What Powers Stars at Goldman Sachs

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Forget the analogies between investment bankers and athletes, the new hot comparison is between investment bankers and film stars.

Bill George, a Goldman Sachsdirector and professor of management at Harvard Business School has featured in a short video claiming bankers are akin to film stars: "If you don't pay them for their performance, you'll lose them."

Totally coincidentally, the Spears Wealth Management Web site is running an interview with a Goldman Sachs alum which underlines the rarefied and filmic nature of those working for the The Firm.

Nicholas Sarkis, founding partner of independent investment advisory firm Alpha One and a former Goldman employee, describes getting into Goldman (back in the days when it was a private company) as:

"...like a psychological and intellectual boot camp for the very best young minds in the world, the most ambitious and most driven. Many applicants simply couldn't take the pace, or handle the line of questioning - which made the rigours of Top Gun suddenly seem like a municipal ballet school.

Most notably, Sarkis says:

· He had 52 interviews before he was admitted to the great Goldman elite

· That this included four sets of interviews in London and a final round in New York

· He witnessed a 42-year-old trader have a heart attack at his desk when he was in New York for the interview ("I saw the guy whizzed out and I really thought that I was in a movie).

· Goldmanites are not unlike a group of catty celebrities: "At GS, it is all about emulation and internal competition. They never want people to feel secure...In general, the more successful you are, the less popular you will become."

· Training at Goldman is more like an army bootcamp than an athletics commune. The Goldman training programme is apparently designed to break the "huge egos" of all the Harvard and Yale graduates the bank employs: in Sarkis' day, the head of training chased people into the toilets to ask them the closing price of gold.

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