Advice I give to my incoming analysts
Posted this in another thread, but I thought others could benefit from a broader topic standpoint. I am a hiring manager for our analyst pool and run aproduct book.
Here is my advice to you.
Trading is still a massively old school game. If you want to succeed half of the battle is living out this concept with every cell of your being. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is not up to your manager to gauge if you are succeeding. It is up to the entire desk. You have to build a reputation and the best way to do that is to keep your mouth shut and free up trading hours for the entire desk while working IB hours as needed.
Be assertive. Take on as many projects as you can handle to provide value. I care about few things more than my P&L. Every second that I have to focus on something besides trading is costing the firm, and me, money. You're going to have the lowest hourly rate to the firm on the desk - understand this and find ways to free up time for everyone senior to you so they can produce. Be assertive.
Ask questions - traders are always busy and I will gladly tell you if it isn't the right time. I won't go out of my way to carry you across developmental stepping stones though - I want you to prove to me that if I'm amortizing P&L on you it's + for the desk.
Write everything down. If I have to teach you something twice I'm going to spend less effort teaching you. If I don't and you take my prior advice I will give you everything I have towards your development, because strong support networks are the lifeblood of a strong desk. Of course, you will encounter pricks that don't understand this - you must still support them. Many will test you solely on your ability to know your role. Even the best analysts will get buried and feel worthless. This is part of the evolution, LEARN FROM IT.
Persevere or die. If you make it, always pay it forward. Despite how many will act, nobody can make it without good mentors. Being a prick will land you on the buy-side.
Of course, the obligatory excel advice already given is relevant. You have to be as efficient as you can possibly be to thrive on a desk in any role. You also must buy a hard copy of Fabozzi and treat it as your bible. Read every single word and write down everything you don't understand and research it or ask your mentor(s). Keep it on your desk and research any topic that comes up for your peers. You will learn most aspects of your product in the trenches, but having a grasp of Fabozzi will significantly flatten your learning curve and ability to grasp complex concepts. Be assertive.
Nothing (even P&L) is more important than networking. Use your on-boarding program to connect with everyone you can across the org at every level and especially on other trading desks. If you can get on other associates etc calendars without pissing off yours it will massively pay off 10 years down the road. You want everyone to know who you are, but not necessarily for any reason if that makes sense.
Best of luck. Nobody on your desk wants anything other than for you to succeed, because then we all get better. My DMs are always open.