First years- get your stuff together

Some drunken rants from a former first year:

Hello all, I felt compelled to share a couple of points after reading some of the forum's latest postings, hearing feedback from friends and coworkers, and witnessing an abysmal level of shortsightedness from some first years that haven't seen the real world. 

My goal here is to help the sheep navigate their first year with a couple of pointers, and that is all I will offer. Take it or leave it.

1) Know Your Value

All of you are smart enough to understand the principles of supply and demand. If there are 6 first years on your team that all hate their lives and would take the next job that comes their way, and your MD's $1mn paycheck is riding on YOUR ability to process his comments, you better believe you have value. Take Saturday off, you won't get fired- or even scolded for that matter. You will simply be communicating to boss man that you don't stand for his shit.

2) Learn to Push Back

Is Kygo in town this weekend? Tell your ASO that you're dipping at 8 to pregame the concert- he may just respect that you have the balls to tell him, and it'll be a great conversation piece moving forward.

3) Learn to Play the Game

When you have a slow afternoon, don't send the associate your output immediately after you've finished it. Crack a beer, watch a show, and sit on the output for a second before sharing. The more drafts you get to your superior, the more they will iterate. This is simply a function of human nature.

4) Finally- Don't Sacrifice Your Principals for Anyone

Your director who insists that the Tuesday bake-off deck needs to be in his lap by Saturday night is likely an insecure child with a complex, who believes that getting the deck to seniors earlier than they expected will earn him points. He does this because his work doesn't speak for itself. Do well, and your work will speak for itself- and you'll find that you may even garner more respect than your a**hole director.

Aside from this, a few common sense notes:

  • Dont respond to Saturday emails unless critically urgent (no, your bake-off is never urgent)
  • If the meeting isn't tomorrow, the deadline isn't tomorrow. Quit falling for your VP's fake deadlines and communicate that you're too busy (even if you're not)
  • Before WFH, bankers arrived in office by 9AM. Please quit responding to 8:15AM emails. It hurts all of us.
  • Finally, learn when to drink a beer on the job. If your Wednesday night just turned into an all nighter- a cold Coors Banquet may just soothe your nerves enough to make it bearable. 

Until next time- Irish Pitbull

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  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 17, 2021 - 3:39pm

This is all well and good until you realize half of your compensation comes in bonus and you are bleeding lots of it by doing what you said.

  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Apr 17, 2021 - 4:00pm

No, you are bleeding lots of your bonus if you do a bad job. There is a difference between being available 24/7 or being the first to reply and being someone that does good, solid work. This isn't to say it'll be the case with every MD/VP, as some can be total a**holes that will dock you for not responding to their 4 AM email. But too often analysts think being the fastest to finish an assignment, reply to an email, etc is what makes you the "best", when in fact it is the analyst who can be trusted, doesn't make mistakes in their work, has the answer to the questions (not just a stupid quick response when an email is sent). Those analysts are the ones getting the bigger bonuses (and usually leaving to bigger opportunities). 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 17, 2021 - 4:03pm

Are we talking about analysts or someone else? Because analysts are not responding to the MD in 99% of cases. They are responding to an associate or VP and many will absolutely will dock you if you go AWOL on something or are slow. And yes, your extreme examples may be true, but that is completely different from the examples in the OP.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Apr 17, 2021 - 5:13pm

Practiced this throughout my analyst years. Lost count of the number of times that I've told my retarded associates and vps (who often ask me to pdf some ppt or go to Dataroom, download something for them and send back) to fuck off (in a nice way) and do it themselves. Still got top bucket bonus for every year because I have a good r/s with my MDs and did solid work for them

Just want to provide another data point that you don't have to reply shit to your aasociate or vps when they make dumb as fuck requests and still do well. I've ignored them actively when they try to give some retarded comments last min on the weekend or pdf some rubbish. Those who make these requests are only going to keep making the same retarded requests unless you push back 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 17, 2021 - 10:46pm

You are a second year analyst. How could you be "top bucket every year?" 

What group are you even in where the MD can differentiate your work from the associate/VP/director? 

Apr 17, 2021 - 11:49pm

You don't have to in da paint to be hittin buckets....zZaahhh

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Apr 18, 2021 - 12:38am

I didn't update my title

I was in an industry + M&A team (M&A done in-house) and our deal teams even for multi billion $ deals are essentially 1 analyst, 1 associate, 1 vp or director and 1 or more MD. I get direct access to the MDs/Directors and text them directly sometimes when I get staffed with an associate who doesn't know shit about the industry or job, or anything lmao. Everyone's busy and the MDs just want the least number of turns possible and get the materials out asap (that are also good and have no errors), so it's helpful to have an analyst they worked well with before. Also those associates I had issues with were either new or really didn't know shit so they were easy targets 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 18, 2021 - 1:54am

So you are on a 4 person deal team with an incompetent associate and VP, but you and the MD are texting each other closing billion dollar deals. Cool bro. 

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Gen
Apr 18, 2021 - 3:17am

How did you push back on those unreasonable requests? Do you just ignore them - what if they follow up again? I have been working with a VP that asks me to download PDFs for him off the deal sites and then send to him via email all the time when he also has access to it. I get really annoyed but had to do it anyways. 

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Apr 17, 2021 - 5:38pm

Completely agree that you need to set some boundaries and push back. Pushing back to me doesn't even need to be something where you email someone saying no. For example, on Saturday's when someone emails me requesting something or asking a question that's not urgent and won't affect the deal if I don't respond then I don't respond. If you always are responding at any time of the day any day of the week then people will abuse that in banking. Not even consciously, but sub-consciously if in the past you've always been willing to drop everything at a moments notice to go home and do some menial task then you'll always be the person they go to for their dumb weekend work. Currently dodging and not responding to some dumb follow ups on insurance diligence. It's not important and can wait until later or tomorrow. As a first year I will say its hard to tell what is and isn't important and you are super eager to please, but if you devote your life to banking then people will take advantage of that. If someone gets mad at you for not responding instantly on Saturday, they're the ones with problems not you. I look at some of the associates I work with, especially the ones that are married and may have young children, and can't believe how big of simps they are. I will say typically these associates are post-MBA associates who weren't in IB previously. In general I would say post MBA associates aren't as good at respecting analysts time, I would say for a multiple reasons. They didn't go through the grind as an analyst and are similar to first year analysts that they want to please and think they need to be available 24/7 (and expect you to be too), they don't have the relationships in the group to push back or the balls to not respond, they have less reps and so need to more heavily rely on the analysts to get things done. All the A2A associates I work with are way more understanding, more willing to get in the weeds with me, and are just less demanding (ie get emailed something and they're willing to do it themselves, push back or just understand timelines and will email the work over to me on the weekend and say something like hey don't worry about this now, we'll get to it later). Banking is interesting work and pays well but don't let it devour your life. I let it do that my first year but after that have learned that taking some time to myself, taking time to respond to emails and not dropping everything I'm doing on the weekend to work isn't the way to do things and lots of the time won't affect your review or career progression. Unfortunately there are bad apples in every group, but telling these people to kick rocks isn't a bad start

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 18, 2021 - 1:19am

I think it's mostly an internal battle. If you don't respond to that non urgent email, does it hurt your rankings or vise versa. Or does pushing back hurt you? It's more of an art than a science but I think that's where a lot of stress comes from 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 18, 2021 - 11:03am

No matter how high your EQ is, IB is competitive with competitive people so it's always going to be like that 

Apr 20, 2021 - 10:37am

One trend that I think I am seeing in this thread is that it is still far more common to have incompetent MBA Associates over A2A's, is that true? To me that is insane with the fast track A2A programs out there these days and the level of comp Associate 1's are getting (better cash than going buyside a lot of the time). I always loathed MBA associates that came out of some stupid corporate rotational, even someone talking about them as my "peers" made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  

Apr 20, 2021 - 4:57pm


One trend that I think I am seeing in this thread is that it is still far more common to have incompetent MBA Associates over A2A's, is that true? 

Well, you have some kid who hasn't stopped typing in excel and PowerPoint for 2 years then you have some individual who came from who knows what background.  Of course, the A2A is going to think MBA associates are incompetent when they can't crank out something A2A can in 30 mins.  Does that mean they are probably not.  

Apr 21, 2021 - 2:46pm

Lack of proficiency in excel and powerpoint is only one aspect of their incompetence. They're also woefully ignorant of transaction mechanics, real world nuances, and legal documentation. Stupid corporate rotational programs barely scratch the surface of what you'll learn if actively working at a bank and MBA's haven't been about actual teaching and knowledge acquisition for decades. But I'm sure people would love to hear more from a non-verified user and your wealth of experience. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 20, 2021 - 10:42am

4) Finally- Don't Sacrifice Your Principals for Anyone

Thanks, I was about to perform a sacrifice to the MDs of my group's principal

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Apr 21, 2021 - 10:36am

for 99% of people banking has an expiration date, as in you may stay for one year, or two...or a few more but ultimately for most this is just a stepping stone. given that's the case, and probably true for you who is reading this, stop worrying about how you perform so much on a job that you already know is temporary. do your best when possible, try to learn something, aim to not upset people. but ultimately, this is a 2-year program that's meant to open doors for all of you. do enough to make something of your banking years but never do more than that. rather, focus on your personal goals and figure out what you really want to be doing. leverage your banking experience and capitalize on having that one line in your resume. to the extent you can, avoid letting the job eat you up and spit you out broken AT ALL COSTS...

banking is worthwhile as long as you're using it...but letting it use you, that's when it's the wrong move

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 24, 2021 - 6:14pm

1st year analyst who started early two months ago - have been trying to do exactly that. Glad to hear it from you, thanks!

Apr 23, 2021 - 6:37pm

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jun 20, 2021 - 11:24pm

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