Friends vs Competition As Analysts

Incoming FT in new group. I was the only analyst in my summer group. Yet, I'm confused on how analysts balance being friends while knowing you (essentially) are in a game of chess to be a better analyst. This obviously depends on group size, but I'm curious as to how current analysts view this. I've talked to analysts where they are genuine friends and know each other's gfs/bfs, and I've seen it where it's pretty fragile. I would imagine most groups are somewhere in the middle. How do you balance this line? Is it more taking up the approach that if you as an individual do excellent work and can make friends it's a win win?

Comments (31)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

I'm definitely going in with that attitude but I am also a paranoid fuck knowing it's possible people go behind your back

analystfirstyear, what's your opinion? Comment below:

horrible mindset bro. My analyst cohort would help me with my projects at 12am on a Friday night if they were online and vice versa. Their help has turned some what would've been 5 am nights to 2 am nights. Treat them as friends man; unless you have a reason otherwise.

I'm not based in NYC FWIW

LBOtopboy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When you're all beaten to a pulp with long hours and being stretched thin on several engagements, you don't see your co-analysts as competition. It's a matter of just trying to survive and be a little bit better each day. You'll see your co-analysts as friends because without them, the job would suck. You especially shouldn't view them as competition if you're in a group that only staffs one analyst per deal. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

that, sir, is facts. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov

So true. There's always that 1 analyst who is way too occupied with his job… have a kid like this at my regional lmm bank lol

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

what's the nickname you gave him?

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A

I never understood why people view the job like that. Focus on your projects and do your best but always be on good terms with your peers and your team. Where you rank versus the guys next to you should not be actively on your mind since there are always going to be some analysts who are better and others who are worse. You'll all most likely find a new job within 2 years, so try and build camaraderie with your class.

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  • Director in IB - Cov

Trust me, you're definitely better off getting along with your peer analysts. Yes, you will be bucketed at the end of the year, but there's always plenty of room in the upper mid bucket range. There's always naturally analysts/associates who underperform as well, and that's not in comparison to their peers but just overall. The result is it's not cut-throat like you're imagining - do a good job and you'll get a pretty good bucket and also continue to progress / be promoted A2A (if that's something you want). The differentiation between top top bucket and just upper bucket in terms of comp is usually pretty small, but having friends in the bullpen helps when you're pulling long hours and makes it easier. If you make enemies it'll make it far worse and people won't want to lend you a hand when you ask for RFIs, refmats, etc. 

Additionally, there's nothing to gain from not treating your fellow analysts as friends. You're not going to get a better rank vs. them by refusing to share refmats, not talking to them / hanging out, etc. Finally, think about the long-term as well. Banking and finance in general is a relationship based business. You're best off trying to be friends with your peers. Who knows where they'll end up one day. Perhaps you might end up at a PE firm, and them in the C suite of a potential sell-side target. Being friends can only help, being enemies may mean your firm could get excluded from a process

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

Thank you for the perspective and taking time to lend a hand. Always something I've found challenging and something I will adapt in the future. 

Synergy_or_Syzygy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The value of friends across your whole career is so much more than whatever analyst bonus buckets are nowadays. 

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A

It's really not cut-throat at all, and if you act like that you will be the odd man out and your bonus will reflect that behavior.

The truth is everyone kind of self-sorts into buckets. The same way there's not cutthroat competition in school to get a 4.0 - some people barely study and are perfectly happy with that B-, most will study a good amount and take the A-, and one or two aren't happy with the 99 and study a thousand extra hours to get the 100.

It's the same in banking. Most people do not want to work 500+ extra hours over the course of the year just for that few thousand dollars. 

Also, your fellow analysts are 1000% your BEST resource. If you ask your associate/vp for every little question, they will get annoyed. Chances are your fellow juniors are encountering the same problems, working on the same slides etc, so being friends with them to share resources, tips, etc is a huge net positive for everyone.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

thank you!

jackdonaghy26, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I never even once thought of fellow analysts as competition, they ended up becoming some of my closest friends outside work and the offshoots of those relationships have immensely helped me professionally and personally (far more than a top vs bottom bucket bonus differential at 22yrs old).

I 100% guarantee that if you try competing with them, it will be immediately noticed and you will be hated by everyone (including those above you) 

Swine-linked-notes, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP is a wannabe hardo with low EQ. 

Here to conduct pig business.
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

Like everyone has said, 10000% they are your friends.

Story to back it up - my first deal ever was a sell side where the company came in-bound to us and we did a quick mini-pitch and won the mandate. Wasn't a formal bake off and MD didn't seem to have a relationship so I was always puzzled.

Later found out that the CEO and the group head of another group at my bank were IB analysts together ~25 years ago at a bank that no longer exists.

Heard the story at the closing dinner but they hadn't talked in ~15 years. The CEO was a bad analyst, left finance entirely, and everyone thought they'd never hear from the guy again. Ended up at some manufacturing co and ultimately was CEO of a pretty big company. Was researching banks, saw my group heads name, and decided to hire our bank based on that connection alone. My bank made ~$40M without doing any chasing of this deal.

This is a random story but you wouldn't believe how many PE partners / IB seniors have relationships dating back to their analyst years that often benefits everyone involved.

It's a small world and the people with you in the analyst trenches will go on to do big things - and it often isn't who you would expect. So even if everyone saying the camaraderie is essential to survive this job (which it absolutely is) doesn't convince you, don't underestimate the network that is handed to you on a silver platter at any bank within your analyst class.

bands_bands_bands, what's your opinion? Comment below:

this isn't game of thrones, make friends with them lmao

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

if there was a game of thrones series based off of banking I'd pay thousands to watch it

juststop., what's your opinion? Comment below:

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