Young Banker Loses Two Jobs Over One Email

by Derek Loosvelt | June 08, 2015

  • My Vault

Poor Justin Kwan. The second-year Barclays banker thought he was merely making a harmless joke or two when he sent an email to the new class of summer interns with the subject line “Welcome to the Jungle” and including in its body the “10 Commandments” of the power and utilities banking group, of which he was a part. Instead, Kwan’s email, which was anything but harmless (in fact, it was quite humorless), was quickly posted on scores of websites, including Gawker, Dealbreaker, and WSJ.com, soon after which Kwan was asked to leave Barclays—for good.

Which, aside from the fact that this meant his bonus was history, wasn’t such bad news for Kwan, because the young banker was aiming to leave his analyst position this summer to join the very prestigious Carlyle Group. But once the big swinging private equity firm got wind of Kwan’s unfunny and ill-timed email—it was sent just after it was revealed that two bankers, one from Goldman and the other from Moelis, had apparently committed suicide due in large part to the brutal work schedules endured by young bankers; and said brutal work schedules were what Kwan’s email was attempting to make fun of—it, too, told Kwan that his services would no longer be needed.

Moral here is 1) NEVER EVER EVER send an email that looks anything even close to Kwan’s*; and 2) Same goes for texting, Facebooking, tweeting, Instagramming, YouTubing, etc.; that is, never mix business with your poor sense of ill-timed humor.

*In order to stress this point, which really cannot be stressed enough, here is that email in (nearly) its entirety:

Incoming Intern Class of 2015, Welcome to Power! I am sure you are all busy at training, but in the interest of helping your transition into the summer, and hopefully helping some of you secure Full-Time offers, I wanted to introduce you to the 10 Power Commandments. Respect them, love them, live them. You may have heard different stories about Barclays Power ... needless to say we are a unique group at Barclays. And with that come unique rules.
For 9 weeks you will live and die by these:
1. Our group dresses very conservatively. Given that it is summer, no socks is accepted and, in fact, encouraged. (Men: On your first day at the desk, it is customary to wear a bowtie and/or suspenders).
2. Remember: this is a summer internship for a full-time offer. It won’t be easy. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.
3. We expect you to be the last ones to leave every night…no matter what. That’s what good summer analysts do. (Also getting in earlier than me would be a power move – You should enjoy your casual 9:15AM PT arrival time this Friday, but I wouldn’t get used to it).
4. During your first few weeks we ask that you direct all of your questions to Michael Lomio. Tell the other summers too, Michael is industry agnostic. If you ask me a question it will be noted.
5. Never take your jacket off at work. This is investment banking, ladies and gentlemen. Other groups may be more liberal when it comes to summer dress code, unfortunately were not
6. You will be assigned junior “mentors”. It is much appreciated if you would bring breakfast in for your respective “mentor.” Some people are more particular about this than others.
7. I recommend bringing a pillow to the office (yoga mat works as well). It makes sleeping under your desk a lot more comfortable, in the very likely scenario that you have to do that.
8. You are expected to allocate at least half your seamless web order for group appetizers/snacks for the month of June. No questions asked. Once the 2nd years leave, you can enjoy your $25 allocations.
9. Have a spare tie/scarf or two around. You never know when your associate will run out of napkins.
10. When you need to leave your desk there will be a sign out sheet outside your cubes. Please fill it out including where you went and for how long. This is important come the end of your internship.
I hope it is clear from the rules above that the internship really is a 9-week commitment at the desk. You are here with the sole goal to impress the group enough to receive a FT offer. During my summer in the group an intern asked our staffer for a weekend off for a family reunion – he was told he could go. He was also asked to hand in his blackberry and pack up his desk.

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Read More:
WARNING: Working on Wall Street Kills
Forget Goldman and McKinsey, Take a Gap Year Instead
Wall Street’s Return: Wonderful or Frightful?

Filed Under: Finance | Job Search | Workplace Issues

Tags: barclays | investment banking | summer internships | the carlyle group | wall street

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