June 20, 2010
I had finally gotten my resume into a form that looked acceptable for potential buyside recruiting. Unfortunately, no one told me that the world around me was about to collapse and that we were heading straight into recession abyss. Beside the point, the resume looked professional enough with sexy code names riddling the top half. The code names served as a double entendre of sorts: sure, they were deals that I was working on or had worked on, but they also never closed. There’s an unwritten rule in the Analyst Handbook for Getting the Fuck Out of Banking: If you haven’t closed anything, put deals that you have worked on and slap on a code name (write that down!). I had received a few introductions to various headhunters via the Confidante and hoped for the best. Having barely a year of experience doesn’t exactly bode well for buyside recruiting but it’s not completely hopeless.
We had been informed by the division head that we’d be moving to join a structured product group. We would subsequently move from the cocoon of anonymity, cubicles and offices to a wide open trading floor, where at any given moment, the global head of the division would be able to walk down the throw, peer over you shoulder, and ask you random questions relating to your work. The head of our particular division was particularly unnerving. His gait was often slow and deliberate down the long row of trading desks down to his office even though his gaze was intense and penetrating. He was somewhat of a legend amongst the floor: hired as a post-MBA associate under one of the oldest MDs on the floor, burned through various analysts who worked under him, and climbed the corporate ladder to division head (at which point, said hiring MD was his minion). While the division head maintained his desk on the floor, he spent most of his type in one of the glass offices which gave him access to a full, panoramic view of the floor.
The group that we had joined was one that we’d work closely with in the past. By sheer randomness, the associate in that group happened to be a close family friend of my Godparents. We immediately hit it off and it occurred to me that she would be an important ally (my gut reaction was, in fact, correct). As there was not enough space in the immediate row for the new analysts (moi, Mr. Burrito and Smelly Homeless Kid), we were cast around the corner to a desk that could only be described as the jewish-quant desk. Apparently, in order to work in *that* group, one needed to be a serious jew (yarmulkes) AND a serious quant (phd).
At this point (circa March/April 2008), we had entered what seemed to be the second or third of an indefinite round of layoffs. I had watched as the multitude of analysts from my class had gotten the axe and waited with bated breath for my turn. Timing is everything.