Comments (83)

 
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 14, 2020 - 6:48pm

PJT the new Moelis?

Array
 
May 14, 2020 - 6:51pm

This is a live deal. All bets are off the table for a live deal. If this were an internal project, then sure you're in the right.

Let me know how I can be helpful.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
 
May 15, 2020 - 5:44pm

I guess it depends on the team. I have 25+ live deals closed and I've worked past 3 AM like 5 times. If you know it's one of those times, you know, it won't be ambiguous, and the Associate should be there as well right next to you. It should never become a habit on live deals. Nothing around this email should ever have happened.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
 
May 14, 2020 - 6:54pm

Hah to be honest it was a snarky ass initial email that would have ticked me off too. Both parties suck at life and are not people I'd want to hang out with.

 
May 14, 2020 - 6:55pm

Yes, you don't need to be saying you were already in bed and giving excuses. Say you will not make this mistake again and don't.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
 
  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
May 14, 2020 - 9:34pm

Depends on what the email it was responding to was like. If it was: what’s the status? The junior person is at fault but if the question was “where the fuck is it???” Then I think the response is justified.

Of course, that initial email isn’t included so I’m inclined to think it will put the junior member in a bad light

 
May 14, 2020 - 7:20pm

Ive totally been there. Bet this md was randomly hard to reach all day and early night and not responding to emails, then decided to dump comments to his junior team middle of the night at 3am and expects immediate responses from them. Cant blame them for being angry and leaking this.

Array
 
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 14, 2020 - 7:48pm

This email was sent by a mediocre and extremely self important mid-level VP that is uniformly despised and has a terrible rep.

Array
 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Restr
May 14, 2020 - 9:25pm

RIP these analysts if this gets back to the MD/VP

Array
 
May 14, 2020 - 11:13pm

I personally think the response from the senior (vp/md/whoever this person is) to be a pretty bad response, although it is tough to have a confident read without the full message.

The response seems a bit over the top, but who knows what kind of day they were having and what else was going on.

My personal view is that you have to set clear expectations, that’s pretty important in this situation. You should be clear on what is important and what timeframe you need to manage to, if that was done then I understand being upset, but too often people leave it open ended which makes it tough to manage. I also think that as a senior employee you shouldn’t let sh*t roll downhill. If something is actually important, you can also do it yourself. That isn’t to say that’s how it should always be, but if important, do it, you are a capable person (and you’ve done it before). The message seems getting mad to just flex your authority and less so about anything important actually going wrong.

Anyway, I think this culture leads to a pretty toxic workplace, but this is low confidence as it is one exchange and so much else could be going on. You want to hold people to a high standard but not crush them, that’s a part of IB that I’ve never agreed with.

Array
 
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
May 15, 2020 - 11:59am

.

Array
 
Most Helpful
May 15, 2020 - 3:56pm

Completely disagree. HARD disagree.

Worked at an EB with a ton of dealflow, and this type of stuff is completely avoidable. I've witnessed top-ranked mid-level bankers be able to manage their teams and announce multiple live deals at once while always engendering a positivity among the group (even in the midst of multiple all-nighters.)

There is a way to do it, and it's not that hard. But when things get tight, people are just used to thinking that respect and consideration for your juniors is the first thing you can sacrifice. It's completely lazy. And also, in my view, immoral.

Newsflash: You can treat people well and still succeed at this job if you just put your mind to it. Think as hard about how you motivate your team as you think about how to motivate your managers and clients. It will even pay immense dividends in the form of project success, reputation, friendship, camaraderie, loyalty and, yes, exit opps.

Also, it feels fucking good to not be a dick.

 
May 16, 2020 - 2:02pm

I couldn't agree more with Mentalmomentum's comments.
As an MD at a global bank, I have been on all sides of this transaction, on the receiving end and distributing end in various roles. You have to proactively manage the workflow on your deal team or project team to avoid these late night pile-ups. Thinking your deal team is expendable and their lives don't matter leads to this arrogant, narcissistic attitude. We are not savings lives here.
Additionally the quality of work and efficiency seriously declines after midnight. You are better off cutting it off at 12, getting up at 6 or 7 and starting fresh. This is coming from someone who has spent many all-nighters and/or resting under my desk at 5am.
This VP/Director guy at PJT is likely on the cutting block soon, given this market environment.
I hope he enjoys his 5 hours or less of sleep when he doesn't have a job. Should serve him well.
-SB

 
  • VP in PE - LBOs
May 15, 2020 - 2:30pm

Kind of hilarious how bad this looks all around

Array
 
  • Analyst 2 in IB - CB
May 15, 2020 - 3:14pm

WFH hours about to get better for you...

"Whatever needs to happen, always does." - Black Jack Foley
 
May 15, 2020 - 5:05pm

A good VP probably would've asked if he could help with any of the comments given the time crunch. At the very least he could've asked what was the holdup and whether he could help clarify any comments. Instead he has to act like a complete a-hole and brag about his <5 hours of sleep (not even that special, wtf).

My guess is this wasn't an A-A and probably a hardo finance guy out of Wharton who joined as an associate and now thinks he's on top of the world as a VP at PJT.

Disgusting all around and just poor people management. One of the reasons I left banking for PE.

Array
 
  • VP in IB - Ind
May 15, 2020 - 5:41pm

Me and the VP bois carrying a fallen Analyst after they die of exhaustion /s:

ghana dance

On a serious note it is absolutely unacceptable to require Analysts to wait until 3 AM for comments. We need to know more context, though. Was there already rapid communication back and forth (emails at midnight, 1, 2, 2:30 etc.? Did the junior team send out a deck at 2:30 and bounce immediately? Was this deck absolutely due the next day and it was an "all hands" situation?

When working many late nights myself, I really found it better, if possible, to just cut off at some point and wake up early to pick it up again fresh. There is nothing "efficient" about going to bed at 3, o r 4 and rolling into work at 10 or 11. Would be much better to go to bed at 12-1 and get to work at 7-8. Screwing up your sleep cycle results in a vicious cycle where the nights keep getting later, then the mornings keep getting later, and everyone is tired and pissed off.

I do hate the VPs, Ds, and MDs who have no life and expect everyone else to be their indentured servants. Then ask why there are mistakes on the page, why didn't people think this through creatively... are you serious?

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
 
May 15, 2020 - 7:07pm

I understand hardo "live deal" mode will happen sometimes. VP still needs to communicate though. If comments are coming at 3am, commenter needs to say that clearly. Maybe that happened here, but probably not. Unlikely analysts just went to sleep after being told to stay up.

 
May 15, 2020 - 8:18pm

Question for the bankers WFH now, for the comment edits... are people making edits via written annotated notes/markups on a PDF version of the latest deck? Or is it like “Pg 4, second bullet, instead of “xxxxx” replace with “abcde...”? I don’t really touch PowerPoint much these days. I can just track changes + edit analysts / interns passages directly. I see on google that PowerPoint actually does have track changes - quite curious if that function translates well or not to PPT.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been in banking. I remember turning MD’s markups and it can provide a good visual on their preferences and thought process through iteration. But I remember how sometimes you’d have some junior VP or Associate come in with the most minor of edits, and it would have been a lot faster for them to do it themselves than to wait for me to open up the file, edit, send to them, have them check it.

If I were that VP and I’m not getting the comments to them till 3am, I’d just turn it myself if it’s really that damn urgent.

 
  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
May 19, 2020 - 7:53pm

Comments honestly haven't changed much at all for me since WFH started. Two-thirds of the MDs/VPs i work with would normally markup the book vs one-third who type out instructions in an email. Even before COVID, the majority of the markups i got were on a PDF the MD wrote on using an iPad (did this from home or when traveling). Now instead of ever getting a physical copy, its a pdf that has changes scribbled in. Those who prefer the writing out the changes in an email (which i can't stand) still do that.

 
May 16, 2020 - 12:36am

Does not justify the response from the VP as there are many better ways to go about it, but this is a bid deck. Not very many things are more political and urgent in a process than that. A bid deck is critical feedback to a client that reflects the client's future prospects, the shareholder's financial future and the overall health of the process (i,e, did the MD live up to the promises that I am paying him for?). For many clients, the process is the single most important moment of their careers and crafting a story around the process' success is crucial to the reputation of the advisor.

I'd be pissed if I was the analyst getting random 3AM comments, but hopefully the above provides some context around why this is about as "all hands on deck" as it can get. Especially if you had 5pm ET bid deadline and are about to get on an 8 or 9AM ET call summarizing everything to the client.

 
May 16, 2020 - 1:05am

Doesn't sound very hands on deck if everyone up top is just rolling this downhill to the associates and analysts and blaming them when things go wrong. Sounds exactly the opposite.

"crafting a story around the process' success"? Sounds like "How can we justify the fees we are charging for this probably non-essential M&A transaction with very suspect "synergies""

The fact the VP needed to give comments at 6AM ET (3AM PST) for something this serious that supposedly was to take place 2 hours later shows that the seniors bankers SERIOUSLY mismanaged the workflow whether by improper resource allocation or simply not giving correct and decisive direction when needed.

The only context this provides is that lazy leadership is often habitual in IB and not much is done to change it because the only leverage the juniors have is to leave (and leave they do). However, thousands of undergrads will jump at the opportunity to join the next Moelis, Lazard, or PJT basically ensuring that the revolving door of junior talent really doesn't matter at the end of the day.

Array
 
May 16, 2020 - 1:58am

What you're describing are all of the ugliest truths of banking that should change, but are unfortunately are a part of the job today. Every junior person wants them to change, but there is no incentive from decision makers to do anything about it because their financial incentives align with bad practices.

  1. 99% of document related work is done by the analyst and associate and that means the MD tells the VP what he expects. The VP breaks down those expectations into a timeline for the analyst and associate to work together to hit. That's probably where this situation broke down as the VP didn't do a good job here.

  2. You are absolutely right that you have to justify your fees. So much of banking is providing minimal value to extract maximum cash. Please don't tell me you believe that you are an essential business? It also happens that two of the easiest ways to add value are to juice up EBITDA and to tell your client that the bids were exactly what you expected the whole time by crafting a narrative around the bid numbers

  3. Banking operates on timelines this tight all the time. That's just how it is when speed can add real value in executing a deal in 4 months vs. 6. Let's say you get midnight bids from Apollo and Platinum at insultingly low numbers (happened to me as an analyst). That's going to change your bid story. It is lazy leadership to pass it off to the VP to make sure that is is incorporated? Maybe? At the very least, the MD's going to want to be well-rested for the conversation and just so happens to have a team of highly compensated people under him to handle the situation. You have to remember that analyst pay is way above the skillset an analyst offers, so the bank is really paying for availability vs. the FP&A analyst getting 70K.

You're obviously upset and I'm not trying to defend this VP, but I was trying to explain why things happen the way they do and why they are unlikely to change.

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 16, 2020 - 12:27pm

This screams of a VP (or newly promoted Director) who joined banking after non M-7 MBA

Array
 
May 16, 2020 - 1:54pm

Genuine question. If you're one of the few Analysts working unreal hours for a small minority of asshole Associates, what happens if you ghost them after a certain hour? Say you actually stop answering after 1am and pick it up the next day. Would this force your Associate to complain about you by saying something like "he/she doesn't want to work past 1am when he/she has been online since 9am"? And would seniors actually get on board with that and give you shit?

 
  • Associate 2 in IB - Ind
May 16, 2020 - 5:46pm

If you produce quality work / are a well-known hard worker and the Associate (or even VP) has a bad reputation - senior guys will go to bat for you.

I had a VP that was notorious for “boiling the ocean” and grinding analysts for no reason. Flipped out at him one day and refused to work with him. Never got staffed with him again and continued to receive great reviews

 
May 19, 2020 - 11:13pm

I know who this VP is as someone sent me the unedited snip

Whoever said he’s a Wharton MBA Associate hit the nail on the head

As a rule, I don’t expect my teams to be up waiting for my comments past midnightish unless it’s crunch time and I’ve made it clear they’re coming. And I’m probably writing exec sum / strategic rationale bullets etc so they can do the heavy lifting. This is just shitty communication and workflow management.

 
May 20, 2020 - 3:48pm

Not a good look for PJT or the industry.

VP (or whoever sent that email) should be ashamed of themselves. Expecting your team to be waiting for you comments at 3am is ridiculous unless there was a deliverable due the next morning or that was clearly communicated beforehand.

Happy to see this leak. Will hopefully at least force an internal conversation about work life blanace.

 
May 20, 2020 - 4:35pm

I hope the VP is doing fine and has learned from his mistake. Keep in mind everyone: whatever you write in email can be traced and publicized. If he wanted to say this, he should have called the analysts instead. This way, he would have avoided this situation in the first place. OF course, convos can be recorded so it's a hard knock life either way...

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
 
  • VP in PE - LBOs
May 20, 2020 - 4:50pm

Wait was this really part of this too? I was kind of sympathetic to the VP before but if this is real it's egregious.

whomst vp

Array
 
May 20, 2020 - 10:00pm

So PJT trying to 1 up Moelis then?? What kind of a madman fires out an email at 3am and expects people to still be awake at that time?

Yes banking can sometimes result in crazy hours, but the least you could do is give a heads up to your team if its a live transaction and its an extremely urgent piece of work that cannot be delayed

 
May 21, 2020 - 12:30am

I think people just want a better culture in the banking world.

I don’t think anybody is suggesting “working at 3am is ridiculous”.

The issue is this VPs communication style and absurd expectations. Suggesting that because he sleeps 5 hours a night, his junior team should as well? Saying you can’t step off your desk to get dinner? GTFO with that.

Not sure why so many people are ok with the “that’s just the way it is mentality”. I just want to see things improve.

 
  • Works at Moelis & Company
May 21, 2020 - 10:14am

Did he actually write the part about not stepping out to get dinner? I didn't see that in the original source, just added by the instameme accounts. If so, that's laughable. And stupid.

My point is twofold 1) My analyst friends at PJT literally go home at 10pm most nights and their BOTTOM bucket bonus is like 90k. Everyone who knows anything about banking knows it's a great place to work.

2) We have no context. For all we know the junior team could have logged off at 9pm and the VP was on phone calls for another project and then realizes his comments were never turned for a morning call and freaks out. Obviously, his tone is snarky and obnoxious and the junior team may well have been busting their ass and the VP is just a loser. But my point is just that I don't think we have enough time stamps to really put together a story here and assign blame and at the end of the day it's just one person. It's not the staffer. It's not a firmwide policy, so who really cares.

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