My visit to Lehman & Bear Stearns buildings – CDO Day on Wall Street
Few years ago, when I had just started as a freshly minted analyst from college, I visited 745 Seventh Avenue building, home to erstwhile Lehman Brothers. Back then, the CEO of Lehman used to sit on 31st floor and the only reason you would ever step foot on that floor was if you were going places (up the ladder or out). Little did I realize that in a few years, I would be having lunch on the coveted 31st with senior leadership of BarCap. The façade of 745 looks different now. It’s blue and sports the logo of its British owners. So does another building 383 Madison, now home to JP Morgan. It once represented the success story of an underdog bank called Bear Stearns. The Career Development Office at Yale SOM works round the clock to put together what is called “Day on Wall Street.” The concept of day on Wall Street is common in all top business schools and Yale does an amazing job in it as well. Students who recruit for Wall Street jobs visit all the major banks and get a chance to talk to the alumni and leadership in the banks before they drop in their resume for the summer internship positions. Yale recently concluded its Day on Wall Street series, where over three weekends we visited and had a chance to talk to perspective employers and get a feel for their “culture”. GS, BarCap, JP, MS, UBS, CS, Citi, HL, Lazard. From bulge brackets to boutiques, you will find Yale alumni in every bank. We were welcomed by gracious hosts who gave us insights about their firms, took time out of their busy schedule to talk to about 50 odd students in black suits, interview us, tell us about their summer programs and gave us the opportunity to ask questions. The irony of the name is that none of the banks have offices on Wall Street. And as you walk around from one bank to another on a Friday, chances are that you will rub shoulders with students from other business schools buying mints or coffee at the Starbucks around the corner. Having counted the benefits, I must confess that this series is not for the faint hearted. You have to wake up at 5 AM to catch that train at 6.30 so you can make the appointment at 9 in the city. The New Haven line takes us directly to Grand Central, and if you are a member of the Yale Club which is around the corner, you get off that train, freshen up at the club and catch that cab to downtown (Citi, GS) or walk your way to Madison/ Park (JP, UBS). The rush of attending the meetings, asking “intelligent” questions and not missing the next meeting is a different feeling. I always concluded my day toasting a couple of drinks with my friends before taking the ride back home. And I always cursed myself on a Friday morning for deciding to recruit for NY banking. But then, events like these make you want to get up and hop into that 6.30 train. A special thanks also goes to Lloyd Baskin from CDO, who is always there accompanying us and giving us inputs during our visits. With resume drops, 5 days away, things are getting heated up and every one of us is kicked about it.