Seeking Advice on How to be a Top Bucket Analyst in a Tier 1 BB

I am an incoming first year analyst, and would really like to strive for a top bucket star analyst performance review. Could any seasoned analyst or associate or VPs provide your perspective and advice on how to be a top performing analyst amongst your peers? Thank you very much!

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  • Associate 1 in PE - Growth
May 5, 2022 - 7:27am

There are a few other posts on this, but it comes down to 3 things:

  1. You need to get lucky with staffings and projects 
  2. You need to have the natural skill set
  3. You need to do things right

Type A overachieving kids every year go into banking and try to aim for the top because that's what they have always done. Sadly, the working world isn't a fair competition or one where effort, hard work, and skill are always evenly rewarded. You really need to remember this and not take it personally. I would argue really the people that are at the bottom bucket and top it usually isn't their fault-they got teams or projects that made it that way. Let me give an example from my analyst days that explains why this is true:

As an analyst I had an intern that failed to do a specific task that resulted in a decent screw up that a senior got mad about. My newer associate flipped out at the intern and told them, "this is the sort of thing that loses peoples offers". My perspective, it was my and the associates screw up because we didn't give clear enough directions. I genuinely think there was no way for the intern to know they were doing the task wrong and while you could say they could have asked, for the specific task I think that's an unreasonable expectation. In the associates eyes, the intern was terrible. I thought they were quite good actually. My associate was pretty bad and was a known irritable person in the bank, I was known to be good at my job and laid back. They got great rankings from me and horrible ones from the associate.

A general rule: top bucket analysts get staffed with people who are succeeding in the organization and who are more positive people. While there is some element of you being able to request staffings and working with specific people, ultimately timing plays a larger role than personal preference. If you have a deal close, they aren't going to put you on standby until your favorite MD needs an analyst, you could just get placed with someone that sucks.

Another story, my analyst class had 1 individual that within 6 months was determined to be our top analyst-they got put on a project off the bat that was in the drafting stage (modeling and building out the marketing materials). The senior analyst was rather lax and said if the junior analyst wanted to he could build the model. The junior analyst then torched a ton of weekends building the model and then everyone knew this one analyst built a great model in the first 6 months. He then was frequently requested by the first team he worked with that happened to be one of the more productive and positive teams at my bank.

Contrast this with the fact that I didn't have an opportunity to model in my first 7 months. The projects I was staffed on were at phases where they had just finished the model, so I couldn't get that rep. What you learn in the job is certain tasks as an analyst offer you an opportunity to win/lose and others are just only "do your job"/ lose. A great example of this is modeling or any complex analysis is a win/lose task-if you do a good job, people can talk about how smart you are or how you figured something out. If you do terribly, people will say you did poorly. On the other hand, a task like marketing a deal once materials are done is a "do your job"/ lose task. Let's say your job is to watermark 100 decks and send them to parties. There is no "knocking it out of the park" with watermarking decks and sending it to parties. You either do it right and each party gets their watermarked deck, or you screw the task up-this is a "do your job"/lose task. 

At the end of the day, the people you work with and where your processes are are bigger determiners of bucket than anything else which is out of your control. I suggest taking the job with the mentality of-I want everyone to know I am solid to work with, but am not going to put personal stake in being "the best analyst". If it happens-great, but it's likely more out of your control than in your control.

Now, that said-here's some tips on how to do well at the job:

  • be responsive
  • Try to avoid little errors-double check your work. It's stupid, but they evaluate analysts on things like missed periods in footnotes because the work many analysts do is often very detail oriented. It is better to be slow and always have your work be flawless than go fast and have little errors throughout.
  • Volunteer for complex analyses and any bullshit work that comes up
  • Always be positive and eager-especially when the work sucks
  • Try to take speaking roles when possible and develop an opinion on things. Try to think about everything from the shoes of your associate/VP and do their job for them/ make their life easier. 
  • Avoid getting too drunk at any company functions, but don't be an antisocial weirdo 
  • Try to build relationships/ mentorship's with strong MD's in your office 
May 5, 2022 - 8:28am
anonymous000001, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you so much for your candid and genuine advice!! I really appreciate it. Was wondering if you could provide some insight on how to build a very good relationship with your staffer so you can get staffed on good deals with good people? Also don't come off as forcing it…

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 8, 2022 - 3:18am

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