Analyst Destroyed My Report

I created an equity research report to network and to improve my technical skills. I had a call with a senior analyst couple days ago, who covers the sector, and he ripped it to shreds. The feedback he gave was insightful, but the way he delivered it made my confidence drop to a new low. I've taken feedback from other associates and analysts as well but I never felt like a complete idiot speaking to them.

I thought I would get over it by now, but when I'm editing the report I'm second guessing every sentence I type and thinking back to the call. I do well in taking criticism so I don't know why its playing such a big part in my head.  How was your experience in dealing with analysts absolutely destroying your report(s) and how did you deal with it?

Comments (15)

Most Helpful
Dec 1, 2021 - 3:13pm

Not equity research but I will expand upon my experiences getting destroyed in terms of a product I've delivered.

I was 15 and my team was playing in a 16u national invitational tournament. We beat the #2 16u team in the country (4 players are now playing professionally). We ended up losing in the semi-finals after just having a bad game and our head coach absolutely ripped into us. Told us we were trash and not worth coaching and how we were a disgrace to the game itself. It went on for so long and was so brutal that one of my teammate's dads stepped in and told him to fuck off in a nice way. This is an example of when we didn't deserve the bashing given, and even if we did to an extent there are better ways to deliver the message.

I had a call with a former MD at GS/MS and apologized in a text after I hadn't checked my phone for a few hours and he was requesting some info. He texted back saying to never apologize unless you're late or step on someone's foot. His advice in general was solid - he said I wouldn't get an IB job right out of undergrad bc I had no relevant internships and had a low GPA and that from my school to break in, you needed both to be as good as possible. He was blunt but respectful. This is one of the best ways I can think of getting your point across while not negatively affecting the person you are talking to.

To sum it all up, maybe the analyst intended on being a dick, but as you said, he did give some good advice. I would focus on what you can take away from the conversation that will help you improve. Sure, it sucks when you put effort into something and someone better than you basically says the end result of your effort is trash, but you can either be sad about it and wallow in pity or accept that you can improve.

Take ownership of your work - "ok, it sucked, but with this new feedback I will create a much improved report". I know what it feels like to have your self-esteem trashed and feel like you aren't good enough. Truth is, maybe you aren't good enough AT THIS TIME. If you're truly passionate about this, you will improve yourself so that your next finished product is good enough. Maybe the analyst rips it apart again (and doesn't just do so to be a dick, but bc it's not good enough). Improve again. Get better each day.

Dec 1, 2021 - 4:34pm

Thank you for sharing. Considering this was my first experience where the analyst was passive-aggressive, I might be thinking about it too much. It's definitely a learning experience, and I am grateful he did give solid advice towards my report.

Dec 1, 2021 - 3:59pm

If he was being a dick then know that some people are just rude but maybe he knew he was helping you. Keep in mind it's still just work/school and no one expects a student to get that kind of stuff all right. Don't let that move your confidence and don't let work affect your self esteem

Dec 1, 2021 - 5:18pm

You created a random equity research report? That makes me believe your still just a kid. And I am assuming the analyst is a grown man.

Sounds like he was just flexing his muscles to make you feel bad. Some people feel good about themselves when they put others down. It's a coping mechanism for short comings in their own lives.

Take his advice, make the report better and move on. Chances are he is fat or ugly or his wife is trash. Remember that when you start to feel bad about what he said to you.

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Dec 2, 2021 - 10:27am

This won't be the last time you pitch someone and idea and are torn apart in a nasty way, it will happen in the professional world. The fact is that students, and I'm speaking as someone who did this as a student and now review student pitches sent to me, are held to an incredibly high standard if they are sending pitches for networking purposes. Further, pitches are supposed to make money, and to make money you need to be right and present a compelling argument. So for better or worse a lot of folks are going to critique your work as if its a live situation so you should be prepared for criticism that might hurt. 

The problem I've ran into with students / jr. analysts, and I've been guilty of this myself, is that they grow too emotionally attached to their pitches because it is a huge project that a lot of work went into. To have someone rip it apart is a bummer, but you can't take it personally. Be flexible enough to pivot when someone tells you something is wrong or not good. As someone else said, the fact is that something likely is wrong or not good. The way you present the idea can also influence the way you are critiqued. If you present your idea in a balanced, dispassionate way things are likely to go better for you. Some students, in my experience, come off with big egos because they put a pitch together and when there are clearly things wrong or just messed up get defensive etc. Remember that as a student you are just interested in learning and absorbing as much as possible, so being humble is key. 

Like I mentioned above students who prepare sample pitches are held to a high standard because it is just uncommon and takes a large amount of effort to do. I can count on one hand how many students have reached out to me with actual sample pitches over the last five years. Because it is so infrequent and leads to a more comprehensive conversation, people you speak to are likely to remember you versus a networking call with no pitch. Even if your idea stunk and they gave harsh feedback they will remember you. This works incredibly well to your advantage because you can take their feedback, either fix your pitch incorporate their comments into a new pitch, and follow up with them again for another try. As an analyst you are going to be knocked down frequently and the only thing you can do is keep getting back up and trying again. I promise you that if you do this, and you truly incorporate their comments and the quality of your work increases, you will be on a short list for opportunities. 

Dec 3, 2021 - 11:15am

There are two types of people in coaching situations, those who need a kick in the ass and those who need a hug/motivated. A good coach can figure out what their student needs and gives it to them.

Did you watch that documentary last year The Last Dance about Michael Jordan and the Bulls. It was 10 parts, in one of the episodes they asked Michael if he was an asshole to other players on his team, because MJ had a reputation for that. Basically it came down to MJ saying, look, I had to be an asshole, because the teams we play against will be, if I go soft on you we'll lose. So, maybe this analyst was rough, but if you make a bad report the buy side will be worse. Also, in some ways, as it doesn't seem like you have a ton of experience, you in a way want to feel like a complete idiot. That means youre learning, but also, the person teaching you knows what they are doing. 

In terms of the report, if its your first time, stuff that might seem logical to you might make no sense to someone else. Meaning, say you're pitching Peloton, a critical factor can't be "they have good social media", or Kellogg's "their stuff taste good", those aren't really data points. Or, "this P/E is lower than peers, so its a buy", better than someone off the street picking a stock, but doesn't give an exact reason, that would be traded await by AI before you got the report out.  

Dec 3, 2021 - 5:00pm

You need to develop a thick skin in this profession. If it's bothering you this much then this may not be the career for you 

cannot tell you how often I've had my work torn apart, but I just shrug it off, absorb what's helpful and move on. The market will absolutely crush you if you can't handle harsh criticism as this comes on top of the stresses of the market (which gets intense when your stock is down -25% and the PM is putting pressure on you to figure shit out quickly)

Dec 4, 2021 - 3:55am

I'm assuming by your title you're not even in the industry yet. If that's true, use this as an incredible learning opportunity. The criticism you received is about your work and not you personally. Use it to make your work superior and make sure that you incorporate all the feedback you were given. This kind of learning opportunity is most often given to those in actual summer internships who are fighting for a full-time slot. If that's not you, be thankful you got this feedback now and improve instead of wallowing. Good luck man.

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Dec 4, 2021 - 11:19am

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