Never Meeting Clients: Am I Lucky?

Thomas Ausart's picture
Rank: Baboon | 151

I've been working in Corporate Finance for over 7 years now and my biggest concern at first was "I'm never going to meet clients".

Indeed, if you work in Financial Planning & Analysis or Treasury, most of the people you meet are your colleagues...no clients.

I discussed it extensively with Consultants & Investment Bankers and now I feel that never having meetings with clients is a blessing. Here's why I think staying away from clients is a great idea:

  • Clients are always complaining about something or having crazy ideas that make you pull all-nighters. The same can be said about your superiors in Corporate Finance but it's easier to avoid working on stupid ideas since no external stakeholders are asking for the pitch every 10 minutes.
  • If you are a junior analyst, you'd never be allowed to talk during a meeting with clients whereas in an internal meeting even if your MD/CFO isn't going to ask for your opinion every 5 minutes you can still offer some inputs.

I really miss the expensive dinner/drinks with clients though!

What is your experience with clients guys?

Comments (10)

Jun 18, 2012

I totally disagree, client meetings are the more exciting part of the job for me. I get to talk to people who actually understand the industry, I get to talk to people who are actively involved in business but have a very different perspective to bankers. When I have something to add I can do so, nobody will hinder me. It keeps the job interesting, talking to internal people all the time would make me go crazy..

Jun 18, 2012

I don't mean never meeting people outside the company. When I worked in Treasury I was always out meeting bankers/consultants but I was their client (which means I was the one being a pain in the a**).

Of course meeting people outside your company is a really good growth opportunity, but here I was talking about meeting people that are your clients.

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Jun 18, 2012

Agreed, clients suck.

Jun 18, 2012

Clients are a huge pain in the @ss. I would say that most clients fit the 80/20 model. 80% of the work you do will largely be for 20% of your client base aka the pain in the @ss clients for which nothing ever satisfies them.

My first job out of school was with a consulting/AM firm that gave me a fair amount of client exposure. Understanding how to engage with the clients and present to them was certainly a big plus and invaluable at my young age. The novelty of interacting with clients grew old pretty quickly. I work for a F50 now and I don't miss the client experience one bit.

Clients are the reason for all nighters...

Jun 18, 2012

no clients = no future ...

Finance is a sales & relationship business for the most part. The sooner you can get face time the better, even if it's just being in the room and seeing how your MD handles the finer details of moving the process along or what your client's CEO / President / CFO is worried about during a transaction. A lot of tacit knowledge to absorb.

Jun 18, 2012
Relinquis:

no clients = no future ...

Finance is a sales & relationship business for the most part. The sooner you can get face time the better, even if it's just being in the room and seeing how your MD handles the finer details of moving the process along or what your client's CEO / President / CFO is worried about during a transaction. A lot of tacit knowledge to absorb.

Not to mention if you're not client facing, you're not revenue generating which really hinders your ability to build a reputation and stand out.

Jun 18, 2012

No client relationship experience means that you'll stay at the bottom, and that is true in any business...
in addition in many cases you'll meet smart people with strong opinion on the market, industries, etc...you can learn a ton by spending time with clients and you can use their knowledge to quickly learn stuff or at least being able to give an opinion based on their comments or ideas ! I have picked up so many ideas and quotes from the people I have met...

Jun 18, 2012

I'm not sure how it works with clients in corporate finance, but never meeting clients (or being taken to client meetings) in consulting--annoying as clients can be at times--is a bad thing.

Typically, it signals that you're extremely junior/green or that you're not "client ready"--that is, not a "safe pair of hands" with clients (the former being fine if you are indeed just getting started, the latter being a very bad thing).

Jun 18, 2012
Thomas Ausart:
  • If you are a junior analyst, you'd never be allowed to talk during a meeting with clients whereas in an internal meeting even if your MD/CFO isn't going to ask for your opinion every 5 minutes you can still offer some inputs.

Just curious -- Thomas, what industry are you in? From my familiarity with CF (buy-side), junior guys get exposure VERY quickly to the MD/CFO.

edit: nevermind, I read that wrong.

Jun 18, 2012
Comment

couldn't let go of my pair of aces...

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