Probably the thing I hate the most about my school year is finding summer funding. Sure I could do things like work as a technician for the CS IT department, but honestly how does that help my career at all? There are lots of different possibilities for the summer such as Google, gaming companies, DOE Lab, and what not, but alas I have to get off my butt and go look for them.
At the suggestion of my advisor I decided to look into an international banking firm, for an internship opportunity. I gave them my resume and they invited me to dinner ... with lots of other MBA students. Now I have nothing wrong with MBA students but I really have nothing in common with them either. But stepping into the restaurant, I was hit with a large dose of culture shock that made me thank the good Lord that I wasn't lead down that path.
As I walk in it appears to be just a huge gaggle of people drinking and "talking". I say talking what I really mean is selling themselves to the representatives of the company. One look at my long hair and beard and the lady at the name tag table states, "You must be a PhD" in a tone of voice that is either jealous or awe struck. For the rest of the night all I had to say was I was a PhD candidate and people instantly acted as if I was Einstein come to solve all their problems. It was just a bit weird.
As I went to get a beer, one of the MBA students was kind enough to explain the rules of engagement for such events. I think I would have gotten similar advice from Sun Tzu himself. So we finally get to the dinner part and I get to sit next to Steve (not his real name). Steve was extremely well dressed, I shrunk in my JC Penney suit. The more I get him to talk about his job the more I realize he knows very little about computer software, much less about the financial models he builds with that software, and really only likes to hear the sound of his own voice. Okay so he apparently makes money for his company, which by the way is his definition of merit.
It is just amazing to me. Google comes to entice people to join their ranks, they wear t-shirts, sport beards and talk shop well. This banking firm dresses in fine fashionable clothing, buy expensive food and drinks that no one eats because they want to talk about themselves so much, and seem to only touch very briefly on how they do things. Moral of the story -- Bankers, much like politicians, scare me.