I Was Only An Intern And It Wasn’t With Goldman Sachs, Refutes Najib’s Daughter

Yana Najib, daughter of former prime minister Najib Razak
Yana Najib, daughter of former prime minister Najib Razak

“I was the PowerPoint girl, the photocopying girl, the coffee girl and the delivery girl just to name a few”

Kuala Lumpur – The headlines on Tuesday (22 Feb) were abuzz with the alleged claims by former Goldman Sachs (GS) South East Asia chairman executive Tim Leissner that former Malaysian premier Najib Razak wanted to get his children jobs at the bank in return for working with the firm on $6.5 billion in bond deals.

Nooryana at her Harvard Kennedy School graduation ceremony with her husband, son and brother Ashman. – Pic credit: Yana Najib

Both Najib and his daughter Nooryana Najwa (Yana) have refuted this.

“While the headlines of the local media gave the impression that I was being bribed by Goldman Sachs who offered my children work at the bank, what former executive (and star) witness Leissner described was their attempt to bribe me,” Najib said in a Facebook post On Wednesday (23 Feb).

Yana, meanwhile, said that meeting senior banking professionals such as Roger Ng (Tim’s subordinate) and Leissner was nothing more than an opportunity to learn more about Goldman Sachs’ demanding analyst program.

“Any college senior will attest that you need to do your groundwork and network with industry professionals in order to land a competitive job that matches your interests,” she clarified in a Facebook post.

Daunting Prospects

She added that when she was a senior in college, the prospects of entering the working world seemed daunting – a plethora of career fairs, recruitment talks, company brochures and a multitude of advice from the career counsellor.

“The golden standard at the time was to work at a premier financial institution. Exposure to the holy trinity – consulting, investment banking and private equity – was a dream career path for many of my peers. The most common route was to pay your dues, work the brutal 85-95 hour weeks for a few years (yes, our career counsellor would joke, be prepared to be a doormat) then apply to business school or make a career switch that is more in sync with your true passion.

“I personally had a profound interest in government and foreign policy (I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in International Politics and Foreign Policy from Georgetown University, Washington DC) so I wanted to find a role that marries finance and government policy,” Yana said.

She added that she did inquire if GS had such interdisciplinary roles and she was prepared to interview for them. And yes, she was told that GS does business with the gov’t of Malaysia, so it could be a conflict of interest.

Yana added that Leissner then introduced her to the fundraising group at TPG Capital, a global private equity firm. Raising investment funds from strategic institutional investors (most notably pension funds and sovereign wealth funds) meant that her policy background would come in handy.

Coffee Girl

“I was interviewed for an intern analyst position at the TPG Capital’s London office. Yes, an intern. This meant you’re at the bottom of the food chain. Besides your core job scope, you’re also responsible for the spadework. You’re the PowerPoint girl, the photocopying girl, the coffee girl and the delivery girl just to name a few,” she stressed.

It is worth noting that TPG adheres to strict compliance processes.

“We had an internal ruling that, given my father’s government position, I would not be allowed to participate and/or work on any Malaysian investor accounts.

“After about 11 months as an intern, I was promoted to a full-time analyst following an internal performance review and transferred to the TPG Hong Kong office where I spent 1.5 years working on TPG investor relations efforts of which relationships were built long before I got to the firm and adhered to strict internal compliance ruling. I subsequently left TPG in June 2015 to focus on my business and graduate school applications,” Yana added. – New Malaysia Herald