Best Analyst you’ve ever seen?

Any stories of the greatest analyst ever? I.e never pushed back on work, absurd productivity, lived for the late nights and had absolutely no life outside of it. Possibly even maintained a good attitude and was just addicted to the grind?

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Comments (17)

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 26, 2021 - 6:46pm

those aren't the attributes of a top analyst. just living to serve doesn't put you at the top. the top analyst i've ever worked had a mind of his own, the EQ to know when to speak up, insane technical knowledge and was an absolute beast at modeling. made no mistakes and cared about the quality of his work not bc he was scared of his asshole VP or wanted to impress his MD but bc he wanted to produce quality work.

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Jul 26, 2021 - 7:17pm

The two types aren't mutually exclusive first off. Moreover, living to serve is a rarely a bad thing FYI. Sure you don't want to go to the point where you're sacrificing your entire self-respect. And it's not ideal if someone is entirely extrinsically motivated. But ask any employer / staffer… those who give absolutely everything to the team are rarer and more celebrated than just those with only technical talent. The former has way more value to the firm and are viewed as more reliable. 

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  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 26, 2021 - 7:31pm

I'll take a shot. A good analyst:

Will want to improve their craft (better modeling, learning new data sources, learning macros, learning their industry) --> isn't simply trying to get through the day

Will be intellectually honest with their models and slides by being vocal and guiding Associates and VPs towards any assumptions or content that they aren't sure about --> doesn't leave it to Associates and VPs to figure out what needs to be pressure-tested (although good ones will do this anyways, but more efficient when analysts try guiding their eyes)

Is resourceful by regularly and openly talking with other analysts/associates about their work so they know where to look for good model templates or slides about a certain topic --> works collaboratively early on with associate/VP when given a project with no clear output

Tries to get Associates and VPs to buy into outputs or check their work along the way in advance of a meeting or deadline --> doesn't go in the wrong direction for a long time

Proactively gives updates on their deliverables to the Associates once every day or two, even if little progress is made b/c of other projects --> doesn't force you to chase them for updates

Speaks confidently and could be put in front of a client --> isn't squirmish 

Proactively manages their work based on deadlines, capacity of their team, and client situation --> can be trusted to operate independently

Tries their absolute best to get the banking job done while recruiting for PE --> doesn't forget about the commitment they signed up for because it's convenient for them to do so during PE interviews

A lot of this depends on having Associates that are willing to work alongside analysts and not working with jerks. 

Jul 30, 2021 - 8:00pm

That's very insightful! During your time so far, have you come someone who encompasses all of those attributes?

If so, how long did it take for them to get to being proficient at all those things?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 26, 2021 - 11:50pm

This question being asked really comes down to a lack of understanding of the analyst job and the day to day tasks/ how much ability there really is to differentiate yourself in the role.

I'd argue most analysts are smart and working at the point where they couldn't take on additional projects by being more efficient or sleeping less, due to the predictability of projects. Put another way, really most analysts are pretty topped out in terms of capacity where even if you do/ could go the extra mile, it doesn't make sense or a bank wouldn't allow it. A good example: for my bank it's common to be on 2-3 projects at once and they aren't going to put someone on 4 because if all 4 came to life at once it would be physically impossible to serve each project and the analyst, and more importantly, the bank, would fail the client.

Additionally, much of banking and being an analyst is providing a service that you can't really massively succeed as much as screw up. A great example: let's say you are putting together a pitch for a client. Even if you put together great slides, senior bankers won't let you actually speak because of optics and those directly above you as an analyst will likely take credit for your work. So no one becomes a rockstar for pitching or really any sort of slide creation.

Modeling might impress a few people, but really that's a small overall part of the job as an analyst, with adhoc analyses or various forms of diligence facilitation being a larger portion of the role.

Instead, I would argue the best analysts are ones who naturally are smart, hardworking, have attention to detail etc, but also who get really lucky, where their experience dominates the rest of the team, due to fortunate staffings. A good example-I knew an analyst in my class my first year who never lost a pitch or had a deal die. As a result, whereas many people might successfully complete 1-3 deals their first year, she had 5. This made her have almost as much experience working on transactions as the analysts a class above her and as a result she was considered "the best analyst". Depending on how your bank staffs projects, you can control this to an extent, but things like the market not loving a company, or a CEO/ Board that refuses to sell unless a certain price is met ard completely out of your hands. Not the answer you are looking for, but in my class there really was like the upper 25% that I really thought were pretty interchangeable/ were really strong, but some had more luck with staffings than others. All of them had they got the staffings the top girl got, would have been the top guy/girl.

Jul 29, 2021 - 8:39am

Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

This question being asked really comes down to a lack of understanding of the analyst job and the day to day tasks/ how much ability there really is to differentiate yourself in the role.

I'd argue most analysts are smart and working at the point where they couldn't take on additional projects by being more efficient or sleeping less, due to the predictability of projects. Put another way, really most analysts are pretty topped out in terms of capacity where even if you do/ could go the extra mile, it doesn't make sense or a bank wouldn't allow it. A good example: for my bank it's common to be on 2-3 projects at once and they aren't going to put someone on 4 because if all 4 came to life at once it would be physically impossible to serve each project and the analyst, and more importantly, the bank, would fail the client.

Additionally, much of banking and being an analyst is providing a service that you can't really massively succeed as much as screw up. A great example: let's say you are putting together a pitch for a client. Even if you put together great slides, senior bankers won't let you actually speak because of optics and those directly above you as an analyst will likely take credit for your work. So no one becomes a rockstar for pitching or really any sort of slide creation.

Modeling might impress a few people, but really that's a small overall part of the job as an analyst, with adhoc analyses or various forms of diligence facilitation being a larger portion of the role.

Instead, I would argue the best analysts are ones who naturally are smart, hardworking, have attention to detail etc, but also who get really lucky, where their experience dominates the rest of the team, due to fortunate staffings. A good example-I knew an analyst in my class my first year who never lost a pitch or had a deal die. As a result, whereas many people might successfully complete 1-3 deals their first year, she had 5. This made her have almost as much experience working on transactions as the analysts a class above her and as a result she was considered "the best analyst". Depending on how your bank staffs projects, you can control this to an extent, but things like the market not loving a company, or a CEO/ Board that refuses to sell unless a certain price is met ard completely out of your hands. Not the answer you are looking for, but in my class there really was like the upper 25% that I really thought were pretty interchangeable/ were really strong, but some had more luck with staffings than others. All of them had they got the staffings the top girl got, would have been the top guy/girl.

This right here is a top tier comment. Success in any profession only becomes concrete when preparation meets opportunity.

I'm still in training now but previously had a short but successful career in the military where I was able to extract the absolute maximum value out of the experience because I constantly demanded opportunity from those able to give it to me. If you think that you're the best at something amongst your immediate group of peers and your not being compensated with opportunity and accolades take your talents elsewhere.

Jul 29, 2021 - 3:19pm

Will take a Shot at it:

As a jr I had a colleague one step above my rank. The guy was not just good at the stuff we were required to know, do and master (modelling, ppts, etc.) but the guy was just on another level, a league of his own. He would be the one coming with structuring ideas for a deal, the one with these extremely rare "see-through" goggles when looking at a business (not only the business plan, but the business as a whole), finding out concerns that were light years above (not your usual capex has been too low in the past, will need to account for backlog and catch up) but like management imbalances, market dynamics, issues with the distribution and pricing strategies ... Just amazing.

Fast fwd. this guy went to head the European desk of some crazy trading across the whole capital ladder (think prop. Desk on steroids) at an American BB (at that time... Yes, old days). I recall when talking to him once he had the offer about comp.: "Enough not to even ask about it". In his late 30s left the bank, set his own shop trading alternatives and restructuring debt (a hobby of him: the pleasure of buying stuff at pennies for the dollar, just to make a killing against the odds. Kind of the polar game you can play with enough capital and ideally sound knowledge of what you are doing).

Always a great guy to go out for a beer, was of innate talent (not the one spending the night building a complex model, but a simple model with more explanatory / forecasting power; not doing edits or copy paste to slides made by others, but creating his own, tailor made for each deal). A rare gem, all MDs wanted to have him on his projects, he managed to chose which ones were appealing to him. Fun guy, not a nerd, able to be present at every kind of event.

For me, a definition of a good banker... Perhaps not only analyst, it only happens that I got to know him at that level in our careers.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 31, 2021 - 12:18am

I can definitely echo that in the past 2 groups that I was at both BB. The team seems to enjoy having analyst bring in a new perspective or reinvent the process on certain things. I'm the type of analyst that would always take on work and never push back. I worked everyday over the past 3 years, never had a day where I didn't answer a call and be there for the team if they needed something. However, I have always been mid bucket. People never said anything negative about me, but I always feeel like I was just mediocre.

Most of the feedback that I have heard seems to be on how I should be able to bring some type of additional value to the team and not just do well at my job. Im still struggling to figure out what that might be. I have started to tell MDs on how I think we can tackle a project, so hopefully that might get me into top bucket during year end review.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 31, 2021 - 12:18am

I can definitely echo that in the past 2 groups that I was at both BB. The team seems to enjoy having analyst bring in a new perspective or reinvent the process on certain things. I'm the type of analyst that would always take on work and never push back. I worked everyday over the past 3 years, never had a day where I didn't answer a call and be there for the team if they needed something. However, I have always been mid bucket. People never said anything negative about me, but I always feeel like I was just mediocre.

Most of the feedback that I have heard seems to be on how I should be able to bring some type of additional value to the team and not just do well at my job. Im still struggling to figure out what that might be. I have started to tell MDs on how I think we can tackle a project, so hopefully that might get me into top bucket during year end review.

Jul 31, 2021 - 10:02pm

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