A Q&A Interview: Recruiting, Bonus Bucket Placement, And Starting A Business

What's up guys and gals! Ben from Charisma On Command here, and today I've got a fun Q&A interview to share with you. Why? Because I had a reader email me recently with a bunch of thoughtful questions about starting a career in finance.

And rather than answer them just for him, I thought it'd be fun to record the conversation and share it.

He agreed, so here we are :-)

Topics covered include:

  • Tips to making a great impression early
  • How to get top bucket bonus placement
  • Good and bad reasons to go into investment banking / private equity, and why I ultimately left finance altogether

I know that different folks will be interested in different topics, so I wanted to make this a bit of a choose your own adventure experience.

So I've broken the conversation down into individual questions so you only have to listen to the things that interest you!

Question 1:

Why did you go into investment banking in the first place? (And how to tell if YOU are going into it for the right reasons...)

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Question 2:

You had finally gotten your dream job in private equity - why did you leave?

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Question 3:

How did what you learned in PE translate over to running your own business?

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Question 4:

If you're in investment banking or private equity, how can you use charisma to your advantage when it comes to both getting the job and getting the promotion?

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Question 5:

The three elements for making a great first impression in your first few months on the job

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Question 6:

What were the commonalities between the analysts / associates that couldn't really hang or keep up and didn't end up liked at the firm?

(Important if you want to avoid being that person!)

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Question 7:

What's the best way to make the most of my limited free time in NYC on the rare weekend I'm not working?

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One last thing, I need your advice (please :-)

Patrick and Andy have asked me to put something cool together for Wall Street Oasis. So in a few weeks, I'm going to be creating a presentation specifically for you!

It's 100% free and will be available on the WSO homepage.

So if you've enjoyed this post or any of the others I have up on WSO, I have a question for you and I would suuuuuper appreciate your opinion.

My question is, what do you want me to talk about?

I can speak to my time in finance, promotions and bonus buckets, office politics, forming good relationships with your bosses, recruiting for multiple offers and getting your pick of whatever jobs you want, entrepreneurship, or anything else that you want.

Just let me know in the comments! Whatever the most popular topics are, that's what I'll write about :-)

Comments (10)

May 4, 2015

Thanks for this - interesting interview. I remember your original posts about leaving PE to start your business and I thought it gave a good perspective on IB / PE. Hope its going well, I saw you changed the name (good idea) and opened up in LV. Let me know if you're in the area and want to grab a beer.

May 5, 2015

Thanks! Couldn't agree more, the name change and company pivot have turned out to be reaaaaaally good ideas haha. We get significantly higher quality clients and we deal with a greater diversity of situations now - both things that make the work much more interesting. Honestly it's also a more unique business now so I feel better about our value prop.

Do you live in Las Vegas as well? PM me if so and we can get in touch.

May 5, 2015

Thanks for doing this Ben!

I am very interested in managing relationships and being in good books (in investment bank) as well as navigating office politics. I will be S&T summer analyst looking to get full-time offer.

May 5, 2015

Awesome, appreciate the feedback!

When you say "managing relationships", is there a certain set of relationships you're most focused on? I.e., senior bankers vs. peers vs. consultants vs. potential clients.

I assume "being in good books" means being considered a good intern, getting the full-time offer / top bonus once full-time, etc.?

May 5, 2015

I really appreciated this post a lot and liked the format. Thanks for taking the time.

I am a blogging intern at Wall Street Oasis.

Feel free to follow me to see my weekly posts.

May 6, 2015

My pleasure, as a former Monkey and avid WSO reader I love helping out on here when I can. Glad you liked it!

May 6, 2015

You touched on a lot of great points. Thank you for this. I plan on reading a couple of the books on your website (got myself Amazon unlimited).

This might be a niche topic, but I thought you might be able to provide some insight. I'm really interested in how "charisma" or just being socially adept might help in the context of "pedigree" focused industries (such as PE/Consulting). You yourself came from a Wharton/BX/H&F background, which seems to me was pretty much a virtuous cycle. Having been on that side, how can someone from a more "humble" or even a less impressive background (name and numbers wise) succeed in these pedigree focused environments (and even just getting in) through charisma.

Maybe when you were still in these industries/firms, you might've seen people that stood out because they weren't the expected Ivy/Top Brand name, but were still having a lot of success. What do you think made them overcome disadvantage?

I read your article on interviewing (body language, tone, connecting through questions, etc), but they all seemed pretty self-explanatory. So was wondering if there was anything more to it.

Thanks Ben

May 7, 2015

GREAT question!

Hands down one of the smartest people I met at Blackstone came from University of Wisconsin. He was in my analyst class, killed it, and went on to a large, successful hedge fund, where he's once again absolutely killing it. I could take an educated guess on how to mimic his success, but let me ping him on it first and see what he says. I can't think of anyone more qualified to weigh in on this than him.

I'll shoot you an answer once I've chatted with him on it.

May 8, 2015