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Mod Note (Andy): #TBT Throwback Thursday - this was originally posted on 2/7/13

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.

1) Leave the abuse at home

I was in one of the more fratty groups at my BB but even if the entire group "hazed" the interns/first years collectively, always treat your INDIVIDUAL intern(s) with respect. I don't care if you got beaten with rulers or had printers thrown at you during your first year, but you are not to repeat the same behavior.

This seems like common sense, but many times I've seen great analysts decide that because they went through hell, they have the right to make others feel the same pain (or at least 50% of the pain they did) and it's okay because you can say, "Hey, I went through way worse man." No one cares about your life story, stop being a fucking dick.

2) Delegate meaningful work and provide guidance

One thing I see a lot is that the good analysts are about 3000% more efficient than any new associate or analyst. They usually give some work to the junior and then realize that it's taking him/her five times as long to do it. Even worse, you'll think, "This intern/1st year is constantly bothering me with questions every 5 minutes! Fuck it, I'll just do it all myself."

NO! As tempting as it may be to just do everything yourself in 2 hours and leave for the night, take the time to delegate the work. And I don't mean just give the intern bullshit work such as changing fonts. Yes, the intern should be doing even up to 80% of the bitch work, but make sure that he's also doing something interesting/useful. It will take a longer time to teach someone something more complicated, but you'll be paid dividends when he/she is able to take all the future tasks of that type and complete it for you efficiently.

This even goes against rule #1, which is that some senior analysts try to be TOO nice. Not giving someone any work is not being nice, you're actually just stifling them and creating a useless intern/analyst that is going to piss off someone more senior later down the road when they realize that this junior kid knows nothing and can create nothing of value. Take the time to teach and delegate!

3) Make sure that the new kid feels part of the team

Banking is all about the time you put in and no one can stand 100+ hour weeks without the bantering and joking around that happens in the bullpen. Obviously as a senior analyst you will have thousands of inside stories/jokes with your fellow colleagues that the intern/1st year is not in on. Explain to him/her the context and involve them in your conversations.

Now the important part of the article, WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU? After all, we're all immoral greedy no-good selfish pricks according to the media, why are you helping someone else?

The answer is, how you treat the new blood can have a huge impact on how easy your 2nd year is. First of all, everyone is usually assigned work by the staffer. But of course you can also request who to work with. You would think that all the new blood would want to work with the best. Yes, but that's not the only factor and was not the case when one the best analysts in my group was actually a huge dick.

Therefore, he missed out on the best 1st years for the rest of his stint because he kept regaling them with stories about how he was abused and shit on his first year. They nodded and tried to sympathize but in the end, they tried to avoid him at all costs.

By being friendly, respectful and inclusive, the senior analysts who treated the new blood well were able to have their pick of the litter. They were able to actually leave at 7pm or 8pm some nights because any new analyst is usually eager as hell to start working and learning and were well prepared to do so thanks to proper management and delegation.

Dangling the carrot of an "interesting deal" over the head of a new analyst will usually result in immense amounts of elbow grease at your disposal, but make sure you guide this naive soul in the right direction and do NOT abuse your power. The worst thing you can do is have a reputation for being a liar/user in your group. Remember the same bad associates who just dump work on you and constantly tell you "oh it's no big deal, easy stuff" but end up giving you shit projects that last for months? Yeah, don't be those guys.

However, being nice/respectful isn't the only factor. Remember to take the time and teach your shadow the right way to do things even if it takes you longer initially to get the work done. Within a few months, you could see a HUGE difference in how well some analysts did because of having good mentors that went out of their way to teach them essential skills.

Combined with respect, there were teams of senior analysts / junior analysts that absolutely killed on deals and were able to go home early on many nights while a friendly senior analyst who didn't delegate earlier (did everything himself) was staying much later with his junior analyst. Oh and finally, the dickhead analyst who kept bitching usually got the worst new analyst staffed with him or even 0 analysts, and had to do everything himself.

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Comments (21)

  • SirTradesaLot's picture

    Good post.

    adapt or die:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • NorthSider's picture

    Great advice.

    "For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

  • ucmaroon47's picture

    well said

    And so it goes

  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    Awesome post. +1

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • mikesswimn's picture

    Good post, +1.

    One thing I would add into the mix is along the lines of "delegate" and "be inclusive" is that delegation is most effective when you know what the new guy is good at. While all new guys (and definitely college kids) should be given exposure to everything, the more you can play to their strengths, the better their product will be and with that success, comes more confidence. And, as we all know, if the new guy is confident and happy, they'll be far more inclined towards long hours and bitch work! Win-Win!

    "My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

  • RepThyBananas's picture

    As a fresh wide eyed 22 yr old I cannot agree more. Thankfully my bosses are awesome. I have my own cube but I am never in it, constantly playing shadow. I want to add value as fast as I can so I am learning as much as I can as quickly as possible. The fact that my group is full of nice, intelligent, hard working guys only motivates me further. Watch for my full story soon when I have more time, it will serve to motivate anyone who is having a rough time in the job market.

    Rarely will any of my posts have enough forethought/structure to be taken seriously.

  • rogersterling59's picture

    Great post, +1.

    One thing on hazing though... If your SA's just so happen to be younger members from your chapter, and you've already hazed them once, would it be fair game to haze them again? It's basically pledging all over again....

    I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

  • DiggsRTC's picture

    Great post. I hope the analysts I work with this summer have the same mentality you've described here.

  • EURCHF parity's picture

    In my new non-finance job, I walked into a position of responsibility and had to learn the hard way. On the first venture I tried to do everything myself, and got swamped. On the second venture, I taught people basic IT skills even though we never seemingly had time for it. As a result, I can literally work 4 hour days productively, having automated or delegated most stuff; and everybody's life is much easier. Several people who wanted to quit have stayed on saving us hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted newbie training time.

    I'm also grateful for my analyst when I was an intern (consulting not banking) who took the time to explain to me the company politics and the way cases "really" worked. From the outset I was included in the team and several years later, I still keep up with these guys even though I quit after 2 months to join a trading firm. That's another good point, that down the road the value will not be in the paycheck but in the friends you have bonded with and the lessons learnt in that crucible of crazy hours and demanding work.

    It fits more broadly into the important/urgent matrix: focus on not just the urgent stuff (urgent and important, and urgent and non-important) but on the important stuff (urgent or not urgent), if necessary axing the urgent but not important stuff. You have less freedom to do so in a banking team of course, but it's worth managing your bandwidth to fit in short investments in time with large rewards.

  • frgna's picture

    Very nice. I really think you can be great in finance and still be a really nice guy. Always take the mindset that you are training your future replacement, and hopefully your bosses look at you the same way (i.e. you'll have their job soon and everyone's moving up).

    if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

  • shoeless's picture

    Great post. Some good follow-up posts as well, particularly EURCHF's.

  • Coffeemonster's picture

    Great post. I think this really rings true no matter what industry/line of work you're in. I started out as a wide-eyed IT analyst who joined the largest and most complex group of the company. Thankfully, I had a stellar mentor who helped me navigate the social structure, delegated me meaningful work that would force me to learn (and reach out for assistance when necessary - something I think is HUGE for the Y and millennial generations), and other things. In the short run, sure I was slow and probably annoying with my specific questions, but over time I learned and grew and moved up. Without that guidance, nudging (sometimes pushing), I would not be as far as I am now.

    TL;DR: Be the mentor/boss you wish you had when you were new. Help them be successful and you too will be successful.

  • In reply to Coffeemonster
    Aldushy's picture

    Coffeemonster:
    Great post. I think this really rings true no matter what industry/line of work you're in. I started out as a wide-eyed IT analyst who joined the largest and most complex group of the company. Thankfully, I had a stellar mentor who helped me navigate the social structure, delegated me meaningful work that would force me to learn (and reach out for assistance when necessary - something I think is HUGE for the Y and millennial generations), and other things. In the short run, sure I was slow and probably annoying with my specific questions, but over time I learned and grew and moved up. Without that guidance, nudging (sometimes pushing), I would not be as far as I am now.

    TL;DR: Be the mentor/boss you wish you had when you were new. Help them be successful and you too will be successful.

    Word. No matter where and when, newbies DO NEED a helping hand.
    Thanks for the post.

    Death is certain; Life aint.

  • In reply to Coffeemonster
    EURCHF parity's picture

    Coffeemonster:
    delegated me meaningful work that would force me to learn

    This is quite important. I learned programming because I needed things done, had banked my reputation on them, and was hoping our star (and only decent) programmer would help me out. Turns out his strategy to teaching was to let you swim and only lend a hand when you're really drowning. Got my stuff done on time, even if it added a few white hairs; but most importantly, I realized how to approach the learning process (google + books + hack it until it works, then rewrite) which I would never have bothered to do otherwise.

  • rufiolove's picture

    SanityCheck - I'm with you 100% on all your points. Seeing the benefits of lifestyle improvement that come from taking add'l time out to make sure the first years understand how to do things (even small things like comps maintenance, making PIBs, couriering books, etc) allows you much more flexibility in your schedule. Even something as simple as knowing that one of the first years you are working with can handle market updating a pitch for a global date change that might take him/her 2 hours to do and you only 30-45 mins still allows you to get to the gym when ordinarily your time would have been tied up.

  • sub0's picture

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  • FowlerD's picture

    Tissot Visodate

  • N0DuckingWay's picture

    "There's nothing you can do if you're too scared to try." - Nickel Creek