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CEO, Shmee-E-O

SIPA students are unhappy, and not just because they have to smoke their cigarettes in that weird little buried courtyard. No, it’s something bigger: they’re unhappy with the school’s choice of graduate and trustee Vikram Pandit, the embattled CEO of Citigroup, as graduation speaker. While it may be harsh to call Pandit “One of the 20 Worst American CEOs of All Time,” he’s certainly an interesting choice for a public affairs program–and the rumored Zen garden and $38 million 2008 salary can’t help matters. So, like any good 21st-century protesters, they’re taking to the web. The “We don’t want a bank executive to speak at our commencement” Facebook group is now private, but at last check had over 200 members, impressive for a 500-person class. We’ll keep you posted.

Photo via William Munoz’s Flickr

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38 Comments

  • HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR YOUR SUCCESFUL ALUMN says:

    @HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR YOUR SUCCESFUL ALUMN SIPA students protesting Vikram Pandit’s graduation speech just because he’s the CEO of Citibank NEED TO SHUT THE FUCK UP. HOLY SHIT PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE ANNOYING!! Like SHIT. Have some respect for your Alma Mater, have some respect for the ambitions and hard work of your fellow alumni. Have some respect for someone who, having 4 degrees from Columbia and donated loads of money, has taken the Columbia name to the top of one of the world’s most prominent commercial banks – the banks that power your student checking accounts and (used to) your signature loans before they stopped doing it. It’s not like this guy murdered someone, got out of jail, and then wrote a best-selling book about it. You’re not praising Hitler here. Just shut the fuck up already. You’re at Columbia….most of us came here because we’re ambitious, not because we want to sit around, read some books about the theory of international law, and whine and complain about our own alums. STFU already. Damn.

    Also, Vikram didn’t personally mess up your parents mortages. YOUR PARENTS messed it up themselves, thinking they can ‘afford’ 2 houses and 3 cars on an $80k combined family income. Get over yourselves – you were greedy too and you know it. You spent more than you make by borrowing tons of money, then in the end it all collaspsed and you blame the CEOs of the banks who lent you that money. Pathetic.

    Just be glad you guys didn’t get J.K. Rowling like Harvard did the other year or that stupid CNN news anchor at Cornell’s commencement . WTF are you all complaining about?

    1. Hooah says:

      @Hooah This is not sufficiently angry. Your curse to word ratio is far too low. Try something more like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsRJYPr1Dnw

    2. I Respect says:

      @I Respect my father, who worked in the same company for 40 years, working himself up to be an executive, who has always lived modestly and has a spectacular credit rating. Yet, all of this did not matter when he got laid off because of the financial crisis. How about getting him to be your speaker, twat.

      1. LOL...okay 'twat' says:

        @LOL...okay 'twat' What industry does your father work in? If he works in finance, he probably deserved it.

        If he works in another industry, then please explain to me how the fuck Vikram Pandit PERSONALLY walked over to said industry, contacted the head honcho, and said “Hey you see that shmuck over there? The one who’s son is attending Columbia University? Yeah that guy. Fire his ass for no reason. Thanks bud.”

        Half my family is laid off. So are my neighbors. And their brothers and sisters. We’re all in this together. You can’t put the blame on Citibank or Pandit. That’s just ignorant.

        1. fuck you says:

          @fuck you reactionary prick. get the fuck out and go back to your little tea party gatherings.

          1. LOL wowww says:

            @LOL wowww lol tea party? i actually just posted a Facebook status semi-rant about Tea Party’ers. I’m a moderate who voted for Obama, you prick. I’m against the stuff investment banks do, but I am not against Pandit speaking at our graduation.

            Wow. Generalize/ignorant much?

          2. lol says:

            @lol Wow, you know what’s fun? Click “track” on the comment above mine…

          3. your point? says:

            @your point? Yes, I have quite a lot on my mind today. Thank you for reading and providing me a medium to let them out.

          4. I don't says:

            @I don't think there’s anything fishy about those comments–the original poster was just replying to the people who replied to him/her.

          5. oh wow says:

            @oh wow i didn’t know about the “track” function! that person is leaving the majority of the comments, even below hahaha.

    3. Anon says:

      @Anon THANK YOU!

      Vikram Pandit did not cause the fucking financial crisis. If anything, he’s helping one of the world’s largest banks recover from the mistakes of his predecessors.

    4. ... says:

      @... having pandit speak for a SIPA commencement makes just about as much sense as it would to have dave eggers speak for the business school.

      i mean, come on, people who go to SIPA have specifically shunned the monied corporate path with plans to be leaders in NGO and government, often times with clear social missions. having a business leader speak, especially one from the financial industry, which lets face it, is filled with people who care about not much more than making a lot of money for themselves, is really quite absurd.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Pandit’s not so bad. Though he’d be a better fit for SEAS speaker. (He’s an electrical engineer). And most the damage at Citi was caused by the guy before him.

    http://nymag.com/news/businessfinance/55035/

    Pandit can’t be any worse than when Columbia chose ROBERT KRAFT as speaker for CC in 2005. At least Pandit’s important.

  • dumbasses says:

    @dumbasses I don’t know why these dumbasses are protesting…maybe because they realize a degree at SIPA will either land them a low paying job at the UN or no job at all?

    Anyways, I don’t personally like Pandit – he’s an ineffective CEO and makes poor business decisions. HOWEVER, the reason I have no problem with him being a graduation speaker is not because I like him as a person, but because of WHAT HE REPRESENTS: The ambitions, drive, and determination of Columbia Alumni. He represents (for better or worse) the impact that Columbia Alumni (and Ivy League alumni in general) can make on the world and how much they affect Americans’ lives. Just one man can affect the lives of many. THAT symbolism, in itself, is something to be proud of.

    Don’t be a loudmouthed dumbass. Until you SIPA freaks are able to get double engineering degrees and a PhD (all from an Ivy League school), 4 of them at least, and then make it to the top of Citibank, THEN you can bitch and moan. Until then, shut up and respect your elders.

  • Syracuse is also protesting. says:

    @Syracuse is also protesting. But I believe you SIPA kids are all confused. This isn’t Syracuse. This is Columbia, an Ivy League institution. Please go home and rest and have some tea.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Having spoken to a lot of SIPA students, I’ve found that they’re pretty fucking stupid. Unfortunately, I also have a lot of classes in IAB so sometimes when I sit in the lobby, I hear their stupid, inane conversation and I wonder how they ever got into the school. The same applies to B-school kids, but to a lesser extent. Although, at least IAB kids are generally polite. B-school kids are just assholes.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Not taking over “your” library? So now we’re allocating areas of the school? You could say that since College Walk is part of the “College,” you should also fuck off from College Walk, right? In other words, suck my dick B-school asshole.

      I was in the elevator recently around the time the iPad was released and I couldn’t help but overhear the most ridiculous conversation about whether or not it would be successful. The vapid rationales they threw at each other were just so excruciatingly painful that the only thing I could think of was smashing my head against the elevator wall. I needed to escape the absolute nonsense dribbling out of their mouths. I mean, the caliber of the B-school students is just appalling. I have also sat in on two B-school classes for an extended period of time and the shit you guys learn is a JOKE. It’s hilarious walking into Uris every time because the place just reeks of wannabes, posers, and desperates — desperate to network, desperate to get a job sucking Wall Street cock, desperate to find a wife — oh, it’s just so depressing walking into that building.

      Disclosure: I love Columbia to death, went there for the College, worked as an investment banker, and now, for the record, I’m at Columbia Law. Not undergrad. Retard. *All* the schools hate you.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous the psychology major is a joke too, no?

  • B-school kid says:

    @B-school kid We hate you too, you goddamned undergrads. How bout not taking over our library with your chemistry and calculus and Shakespeare? And stay out of our deli. And Happy Hour (unless you’re hot).

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Dining services tried to kick out the undergrads by not accepting Dining Dollars for a while. They ended up losing money.

      As for the library, fuck you.

    2. MY SECRET CONFESSION says:

      @MY SECRET CONFESSION I’m one of those undergrad guys who prefer the Uris library to Butler to do my work in. Also, I look a bit older for my age and some of those business school women in their mid-20s are much more mature (and quite striking, I must say) and they’re really fun to talk to. Also, they’ve gotten past the “college” stage and don’t play dumbass dating games. Very straightforward, mature, attractive, smart, sexy women as compared to girls aged 18-22.

      I always tell them I’m a senior undergrad (which I am NOW, but I’ve been saying this for the past 3 years) and that I’m on the 5-year BA/MBA concurrent plan which always gets them ;)

      Sigh, cant wait for my real acceptance to an ivy business school – because I really like the mature women.

      1. p.s. says:

        @p.s. I’m not actually on any 5-year BA/MBA plan, in case you were wondering. ;) But hey, if it gets me a date with smart, mature, attractive business women, why not?

        1. nope. says:

          @nope. We weren’t actually.

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous By happy hour, do you mean those awkward disco things in Uris I pass by on Thursday nights on my way home from work? Keep that shit to yourself. I’m tired of getting cat calls from balding weirdos taking a break from karaoke.

    4. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Not taking over “your” library? So now we’re allocating areas of the school? You could say that since College Walk is part of the “College,” you should also fuck off from College Walk, right? In other words, suck my dick B-school asshole.

      I was in the elevator recently around the time the iPad was released and I couldn’t help but overhear the most ridiculous conversation about whether or not it would be successful. The vapid rationales they threw at each other were just so excruciatingly painful that the only thing I could think of was smashing my head against the elevator wall. I needed to escape the absolute nonsense dribbling out of their mouths. I mean, the caliber of the B-school students is just appalling. I have also sat in on two B-school classes for an extended period of time and the shit you guys learn is a JOKE. It’s hilarious walking into Uris every time because the place just reeks of wannabes, posers, and desperates — desperate to network, desperate to get a job sucking Wall Street cock, desperate to find a wife — oh, it’s just so depressing walking into that building.

      Disclosure: I love Columbia to death, went there for the College, worked as an investment banker, and now, for the record, I’m at Columbia Law. Not undergrad. Retard. *All* the schools hate you.

    5. ass says:

      @ass How about you stay off our blog, then?

  • straw poll says:

    @straw poll better or worse than ben jealous?

  • Vikram? says:

    @Vikram? Hey, he looks like my dad!

  • The SEAS Reverend says:

    @The SEAS Reverend So would it be a mistake to make an icon of Mr. Pandit in an upcoming SEAS pride promotion?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous ben jealous isn’t too much better….

  • MY LAST REMARK OF THE DAY says:

    @MY LAST REMARK OF THE DAY You SIPA’s should get used to it. 80% of the Indian kids in SEAS are gonna grow up looking just like him. If you hate Pandit now, just think about what you’d feel when you click on the “Columbia Class of 2010 REUNION IN NYC!!!” Facebook event 20 years from now? Everyone in the group is gonna have a picture similar to Pandit.

    So suck it up.

    1. Troll much? says:

      @Troll much? thought so..

  • uhm says:

    @uhm Pandit’s done a pretty good job at Citi, if not through business acumen then through playing the government like a fiddle. Citi is going to enter 2011 profitable after having the taxpayers absorb almost all of their insolvency risk. Wow, what a bad job Vikram.

    But yeah, he seems like a curious choice given, you know, the whole “taxpayers absorb insolvency risk” thing.

  • YA says:

    @YA SIPA sucks all those little nonprofits that you guys go to work for are funded by banks FYI

  • good new york times article says:

    @good new york times article http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/business/06citi.html

    1. amen says:

      @amen Vikram didn’t turn Citibank into Shittybank (that was Chuck Prince). Vikram did manage to pull off a sweet bailout for Citibank…but the government will ultimately profit from its bailout of Citi (even though the gov’t would have made more and reduced moral hazard if it cleaned out Citi stockholders and fully nationalized Citi)
      He’s been doing all the right things: deleveraging, selling off assets, and downsizing the supermegabank-monster Sandy Weill (and Robert Rubin) created. A CEO doing his job? What a novel concept. (for the record, a $38 million dollar salary in 2008 is too much, but the mere fact that Citi is already turning a profit at this stage in the game is an absolute miracle)
      And the fact that CNBC and Portfolio say he’s one of the worst CEOs in America means jack. CNBC prides themselves on their experts Jim Cramer and Larry Kudlow and Portfolio Magazine deservedly went out of business…neither media outlet is really known for any depth in its reporting

      SIPA students have heard from plenty of academics, policymakers, and NGO folks. It doesn’t really hurt to hear someone with a Ph.D who has private sector experience and a slightly different perspective from most SIPA students.

  • I'm down says:

    @I'm down I’m happy to see SIPA kids protest this. Until we get Glass-Stegal back, I will not personally feel comfortable around bankers/i-bankers.

    I’m also tired of this whole “Oh, this CEO is one in a bajillion, so we gotta pay him $38 million to keep him” thing. This happens even when the CEO royally fucks up, a la Carly Fiorina, Chuck Prince, and oh yeah, Vikram Pandit.

    All of the major banks and i-banks are posting major profits now. Citi is nothing special. They all make billions because working Americans are their slaves. 3% compound growth every year is no longer realistic without dicking normal people. And these econ kids have the nerve to tell me these banks help provide the free flow of capital to worthy endeavors…yeah, like that’s where the money is.

  • dude says:

    @dude I fully agree with you. Well said. Especially kudos for saying this- it’s tough not to be another sheep in the herd these days.

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