Haven't seen this post in a while, and I'm interested in hearing everyones stories. Below I've included my own story, which happened at a large boutique firm on the east coast. It's lengthy but hopefully a worthwhile read.
To begin, I'm in the office it's around mid-afternoon on a Friday and one of our Managing Directors (an MD I rarely work with) leans over my cubical and says "Come talk to me before you leave work," he walks away without another word.
Naturally I start trying to piece together what I did wrong and why it requires a discussion. I start looking through old emails... trying to see if I forgot a deliverable on a project. I find no pending communication.
Side Note: *The aforementioned MD is notorious for his lack of communication and organization. He's one of those guys where the cliche, "you couldn't manage your way out of a paper bag" takes on a whole new level of seriousness.
It's now late evening, so I stop by the MD's office to see what he wanted to discuss (he's watching youtube videos). We start by catching up on current business. Everything seems fine so far, and he says "I've spoken with the other Directors and they mentioned you've been doing really well around the office. You and I don't really get the opportunity to work together on many projects, so I thought it would be good for you to attend a panel discussion I'm leading tomorrow morning at 7am, the address is (blank). I'll meet you at the (Large East Coast restaurant chain across the street) and we can grab coffee before, sound good?" I confirm, and he dives headlong into his "work."
I wake up, get into my car by 5am, and drive to the panel discussion making it there by 6:45am. When I call my Director to tell him I've made it to the panel discussion, he pierces the phone, "YOU"RE AT THE PANEL ALREADY!!!??? You were supposed to pick me up at my home (located 2 hours away)??" He hangs up the phone...
Confused, I find the auditorium where the panel discussion is being held. The maintenance staff is setting up the chairs and microphones... I find out that I'm 2 hours early to the panel discussion. My MD allotted the time into my commute to pick him up, but had failed to mention that I needed to pick him up.
Fifteen Minutes pass:
My phone rings, it's my MD's wife... she's distraught and hurries through her introduction, attacking the phone with haste, "There was a confusion with (said MD's) driver this morning, it's a long story. You need to call him and give him directions to the big meeting. HE JUST STORMED OUT OF OUR HOUSE AND HAS NO IDEA WHERE HE'S GOING! MY KID HAS A PLAY THAT I NEED TO DROP HIM OFF AT, AND I CANT DEAL WITH THIS!!"
I reassure that I'll get her husband proper directions, and she jumps off the phone.
I call my MD and begin giving him directions to the panel discussion from his home. I also swallow my pride and follow up with an apology for not picking him up this morning because it wasn't made clear he needed a ride. He says nothing (I hear high revving engine noises over the line)... My MD hangs up the phone.
30 minutes have passed:
Senior bankers from all different industries are slowly starting to dribble into the auditorium (about 20 - 25 so far).
My phone rings again, it's my MD's wife. Unable to brace myself for impact, she rattles, "MY HUSBAND IS LOST, AND CANNOT FIND THE BIG MEETING!!! YOU NEED TO FIGURE THIS OUT!!! (Starting to sob) I CANT DEAL WITH THIS. My KID IS LATE TO HIS PLAY AND I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO..." Then without warning, she violently pierces the silence, "GET HIM THE GOD DAMN DIRECTIONS!!!" and hangs up the phone.
I call my MD right away, and reiterate the directions to the panel discussion with slow......methodical...... and..... deliberate clarity for each turn. Afterwards making sure that he confirms the directions were received and understood. Around this time, I also begin calculating his transit time. With rush hour traffic there is no way he's is going to make the panel discussion on time. I start to sweat.
An hour and a half has passed:
I wait nervously by my phone. The auditorium is starting to fill up, there are around 80-90 senior bankers chattering and networking.
10 minutes before the Discussion Panel
My phone rings... It's my Managing Director, "I'm not going to make the panel on time... I'm still an hour away from the auditorium. Did you talk to the panel organizer to see if he could change the time for me?"
I respond, "I was only able to postpone the panel for 15 minutes."
(...My MD pauses to think....)
He chuckles, "I guess you'll have to lead the discussion for me. This will be your punishment for not picking me up!"
I. SHIT. BRICKS. (I'm a first year analyst and have NO idea how the fuck to lead a panel discussion).
My MD starts giving me instructions, "The topic is how PE firms handle distressed portfolio companies. Make sure when you get up there, you don't introduce yourself as an Analyst. Say you're a Senior Associate with the firm. Here are a couple of the questions I wrote down... I'll get there as soon as I can. Don't worry these things are easy! Just keep the panel members talking."
When the time came, I walked onto the stage in front of around 100-120 people. Looking clearly 20 years younger than everyone else in the room I received some interesting stares. I made a brief introduction as a senior Associate, and facilitated discussion from the panel members for around 45 minutes. My heart beating out of my chest the entire time.
My MD showed up a half hour late to the panel, and caught the last 15 minutes of my discussion. We shared a laugh when I got off the stage, but he still won't admit fault for the incident. I never brought up the calls I had with his wife.
All well that ends well (I guess).
Mod Note (Andy): Post with one of the most views of the year.
Investment Banking Interview Course
- 7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
- Technical, behavioral, networking, case videos, templates. All included.
- Most comprehensive IB interview course in the world.