6 Essential Steps to Prepare for Life as an Analyst
A couple analysts who are currently in training asked me for advice. Since they didn't have ain banking, they are worried about already being behind. My advice is not to worry too much. The two-year analyst experience is not a sprint. It is a marathon and a particularly long one. You will have plenty of time to prove yourself. However, I do advise you to take the following things to heart before you start:
Take a lot of notes
One of the key elements to becoming a successful monkey is to take as many notes as possible. Write everything down! Anytime you get a piece of advice write it down. You get the point.
Organize your notes
Analysts are expected to remember everything they are told. Associates expect to only correct you once. So now that you are writing everything down, make sure to find an effective way to organize it. I found classic notebooks to be ineffective because you can't go back and edit your notes. Notebooks always end up containing too much fluff. Since you're writing down so much you have to figure out a way to go back and delete all the irrelevant stuff. You want to have a reference archive that contains only the important notes. I will refrain from recommending specific software because a lot of banks don't allow you to install applications. Figure out what's available to you and use it.
Use 2nd year analysts as references
2nd year analysts are generally on the verge of depression because of many reasons. One of the reasons is that nobody ever asks for their opinion. Use this to your advantage. Ask them to help you. Most of them will be very happy to explain what they know. Figure out which one of the 2nd years enjoys teaching. Ask them anything you can come up with. You can also ask them to quickly glance over your work product and provide suggestions for improvements.
Know what's going on in the economy and in your sector
A lot of analysts make the mistake of not staying on top of what's going on in the markets. While it generally doesn't have much of an effect on your performance as an analyst over the long-term it will hurt your career prospects. In buy-side recruiting you will be at a major disadvantage, especially if you decide to pursue hedge fund opportunities. If you're having trouble dissecting all the headlines and deciding what's important, follow me on twitter. Every morning I post the most relevant news. I also provide updates of the major events that happen throughout the day.
Organize your email
Figure out how to easily reference all your emails. Some people like to have everything in folders while others rather keep everything important in their inbox. Figure out what works for you.
Lastly, pay attention during training.
How do you manage your notes and what do you think is the best way to organize email? Let me know! It would be nice to hear what other people are doing.