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Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 in Markets, TG Roundup

Goldman Sachs and the Myth of “The Best and the Brightest”

There is a widespread notion among mental health professionals that most MBAs from Ivy-league level schools are either sociopaths or narcissists. And many of those ‘sociopaths’ who are also finance majors gravitate towards careers at Wall Street financial firms. I do not go so far as asserting this belief as truth. However, I will not completely dismiss this theory also. Why? We do not have a choice about what we are born into. But a lot of us do have a choice about our careers.

Speaking of sociopaths – if you ever tuned to the Wall Street whorehouse, CNBC, you would not miss somebody or other telling us how great firm Goldman Sachs is. For that matter – Erin Burnett, one of the few ‘hot’ hosts with some brains,ย  never passes an opportunity to boast how smart and great the people at her former employer (Goldman) are. The Goldman suck-ups and apologists often say – only ‘the best of the best’ get to work at Goldman.

Take a look at this chart:

I know this just a sample of one, but it is one heck of a sample. Does this recommendationย  look like the one given by “the best of the best?”

I rest my case.

6 Comments

    • Ramana,

      I wouldn’t blame all MBAs for this. I call out only those who have sense of entitlement for their undeserving self diagnosed ‘smartness’ and misplaced egos; and those who do not distinguish between swelling and muscle. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Time permitting – I am going to bring this news with some previous posts of mine dating back to Sept/October/November 2008. In that post I said there was a blatant insider trading in GS stock 5-10 min before the close on the day Buffet deal was announced. I recall the stock jumped several points in the last 5 min.

      Rajat Gupta and Raj Rajaratnam – two people of Indian origin. What a disgrace to the community!

      [Edit: StockTock.com is now FocalEquity.com; they have changed the authorship of my articles to Craig Simmons, who I thought a decent guy! For example, this post was written by me: http://www.focalequity.com/2008/10/05/get-ready-for-jaw-dropping-action-in-markets/
      I sent Craig a request to change the authorship back to whom it belongs.]

      • Mohan,

        Ooops! I didn’t mean to disparage all MBAs!! Sorry if I sounded that way. I was indicating this individual. I know MBAs in any core business add invaluable contribution to the businesses to make them efficient and may set the road map of the companies also. But when they apply those tricks to this self-aggrandizing and embezzling practices like in wall-street firms, it kind of touches you somewhere. ๐Ÿ™‚

        I was told places like Harvard and other business schools now have courses on ethics to emphasize on human values. I know the medical doctors need to take an oath before starting practice ( The Hippocratic oath) as I used to see it in my dad’s hospital. I think we should have something like this for business professionals (or probably for all professions) too, not that it will prevent all frauds, but at least when a kid reads it in his or her dad/mom’s office may inculcate some humanity. ๐Ÿ™‚

        thanks for correcting me.

        –Ramana

        • Funny you mentioned that – I have a class in 20 min. I am done preparing for it and logged in to check out TG to find your comment.

          Guess what I am covering in this class – code of ethics, professionalism and leadership! I also talked to them about this newly instituted ‘ethics’ in MBA curricula across the nation.

          “Creating Ethical Business Leaders to Shape World’s Economy” – this is the NEW slogan of a business school I am very close to. Is this a tacit admission that before this slogan they weren’t ethical or what? If not, it is certainly a jab at other business schools.

          Today’s case is on Valujet blow–up in Florida Everglades. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Cool. I think you sent me a telepathic signal. ๐Ÿ™‚

            I was curious about the Valuejet incident. wikipedia article has the information on this and shows how multiple agencies failed in the report filed by NTSB.

            “The NTSB report split blame for the crash among three parties:
            on SabreTech, for improperly packaging and storing hazardous materials,

            on ValuJet, for not supervising SabreTech, and
            on the FAA, for not mandating smoke detection and fire suppression systems in cargo holds.

            I wonder if we have similar candid fact finding done and going to be ever done on the wall street greed and how they nearly threw entire world into another great depression! I am not sure if we are out of it also. ๐Ÿ˜

          • Ramana,

            In fact, the ethical standards pertaining to health and safety get lot more scrutiny than funny business like accounting and parasitic banking. World trade center was designed to withstand the impact of Boeing 707 for 15 min. It took 757 and 45 min. Imagine the consequences of lapses in ethics in design or construction phase construction.