checking A1s work taking forever

I'm acting as the associate on a few pitches I'm on and it's getting really frustrating because the A1 under me makes a ton of mistakes on the most simplest tasks (like changing the title of a slide even)

I feel like I cannot trust any of the work that he does and because of that have to literally check every single thing on his slides, to where i am spending hours checking his work and on top of that I have my own work for the pitch, so it's been really inefficient.

As I am moving into the associate role (currently an A3), would love any tips on checking work, being efficient, having a conversation with the A1 on being more careful, etc.

Comments (23)

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Synergy_or_Syzygy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A couple thoughts:

  • Need to train this person to check his own work, which will be even slower, and thus you need to budget in the time (2-3x the time you THINK it should take) for them to do so. Need to go old-school: print out the pages, sit down with him, and have him tick and tie (and highlight) each change. Doing it in front of you should sufficiently motivate him
  • In parallel, I recommend setting more forward/aggressive deadlines (or soft checkins) in order to allow for that to happen, and if timelines slip (they will), the deal will still be fine. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry
  • Especially for slower learners / poorer performers, I recommend breaking up tasks more granularly. Some people just get overwhelmed with 100 pages or a full model. Ask him to do the first e.g. 25% of the task and check it, and give it to you. 
  • Finally, a lot of new analysts straight up don't know how long something SHOULD take, and you need to tell them. Even if they fall short, they should know that they should aim for this volume of work to be done in X time. Make that time realistic and reasonable otherwise you're eating away at their confidence.
  • Positive reinforcement if they improve at any/all of the above 
Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
  • 29
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

Tbh, if I was a first year analyst and a senior analyst / first year associate came over in person to circle my typos and treat me like I'm 12, I'd be pretty offended and probably hate them / think they're a massive hardo.

We were all first year analysts once and as much as we like to pretend we were better than they are, mistakes are part of the job and happen to everyone. I looked back recently at some of the work I was doing early on and was horrified.

Just casually mention that you noticed some mistakes and encourage them to check again. "Hey man noticed a few typos on a title and saw a few spots your logos weren't centered, just some things to keep in mind going forward".

At the same time, don't be the associate who sends an email with 20 comments that would've taken 2 minutes for them to just fix as they went. Just call out the types of mistakes you saw so they can keep an eye on things.

When I was early in my days an associate send me "his checklist" of things to triple check before sending out a deck. Spell check, page numbers, read all titles, center all logos, etc. In retrospect I'm pretty sure he wrote it for me because it has all the mistakes I was making, but it worked well and I still run through that list before I send

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr

Sitting down w/ him while he does it might not be necessary, although if he's fucking up simple comments he doesn't have a legit gripe about being hand-held through turns.  That said, just telling him what type of mistake to look for probably won't be helpful.  Sounds like it's attention to detail stuff, so you need to force him to pay attention to detail.  He needs to be required to either print out the pages and check off changes or take the email w/ comments and highlight each comment as he turns them...then tick back through each highlight afterward to make sure that he actually turned each comment and turned it correctly. 

It's not a dick move to have him do this.  It's teaching him a best practice.  In an ideal world w/ sufficient lead time on every ask, I would turn all sets of comments the same way.

BoutiqueBaboon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If anyone wants to drop their "checklist" here, that'd be clutch. I have some v specific stuff in an email draft I usually copy paste to new analysts, but using personal mobile for wso and don't have time to retype. Could turn into a sticky / massive banana source for whoever wants to compile a list for the monkeys here.

2020 Update: recounting my experiences in PE and sharing thoughts on recent deals at
  • 3
SPYShorts, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Totally agree. ^

One counter-intuitive thought: I remember working for someone who would stay up all night reviewing my work looking for the tiniest "errors" (footnote with 2 spaces, font size off by a point). And that would actually make me take a lackadaisical approach to reviewing my own work -- it didn't matter if I reviewed it, this guy would spot tiny stuff 50 pages deep in the appendix. But the one time he told me "I don't need to review, go ahead an send straight to MD", I checked my work like 10 times. 

BankBoy23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Completely agree, have been in this position. Great point. Super demoralizing to the analyst too 

topbucket_rxbanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

so in my eternal wisdom, I had thought a thought, how many garlic breads could the largest power ball ever won afford. So a pond a further look it is hard to find prices for garlic bread, but i got $2.85 for one at Michelangelo's Pizza & Pasta Bar, not sure if it is the one in Australia, the largest power ball was 1.586 billion, the missing numbers are zero's i assume, so the final amount for this question turns out to be, Five Hundred and Fifty-Six Million, Four Hundred and Ninety One Thousand and Two Hundred and Twenty Eight Garlic breads, sadly this number is barely enough to feed your mother.

  • 3
anon1299, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wtf are associates paid for then? It's your job to check everything. Y'all are entitled little dram queens who want are zero value add and a liability but the biggest complainers.

A to A associates are best of a bad bunch

mBA associates are next

Associates who lateral from industry with no prior banking internship are the absolute worst

  • 1
  • 9
Lockwood, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wtf are associates paid for then? It's your job to check everything. Y'all are entitled little dram queens who want are zero value add and a liability but the biggest complainers.

A to A associates are best of a bad bunch

mBA associates are next

Associates who lateral from industry with no prior banking internship are the absolute worst

This is such a bottom bucket take. 

Tech & Media M&A - London
  • 1
  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov

I just do it myself bc I don't feel like doing 100 turns. It's not a great solution of anyone though. I'm talking about people who will never "get it" though.

Green_Bananas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've noticed these Gen Z analysts never check their own work for some reason lol. Maybe they all tend to be so entitled and think they're so wonderful that it doesn't cross their mind? No one thinks to train someone that they need to check their work, but looks like you have to. 

A former associate colleague of mine had the same exact problem and did something that worked really well: he told his 1st year that he literally wouldn't check anything unless the 1st year printed it out first and checked it himself with a red pen. This worked wonders and the stupid mistakes disappeared overnight. 

"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

  • 2
goldenlocks21, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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