How to get an internship at Goldman Sachs - have a powerful relative who's a client and prepared to throw his weight around?
If you're sitting there wondering how it was that you didn't get an internship at Goldman Sachs and what you can to improve your chances next time, Haitem Zarti may have provided the answer.
The Financial Times reports this morning that Haitem, who fortuitously happened to be the brother of Mustafa Zarti, deputy head of the Libyan Investment Authority with whom Goldman was engaged in its famously abysmal derivatives trade.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Goldman partners first met the Libyans in May 2007. Mustafa Zarti, a longtime friend of Gadhafi appears to have been their main point of contact.
Between January and June 2008, the Libyan Investment Authority paid Goldman $1.3bn for a basket of options and in June 2008, Haitem - then aged 26 - turned up for a three month internship after his MBA.
Goldman's saying the two things are totally unrelated, but it all seems a bit coincidental. More weirdly, Haitem stayed on with the bank after his internship (even though internships are usually taken midway through an MBA) and left only in May 2009.
Haitem's situation may have become untenable. The Wall Street Journal reported that in July 2008, Mustafa Zarti summoned Goldman staff to Libya and behaved like a 'raging bull' over his 98% loss on the options trades, cursing and threatening Goldman's North Africa chief to the extent that the Goldman staff required security protection until they could leave the country.
Whatever the reality behind the scenes, Haitem's case highlights the truth about nepotism and internships: while it's comparatively easy for banks to explain to their own staff that they can't give preferential treatment to relatives who want a job with them, it's far less easy to explain this to clients who are contributing millions in revenues.