The bear pit

In the last five minutes of the Corporate Finance lecture, the room erupts into absolute chaos!

The scheduling for an assignment handed out is tight, and this late in the term everyone’s fighting to keep up with the work, so nerves are on edge. But time isn’t the fundamental problem: scheduling is. Everyone here is a member of at least 4 syndicate groups, each a different set of people (I’m in 5) and there is NO commonality of calendaring.

What this means is that everyone in the room has to agree a meeting time. And they have to do it RIGHT NOW, no question, because if the decision slips into email or the weekend it’ll be impossible to get answers. A frenzy of shouts and gesticulations rises to fever pitch in seconds, not helped by the fact that not many people know who’s in their designated group.

Shouted back row: “Yo! Can we talk a second?”

“Need to negotiate! Let’s do this deal now.”

“How’s everyone fixed for Monday evening?”


“How about Monday afternoon?”

“I’ve got POM!”

“There might be a session Wednesday morning!”

“Wednesday afternoon! I bid Wednesday afternoon!”

“Thursday evening reports poor third-quarter results!”

“Pork Bellies! Pork Bellies at 81 4/32!”

OK, I made the last two up, but you see my point. It’s like being in the bear pit of the New York stock exchange! For a full four minutes the ‘trading floor’ is a nerve-jangling web of palpable tension and frustration, alliances and trading positions being formed and re-formed second by second, as factions and raiders mount their assaults on each other’s calendars. Shouting down the weak and filling their boots with the strong.

My opening bid to acquire Monday evening gets rejected by a determined duo of asset-strippers in Row 2, but my exploratory Put option on midweek yields a head-and-shoulders shape on the graph. I short-sell Wednesday afternoon in the hope of talking up the less liquid Wednesday morning, and suddenly everyone’s buying Wednesday before lunch (which everyone will miss, of course, lunch being for wimps). I cut my losses on Monday – if you can’t take your losses, you shouldn’t be in the market – and fill my boots with Wednesday morning. It’s agreed. The culture of the Bear Pit has produced another result. Wow, that was INTENSE!

Where are my red braces?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s