I was certain I had blown my big chance. All those hours of learning how to construct complex models for every conceivable financial situation for naught. Maybe I wasn't cut out of this sort of work after all. It was about more than being a great analyst with a gift for modeling and little in Business School seemed to emphasize much else.
Sure, there was the occasional practitioner professor who would tell old "deal war stories," but nothing on the craft of the deal. Nothing on what could be gleaned from the fact that a seller had 5 daughters and no sons. Or that he never sailed on his boat. These were the pieces of the puzzled I needed.
I was suddenly angry at my alma mater. They were quick enough to pester me for money. Why hadn't they given me the tools to ace this interview? Had the Harvard people learned these "soft skills." What was that class called? "Deal making 202: The Inside Track?"
That night I emptied the entire minibar of those mini booze bottles. My last remembered moments were highlighted by a spinning whirlwind of ugly upholstery, eye straining, power saving tube-bulb lighting and high traffic carpeting. Somewhere in there I apparently drunk-dialed my ex too. (I know this because the hotel bill the next afternoon included a $65.40 charge to that embarrassingly familiar number).
In the depths of my dreams I heard my cell phone ringing somewhere. Because I was unable to muster forth sufficient clarity or conscious thought to compel my dehydrated body to pick it up, annoying, chirp like rings punctuated my dreams until 1pm the next morning (I changed my ring tone the next day) when the much louder and more insistent hotel phone began to take over with the front desk on the other end asking when I planned to check out.
I staggered out of the hotel, broken and beaten and into a grungy taxi to the airport.
I was dead asleep as soon as the plane was taxing. Then, suddenly and without warning, I was jarred awake in terror when I heard the engines suddenly roaring unusually loudly as the captain firewalled the engine for some reason. I felt the plane banking hard enough to press me against the window to my right. I almost cried out in horror.
A part of me was resigned to this grim fate. How fitting to die in a flaming crash after my flaming spiral interview crash.
Bracing myself for whatever we hit I felt something was wrong. I glanced around the plane in a panic and saw that no one else in the entire plane was reacting as if anything were wrong whatsoever. I looked quickly out the window and realized that the plane was not yet airborne. The pilot had put on the power during the tail end of his left turn onto the runway, to get a running start, I guess. The combination of the turn and the sudden roar made me think we were headed for certain death.
I tried to regain my composure but two people in my row were staring at me.
I was not much better once at home and finally lucid enough to listen to my voicemails. The first one was Armin.
"We'd like you to come back and start work on a trial basis as soon as possible." The other four messages were hang-ups which my phone reported as also being from Armin. I had done it. At least for now, I was in.