Monday, December 18, 2006

An e-mail from a student

Last Saturday, I received the following e-mail from a student:

Dear GB,

My problem is I am a student in university and i went to some presentations of investment banks about internship. In which i have met a guy who has already worked there. I think i really fancy him and i have his email. I sent him an email to ask how is he but he hasnt replied me back. I am confused what should i do next? Can you tell me please?

I reckon it’s difficult to give reliable advice here because there are a lot of unanswered questions. What exactly happened between the student and the guy who works for the investment bank when they met? Is the student’s objective to find a boyfriend, or to get an internship?

Regarding internships, my experience is that the Human Resources departments of investment banks draw up a short list appropriate candidates, and then send round summary descriptions of each candidate to various managers within the bank, choosing managers who might have suitable short term projects where an intern could help. So the guy who the reader met could either be someone from a Human Resources department, or perhaps a guy who was a representative from a department which sometimes employs interns, and who was sent along to give the students an idea of what working in an investment bank is like. In either case, it is very unlikely that the guy would make the final decision about which students to give internships to.

I’ve said it before, but in my opinion it’s not good to get emotionally involved with colleagues. If someone is involved in hiring interns, they are very likely to have the same view as me in this respect, especially if they are from the Human Resources department. It’s very important to be seen to give all candidates equal treatment, and a liaison with an intern candidate would definitely be regarded as inappropriate if discovered.

My guess is that the guy gave his e-mail address to the student expecting to receive queries about investment banking and internships, rather than an e-mail asking how he is. If I’m right the guy won’t respond, even if he is gay, because he knows that developing friendships like this is inappropriate and unprofessional in this situation.

So what do I think the student should do? It’s simple really. I reckon he should
  • Forget about the guy at the investment bank as soon as possible;
  • Study hard if he wants an internship and perhaps a career in investment banking because the barriers to entry can be high;
  • Look for boyfriends outside the business environment!
Do any readers have any other thoughts on this?


N1David said...

As an HR person in the City (now in reinsurance but previously investment banking), if I got a "how are you" email from a prospective candidate, I would immediately be on high alert and probably not respond (as GB suggested).

As an out gay man in the City, I feel obliged to have the highest standards of conduct - higher in fact than my straight colleagues. There are occasions when I've been attracted to candidates, but I'm being honest when I say that I don't think it's ever influenced my choice of candidate.

So sad to say, I agree with GB's recommendations - move on - career and love life have to be separate. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Work in IT Dpt in Investment Bank.
Like GB and Mr N1David said. I would separate Love and work. I have slept with colleague (eem .. Ok colleagues) and did have a fun.
But after all, love (or flirt or quick shag whatever you call) and work never supposed to be mixed. You end up with various messes. Move on, and be ambitious for both Love and carrier but separately.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this has nothing to do with this blog, just wanted to see if u got my email and that it didnt go into your junk folder..greetings from paris!

Alan said...

Nevef mix business and pleasure - ever. Did it in the past and it screwed everything up. Lost us both a good friendship and made the work environment very hard. There are loads of people outside of work just waiting to jump into bed with you so go and explore. Just be safe.

Will said...

If the financial environment in London is anything like what we have here in the US, that's good advice indeed.

I'll note that it's now becoming possible to be out in the financial world here, particularly if you're already established and have a good track record. But it's still a somewhat fragile situation and anything of a carnal nature between colleagues, especially between men in in different levels of responsibility within the same company, would be a major problem.

iz said...

Yeah I guess youre right. But sometimes it's nice to just be impulsive and go for what you like.

JC said...

Heheh...I hope you don't think I am a pain in the butt for pointing that out...

GB said...

On the contrary JC, I am genuinely grateful :-).

Happy Christmas, GB xxx

Anonymous said...

I guess it is exciting meeting someone at work that you actually like. I think I have never have that experience. Although as a young guy in the business of life, I agree with you about not to mix work and pleasure, unless you get paid for that pleasure.

Nice blog, i love it!!