How to Lose My Ego

 I grew up in the south side of Chicago with a love for soccer. I ate, drank, and slept soccer. Had some trouble in middle school but got my act together and got an offer to play D1. While playing and winning a ton as both in high school and in college, I got into banking. Loved the lifestyle and prestige that came with it from someone who used to eat school lunch food stamps, and worked ridiculously hard. Got into a BB doing healthcare this past summer, and I was so proud to be doing awesome. I was better than the other interns from a work perspective straight up, but my comments at the end of the summer was that I needed to be more humble coming back full time. Not in an aggressive way. But be more open to learning. Here's the thing: I like learning. I actually do think I'm humble. I don't think I'm better than anyone, and I'm willing to work harder than anyone. Please don't kill me for saying this but I think I just am willing to do more grunt for the end goal. I was coming in on saturday/sunday mornings to learn how to use fact set, how do make better CIMs, etc. And yeah, I'm smart but I wasn't born with it. I don't have an entitled attitude. I'm not supposed to be here. My best friend in high school slung kush to pay for dinner for fucks sake. I made it my own way. And anyone that knows me knows I give to others in any way I can. I think the humble comment comes from the fact that I'm confident (Not cocky). I know what I am capable of, and I like to be a high performer. It's in my DNA. It's how I got here. Hell, this whole thing probably makes me seem like a jack ass. I just really want to do well and want to be known for my work and my good attitude. Not for being "that guy". Any tips on how to humble yourself? How do you convey that vs mean it? I'm proud of my past, and I'm excited for my future. I just want to be do it in the best way I can. Thank you

EDIT: I understand I sound like a piece of shit in this. I said that in the post that "This whole thing probably makes me seem like a jack ass". Looking for advice on being humble not trying to start a fight in a food court here. 

Comments (66)

8d 
EH_10, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ask questions even if you don't have questions even if you know the answer just ask. They just want to see that

  • 1
  • VP in IB-M&A
8d 
Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

  I actually do think I'm humble.

You don't come off as even remotely humble. The reality is you'll make some big mistakes as an An1 which should humble you quite quickly, unless you're the kind of person who doesn't have a mentality of accountability and learning from your mistakes and instead just rationalizes why it's someone else's fault, then you're pretty much screwed.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
8d 

Sorry I wasn't coming runner up for my school dodge ball tournament. Should I wear a shirt to the office that says I'm a nice guy with Bruce Lee's face on it? I tell you I'm ready to give this my all and that I actively help others and you come with "you don't seem humble". Don't mistake confidence for cockiness just because you have none. 

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
8d 

Accurate but you sort of make this guy's point. He's trying to fix it. No point in jumping on the guy. Total VP move. 

  • 2
  • 1
Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
8d 

It's quite common for people to be proud of their accomplishments and have a type A mentality coming in from undergrad. It's not wrong to want to improve on one's attitude either and it takes a good level of self awareness to want to improve on this prior to starting the job.

You'll see in IB that you'll be around many others like you who are determined and accomplished, from analyst all the way up to MD. This in itself is humbling on its own as you'll realize you may just feel average with respect to your peers all the sudden, rather than one of the most accomplished. Meanwhile you may feel that everyone who is more experienced is also more efficient at the job. You may also realize especially in your first six to nine months that there's a lot for you to learn and improve on, and even over time you'll realize how much better your work quality becomes compared your work in prior years. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
8d 

Thank you. Well said.

8d 
Swag King, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Swag King Hot Take: Has been redacted because it was a bit much and I was angry that day. 

  • 4
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
8d 

King, you're takes remain a treasure. thank you for not shitting all over this and actually being helpful. 

7d 
HardestOfHardos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Disagree, it's just annoying when someone so young and inexperienced overtly thinks they know everything

  • 2
8d 
Synergy_or_Syzygy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

From your post alone, here is your description of yourself:

  • Winning a ton, love lifestyle and prestige, did awesome in healthcare banking, better than other interns, like learning, humble, work harder than anyone, smart, confident, high performance DNA, good attitude, proud...

I kind of agree with the other VP that you don't come off as remotely humble, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be proud of who you are and where you came from. The chip on your shoulder got you to this point, but to get to the next level, you do actually have to soften it. Banking is a team sport, and your success is secondary to the team's outcome.

Banking is a service industry, you are a service provider. You should not be striving at this stage for personal credit but to elevate your team's experience and performance, and maximum service to your clients. Honestly speaking, you shouldn't even type the word "I" in an email in banking unless it's in the context of "I'm sorry." All of your work product and value is to the credit of others and the benefit of others.

Probably the best thing that you could do would be to honestly assess your weaknesses and set development goals. Read something by Jocko Willink like "Extreme Ownership" to understand how "high performers" learn to humble themselves in a high performance team environment.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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8d 
JAL54321, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Been working in IB for 12+ years and have seen a lot. Been at a BB the last 8 years so get the same type of high performers out of college like yourself. People from all sorts of backgrounds, Ivy Leagues, non target, etc. but all best in class talent as far as analysts go.

Reading your post and your response to some of these comments tells me a lot. You've accomplished a lot and you should be proud of that. That being said, you have to look at it from other peoples perspective (mainly people senior to you) to diagnose the "come back humble" advice. To everyone else, your a 21 year old kid who has yet to start a career the Wild West that is Wall Street so to them you've not accomplished much at all. This is not a knock on you, it's just a reality that you are one of many with a similar story that have chosen this as a career path. In my experience, just as many people with your credentials succeed as they do fail and it's almost never due to ability to work hard, intelligence, competence, whatever. And don't take this the wrong way, but life gets a lot harder and more complicated vs the first 20 years, even if you came from a challenged upbringing due to socioeconomic or other factors. Take my word on that one.

Being naturally humbled, or better yet, having your confidence shaken when you have your first major fuck up or encounter another person who is smarter / more confident than you is a right of passage and unavoidable so let's not focus on that for the moment.

My advice to you is to keep doing exactly what you've done that has gotten you to this point. You should know that you're expected to be a bad motherfucker from a work ethic / competence perspective at all times if you want to be top bucket / best in class / whatever. But to really succeed you need people to like you up and down the food chain. This requires some soft skills but really emotional intelligence. Here's a little list to help ya out

1: Respect everybody's opinion, guidance, instruction, etc. that have been doing this longer than you have. Doesn't matter if you think they are good or bad, they know more than you based on experience. You will have your chance at some point, but frankly speaking, it's hard for any banker to be blown away by a first year analyst on a call, in a committee, etc. Best way to punch above your weight and contribute (aside from doing all the work) is be proactive and ask if you can present something. If you are a rockstar, then your seniors will give you a shot to shine. You just have to go about it the right way.

2: Avoid shit talking, especially about VPs / ASOs and certainly other ANLs. It's super toxic and a real turnoff to people. Imagine the star freshmen soccer recruit talking shit about a fellow senior who may not start but is a teammate that you've spent 4 years with. You'd probably have a word with said freshmen. I say this because you said "you were better than all the other analysts" or something like that. You may very well be better! But your perception of excellence and what success looks like is likely to be very far off from what actually carries the day to those that make these decisions.

  1. Ask for feedback constantly in the form of "what do I need to work on most, I could really use advice from someone with more experience" is the way to go. Ask this of people that are rock stars in the group, but also of others that may not be. You'd be surprised at some of the useful advice people give and may learn a little something about how people successfully climb the ladder that may not fit the mold on paper

4: Convince yourself that you are starting at the bottom of the pack when you first start. Let some other asshole brag about so and so said they did a great job, how they did the model better and faster than the other analyst, etc. Focus on being the best without telling everyone or having written on your face. Candidly that is what the most confident people do; it's the insecure people that need to broadcast their achievements

5: Get to know people on a personal level and ask questions about their life, family, whatever. This is just a job and at the end of the day, everyone is replaceable at a moments notice. Building relationships is what propels you to be well respected, paid well, promoted and for references.

Good luck and see you this summer ; )

  • 21
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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
8d 

OP here - this is awesome and so are you. Thanks for taking the time to give color on this. I won't let you down

  • 1
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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
7d 

Great advice.

8d 
chipotleassociate, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey, OP. You have weaknesses, and if you haven't discovered them yet then your weakness is self reflection.

Other posters appear to have an external locus of control, and a superiority issue. Despite the fact that your MD doesn't know how to make a pdf, you are, almost undoubtedly, not smarter than him/her. Maybe more savvy to tech and quicker at learning, but the old adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" applies here. See, if incoming analysts really were smarter than MDs, then you would know exactly how to deliver value to a highly sophisticated management team who have collectively experienced 10+ M&A deals across their team and have no use for cookie cutter advice, but instead need technical creativity, established relationships, and strategy. These things are forms of high level intellect that you do not have.

If you go through life comparing yourself to others, you may be better than the other analysts at your desk. That's great. You might get promoted (so long as people don't see you as the competitively driven asshole), and might find additional success. But you will never reach your full potential. Ever.

Instead, you should be driven by your weaknesses, know them, fix them, and capitalize on your strengths. Not because it makes you better than others, but because it makes you the best YOU.

I'm a fighter, and I'll leave you with some wisdom from my Sensei: An aggressive, competitive fighter may have an edge getting back up from being knocked down. But a composed, skilled fighter won't be on the ground.

8d 
tellmehowtoplay, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i will give it sometime. when you start doing bitch work for a client that is going nowhere, or having your deck not being read for a few times, or rush having to turn comments for a deck that has a deadline before christmas only for the MD to say "lets send it after christmas" 

everyone is replaceable. 

Array
  • 1
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
7d 

Well talk to truly intelligent people(basically not IB) the people working at NASA, Jane Street, Harvard Med or really any top 25 med school, PHD in Math/Physics, or even SWE at Google and you'll realize how you're nowhere near their intelligence and nothing you do will be nearly as cool or have as much impact

  • 1
7d 
Jamie_Diamond, what's your opinion? Comment below:

RIP the MBA associates who have to work with this fine young lad

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

  • 1
  • Intern in IB - Gen
7d 

Might get MS considering I'm just an intern, but I think in life generally losing your ego is the worst thing you can do as a man (maybe not as an IB analyst tho since your job entails guzzling the cum of the guys above you). Clearly you are able to justify your big ego considering it sounds like you got everything out the mud. I don't think humility matters as much as discipline (being able to fake not having an ego). read 48 laws of power, and follow it to a tee…that book changed my life

7d 
KingofthePirates, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Step into a MMA/BJJ gym, you'll lose it quick...

7d 
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Once you work 100h/week for a couple of years for a $15k bonus while paying $4k/month for a 200sf studio, you'll get more humble.

7d 
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why are you paying $4k for a studio in Chicago? This sounds like a you problem.

Array

7d 
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

also soccer was invented by European ladies to keep them busy while their husbands did the cooking, so don't be so cocky about being good at your little girl activity.

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7d 
StratCo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It was actually invented by the English aristocrats who wanted a way to express their aggression without going to war. The northern English working class then took over because they worked in mines all day and have actual aggression. Remember, soccer was the precursor to rugby, one of the most brutal and violent sports in the world

7d 
StratCo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It was actually invented by the English aristocrats who wanted a way to express their aggression without going to war. The northern English working class then took over because they worked in mines all day and have actual aggression. Remember, soccer was the precursor to rugby, one of the most brutal and violent sports in the world

7d 
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

also you seem to be proud that you made it from south side of Chicago. there are plenty of way more successful people that you'll meet in this industry who made it from south side of Wuhan. that's a real accomplishment. being born in a major US city is an easy life. try making it from foreign country while learning English as a foreign language.

  • 3
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7d 
BankBoy23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeezy new album south side of wuhan 

7d 
trader_timmy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Everyone has an ego in this industry. You don't need to turn yourself into a beta, you just need to channel your ego in the right way and have EQ. The best junior to mid-level people channel that into being on top of their sh*t and outworking everyone else. And when you're early in your career, you need to also channel it into out-learning everyone else. Be the best sponge you can be for your first year and just keep outworking everyone.  

  • Associate 2 in IB - Cov
7d 

Get an ugly haircut that makes you feel insecure

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
7d 

Frankly I would hate to work with you.

You come across as unteachable with a superiority complex. Sure on paper you check the boxes on paper but in the long run your career will suffer if you don't humble yourself and become more personable. The MDs I worked with that closed the most deals were the ones with the best relationships, not hardos who have to self-inflate themselves constantly.

  • 4
7d 
maplesyrup334, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Understanding that there are many people higher up in the food chain than you are. Think about it someone like bezos wouldn't even acknowledge you at a happy hour party. Be humble and treat others how you would want to be treated. 

7d 
Esuric, what's your opinion? Comment below:

At least you didn't mention the use of hallucinogenic drugs. 

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
7d 
muddrako, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Awwww cmon, stop it bro. You're making me jealous :P

Srsly though, you already have what it takes to be humble now that you've recognised it. I wouldn't worry bout it.

6d 
biscuitsandgravery, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i think its great that you are trying to better yourself

then i looked at the comments and i can see why that might be tough for you

learn to take advice and be humble boy, or life will humble you soon enough 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
6d 

The job is humbling over time. Working on project after project is tiring. You may become jaded and realize the job and pay are not that special. Bonuses may be suboptimal in some cycles, taxes are high, and inflation has increased living expenses which can detract from savings. You might not even like the job or the sectors you work in or find that you aren't fulfilled. You may look back and realize you've drifted apart from close friends you met in college since you don't always have time to hang out with them anymore. 

  • 1
6d 
rem29, what's your opinion? Comment below:

careful what you ask for… it may be your bonus that humbles you

  • Intern in AM - Other
5d 

You should start by understanding what humble means. You're certainly self aware, and you don't necessarily seem entitled, but you're far from humble.

I understand you certainly had your come up from not much to really making a name for yourself, and you're definitely hungry for the success. I think you're getting caught up in your personal vanity and you already think you "made it". You're still a young person, your learning is not complete, you should continue to feel like your current point is not your endgame, as things can still change for you in a short amount of time. 

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
4d 

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3d 
jonathan-wang3, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
3d 

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

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