Thursday, March 30, 2017

How Gary Cohn, the Former Goldman Sachs CEO, Got His First Job on Wall Street

Gary Cohn

From NPR:


Let's meet the man President Trump turns to when he needs advice on economic policy. It is Gary Cohn. Cohn is head of the president's National Economic Council. He's also a just-retired president of Goldman Sachs. And those Wall Street roots, and also his moderate stance on social issues and trade, put him at odds with others in the president's inner circle. NPR's Chris Arnold has this profile.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Gary Cohn took an unusual path to Goldman Sachs and the White House. Cohn's dyslexic, and teachers told his parents not to expect much. As a kid, he helped out at his family's electrical contracting business in Cleveland. He went on to business school. Then he was floundering around, and he decided what he really wanted to do was to work on Wall Street. So one day on a trip to New York, he went down to a commodities trading floor, and he just stood around outside the security checkpoint.


GARY COHN: And I hear a gentleman say, I got to run. I'm going to the airport.

ARNOLD: That's Cohn telling the story during a commencement speech.


COHN: I jump in the elevator with him and say, I overheard you're going to the airport. Do you mind if I share a taxi with you?

ARNOLD: The guy worked for a financial firm, and he agreed. And on the ride, Cohn tried to get the guy to give him a job, even if that meant bending the truth a bit.


COHN: He says, what do you know about options? I told him, I know everything. He said, great. I want you to come back Monday. I want you to interview. I'm trading options. It's a brand-new market that's opening, and I don't know how to trade it. And I said, no problem. I'm your guy.


COHN: Literally got home Friday night. The first stop on the way in from the airport was the bookstore. I bought the...


COHN: I bought the McMillan "Options As A Strategic Investment" book and read it four times - as I said, dyslexic guy - read it four times over the course of the weekend, came back in and interviewed and was offered a job. And that's how I started in my financial services industry.