Anyone else think senior bankers suck at pitching?

Been on a few pitches since I started and really feel like my MDs just aren't good when it comes to pitching? I'm at a respectable bank and we've won 2/3 pitches I've been on, but I can't believe how bad the presentation skills of my MDs are.

It just seems like they don't practice? If I was pitching for a fee worth millions, I'd at the very least spend a few hours going over my notes. Every pitch I'm on seems like the MDs are floundering and aren't exactly sure of what to say. Had different MDs on pitches as well, so not just one individual who is bad. Think part of the issue is we do a 30 minute dry run the day before a pitch and most of the time is spent discussing stupid deck tweaks instead of actual practice. We don't practice transitions so ends up being lots of awkward "next slide please" on Zoom, MD clearly has no idea the order of slides, etc.

Given how many junior hours go into a pitch, anyone else experience this/find it frustrating? Just infuriating to know that after a week straight of 2am nights making the pitch look perfect, my MD might fumble it because he hasn't thought about what to say. Anyone more senior able to weigh in on this? I feel like a senior banker who has great presentation skills would be able to wipe the floor when it came to pitching

Comments (16)

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 16, 2021 - 10:26pm

I thought the same exact same thing!  Just horrible presentation skills.

Until I was staffed with an actual GOOD MD.  Completely different experience watching him pitch.

I honestly think if you have great presentation skills, are very sociable, and decent looking - you have a future as an MD no matter how shitty your modeling and "technicals" are.   So many MD's are straight up unconfident nerds/outcasts.

Nov 18, 2021 - 3:36pm

I agree that many MDs aren't that great at pitching, but others are. Some people just aren't as well spoken as others. MDs don't have time to practice a pitch in the mirror. Even they start sentences that don't go anywhere or say "um" occasionally etc. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 18, 2021 - 3:48pm

Yep had a similar experience recently. Can't believe how much time we spent on pointless last minute edits that would've been much better spent just having a finalized deck more than 10 minutes before the pitch so the seniors actually had time to read it before. This was for a potentially big deal with largest fee of the year potential for my group.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 18, 2021 - 7:14pm

One time we had 3 teams working on a pitch for over a month with calls every other day.

Pitch day there was over 5 MDs on the call, completely unprepared, completely non familiar with most of the deck. It was terrible. The lack of preparation amazes me. Instead of giving us a hard time about oxford commas and updating for market close, how about they fucking read the content

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 18, 2021 - 7:28pm

lmaooooo this shit happened two weeks ago, weekend blown up ona 65 page deck with tons of relevant industry data/analysis pertinent to the pitch, yet turned into a clown show with a bunch of MD's in different states on a zoom with literally no prep, sometimes i just have to laugh. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 18, 2021 - 7:43pm

Have the exact same thought. Think my current MD is mediocre at best when pitching --- I've sit in client meetings with him enough to know he is not good at delivering a solid presentation.

He says fillers a lot: um, you know, well. I remember one time he said 5 "you know"s straight......that was not good. 

Anyone know that GS MD Jim Donovan speech at Darden? I don't think he spoke more than 3 fillers in his entire 15 minutes. That is important and I do that myself.

The 2 deals I'm currently working on: 1 was won because an ex-VP of the team did a good job pitching, and the other was from my team's rich kid's family connection. 

I don't think my MD has actually done any good pitching. He came from the government side, has tons of connections, knows 0 technicals and how to execute, and 0 skills doing presentations and whatever. 

At the end of the day, I think most people in banking, and probably other jobs, high-profile or not, just go through the motions. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 19, 2021 - 2:54am

I agree with what you said to a certain extent. At the same time, you don't want to work for that kind of an MD. Your personal growth won't be good. 

Funniest
  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Nov 18, 2021 - 8:54pm

Actual exchange btwn an MD and CEO at an in-person meeting (MD not a ppl person but is always the smartest guy in the room)

MD:  "It's in everyone's interest that this is a consensual process, so the first thing we'd do would be to engage a bondholder ID firm so we can learn who the holders are and start outreach"

CEO:  "Would you think it'd be lenders who want the equity at the end of the day...a lot of loan-to-own guys?"

MD:  "Well, no one would want to own this business" *awkward pause* "That is to say [insert failure to recover here]"

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Nov 19, 2021 - 9:35am

seems like a pretty easy thing to recover. just BS about how complex and nuanced the operations are and how current management are experts and they wouldnt want to de-incentivize them by taking away their power. "sort of how its awesome to fly on a space ship / reap the commercial benefits, but would you want to be the pilot without any experience?" 

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Dec 2, 2021 - 10:39pm

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