Goldman Sachs is in the news again, although I think they would prefer not to be on this one.
Somehow that got me thinking about their old janitor.
In 1907 Sidney Weinberg, a grade 7 drop out, started work at Goldman Sachs as an assistant janitor.
After a stint in the Navy during WW I he came back to Goldman and started working as a trader.
In 1927 he became a partner and in 1930 became the head of the firm where he remained until his death in 1969.
During WW II and the Korean War Sidney was also the President of the United States choice for Vice Chairman of the War Production Board.
I wonder what would happen to Sidney if he and his partial grade 7 education started work as an assistant janitor for Goldman Sachs in 2010?
Would he even get the job as the assistant janitor?
You know by now I'm still thinking about my last post on education. Thinking as my daughter enters high school and now has to make choices as far as education goes.
The boys in the tr....g room were asking me how I became a banker if I'm not good at math. Note to boys, read the entire post not just the failure part. Sheesh.
Banking is not about math, banking is about people. A true banker is someone who can decline a loan for a client and still keep that client as a happy customer.
I doubt there are many quants who can do that.
Being able to do the math is not necessary as the machines do it for you. Being able to understand why the machines are spitting out the result is important. You need to know.... (my favourite word).. WHY. Since I wanted to know why I learned the math behind the answers.
As I said I only learn what is relevant to me.
Is this reductionist science as LW stated? I guess so, but I only reduce the mechanical stuff to what is necessary. As far as the history, people, and culture of the business I'm in, I go all out to learn everything. I have read the history of money, gold, oil, banking, bankers, traders, and the corporate histories of the two banks I worked for.
Does that sound like a reductionist?
Sounds more like a nut case.
I find it relevant, so I'm all in, I devour every thing I can get my hands on. I even read about my clients industries if I was not that familiar with them.
I guess the point I am making, and what I gathered from the history of Goldman Sachs and Sidney Weinberg, is that education can never stop. Starting with a BA is a great idea, but if you end there you may wind up as the assistant janitor that never moves beyond the mop.
Education happens every where. It's there in every job you take, every team you're on, with every person you meet, and with every book you read.
Take it all.
I said in my last post I worked in a cattle feedlot after high school. I made it sound like this was a tough job, and it was, but I also learned a great deal there. I eventually bought my own farm and I went back to that feedlot for several winters to work while working my own farm at the same time. I also took that "education" and parlayed it into a job at the University of Alberta's Dept of Animal Science. There I found I knew more about feeding cattle then the PhDs at the university.
Plus I got paid while getting educated, they had to buy theirs.
All in all there are many ways of getting educated and if yours is a little out of the norm don't worry about it.
Sidney Weinberg never did.