Risk Latte - Interview with John D  -  How to be a Successful Investment Banker

Interview with John D  -  How to be a Successful Investment Banker

Rahul Bhattacharya
July 22,2006

John D is a super successful M & A investment banker who made his fortune in the seven years working on various deals in Asia . With a net worth upwards of $50 million and a 5000 sq feet house on the Peak in Hong Kong he is the epitome of what we call the Asian Banking success. Recently, he met up with me (I have been requesting an audience with him for the last three and half years) and discussed various issues in an eight and a half minutes interview.

Mostly he talked about SLAVEs, a revolutionary banking product that he has pioneered for his most preferred clients in Asia and on which his team of 70 other bankers have worked day and night (actually it seems the product has been copied, borrowed and synthesized from some really funky products making rounds in Europe these days).

After three minutes of monologue on SLAVEs, and another three and a half minutes of him talking on his mobile phone, I asked him: "John, what is the secret to your success so far?" And without batting an eyelid he answered: "But of course, my team members, their intelligence and diligence. We, at _______, are very careful in choosing our people and they have to go through a very rigorous selection process to get into the M & A team. "

I then asked him:"Can you elaborate a bit on your selection process? I mean, what tests are given by your line managers and HR to the candidates when you select them?"

It was exactly eight minutes now and he said, "look, I'll give you a simple test- a multiple choice type questions which is a small sample from our selection tests and you will get the flavour." The interview was over. Here is the multiple choice test-you have to choose one answer only.

A Gaussian Copula is

  1. a masterpiece painting by Leonardo da Vinci;
  2. The architecture of the foyer of a 15 th century Church in Italy ;
  3. A famous Hollywood film producer and director;
  4. used in estimating default time of a reference asset ;


  1. the hairstyle of ladies in the 60s inspired by the hippie culture;
  2. a New York style fine dining restaurant in South Kensington ;
  3. Non- linear planar Altitude methodology to estimate distance to the runway from the cockpit of an aircraft;
  4. Net operating profit less adjusted taxes for estimating the free cash flows of a company;

If A is American , B is British and C is Colombian , then Indian is:

  1. I
  2. Maya civilization
  3. Bollywood
  4. C++


  1. someone who does sucking, sucking and sucking from 7 am in the morning to 9 pm in the evening for a million dollars a month;
  2. someone who proudly wears his photo ID around his neck;
  3. who mistakes Blackberry for his spouse;
  4. Structured loan and variable equity, i.e. screw your clients;

The Janitor of a bank wants to be the Chief Risk Officer of that bank. All he needs to do is:

  1. to Eavesdrop on the conversation of the senior managers when they are peeing together;
  2. to leave a message on the toilet door saying: "leave your shit floating";
  3. to clearly understand that when shit hits the fan blame it all on your subordinate;
  4. to memorize the FRM exam Handbook and take the FRM exam;

Dear readers, we answered option 4 to all the above questions and they all turned out to be wrong. You can give it a shot and send your answers to team@risklatte.xyz and we will forward that to John D. Here is your chance to win the $50 million jackpot.

© Rahul Bhattacharya
This column is written by Rahul Bhattacharya and reflects his own views about life and business. It does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of other members of Risk Latte Americas Inc., Hong Kong (“the Company”) and the Company accepts no responsibility for any factual errors contained in the column and strongly advises readers not to pay much attention to it.

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