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In trying to synthesize my experiences this summer,  it’s hard to not notice certain parallels…

  • You have an army of tireless, well-groomed matchmakers willing to solicit suitors, schedule outings, cost-benefit analyze all your most viable options, and sacrifice their own personal relationships to make sure that every detail of your dating process proceeds flawlessly.
  • Taking discussions “to the next level” includes a binding agreement to stop entertaining offers from competing bidders and players.
  • Merger premiums: Really good assets command (deserve?) a premium.
  • Distressed sales: If you’re desperate, you’ll sell to anyone.
  • Sure the CEO is important, but you have to please all the shareholders (friends, family, pets, etc.—every effort should be made to avoid a hostile takeover).
  • Any assumptions that exist going into the relationship are made transparent by a rational, well organized slide deck that both sides agree to.
  • You talk about—and model out—action plans to anticipate upside, downside, and other off-chance scenarios in advance.
  • You call upon painstakingly detailed models of your current standalone lives to make a merged projection for many future years, ensuring a snug fit into perpetuity.
  • You do months—years! of due diligence to make sure there are no nasty secrets, including spending several weeks at the other party’s home with free reign over all significant files and artifacts.
  • Everybody wins, or there’s no deal.
  • You try to maximize post-merger synergies and goodwill, both operationally and financially.
  • Even though you’ve thought of everything, there are always surprises (that your matchmakers will smooth out at 9AM on a Saturday morning) to keep things interesting.

the position of an electron

the existence of stem cells in culture

the true bottom of an economic depression

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research for my UROP lately on the higher level picture of how the economy has disintegrated into its current state, and the  implications for legal reform that we can perhaps take away from the situation. I quickly realized that while NYT and WSJ articles are great at telling you up to date facts about what happened, they are rather shallow in terms of going into the details of why decisions were made the way they were and helping readers understand how the various headlines interconnect with how the economy is set up to ultimately result in where we are today.  More comprehensive resources would be especially useful to a lot of students and non-industry people out there who are looking to understand the crisis beyond just knowing what happened.

1. The Baseline Scenario: This is a great blog to follow for people at all levels of understanding about the financial crisis. They tend to cover one or two of the biggest stories of the day in a more explanatory style. Their beginners page is a good choice for where to start wrapping your head around these issues and terms floating around.

2.

Nice overview if you really have no idea what is going on, and need to explain it tomorrow in an interview.  Also helpful for relatives / friends who want to get caught up to date.

I will add to this as I stumble across more nice, basic resources. Feel free to suggest some if you know of any!

(sing to the tune of Don McLean’s American Pie)

A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How the Dow Jones used to make me smile.
And I learned my trade and had my chance
The music played I did my dance
And I made seven figures for a while.
I can’t remember if I cried when they pulled the plug on Countrywide…
It sucks that Iceland is out of ice….
Bye, Bye to my piece of the pie…
Now I travel coach whenever I fly…
Maybe this will be the day that I die.

-performed at this year’s Kappa Beta Phi dinner, Wall Street’s premiere secret society for hoity toity financiers (cmon boys, you’re not at Yale anymore).