An Associate is the second lowest ranking of the front-office roles within an investment bank. The responsibilities are similar to those of an analyst, except with more emphasis on managing the Analysts and making sure the work of the Vice Presidents is done properly.
Associates are either promoted from a 3rd year analyst position, hired laterally after 2-3 years in the finance industry or out of business school.
Associates also work extremely long hours, usually 70+ hours a week and earn between $150,000 and $300,000 in total compensation. After working for 3-4 years, an Associate will be promoted to Vice President if they have shown suitable leadership and management skills.