I don't think I'll get a return. What can I do?

I do a good job, am competent at excel and ppt, and have become a reliable value add who analysts can default to for work product. E.g., someone requested that I improve a tedious backup and I automated it down to a button press. That's time saved perpetually into the future as long as it's still constantly needed for decks.

I don't mind the hours. I'm in before full-timers and usually am the last intern out.

I love the industry and I want this job so much. My feedback has consistently been that I have the drive, the passion for finance, and the intellectual curiosity to succeed.

That said, my EQ is beyond terrible and I've had incidents brought up in reviews. It's not that I'm oblivious to social cues, a robot, or an asshole. I just come off the wrong way say the wrong things, and to be honest, this friction has existed my entire life. I've never really meshed in this world, no matter how I've changed my personality to be part of the tribe or the interesting hobbies I pick up to be more sociable and personable. Another year this could've been overlooked, but in this economy I think my luck has run out. Now, I'm just beyond defeated and depressed that it will ruin me.

Am I unfit for this industry? Am I just born wrong and a defect? What do I even do in this upcoming job market if I really don't get it? I guess at the very least I'll have the name on my resume.

Edit: thanks all for the kind words. Decisions out Friday. If any of you ever come across this again I'll update and let y'all know the outcome.

Comments (17)

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 30, 2022 - 7:06pm

You probably got the return. Spend this next year partying and not being weird.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 31, 2022 - 12:58pm

I'm in the same boat as you- have been doing a pretty good job work wise and am always over-communicating and staying up as late as needed to finish my work. The problem is, I haven't gotten really close to anyone this summer and all the other interns seem to be fitting in better than me. I can't really help you but can let you know that you're not the only one in this situation.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 31, 2022 - 9:30pm

Hey man, I hope you get the return too. It's rough when we're not just naturally charismatic and popular.

Sure we can work to improve, but it's been an ongoing process my entire life, and I haven't cracked the code yet.

I only have amazing people skills when I'm drunk since I'm a bubbly/talkative/giggly drunk. But I doubt going about life with alcohol as my crutch is the answer.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 1, 2022 - 5:25pm

Bro this sounds so similar to me I thought I wrote this. I hope you get the offer too man. Still trying to overcome my anxiety but until then I'll keep trying to provide as much value as I can.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 31, 2022 - 1:34pm

I think if it's clear that you're passionate about the job and also intelligent enough to do it well, you'll still get the offer. I'll be honest with you, I thought I was a pretty socially awkward dude going into the internship and I worried about my own EQ. But after meeting some of the full time people, I think unless you're a straight up serial killer, you're probably okay.

Now don't get me wrong, if you constantly say stuff that's way out of line or attacks people's identities or whatever else, that's one thing. But if you're just not a great conversationalist or maybe seem awkward at times but still can automate a process like you said or otherwise demonstrate how you can add value, chances are they'll want you back.

Now is banking going to be something you'll do for your whole life? Maybe not, because I'll be honest, all of the people I met who are MDs or are on track to become an MD have been super charismatic, outgoing, sales-y types of people. But until you're at that level, it doesn't really matter. You just need to be good at your job which is throwing together powerpoints and massaging numbers in excel and that's about it it.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 31, 2022 - 9:38pm

If the bar is not trash-talking people or being bigoted and attacking them, I at least pass that haha.

I've realized that I don't have what it takes to be a salesman and reach senior levels, but I thought I could improve on that over the years. Just hoping to keep my foot in the door as an excel/ppt monkey long enough to observe and learn from those who do it well.

Aug 2, 2022 - 4:01am
SuperBambino, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Some of the best partner-level people I know are total weirdos. The older you get, the more people start looking at actual smarts and the more forgiving they are of character quirks. 

Honestly there's nothing to tell you except that 100% EQ is not a prerequisite to having an enjoyable life or having friends. You just need to very honestly self-reflect and think about what circles YOU want to be around. Finance/business type As may not be your crowd, so you may want to find a community outside of work to find actual friends. 

Definitely keep working on yourself though, just so that some things don't inadvertently get in the way of your career. if you're an over-sharer (for example), consciously try to mellow out and listen more, and keep testing how it is received. You'll eventually find an equilibrium that works. 

Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Aug 1, 2022 - 5:43pm

I was a fairly awkward intern during my intense IBD internship. Despite having past internship experiences, it took me a while to adjust. My recommendation would be to take a deep breath and not stress too much about this, as it will only make your future interactions harder. Is the internship mostly over or do you have a few weeks left (I am out of the loop on internship start / end dates).

If you have time, make an effort to grab coffee / lunch / drinks with the Analysts youve worked closely with. Do your best to talk to them about their interests. Do they play / watch sports, do they have a girlfriend, do they frequent a specific bar? If you still have time, look to cement connections even if in your mind it is too late. Worst case scenario, you dont get a return but still polish your professional social skills. Professional social skills are very different than standard social skills and for some they take time to develop (like me at least). 

If the internship is essentially over, do you have one / two analyst (s) you are close with? Can you give them a quick call and just be honest with them? Say you really love the role / environment / team, but you were more nervous than some of the other interns and you are concerned it may have impacted your ability to connect with your team. Even if they dont extend you an offer because of this, you may get good "off the record" feedback that will help your long-term development. 

Best of luck to you and please dont spend unnecessary energy stressing about this. Come up with a game plan for the best approach moving forward in two different scenarios (offer vs no offer), and use this as a learning opportunity. For me personally, I didnt really get comfortable around my co-workers until my first FT job, but then it came effortlessly. I had to learn how to navigate the office environment through some trial and error, but the end result was I got the hang of it. You will too. 

  • Prospect in PE - LBOs
Aug 2, 2022 - 7:29am

Had the same issue during my internship and have it in general as well. I am nice and I can hold a conversation with pretty much anyone. Everyone thinks I'm a decent guy, but nothing more than that. I'm not very fun to hang out with. During my internship, I came from out of town and all the other interns in my group were from town and had common friends or were friends with the full-timers. I was never the one who full-timers asked to tag along for lunch or parties. Instead, the other interns were asked and then just extended the invite to me. I think it's mostly because I don't like to discuss the things that most people like to talk about. People like to talk about how good restaurant XYZ is, what happened at club X last weekend, how wasted their friend Z got at that party, and just other random stuff. That stuff does not interest me at all and it's very hard for me to fake it and pretend that I am interested in that stuff for an entire after-work with the team. So in the cases that I am invited to events, I usually leave pretty early as I find it boring as hell. With regards to my internship, it came up during my review. They thought I did an excellent job in every way and had zero complaints. However, they did say that people would like to get to know me better and that I had not been very active in getting to know people. 

  • Intern in S&T - FI
Aug 2, 2022 - 7:39am

I'm an S&T intern but in the same boat. Flawless work and one of the smartest kids but a lot of people don't think I'm social enough for a sales job. The whole recession thing doesn't help either and reduced headcount significantly so even some great interns aren't getting offers this year.

Aug 2, 2022 - 2:00pm
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's okay to be awkward, particularly as a 20-year old intern. When banks hire analysts, they aren't hiring people who they think will be the next great MD. They are hiring people who they think can do the analyst job and only the analyst job. Priority goes to the awkward kid who delivers high quality work on time - being social is a bonus and can give you a leg up, but performance wins every time. I know people like to talk about the 'airplane test' and wanting to hire people that can hold a conversation, but not if it means working with a bad analyst. A bad analyst can be a huge detriment to a deal team while an awkward analyst is just a missed opportunity to build a relationship.

And if it makes you feel better, I was never a party guy and it didn't hinder me in my career. I almost never drink alcohol (including in college) and mostly avoided parties both in college and after. I also don't know anything about popular American sports (football, basketball, baseball, etc.). However, I found other ways / tactics to relate to people throughout my career and built rapport on subjects I cared about. It also made the job a lot more tolerable for me because I wasn't stuck feigning interest in the Patriots / Red Sox / Celtics all the time. In fact, if I look back on my analyst years, I probably would have been classified as one of the people who wasn't cut out for a 'sales job' … but we all continue to grow and develop, so don't give up hope yet.

CompBanker’s Career Guidance Services: https://www.rossettiadvisors.com/

  • 6
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 7, 2022 - 3:26pm

That's good to hear honestly. I don't drink at all and never really have in college, so some of the after work social events are a little tough because everybody is so tipsy and focused on alcohol. I do enjoy sports a lot and know plenty about NBA/NFL, so that still remains an easy common talking point with most people. I just wonder if I would even have a chance at making it up the chain if I don't drink. I swear every director or MD that I talk to always mentions something about wine or drinking with clients. Can you really not build client relationships in the upper levels without drinking? 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 16, 2022 - 4:34pm

Editing locked. Bag secured. Liver destroyed.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 7, 2022 - 3:30pm

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