What Not to Do

WSO has a new segment under the Life in Finance section. This is specifically meant to steer you away from doing something foolish with your life. Want to make sure you don't do something completely stupid before you start your FT job, or even right after? These stories and lessons should help you with that. If they don't we will take no responsibility for you not getting a job.

That includes if you (supposedly) order one of our guides, create a new topic, and then bash every aspect of that guide, even though you probably fall under our 30-day, 100% money back guarantee. You know who you are. And we happen to think our guides are pretty frickin' sweet.

Anyways, amusement:

What Not to Do:

We do like to joke around, but we sincerely hope that we were able to drive the above points home, and we hold even greater hopes that you all take it upon yourselves to extrapolate these ideas to situations that we haven't covered.

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Comments (100)

Jun 26, 2011 - 5:47pm

lmfao, another one is auto tagged, can't remember which one so let's try... alexey vayner

nope...
lucy gao
peter chung

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Jun 26, 2011 - 5:50pm

Oops, looks like it actually tags models and bottles to take you to a post about AJ haha

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Jun 27, 2011 - 9:33am

Part #3: Don't Go Overboard - Isn't Joyce working for Goldman?

"The right to have children should be a marketable commodity, bought and traded by individuals but absolutely limited by the state."—Kenneth Boulding
Jun 27, 2011 - 11:02am

Joyce?

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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Jun 27, 2011 - 11:22am

Interestingly, things have worked out just fine for Peter Chung - last I read he was with a hedge fund. I guess you can bounce back from internet-wide colossal f'k-ups like that. What he did was really stupid, but not an ethical mistake like Jeff Chiang's

While not finance related, what about that girl who wrote that book about Indians growing up in US, and then it was found out that she plagiarized a lot of it. She ended up going to Georgetown for law and got a good internship...

Note: Point of my post is not to downplay f'k ups or encourage them saying you can always bounce back - just thought I bring up a few 'where are they now' type observations.

Jun 27, 2011 - 11:53am

Oh yea, you can definitely bounce back, Chung went to some hedge fund (I'm pretty sure that's what happened). I imagine the few months after he got booted from TCG were pretty stressful, though.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Jun 27, 2011 - 12:44pm

The What Not to Do FAQ links are about to be updated in this thread. A Resumes part was added to the Cover Letters section.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Best Response
Jun 27, 2011 - 3:53pm

WSO: What Not To Do (Originally Posted: 03/13/2014)

Mod Note (Andy): Throwback Thursdays - this post originally went up May 2008, enjoy

Some advice for all the prospective monkeys out there...

1- For those of you on this forum and looking for a job... you are entitled to nothing. No one on here owes you shit, if they help you, it's because they want to not because they owe you.

2- Never say anything (publicly or through a PM/E-Mail) you wouldn't say to an interviewer; because potential interviewers may very well be on this forum. And when you specifically mention what firm/div/group you're interviewing in, they will know who you are.

3- If someone goes to bat for you and gets you an interview, you are representing them. Meaning anything you do or say reflects positively or negatively on them. They did you a favor; don't embarrass them by acting like an imbecile and then mentioning them by name.

4- While you're in school, you may feel like you have the world by the balls. Maybe you go to UNC-CH like this kid and have a solid GPA, get the highest grade on your exams etc... I'm sure you feel like a real rock star at times. Get ready for the real world. You will have the most success by being humble, keeping your head down, and working harder than you ever dreamed possible.

Since I've already FWDed this transcript to a select few colleagues, I guess my anonymity has been breached.

This fine specimen is interviewing for an Investment Analyst position tomorrow.

buysideguy01:

you better keep yourself in check small timer, you're obviously one of those kids with no connections like me ;) ... if you have any problems with buysideguy01, tell that to Harold (UNC represent) ... i can get you fired just like that if i knew your name, you have NO CONNECTIONS
Marcus_Halberstram:

Well you obviously have an interview coming up. I take it the 2 girls interviewing this week wouldn't call themselves BuySideGuy01 and the 2 guys with PE-related internships know what PE secondaries consist of; that leaves one stray douche bag interviewing this week... AKA BuySideGuy01. Try to keep your smug attitude in check.

Don't count on an offer.

buysideguy01:

Nice use of "especially" Looks like they hire "especially intelligent" people in GS PEG. Good luck with your "especially" interesting job at PEG; this may be a difficult job market, but I have the advantage of being selective and looking over GS PEG, that FoF group. Thanks.
Marcus_Halberstram wrote:
Marcus_Halberstram:

You should be careful how you come off when talking to people on this forum. Especially when you have an interview coming up and you could potentially rub someone the wrong way. Especially if that someone works in the group you're interviewing in and could potentially be interviewing you. The job market is tough, PEG is a group that is VERY particular about who they hire and have dinged people for seemingly minuscule transgressions.

Just a friendly heads up.




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Jun 27, 2011 - 3:55pm

Wow, you've got to be kidding. Can't believe someone would take the chance of screwing themselves over like that before the interview has even happened. Might as well not show up.

"Never say anything (publicly or through a PM/E-Mail) you wouldn't say to an interviewer." Great advice, esp given how small the finance world is and how much ppl talk / ask about those they're considering bringing on board at their respective firms.

Attitude's like that will get squashed pretty quickly in the real world. I'm sure his "CONNECTIONS" would be thoroughly embarrassed being associated w/ him, especially if they knew that they were being paraded around in that manner to boost his already over-inflated ego.

Jun 27, 2011 - 3:56pm

I'm glad that this condescending idiot has just been exposed. At my school, I have seen tons of arrogant kids landing IB offers, and it never ceases to amaze me how kids with attitudes like that could ever hope to make it in the real world.

Jun 27, 2011 - 3:58pm

very good post, this is very important advice for young people going into finance. i feel like many of us are high achievers and are "rockstars" in our own way, but sometimes lack a certain level of maturity and professionalism.

i had a horrible experience of my own in regards to confidentiality. long story short, a high-ranking executive at an MM firm overheard me talking smack about him while walking to the train station, and he called me out on it. it was a very unfortunate coincedence that the person was standing right there, but it really taught me to be wiser about what i say and where i say it. indeed, a budding rockstar that keeps his mouth shut is likely to fare much better than a cocky d-bag like the OP is referring to.

Jun 27, 2011 - 3:59pm

..because you will be caught at it at some point.

Maybe the OP should take this to heart along with buysideguy....

You work in GS PEG and you are going to let your "colleagues" know about this d-bag? I doubt it considering the track function on WSO.

Check them out..recent posts include...

CorpF500

Ive heard alot of people recommend F500 CorpFin. What are the hours like? How would you go about finding these types of positions? Obviously the culture will vary from one firm to the next, but what are some general trends in this particular line of work? What type of work would you do...?
Would appreciate some insight from people who have work/considered working in this area. Or are atleast familiar with what it consists of.
Thanks in advance.

Interview Secret Weapons

What have been people's 'secret weapons' interviewing? As in your most valuable/helpful resource in slaughtering an interview... or that one thing you saved to really blow an interviewer away? Something you did/learned/conveyed that you really think helped put you over the edge and really impress your interviewers...

Not really trying to be an asshole, but be honest or it will catch up to you.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:00pm

What is funny is that BuySideGuy01 now changed his name to stemple369

His connections won't get him too far when someone on this forum that works at GS sends a link pointing to this thread to the MD he mentioned.

Array
Jun 27, 2011 - 4:06pm
Marcus_Halberstram:
What is funny is that BuySideGuy01 now changed his name to stemple369

His connections won't get him too far when someone on this forum that works at GS sends a link pointing to this thread to the MD he mentioned.

Esp if that MD would happen to be Harold Hope who is listed as one of the heads of GS PEG on the GS website.

[email protected]

He prob doesn't even know the guy, just looked up someone on GS PEG website and dropped a name.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:01pm

Interview secret weapons was a genuine interest. And F500 was... dare I say it, for a friend of mine. I just find the 'a friend of mine wants to know' disclaimers pretty pointless. I have plenty of friends who don't feel like they're cut out for 60-70 hr weeks, and are considering other avenues.

I don't really need to prove anything to anyone. The original culprit should have a pretty good idea of whether or not I am who I claim to be by the info I have already given him. And by the outcome of his interview(if there still is one).

Array
Jun 27, 2011 - 4:02pm

how embarrassing
btw how'd you know this guy changed his username?

​* http://www.linkedin.com/in/numicareerconsulting
Jun 27, 2011 - 4:04pm

hey everyone,

i just joined today and i am already fascinated with WSO. i find that this post in particular is very interesting because it seems to me that there are so many people out there that are so intelligent, yet arrogant.

but, what do I know? im still an undergrad. I really want to get into I-banking but the chances are not too great, coming from a non-ivy school. i do, however, pride myself on my professionalism, maturity, and respect for those around, especially my "professional superiors." any advice for a kid like me? someone that wants to get into I-banking, or the like, coming from a Big Ten school.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:13pm

What would you do if you were the person interviewing the kid after seeing all this? Would you destroy him in the interview or just interview as usual and see what happens?

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:16pm

Tell us if he shows up for the interview.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:17pm

let's be real; finance is an industry abound with arrogance and unjustified hubris. i've met plenty of people at hedge funds, pe funds, etc etc who are just as arrogant as the guy you are describing; the only difference is their age and the $$ in their bank accounts. unfortunately, people are under the impression that the $$ in your bank account somehow justifies you to be a prick, and justifies you to purport greater intelligence, savvy, etc etc, when none of these things are necessarily the case.

i highly doubt you will ever find larry page talking down to anyone the way some PMs i've spoken to do; yet i don't need to think twice about who is richer.

are there exceptions in other industries? of course; i'm sure we all know profs, entrepreneurs, etc etc all kinds of people who are just disgustingly arrogant. but in finance, where it is so easy to be arrogant, because you can quantify yourself so quickly, with nothing more than a number (your rank/comp), people take up this negative quality rather quickly. so honestly, i do think it is wrong of the OP, but i think it's just as wrong of random xyz hedge fund PM with 20 yrs experience to act that way as well.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:18pm
wallstreetguy25:
so honestly, i do think it is wrong of the OP, but i think it's just as wrong of random xyz hedge fund PM with 20 yrs experience to act that way as well.

Wow this is really shitty reasoning. Hedge fund managers have a tendency to be sexual deviants (see Tiger, underage girl massages, etc.) so if the buysideguy01 molested cattle, he's one step ahead of the game?

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:19pm

and i have no idea what the relevance or implicit statment of the above is; haha, i mean i just don't understand the point you are trying to make ideating, that's all. if you clarify it will prob make more sense; all i'm saying is, people give young undergrads grief about being arrogant; people light heartedly laugh about someone like herbert allen falling asleep during a board meeting. would they laugh if i fell asleep during a board mtg? no, ppl would just say that's messed up. well why don't they say that about herb allen? cause he's rich and established; somehow this makes him devoid of manners for some reason as well.

this is my point; the rules should apply to everyone, in fact i'm rereading my post and it is fairly clear that this is what i meant, and i'll be the first to admit when i'm not being cohesive; but i'd def provide any further elaboration

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:20pm

As an undergrad, you have zero reason to be arrogant. You have essentially accomplished nothing. You add zero value, have zero experience and are being hired only for potential (despite what you think, no one gives a shit about that 4.0 in your finance major). So when you are arrogant it really irks people. It's like a kid in middle school talking trash to a bunch of college kids- equal parts humor and "what the hell is wrong with this kid".

Hedge fund managers who have been doing it for years are given leeway because they have accomplished something in an incredibly competitive field dominated by very smart, motivated people. True, it is not right for them to be arrogant but given their past achievements and expected future performance it is forgiven as a personality quirk. You need to be able to have a track record to back it up. Steven Cohen could walk into Goldman Sachs and take a dump on Lloyd Blankenfein's desk and the CFO would ask if he needed some double ply.

That's why big guys in finance who are humble etc. are the most well respected. wallstreetguy, really surprised you need this explained- seemed pretty basic even for someone who is still a student.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:21pm

this is EXACTlY why ppl in finance are arrogant; in fact, you just exactly illustrated so precisely what i've been saying; the fact that they are given leeway is EXACTLY what is WRONG with the situation. you're stating it as a fact, but that fact is precisely what is messed up about the space we all work in.

it's just funny, because the very premise i'm attacking, is the very assumption you're starting out to begin with. i mean, it's fine, because that's how ppl in this space are, but it's just funny, because that's exactly what i'm saying is screwed up about the mentality

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:22pm

i'm not attacking you ideating, i know you're just stating what is the case, and i understand that that is the case; it's not that i don't, obviously. it's just that i don't accept it, that's all.

i've been around entrepreneurs who have made as much money as alot hf PMs do in their lives, within a few years. yet i wouldn't even know it from the way they act, speak, etc etc. i find this more common in silicon valley; highly successful people with alot of money, but alot more humility; vs someone making $1MM as a junior hf PM, but acting like some kind of prick. why should he be given leeway? why should anyone? it's not a personality quirk, it's just being dirty, and the money obfuscates that fact on wall street. that is the issue, the fact that people THINK it IS a personality quirk. success is no excuse for terrible behavior/attitude

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:23pm

That reminds me of a post I saw on here one time where a kid basically said he would rather make $500k at GS instead of $1 million at a nameless boutique because he wanted to people to know that he had money. Strange things people will do for the opportunity to put themselves above someone else (in their minds only, of course).

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:25pm
Dpietru:
That reminds me of a post I saw on here one time where a kid basically said he would rather make $500k at GS instead of $1 million at a nameless boutique because he wanted to people to know that he had money. Strange things people will do for the opportunity to put themselves above someone else (in their minds only, of course).

haha, that kid must be one twisted douche bag. Damn it, I would rather get a job that pays me 1Million working as a porter in one of those shady hotels than get paid 500K at GS.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:27pm

Is there a difference between Goldman PEG (Private Equity Group) and PIA (Principal Investment Area)? I've also heard of Goldman PIG (Principal Investment Group), though I had reason to believe the person was referring to PEG. What are the differences between these three (two?) groups?

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:28pm

I think the biggest difference is XYZ hedge fund manager can afford to behave like a prick. You have to be intelligent enough to know your role. The HF manager may be a prick, but I guarantee you when he meets clients he puts his game face on and kisses some major ass. Most of the BSD assholes know they are assholes, but basically their attitude is "wtf are you going to do about it?" And the answer is usually a meek "nothing." If you're a student with a "wtf are you going to do about it?" attitude, you're gonna get put in your place.

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Jun 27, 2011 - 4:29pm

Kind of funny because I know a guy that is a Director at an IB firm and is the biggest prick. Everyone says so, from his associate to analysts, and even to summers. Yet another person I know worth at least 40X what the director could possibly be, is the most humble person I have ever met, he will help out students, speak to anyone and encourages everyone to contribute and think when he teaches. The guy doesn't go out there and get a Ferrari, even though its a small hit to his wealth, although his watch collection is insane.

The guy can afford to be a prick, but feels it really would be beneath him to do so. I'm sure he is a shark at the negotiation table, but there is a difference between just being arrogant and putting on a game face at work.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:35pm
Alex_Kap:
Kind of funny because I know a guy that is a Director at an IB firm and is the biggest prick. Everyone says so, from his associate to analysts, and even to summers. Yet another person I know worth at least 40X what the director could possibly be, is the most humble person I have ever met, he will help out students, speak to anyone and encourages everyone to contribute and think when he teaches. The guy doesn't go out there and get a Ferrari, even though its a small hit to his wealth, although his watch collection is insane.

The guy can afford to be a prick, but feels it really would be beneath him to do so. I'm sure he is a shark at the negotiation table, but there is a difference between just being arrogant and putting on a game face at work.

Being a prick has nothing to do with what your position is and how much money you make (although the level of your obnoxiousness can be compounded by those two things).

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:36pm

to an earlier comment, i don't know much bout larry page, but not sure screaming/berating people would be necessarily beneath him. The whole "do no evil" smirkness and private jumbojet on NASA airfield crap makes me fear the worst however.

And frankly assholes are a dime a dozen among tech entrepreneurs. Nobody ever accused gates, ellison or jobs to be people persons.

success and being unbalanced comes together most of the time, with either potentially leading to the other. But that being said, you are better off getting successful first, as most naturally born assholes never actually become successful...

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:37pm

http://www.wired.com/gadgets/wireless/magazine/16-02/ff_iphone

Steve Jobs, that beloved turtleneck wearing entrepreneur, is no saint.

Excerpt:
It was a late morning in the fall of 2006. Almost a year earlier, Steve Jobs had tasked about 200 of Apple's top engineers with creating the iPhone. Yet here, in Apple's boardroom, it was clear that the prototype was still a disaster. It wasn't just buggy, it flat-out didn't work. The phone dropped calls constantly, the battery stopped charging before it was full, data and applications routinely became corrupted and unusable. The list of problems seemed endless. At the end of the demo, Jobs fixed the dozen or so people in the room with a level stare and said, "We don't have a product yet."

The effect was even more terrifying than one of Jobs' trademark tantrums. When the Apple chief screamed at his staff, it was scary but familiar. This time, his relative calm was unnerving. "It was one of the few times at Apple when I got a chill," says someone who was in the meeting.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:38pm

Yeah, Jobs's tirades and tantrums are pretty well known (along with Gates, et al.).

Another funny anecdote: I've heard that back in the 80s, "Steve & Steve" (Woz and Jobs) would park their matching Mercedes convertibles in the two handicapped spots at Apple every morning.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:39pm

Dude Ellison is the guy who used to fly his private jet across LA skys and wake everyone up, and when he got fined, he would pay it and say so what? I wanted to get home....

One CEO once told me Steve Jobs is so mental, and that he gets hands-on with everything. He calls and screams at Plant Managers about issues in the Apple merchandising/Operations division before even the COO or any of VPs in that division know about it.

Also I have heard Thiel and his whole crew are pretty arrogant and only respect crazy math smart kids.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:40pm

these points all prove what i am saying; that some people in every industry can be arrogant, and especially the people at the top of that industry, and in finance, it seems that the proportion of those people is much greater

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:43pm

I challenge badam to wall street boxing.

"Oh - the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion?"

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.
Jun 27, 2011 - 4:44pm

Truly awesome people are less likely to be (outwardly) arrogant though. In high school all the kids who thought they were smart were bitchy, arrogant, and overcompetitive. However, there was this one kid who was leagues above everyone else (and we all knew it). He never bragged or showed off at all. Why? Because it would be beneath him. Everyone already knew he was the shit so bragging would have just lowered him to the level of the "smart" kids who needed to prove it.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:45pm
dazedmonk:
Truly awesome people are less likely to be (outwardly) arrogant though. In high school all the kids who thought they were smart were bitchy, arrogant, and overcompetitive. However, there was this one kid who was leagues above everyone else (and we all knew it). He never bragged or showed off at all. Why? Because it would be beneath him. Everyone already knew he was the shit so bragging would have just lowered him to the level of the "smart" kids who needed to prove it.

This.
The smartest guys don't need to brag about it. People just realise it by themselves.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:47pm
melvvvar:
i find it hilarious that anyone at UNC thinks they have a right to be arrogant about anything

idk I thought Michael Jordan was pretty good - he could probably be arrogant

I didn't go to UNC (and don't really care about the school either way), but that's a pretty dumb statement

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy
Jun 27, 2011 - 4:49pm

Would love to see an update on this guy, I assume he didn't get Marcus canned.

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:53pm

Being and Ugrad myself, who already had an internship, I can tell you that I gained nothing in the past by being arrogant. After I started to work, even getting rejections while networking and also in interviews, made me think that well I'm not that special and I am too highly replaceable. The only way to prove yourself is to work hard , very, very hard and be extremely committed. If you expect everything to be handed to you on a silver platter FOREVER you are very wrong. Forget about excessive sense of entitlement, because if one day you don't have that food on you plate, I really hope that you have been nice to other people, otherwise I wish you good luck... Gratefulness is the best thing you have, it allows you to work harder for what you want, but at the same time, to be happy about what you already have or have accomplished. Just my 2 cents from a guy who was arrogant and lost a lot of good things because he was a d*ck to others ;)

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:55pm

Elaborate on your excessive sense of entitlement, having everything handed to you on a silver platter, and how exactly you were a d*ck to others? And what exactly it was that inspired you to break out of your tendencies?

Jun 27, 2011 - 4:54pm

Very well said @"Marcus_Halberstram". Never is too late to remember this kind of things.

Money never sleeps.
Jun 27, 2011 - 5:02pm

Madre de dios... just mind blowing. Why? How?......Face palm.

Rarely will any of my posts have enough forethought/structure to be taken seriously.
Jun 27, 2011 - 5:06pm

wdb:

any updates?

From 6 years ago?

When a plumber from Hoboken tells you he has a good feeling about a reverse iron condor spread on the Japanese Yen, you really have no choice. If you don’t do it to him, somebody else surely will. -Eddie B.
Jun 27, 2011 - 5:09pm

ibgybg listed the below tips last month. Thought they were pretty good rules to try and follow.....
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/15-career-steps

15 CAREER STEPS
1.) Perception is everything...act as if.

2.) Never give them a reason to fire you and they won't.

3.) Do everything that everyone doesn't want to do...do it better...and faster.

4.) If you don't ask for it you won't get it.

5.) Meet as many people as you can and learn as much as possible...the money will come later.

6.) Give more and you will receive more.

7.) They will always pay you just enough to keep you indifferent. (Your boss will likely never pay you more than what he/she made at your age...have a rich boss.)

8.) Treat your boss like you are in a heads up poker game with him/her: few tells, never show your hand if you don't have to, get as much information as you can, create low risk/high reward circumstances.

9.) The 3 most valuable commodities are relationships, time, and information. Probably in that order.

10.) Continuously innovate. Fixing an old problem is just as valuable as inventing a new idea.

11.) Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. Don't fear young talent. Embrace them and make them your army of advocates.

12.) Always have a plan B....and C.

13.) Sales make the world go round. Everyone is a salesman/woman at the end of the day.

14.) You cannot partner with people who do not share your work ethic, tenacity, urgency, or resourcefulness. Align your expectations before you begin.

15.) It's not what you SAY, it's what people HEAR.

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Jun 27, 2011 - 5:11pm

what not to do (Originally Posted: 01/24/2007)

a friend of my parents kid is a junior and wants an internship. so he called me, feigned interest, and i told him to send me his resume. this was on monday. still nothing today and unless he gets it here in 20 min, i'm gone for the day. a very poor showing.

Jun 27, 2011 - 5:13pm

it could be in your junk mail and in the process of being filtered. i know if i get emails with .edu addresses, i generally get a notification.

if he just didn't send it, then very poor showing. either way, he should have at least called to confirm that you received it.

actually, even if that did happen, you should have received it by now because he should have sent it monday/tuesday (latest). very poor showing.

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