Monday, February 1, 2010

What’s new in January…

Earlier in Jan, I was in Amsterdam for the weekend, with a friend who goes to B-school at Wharton. It was fun hanging out with her after what seemed like an eternity since we last did this - while we were still neighbors in Boston. I must recommend the Anne Frank house -- its very surreal and poignant.

I just returned from a fantastic trip to Gothenburg, Sweden, where I visited my dear friends from Boston, and I got to hold their brand spanking new baby, spit-up and all. It was awesome to see them flourish and care for a newborn without breaking stride. We took a day trip to Vargarda in the beautiful snow-covered countryside, to see old friends who also live in Sweden. Watching their kids go downhill with their sleds was way fun. Its a blessing having friends with whom one can slip into a comfortable space – no matter how many months and years have passed since you last met them.

In the meanwhile, I have a few weekend Eurotrips planned until mid-April when I am officially done with graduation requirements. After this I plan on taking a two week trip each month for three months to S. America, China/Hongkong/Singapore, and N. Africa/Turkey/Lebanon.

Besides this, I am psyched that the Lev Fin team at Nomura has been awarded two major mandates by KKR and Permira. Things are looking up for PE. I am looking forward to joining Nomura in the fall. My 2nd year project with Warburg Pincus is going swimmingly and my extra-curricular education is going great guns. I'm currently reading "The Essential Buffet" which is a great introduction not just to Buffet himself, but a synthesis of the collective wisdom of Benjamin Graham, Charlie Munger and Philip Fisher.

"Cityboy" by Geraint Anderson currently serves the equivalent role of the "National Enquirer" or "Daily Mirror". I have to admit the book is a very very exaggerated take on bankers and is less ably written than either "Liar's Poker" or "Monkey Business". It's more a take on how the author adapted to the banking lifestyle – than a comment on how bankers behave, especially in this day and age.

"'Who is Cityboy? He's every brash, suited, FT-carrying idiot who ever pushed past you on the tube. He's the egotistical buffoon who loudly brags about how much cash he's made on the market at otherwise pleasant dinner parties. He's the greedy, ruthless wanker whose actions are helping turn this world into the shit-hole it's rapidly becoming. For one period in my life, he was me.' In this no-holds-barred, warts-and-all account of life in London's financial heartland, Cityboy breaks the Square Mile's code of silence in his own inimitable style, revealing explosive secrets, tricks of the trade and the corrupt, murky underbelly at the heart of life in the City. Drawing on his experience as a young analyst in a major investment bank, the six-figure bonuses, monstrous egos, and the everyday culture of verbal and substance abuse that fuels the world's money markets is brutally exposed as Cityboy describes his ascent up the hierarchy of this intensely competitive and morally dubious industry, and how it almost cost him his sanity."

Uhhhh …. Spare us the invective! But nevertheless it's a trove of funny anecdotes and British-isms (good Lord! These Brits have slang for every word that exists in the English dictionary including the word 'is'). Here is a link to the blog

On the music front, I'm suddenly into The Cure again with "Just Like Heaven" and have managed to nail-down the guitar chords to my all-time favorite song "Supersonic" by Oasis, amongst others.

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