• Sharebar

Ah yes, you have received your Investment Banking Analyst offer for next summer. You have accomplished the impossible. Climbed the unscalable. Out-prestiged Prestigious Pete! You are AWESOME.

Except not everyone is going to react the same way when you proudly proclaim to them that in only a few shorts months you'll be a minted banker. Indeed, some will act offender, bewildered, or ignorantly when you tell them of your triumphs.

The interaction goes something like this...

New Acquaintance: "Hello John Doe, my name is Jane, so nice to meet you. What do you do?"
You: Perfect! This is a chance to tell someone that I'm going to be a banker! "Well, Jane, I am in finance." Not coming off to strong, we'll wait for out new friend to prod further.
New Acquaintance: "Oh, that's where the money is at, haha. What in finance specifically?"
You: If I had a dime for every time someone told me that finance was where the money is... "Funny you should ask Jane, I am an investment banker and advise companies on such things as mergers & acquisitions and capital raises."

Now Jane can have one of 3 responses.

1. Why don't you do something that benefits society?

Ah yes, these can come in many shapes and sizes. In some cases, the person may be angry with you for your career choice -- you know, because by being an Excel slave, you're directly keeping down the 99%. Or the person can act very shocked in a patronizing way, as if to say "Wow, you really chose THAT over Peace Corps???".

In either of these cases, you have to put the over-aggressive tendencies you have into your pocket and appease the interlocutor. "Yeah, I know I know, but just for a few years" -- getting off Scott Free and making yourself seem like an _actual_ good person might work here. This doesn't seem to be the place to argue with anyone, no matter your stance.

2. Wut's tht?

Depending on the circles you run in, this one is probably pretty uncommon, but it will happen. Liken investment banking to a real estate brokerage, just instead of selling houses, you sell companies or pieces of companies. You also help people to refinance companies, much like realtors can play a role in refinancing mortgages (not usually, but close enough).

The other thing to do, which requires tact (most of you lack that), is to just say you're a financial advisor and move the conversation in another direction. No one really wants to hear you describe investment banking to someone. Really, no one.

3. Can you help me break in?

Boy this one happens a lot if you're around people 1-2 years younger than you. It's kind of unbelievable, actually. For most people, this will be phrased differently, such as: "Tell me about how you got into banking", or the ubiquitous "I'd like to learn more about your firm".

At this point you, although having so far accomplished nothing as an investment banker (you haven't even started yet), have a bit of leverage. You can quickly try to figure out whether this is someone who knows what they're talking about even ever so slightly or just wasting your time and crying "investment banking" because the kid next to them in Econ 101 has a Goldman MD for a dad. If they're not wasting your time, and although you don't REALLY have the capacity to help them much, you can offer to check out their resume and push it forward once you start working.

If they are wasting your time, and don't actually know that investment banking isn't stock-picking, smile and explain that you have no clout yet, but would be happy to follow up at a later point. You won't really follow-up though, but why make things awkward. This ability will certainly come in handy later on.

What do you guys think? What sorts of responses have you received when asked the ever-popular "so wut r u doin nxt yr?" questions? Let's hear it.

Thanks for reading.

3

Comments (18)

  • jos.a.bankhard's picture

    As a consultant who adds no value to greater society, I don't believe I have ever been asked the first question by anyone. Does that happen when meeting random people or what? I would think that for everyone on here, even your extended social circles don't include people who will ask such a stupid question.

  • BTbanker's picture

    Them: "How do you sleep at night?"

    Me: "On a bed made of money."

    -Mad Men

  • In reply to jos.a.bankhard
    Oreos's picture

    jos.a.bankhard:
    As a consultant who adds no value to greater society, I don't believe I have ever been asked the first question by anyone. Does that happen when meeting random people or what? I would think that for everyone on here, even your extended social circles don't include people who will ask such a stupid question.

    but no one thinks that you're evil. we could ague (but lets not) that fashion adds nothing, but no one hates on fashion people. similarly with consulting, we all know consulting is a worthless insurance policy that management use as a scapegoat (again, lets not argue about this either, you're entitled to think i'm wrong), but it's not perceived as evil.

    .

  • In reply to Oreos
    jos.a.bankhard's picture

    Oreos:
    consulting is a worthless insurance policy that management use as a scapegoat

    As long as it pays the bills, right?

  • In reply to jos.a.bankhard
    Oreos's picture

    jos.a.bankhard:
    Oreos:
    consulting is a worthless insurance policy that management use as a scapegoat

    As long as it pays the bills, right?


    of course my man.

    .

  • Unforseen's picture

    Them: How do you live with yourself?

    Me: One day at a time....one day at a time.

    - Its Always Sunny

  • Prestigious Pete's picture

    When a muchacho asks me what I do, I have a straightforward answer. I'm an artiste. Instead of a canvas, I have a blank Power Point slide. Instead of a paintbrush, I have a mouse pointer. Instead of paintings and art galleries, I have bake-offs and boardrooms.

    I'm in the the upper echelon of the new order. The upper crust of the people lasagna. I make the rules, amigo. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price of a cuff link.

    There is not a shred of doubt that as we speak marble busts and bronze statues are being constructed of me across the world.

  • rufiolove's picture

    This whole approach comes across as a bit desperate and try hard. Feeling the need to work the fact that you are a banker into conversation when you haven't even gone through the christening process is just douchey. Trying to dumb it down and also subtly act as if it is not a big deal even when you view it as the majority of your identity is even more needy.

    If your social / emotional IQ is up to par prior to starting a job in banking, there is no calibration necessary. Banking doesn't have to change your personality. You can still approach interactions with sincerity and a genuine interest in what the other person has to say. The one thing important to remember is that this job does not in any way make you better than anyone else; it merely compensates you for giving up more free time than others are willing to. This will open doors and likely lead to ways to be compensated more handsomely for fewer hours down the line, but never look down on those who value their free time more heavily in the short term than you do. It's a lifestyle choice and one that I fully appreciate, as does anyone who has spent a couple years giving up free time in exchange for more pay.

  • In reply to Prestigious Pete
    Oreos's picture

    Prestigious Pete:
    Instead of a paintbrush, I have a mouse pointer.

    haha you use the mouse, get the fuck out!

    .

  • In reply to Oreos
    Prestigious Pete's picture

    Oreos:
    Prestigious Pete:
    Instead of a paintbrush, I have a mouse pointer.

    haha you use the mouse, get the fuck out!

    You can't make Power Point masterpieces with a keyboard, amigo. That's why I don't even have a keyboard. I have two mice, one for each hand. They're both made out of solid gold. And polished once every hour with a toothbrush to maintain that glistening shine.

  • In reply to Prestigious Pete
    FeelingMean's picture

    Prestigious Pete:
    Oreos:
    Prestigious Pete:
    Instead of a paintbrush, I have a mouse pointer.

    haha you use the mouse, get the fuck out!

    You can't make Power Point masterpieces with a keyboard, amigo. That's why I don't even have a keyboard. I have two mice, one for each hand. They're both made out of solid gold. And polished once every hour with a toothbrush to maintain that glistening shine.

    Nice save... Two mice lol

    "That dude is so haole, he don't even have any breath left."

  • spaceagecowboy's picture

    To unlock this content for free, please login / register below.

    Sign In with Facebook Sign In with Google

    Connecting helps us build a vibrant community. We'll never share your info without your permission. Sign up with email or if you are already a member, login here Bonus: Also get 6 free financial modeling lessons for free ($200+ value) when you register!
  • In reply to Prestigious Pete
    midtowngal's picture

    I'm feeling like a star, you can't stop my shine---Ridin' Solo

  • In reply to Prestigious Pete
    midtowngal's picture

    I'm feeling like a star, you can't stop my shine---Ridin' Solo