk, the Starbucks cups are red, and the sidewalks of New York City are crowded body-to-body with packs of overweight tourists and kids on leashes. With football season in full swing and the winter doldrums looming large, summer days spent slamming beers at The Standard beer garden are but a distant memory. The holiday season is upon us, and while investment banking analysts across Wall Street are girding for a fiscal cliff-induced Christmas deal staffing special, a hint of holiday cheer hangs around the bullpen. That’s because around this time of year, junior investment bankers celebrate a Wall Street tradition as hallowed as the almighty 100-page Strategic Alternatives pitch. Monkeys rejoice – it’s Holiday Party season.

Don't Ask An Investment Banker What They Do

When you’re meeting new people, even in casual social situations, the topic of work is never far off. Maybe this is a general commentary on The Texting Generation’s lacking conversation skills, but I always find myself getting asked about my work shortly after being introduced to someone.

    “Sooo… what do you do?”

It's a question I never want to answer...