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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Future Financiers Flock to a Darwinian Fete

By Richard M. Burnes, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

With 30 years of experience at a single Wall Street firm under his belt, Roberto Mendoza, the vice chair of J.P. Morgan and Co. who was in town last night to give a recruiting presentation, displayed a cultivated wit.

Beneath the sturdy British accent with which he articulated the distinct "Morgan philosophy," Mendoza slipped quips mocking the firm's "gripping" recruiting presentation and one of his own past trysts.

According to some, the Morgan routine so well balanced sarcasm and sophistication that the notorious "I-banking intensity" surrounded only those who have yet to sign a contract.

"Everything was light-hearted but the questions," said Eric L. Johnson '98. "The questions were well-prepared, to say the least."

The Morgan program held last night in the Charles Hotel's thirdfloor ballroom was the convocation of this year's recruiting process. Later in the week and throughout the fall, financial-service institutions will be lining up to skim the best and brightest from the Class of 1998.

Last night many of the more than 200 students present reflected the season's youth by dawning skirts and collared shirts, instead of more professional business suits. But the session's sartorial simplicity did not obscure its deeply Darwinian atmosphere.

As Mendoza spoke of capitalizing upon emerging markets and expanding profit margins, many of Harvard's infant I-bankers and fledgling fund-managers explained how they plan to win the ideal job-offer.

"I've already done most of the things that I need to do, but now I need to work on my interviewing skills so I can sell myself," said John R. Warren '98.

Among waiters carrying steamed dumplings, onion pizzas and chutneyed tenderloin buzzing through the crowd, many were expressing confidence in this year's crop of seniors.

"With people like [former Undergraduate Council president Robert M. Hyman '98] involved in the process, all of the job offers are going to be taken by Harvard students," said Kris J. Thiessen '98, who is a Crimson editor.

"They're not going to need to go to Wharton or Stanford," he said.

Thiessen-who carried with him a business card indicating his status as president of the Harvard Investment Association-was one of several students who did not leave their Harvard economic class work at the door.

But while many of those at last night's meeting long ago began dreaming of a job at J.P. Morgan, some were disappointed by yesterday's presentation.

"It's going to be a long recruiting season if all the info session are as boring as this one was," said one senior who explained that he could not give his name because he intends to apply for a job with Morgan.

And others had very simple problems with the evening's event.

"My only regret is that I went to the Coop and bought $2 folders today," said Alex Nettune '98. "[The Morgan folders] are a lot better and they're free.

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