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Stanford student "blacklisted" from jobs because of his Internet writings

Here's a good argument for anonymity:

New York Observer: November 24, 1997

Salomon Brothers Tattler Gets Famous on the Web

by Tinker Spitz

Tim Shields, a student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, spent
the summer working as an investment banking summer associate for Salomon
Brothers. He didn't like it much. When he got back to Stanford, he wrote two
articles about his experiences and published them in The Reporter, a
business school publication.

No harm done, right? Wrong. Now, through the magic of the Internet, all of
Wall Street is aware of Mr. Shields' complaints.

Overworked bankers, chained to their desks, often turn to their computers
for entertainment to break up the tedium of creating shareholder profiles
and whatever other dreary analyses their clients might demand of them.
Lately, Mr. Shields' bitter article, making the rounds by e-mail, has been
that entertainment.

Mr. Shields was merciless in his depiction of Salomon Brothers and the
people he encountered from other business schools. Here is a line that
nicely sums up his impression of his summer: "The 38 members of my
Investment Banking Summer Associate class represented a wide range of
personality types, from the merely obnoxious to the moderately narcissistic
to the overwhelmingly repugnant."

He also makes Salomon Brothers chief executive Deryck Maughan look like
either a hypocrite or a fool. In a meeting on Aug. 18 with the investment
banking unit, Mr. Shields reports, Mr. Maughan said, "We have absolutely no
reason to believe that we are a buyout target, nor that we will be in the
near future." Only weeks later, Salomon Brothers was acquired by the
Travelers Group Inc.

Mr. Shields also remarked on the general climate at Salomon: He writes that
a managing director at the firm told him, "Salomon Brothers is just not a
culture where anyone says 'please' or 'thank you' or 'good job.'"

And, according to the much e-mailed articles, one Salomon vice president
told Mr. Shields, "You don't want this job. You really don't want this job.
You get sucked in by the money and then find yourself trapped and miserable
like I am. Don't be me."

Salomon Brothers had no comment on the matter.

The writer was at his most cutting in his assessment of his fellow summer
associates, classifying them by school. Those from University of
Pennsylvania's Wharton School were, in Mr. Shields' estimation, "boorish and
dull, and interacting with them was like being locked in a room with a
Bloomberg machine, except that the Bloomberg screen has two dimensions."

Mr. Shields writes that he amused himself by needling the Columbia Business
School students with his own feeling of Stanford superiority: "If I was in a
truly nasty mood, I would follow up with a discussion hypothesizing on the
quality-of-life differences between Palo Alto and Harlem. As you might
guess, I wasn't too popular among the Columbia crowd."

His take on those from Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate
School of Management? "Not the sharpest Ginsu knives in the set, they were
as out of place on Wall Street as you might expect from people who'd spent
the prior year intensely debating the merits of Dave Thomas appearing in
person in the Wendy's commercials."

About those from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of
Management, Mr. Shields writes, "I think I found Waldo. Every stereotype you
ever heard about M.I.T. is true. These guys were such incredible weenies,
brilliantly managing to combine both the brainpower and social grace of an
HP 19B-II."

And the Harvard Business School types? "Floating through the summer like
Cinderella at the ball, they expected you to accept their jargon-laced
drivel with the same attitude that Moses and his stone tablets received on

Mr. Shields' articles first drew the attention of Wall Street when they
appeared in the on-line version of The Reporter. Someone an incensed
first-year Salomon Brothers associate, according to a source downloaded
them and attached the following message: "A Stanford student who did not
receive an offer from Salomon Brothers was bold enough to put his name in
print with these two articles. Maybe he doesn't want a job at all ..."

Then the associate started e-mailing like crazy, sending the piece to job
recruiters, among others, the source said. Mr. Shields' fame on the Web
could not have come at a worse time. Now in the middle of on-campus job
interviews, trying to parlay his $80,000 M.B.A. degree into a full-time job,
Mr. Shields' only hope is that someone who may well have attended one of the
schools he slagged is willing to hire a guy who went gleefully public with a
nasty description of life with a previous employer.

According to a friend of Mr. Shields, the e-mail has indeed come up in his
first four interviews. "They seemed as though they were giving him a chance
to explain himself," said the friend, "but when I talked to him, he hadn't
heard yet whether he had gotten a call back which would be the ultimate
test of whether they were willing to overlook it."

Stanford is most certainly not standing behind its student. "That was a real
silly thing for him to do, and not in any way appropriate," said George
Parker, director of Stanford's M.B.A. program. "It's just arrogant."

Other business students are aghast. "No one could believe that he would
write this and not realize what the ramifications or consequences might be,"
said one. Mr. Shields would not comment for this article. People who know
him said he's a nice guy despite his sharp edges. One friend, Giles
Kavanagh, a Web site producer in New York, described Mr. Shields as "very
ambitious" and "extraordinarily hard-working," adding, "He disguises his

The son of a New York City police detective, Mr. Shields, now in his
mid-20's, attended Regis High School (a Jesuit school on the Upper West
Side) and received his undergraduate degree from the Wharton School of the
University of Pennsylvania. Before going for his M.B.A. at Stanford in 1996,
he spent three years in the financial division at J.P. Morgan & Company.

"He's always had an interest in making money," Mr. Kavanagh said. But that
may be more difficult now, since the e-mail has apparently fallen into the
hands of recruiters. One anonymous friend said that, while Mr. Shields has
decided that "investment banking wasn't really for him ... he still didn't
mean to get himself blacklisted across Wall Street." The friend added that
Mr. Shields is trying to get a job in either private client services, a
field related to investment banking, or consulting.

Given his bitterness, his ambition, his ability to turn a phrase, his lack
of respect for authority and his willingness to squawk about people he has
met, perhaps Mr. Shields should consider a career in the glorious field of


<a href="mailto:[email protected]">Dr.Dimitri Vulis KOTM</a>
Brighton Beach Boardwalk BBS, Forest Hills, N.Y.: +1-718-261-2013, 14.4Kbps