Four days ago, IvyGate (an Ivy League miscellaneous news and humor blog) linked a 6:46 minute YouTube video produced by Yale senior Aleksey Vayner to accompany the cover letter, resume, and research paper he was using to apply for investment banking jobs.
Mr. Vayner’s video (which showed the youthful job applicant lifting astoundingly large weights, skiing, playing tennis, ballroom dancing, and karate-chopping a tall stack of bricks) produced very much the opposite of what he had intended. No one called him for an interview, but amused NY bankers quickly began sharing his credentializing video’s link by email as the humor item of the week. That video soon went viral. Aleksey did not become any company’s newest AVP, but he did become the next Star Wars kid.
Vayner, a self-described “CEO and professional athlete,” submitted a cover letter and resume to UBS AG, describing his “insatiable appetite for peak performance.” By Friday afternoon, both the cover letter and resume — which includes a link to the video, titled “Impossible is Nothing” — had circulated among employees at Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group and Wachovia Corp., to name a few.
UBS spokesman Kris Kagel said the firm is looking into the forwarding of the e-mail. “We’re looking at whether it did come from UBS and if so, we’ll take action,” he said. “As a firm we obviously don’t circulate (job applications) to the public.”
And it gets worse and worse.
One thing led to another. Curious viewers looked closely at Aleksey’s investment firm, charity, and book listed on his resume, finding major problems (like non-existence, misrepresentation, and plagiarism) with each.
The Yale Daily News joined the pack now barking at Aleksey’s heels, with other students supplying more stories.
Daniella Berman ’07, who knows Vayner through the Yale Ballroom Dance Team, said she has heard “outlandish” stories about Vayner both from him and from other students. Among the claims she said she has heard is one that Vayner is one of four people in the state of Connecticut qualified to handle nuclear waste.
Berman said that while she thinks that kind of claim is fairly harmless, she thinks Vayner crossed a line by misrepresenting himself to a potential employer…
Vayner was profiled (as Aleksey Garber) in the Yale Rumpus in May of 2002 after visiting Yale as a prefrosh. The profile outlined Vayner’s many fabrications, including his claims that he was employed by both the Mafia and the CIA during his childhood and that he gave tennis lessons to Harrison Ford and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Today, IvyGate returned for a final coup de grace.
A member of the Yale tennis team wrote in to dispute Aleksey’s claim that he competed on the Satellite tour: “I played for Yale tennis, and he tried to walk on the team. He got cut the second day. I had one conversation with him, and he claimed to have KILLED 24 people in the caves of Tibet.”
(Other great comments: “I too played for Yale tennis, and Vayner/Garber claimed that he has trouble flying on planes because he has to register his hands as lethal weapons each time he goes to an airport.” And: “The giveaway on the investment firm was that he said his firm specialized in “risk-aDverse” strategies. The other giveaway was that he’s fucking crazy.”)
We decided to not be too scared of the cease and desist letter Aleksey emailed us, given that he copied and pasted it from the first Google hit for “cease and desist letter,” right down to the “very truly yours” signoff. Attorney Ron706@aol.com, Esq., really earned his fee there.
At Yale, Aleksey has offered to treat sports injuries using various “Eastern” therapy methods, including massage and acupuncture. Before “treating” a “patient,” he sent them this letter. You simply have to read it in full. Somewhere in there he claims that his brother is “head of pediatrics at Columbian Presbyterian hospital in NYC.” A search on the Columbia Presbyterian Physician Network turns up no one with the last name “Garber” or “Vayner.” But our favorite part is this line: “I am not certified in any Western sense of the word, neither in Chinese medicine, Tui-Na, Shaolin trauma medicine, nor in acupuncture, all of which I practice extensively never-the-less.”
And, um, not quite so humorously, the SEC and dean of Yale College have been notified of Aleksey’s transgressions.
God, what theater. You cannot make this shit up. Unless, y’know, you’re Aleksey.
You can bet that Yale will now review this lad’s admission application materials, looking for discrepancies. Ouch!
Hat tip to Andrew Olson.
Mr. Vayner has (not unwisely) gotten YouTube to pull the video, by claiming copyright infringement.
The vindictive IvyGate is defying him, and has placed the video in a new posting.
He now has a Wikipedia entry.
Aleksey is being ridiculed by Gawker.
And poor Aleksey’s story, and some comments on this posting by classmates on my Yale College Class email list made the New Yorker.
There is now an Aleksey Vayner Repository web-site, where readers post suggested new claims and accomplishments for Aleksey. The order of precedence of new alleged Aleksey accomplishments is determined by reader votes.
And, we missed this earlier posting in which Bess Levin communes with Aleksey’s brain.