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Summer Reading - Monkey Business

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Summer Reading - Monkey Business [#permalink] New post 22 May 2007, 18:07
I just finished this book. Like Liar's Poker, I laughed my ass off. Another page-turner. The subject matter is Investment Banking (as opposed to S&T in Liar's Poker) and tells the story of a couple of guys from Wharton & Harvard at DLJ from recruitment until ... I don't think anyone reads this book for the plot, but I'm about to give away the ending - if you don't want to know it don't read the rest of this paragraph ... they leave after 2-3 years and join hedge funds. It seems that their timing was fortuitous because as I remember, DLJ imploded shortly afterwards.

Anyhow, these two guys really hate banking, especially how they are treated by people higher up the beanpole. The working conditions they describe are about as bad as it can possibly get, and their firm seemed to be loaded with real a-holes.

Some of the sections really rang true for me. The section about drafting sessions was spot on. I sat in on a bunch of these things as a lawyer. They could have taken the words right out of my mouth when the described how no document was ever done, they just decided it was getting too expensive or there was no more time. I felt that way about every single prospectus I ever did. I guess I had it pretty good in that the word processing dept and copy center at my firm in NY were both top notch, but I definitely understand how prissy they can be if you don't take care of them.

I only went to the printer once in my life. I'm not sure they do that any more. Lawyers used to make a big deal about doing to the printer as well, but the process was being phased out in 2001-2002 while I was working on those types of deals. It has never occurred to me to ask about deal specifics when I catch up with them, but I'm pretty sure the process of going to the printers has fallen by the wayside.

Personally, I have no desire to join the banking business in NY. I believe the book overstates the work load a little bit - the hours that they describe are definitely peak times - but there's no question that the hours are brutal. I think it's 1/2 the IB business and 1/2 the NY culture. When I was with an LA firm, drafting sessions resembled the ones in NY, but people generally cut out by 9 or 10PM at the latest. It was rare for all the assembled groups to stay deep into the night like they do in NY.

I definitely recommend this book - it's a fun read. For anyone that joins a NY IB and loses their mind after two years, they can't say they weren't warned.

I'm actually interested in checking out a book about consulting. Does anyone know of any colorful stories that describe life on the road?
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Re: Summer Reading - Monkey Business [#permalink] New post 22 May 2007, 20:22
The one phrase that stuck with me over the years was crossing the t(s) and dotting the i(s) in the middle of the night. That ended my brief flirtation with a banking career.
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 [#permalink] New post 25 May 2007, 05:07
When reading Monkey Business, I think it's paramount that you realize this is a caricature of IB from 1st year bankers. I've never read the book, but a few banker friends have told me many of the stories, and they agree most of the accounts are highly exaggerated.

The bottom line is that if you can't stand to start out at the bottom of the IB ladder, then this probably isn't the profession for you. However, if you can pay your dues for a couple years until you move up to VP and beyond, then you will have opportunities to take leadership roles on interesting projects while also making some nice compensation.

Personally, I wouldn't make my decision on whether to work in a particular industry based on a book by two former lower-level employees that appear to have an axe to grind.
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 [#permalink] New post 25 May 2007, 06:46
I am mostly sure that I don't want to do i-banking (looking at inv mgmt instead), but I'm reading The Accidental Investment Banker right now, and it's pretty darn good. The guy who wrote it has a Yale law degree and a Stanford MBA, and worked at Goldman and Morgan Stanley.

Easy to read and follow, and provides a good background of the industry and the day to day work. Entertaining too.
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 [#permalink] New post 25 May 2007, 08:58
I read The Accidental Investment Banker last month. It's a pretty good book. It doesn't have the colorful stories of Monkey Business, but it's probably a more accurate account of what life is really like. I'm sure the events of Monkey Business did actually happen, but they are condensed and livened up to make the book more entertaining.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2007, 11:31
I love Monkey Business.

"equities in Dallas".
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2007, 04:25
I haven't read 'the accidental investment banker' but I have read Auger's other book, 'The greed merchants'. Incidentally this was just before I joined up Macquarie (the true blue aussie greed merchant). Excellent book, I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a further insight into how the IB industry has evolved over time to become what it is now.

I have several consulting war stories (IT not management), I guess the work culture in Australia is slightly different to that of America, but the long hours and the deadline pressures, the politics, and the ugly clients remain the same.

One guy started a cartoon strip about the whole thing. It was absolutely hilarious, and absolutely true. Anyone who has worked with the Top 5 IT consulting houses (not just Accenture) can relate to these.

Check out : http://www.bigtimeconsulting.com/

I guess I have been lucky to have worked both for consulting and IB (although IT at both places) I have seen what the work environment is like for the management consulting side of it (at the Strategy arm) and the actual IB guys cutting the deals. I am more disillusioned with the consulting life than I am with IB.

Work life balance is rubbish at both places, at least IB pays better and you don't have to pack your bags at the drop of a hat and be ready to go to some random place with no idea about when you would be back. It was exciting when it started, well over it now.
  [#permalink] 21 Jun 2007, 04:25
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