HOW TO BE RAINMAKER MD

How many different ways are there to make MD?

I assume working at a BB and being groomed would be ideal, given the wide client network and resources and the lending capabilities of a larger financial situation. Whether or not this piece of information is true I am open to conversation in the comments below.
But for the sake of my post, let's assume the abovementioned is correct: should I then focus my recruiting efforts solely on top groups at these bigger multinational firms? 

Moreover, a lot of us joke about the classic hardo 2+2+2 path on this forum also (man am I salivating just thinking about the prestige right now-HL RX > Oaktree > HBS > McDonald's Corporate Treasury). If my goal is to make MD ultimately, does it make sense to do private equity and go to top notch business school? 
I am only entertaining this path as I see it as a way to boost my network since I don't come from a traditional prep school to Ivy League to IB background. This concerns me as I have also read on this forum that hard work can only take you so far and that past a certain point, the availability of connections differentiate those who succeed.
I also enjoy mentoring others, so maybe instead of 2 years PE, I can just hang on until ASO2 and then hop to GSB.

Finally, are my goals realistic? Assuming that I am hell bent on becoming MD, would I find more success at, let's say, a West Coast regional boutique? Or can a unique combination of intelligence, EQ, work ethic and luck be enough to put my ass at Piper Jaffray when I'm 35 (after grinding to the bone at MS for a decade)? 

Anything helps monkeys. I'm a hardo and I aspire to one day be the hardest MD the street has ever seen (ayo mega pause). Thanks!

Comments (11)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 31, 2022 - 4:17am

My team and I just closed a deal, we just chillin. and shared your post with my MD as entertainment (c-level exec BB), this is what he said with a bit of paraphrasing:

All don't plan to become MD. It is at least over a decade in the making, for most much longer.

There have been many paths to become one but it is never clear cut. Some stay for years in the same firm, but move in different roles to keep themselves interested. Others sell a business to the firm and become MD, the largest proportion c.30% are banking veterans that move amongst the banks. Surprisingly most who become MD don't actually come from a fancy university, I myself came from an unknown british university. I suppose those with high respecting degrees like MBAs/PHDs feel like they are entitled to more, and are suited for the 2 + 2 + 2 route to keep themselves interested in finance and so never make it to Associate/VP. This is what I have seen as the common theme for those who do end up climbing in large banks:

- Analyst: be useful to the VP, Associate, ED, MD. Have at least 2 people to sponsor your career.

- Associate: all of above but on the ball and can generate ideas quickly and accurately. Have 2 seniors sponsor your career

- VP/AVP: Bring deals and a solid network. Have multiple seniors sponsor your career, but critically this is a time where many have to balance work and building your family. Many people change at this stage, and for those I encourage them to move on if they are not suited to handle it.

- ED: Bring consistent deals and just be a genuinely good person on every aspect, have 4/5 MDs sponsor and actively vouch for you.

People in the firm come and go. But a pattern continues to remain is what other MDs think of you and if you should join the club. Having the ability to have other MDs and seniors vouch and sponsor you can open doors even despite the fact you are not the best performing. If you are an ED bringing so so deals, but 4 other MDs vouch for you for who you are, your good business conduct, your reputation, proactiveness, your family stability, your cultural background, you will likely get your promotion depending on wallet and business needs. However that being said, the nature of banks are changing, things were very different pre-2008 when I was building my career. We live in a more regulated, tech, and virtue-signaling world, I don't see why someone would want to be an MD.

Mar 31, 2022 - 9:56am
rabbit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is why IMO, assholes (unless you're an absolute god of a rainmaker) have a ceiling. Peer consensus and "sponsors" become more important as you move up. There are only so many people you can backstab, snake credit from, ride the coat tails of, and throw under the bus before it comes to bite you in the ass.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 31, 2022 - 10:04am

Hey, OP from the comment, yeah I agree with you. I did bring this up with my MD, and he was like "Of course politics takes a role, just look at the whale, vampire squid, 1MDB, financial crises", I suppose these clubs of MDs can make or break a firm.

Mar 31, 2022 - 1:59pm
Frieds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I will say this - sometimes an AVP/VP is better at one half (bringing in deal-flow) of the business or the other half (the operational and execution). Know what you are good at and work with your sponsors to help improve your skills on the other half. 

I will also echo what was said about being at the ED level. It also applies to the AVP/VP level as well. People do business with folks they like. Develop the relationship and nurture it. Do right by your clients and show them that you are thinking about their needs above all else. The best dealmakers understand that relationships take time to grow and should never be viewed as transactional. That's how you lose business. 

  • 2
Mar 31, 2022 - 2:57pm
JustineTobinFootMassage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you are an ED bringing so so deals, but 4 other MDs vouch for you for who you are, your good business conduct, your reputation, proactiveness, your family stability, your cultural background, you will likely get your promotion depending on wallet and business needs. 

Whew what a relief good thing I have all 5 of those qualities that you listed

.

.

In all seriousness though, appreciate the feedback and will sit on this info to think some more

Mar 31, 2022 - 4:18pm
JustineTobinFootMassage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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