Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg shared their first experiences on Wall Street during a luncheon at Bloomberg LP’s headquarters.
Blankfein told alumni of the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program about how he got rejected when he applied to Goldman.
“Well, I got into Goldman really by acquisition because I had gone — I grew up in east New York in the Linden Projects — I did go to fancy schools, but my résumé wasn’t up to a Wall Street set of résumés. I went to college. I went to law school and practiced for a while. Then, like a lot of people in that era, I wanted to get into finance…I applied to a number of Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and got turned down by all of them, and including Goldman Sachs. Which is why to this day, I admire the firm that I run today…But the only job I could get that kind of had, you know, related to Wall Street was J. Aron & Company, which was a commodity trading firm, which on the prestige between equities and fixed income and commodities — commodities was just above a toaster compared to the other jobs. But I got a job there. And soon, that firm got acquired to Goldman Sachs. That’s how I got into Goldman Sachs.”
Bloomberg, who worked as an equities trader before launching a media empire, also shared his experience when applying to Wall Street. Unlike Blankfein, he got into Goldman.
“And just for the record, when I got out of school, instead of going to Vietnam, I applied to two firms — both offered me a job. Goldman was one of them. I turned them down and went to Solomon Brothers.”
“Between Solomon Brothers and Vietnam?” Blankfein chimed in.
“Then I got fired in 1981 — The best thing that ever happened to me,” Bloomberg, who is now worth billions, said.
The pair of business titans gave a coaching session to alumni of the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses — a $US500 million program that helps entrepreneurs get access to business education, financial capital and business support services. The event host was Charlie Rose.