Go Beyond Printing Out the Book


I've seen the good piece of advice to print out the book and review it before you hand over the most recent version. Here's some steps beyond that to not only improve your life, but also the person reviewing your book.

1. Print and Check vs. the Old Version

When you print it out, compare the new version to the old, side by side, and put a check mark or a circle on the new version beside each of the changes you made from the old. This should a) ensure that you didn't miss any comments from the old book, b) help during your read through, c) when your associate or VP picks up the book to review, they can quickly see what you've changed, and when they have the old markup beside the new version, it'll save them a tonne of time, and they will probably appreciate that as much as your diligence. Of course, if your last version was shit, and had more red pen then black ink, all the checks are going to be cluttered, so this tends to be best used when comments are less intense, like <10 per page.

2. Read it Out Loud

Take your version, go to one of the side meeting rooms in the office, and read that shit out loud. Lots of stuff can get missed when you're skimming over text you've seen in the last 10 versions. If you read it out loud you'll hear things you might miss. Also helps for syntax, some sentences are just clumsy. Alternative I've heard is paste the text in google translate and let it read to you.

3. Check The Math

This should be self evident, but lots of analysts don't pull out a calculator and check the math in their charts and tables. It doesn't take long, and can separate you from the kids that don't bother to do this. Also, any table you are showing in a book should be simple enough so that an MD can talk a client through it without a calculator.

4. F7 and Double Spaces

Before you print, just get in the habit of hitting F7, and then CTRL F for square brackets or double spaces. You often can't see double spaces on the screen, but MDs with >10 years in the trenches, and a paper copy will always find them.

5. CTRL + H Old Client Names

[Edit: Added] Forgot to add, if you're taking materials from an old book and updating for a different client, do yourself a favour and CTRL+H the name of the last client. Nothing so bad as sending a book with 'Why Blackrock Should Buy this' to KKR. Additionally, if you've got a section of potential buyers, it'll help to remind you to remove the client from the book.

6. Print Your Models

Printing isn't just for PPT, print your models to check them. You should be able to print your model, or at least the outputs, and go through them either by hand or calculator with a pen. It'll amaze you how many problems you can find (in someone else's model, because yours are perfect right).

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Comments (20)

Mar 2, 2018

This is good, thanks!

Mar 2, 2018

Thanks, my friend.

Mar 2, 2018

Great tips. Adding this one for my own reminder:

Triple check all names and spelling.

The number of times I've mixed up an Erik for an Eric is too damn high.

Mar 5, 2018

My advice to anyone going through successive turns of documents is to familiarize yourself with how to run a legal blackline - MS office products have a good built-in tool, and Litera also makes a great product. It's just not always possible to follow the good tips described above - but there is always time to quickly review incremental changes in a blackline and confirm their accuracy.

Also will be appreciated by whoever above you needs to review your work.

Do you guys seriously not use these in banking?

Mar 5, 2018

legal blackline? would you care to elaborate?

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Best Response
Mar 5, 2018

A blackline is a tool commonly used in the negotiation of contracts, but really it is useful for any type of project that is iterative in nature.

It basically takes a "base" document and a "modified" document and produces what is referred to as a "blackline", which is one document that synthesizes the two constituent documents into one document which visualizes the differences. I.e., it shows the changes present in the modified document relative to the base document. Here is an example of what one looks like. It is most commonly used for prose documents, but there are versions designed to work for excel models as well.

For example, in the base document, I might say "This is a file". In the modified document I may have edited that to say "This is a newer file". In the actual blackline produced by the two documents, it will show "This is a newer file", but the word "newer" will be bolded, underlined, and highlighted blue to show that it is new text in the modified version. Similarly, deleted text will show up as red text with strike through.

Mar 6, 2018

We use blacklines for a lot of things, but most frequently in ELs and prospectuses etc.

When we are pushing comments to a client or another bank, we will provide a page by page description of changes or comments, highlighting anything the client needs to address. For example, in v. 43 of a Management Presentation:

  • Page 163: We reformatted the table provided by [x]'s finance team, please note that the third column does not sum to the total provided at the bottom. Please confirm that the values provided are in line with the company's projections.
    • 1
Mar 6, 2018

I did law until switching to banking. Blacklines are done everyday in law firms but they're a totally foreign concept in banking. So much of the work is presented in graphics and tables instead of dense paragraphs (thank goodness!)

Mar 5, 2018

Bookmarked and SB'd, thank you sir.

Mar 6, 2018

5 #5 #5.... especially in those stock slides that you put in most decks. Old client names always sneak up.

Mar 6, 2018

And ask your VP if he'd like a rimjob and fries with that

    • 1
Mar 6, 2018

Is it going to positively impact my bonus?

Let's be fair, there's people out there giving rimjobs for free, or $50. If it gets me an extra $20,000 because I'm top ranked... that'll buy a lot of mouthwash.

Mar 6, 2018

Are these the transferable skills I've worked hard at university to achieve?

Mar 6, 2018

You mean like making sure that the font colours are from the bank's presentation palate, and the logos are aligned?

Mar 7, 2018

For future reference

Mar 11, 2018

Solid tips--will definitely return to this post before I start my internship.

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Mar 11, 2018

Great tips - didn't think of these

Mar 11, 2018

Make a checklist of points to review before you print / send materials further up the line. The OP has covered off most points above, but anytime a point gets brought up, add it to the list. Your list may become long, but it'll become second nature to do and will flush out most mistakes.

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