Am I a shit analyst

I'm a few weeks into an analyst role at a BB after working a summer in PE and I find being an analyst very difficult.

The work definitely isn't mentally challenging but starting at a screen and listening in on calls - I feel like I don't retain information and I make so many mistakes. 

Theres a lot of nuance in deliverables that I dont catch and my associates have to turn comments for me average twice because I'll fix one set of comments and there are other things that were messed up after that turn of comments. 

Idk I always felt I was detail oriented but after a week in banking i feel like I'm so brute and cannot see any of the mistakes that the seniors catch. 

Has anyone felt this??? Like I'm genuinely trying to collect data points cause I feel like such a terrible analyst 

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Comments (28)

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov
Jun 5, 2021 - 6:53pm

You're fine. Im top tier analyst and was like that at first. You need to relax. Take good notes. Write everything down, no matter how silly or small and ask yourself does this make sense? Before you send it. Also make sure you turned every comment before you send to associates. Relax you are doing fine. Noone will fire you before your first year.

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Jun 7, 2021 - 11:05am

Yeah this. Also something I found very useful on the not taking side is type out everything they are saying and then after the call take a second to create a short had conclusion that you can reference with important numbers.  This will help you start seeing what is more important and then when you are on calls you can slowly move to your short had conclusion.  

Jun 5, 2021 - 7:41pm

Unless it's a true fire drill, when you get comments, print them out and highlight each one as you tick through them.  If they're comments embedded in Ppt, respond to each one of them as you update and double check back through that you hit everything. 

I come from down in the valley, where mister when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done

  • 1
Jun 5, 2021 - 10:27pm

Just take your time and relax. I was like that at first too. It just takes a bit of time--you're only a couple weeks in. Nobody starts off as a top-bucket analyst on day one.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jun 5, 2021 - 11:18pm

Slow WAY down. Walk away for 5 minutes before you send something off and then check it for errors. Print and highlight each change.

Biggest mistake first years make is trying to get everything up super quickly and then making errors which take additional time to fix. Take the extra 10 minutes and look over it really thoroughly - you will get faster at this and mistakes will jump off the page within a few months

Also, expectations are extremely low but missing comments is something that you should nip in the bud now even if it means you're slower.

Jun 6, 2021 - 2:04pm

I also keep a running list of questions I have.This is usually reserved for the big picture questions, or questions that are very specific, but would take too long to answer in the heat of the moment. My list is about 4 pages long in word and I've been doing this for a while. People joke on here that IB is so easy and it is just reformatting PowerPoints. Obviously, there are difficult things going on. It is not a cake walk. Lots of obscure terminology and things you just won't know. Don't get too down in the dumps. Everyone messes up a lot early on.

Most Helpful
Jun 7, 2021 - 12:24am

Coming out of the woodwork for this since I am a senior who has dealt with this before in analysts.

On the one hand don't beat yourself up too much if all you need is more reps. Understanding comes with time and repetition.

That said, you need to improve in time, and the sooner the better. There are 2nd+ year analysts who are decent enough on excel/ppt but seem not to "get it", or lack common sense when it comes to putting materials together. Keep in mind that most of the analyses you put together are highly-calibrated persuasive argumentation, and not just expository writing. As a general matter, if you're putting comments through blindly but not thinking holistically about whether and how those changes have enhanced the persuasiveness of the pitch deck / model / memo / etc., you need to do so.

There are lots of potential reasons why your work diverges from the expectations of your seniors. Maybe you don't understand the purpose or internal logic of the particular analysis you're doing. Maybe you haven't adapted yourself to the team you are on, and need to work on understanding and anticipating the team's preferences as you draft materials. Maybe you don't understand the high-level view your team is taking (and the counterarguments to it) well enough to be able to navigate the task of preparing materials that take a position on these issues. The list goes on.

Bottom line - just focus in the beginning on being methodical and getting it right. Dont avoid asking questions if it's going to result in bad work product, but ask questions efficiently and preferably not the same one twice. With time you will become fast and good, but for now I would advise you to focus on being good and thorough so that you can develop the proper foundation.


  • 12
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jun 7, 2021 - 11:43am

Highly second this. I'm a 1st year but my associates / VPs generally let me hold the pen on all of the materials I touch because I did everything listed above. I think it's extremely important to ask your associate or VP to hop on a call and talk through the shell of the materials before you even get started. This helps you get a better understanding of what you need to show and why you're showing it. After enough reps, you begin to understand exactly what needs to be shown in a deck and the order in which it needs to be presented. Tbh I feel like this is more important than knowing how to model because you'll always need to reach out for clarifications or more specifics when you're working on a model, but being able to put together a good client deck on your own really makes you stand out. Focus on knowing your pages inside and out and perfecting the little details and you'll be a good analyst in no time.

Jun 7, 2021 - 4:10pm

Very well said, all you prospects should take note of this. Can't stress how very very VERY important this is. In my mind, it is a huge factor in differentiating those who "get it" from the rest. This is why it's so important to understand the big picture and context of a pitch or piece of analysis. It's stating the obvious but having that mindset from the start really gets you ahead.

No doubt I value juniors with a penchant for numbers and analysis, but I'll take the gem who can articulate all that work that into a concise, compelling story. Throwing out walls of data, analysis, market updates etc. are no good without messaging it to be relevant to the particular client.

Edit: Meant to quote this part - "Keep in mind that most of the analyses you put together are highly-calibrated persuasive argumentation, and not just expository writing. As a general matter, if you're putting comments through blindly but not thinking holistically about whether and how those changes have enhanced the persuasiveness of the pitch deck / model / memo / etc., you need to do so."

Jun 7, 2021 - 8:58am

Some good tips in this thread (especially about slowing down), but I want to share a quick point about the job itself. People say IB analyst work is so easy a monkey could do it. They're not wrong, but it can take a deceptively long time to climb the learning curve.  Some first  years often freak out about mistakes, reading into them too much and worrying that they'll never be competent. Sometimes you need to make the same mistake 2-3x before you really internalize it. And that's fine when you realize the work we do is literally meaningless in the grander scheme.

Jun 7, 2021 - 9:21am

Everything everyone said above and:

Even if you aren't a good analyst and never are, for the simple reason that you're not suited to this job, it's not the end of the world. Like obviously no one wants to be bad at something they've worked really hard to get into, and kudos to you for trying your best to improve (and you're probably judging yourself too harshly anyhow), but like IB is not the be all and end all of everything. It's totally fine to try it for a bit and realise it's not for you and move on.

Jun 7, 2021 - 10:06pm

I needed to read this (not in IB but Big 4 FS audit which is intense too at the start of the year). I felt constantly confused at how much I struggled given how well I did in my degree at college (and it was not a joke degree either, was Math/Physics).

It was humbling to realise that the job just is not well suited to me, but to anyone reading this, just know that it may be that the job jsut is not a good fit for you. Do your reasonable best to improve, but if you feel way out of your depth after 1 year or so, then re-assess and look for smth which fits better. It does not make you an unworthy person somehow.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Jun 9, 2021 - 8:50am

Printing things out did the trick for me. First couple of weeks on the desk I felt like I was making more mistakes than the average person, but it's all part of the learning process. The only caveat here is to try and not make the same mistake twice. I did fairly well in my review and I channeled your same feelings at first. Now with WFH you probably won't be allowed to print things out due to security concerns, so do multiple passes and let your work sit for a while in between passes. TAKE NOTES, and I cannot stress this enough (it doesn't matter how insignificant things appear to be - we deal with a lot of information and remembering everything is close to impossible). On the same note, keep track of your mistakes to make sure that they don't happen again. Color coding when turning comments is also something that works well for me. Use different colors for every pass (e.g. light green for first pass, cross out with res after final pass).

Jun 11, 2021 - 9:20pm

 Lots of constructive comments here already, but FWIW I used to be a VP and a middle market IB and got pinned with an analyst who was right out of school on several consecutive projects. He was an all star student but completely incompetent in the real world. He suffered from many of the symptoms you describe, but far worse. As far as 4-5 months in he literally added zero value - I had to explain things twice, redo all of his work, then double back and explain what I fixed....on every. single. thing.

Fortunately, like you he was self-aware. He knew he wasn't getting it done and he gave serious consideration to if it was the right path for him. Ultimately he really doubled down and just made the tiny incremental adjustments to improve an inch at a time. He got his own systems to stay organized, learned when to ask questions, started seeing the bigger picture of his granular work etc. 6 months in he proactively sought me out to have a more detailed year-end review, where I have him a fair but fucking brutal assessment of how far behind he was. I honestly didn't think he was going to make it.

But low and behold…over the next few months those inches added up to feet, then yards, then miles. By month 9-10 he was just barely behind the group – still making mistakes, but not the same stuff over and over. And that's all it really took – by his second year he was killing it.

The moral of this tale of bourgeoisie evolution? Everyone is different. There is undoubtedly a learning curve that everyone feels daunted by at some point or another. If you are being introspective, that's half the battle. If the job is not for you, certainly no shame in that – most paths are happier than that of banking. If you do stick with it, improvement comes with i) repetition, ii) developing a stronger sense for context (of process/execution, perspective of seniors, etc.), and iii) never making the same mistake twice.

Jul 15, 2021 - 7:13pm

Yes I think all is fine. Maybe you are a good analyst in the wrong role and/or just going through a funk. Once of my best friends in my banking program may have gone through a period like this. Suffice it to say he just didn't really want to be a banker. He moved onto a L/S fund and has been doing amazing since. Went to a top platform and recently joined a new fund with like a billion dollars on the ground floor. Hopefully all will get better for you soon. Good luck :)

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 15, 2021 - 8:15pm

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