The makers of the BBC-HBO TV show "Industry", Mickey Down and Konrad Kay.
Courtesy Mickey Down
After Konrad Kay and Mickey Down discovered that they were pretty terrible as bankers, they channeled their mistakes onto the hit TV show "Industry," which features five college graduates navigating the financial sector.
Like the five main characters in the series, who run a competitive placement program with the fictional investment bank Pierpoint & Co. in London, Down and Kay began working in finance as graduates. However, Down joked that the show's characters are way more competent than ever when they worked in the industry a few years ago.
After three years as a stock sales analyst, Kay was actually fired because a lack of confidence prevented him from picking up the phone to speak to clients.
"There was always someone who knew more about stocks than I did, so I never felt qualified to open my mouth about it," Kay told CNBC.
"I find it very hard to do shit because I'm scared that I hate the idea of someone asking me a question that totally exposes how little I know or what I am talking about," he added.
Kay has said in previous interviews that his boss even called him the worst salesperson he had ever seen.
Similarly, when Down said that when he quit his own merger and acquisition analyst job after a year, he probably felt like "an obstacle to the company rather than an aid".
"I didn't know much, I didn't really understand how to do my job, but asking for help was even viewed as … a weakness," he said.
After Down left the financial world, he worked for a talent agency and production company and started writing. Kay came to see him after he was released.
The two have written for several television and film projects since retiring from the financial industry.
They initially tried to write another show about the financial sector, but Down said this was more of a "cathartic" experience to put on paper their frustrations with the industry and see if they could write together.
This original show also had a mix of senior and junior finance workers while with "Industry" they made a conscious choice to focus on writing about "what it felt like to be at the bottom of the ladder" what Kay said you felt more qualified.
The BBC HBO show premiered earlier this month with the first episode by "Girls" creator Lena Dunham. "Industry" has been hailed as one of the more accurate representations of financial services, from the use of jargon to the harsh dynamics of the trading floor.
& # 39; Conveyor Belt & # 39;
After experiencing it for themselves, Down and Kay understood how enticing the industry can be for graduates. A student at the UK's top college, the University of Oxford, Down said the banks started wooing them with dinners, drinks and company supplies as early as the first year of their undergraduate studies.
The pressure to have a job after graduation and the fact that many other students were planning on getting into the financial industry helped convince them to go down the same path.
"I sort of convinced myself that this was definitely what I wanted to do, but it quickly became pretty obvious that I was very ill-suited for this," Down said.
Kay said it felt like a "conveyor belt" and the "safe option".
Down said he had to "work really hard to be average". "And then, after a while, when the hunger for the job wears off and the shine from it wears off and you feel your life crumbling around you, you don't care, so stop doing my best to impress people "he explained.
Both writers are now in their thirties, and looking back, Down said the advice he received as a result of that experience was "don't take it so seriously". But he admitted that he said this in hindsight and understood that for many young people who are just starting out, "work is life".
"I think the advice … is to really ask whether you want to do it or not and if not, get off as soon as you can and don't let it become your life, don't let it take over yours Life, "he added.
That being said, there were a few things the writers took away from their time in town. Kay believed that the "emphasis on delivery in the corporate world" earned them a "level of professionalism in deadline writing and work ethic".
He also stressed that a lot of the TV business consists of sitting in rooms where executives are putting on a show, so that previous sales experience will benefit them for the industry. "Instead of stocks and EBITDA" – a common acronym for investment that means Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization – Kay said they felt more confident about "trying to create and create a television series." languages.
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