Recently I had someone ask me when I first knew I wanted to work in investment banking. For anyone who has ever had an interview for an investment banking job, you know how important this answer is.
I knew I wanted to work in investment banking before I even full knew what it was. I was sitting in my fourth year Options & Futures class at McMaster University. The prof, Narat Charupat, was amazing and he made finance seem exciting. I was sitting in class on the afternoon of what later became known as Black Monday and Professor Charupat came into class.
He walked in to the front podium, let out a loud sigh and said:
“Guys things are bad out there. The Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy this morning is going to change the course of history. Things are going to get worse over the next few months.”
At the time I didn’t even really know what Lehman Brothers was, but what intrigued me was that this company had the ability to make such a massive impact. I pulled my Blackberry Curve out of my pocket and started reading up on what Lehman Brothers was all about.
Lehman Brothers was a global financial services firm. Before declaring bankruptcy in 2008, Lehman was the fourth-largest investment bank in the United States.
I didn’t know what an investment bank was, but at that moment I knew I wanted to work for one. I had always wanted to make an impact on the world and an investment bank seemed like a place I could accomplish this.
If this type of firm failing was having such a negative shock on the world then surely when thriving it’s impact must be positive and significant. The more I learned about investment banking the more I wanted to do it.
The other thing I quickly learned about investment banking was how much money bankers made. It seemed like the perfect job. You had the power to make an impact on the world and you got paid insane amounts of money to do it.
I will always remember Black Monday as the day I knew I wanted to become an investment banker. Most will remember it as the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression, but it was the day I started my journey to Bay Street.
Depth Of Field (Seth Godin)