The New York Times runs a funny, but somewhat disturbing story about a Yale student’s video application to a securities firm, which someone at the firm leaked, and which is now a YouTube staple:
With his name and image appearing on the “Today” show, in The New York Post and all over the Web site Gawker, Aleksey Vayner may be the most famous investment-banking job applicant in recent memory.
But he says his new celebrity is less blessing than curse.
“This has been an extremely stressful time,” Mr. Vayner, a senior at Yale University, told DealBook over steak in a northern New Jersey restaurant Thursday.
It was his first face-to-face meeting with a reporter since an 11-page application and elaborate video clip that he submitted to securities firm UBS showed up on two blogs, and then quickly spread to every corner of the Internet. The clip, staged to look like a job interview spliced with shots of Mr. Vayner’s athletic prowess, flooded e-mail inboxes across Wall Street and eventually appeared on the video-sharing site YouTube. And the overwhelming reaction was mocking laughter.
In the video, Vayner presents himself as an athletic dynamo, capable of superhuman feats in various fields. It’s seven minutes of self congratulatory footage which would naturally result in the video’s subject becoming an object of ridicule. Hagiography should never merge with biography.
What’s disturbing about the whole thing is twofold. First, no matter how funny it was, UBS should never have released the video for public consumption. Even if it’s not illegal, it’s unethical to take material sent to UBS for its consumption in connectio with a job application and then to broadcast it to the world. Second, there are now stories cropping up that Vayner himself, rather than being merely boastful, may himself be a con artist. There doesn’t seem to be any doubt but that he is a Yale student, but many of his other stories about himself are suspect, and he may well have committed fraud in the guise of a false charity. That’s a reminder that both things and people are often too good to be true.