The First Jobs Of 17 Wall Street CEOs

Lloyd blankfeinREUTERS/ Pascal LauenerGoldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein

Some of the biggest names in finance worked a variety of jobs before heading to Wall Street.

We’re talking about things from bagging walnuts to selling peanuts to delivering newspapers and attending parking lots.

Some of these jobs were things they did as kids to earn some extra spending money, while others were to pay for college or make an actual living.

We’ve compiled a detailed list of these titan’s gigs.

Bill Ackman dug ditches and waxed cars as a kid.

First Job: Growing up, Ackman had a car waxing business and a ditch digging business.

Wall Street Career: Ackman, an activist investor, runs Pershing Square Capital Management. He has an estimated networth of $US1.2 billion.

Dan Loeb made skateboards.

First Job: When he was 12, he had a skateboard company where he would make boards for his friends.

Wall Street Career: Loeb currently runs hedge fund Third Point LLC. He has an estimated networth of $1.5 billion.

Source: Vanity Fair

Lloyd Blankfein sold concessions at Yankee stadium and lifeguarded.

First Job(s): Blankfein grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn. To earn extra money, Blankfein sold concessions at Yankee stadium and worked as a lifeguard.

Wall Street Career: He's the CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs.

Source: Money And Power

Charles Schwab bagged walnuts.

First Job: Charles 'Chuck' Schwab's first job was bagging walnuts near Sacramento, Calif.

Wall Street Career: He's the founder and chairman of Charles Schwab Corporation, a brokerage firm he started back in 1971.

He has an estimated net worth of $4.3 billion, according to Forbes.

Source: USA Today

Ray Dalio worked as a caddy at a golf club as a kid.

First Job: When Dalio was just 12 years old, he worked as a caddy at a golf club frequented by Wall Street types. As a caddy, Dalio was able to make $US6 a bag and he later took those funds to buy his first stock.

Wall Street Career: Dalio is the founder of hedge fund behemoth Bridgewater Associates. Time magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world in 2012. Forbes estimates that his net worth is approximately $12.9 billion.

Source: The Alpha Masters

Warren Buffett sold chewing gum and Coca-Colas and delivered newspapers.

First Job(s): Starting at age 6, Buffett would go door to door and sell packs of chewing gum. His other door-to-door sales stints included selling magazines and Coca-Cola's. He also ran a newspaper delivery route.

Wall Street Career: Buffett (a.k.a. 'The Oracle of Omaha') is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and is widely considered one of the most successful investors.

According to Forbes, Buffett has a net worth of $53.5 billion.

Source: The FT

T. Boone Pickens ran a newspaper route during his teenage years.

First Job: Growing up in Oklahoma, T. Boone Pickens delivered newspapers as a teenager. He was able to increase his newspaper sales by expanding his route through acquiring surrounding ones.

Wall Street Career: Pickens is the chairman of BP Capital Management and he's also the author of his namesake plan for U.S. energy independence 'The Pickens Plan.'


Steve Cohen worked in the produce section of a grocery store.

First Job: Steve Cohen was a 'fruit boy' at Bohack supermarket where he made $US1.85 an hour. He quit that job because he was making more at the poker table.

Wall Street Career: Cohen is the founder of Stamford, Connecticut-based SAC Capital Advisors. Last summer, SAC was slapped with criminal insider trading charges. Cohen has not been charged. Forbes estimates that Cohen, who is also a major art collector, currently has a net worth of $9.4 billion.

Source: Vanity Fair

Phil Falcone was a professional hockey player.

First Job: After graduating from Harvard, Falcone played hockey professionally for a year in Sweden. He was injured and went to work on Wall Street.

Wall Street Career: Falcone began his career on the Street at Kidder Peabody in junk bonds. He's the founder of hedge fund Harbinger Capital. In 2012, the SEC charged Falcone and his Harbinger Capital Partners with securities fraud. A year later, he agreed to pay $18 million and accept a five year ban from the securities industry.

Source: Vanity Fair

David Tepper paid his college tuition by working at a library.

First Job: Tepper took a job at the University of Pittsburgh's fine arts library to help pay for school.

He told Bloomberg TV's Stephanie Ruhle that he tried to get a job at McDonald's in high school.

'As a matter of fact ... I tried to get a job at McDonald's. I couldn't get a job. They would not hire me. It was a problem to get a hairnet over the afro,' he said.

Wall Street Career: Tepper runs $US12 billion distressed debt hedge fund Appaloosa Management. He has one of the best long-term track records and was the highest-paid hedge fund manager last year.

Carl Icahn joined the Army.

Hedge fund titan Carl Icahn

First Job: After dropping out of medical school, Icahn joined the Army before heading to Wall Street.

Wall Street Career: Icahn is a hugely successful activist investor. He has a networth of more than $US20 billion.

Julian Robertson served in the U.S. Navy after college.

First Job: After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Robertson served in the United States Navy for two years.

Wall Street Career: Robertson began his career on The Street at Kidder Peabody & Company in 1957 as a sales trainee.

In 1980, he started Tiger Management Company, one of the most successful hedge funds in the world. He has also seeded a bunch of his former employees who started hedge funds known as 'Tiger Cubs.' Forbes estimates that he has a networth of $2.8 billion.


Jim Chanos took a summer job as a union steel worker in college.

First Job: He worked as a union steel worker in the summer to pay for college.

Wall Street Job: Chanos, a famed short seller, runs hedge fund Kynikos Associates.

Source: Yale Alumni Magazine

Marc Lasry drove a UPS truck briefly.

First Job: After college, Lasry drove a UPS truck before being convinced to attend law school.

Wall Street Career: He runs distressed-debt hedge fund Avenue Capital. He has an estimated networth of $US1.5 billion.

Source: Bloomberg News

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was a breadmaker at a bakery.

First Job: Stumpf made bad grades in high school and graduated in the bottom half of his class. He ended up working as a breakmaker in a Pierz, Minnesota bakery.

Wall Street Career: He's the CEO and chairman of Wells Fargo & Co. He's been at Wells Fargo for over 30 years, according to his bio.

Source: Forbes

Now let's see what they looked like in high school...

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