Tuesday, October 27, 2015 by Julie Wilson
Dozens of junior analysts working for two of the world’s largest investment banks were caught cheating on “basic” math tests and were subsequently fired, the majority of which were British graduates who were told to find their own way back to Britain, according to the Telegraph.
The trainees caught cheating were working as junior analysts for America’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase and Co., and Goldman Sachs, the largest global investment bank.
“At least 20 employees were fired from Goldman’s two-year graduate program for young traders and bankers in New York and London this week,” reports the Daily Mail. “It comes weeks after 10 or more entry-level bankers at JPMorgan’s investment office in New York were laid off for the same reason.”
Despite graduating from prestigious, well-to-do schools like Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge, the trainees still felt the need to cheat on tests that were reportedly fairly easy.
Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge graduates unable to answer easy math and economics questions
“The exams are relatively easy to cheat on and people have cheated on them in the past. They are under a lot of pressure to pass them,” a JPMorgan source told the Telegraph.
“At the same time I don’t think they are that hard. They test what would be pretty basic maths and economics questions to a graduate. There is an accounting element to it. Sometimes it’s just putting things into a spreadsheet,” the source added.
“These people must have cheated in a pretty stupid, clumsy way for them to get caught because otherwise I don’t understand how they didn’t get away with it. The cheating would be by either bringing notes into the room or looking at the other pupils’ work,” the source continued.
Another source from JPMorgan told the Telegraph: “They were investment banking grads. They were fired in New York on the training programme for getting caught cheating on their tests. They made them pay for their flights home.
“They cheated, got caught, all got sacked. Cheating on these internal tests is pretty common practice,” added the second JPMorgan source.
Cheating interns not uncommon at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs
The Daily Mail reports that “Both banks found their elite graduates, selected from the best universities in the world through an intensely competitive application process, had smuggled in notes or copied colleagues’ answers.”
While some sources say cheating is common, neither banks seem to tolerate the behavior.
“This conduct was not just a clear violation of the rules, but completely inconsistent with the values we foster at the firm,” said a spokesman for Goldman Sachs; the bank reportedly hires just 3 percent of its nearly 270,000 applications.
A spokesman for JPMorgan concurred, adding, “This behavior was entirely unacceptable and is not tolerated at our firm.”
According to Bloomberg Business, “Wall Street firms have undergone a cultural shift after being forced to pay more than $100 billion for litigation and regulatory fines in the wake of the financial crisis, and some behavior that once may have been tolerated isn’t any longer.”
Drones used to single out cheaters in China
Apparently cheating is also a big problem in China as education officials have resorted to using silent-flying drones to catch students cheating on “famously tough university entrance examinations,” reports the Telegraph.
“Silent-flying drones will be used to monitor students during university entrance exams known as ‘gaokao,’ which are taken by more than nine million teenagers every year.”
The drones can reportedly “hover in the air for up to half an hour,” and “will use 360 degree rotations to scan examination halls and pinpoint the exact location of suspicious radio signals.
“From heights of up to 1,640 feet, the drones will be able to hone in radio signals created by students who are using hidden earpieces to obtain the answers to exam questions.”