Thursday, 24 May 2012

Book Review - Monkey Business: Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle by John Rolfe and Peter Troob

Monkey Business: Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle
Monkey Business is a funny, outlandish and surprisingly honest insider’s look into life as a junior investment banker.   For any junior investment banker who reads this book, you will be able to relate to 90% of this book straight away and for any student who is considering pursuing an investment banking career (undergraduate and MBA alike) this book offers insights and warnings about the life you are letting yourself in for.  I rated this book 5 / 5.
The book follows a chronological timeline of Rolfe and Troob’s journey through their associate investment banking career at DLJ (since acquired by Credit Suisse) from the MBA and recruiting processes, through the summer associate program to life as a full time associate and then their experiences leaving the investment banking world.
What this book does particularly well is strip away the hype and the mystery surrounding investment banking including answering
·         What does a junior banker actually do?
·         How does the investment banking hierarchy work and what role each level play (from the analyst monkeys, to the Cro-Magnon man associates, to the processing robot vice president and above)?
·         Why do investment bankers get paid so much?
·         Why is turnover so high at investment banks and when do you decide to leave?
Some aspects of the book are a little dated including the now irrelevant word processing department (which typed up the handwritten documents) and to a lesser extent the production
room (though from experience this can still be an extremely painful experience).  Some aspects of the book remain timeless including the way junior bankers get treated (quite badly), the pressure that they face, the valuation techniques used by banks as well as a host of other topics including drafting of documents, pay considerations and how to play the staffing game.   
ü  The most accurate portrayal that I have read about life as a junior investment banker
ü  This book does not deviate away from the central experience of the two authors (as Liar’s Poker does) and you feel the continuity of the book
û  A little crass and over the top at times but this does not distract too much from the story
û  I would have liked to know a little more about how life went for the two authors after they left investment banking
·         For anyone looking to become an investment banker this is an amazing read as it offers insights in to the world you are looking to become a part of
·         For anyone who has a friend in investment banking and wants to know what they do – this is probably the quickest way you will find out
·         I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  It is one of the very few books where I have laughed through the whole book and learned a lot at the same time. 

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