Greatest MD you’ve ever seen

Any good stories on the greatest MD or "Rainmaker" that you have encountered? What made them great? Let's swap some stories.

Comments (36)

  • Partner in PE - LBOs
Nov 12, 2021 - 10:28pm

I've met some pretty sharp bankers at the senior level - it's more rare however.

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  • Associate 1 in IB - ECM
Nov 13, 2021 - 2:54am

Mix of 'best' and 'worst'.


  • She knew EVERYONE.  You could walk down a list of the top 100 funds and the top 25 banks, and she'd have a personal relationship with at least 1 partner / C-level at all of them.  Many of them also owed her favors / I saw her get incredibly high profile people to go far out of their way to help with a deal.
  • She knew how to navigate beyond well socially.  E.g. "make me a reservation at X restaurant at Y time, because I know Z group of people are always there then, and if A group hears I was there with Z group then Q will happen".  It was truly next level.
  • She was an ex-lawyer, and was incredibly creative structuring deals.  I've 'copy-pasted' some of her more basic ones that I learned/memorized in other scenarios, and people think I'm a savant for being able to talk through what she could do in her sleep.


  • She kept super strange hours.  Her work day would start at 4am, and run until 6-7pm.  Because of that, she had no issue calling me at 6:30am any day of the week.
  • She had no idea about anything related to analyst work.  She was a lawyer before becoming a banker, and had always worked at top shops with teams of the best of the best analysts.  She'd ask for a crazy piece of analysis and then lose her temper when it wasn't done 2 hours later.
    • This extended sometimes to if deals were viable.  She'd talk to people, have some great idea, lay out a structure, and then ask for me to model it.  If / when the model showed that it was a bad deal, she wouldn't kill it / it became very contentious about what should be done.
  • She knew she was the biggest rainmaker MD at the firm, and was a total jerk to all of the other MDs, who in turn, hated her.  Even now that she's gone, I basically can't bring her name up / bring up anything I worked on with her because it puts people in a bad mood.
  • She wouldn't let me work with anyone else.  In the early days, if I was staffed on something with her and had capacity, I'd ask if I could work with another MD who'd requested me or if she had other staffings for me coming that I should wait for.  She'd say "no, we're all set - go work with X", and then almost immediately after staff me with something new where I'd have to transition off of someone else's project.  After the 3rd time, I stopped asking.  Eventually, other MDs started to complain that she wouldn't share me, and she made a big hullaballoo to senior management about how I belonged to her.

I learned a tremendous amount, but also, 'suffered' under her - there were negatives I'm afraid to list here because I'm worried they'd be identifiable.  In addition to knowing everyone, everyone knows her.  I've described her anonymously before (with a bit more detail than what's here) to people who have quickly identified her and confirmed her reputation of being insanely 'good' but impossible.  She also seems to know everything about everything, always. She'll probably read this post (or have it forwarded to her) and know it's me who's writing it, which in turn is part of what makes her so great - and terrifying - is that she's almost omnipresent.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Nov 13, 2021 - 3:38pm

Sounds like if Harvey Specter was a woman and went into banking

Dec 3, 2021 - 8:19pm

It's sad that so few people know this reference. If they knew where it came from, they would understand why this MD acted the way she did.

100% this is Regina George in banking

Nov 14, 2021 - 2:39am

I see you're in ECM so we probably ran in different circles (was in M&A myself) but I had an MD who was exactly as you described. She told me candidly one day that the reason she was so rough with the other MDs and with her junior folks was that she came up through a super bro culture and was one of the only women who made it through to MD. She felt that if she didn't keep such a stiff appearance that everyone wouldn't really take her seriously, which I felt was a shame. As a guy I'm not going to say I relate because I'm sure she went through the wringer of shit to a degree I never did but I got where she was coming from. Btw working for her was an absolute nightmare at times but after I left that bank and got to know her on a different level, I got to respect her perspective a lot.

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Nov 14, 2021 - 1:21pm

I think the answer above covered a lot of the important business development stuff. Simply put: to be a rainmaker you have to be plugged in to a valuable network and seen as an expert in your area. The rolodex (+ability to execute on it) is pretty much the value.

My group was started by rainmakers from other firms. To speak more on some internal factors:

1. These guys understand what "tone at the top" means. Sounds simple, but many MDs don't understand that the way they treat their VPs filters down to everyone in the organization. They truly walk the walk and follow the golden rule. Obviously we still work banking hours but there's a huge difference between spending 16 hours a day miserable and 16 hours a day just working (with normal people).

2. They are not insecure or anxious. These guys don't feel the need to work just for the sake of working. They maintain a high win rate in their pitches, and are aware that spending man hours on something that isn't won is a waste of time for all involved (obviously there is return to business dev and IP development, but you get what I mean)

3. They have a very refined operating model. Again, it sounds dumb, but a lot of senior bankers don't seem to understand how to get from A to B in an efficient way. The less time juniors spend battling terrible processes, the more time they can spend doing their VPs jobs and making everyone happier. This just rolls up the chain, with the VPs then able to do important work for the MDs

4. They have fun / are young. It's probably age discrimination, but working for younger people is better in my opinion. Also means more years of peak earnings for them, which means more work, bonuses, and opps for advancement for the juniors.

This isn't an exhaustive list but a few things I've noticed

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 14, 2021 - 9:03pm

Interested to hear your thoughts on working with a tenured MD vs a freshly minted MD, as you make a point on age. Anecdotally, have heard that newly minted MDs can tend to create a ton of unnecessary pages, pitch for everything, etc., whereas the same may not be true for an established MD.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Nov 14, 2021 - 9:07pm

Good point and generally agreed. In the case I described above, the MDs are relatively young but not newly minted. Think early to mid 40s vs. mid to late 50s.

All else equal, I think it is fair to say that more experience is useful for MDs not creating unnecessary work, but highly personality dependent. Practice doesn't make perfect it makes habit 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 18, 2021 - 6:53pm

Best MD I worked with leveraged a single deal into 4 separate transactions.

  • Started with a strategic JV.
  • Company we represented for JV had also acquired a high growth revenue segment that was separate from main revenue streams and they wanted to spin it off for lack of expertise / synergies. MD subtly mentioned we had some sponsors that would be interested.
  • Same company then also mentioned they were looking to break into a different segment and hired us for buy-side, which turned into another two transactions.

Started with total EV on the JV at $200-400M, but the transactions later totaled ~3B in EV. We also won all that business in a 3 week period. That MD is killer and knows how to finesse opportunity after opportunity.

Nov 19, 2021 - 12:18am

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Nov 19, 2021 - 12:20am

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