Am I too dumb for IB? Need help

I'm a recent starting 1st year analyst. I know there are a lot of these posts that come around this time of year but hear me out. I think I may be too dumb for banking. Before I had read how all of the analyst level work is tedious and boring, but I am really struggling to understand anything.

I feel so lost with everything. I don't mind putting hours in or working hard but I feel so dumb when I look at a model or the formulas in them. I honestly don't even know how I got to this point. I am constantly asking questions on assignments that are probably obvious and just feel overwhelmed at this point before even really ramping up. It takes me so long to understand things that others understand quick I feel like.

Should I just call it now and find something else? I went to a semi-target and finished with around a 3.6 which I guess means I can understand some things but still I get this deep pit in my stomach when working on things and mess up all the time. Is it that bad to just be a lower bucket analyst and be like that? I'm really concerned for my future and scared for what's to come. I feel like a failure and need help.

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Comments (22)

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Aug 26, 2021 - 5:20pm

You should just quit. If you haven't gotten the hang of it all now, you'll never get it. Give up. Resign. You're too dumb for banking. You mess up all the time. Only a 3.6 from a semi-target. Bottom bucket trash tier. Fucking dumbass.

jk keep trying. fake it till you make it. You earned the spot. Just take a deep breath each day, and do your best.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 26, 2021 - 5:22pm

No worrries. I gotchu. Day 1 find the 3rd year analyst that is a machine and steal all his materials. So either ask what deals he's done and save down those models as references or look inside his personal folder or hard drive. If you don't know who this is, ask the third years if any of them ever played DOTA. If you get a yes, it's that guy/girl.

Then take formulas and write down in words what they do in words and describe the components. Often the formulas look really complex and you might not even know how they work, but you can swap the components and the issue you were trying to solve is fixed.

As an example, here's how you write index match:

index (column I want, match (name to match, list of names). *Remember column I want and list of names must be the same length!*

You don't really need to know that index match is taking an array and moving down to a n value based on the match which is giving the position in the match array you are search for.

Part of being smart is acknowledging that you aren't, so my guess is you will do just fine. Modeling is 95% plagiarism.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 27, 2021 - 11:19am

Just so we are all clear-the Dota playing kid is a beast. There's no attacking, only appreciation. If it were me I'd make it a legitimate filtering mechanism for interviewing and I've never played it. The game clearly correlates with people being quick on a keyboard, teamwork, and intense problem solving ability among finance processionals. 

Aug 27, 2021 - 7:49am

Familiarize yourself with excel even more then you already have. It seems straightforward but honestly, building confidence in your skills will enhance your performance. Trust me. Things make sense over time.

Aug 27, 2021 - 9:28am

You are not dumb. In fact you got an IB job which is like a probability of 2-5%. Congrats. You are feeling impostor syndrome most likely where you dont feel like you deserve to be there. Relax and take some time to clear your head, enjoy a fun hobby, and then reflect. Review finance study guides, get better at excel, get some mentors, and get close with an associate who can lend a hand. Many of them have been in your shoes. Onwards and upwards. 

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Aug 27, 2021 - 11:32am

You need to go through cells and F2 and keep tracing formulas back and understanding what the goal was and how the formula accomplished that goal.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Aug 27, 2021 - 12:41pm

This is really common. IB is overwhelming at first - Excel modeling, hours, expectations. It will feel 75% better in 2 months and 90% better in 6 months. If you still hate it in a year, lateral to somewhere else, but this experience is valuable. 

Completely agree finding some top bucket analyst's old models, or looking through old models on the drive for practice. You just need reps doing stuff, practice index match which is not intuitive and other common formulas. Luckily IB is a lot of reused stuff and after 6 months you'll have seen a lot of it and be more comfortable.

Aug 28, 2021 - 1:35pm

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

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