Sigma Alpha Epsilon is a fraternity with deep links to Wall Street. It's also notable for killing more of its pledges through hazing than any other frat. Fortunately, you can learn SAE's secret motto here without placing your own life at risk.
SAE is more than 150 years old, and now boasts more than 220 chapters across America. Bloomberg today delves deep into SAE's horrific hazing record: in the past seven years, nine people have died drug or alcohol-related deaths as a direct result of SAE hazing or parties, a higher death toll than any other fraternity. Pledges tell of paddling, imprisonment, forced drinking, and being submerged in ice—one compares the SAE pledge process to "Guantanamo Bay."
The frat continues to be popular in part because of its deep roster of alumni in the finance world. SAE membership is perceived as a good ticket to a job on Wall Street. But why should anyone have to undergo a near-death hazing ritual in order to join the magical secret insider group of frat boys to land a moneymaking job? Luckily, today's Bloomberg story includes some key info—passed to them by former SAE pledges—that can help you with your networking. They note "the secret SAE handshake, with interlocking pinkies." And, more importantly, this:
LinkedIn, a networking website for professionals, lists almost 3,000 SAE alumni in finance, more than any other industry. When Jeff Librot, a former head of the University of Delaware's SAE chapter, applied for a Bank of Montreal equities internship, a banker there sent him an e-mail with SAE's secret motto, "Phi Alpha." Librot was selected.
"Phi Alpha" is SAE's special slogan, the meaning of which is supposed to be a secret shared only among members. There's much discussion of it online. In fact, the discussion section of the group's Wikipedia page includes an entire section on the topic, characterized by this: "Removed reference to the motto, which was necessary due to the fact that the meaning of said motto is a fraternity secret. Please try to not reveal any more fraternity secrets in future postings."
Motto: Phi Alpha (meaning "Brighter from obscurity"
Is that the big secret? Or just a false flag meant to throw outsiders off the trail? Who gives a shit, really? By not joining SAE, you have already proven yourself to be a winner. All you college kids who don't care for deadly alcohol poisoning or having your ass paddled by a lacrosse player until blood runs from your butt cheeks, just email the hot shot Wall Street SAE alum of your choice with the subject line, "Brighter from Obscurity," and then lock pinkies when you shake his hand. A job is yours! Welcome to the meritocracy.