My first job out of college was in New York City, with a financial institution famous (or infamous, depending on how one sees it) for its trading prowess and its innovation in financial products. I joined the bank right when its reputation was at its peak, and witnessed the first of the derivatives scandals to emerge - with lawsuits coming in left and right.
As a fresh grad, I saw investments get wiped out as a result of leverage (up to 40x, and sneakily hidden from clients), saw the havoc wreaked by the sudden devaluation of a major regional currency (3 years before the start of the Asian Financial Crisis), and went on a wild ride of the markets after a political assassination. That was a lot to take in during the first two years of my career.
After those first two years, I transferred with Bankers Trust to Hong Kong, where I met up with old friends from school and made new friends. After a little more than three and a half years, I left Bankers Trust and followed some colleagues to my second financial institution. Months later the Asian Financial Crisis happened, and the following year the Russian Debt Crisis. After that, BT was basically toast, and had to be taken over by Deutsche Bank.
The group of friends I worked with at BT, though, were a close-knit bunch, and we kept in touch after more than 20 years. But the strong ties among the BT people aren't just limited to the small group of us. Back in 2002, a reunion was organized for the people who worked for BT in Hong Kong, and more than 120 of us showed up at the American Club. I'd say that's a testament to the cohesiveness of the organization.
P.S. Since I didn't write about the buffet food, here are some notes on the bottles of wine I brought to share with my table...