The next person i met with was at his desk on the

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The next person I met with was at his desk on the trading floor, and he was too busy trading to leave, so he said, “Take a seat on the stool next to me.” Now, this was a tricky situation. First, a little stool is a demeaning perch. You’re practically crouching next to the guy, all but asking, “May I please listen to your very important phone call?” Second, I wanted the guy’s undivided attention, so he could make a fair judgment about me. But this guy’s attention was very divided: he was eating a sandwich and trading at the same time, and his phone lines were ringing off the hook. “All right,” he said. “Pitch me a stock.” Luckily, I’d anticipated exactly such a request, and had even formulated a thesis. So I started pitching him NewsCorp; there was something going on with Rupert Murdoch at the time. (There’s always something going on with Murdoch.) Then the guy’s phone rang again. He held up a just-a-moment finger and took the call. He schmoozed the client for a minute—basketball scores were discussed—then executed a trade. Finally he hung up. “Sorry,” he said. “Go on.” This happened several more times in the course of my pitch. I might have gotten flustered or annoyed, but I didn’t. I knew the trader wasn’t screwing around with me. This was just what the job was about. If I were lucky, someday I’d get to do it, too. ——— Four other Stanford people besides me made it through the multiple Super Days and into the internship program. Since Stanford was on the quarter rather than the semester system, we all arrived in New York one week late. Most of the non-Stanford interns stayed in NYU housing for the summer, but because I was arriving when I was, I wasn’t able to get a dorm room. Instead, I rented (online, sight unseen) a room from a family I’d never met, on the third floor of a brownstone on Ninety-Sixth between Columbus and Amsterdam. The rent was $1,000 a month, meals not included. My pay for the summer after tax was $5,000—a very nice salary for an internship, but as I was quickly to learn,
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money evaporates fast in New York City. A thousand dollars a month in rent seemed a little steep in 2000, but it was the best thing I could find given the time crunch. I wasn’t sure about the idea of living with a family I had never met before. But, I thought, How bad could this be? My flight from San Francisco was delayed—very delayed. I was supposed to land at JFK at 10:00 P.M. , but I ended up getting in at 1:30 in the morning. And I was to start my internship the next day at 7:00 A.M. sharp. On top of that, it was hot. Summer had definitely begun in New York: it was ninety degrees and humid, even that late at night. I took a cab into Manhattan, got to the apartment, and rang the bell—no answer. Called the family on the phone—no answer. Rang the bell again—nothing. Not knowing what to do, I waited outside for half an hour. Finally—it was now close to 3:00 A.M.
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