I read a post where someone was reflecting on their analyst years in IB. Figured I'd do the same, although the post will be a bit different. This is how I feel and look back as I am about to switch to PE from/MS/ in a couple of months.
What I will miss
- General office camaraderie. I was really thankful for me team and the people were much nicer than I had dared to hope. Fellow analysts in general super helpful, most associates nice and respectful. Some good nights out and office drinks. Some close friendships. The "we're in this together" at the office at 3AM, effing around and being crazy inefficient. Super thankful for having been a part of such a great team.
- Doing meaningful work. I understand that we are not saving lives but I'll admit I was damn proud putting together materials that were being used for meetings with CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies, and even better to be on calls with them. Seeing a deal reported in WSJ was really cool too. Working on live deals with massive, well-known companies, knowing that almost nobody in the world had any idea what was going on, was fun. Doing some really interesting analyses, even though they'd end up being thrown into the garbage, helped me learn a lot. Even getting "stupid" one-off requests in evenings / weekends from clients, you knew you were doing something that was important for them in making serious decisions.
- Learning. Similar to the above, but slightly different. Being on calls / meetings / working with some of the absolutely smartest people I've known, some top bankers who know their stuff and more. Just being awestruck by their knowledge and understanding of what they were doing. Everything from sector knowledge, deal dynamics, strategy... really just work with people who are thinking five steps ahead and make sure not to miss anything. I know this knowledge only comes through experience, and in a way I still feel like I have a ton left to learn from these people.
What I won't miss
- The inefficiencies. Sometimes waiting for hours doing nothing, only to have to work until 4AM. I understand why things are something like that, but it can be incredibly annoying. Particularly frustrating when the MD had never looked at the deck or commented until the day before the meeting, then realizing he wanted something totally different
- The fake deadlines / unreasonable timelines. Similar to the above, waiting for hours for something but then desperately needing to turn things ASAP was very frustrating. And sometimes the timelines were just ridiculous for no reason. I feel like I had way too many extremely stressful moments where I had to get work done in record time, where it could have easily be avoided.
- The stress. Points 1 and 2 culminate in point 3. This job was way more stressful than I thought. People say that it's long hours / low stress but in my view that's not accurate. Sure you have times of no stress, they are great. But then there are the times of extreme stress that I found really challenging.
- The menial work. The gut-wrenchingly boring stuff. Setting up meetings, going to internal committees, doing 1-page profiles on every company under the sun, spending hours on stupid research or benchmarking, , getting conflicts clearance... yes, a surprisingly big part of this job is not that fun.
- The assholes. Yes, sadly there are some. They mostly came from other teams that I worked with. A few bad apples in my team too, literally dreaded working with one associate that I kept getting staffed with until I said that I didn't want to work with him anymore.
- The unpredictability. Much worse than the hours. Working 90-100 hours isn't too bad for short stretches when you know. I would say that working for 50-60 hours Monday through Friday and expecting a quiet / free weekend only for it to be blown up with a random Saturday email was the worst. Not daring to go with my gf to Brooklyn without having my laptop with me. Not daring to leave the city / make any plans because I MIGHT have to work.
A couple of notes to future analysts:
- Don't expect a pat on the back / people to be impressed that you pulled a few 100 hour weeks in a row. Yes, your family and non-banking friends will think it's crazy, but nobody at work cares. We've all been through it.
- A positive attitude goes a long way. You'll be working hard and it won't always be fun, but it's your choice to find a positive angle on things. It will make the job a lot more enjoyable. Also, people will appreciate your good attitude and hate your negative attitude.
- Try to learn as much as you can. These two years fly by and I wish I had learned more. Pick your associates' / VPs' brains on things. Learn about modeling, , sectors, deals... you'll be surrounded by people with a ton of knowledge to share.
I could write more but it's late! Overall, I would say that I enjoyed my banking experience, it wasn't always easy but I wouldn't have traded it for anything in this world. If those negatives were a bit less negative, I could have seen myself staying. Let me know if any questions.