Becoming a better conversationalist in IB

After working in IB as an analyst for over two years, I've noticed that I have far fewer interests, experiences and conversation topics to talk about, both at work and with friends. I wouldn't consider myself to be a shy person and growing up I often had a lot of opinions, knowledge or fun experiences to share with my friends and people around me. But now I usually just talk about work, finance, investing or my weekend, and I know it sounds dull but that's what I spend most of my week doing. I also have less time to spend on learning or experiencing stuff outside of finance than my friends who work in other industries, who probably now find me to be kind of boring. I just find I'm just repeating myself and talking about the same few topics with different people and sometimes even the same people every weekend. 

Given that I'm working all the time, I don't know what to talk about anymore and I feel odd even writing about this because I would've never imagined myself wondering about this even a couple of years ago. I just feel like a dulled out version of myself from when I was younger. Does anyone else feel similar or have any advice to have more interesting conversations? 

Comments (38)

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
4d 

Get off WSO and find some hobbies when you have time.

Read some books, take some trips with friends or backpack on your own. Many places have one month vacations for a2as if you plan on staying, or take some time off and find yourself before going to your next role.

4d 
cimshot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Find at least a half hour each day to do something you like to do. Maybe it's reading some business news, playing some video games, scrolling through a meme account, going for a long walk and listening to music, coordinating with friends to go to a concert or people watching and drinking a beer. Just carve out a sliver of the day to do something you like to do outside of work. That momentary fulfillment will generate some content for you and create some momentum for the next thing. Just do what you like and don't feel obligated to talk about it, and it'll find its way through in conversation eventually. 

  • 3
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
4d 

Conversations can be different depending on who you talk with. But finding areas you find in common with others, goals or sports/tv shows are a good starting point.

Remember to ask questions too. Perhaps they have perspectives or experiences they wanted to talk about and you can let the convo flow from there.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
4d 

Go out and experience more, then you'll have more to talk about. If you prefer to stay inside your apartment, you can probably find shows or movies, sports or other non-finance related content.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
4d 

It's good you're becoming self-aware and are looking to improve. It's likely just due to being tired out from the job and caring less to convey your thoughts or explore beyond what you're comfortable with. Once you take a few weeks off, you'll notice yourself becoming more personable, cheerful and willing to explore other interests beyond finance.

4d 
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

are you trying to change your life just so you have something to talk about with your coworkers, or do you want to change it because you want to change it? if first, then don't try too hard, just talk to coworkers about weather and news and whatever they decide to talk about. if second, then recall what you loved to do as a kid and get back into it.

  • 1
  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
4d 

I would like to talk with my friends about more than finance or work related stuff because most people seem to get bored quickly. I want to shift my efforts to finding new/different hobbies or rediscovering prior ones. I used to binge shows and movies, read books, learn new skills, cook, work out, but now I find I barely have time or energy for these consistently.

4d 
Deal Team Six, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Its funny because I work insane hours relative to the average 9-5er, but I work part-time relative to the very sweaty IB / PE guys (my hours are typically 50-70). Even working far less than you (presumably), I find this to be a common problem when we are navigating a couple processes simultaneously. Couple thoughts:

1. I have found podcasts to be good conversation starters, particularly those with no relation to finance. 

2. Youtube can be an underrated source of news for your areas of interest. I watch one video every morning as I eat breakfast

3. Checking in with old friends during the day can at least somewhat keep you in the loop

4. Hobby-oriented group texts. Couple old friends and I are very into cars and have a group text to share anything even remotely interesting we come across. This has now expanded to encompass anything even remotely interesting, which Ive found has led to some better conversation starters.

The suggestions above should all take <15 min per day, which is optimal for someone stretched thin with long hours

  • Research Analyst in HF - Other
3d 

How are you checking in with your old friends? Do you just reach out to them via text? I find it difficult to have a really substantive interaction over text. Plus, texting requires an extra bit of effort / activation energy (replying to each message throughout the day) that running into someone and speaking to them in person doesn't take. 

3d 
Deal Team Six, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I do a lot of relationship maintenance through texting, but the best real "catch ups" are through calls. I will call my 2 best friends a handful of times per week. Sometimes we chat for five minutes, other times two hours (slow days). 

The biggest thing I do is allocate ~25-50% of my weekend toward catching up with people as this is the most enjoyable and effortless way to sustain relationships. I will make a note of the people I havent seen in 3+ months in order to make sure I work them back into rotation (it is much harder to keep up with some of my friends in IB as I have a pretty full weekend schedule and they often do as well). 

  • Works at Goldman Sachs
3d 
Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A

After working in IB as an analyst for over two years, I've noticed that I have far fewer interests, experiences and conversation topics to talk about, both at work and with friends. I wouldn't consider myself to be a shy person and growing up I often had a lot of opinions, knowledge or fun experiences to share with my friends and people around me. But now I usually just talk about work, finance, investing or my weekend, and I know it sounds dull but that's what I spend most of my week doing. I also have less time to spend on learning or experiencing stuff outside of finance than my friends who work in other industries, who probably now find me to be kind of boring. I just find I'm just repeating myself and talking about the same few topics with different people and sometimes even the same people every weekend. 

Given that I'm working all the time, I don't know what to talk about anymore and I feel odd even writing about this because I would've never imagined myself wondering about this even a couple of years ago. I just feel like a dulled out version of myself from when I was younger. Does anyone else feel similar or have any advice to have more interesting conversations? 

Curious to hear if you think this personality factor has the ability to recover after you leave the field, or whether it has been irreparably damaged.

  • Associate 2 in PE - Growth
3d 

You can definitely get your personality back over time after leaving banking. The analyst stint does often take a toll on people with the long hours, constant work and stress with little time to focus on other interests. Once you have more of your day and weekend back, you'll be more refreshed mentally, and have more energy to learn different things, take up new hobbies and experiences and just enjoy what life has to offer outside of finance. You may meet more interesting friends along the way and they can also bring out better characteristics of your personality. Try to become an incrementally more interesting version of yourself every day

  • 6
3d 
joylineee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I used to be like that when I first started out. Then I started reading a lot of diverse topics on news sites, from finance, politics, business to technology, sports, and even celebrity gossip.  It also help that I am in a private chat group with a bunch of friends from different industries, so they are always posting stuff that cover the entire spectrum of trivial topics. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
2d 

Any good ones on Spotify?

2d 
greenhillenergy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I like watching cash poker games a lot. Digging the nick vertucci show recently. You will relate less if you don't watch the hustler casino live stream on youtube.

Like the iced coffee hour sometimes. Fan of that alex hormozi guy from time to time but too intense for me. 

Yeah rest of the stuff I listen to is straight chick crack shit like call her daddy, impaulisve etc lol

3d 
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Being busy isn't a shoo-in to being an uninteresting dolt. Just make an effort to cultivate interests in things you used to be interested in like sports or a hobby or whatever it is. I guarantee you no matter how busy you are, you can make the time to keep things interesting for yourself. It's easy to fall into the trap of talking about finance w finance people while working in finance, ultimately making yourself the least interesting person in the world in the process. But if you make a conscious, concentrated effort to branch out and continue augmenting your interests (which can easily done between workstreams even on your computer), you'll realize the difference it makes. Also, obviously easier said than done, but try expanding your friend group to people outside of finance. It's not easy but at least when you get to assoc etc, use some of the incremental free time you get to expand your social aperture.

  • 4
3d 
NYC_Banker_2022, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Becoming a better conversationalist in regards to who's perspective - yours or the person you are speaking to? If you are referring to the latter being deemed a "good conversationalist" is predominately done by getting others to speak about their interests and asking follow-up and deeper "why" questions to get them to open up. If you combined this methodology with positive life experiences around key tenants of life (career, hobbies, family, travel, music) and relate to them when you can - they will view you as being an "excellent conversationalist" regardless if you speak 20-30% of the entire time. People feel physiologically much closer to THOSE THEY FEEL KNOW THEM WELL not THOSE THEY THINK THEY KNOW A LOT ABOUT.

2d 
UncookedBooks, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Other people are the topic of conversation. You don't have to talk about yourself-nor should you, really.

It is far more important to connect with others and that is accomplished by being genuinely vulnerable (when it's the right time) and by focusing your attention on the other person(s).

I suggest you interact with others more frequently to grow comfortable with it. Be far more intentional about it and make the time. Trust me, that turn of comments can wait an hour-go spend some time with others.

I'm pretty socially autistic myself but I've grown to be much more of a people person by actually caring and taking mental notes about those who matter to me.

Most people today are exceptionally lonely. Reaching out and offering a genuine extension of care can mean a world of difference to them, while also taking the attention of yourself.

2d 
jenkinscooper, what's your opinion? Comment below:
[Comment removed by mod team]
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
2d 

Beyond talking, try to find fun trips, activities or events to attend while hanging out with friends. This helps create for better memories with existing friends and stuff to talk about later on.

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
2d 

There are apps that tell you about fun events  or shows in your local city such as eventbrite as an example. Worth checking out. 

2d 
Tigers WOod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ready the book called "how to make friends and influence people". That helped me a lot.

1d 
Rainmakah, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Start watching/playing sports

1d 
wise_monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I recommend talking about your interests like say running or a new gym you tried out over the weekend. Or you can talk about something interesting you saw on the news.

One thing I recommend is to be yourself but also know what are controversial topics. Another one that you can share/talk about is travel or interesting places you been

21h 
FERX00., what's your opinion? Comment below:

Rerum est quod dolorem voluptate quaerat. Sit voluptas voluptates consequatur ipsum maiores soluta soluta accusantium. Maiores excepturi repellat eum voluptatum iure incidunt enim. Sed non officiis sapiente maxime corporis.

Ab et mollitia sapiente optio eius in recusandae. Consequatur accusantium dolores dolorem quis facilis quis facilis. Totam minus voluptates praesentium ducimus soluta mollitia minima.

Eaque quo in omnis et consequatur. Adipisci nam sint iusto minima odit fuga. Ut voluptatem quo qui eius molestiae ipsam delectus ut. Mollitia in optio quod. Voluptatem quia deserunt quas rerum architecto. Asperiores eligendi aliquid fugiat velit ullam voluptas. Ad tenetur magni magni.

Quaerat aperiam blanditiis fuga molestiae occaecati quia ipsam. Earum vitae voluptatem saepe sed dolorem sed. Eum praesentium repellat tempora vel aut quis omnis.

7h 
m_1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dolores molestiae optio aut voluptatem asperiores voluptas. Facere et occaecati repellat provident. Alias unde vel vel voluptas. Ut provident distinctio dolorem fuga fugit et. Molestiae ab quaerat aut aut voluptatum et et.

Quas sit beatae qui qui. Nihil repellendus ab consequatur soluta unde quo. Perferendis voluptatem placeat dolores quis ullam autem adipisci quas. Qui impedit fugit at dolorem.

Quas error non porro. Reprehenderit et voluptas a dolorum. Ut commodi quo tenetur unde sit temporibus officia numquam. Rem illum nemo et quibusdam. Libero officia ut illo quod minus quia sunt nemo. Aperiam autem omnis quos voluptas non nisi ipsam.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

January 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (+ +) 99.5%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽01) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International (▽01) 98.6%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▽01) 98.1%
  • William Blair (▲08) 97.7%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

January 2023 Investment Banking

  • Canaccord Genuity (▲04) 99.5%
  • William Blair (▲04) 99.0%
  • Lincoln International (▲09) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▲06) 98.1%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲09) 97.6%

Professional Growth Opportunities

January 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (▲15) 99.5%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲09) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽03) 98.1%
  • William Blair (▲01) 97.7%

Total Avg Compensation

January 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (23) $401
  • Associates (134) $264
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (9) $194
  • 2nd Year Analyst (80) $172
  • 1st Year Analyst (257) $171
  • Intern/Summer Associate (41) $167
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (185) $91