HappyPantsMcgee the Interview.

Yuriy A's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 287

I've been fortunate enough to meet HPM two years ago at the first Energy Rodeo in Houston and recently had the opportunity to ask him some questions which the WSO audience could find useful. HPM works in strategy at a top 5 bank. Primarily his group concentrates on product and regulatory strategy with a focus on credit and balance generation.

Monkeys are always looking for advice, what do you have to offer?
To undergrads:
A lot of you dudes need to chill. I understand that the economy sucks, you have 100k in loans and you're scared but no one is going to help you out if you can't control (or at least conceal) your urgency. I got a PM the other day that just said: 'Firm Name' - I am interviewing what are you guys going to ask me? The fuck kind of way to address someone is that? Be calm, personable and offer to buy me a beer. I guarantee you I will take you up on it if I don't think you're going to dry hump my leg or stab me when I get there.

To those of you just starting work:
You can't take yourself too seriously because someone is going to crush you at some point. It doesn't matter how awesome and smart you think you are, at some point you are going to get crushed. The way you handle this will define how a lot of people think about you. At the risk of outing myself, I once got dressed down in a rather large meeting by a senior director for a very silly error. It sucked and was something I obviously should have fixed but I worked late, fixed it and sent it to him that day. He told me later that he remembered getting the email from me with revisions late that night more than he remembered the error. Food for thought.
Oh, and people that make excuses are the worst people on earth to work with. Don't do that.

What advice would you give to a new hire entering into your industry?
First and foremost, you don't know anything. There is going to be an astronomical learning curve when you start and you won't even be able to hold an intelligent conversation for a couple of months. The ins and outs of the way the products we use are structured take time to understand and that's ok. No one expects you to be a world beater on day one but you have to keep learning. Don't ask the same question twice. Try to find places where the answers you already have could apply and use a little trial and error. You're new so nothing you work on is going to be mission critical to the point that fucking it up will hurt our P&L. Relax, and learn.

What do you do in your free time to maintain the work-life balance?
I'm a pretty big fan of going to the gym so that's probably the number one way I blow off steam. Outside of that and the usual drink with friends, I'm working on a novel and trying to decide when I should apply to business school. I'm also a huge fan of target shooting and do that every other weekend or so. The trick is to find a couple of things that you can use to balance out the nonsense from the week. If I'm really pissed off about something, I'll go to the gym and wreck myself. If I'm generally frustrated with work or the lady friend, I'll go and punch holes in some paper terrorists. If I'm just looking for something to do, I'll read or write. Its all just a matter of finding that one thing that you can go to in any given situation.

If you weren't working in your field right now, what would you be doing?
I would probably be active duty in the military or working abroad as a contractor of some kind but neither of those things sound at all appealing to me at the moment.

Can you provide a quick run-down of what your daily responsibilities are like?
Completely depends. Day to day, I could be doing anything from visiting a third party vendor in Asia or the West Coast to running historical credit impacts of various metrics. There are very few days where I do the same thing I did the day before. I'm currently responsible for an intern so that makes my day a little different as well. Generally, I'll have a presentation every week or so and most of the week is spent preparing for that. While the content of the deck I'm presenting may change, the cycle of analysis, presentation, revisions, is pretty constant. I have also had a great deal of regulator interaction recently which, while miserable, is a great chance to learn a great deal in a very short amount of time.

Are there any specific personality traits that separate a successful worker in your industry versus other paths within finance?
It's pretty hard to come up with anything here that is meaningfully different from a lot of other finance roles. Attention to detail, mathematical ability, and the ability to stare at excel for extended periods is always a good start. The one difference I would say is that in strategy you have to have the ability to work in white space better than a traditional finance or banking role. You might get something as vague as 'we need a product for customers that have XYZ characteristics that can bring them into the company earlier in their financial life cycle." There are clearly countless ways to do that so being able to sift through the BS and make a coherent plan is critical. Bottom line though, if you're intelligent and self motivated, you can do well here.

You have been around WSO since the beginning, can you let the readers know how WSO helped you with whatever it helped you with and how new users can use WSO to help themselves in job/bschool etc..?
To answer the first portion of the question, I actually got my current role through another WSO user but I think the important thing that WSO showed me was just how many options there are in finance. So many fields that I didn't even know existed were suddenly available to me and I never would have known about them before coming to WSO. I have also had the good fortune to meet various posters throughout my time here and they have proven to be great resources. Monty, CompBanker, TNA, Midas (RIP) all were very interesting people with great insight on a variety of issues.

Comments (34)

Aug 1, 2012

Good stuff HPM

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Aug 1, 2012

Most down to earth and helpful interview yet.

Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

Aug 1, 2012

HPM is a no bullshit guy, i cant wait for his follow up answers to some SA's questions in here.

Aug 1, 2012

HPM is a very cool and knowledgable guy. Having met him once, he's also funny as hell. Cheers bud..

Aug 1, 2012

What happened to Midas? Is he ever coming back?

Aug 1, 2012

great interview! thanks HPM, some words of wisdom in there.

Aug 1, 2012

He's kinda my hero.

Aug 1, 2012

Sorry I haven't been around to answer questions, guys. I am in a meeting all day today and tomorrow but leave whatever here and Ill get back to it.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

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Aug 9, 2012
happypantsmcgee:

Sorry I haven't been around to answer questions, guys. I am in a meeting all day today and tomorrow but leave whatever here and Ill get back to it.

what kind of person gave this post a monkey shit?

Aug 9, 2012
fifteen:
happypantsmcgee:

Sorry I haven't been around to answer questions, guys. I am in a meeting all day today and tomorrow but leave whatever here and Ill get back to it.

what kind of person gave this post a monkey shit?

Theres no rhyme or reason to what gets a monkey shit and what doesn't.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

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Aug 1, 2012

Great stuff, Happy.

Aug 1, 2012
Yuriy A:

If you weren't working in your field right now, what would you be doing?
I would probably be active duty in the military or working abroad as a contractor of some kind but neither of those things sound at all appealing to me at the moment.

love it!

Aug 1, 2012

love you happy

Aug 1, 2012

Great stuff.... Thanks!

Aug 1, 2012

Fuck HPM :D

Aug 1, 2012
Nefarious-:

Fuck HPM :D

Please don't.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

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Aug 2, 2012
happypantsmcgee:
Nefarious-:

Fuck HPM :D

Please don't.

Shit just got real.

BOW CHICKA BOW WOW

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Aug 1, 2012

HPM, let me buy you a beer, I'll leave the leg humping at home.

Aug 2, 2012
Callus:

but where has Midas MM gone? I remember watching his videos in his mask, so fun.

Curious about this as well.

Aug 1, 2012

Great advice here, especially for the prospectives and new hires.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

Aug 2, 2012

Thanks, loving these interviews.

Aug 2, 2012

Did you go to a target or non-target? What was your position prior to your current job?

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

Best Response
Aug 2, 2012

Happy is a great guy to hang out with. Super hard working and has seen a lot of that hard work pay off.

Monty09 interview soon?

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Aug 2, 2012
monty09:

Happy is a great guy to hang out with. Super hard working and has seen a lot of that hard work pay off.

Monty09 interview soon?

I'd interview the shit outta you. Actually I wouldn't but I'll SB that so that someone else might!

Aug 3, 2012
monty09:

Happy is a great guy to hang out with. Super hard working and has seen a lot of that hard work pay off.

The same could be said for you, sir. Appreciate the kind words.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

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Aug 2, 2012

helpful, thanks!

Aug 3, 2012

Good info, really liked the part about skills most people in finance usually need in order to excel in the industry.

Aug 3, 2012

Btw nobody is fucking with your avatar.

Aug 3, 2012

Haha, just realized I got shat on in my own interview thread. Such sadness.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

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Aug 3, 2012

Someone's been shitting on the most random of my posts as well. A couple SBs to even you out.

Aug 3, 2012

Thank you HPM. Nice job cutting out the bullshit and being really straight with us. When is the second part coming?

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." - IlliniProgrammer

Dec 12, 2013

Love the advice he provided for undergrads. I agree that it looks bad if you go into an interview thinking that you're in a total wreck. I think confidence is the key. If you're way to scared, go party or something till you cool down, then go in and rock that interview.

Jul 31, 2014
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