VP giving fake deadlines!!

Hey guys, 
I'm a first-year analyst who hit the desk earlier this year and something I (accidentally) saw today completely surprised me and I don't know what to do. I'm working on a live deal and things have been pretty up and down in terms of sweatiness. Today, my VP pulled in the ASO and I working on the deal into a meeting today and laid out one of the deliverables. He said that this will require a big pull next week and he's sorry thanksgiving might suck but it really is the client and the debt team (who needs the deliv) by next Friday and it's a crucial deadline.
Later in the day, one of the SVP's from the debt team forwards our MD a thread w/ communication from the client that happened earlier today (which the VP was a part of), which the MD CC's me and the ASO on. Basically it was a really long thread detailing what the ask was and where to access the relevant docs needed. I scrolled all the way down and saw that the client had stated they were all OOO next week and will be looking to receive the deliverable "by the 2nd of Dec". Moreover, the debt SVP also communicated that his team will be providing working outputs to put in the deck the monday after thanksgiving (in an internal section of the thread). The MD on my team on this deal is well known to be a great guy and everyone who has worked here has nothing bad to say about him - which isn't true for everyone so I know this has some merit to it. So I know for a fact that he's not breathing down the VPs neck to fuck us over the holidays. I get that the VP might want us to have it done early so we can really iron out any errors or mistakes, but this just seems really absurd. I tried talking to my ASO about it, but he has an 8-month-old and has a "I-dont-really-give-a-fuck" attitude about the new analysts. He knows it won't be a tag team since I'll have to do all the time consuming menial shit and hate myself.

What should I do

Comments (50)

Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
12d

This is completely normal. Next Friday is one week from December 2nd. Your seniors want some time to review and also to potentially have breathing room to iterate. They also will likely not send it out exactly on the 2nd, but a few days earlier. Suck it up. 

11d
FinancelsWacc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This...

Sounds like your team / group will be doing the heavy lifting re: final materials whereas the debt SVP said his team will have their input in by Monday. Even if that's not true... it still doesn't mean he told his associates to have it sent out Monday... it probably means his team needs shit done next week as well so they can review, finalize, and send Monday. I wouldn't assume the juniors on that team were just magically given an extra handful of days from just the info on that email chain.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
12d

Hate to say it but this is totally normal. As a first year it's expected you will make a bunch of errors and require extra time.

If the meeting is December 2nd, next Friday would be a very normal timing to get a nearly-finished draft to an MD, especially if it involves other internal teams who will always have incremental comments or pages. More than likely, you can push hard M-W and your Thanksgiving will likely be fine, VP probably just setting expectations that you won't be chilling all week in case you thought you might be

I would redact your post - I get you're upset and venting but WSO is heavily used in the IB world and god forbid your VP finds this

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
12d

I didn't say I had an issue with grinding on the ask. I just had an issue with the VP framing it heavily as the client and the team wanting it to stay buddy-buddy with us. If he wants to have 5 days to review something I've done over and over, is not technical enough that it requires multiple page-flips nor is something as important as a final pitch deck, sponsor-facing material, or imperative to the success of the deal then just be straight up

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
12d

Also, my VP is an old school lateral who's done quite literally every finance-consulting-accounting job you can think of but can't work an iPhone. Even if he somehow figures out how to work WSO and finds this post, the overwhelming amount of information on this webpage is too much for his boomer eyes - he is a lovely guy though

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
11d

Yeah I'll give you that, he could have told you the actual meeting date. But there is still a deadline next Friday which is ultimately being driven by the client wanting it shortly after thanksgiving. Honestly bro, you've been on the desk for 2 months and he's been doing this for years. You had to know going into IB that you'd be working holidays and dealing with tough personalities

If it's not technical or "important" (seriously dude, too early for you to decide it's not important... every client meeting on a live deal is important) you should be able to get it done by Wednesday no problem

I would still delete your original post. seriously it is so easy for anyone in your group to identify you

10d
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Analysts who "have issues" with how the seniors plan the project is exactly the reason why seniors lie about deadlines.  Nobody wants your input on how to please the client.

11d
ValuePro, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is normal. Maybe he framed it that way because 1) he doesn't trust you or 2) didn't communicate as clearly as he is thinking he did

I'm sure if you ask him what the plan is on timing to send to the client this would resolve a lot

Also, do you make tons of mistakes. People who make tons of mistakes get "false deadlines" and need more time to iterate

11d
mrtzfld, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Analysts aren't privy to all the conversations going on, yes, particularly at banks with shitty culture. But they absolutely should know most if not all details around timing if you care about / respect them. Blanket statements on essentially hazing analysts is a slippery slope.Your second point is true, you have to do the work regardless. But to say you shouldn't care enough to know timing details? kind of ridiculous.

11d
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:
mrtzfld

Analysts aren't privy to all the conversations going on, yes, particularly at banks with shitty culture. But they absolutely should know most if not all details around timing if you care about / respect them. Blanket statements on essentially hazing analysts is a slippery slope.Your second point is true, you have to do the work regardless. But to say you shouldn't care enough to know timing details? kind of ridiculous.

This isn't your job though. It's not your role to decide how many days in advanced to get work done, how many days are needed for review, etc. and it's certainly not the job of the VP to have to explain to you every angle on why they are asking for a deliverable when. This is a situation where you should just stay in your lane. 

Array

10d
ENlGMA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sure, I agree.  But it could've been any matter of things.  Maybe the MD set the deadline and told the VP that because there was a miscommunication on the MD's part, or the MD misheard something.  Maybe the VP misheard something.  Maybe it changed.  Who knows.  OP doesn't allude to this being a persistent issue; they only mention this specific instance.  I agree with you but it's also hard to tell without any further context.  In any case people are busy and things are moving around and stuff can fall through the cracks and despite being a good thing to do updating the Analyst on every single thing isn't a VP's #1 priority.  This isn't a false unreasonable deadline so I tend to think there was just more to this than what OP is saying.

OP has been on the desk for what, three or four months?  It seems like they're more upset about their holiday possibly getting blown up and that's what's driving their issue with this.

11d
pavementroad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you had the balls to push back, you would have done it already. But your brain told you there might be some legitimate reason to not do so so get to work on that deck. Maybe if you worked on that instead of complaining here you can have some time to yourself during the holidays. This is standard in this industry so get with the program or quit.

11d
mergelord11, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Classic VP toxicity that's only seen in the selfish, entitled, millennial VP landscape these days

11d
Hölder, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It seems like they want to push you to either resign or want to have cause to fire you (in case you don't meet the deadline). This is pretty common. Everyone knows the economy is winding down and easiest way to start cutting costs is to artificially turn up the heat and see who are the first to melt.

11d
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Hölder

It seems like they want to push you to either resign or want to have cause to fire you (in case you don't meet the deadline). This is pretty common. Everyone knows the economy is winding down and easiest way to start cutting costs is to artificially turn up the heat and see who are the first to melt.

Where are you getting this from? The deadline seems reasonable considering the meeting date. It's not like he's asking for the work by tomorrow. 

Array

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
11d

This is completely normal, especially because 1) you're working with your product team as well so there's multiple workstreams to be managed and 2) you're a new analyst who he might not have had the chance to work with frequently yet and doesn't have a clear idea of your capabilities. 

If the client deliverable is 2nd Dec, nobody is going to be comfortable letting you finish a first draft just one or two days beforehand, because there's definitely going to be multiple turns of comments on your work and for all the VP knows you could just end up producing rubbish that needs to be reworked entirely because you just joined the desk and aren't experienced yet. Basically, if the client wants something by day x, the MD is going to want something by day x-2, the VP is going to want something by day x-4, your associate is going to want something by day x-6, and so on. Until you have a track record of producing reliable quality work, the timeline is always going to remain like this. It's just how the bureaucracy works, and everyone will need some cushion time to be able to review. This isn't something unique to IB btw - most companies work like this.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
10d

Are most companies telling their junior staff to work thanksgiving and deliver a workstream the following Monday? The answer is no. I think this is more the issue OP cares about. I don't think anyone's complaining about a week in advance deadline in normal times, but someone telling you an internal draft is so crucial to take time away from your family for one day a year? Unless we're closing the deal on Monday it's almost never that urgent.

I also just think you're generally wrong here too about the most companies comment. People forget that most jobs are 9-5s where your work day ends not when your work is done like in IB, but when the clock hits a certain time. 99% of companies don't require weekend work / work more than 5 days a week. Yeah new employees always take more time to do tasks and and teams plan ahead of that. But in those jobs it's more the workload dictating the timeline vs. in banking it's timeline dictating the workload.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
10d

I don't disagree with your points, but OP is getting paid nearly $200k to make slides. It's very well known to prospects that you will sometimes work holidays, especially as a first year. My first year I was grinding dawn til the early AM the entire Thanksgiving weekend (Weds-Sat) and I worked all of Christmas too. It's just part of banking and it sucks sometimes. 

This doesn't even sound like OP is getting killed on Thanksgiving either - more that he will work M-W as normal, and Friday until the deck goes out. From his telling, it's a quick deck and he has a week to do it. IMO he'd rightfully be upset if VP was chasing him on Thursday afternoon for an internal turn that'll go out to MDs Friday, but I just don't think that is what is going to happen

  • Managing Director in IB-M&A
10d

When I was a VP (and even now), when I had / have a long dated deliverable, I explained to the team exactly what my objectives were, exactly when I would have a window to review and in my judgment how many iterations it would take. I then asked the junior team to go back to me and revert with a specific and detailed workplan  (assuming they had the experience to do so), which I would sign off on or modify as the case may be. I then made it go in writing to everyone in the deal team. That way, the work has the buy in and accountability of the people actually doing the work and they had a window into my thinking, rather than me simply dictating deliverables. I in turn used this to make MDs and clients feel like everything was totally under control so they wouldn't [email protected] with my life.
 

The team could also manage their time better. Recommend this approach for those managing downwards and upwards.

as to the dilemma at hand, it doesn't feel like a false deadline but if try creating an alternate Workplan (and be serious about it) and getting buy in, Although it's not clear whether you have the knowledge to do so. 

10d
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This happens all the time.  The VP probably had a good reason for creating a pre-deadline and being a bit dishonest about it.  Most likely, he used to be more honest about these things and got pushback from smartass juniors on "XYX timeline is more efficient" or whatever.  So he decided it would be simpler to just lie.  

Or maybe he's a bad VP, those exist too.  I'm not trying to take a side.  Just telling you, honestly, that the scenario in my first paragraph is the most likely.

9d
Frieds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So, the way I'm reading this - The client wants the deliverable by 12/2. You have two weeks to complete it. Your VP says he wants it by Friday. Your associate says "Fuck you, you're on your own". And you're bitching as a 1st year about the deadline. Here's the answer you don't want to hear - just shut up and grind. You're getting paid to do exactly that and it means you grind. It doesn't matter why the VP wants the model by Friday, he gave you a deadline so you follow it. What you think is absurd is just handling business, especially considering you're still new to the desk. Now, let's be real - you're a 1st-year analyst. I expect the VP's included time for review, turns, and additional revisions to ensure the client has this by Friday, 12/2. This way, the client gets something that's quality. So just accept it and move on. What I don't understand is why you think it's absurd, especially with less than a year of experience under your belt. 

  • 6
7d
CHECK6, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Here's the answer you / the seniors don't want to hear:

Back in 1986 or whenever your grandpa ass believes Wall Street still is in, banking was in it's golden age. There was promises for riches, it was unbeatable for compensation, and MDs were gods. 

If the job was still like that, then you can have the same expectations for us as junior employees. But no, the job sucks now. It's just a beauracratic field, that has no intellectual stimulation, whose pay is good, but not the best anymore. Senior bankers are just fat, balding, and divorced and VPs work just as many hours as we do. 

The golden age of riches are gone, so are the expectations of our workload. We see no point in working like dogs, because we do not want to end up like the sad fucks that are our senior bankers (ie said VP). The only motivation left is pure prestige and a sense to prove yourself. 

I agree with the sentiment above that you need to stick it out in this situation if you want to stay in IB - but do not agree with the sentiment that oh grind it out. This is not a "grind" this is stupidity. A grind is going through BUD/s, running a marathon, or doing something meaningful. Unnecessarily damaging your mental health, sleep schedule, and physical shape is worth it only for honorable jobs, and sorry guys IB is a joke of a career.
 

I lateraled last year and absolutely loved the feeling that came with it. I basically up and quit my last job and they were furious. They thought they had the power over me to make me stay but I just said no and found a better offer. Banking still sucks but I went to a platform that was less niche and gave me better exit opps. The feeling is back as I told them I'm leaving in (less than a year's tenure) to a unique opportunity that they were unsuspecting of. They are furious too - because I don't let them have any power over me. I still grinded, put my head down, pulled consecutive all-nighters, and did what had to be done with a fake smile on my face. But recruited on the side and it was the best feeling in the world to tell the power-hungry senior bankers that you're gone and going to a client. We're in a tough market right now but that only means maybe stick it out a bit longer because there will be tons of opportunities outside of the IB world that can offer in Tech, the Buyside (non-traditional PE even), Consulting, etc. Yes everyone is right that if you want this job - you have to stick it out. But the good news is - you don't need this job. This is no longer the coveted career that it used to be, and you have options outside (ie power) to choose something that meets your standards. If your firm, VP, Associate uses you, just use them back as a springboard onto better things.

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

I agree with a lot of what you're saying. That said, the guy has 4 months of experience under his belt. Being asked to have a model for review by Friday with a week for review, edits, and turns is far from unreasonable. If he were asked today to do it, I would think that it's unreasonable. To me, it stems from the position of he lacks the experience to do this on a much looser deadline. Whether you want to make IB your career or not, the more experience you have, the easier it is to push back. When you don't have the experience or you are forced to do things that have shitty timing, you grind it out so it gets done on time. It's not about "the grind". It's about the expectation that comes with someone sitting in that seat. When you consider what he's being paid as a 1st-year analyst, as you said - it's well-paying but not intellectually stimulating work. While it's a problem, it doesn't mean you don't get the job done. There is an expectation that he gets this done. It's not about the bureaucracy and bullshit. It's that you're being paid to work, so you work. You were hired to do a job, it's that simple.

  • 5
8d
wsobets112, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The replies to this thread reek of conformity and schadenfreude; only after "paying one's dues" is one equipped with epistemic tools to differentiate real vs fake IB deadlines. Is this true? The more time I spend in IB the more I come to believe it is a modern analog to astrology. 

"Assuming that users of the DCF valuation method want prediction and not just explanation, we need to know not whether we can fit the DCF equation to an asset price (we always can) but whether there is a way to apply the methodology to reliably estimate-with some measurable rate of error-the market value that an asset would have under assumed market conditions. Without an answer, we have no basis for confidence that DCF valuations are anything more than quantitative narratives, "stories" about asset prices rather than scientific estimates. General acceptance is not enough. The same was true for thousands of years about astrology, a field most now consider unscientific because, as one author puts it, astrology "is not falsifiable: astrologers cannot make predictions which if unfulfilled would lead them to give up their theory." One must wonder if the same is now true of those who apply the DCF valuation methodology."

https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2022/04/20/the-dcf-valuation-methodology-is-untestable/

"Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road."
― Voltaire

"A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand."
― Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
5d

I was expecting some crazy shit with some fake project and 4 layers of seniority telephone-game to peel back but this is such a reasonable request I'm shocked at your naivete in writing this. If the client is expecting this 12/2 and it needs to go through multiple MDs and a debt team then why wouldn't you jam on it the week of beforehand? The VP will give you comments on Mon/Tues, it will go to your MD on Tues/Wed, socialized over different teams Wed/Thurs with a day in-hand just in-case. Your team is ideally looking to send this early as well (Thursday)

You can let us know how the week actually went but your VP doesn't owe you a full explanation on how he's thinking about arranging timelines and organizing work flow. What's most likely is he wanted to front-load the work and set expectations because I'm sure a) he doesn't feel good about ruining someone's Thanksgiving and b) doesn't want to work on Thanksgiving himself. Or maybe he has multiple things he's jamming on and wants to stagger review dates. This is a team environment and your coach just called you up to start - let's get it and hustle

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
3d

OP here -- Wanted to wait a little as to not fully out myself to provide an update. I see two schools of thoughts on this thread,

1) The actually smart people who understand how to some degree this could be ridiculous but based on the minimum information I provided think it was a reasonable ask since the VP would have created internal workstreams he wanted to work against. Fair enough, there are more absurdities to the story but too many specifics would def doxx me. I do respect your views though, and see eye to eye in many of the things you've shared.

2) The people who are hating on me for not wagging my tail and kissing my VPs boots for gracing me with a ridiculous ask over turkey-day. More than half of my analyst class is like you guys, which is why they end up aligning logos and making tombstones all-day while I get pulled into, for a lack of a better term, greater things to do (barring the incompetent VPs asks). Have fun trying to reach the promised land when you sign the PE offer for some MM BS shop that promises "excellent co-invest opportunities" and "rapid upward mobility" until you guys decide business school is what you need as a vacation before ultimately returning to your cuck life as a B-tier, but celebrated senior associate at a Stifel or Truist.

As for me, I grinded through last weekend and finished what I needed for the deck by Monday like the over-achiever, cocky SOB I am. Then I proceeded to ask BS questions and make alternatives to random slides just to really sell the facade of being busy until hearing about a conference presentation an MD wanted to attend and directly one-offing him asking to get the materials ready for it. With that powerplay, I basically had the rest of the week sidelined to pull generic industry bs while also repeatedly emailing the ASO / VP "hoping to complete v1 of deck by EOD while keeping in mind alt projects and deadlines", until sending over the deck mid-day on Wednesday. VP gave minimum comments because that's just how I roll and wanted the ASO to address them since he was aware of the conference deck I was working on. So now excuse me as I sit in my silk robe, as I consume some leftover cranberry sauce with a slice of cheesecake as I laugh and waltz my way to top bucket. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
3d

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
3d

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