Pre-Pitch Senior Anxiety is Paradise

Pre-Pitch Senior Anxiety is Paradise

It’s 8:23pm on the eve of the biggest pitch your group has had in years.  You’ve pulled 15-hour days for 3 weeks and worked the entirety of Memorial Day weekend on last minute tweaks. “All gave some, some gave all” you repeated in your head, finding that putting yourself on the same level as the troops has placated some of the disappointment from cancelling your long weekend plans again.

Just when you thought it wasn’t possible, you receive the email you’ve been waiting days for --- “Guys, we’re pencil’s down.  This works.  Pls send around PDF and get books printed.”

You send the team “Discussion Materials vF” and close your laptop.  “Whew, what a ride, but NOW we WOW” you think to yourself.

After 2 hours of fielding calls and 1-off emails about the order of the team’s page, you take the 15 minutes of silence to mean that “Discussion Materials vFFFF(SENT)2Final_FF_Sent2” is truly ready to go.

The subsequent emails from the team confirm as much, MD replies “Thx”, MD-2 replies “thx”, Director replies “thnx”, VP replies “Thnks”.  Even MBA-Associate replies “Thanks”.  Even though he has done absolutely nothing on this pitch, you respect that he knows he hasn’t earned the right to abbreviate.

A quick check-in with the production team informs you that despite burning through a pallet of paper with the false starts, they’ve actually printed “Discussion Materials vFFFF(SENT)2FINAL_FF_Sent1” like a bunch of idiotic morons.  As the one group that you feel power over, you take the opportunity to deliver a clear message, “FUCK THE ENVIRONMENT, just print it again and get it right.  When we win this pitch, we will buy more trees”, you implore.

With the decks printed and the senior team sleeping soundly away from their wives in one of their guest bedrooms, you take a moment to appreciate the ride you’ve been on for the last couple of weeks.  “There is a method to the madness” is what you’ve been telling yourself, even during the latest blow up where VP suggested that you “should have been a blow job” after you sent around a PPT instead of PDF for final reviews.  “Whatever, they’re just tired, all good” you said to yourself to rationalize why your superior told you to your face that you literally should not exist.  “No matter, tomorrow is a new day and at 11:30am, we begin a demonstration of strategic excellence & financial-engineering brilliance that will result in the latest and greatest mandate this firm has seen.”

You had planned to sleep in a bit and lord knows you need it. You’ll be convening at the office at 11:00, to meet up and arrive at Prospect’s office at 11:25.  Despite it being 2 blocks and 1 avenue away, the firm has arranged 2 Black Suburbans to usher the team of financial warriors into battle. “Deal Chariots!” exclaimed MBA-Associate, marking his greatest contribution to the project to date.

Alas, those plans were decimated when the familiar chime of emails started flowing in especially early: 

  • “Remind me why pro-forma margin is 32%?” asks MD.  In the time it took him to get from the Greenwich Metro-North station to the Port Chester stop, you’ve already replied with back-up.  “Must be pre-game jitters, just wants to confirm, he sounds like he is ready” you say to yourself;
  • “What are we even saying with slides 3-43?  Should we just scrap this?” says Director.  It sounds like a lot to kill, but you often wondered why we prepared 97 slides for an hour meeting… “That is a big change to make last minute but there is always a method to the madness, all good” you think;
  • “Why did we not prepare a take-private analysis???? Big hole, no? This feels fucking amateur” asks MD-2 from presumably somewhere between the Rye and Harlem-125 St stop.  A quick google confirms what you already know, the company is currently private… “That’s strange, they are probably just conflating some of their other projects, these guys are the best and brightest, all good” you think;
  • “Can someone remind me who is going to be in the room from Prospect Company?” asks Director, “feels important, surprised that hasn’t been ironed out, all good” you think;
  • “Does anyone have any detail on what Prospect Company makes?” asks MD, “uhhhhhh…. They make money” you say to yourself in response to what you categorize as the dumbest possible question yet.

After a flurry of activity on the email chain and a few calls from MBA-Associate asking you to explain the difference between accrual and cash accounting (again), you come to the haunting realization that not a single person on your team has any idea what they are talking about.  “What happened???” you think to yourself, assuming that when we spent 2.5 hours on Memorial Day Monday flip flopping on the layout of the football field chart, it was on the basis that all other areas of the pitch were nailed down.  "The great harvey ball debate lasted 4-days and nearly went to arbitration when MD and MD-2 couldn't agree on the weighting of geography as a driver of premium valuation", you frustratingly recall.

With the meeting just 30-minutes away, and with VP earnestly suggesting that we wrap MBA-Associate in tires and light him on fire as some sort of ritualistic sacrifice to the M&A gods, the team receives some welcome news.  The Big Kahuna, Global Head of Investment Banking, caught wind of the pitch and will be joining.  Unbeknownst to you and the team, Big Kahuna has been friends with Prospect Company CEO for 40 years and their kids are on the same u10 sports team in Garden City.  “Why do these old fucks have 9-year-old kids? Must be 3rd marriage” You think to yourself……


Emerging from the mid-town office you’re greeted with the brightest rays of sunshine as you squint in search of the right direction. "I know we're on 6th, but we're looking for Avenue of the Americas" remarks MBA-Associate as he tries and fails again to show some semblance of leadership ability.  As bright as it is outside, it’s nothing compared to the light you just saw in that conference room that shattered your entire understanding of your industry/job/purpose/identity.

After listening to Big Kahuna and Prospect Company CEO discuss their gripes about the politics in Team91 Youth Lacrosse for the better part of an hour, you realized that the spines of the books you've labored over for weeks had yet to be broken.  With minutes left on the meeting clock, you were overcome with a level of anxiety analogous to when the 60-minutes ticking intro comes on after the late afternoon NFL slate.  "We haven't even gotten to the spider charts", you whispered under your breath.  Then, in an act of misdirection so great you wondered if it should get a bud light can, Big Kahuna hit his old pal of 40 years with one final thought, completely disconnected to any portion of dialogue in the meeting: "Well, what do ya say?"  "Let's do it" says Prospect Company CEO.

Most Helpful

This is probably the most relatable one yet. 10/10, you son of a bitch.  

Trying to work on a character that is so deep in the finance-jargon wormhole that he literally can't understand plain english anymore and exclusively communicates in latin phrases.  Can't figure him out.

"Pro forma per capita per diem distributed pari passu/pro rata per annum unless de minimis, otherwise stet.  Ceteris paribus, we'll do bona fide post mortum during pax.  No ad hominem, just persona grata in the sanctum sanctorum sub rosa."

the outcome of any pitch or presentation is a combination of factors, including preparation, teamwork, and external circumstances. it's essential to reflect on the experience, learn from it, and use it to grow personally and professionally. don't stress out, learn from it

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get squiggy with it

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