Overworked Analysts, India and China, and Undersea Shenanigans

Hello, Been a while, huh. I would like to wish you all, belatedly, a

  1. Happy Diwali 
  2. Merry Xmas
  3. Happy New Year, and 
  4. Happy Lunar New Year

Right. On to business - 


A slide deck made by harried juniors at Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking (IB) Division has been doing the rounds the past week, and it makes you want to pity them, till you remember the fact that they’re actually very well compensated for their troubles.

Here’s the bit that makes you pity ‘em - they’re working 105 hours a week on average. Their mental health is suffering. Some choice quotes like the following

“I didn’t come into this job expecting a 9am-5pm’s, but I also didn’t expect consistent 9am-5am’s either”

and

 ”My body physically hurts all the time and mentally I’m in a really dark place”

help add some more colour to their situation. I’m pretty sure humans were not designed for 100-hour weeks, that’s just inhuman.    

But then again, they really should not be surprised. As this writer tells us, in rather colourful language, anyone joining an IB should remember that - 

… the core premise of my industry … is uncompromising customer service. The entire f______g point of working 24 hours a day, for days on end, and canceling weeknight dates with Kate Upton, Las Vegas bachelor parties with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, and Christmas holidays with the Pope of all Christendom at the last possible minute is that the entire investment bank works at the pleasure and whim of clients who pay us a small fortune to do so.

In comparison, one is reminded of medical residents, who work just as long for lower pay, and are responsible for the lives of actual human beings too. It must suck, though, to think you’ll join an Investment Bank and work in a high octane environment, where every fibre of your being would be engaged in finding the best terms for your client, only to find out that PowerPoint and Excel do a really bad job of supplying the aforementioned high octane, and that every fibre of your being is actually just adjusting box sizes and fonts to suit your MDs idiosyncrasies.     

Not much will change. Certain walks of life - law, medicine, banking, etc. have always had such working hours, and there have always been very many people willing to call themselves members of those professions, and by extension, work those inhumane hours. Oh and by the way, the CEO of Goldman has made his displeasure known at the whole work-from-home thing that’s besieged the working world, and he would very much like it if people came back to office. Heh.


China and India have ‘disengaged’ on the India-China border in Ladakh. The standoff has been pretty long, and for a while there both countries’ militaries were locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation. The man in charge of India’s Northern Army said that the two countries almost went to war on the night of 29-30 August, when India deployed its own troops to check China’s aggression.    

We also know now that the way the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had deployed itself (in straight lines) indicated that they did not anticipate an Indian reaction; they definitely did not anticipate a reaction that would lead to shots being fired (which also happened on the night of 29-30 August). Here’s hoping that that part of the world remains relatively calm for the foreseeable future. 


Here’s a site that’ll make you sit up and think - Submarine Cable Map.

It shows you the routes along which cables have been laid on the sea-floor. Made me wonder about just how many choke points there were for these cables - and how easy they might be to mess with should someone decide to put their minds to it. Oh wait, that’s already been done! Many years ago, the US spent millions of dollars and built a nuclear-powered ‘special projects’ submarine named the USS Halibut, which sailed all the way to the coast of the USSR, and tapped submarine cables laid by the Soviet navy, recording years’ worth of conversations. The whole operation was discovered, however, through typical Russian ingenuity - they paid a disgruntled American a paltry US$35k, and he told ‘em all about the operation. Objectively speaking, the Russians won that round, hands-down (on a Return-on-Investment basis, that is). 


There’s more where that came from, and I’ll send it all out soon enough. Thank you for reading, hope you have a great week ahead!