8/26/17

Being a Star Analyst isn't hard.

If you can excel in the top 10 best practices below, you will excel in banking:

1) Be responsive: Reply back within minutes, never more than half a hour, especially during a live process
2) Good attitude: It's late, we're all tired, last thing we need is to see you complain or push back
3) Over-communicate: We know you're multitasking, but so is everyone else. We cannot read your mind
4) Be organized: You can have mold growing on your coffee cup and it's totally cool, but keep your files organized in the drive because other people will rely on it. Yes, color code your fonts, version up your files, etc.
5) Be a team player: If your deal team is still working and you're done, offer help; don't disappear
6) Don't ask stupid questions: Don't ask questions you can find answers to on the internet
7) Be attentive to detail: Extra period? Extra decimal? Extra space? Misspellings?
8) Understand your place in the hierarchy: Never overstep the person above you
9) Have common sense: If you don't have this by now, I can't help you
10) Don't repeat the same mistake twice: People will forgive you the first time, but people will judge you the second time

Banking isn't rocket science, but any banker will tell you that a bad analyst isn't one who can't model--it's the analyst that cannot seem to uphold standard business practices. All the above are transferable to any firm and industry. The only difference is that banking is far less intolerant of failing to meet the above.

Comments (32)

8/11/17

Number 5 can't have enough emphasis.

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Best Response
8/11/17

There's a lot of these threads on here, so just a few highlights. I would emphasize the following:

  1. Print and check your work -- errors will always show up more clearly in printed work.
  2. Before sending a pdf copy to a superior, pull out the last version and go page by page alt-tabbing between current version and prior version so you can see the exact changes between versions. This is how your bosses will check, so good to get in the habit.
  3. Be curious. The first few months are tough, and you can get overwhelmed in the minutia of your day-to-day. Strive to learn about the deals you work on and just finance shit in general. It will pay dividends in the future. Macabacus.com is a great resource for this, in your limited downtime.
  4. Ask questions, but as mentioned above, make sure they're not stupid questions. When in doubt run it by a 2nd year analyst first.
  5. Leads me to the next point, get to know the 2nd year analysts. They can be your biggest resource. They know who to work for and who to avoid working for, how to handle recruiting, how a certain MD / VP likes to see things, etc.
  6. Be efficient with your time. Attention to detail is important and taking ownership of your work, but know when you can farm things out. If you have a graphics / research / India team, use them. As frequently as possible.
  7. In the same efficiency vein, sign up for Bamsec.com and LogoIntern.com - both can save you a lot of time.
  8. In the first 6 months, never openly complain. If others around you are complaining, try to change the subject or remove yourself. There's plenty of time for complaining as a jaded 2nd year. You need to establish yourself first.
8/15/17

Adding to this: always send out the planner, and if unsure whether appropriate, ask your associate. No senior team member should ever have to send out the planner

8/12/17

Cannot emphasize the over communication piece. Super annoying when you think someone was working on something for you, and they switch to something else without giving you the heads up.

8/14/17

I guess adding to #8, especially for the first ~4 - 6 months, do not speak in internal deal team meetings unless you're called upon or someone asks you a question. No one wants to hear from you. Keep notes of your questions and ask the associate or VP after if they have time...

8/16/17

Somewhat disagree with #4. Try and keep a relatively neat workspace. You never know when an MD will walk by your desk, don't want him remembering you as the slob with the messy desk.

8/16/17

I agree here. Even if it's not true, the perception will be that you're not organized.

Listen, here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.

8/16/17

These and all the other suggestions people have are all 100% correct. The most important piece of advice I can give to analysts, which I used to tell the incoming analyst class during training, is to build relationships with those above you in your group! I cannot stress this enough. Get out of the bullpen and make the effort to get to know your VPs, Directors, and MDs. Most analysts are too intimidated and fall into the trap of being some nameless robot doing all of the processing in the background and only getting to know their associates really well. No matter how good you are, you will not get top bucket if people don't know who you are.

8/16/17

Great point, and outside your group on the different projects you work on -- eg, in coverage groups or product groups.

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8/16/17

What really helped me become a better analyst and get much better even as I left IB for corp dev was taking ownership of my work. This can be tough in IB because many analysts really are there just for the paycheck (nothing wrong with that), but also because most senior bankers do a terrible job at keeping analysts up to date of the process, so analysts frequently work on assignments with no clue how it fits into the bigger picture or even what purpose it serves. What I would suggest doing is when you receive some assignment, even if it is incredibly mundane, ask yourself what the purpose of the assignment and its worth is. Then, not only complete the assignment as asked, but try to add some value, insight, thoughts, etc. Maybe that just means bolding the important part of an email or highlighting three or four comps that you think should be removed, but that shows that you care and it really does result in you producing better work because it forces you to actively think.

8/16/17

Great point @Sil. This is something that is rarely said, but can make a big difference.

8/21/17

Sil - on point as usual. This 100%. Showing that you have critically thought about a problem or assignment is really important. It's the difference between being viewed as a "do-ER" and being viewed as someone who brings value to the discussion. The higher ups won't always remember everything / certain processes at the more minutia level at the mid-management level, and even less so at the junior level. Therefore, they really do appreciate when you can handle things
(especially the blocking and tackling) without being reminded and drive the deal / project forward. This is especially true in Corp Dev where teams are a lot leaner (no such thing as 30 on-call analysts in the bull pen you can pull from) and you have to project manage a deal holistically from beginning to end, even at the junior analyst level for some shops.

The effort you put into your job, even the subtle mannerisms, makes a big difference.

8/23/17

Great point @Sil. SB.

'I'm jacked... JACKED TO THE TITS!!'

8/31/17

I am surprised to read this honestly. My experience from a Big4 TAS internship in the third world (eastern europe) was similar to what you describe. Seniors couldn't keep juniors up to date on the process and we often worked on things without being briefed properly. However, I didn't expect to hear that it is really that way top notch IBs.

8/16/17

understanding your place in the hierarchy is so so important. We got two new hires. Both good kids and good workers. One is an annoying girl that talks way too much and says stupid shit. Asked me if I was in a fraternity and still talks about college in regards to all her stories. The biggest problem I have with her is that it's her second week, and despite her havent said anything bad to me, talks to me as if we've been friends and through the grind for over two years now. She's just way too comfortabe with herself and doesnt really feel like she has to earn our respect or even earn our friendship. The other newbie is this cool dude. You can tell he likes to have a good time with his buddies outside of work, but he stays quiet, listens mostly during our office banter, and knows when to throw a sentence or two into our off topic conversations during work. He asks the senior analysts and associates questions in a tone that clearly indicates he is aware that he knows little but is willing to learn.

We're not lawyers. We're investment bankers. We didn't go to Harvard. We Went to Wharton!

8/17/17

This is a great point. +SB

8/21/17

You are spot on. As bad as it sounds, when you're one or two years in and you've already paid your own dues, both from a work standpoint and a social standpoint, the last thing you want are fresh analysts or interns coming in too comfortable too soon. Ease into it just like everyone else has had to do.

Having self awareness if your greatest asset as an incoming analyst, intern or for any newcomer starting in a new group.

8/23/17

Also if you're a new first year analyst staffed with a second year on a project, try not to ask the entire team questions until you're a few months in. Best to develop a rapport slowly and ask the 2nd year afterwards.

8/25/17

I totally agree with the self awareness piece. It may take some time/experience to really find out, but knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are is a huge advantage early on in my experience. The younger people I see entering my firm now who are able to know what they don't know and show a willingness to learn are the ones who people want on their team and ultimately treat more favorably.

8/22/17

This is generally great advice! However, ppl have different ways by which they ease themselves into a new setting. Some are better at staying out of every other person's way, others are better at letting it all out.

8/22/17

Nope there's a right approach in the beginning and a wrong approach. Take it slow until you know people.

8/22/17

Couldn't agree more.

8/22/17

This is generally great advice! However, ppl have different ways by which they ease themselves into a new setting. Some are better at staying out of every other person's way, others are better at letting it all out.

8/23/17

Banking for me is big deals with money matters it challenges like at sports . To help grow financial specially for dreaming a Home.

8/25/17

@Sizzling_Biscuit the people want another post next week!

8/25/17

In the interest of #7 - "far less tolerant" in the last sentence.

8/28/17

(+SB) Two that people miss on these lists which (although I admit are laughably rudimentary) are still important for survival:
1.) Don't be annoying - be an enjoyable person to work with.
2.) Don't have major fuck ups - double check you work and if you make mistakes make sure they're small mistakes.

"A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself."

8/28/17

+SB. Kind of along the same lines, don't talk about recruiting for your first couple months, especially with anyone other than analysts around. It looks bad to already be planning your next job when you just got there, even if that's the reality of the timing these days.

8/28/17

4 and #6 need to be emphasized heavily

8/29/17

Can we see an IBD associate version?

8/29/17
8/29/17
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