How to Save Your Weekend

Make sure to see rufiolove's comment part way down...

Given that it's Friday and I'm looking to finish up some work and get out of here myself, I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

When you first start in banking, you're pretty much stuck. I wouldn't risk the political capital and references for buyside to do any of the tongue-in-cheeck tips I'm going to recommend below. Just pay your dues and get used to having your weekends ruined.

However, once you secure an offer or you're in your second year, here are some tips to salvaging your weekend (yes it also works on the buyside).

1. Make sure you have a list rehearsed on what you have going on this weekend. Most likely someone is going to ask you what you have going on this weekend. Instead of saying "Oh I was going to grab dinner with friends" you should just rattle off your work list and then interrupt yourself by saying "Oh that reminds me, I have to go check something"

How to Treat the New Blood: 3 Rules to Follow

Now, most of the posters on WSO aren’t managing anyone yet or even have anyone below them on the totem pole for at least a few years, but those that will (or have) may benefit from this post. There are literally hundreds of threads talking about how to deal with bosses and colleagues but rarely do you find one discussing how to treat those beneath you.

More importantly, it’s probably going to happen sooner than you think. Unfortunately, I’ve seen even the BEST analysts fail and make countless mistakes when managing down while they have no problem with managing up. We’re so used to sucking up and playing politics as the lowest guy on the totem pole that we have no idea what to do when a wide-eyed 20-21 year old is thrust into our cubicle by the staffer.

Picking the Right Group

Many threads have been created over the years concerning which group is best, what exit opps are from each group, etc.

While strength of groups change with the tides, i.e UBS healthcare left for Jefferies, I’m only going to comment GENERALLY and on my OWN experiences at a mid-tier Bulge Bracket bank, so if you disagree, you're probably right so feel free to share your own experiences at your shop.

Now, if you’re at an elite boutique or mid-market, it’s going to totally depend on your shop and what that particular shop is good at. Example: Qatalyst and Allen obviously have their own niches that they’re known for and you’ll just need to do a search on that yourself.

With that said, hopefully this thread helps to answer a few of the repeated threads about what group to pick.

What to do with DAT BONUS

I understand that a lot of the readers on this board have never received a sizeable bonus and the minority who do were already paid months ago back in June/July, but I hope this post is still helpful to some about how to manage the bonus that you receive from your finance job.

1. Pay off your student loans immediately. I don't care if your uncle approached you with an amazing idea that will return 5000% in a year which is more than your 6% Stafford Loans, pay off the debt! I know you're young now, but very soon you'll be looking to buy a house/apt or get married and the loans you need on a mortgage will be a lot harder to get ( or more expensive) if you have a bunch of student debt left over. There's always pressing capital needs, but 99% of the time, you should be clearing up those student loans immediately.

2. Luckily, some of us had scholarships or parents that took care of #1, so if you don't have any loans you need to be investing your money intelligently.

So You Made It to Banking, Now What?

Congratulations!!! You made it into investment banking. Of course early on you're excited and just want to spend 100+ hours in the office to impress everyone and get that top bucket bonus, but how do you really get the most mileage out of your 2 year stint in banking? For most, it's about exit ops and this is becoming more and more true as we see bonuses go down the shitter. Heck, a lot of my friends got paid less in their 2nd year than they did in their 1st year!

Now if you're looking to stay for the long haul, this post might not be so helpful. In that case, there really is no secret trick or tips. You simply need to be good, which means a strong work ethic, good technical/modeling skills, and a legitimate interest in chasing deals and closing them.

For the rest of you, there are some ways to set yourself up for an exit while not necessarily suffering the most. So here are some tips from a fellow ex-BB IBD analyst that you won't find in most employee handbooks:

1. Plan your exit ahead of time.

Funniest Stories - The Analyst Years

Although working as an investment banking analyst was a living hell at the time, I now look back at my years with nostalgia. Luckily, as time passes, the 100 hour weeks just blend together and the pain has gone away. Of course, I'm still irrationally uncomfortable and nervous whenever I see a red blinking light (Blackberry email) but other than that, all I remember now are the fun times. The 5am nights when you finally get the pitch books binded and shipped to the MD's house and as you're waiting for the driver to call you and confirm that he delivered it, you're joking around with your associate/VP and realize that they're actually human beings too.

However, the best parts were the office gossip and hilarious stories that were shared among the analyst class. The best stories always came from the summer interns, which made sense because 20-21 year olds know absolutely nothing about anything (including common sense).

One of my favorite stories was a summer intern who had a bad case of diarrhea. Unfortunately for him, my BB was proud of their latest technology upgrade for the entire bullpen, the wireless headset (which of course is about 10 years behind the technology of any normal corporation).

Armed with this technology, he was able to piss off an entire deal team and probably single-handedly kill a deal.

An Ocean of Capital: Saturation in Private Equity

First it was rumors. The grapevine of talk from other private equity associates and friends from the BB where I did my banking stint. Of course, gossip is one thing we’re all used to from our investment banking days and just like at our old jobs ,there was no shortage of juicy gossip. However, I brushed a lot of it off as standard ex-banker complaining. After all, everyone loves to complain in finance.

But then came the calls. Headhunters that I haven’t talked to for a year were suddenly emailing me and calling me to “catch up”. Was this a new hiring boom in a new vertical of finance? Unfortunately no, it was open PE positions that were looking for laterals. Complaints of a saturated market and the inability to get deals done were no longer just harmless complaints from overworked associates. Apparently the rumors were true. PE associates were leaving their jobs for business school, startups, hedge funds, corp dev, etc.

The private equity (and any investment related industry in general) was oversaturated. There was too much capital in the world. This may be hard to believe, but according to a very recent Bain & Co. research report, total financial assets are nearly 10 times the value of global output of all goods and services. Let that sink in for a moment...