A young woman who died on June 28 after falling on the subway tracks was an undergraduate student at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Helen Chen, 22, who was working as an intern at Lazard investment bank, reportedly fainted before falling onto the tracks as a train was approaching at Grand Central Station in Manhattan, according to a report in the New York Post.
“The NYU Stern community is deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely death of one of our undergraduate business students,” the school said in a statement to Poets&Quants. “The University, as well as the Stern Undergraduate College, have been in touch with the family to offer condolences and extend support during this difficult time. We have also made support available to Stern students, including connecting them with the NYU Wellness Exchange. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family, friends, and loved ones as they mourn her loss.”
According to the New York Post, Chen’s Linkedin page indicated she was set to graduate from NYU Stern next year. Her page has since been disabled.
A GOFUND ME HAS RAISED $25,771
A GoFundMe set up for her family has so far raised $25,771. According to the post, organized by an NYU classmate, Chen was originally from Shanghai, China, and moved to the United States while in high school.
“She was hard-working, intelligent, gritty, motivated, convivial, and loved by everyone around her,” the post reads.
It is with tremendous sadness that I notify our community of the death of young Providence High School alum, Helen Chen ‘19. Helen was an incredibly involved, intelligent, and vibrant student. Please keep Helen, her family, friends, and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/kabi4eUSAP
— Providence High School (@PHSburbank) July 1, 2022
Following Chen’s death, Providence High School in Burbank, Calif., tweeted: “It is with tremendous sadness that I notify our community of the death of young Providence High School alum, Helen Chen ‘19. Helen was an incredibly involved, intelligent, and vibrant student. Please keep Helen, her family, friends, and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
Money raised in the GoFundMe will go to her father and to buy a memorial brick at Providence High. She was an only child and raised by her father. “May she rest in peace and the rest of us live strong. We will miss her forever and make sure she is never forgotten,” the GoFundMe reads.
— please find the revised attached (@bottombucketaf) July 5, 2022
DEATH PROMPTS QUESTIONS ON TRAVEL SUBSIDIES FOR INTERNS
Chen was reportedly returning from a Mets game with other Lazard interns when she fainted at the tracks at about 10:40 p.m., according to news reports.
“While the circumstances of Chen’s death remain unclear, it’s already prompting questions about policies around subsidized travel for interns late at night, with some suggesting that the bank could have picked up the tab for Uber travel back from what appears to have been a company event,” Sarah Butcher of the efinancialcareers.com writes. “However, it’s understood that Lazard does offer subsidized transport to interns traveling back from the office or company outings after 9pm.”
One investment banking associate, who apparently works at Lazard, wrote a scathing post on Wall Street Oasis titled, “I Blame Lazard.”
“I was terribly devastated hearing details of our summer analyst’s subway tragedy from a colleague this morning. It was also extremely disappointing to learn that Lazard was trying to keep the news under wraps and has yet to issue a public statement. Instead, cover up stories of “she wasn’t actually returning from the office,” and “she didn’t drink enough water / got dehydrated,” have been floating around our office,” the post reads.
“The reality is, despite whether or not these claims have any merit, investment banks’ (especially LAZ) whose very cultural essence fosters environments of stress and anxiety, are entirely at blame. It should come as no surprise that those in banking are more susceptible to work induced heart failures and panic attacks than any other career, so it’s pathetic to hear that something like late night transportation (which is f*cking tax deductible) is considered taboo. As for you screaming MDs that invoke fear and terror into the analysts, there’s a special place in hell reserved for people like you. Don’t think you’re any less at blame here.”
Chen’s death comes amidst rising scrutiny on the work conditions and culture in investment banking. In 2013, a Bank of America intern, Moritz Erhardt, died from an epileptic seizure that was possibly triggered by fatigue from working three consecutive all-nighters, and many banks imposed restrictions on intern working hours.
However, a recent survey from Wall Street Oasis survey of 435 investment bankers revealed that grim work conditions persist in the industry.
“Lazard is devastated about the tragic death of our colleague,” a bank spokesperson said in a statement. “The loss of someone so early in life is unimaginable. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and her Lazard colleagues.”
DON’T MISS P&Q’s SERIES ON WALL STREET OASIS’ 2022 INVESTMENT BANKING WORK-CONDITIONS SURVEY: