Associates That Actually Help Out

When you all have fire drills (especially those that cause late nights and/or weekend work), do your associates actually help take on some of the work and be there alongside analysts to get it done ASAP, or do they just do nothing while the analysts do all the work and then want to just check it? Have both so trying to figure out what is more normal..

Comments (8)

Jun 30, 2022 - 11:18am
EBITDope, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Different associates have different approaches to work, and it can be dictated by the needs of the deal team. Sometimes it's more important to get in the weeds with analysts, and other times associates are doing work that analysts may not be privy to (e.g. discussing deliverables, process, other things with the VP or client). Plenty happens behind the scenes that analysts aren't always looped in on.

Yes, there are always going to be associates who just forward work to you without helping much, but the job of an associate is typically to become more of a delegator and process manager. As an associate, I'd say that the amount of "analyst work" I do is dictated by timelines, complexity, analyst capacity, etc.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 30, 2022 - 11:24am

That makes sense. I was talking about more so times when so much work gets blown up to where analysts are staying up all night / super late or working a full weekend, and the associate is offline pretty much the whole time. So basically times where theres too much work for analysts to complete in a reasonable time and the associate is noticeably offline not working.

Jun 30, 2022 - 11:34am
EBITDope, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To be honest, it's hard not to be selfish in that situation as an associate - much easier to think "I've been doing this a lot longer, I went through it as an analyst, they can do the same". And there's some truth to that but it's also worth noting that your job becomes much more doable via phone beyond the analyst level, so while an associate may appear offline they very well might be handling emails all day while analysts do the work that (unfortunately) involves being at a computer.

I felt the same way you do when I was an analyst. Now that I'm an associate I empathize, but there is still plenty of background work (even if I might have the flexibility to stay away from my desk on a Saturday).

Most Helpful
Jun 30, 2022 - 3:16pm
TimesNewMoney, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would offer to help the analysts but then I'd have to do more work. So typically instead I'll just distract them by adding a bunch of wild goose chase requests for them to go on, in addition the MDs follow-up comments on a deliverable. I'll especially make sure to do this when they're working on a super tight deadline late at night. You know, the good stuff, like asking them to find advisory fee comps for transactions within insanely specific sets of parameters or asking for details that can only be found deep within ancillary public filings. Most of the time I'll forget why I even needed this information so when they do send it over I'll just say "Thx, this is helpful" and then send them on a new wild goose chase trying to find deal multiples or all-inclusive terms for private transactions that I already checked for on CapitalIQ and couldn't find.  

Although I don't help, I'm always happy to take credit for their work and send it to the MDs myself without CC'ing the analyst. Some people say this is wrong, so I make sure to loop them back in and give them credit for any slides or sections of the model that the MD hates, even if they weren't responsible. 

Jun 30, 2022 - 3:39pm
ENlGMA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Really depends on the situation, the Analyst and the Associate.  If I were working with an inefficient Analyst who is taking more time than they should to do things, then I'll typically just make them do it because they should be able to do it faster, and if they're not developing that speed then yeah they're going to suffer for it.  If it's a good Analyst I like working with and I know the amount of work is pretty crazy and the deadline is tight then yeah I'll definitely offer to step in and get in the weeds and help out if I'm not busy on other things.  That was my view when I was an Associate at least.  Also as I got more senior I tended to get into the weeds less often, so I'd also say the expectations for how often an Associate jumps in may be different for a fresh Associate 1 promote vs. an Associate 3 who's just about to get promoted to VP. 

Additionally it depends on what the rest of the team looks like.  If the Associate is working directly with an MD, with no VP in between, then that incremental work falls on the Associate and they'll have less time to devote to helping out Analysts.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 1, 2022 - 8:20am

It depends on capacity, seniority, quality of analyst, etc. 
 

As an AN2 I would say typically I do the grunt work (based on initial guidance if needed) and the Associates would just say "looks good, please send" or give minor comments; however if I'm underwater they would typically offer to help a bit to progress. Note we have lean teams, typically 4 people per deal. 
 

Generally if they want to create a purely qualitative slide and don't need my input, they would just do it themselves though.

We would typically split eg when we receive markups on 20 pages in the morning for the same day, then the Associates would take the quantitative/purely PPT slides and I would take the rest that requires going into XLS backups. 
 

I have to say for the repetitive stuff (comps, OTC graphs, valuation heat maps) I would rather do it quickly and maintain version control than have associates get into the details and start asking questions and change the backups, which could result in more pain in the end. Also let's be honest, as an associate you don't really want to spend time updating a comps backup yourself. 
 

As for the "behind the scenes" work mentioned above, to be honest I think the quality of that is variable and depends on Associates. Some are good at managing expectations and helping on the process, some are just lazy asses who have no clue what they're doing and are making the whole thing inefficient

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov
Jul 1, 2022 - 2:46pm

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