Monday, February 6, 2006



It’s 12:30 AM, and Rohan Shah is lying on his bed casually flipping through his AP Economics textbook. He taps the butt of his pen against his front teeth rhythmically, then gnaws at in it frustration with the dribble. Growing anxious, he slams shut the thick Princeton Review book and eagerly reaches into the drawer of his bedside table. From underneath The Hull Book and 3 worn Playboys he bought in middle school out of the locker of a guy with an older brother, he pulls out a scrapbook.

Gently, as if handling an ancient text, Rohan turns over the cover and begins leafing through the scrapbook’s pages. A smile creeps over his face as his determination is refueled; he becomes slightly aroused. His mantra of the past 4 years comes into his mind, and he sits up straight, closes his eyes, touches pinky-finger to thumb and chants, out-loud, “I will be the most badass Indian in finance. I will be the youngest Goldman PMD, and I will start a supertight hedge-fund.”

After a moment, he opens his eyes and looks down fondly at his book. He gently caresses the embossed print on the cover, “BSDesis: Ashok Varadhan and Dinakar Singh.” As if it were the first time, he studies each of the pages—assorted newspaper clippings, print-outs, and random souvenirs. Every last detail of the ascension to fame of the two finance demigods is captured. The two come off the pages almost mythical—Ashok becoming MD in ’00 and then PMD in ’02 (at age 28), and Dinakar rising furiously through the ranks and then leaving to start TPG-Axon. Pasted-in are a bar chart his cousin told him Dinakar created in his ‘let’s make a futile attempt at getting minorities into Wall Street’-days, and a candid shot of Ashok pulling his long hair in frustration while speaking to a group of overeager Goldman trainees. Rohan runs his fingers over the image and then rereads the endless, Stan-style personal notes he’s scribbled in the margins:

Ashok, it’s me again, Rohan. My brother’s friend just told me the story about how you used to say “that bid/ask is tighter than my little sister.” That’s awesome. I said it to my Dad today while he was watching C-SPAN—I don’t think he got it.

Din, what’s up man, how’s your daughter? I think it’s great what you’re doing for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. You inspired me to give my whole allowance to the SMA fund. To be honest with you, I would suffer any disease just to be your son.

Rohan finishes examining the scrapbook and is refreshed. The AP Economics test will be a joke, he recalls. He will get a 5 to match the others and complement his 1600 and perfect GPA. He will graduate high school at 16 with advanced standing for college. His paper on wavelet-based trading won the International Science Fair, and Wharton sent him a personalized letter requesting his application (he chuckled at the glorified vocational center feigning academic pedigree). Rohan even became manager of his high school basketball team (just like Ashok was at Duke—what insight avoiding the IBD competition and investing in understanding meathead traders to eventually dominate and reign over them). Yes, Rohan remembers he’s perfectly on track to achieve his goals.

Contented, he closes the scrapbook and tucks it away in his drawer. He reclines on his bed with his arms clasped under his head and stares up at the ceiling. The room is quiet and dark save the faint murmurs and glow from the 2004 World Series of Poker looping on the television. Envisioning the hands from memory, Rohan falls into a deep sleep to the chuckle of Fossilman, wrapped in the warm blanket of certain financial security and the tangible dream of BSDesi status.

19 comments for this post.

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  1. +7 votes + -
    Andrew Undershaft Said:

    This is too realistic to be funny. – Andrew

  2. +1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I wasn?t aware that an Indian guy with lots of power on Wall St was anything out of the ordinary.

  3. +1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Keep the posts coming man, you are HILARIOUS!

  4. 0 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Stevie Cohen, you are in trouble. The real SAC – South Asian Capital – is coming to a city to you. $15B under management, run by 2 guys from Mumbai.

  5. -5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Don?t fuck with Wharton.

  6. +2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I know a guy just like that at Wharton?

  7. +4 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Ashok didn?t make PMD until he was 31. Close though

  8. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Good short read, but seriously You Wharton groupies are gaiye.

  9. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Wharton vocational? You must be confusing it with Harvard (”Lets-not-do-numbers-just-cases”)

  10. +2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Above from a Wharton ”Always No. 2? Guy. I may make you my CFO, son.

  11. +2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Dude, Cornell is King of the Ivy League

  12. -4 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Cornell??? It?s Brown, baby ? we run the finance scene in NYC/SF/London/Everywhere!!

  13. -6 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    for undergraduate studies, wharton by far is the most respected and well represented on the street. i think chicago comes next. for graduate schools there is a much wider range, with harvard, wharton and columbia certainly most of the ones i?ve seen.

  14. +7 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    dude, i go to university of phoenix and i got an offer today from GS. Huh? what? thats what i thought!

  15. -3 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA they really have been slumming it. university of phoenix ? isn?t that the online sschool for the functionally retarded? well makes sense ? spits out bankers

  16. 0 votes + -
    MD Said:

    Since we guys r talkin abt traders in here..fuck Wharton..yeah its a grt school n shit?but u either need to be a fuckin quant jock or someone really good with fundamental trading to rock the show these days?I don?t really see how Wharton?s gonna help anyone out..just go to a fuckin good some math..if u have got wat it takes u will rock the show?I trade in London went to The LSE?am just abt ok with Math?DESI BOYS are still underepresented though..I happen to be one?just that most Indian ppl tend to be risk averse..hope that changes?.though the ones who do trade rock !!!!!

  17. +3 votes + -
    anonymous Said:

    any job outside of prop trading/hedge fund PM is super gay?the rest of you bankers are collecting the ”golden crumbs”?step up and put yourself on the line?freaks?.

  18. -3 votes + -
    Lumbergh Said:

    We all know the most prestigious school out there for finance is SUNY Binghamton. Very quantitative, bro.

  19. -2 votes + -
    PropTrader Said:

    Representing the Desi bluge-bracket prop-traders?not yet Big and Swinging though?one day?.also am Sri Lankan?Raj Rajaratnam from Galleon is the only SL-BSDesi i know of?

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