Although working as an investment banking analyst was a living hell at the time, I now look back at my years with nostalgia. Luckily, as time passes, the 100 hour weeks just blend together and the pain has gone away. Of course, I'm still irrationally uncomfortable and nervous whenever I see a red blinking light (Blackberry email) but other than that, all I remember now are the fun times. The 5am nights when you finally get the pitch books binded and shipped to the MD's house and as you're waiting for the driver to call you and confirm that he delivered it, you're joking around with your associate/VP and realize that they're actually human beings too.
However, the best parts were the office gossip and hilarious stories that were shared among the analyst class. The best stories always came from the summer interns, which made sense because 20-21 year olds know absolutely nothing about anything (including common sense).
One of my favorite stories was a summer intern who had a bad case of diarrhea. Unfortunately for him, my BB was proud of their latest technology upgrade for the entire bullpen, the wireless headset (which of course is about 10 years behind the technology of any normal corporation).
Armed with this technology, he was able to piss off an entire deal team and probably single-handedly kill a deal.
After slaving for a month on a huge sellside pitch book for the client, two MDs and a director were off to the oh-so important meeting. The associate, two analysts and the intern in question were left at home base to call in and listen in on the call/meeting.
The company was trying to sell itself and had retained our bank as the sole advisor. The CEO/CFO however, were horribly paranoid about not getting screwed over by bankers. They asked the same questions over and over in different formats and probed around every slide "How did you get those numbers? Are you really sure that's a good comp for us? Is that too much equity to use? How does it look with 100% cash?"
Anyways, this obviously turned the meeting into a 3+ hour affair. The analysts had told him that he should listen in but mute his phone and also that since he had pulled a lot of late nights, he could just go home and sleep. The intern however, didn't believe the analysts and thought he should be alert on the call just in case someone important asked him a question on the call.
After a few boring hours, the intern with his aforementioned diarrhea just couldn't take it anymore.
His sense of self importance prevented him from simply putting down the headset. He took it with him and kept it off mute. I don't have to provide details on the rest, but the sounds of diarrhea shitting was conveyed to the entire deal team and client (their entire management team and a bunch of lawyers/accountants too).
The hilarious thing is that no one even said anything. If you've ever been on one of these calls, you know that even if the client's inaudible, or reception is bad, or you hear the standard kid crying in the background, everyone ignores it and stays silent.
After literally about 60 seconds of pure shitting/farting sounds, the client had heard enough. Suddenly a booming voice interrupts the MD's pitch of interlopers and you hear, "WHO THE FUCK IS TAKING A SHIT?!?!?!?"
Then there was a scrambling of voices, including someone saying "can you.....*scramble* mute..*scramble* your phone*"
Then there was a long silence and the call was dropped. Apparently the client decided to continue the rest of the meeting live and shut out everyone who had dialed in.
Unfortunately, the client shortly lost his will to continue. The CEO/CFO decided to take a break and the meeting only went on for about 30 minutes longer. The MDs and VP were PISSED as they came back to the office, emailing the associate/analyst to figure out who the hell it was.
Luckily, only the analysts knew this story and though our group was well known for being a sweatshop and having a fratty culture, in the end it was still analysts vs. everyone else. No one ratted out the intern and he was able to keep his job.
However, from now on, we're not allowed to take our headsets ANYWHERE away from our desks and most summer interns are required to mute their phones on calls to clients.
I'm sure there are thousands of other stories out there, and I have a dozen or so more myself, but figured I'd get this started and everyone else can share their memorable moments in banking.
Mod Note (Andy): #TBT Throwback Thursday - this was originally posted on 12/06/12. To see all of our top content from the past, click here.