Is everyone in IB a type A person?

I am definitely a type B kind of person.

Some people at my bank just need to chill out. It is not that serious. Some tasks and assignments do not have to be delivered immediately. One missing period is not going to kill a deal.

Can you not be great at this job and also chill at the same time? Are they mutually exclusive?

I get that IB and high finance in general draws type A personalities, but who hurt you?
How are you so driven?
Do you not feel like you are about to burnout?
How do VP+ still have the energy to be that anal?
Is it just expected in NYC, the city where everyone feels the need to grind and work insane hours?
Is competition not for losers?

I understand the position that I am in. Getting paid well for making slides and playing around in excel is great, and I take my job seriously, but not to the point where I am an absolute psychopath.

Someone please help me understand.

Comments (34)

May 6, 2022 - 12:03pm
tonyiowa, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Imo it's not as simple as the Type A/B dichotomy. It's a spectrum of neuroticism, and banking has some of the most neurotic people. This is what makes or breaks a lot of people in the industry. Some of the best analysts and MDs alike I've met are much more relaxed and closer to how you describe yourself.

If you can get away without cortisol flooding your bloodstream every day, consider yourself lucky. At the end of the day, banking culture is stressful. How you respond to it is ultimately up to you.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 6, 2022 - 12:10pm

I am not type A whatsoever. I've transformed my mind to be someone that's action-oriented but I've always been a more creative / abstract person. I managed to get into IB (non-target, mediocre GPA) through networking and through displaying a deeper understanding of the economic logic behind M&A/Restructuring during interviews. Wouldn't recommend trying to get into this industry the way I did as there was so much luck involved, but it's also not only type A people here.

May 6, 2022 - 12:13pm
high hopes, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am not type A whatsoever. I've transformed my mind to be someone that's action-oriented but I've always been a more creative / abstract person. I managed to get into IB (non-target, mediocre GPA) through networking and through displaying a deeper understanding of the economic logic behind M&A/Restructuring during interviews. Wouldn't recommend trying to get into this industry the way I did as there was so much luck involved, but it's also not only type A people here.

Comments like this are why I still read this forum. Please post more 

May 6, 2022 - 1:55pm
rabbit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

displaying a deeper understanding of the economic logic behind M&A/Restructuring

This is what "getting it" means. This is half of what makes a good banker, the other half is "selling" that logic/rationale to win mandates. I'd take one intern/analyst who "gets it" over 10 who can spread the perfect comps table.

May 6, 2022 - 2:34pm
Don't Call Me a Banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah same, I feel like it's quite hard to work with people who handle stress very poorly if you yourself are pretty good at managing it. I worry (ironically) that I'm not neurotic enough so I maintain a very positive attitude, which does wonders when it comes to getting people to like you. People mention my positive attitude in every review I've had and it seems to make people view me very favorably and enjoy working with me, even if I'm not as much of a hardo as some of the other analysts in my group.

FWIW I'm not faking it either - I try to appreciate the learning opportunities I'm given, ask a lot of questions, and display some level of empathy for people who seem to be really going through it (less common than you'd think in this industry).

Curious to hear if others do the same.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 6, 2022 - 3:18pm

I love learning on my job, it's awesome, I read CIMs and run through models at night or on the weekends when I have free time, genuinely find it interesting, but funnily enough, not too much a type A, like I would never work at an Apollo or a Goldman, rather be working at a UMM or a smaller "big" shop and flying under the radar compared to my colleagues.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 6, 2022 - 3:45pm

At top banks at least, found that most analysts can handle the stress. When I say "handle", don't necessarily mean that they don't have any cortisol, but moreso just finding a way to power through it, getting the job done, and putting out a poker face and not complaining/whining about it (besides to other fellow analysts).  

Truthfully, the really stressful aspect about the job (and others have echoed this same sentiment) aren't the tight deadlines and work itself, but MBA associates who themselves cannot handle the stress. Many tend to chase you over deadlines that don't exist and legit are incapable of doing the work themselves. 

Understand why banks hire them given such large analyst attrition, but think by in-large 2 analysts with no MBA associate would make deals run much more efficiently (or even just one analyst and no associate). 

Not trying to intentionally bash MBA associates, but really do think stress levels would decrease significantly without them (+ VPs who add no value but try to look good to MDs with useless turns/requests/comments).

In many cases, MDs know exactly what they want, so basically every layer between them and those who do the work (analysts) is somewhat useless and is just another layer of stress. Know that this isn't always the case though and some groups / deal teams have absolute rockstar VPs and even senior associates who run the show. Big part of the game just comes down to working with these people, or just refusing to work with the horrible ones. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 6, 2022 - 4:41pm

MBA associates, especially those with no prior relevant experience, are the problem, especially because so many of them have that cringey ass "haha I'm a banker!" smirk feeling to them, like they suck so fucking hard at their jobs compared to us, it's laughable. They are the definition of inefficient middle management. Some MBA associate dudes are amazing and super useful, I've met a few, but more the exception, unfortunately.

  • Associate 1 in PE - Growth
May 8, 2022 - 11:04am

My take-IB is filled with pedantic type A people. The ones that are more laid back or less neurotic get bothered by the inefficiency and general retardation of the industry and people. The high demands of the job and the focus on very non-needle moving tasks makes the people who are better at handling stress or who are bigger picture thinkers leave. Put another way too-after an IB analyst stint there are many other ways to maximize free time & earnings. Post IB I traded like 20k for a role where I work almost half the hours and learn significantly more-I think most rational thinkers realize this is a trade and the ones that don't are a special type of person.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 8, 2022 - 11:47pm

Associate 1 in PE - Growth

My take-IB is filled with pedantic type A people. The ones that are more laid back or less neurotic get bothered by the inefficiency and general retardation of the industry and people. The high demands of the job and the focus on very non-needle moving tasks makes the people who are better at handling stress or who are bigger picture thinkers leave. Put another way too-after an IB analyst stint there are many other ways to maximize free time & earnings. Post IB I traded like 20k for a role where I work almost half the hours and learn significantly more-I think most rational thinkers realize this is a trade and the ones that don't are a special type of person.

Man this comment really felt very personal to me. This is me to a T. I've worked so hard my entire life. I've held down a job since was 14, served in the military, worked all throughout college etc. and I'm just done.working.this.hard on shit at work that is sometimes just so unbelievably unimportant to the transactions I'm working on. I'm a first year and it really feels like all of the meaningful, thought inducing and skillful work is totally monopolized by the senior analysts and associates. Some days I really feel like I'm too damn old and have worked too damn hard to use my brain this little. I really hope it gets better because with inflation and insane COL in NYC the money really doesn't seem worth it for something that produces such little value to society or myself.

  • Associate 1 in PE - Growth
May 10, 2022 - 12:03am

I'll give some encouragement, while also kinda shitting on your take lol. Look-the first several months it might frustrate you that you are doing pedantic work and aren't trusted, but the org needs to know they can trust you. Also, it actually isn't pedantic in terms of your development, even if you think it is. Attention to detail and professionalism and formatting is a skill that once you leave banking you realize most people actually brutally lack. Additionally, having to do bullshit turns in ppt and excel will pay massive dividends down the line even if they are bullshit turns right now (I promise they are). The reality is many individuals will evaluate an analysis on how it looks and that will inform the first impression. Decks that are ranked as better from a graphic design standpoint receive more VC funding and it's just factual people are biased toward things that look prettier. That first year you are getting a high volume of meaningless reps to become a professional who can put out polished work very quickly-even if each rep is meaningless it's like shooting free throws alone, sure every free throw made alone isn't a point in an actual game, but you are building a skillset that can carry for a long time. Go visit one of your friends that works in like wealth management or sales and watch them navigate a spreadsheet-it will make you cry. Or, watch the incompetence of a CFO in excel for most private smaller companies and realize how much a machine banking analysts are due to all your bullshit turns.
 

What I am talking about in terms of pedantic frustration happens more once you've modeled everything you can and you understand M&A well enough you are confident you could do a VP's job without them being there. Depending on your deal experience, prior exposure, ability to catch on, interest, this happens at different stages for people (some analysts I know, this never happened). For me, I felt it was after I saw 3-4 transactions and got a few modeling reps where I realized most my job had become explaining shit to other people rather than them explaining things to me (it was about 1.5 years in). Further, despite me spending most my time explaining things, I had two levels of managers who often were paid more and spent their time critiquing my work despite adding very little value. I think this is why a two-year stint is so highly valued because it really is the right amount of time where you will have these skills if you are solid. Now there's a huge difference between legit criticism and non-legit criticism. Many analysts that start, get annoyed by just being critiqued, but the critiques can be legit. An example, if your analysis isn't correct, or if you have work the looks sloppy it is very different than an associate telling a senior analyst during diligence, "hey, you need to comb through 100 files in a dataroom and change the font from Calibri to Arial because I did my files in Arial."  
 

One is a low value edit slowing down a process, the others are potentially valid complaints. NOW, to be clear-the associate viewed half the files being in Arial and half in Calibri as sloppy and unpolished which is why he wanted them fixed. My point is that difference in viewpoint is where I became pretty certain I shouldn't be a banker and he probably is right for the job. Similarly, when I realized I had one call with numerous MD's discussing subtitles at 8pm one Friday, I did some thinking and realized that just was work that I just found frustrating and couldn't stomach. I'd get paid less or take more risk to avoid doing that work. Other people are able to stomach it and it doesn't make me or them better or worse it's just where interests lie. I traded my banking job to go into growth/VC and like it much better. From my view I work with smarter senior people in my firm, but I also work with a ton of very slow employees in portco's. It requires a ton of patience working with those portco's and at times it is a head banging immensely frustrating role trying to work with incompetent people, BUT for me I would rather teach a CFO how to build accurate projections than work on a subtitle. No job is perfect, but overwhelmingly banking analysts tend to leave banking and not go back-I think this should tell you something. Also, from my experience PE/ HF/ Growth investors tend to just be the people that got frustrated by bankings inefficiency, but still didn't hate finance. 
 

Funniest
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 9, 2022 - 7:14pm

I'm in IB

Smoke weed every day after work

Take short cuts whenever I can as long as doesn't impact execution (I.e. IDGAF if my formatting isn't the Mona Lisa of ppt pages for a weekly update call with a client)

Drink like a fish on weekends

Play video games almost every day

I'd say that's pretty type B

Result: Top bucket all years lol

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Other
Jun 5, 2022 - 2:06pm

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  • VP in PE - Other
Jun 6, 2022 - 10:14am

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