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In The Pursuit of Happyness, after Chris gets the internship at Dean Witter and just before he goes to the football game with Mr. Ribbon, it shows a list that Chris is using to make cold calls. He states that they're "working up the list", however, out of what seems to be impatience, Chris jumps to the top of the list and calls Mr. Walter Ribbon, Pension Fund CEO.

As Chris scrolls up the list to circle Mr. Ribbon's name, he briefly looks around in a somewhat secretive manner -- would Chris have gotten in trouble if his actions were discovered by Dean Witter?

And then.. given what seems to be the fact that these firms maintain close relationships with each other, wouldn't word have gotten back to Dean Witter, saying that an intern-in-training is calling/hassling a CEO with a cliché sales pitch?

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For your first question, the answer is obviously yes. This is because as an intern it will be difficult to get your hands-on with Mr. Ribbon (since he was on the top of the list) and therefore you have to abide by company's rules. So if an intern blew the company's chances by directly contacting him, that leaves a bad impression on the company and thereby Gardner will be in trouble. However, if he was somehow able to convince Mr. Ribbon, then it's a different story.

For your second question, Ribbon and Gardner tend to have a good relationship with each other rather than just the formal business type. He was convinced of the Gardner's attitude when he apologized for not showing up for the meeting. That's why he was invited to the game in the first place. So, even if Ribbon did speak to the other firm about Gardner, I don't think he is gonna say anything bad about him that's gonna leave a mark on him.

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The world of money management is very complex and stressful, where millions can be made or lost in minutes. I know this from my experience working for a bond trading company, although granted I was in the I.T. department. When you're an intern, you're getting your feet wet. You have to produce quickly, because you get one shot with people, and you better be on your game. If you blow it or come off looking uninformed, no one is going to hand you hundreds of thousands of dollars to play with. Going after a whale when you are still working on your closing pitch is a big No-No, and should have gotten him fired immediately for not following protocol. There's a reason those lists exist, and for the order they're in.

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