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Does Goldman Sachs employ sadists?

Unfortunately for Goldman Sachs, the stream of unfavourable anecdotes emanating from William Cohan's new book on the firm continues unabated.

The latest, on CNBC yesterday concerns the practice of 'hazing' (abusing) new recruits as part of an informal initiation process.

CNBC senior editor John Carney relates how a Goldman partner took the initiative to haze a collection of new associates as follows:

A group of newly recruited investment bankers, fresh out of the nation's top business schools, were summoned to a conference room at 5 p.m. on the Friday before Memorial Day. The partner who summoned them did not tell them what the meeting was about-a fairly standard practice at Goldman where junior employees are often kept in the dark until the last moment. No doubt the young recruits expected that they would be working on a new deal that absolutely had to get done over the holiday weekend.

....By summoning them to the meeting at 5 pm, the partner was effectively issuing an order for them to cancel their plans -without going through the courtesy of actually saying, "You'll have to cancel your weekend plans because our client needs us over the weekend."

....It gets worse. As Cohan tells it, the partner who issued the order to meet at 5 p.m. did not show up until 10 p.m.

What had kept him?

Nothing at all. He told the group that the wait had been a test to see whether they had "the right attitude."

Three of those summoned had left during the intervening hours. They were promptly fired.

Carney points out that this seems illogical: in this way, the partner ensured that Goldman eliminated free thinkers and retained sheeple.

This latest anecdote follows reports of hazing at Goldman in London a few years' ago.

Coming on the same day as a separate claim (also originating from Cohan's book) that former Goldman COO John Thornton threatened to slit the throats of his team and drink their blood if they didn't win a mandate, it suggests that working at Goldman Sachs isn't that great after all.

It implies that working for Goldman Sachs may make your hair change colour. And that the firm is replete with power-crazed sadists.

In its defence, Goldman is not the only bank with a sadistic streak - now or in the past. Geraint Anderson revealed some heavy hazing of interns at the now defunct Dresdner Kleinwort in his Cityboy columns five years ago.

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • To
    4 May 2011

    You?ve got it in one. Couldn?t have put it betetr.

  • XF
    28 April 2011

    Hahaha, Eric, loved your comments, can't really disagree with anything you said to be honest.

    I was probably thinking back to the good old days when this country had some backbone, and standards, and weren't run by a bunch of complete morons, the good old days.

    I agree that this country is on its way down, which is why I was saying that this country needs to stand alone, away from the crap we keep getting attached to, and start thinking for itself again, but I'm saddened to say it may be too late.

    Anyways, your comic genius comment was well appreciated because I am looking to become a comedy writer.

    Have a good day peeps


  • Ba
    28 April 2011

    @ Eric - "poorly mismanaged" actually means well managed. What you wanted to say is either "poorly managed" or "mismanaged". Graduate of a TOP 1000 university?

  • sl
    28 April 2011

    I started at GS 6 months ago and love it. The people are great, the work challenging and you get out what you put in. Who wants a "work-life balance"?! Sod that! They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby

  • Er
    28 April 2011

    The UK on top again? Put the crack pipe down you nostalgic loser, the only direction the UK is headed is down along with it's mountains of poorly mismanaged debt. The whole EU is a ridiculous construct based on lies not solid numbers. Your quaint beloved union is already fragmenting, its only a matter of time until members start to drop out or drastically modify their terms of membership. The EU would best be dubbed the "DU" because the Deutschland is the only solvent viable member in Europe! The UK an emerging power again?? That's comic genius!!!!

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