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Feel free to ask anything you'd like about investment banking. Open for questions.

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Comments (131)

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    NY. Hours are standard -- generally around 70-80 as a 2nd year unless something gets really busy, in which case you can sometimes get into 90-100, but those tend to be more rare.

  • Black Jack's picture

    Thanks for doing this- very helpful.

    What group do you work in (if that isn't identifying yourself too much)?
    Do you have plans for after you finish your analyst stint?
    What type of school did you attend?
    What did you find to be most helpful for you in the recruiting process?

    Appreciate it.

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    Hours vary highly on what you're working on, your teams, and your groups, though -- important to keep in mind.

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    blackjack, went to a target. moving to buyside. best piece of advice for recruiting (assuming SA) is know your technicals, your story, and why you actually want to do banking. having this down will help you present a coherent narrative to your interviewers, which is a key step in the process. further, banking is all about effective communication, and this is something that people take heavily into consideration during the recruiting process -- across all firms.

  • lasampdoria's picture

    Do you want to stay in IBD long term?

    "Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

  • In reply to lasampdoria
    Black Jack's picture

    lasampdoria:
    Do you want to stay in IBD long term?

    Said he is moving to the buyside, so I am guessing not...

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    I personally am moving to buyside but I know many people that are staying in banking long-term and are perfectly happy doing so.

  • mongoose's picture

    OP,

    I made a mistake in my online application for GS. Made a honest mistake with my HS GPA. Have not seen my HS transcript for years, so I put down something wrong.

    Will this cause me trouble during the BG check process. This is for GS SA.

    If it helps, I can be upfront about it. According to some earlier posts in this forum, GS does ask for HS transcripts.

  • ct banker's picture

    What would be your advice to a SA before starting work, what should u be doing to ensure a FT offer?

  • couchy's picture

    what did non-targets in your group do to stand out and get an offer?

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    JamesHetfield,

    Sorry to hear about that but I don't have much to say -- I'd contact HR and let them know it was an honest mistake if I were you. Honesty is always the best policy. Life happens -- easier to be upfront now and may give you a chance to showcase your honesty / personality to HR. Banking is about turning negatives into positives.

    Ct banker,

    Biggest determinant of SA-->FT offer is attitude. Obviously competency is key and doing something egregious in this area will not help your case, but you must have an extremely positive attitude about all work / banking related topics. The analyst program is a 2-year commitment, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it is a lot. If you find it difficult staying positive and having a good attitude about banking in a 10-week period, the stats don't look great for your attitude over a 104-week period (minimum), and attitude is generally one of the most important determinants of success in banking. if you sit at your computer enough you will learn finance, accounting, excel, and powerpoint. bankers are looking for team players and people that can put on a smile even when you've had not enough sleep for months. Also, ask questions when you don't know things. there will be many things you don't know, and even if you do know it, there's probably a faster way than the one you chose. ask questions to analysts, be interested, actively participate in the process and your deal team. be an effective and meaningful communicator. Do these things and you'll stand out. Last thing -- don't worry if you feel you're "not getting enough modeling experience" based on your current staffings. this will not have any impact on your offer. do the work that you get well. the reality is that for analysts, there are periods where most of the work you do is not modeling. there are other periods where you do tons of modeling. so, in essence, can't stress this enough, do the work you get extremely well. if you do that, then chances are you'll get an analyst who appreciates the work you've done and will be more likely to involve you on modeling-related assignments / teach you about it in his/her spare time because he/she was in your shoes once.

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    couchy, once you're there -- no one cares what school you went to for SAs. Everyone is in the same boat and will be considered on the same level, adjusting for the finance experience you've had in the past. Do well at what I wrote about in the above post and you'll be fine.

  • MomentaLaugh's picture

    How much is/was your rent in Manhattan?

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  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    Not going to answer that but I know people that are paying between $1000 - >$2000 per month. All depends on what you're looking for and how well you prepare in advance.

  • MomentaLaugh's picture

    What brands mainly made up your work wardrobe?

    Also, how did you prepare when entering your FT stint vs. being a SA

  • ct banker's picture

    Thank you for the response, also what are your hours typically on the weekends and do u have any issues taking your vacation days?

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    Some people will -- but I'm not going to answer the wardrobe question -- whether it's business casual or formal at your firm, as long as you look clean and professional, you're fine. Some would advise against wearing overly fancy / aggressive clothing as a summer analyst. For SA's I personally care most about attitude, competency, etc, but some bankers will sometimes view overly fancy / aggressive clothing in a negative light. you don't want to be known as an SA for your clothing, basically, you want to standout for your personality and the quality of your work.

    use common sense here and be aware of your surroundings -- applies to a lot in banking.

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    all 168 hours of the week are fair game. I've worked on materials that have been due during the early hours of Sunday morning. Obviously people try to live normal lives so these times will be rare, but you should be aware that people work very late every day of the week (or at least are prepared to).

    Generally analysts get 2 weeks of vacation, and don't take any until after they complete their first year -- so in the summer when you commence your second year, although some will take vacation in late winter / spring of year 1. all depends on the situation / person though.

  • In reply to oppcostofcapital
    Husky32's picture

    oppcostofcapital:
    JamesHetfield,

    Sorry to hear about that but I don't have much to say -- I'd contact HR and let them know it was an honest mistake if I were you. Honesty is always the best policy. Life happens -- easier to be upfront now and may give you a chance to showcase your honesty / personality to HR. Banking is about turning negatives into positives.
    .

    How important are hs grades for banking? Is it just another way to disqualify non targets who didn't have 4.0s and a bazillion extracurriculars when they were 14?

  • MFFL's picture

    How much of an impact can 1st and 2nd year analysts have in helping people get FT offers? I work in a bank in a FO (but not IBD) role, and am interested in trying to network my way into IBD within my bank. Is it worthwhile (no disrespect intended) to reach out to analysts?

    If so - what is the best way to approach the analysts? How do you like the emails you receive asking for help/info interview/short chat etc to frame the subject?

    Thanks for your help

    "Well that's even more than less than unhelpful." - Jack Sparrow

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    anavoisp -- go where you think you'll get the best experience. that being said, HSBC is a top bank, so if you think you'll be in a good group, I don't think you'll be disadvantaged by having worked there. all about how you market yourself in the interview process. go where you think you'll shine.

    gamenumbers -- not answering questions about compensation.

  • Husky32's picture

    How common is it for bankers to reach MD without an MBA? Is it ultra hard or discouraged by the BB banks if you start as an analyst?

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    Husky -- at least to me, HS grades are not relevant. It was at least 3 years prior to your application. Bankers / employers care about what's current, generally. If it's something you're worried about, I don't think you need to necessarily put them on there. College GPA on the other hand, must be on there. For most bankers I know, not seeing the GPA will cause them to assume the worst.

    MFFL -- if analysts you speak to think you are qualified / have what it takes to get an offer and be successful, speaking with them will definitely help. would start with your network and get connected with analysts that way. Cold-emailing is tougher, but can't hurt, and if you do it, would attach your resume, be open about your interest in banking, and let them know that you're interested in hearing about their experiences in banking etc. Would frame it as less you trying to get a job and more as you trying to learn about the business. A recurring theme of this thread is intended to be is that attitude is very important in the hiring process. Generally though, whether people respond is luck of the draw and whether the people you email are free / not swamped with work. Most people I know try to respond to emails of people who cold-email them, but it's definitely not a given.

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    Husky -- MBA helps but is definitely not a requirement... many excellent MDs I know do not have MBAs.

  • BTbanker's picture

    What the fuck is with these high school grade questions? Nobody gives a shit, but if you sucked at hs, you probably go to a shit university and won't make it to banking.

    /blunt truth

  • anavoisp's picture

    Thank you! What GPA do I need at a target to get a BB interview?

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    anavoisp -- honestly, anything can happen, but being below 3.0 is tough given the number of applicants. Being above 3.5 helps, but being below that is not a dealbreaker.

  • RonaldBacon's picture

    what are some good habits you developed that helped you succeed as an analyst? what separates star analysts from the average/mediocre analyst? any other advice for starting first years?

  • In reply to BTbanker
    Husky32's picture

    BTbanker:
    What the fuck is with these high school grade questions? Nobody gives a shit, but if you sucked at hs, you probably go to a shit university and won't make it to banking.

    /blunt truth

    dude tons of athletes at top schools have horrible hs grades. A kid from my hs went to Harvard with a 2.9 (if I were to tell the sport he would be VERY easy to identify for H students). JamesHetfield posted that GS asks for your hs transcript during apps which seems strange and I wanted to know if it was a legit evaluating factor.

  • In reply to Husky32
    BTbanker's picture

    Husky32:
    BTbanker:
    What the fuck is with these high school grade questions? Nobody gives a shit, but if you sucked at hs, you probably go to a shit university and won't make it to banking.

    /blunt truth

    dude tons of athletes at top schools have horrible hs grades. A kid from my hs went to Harvard with a 2.9 (if I were to tell the sport he would be VERY easy to identify for H students). JamesHetfield posted that GS asks for your hs transcript during apps which seems strange and I wanted to know if it was a legit evaluating factor.


    I bet I can count the # of athletes at top schools with poor high school grades on WSO on one hand. Even if an athlete is lucky enough to get to a good school, they are usually geniuses too.
  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    RonaldBacon --
    communication
    efficiency (which you get over time)
    attitude, being a team player
    talking to other analysts and learning the best / fastest ways to do things in advance
    taking initiative and figuring out what you can do to make the rest of your team happy before they think of it
    getting to a point where you understand a situation and understand what needs to be done so that you can meaningfully impact the meaningful work / work done ratio by communicating effectively with more senior members of your team

  • KKS's picture

    Did any of your fellow bankers do a one-year masters program (e.g. MSF, MMS, etc.) after UG?

  • Prangs's picture

    How are analysts picked to interview undergrads? If you have never interviewed an undergrad before, what are the chances you will interview one this year? Will they let you know beforehand or is there any list of people who are "qualified" to interview? How is this in Asset Management if you know?

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    KKS -- actually yes -- it's not as rare as you would think.

    Prangs -- there's no science to it -- generally the heads of recruiting determine the team -- it ends up being who is free to interview on interview days and when possible banks try to have analysts who went to a certain school interview candidates from that school -- other that it's wholly based on circumstance. Would imagine it's the same in all of finance -- after you work the job for a few months you tend to have a very good idea of what's required of professionals on the job and what to look for in candidates.

    hopefully that should provide candidates with some hope -- after a few months on the job, all of this finance / accounting / DCF / merger model / LBO stuff -- how an increase in 10 of depreciation on the income statement impacts balance sheet equity -- starts to make a lot of sense.

  • Stryfe's picture

    OP,

    I'm a Freshman, and my undergraduate business school is non-target (top 50). Over the winter I interned at a boutique investment management firm (BB firms through the week before I return to school. I plan on not really doing anything other than sitting back and observing after being introduced to those in the meetings, but what would you recommend I do to get the most out of this opportunity networking wise? I'm sure simply the fact that I'm there will look very good on my part as it is. Oh, and at the firm I intern at employees, as well as the CIO, follow a facial hair policy that you can have a beard as long as it is neat and tidy, and actually filled out. Would you recommend that I go clean shaven when I attend these meetings? Thanks.

  • wso_user's picture

    How did your analyst class do in PE recruiting? Out of those who were looking, how many got offers/size of funds they went to? How difficult would you say it is to get a PE job in general, or a top PE job at a good MM or megafund?

    finally, how does a good buyside job pay relative to banking as a third year?

  • TheBlueCheese's picture

    OP,

    Given that many banks now try to convert nearly all SA -> FT, would you say that nearly all SA's were given offers, even those on the fence? Moreover, were SAs given offers even if some didn't necessarily do a "great" or "good" job? Also, have you seen a lot more SAs accepting offers? And lastly, how important would you say it was to put in face time and also do all the social stuff with members of the group (get drinks, etc.) ?

    Thanks in advance!

    Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.

  • That_Aston's picture

    My Question: Does HR really have all the recruiting power? Let me give an example..

    If you network with an MD at say a BB/top regional, can that MD alone bring a prospect in to be considered for a spot EVEN if there isn't a need on the team?

    This is the gist I have been getting so far.

    Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

  • TheFix's picture

    How long do analysts / associates take to read resumes when they get the OCR pile from HR? What's the decision process like for determining the interview list?

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    stryfe --
    1) definitely shave. err on side of conservative.
    2) network as much as possible, get business cards, keep in touch with people, thank them for sharing their insights, and long shot one of them may offer you an internship if you ask, but at very least they will be helpful as you think about soph/junior opportunities.

    wso --
    most ppl I know did well but there are still a lot of people out there looking for jobs
    it's definitely difficult but you can do a lot by knowing your stuff. most difficult part is that banking does not train you to think like an investor. key to read a lot of investing books and interview prep guides to start to know the answer to "what's a good business and why? or where would you invest sector-wise these days and why?" very difficult to effectively prep for that but if you do it right and can model, you'll put yourself in a good position.

    bluecheese --
    firms definitely don't feel compelled to hire all of their SA's -- it's a 2 year hiring commitment, so it is a big and costly decision for them.
    the same standards for summer still apply -- you still have to do a great job and show a positive attitude to be considered for a full-time offer -- people want to know that you actually enjoy banking and could handle a 2-year program. I'd say that most summers these days accept offers if they get them, although there are definitely exceptions. it also depends highly on the firm and group though so that's a hard question for some blanket answer. a lot of these questions depend highly on your firm and group.
    from what I hear (I don't know from experience) but from what I hear BBs care a lot more about face time than boutiques do -- then again, the summer is only 10 weeks, so if there's something that you can do to demonstrate that you are working extra hard on a project or want to develop your skills in modeling or becoming a better banker, that'd be viewed in a positive light I think. that being said, at least at places i know of, people don't want to see SAs hanging out in the office until 1am just to be there until 1am -- if there's nothing else productive you can do in the office you should leave -- because chances are another night you're actually going to need that energy so you should take the time to get your sleep or maybe see some friends if possible if you can. again -- varies highly based on firm and group -- use your judgment.
    Socialize with your group when possible. Chances are, if you get an offer and come back, you'll be spending a lot of time with these people, so get to know them and have fun! Firms put on a lot of great summer events -- take advantage of it. You've got 10 weeks so make the most of it. Chronically avoiding group social events would probably not be viewed too positively, given that banking is a client-facing business and, if you're lucky, a small part of your job can involve working directly with senior management of very large companies. You want to show people that you can handle social situations well.

    that_aston --
    I mean, if a firm has a hiring freeze, then that might be an issue, but I think in general, a recommendation from an MD is a very strong recommendation and will definitely get a candidate some kind of consideration -- may not guarantee an offer but I'm sure the candidate would definitely get considered.

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    thefix -- the answer is that it varies by firm. generally a bunch of people read resumes and come up with a consensus. hard to determine timeline but analysts and associates are definitely thoughtful about the process as recruiting is an important part of attracting and maintaining top talent at the firm. For OCR, you should be able to talk to your campus recruiting office to figure out how long after you submit your app that the firm will notify you whether you were selected for an interview. That's probably about a week or two, and I'd guess that it's a similar timeline for all application submissions.

    Wouldn't worry too much about it -- there are a lot of factors in the process. You just have to put yourself out there and give it your best shot. Share your resume with lots of people to make sure that your messaging is on point and it is evident that you have some interest in finance / banking.

  • Stryfe's picture

    What sort of excel knowledge would you recommend having pre-internship?

  • moneymogul's picture

    Do you like what you do?

    "Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." - Jobs

  • oppcostofcapital's picture

    Stryfe -- knowing shortcuts will save you time -- but it's hard to prep in advance -- it's something you learn on the job. But if you want to study shortcuts, by all means I'm sure it'd help. Just make sure you know which version of Office your firm will use.

    moneymogul -- yes, I do. I really enjoy the team that I work with and I have learned an enormous amount of finance, accounting, excel, powerpoint, modeling over the past 18 months as well as having had the pleasure to work with some really smart people on some very interesting projects. Obviously not all of it is great, and some parts can be extremely grueling, for example when you don't leave the office before 4am for a full week or more, or when you haven't seen your roommate, who also does banking, in months, but I'm fortunate to say that I have had net on net an experience from which I've gained an enormous amount. The fact is that in banking you benefit a lot from the first year, because your firm invests a lot in teaching you, and the firm benefits in year 2, because they have an analyst with all of these skills that can get large amounts of work, regardless of the type of work, modeling or research or aligning logos or whatever, done very quickly and help teach first-years and summers the ropes. it's hard for anyone to learn as much in year 2 as in year 1, especially because you're right out of college in year 1, but I'm fortunate to say that I'm motivated by the people that I work with -- I want to help them succeed -- so that's what keeps me going these days. Everyone's experience in banking is different -- so you should take all of what I just wrote with a grain of salt.

  • hopesanddreams's picture

    How long should a student try (and by try I mean network, apply, prepare) before giving up breaking into IBD?

  • In reply to hopesanddreams
    oreos's picture

    /

    "After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper

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