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My Book Reviews

Category: Wall Street insider
Published: 2000
Read: 2002
Reviewed: Jun 2010

This book recounts the journey of two MBA students (from Wharton and Harvard Business School) as they get recruited by Wall Street and work as investment bankers at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. The book covers: the recruitment process, their summer internship at an investment bank, their acceptance of an offer, and their first few months on the job which involve a lot of late hours and demeaning work. Even though this book is highly-entertaining, it also manages to educated the reader about all of the fundamental aspects of investment banking, including:

  • the hierarchy of power at investment banks (managing directors, senior vice presidents, vice presidents, associates, analysts)
  • the types of valuation used (relative valuation, DCF)
  • the functions of investment banks (raising capital, advising businesses)
  • the process of drafting a prospectus for an IPO
  • how investment banks solicit business
  • doing a road show to sell an IPO to prospective investors
  • the due diligence process

The book is very humorous and is full of stories about the ridicluous routines involved in the day-to-day life of a junior investment banker. A couple of notable stories were the purposefully time-wasting revisions to a write-up of a prospectus, and the author's adventures in dealing with the people at the in-house copy center. Although the book comes off as overly cynical and makes one wonder if some of the adventures were exaggerated, I get the feeling that the spirit of the book is not inaccurate.

Even though this was not the purpose of the book, the book makes you contemplate the philosophical issue of the relationship between your career and your values. Although most employees do not endure the level of dysfunction that investment bankers do, I'm sure that many people can relate to the long hours, lack of personal life, unhealthy working conditions, soul-sucking work, and disillusions of eventually "making it".

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