So, apparently I haven't been on this site in while, and it'd be a shame to make a return to just complain, but I've emptied the beers from the minibar and it's still way too early to sleep, my body now evading anything approaching a circadian rhythm. Instead of sleeping, thought I'd throw in some comments on the industry, then as I started writing, I realised I only wanted to talk about one thing: F*&King Analysts:
1) Make sure you do what you've asked for:
As an associate, I spend my days in a bind between the MDs that want stuff done, and the analysts that either don't want to, or can't do it. My particular favourite is when analysts come and tell me they want more exposure to oil and gas deals, and ask me to get them into some books/deal. This is great, I love oil and gas, so I want everyone to love it too. However, what I didn't realise, is that said analyst has gone to every other team and begged for work too. Resulting in the poor bastard being too overstaffed to manage any of the work they owe me. This is infuriating and I will do everything I can with my limited remaining capacity to ruin your next review if you do this. Net effect, if you find someone who isn't burnt-out and cynical enough to help you out, then do the fucking work you've asked for, or they will hurt you worse than the people that don't care.
2) Only working hard for the scary people:
I try to be a pretty laid back kind of guy, I'm generally polite, and since I moved to a Bulge Bracket from a boutique, I've pretty much given up hazing. That said, I find that when the analysts, or even junior associates, have conflicting priorities, they opt to work for the person they are more afraid of, and my stuff gets dumped; resulting in me spending another all-nighter cranking on shit books. The net effect of this, is that I'm starting to reconsider my approach. Should I just be a massive prick to everyone in range of my wrath? Will that get things done as the analysts and interns flee for their very lives before my dreadful red pen? Probably not, I keep waiting for the juniors to figure this shit out, the asshole is always going to be an asshole, and that probably means during review as well. Whereas I... was going to be nice during review, now my only reply to the staffer is that you didn't manage your priorities.
3) Why don't you do it:
I've had two analysts and an an intern actually say this to me. Full context: I'm teaching the analyst to build a oil and gas model for a specific southern equatorial country's fiscal regime, and I've shown them how to model a section, they go away for two hours, come back with something that is wrong, and argue that it's right. At this time, I'm considering the fact that I spent 30 minutes showing them, and two hours waiting, for them to do something I can do in about 10 minutes. After I show them what is wrong, and why it's wrong, I encourage them to explain verbally what they need to do to fix it. To which they say "This is really a waste of time, why don't you just build the model, and then we can both go home earlier tonight" (oh also, it's midnight on Friday, and they've missed a date, so they're being huffy). My immediate response was, "a) I don't need to learn how to do this, I can already do it, and b) if I do it, what do we need you for". The next words I write are going to sound exceptionally self aggrandising, but if I'm in the office teaching you to model at midnight on a Friday, be fucking thankful, there are plenty of associates willing to throw you under the bus and go home at 10 or 11 while you wallow in analyst hell all night.
4) Saying "Yeah Yeah, I get it":
I've taken to stopping any analyst that cuts me off with a "yeah yeah, I get it", and ask them to explain back in their own words what they need to do, and sometimes I make them write it down too. Because 90% of the time when they explain it back, it's obvious they don't fucking get it, AND, 50% of the time, if they don't write it down, they won't remember to do it. See the story in number 3), and as annoying as it is when you analysts do something wrong, it's terrifying when something just doesn't get done. One of my analysts said that their homework was done and I could come in Monday, quick review and we show it to the Director. Instead, I spent 14 hours on Monday, well 6 hours fixing shit that was wrong, and 8 hours doing stuff that she apologised for just forgetting about.
5) Not reading the book:
It's amazing the number of times that I can read a paragraph that an analyst has processed comments on, and realise that while they processed the comments, they clearly didn't read the page. Sentences that don't make sense, double double words where they only deleted the words crossed out by the MD, and the MD clearly missed one. My personal favourite a paragraph that included a sentence [Change the sentence to include something about the company's YoY change relative to industry], square brackets and all. If you just read it, tried to understand it, and asked the question, 'does it make sense' you can move into the top 1/3rd of your class, it's just simple shit.
6) Not getting it:
The cherry on this proverbial shit sundae, is when the little bastard that either didn't have time for your book, or screwed up your model comes back and asks you either 'to go for coffee to discuss their performance', or to send a review to the staffers. It's like they worked on a completely different process that I did, and brings me back to the idea that I need to shout and scream more. If you can't tell that you've done shit work without me shouting it, there's a whole level of your development missing, and that's going to prevent you from making it out of the analyst pits.
While I might sound like a bit of a prick, I've been identified in my team as 'excellent in development of junior talent', which from my bank's point of view is a critical skill. Unlike some of the associates that just crush the analysts, I, for whatever masochistic tendencies I have, am trying to help the bastards that would rather check their tinder then be better bankers. We'll see what the peanut gallery has to say about my complaints, if I keep travelling like this, maybe I'll empty out another mini-bar and tell some stories, or lessons about how to politic effectively, without your peers thinking you're a cnut.
Mod Note (Andy) - Throwback Thursday - this was originally posted April 2015
Investment Banking Interview Course
- 7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
- Technical, behavioral, networking, case videos, templates. All included.
- Most comprehensive IB interview course in the world.