How to be a good MD

I'm sure lots of people here have been through "How to be a good analyst" training, either formally at their banks, or informally by reading hundreds of tips about excel, folders organisation, communications, networking, etc. Most of the discussions focus on what analysts can do to make life easier for everyone above them. However, there seems to be a gap in the market for a similar training for senior bankers (think Director / MD / Partner) from a junior perspective. What are the practical tips you would give to your seniors that would make your life easier? Very curious to see the responses and eventually trial it at my firm as an in-person training for all MDs who want to do better.

My suggestions:

  1. Introduce yourself when joining a firm / a team
    • It goes a long way if juniors know who they work with: your background, your areas of expertise, your pet peeves, etc. It helps them see you as a person and not a task spitting avatar behind emails
    • Can be done as a quick intro session for a group of people or several one-on-ones for a small team
  2. No cryptic emails
    • We know you are busy and short on time, but random out of context emails with uncommon abbreviations and unfinished thoughts waste even more time for everyone involved
    • Write full sentences, not headlines or single words separated by a full stop
    • Be clear on WHAT needs to be done, WHEN and what you expect as NEXT STEPS
    • "The deck needs more work" can mean very different things: a) I will provide more comments and guidance that should be incorporated, b) we should have a team discussion to agree on the approach, c) the deck is moving in the right direction, please populate the placeholders and share a closer to final version with me, d) I have a problem specifically with section X, e) it's not what I had in mind, but I'm not going to help you, so have another guess and redo everything differently. Which one is it? Warning: option e) is NOT the right answer
  3. No fake urgency
    • If the meeting is in 2 weeks, don't ask for a fully fledged model by tomorrow morning. We can do wonders when absolutely needed, but this is not the time. It's like The Boy Who Cried Wolf - next time you really need something asap, you won't get it
  4. Manage clients' expectations
    • Some things cannot be done overnight, full stop. Don't promise things your team cannot deliver in a given timeframe. If you are not sure if your team can do something - ask before promising. We know it's hard to manage clients, but it's literally your job
  5. Set time off for your team if there are no official policies
    • Everyone needs rest. Unfortunately, even if the day is free, we cannot rest if we are constantly on alert. If your firm does not have protected Saturdays, create them for your team when possible. Proactively tell your team that they shouldn't work this weekend (when possible), so they can go out / meet friends / go to gym without constant fear of getting a bombshell in their email that they would be expected to react to immediately
  6. Communicate your working hours expectations
    • Do you get your best ideas (and a sudden urge to share them) when you wake up to go to the loo at 4am? Fine. But tell your team you don't expect them to react before next morning
    • Do you drop off your kids at school at 7:30am and fire out emails while in the car? Fine. But tell your team you don't expect them to be online at the same time
    • Do you have PT session every Monday at noon and hate to be bothered at that time? Just tell us. We'll accommodate and make sure to never schedule any calls around this slot
  7. Be smart about pitches / marketing
    • Are you pitching a specific idea that Blackstone asked you about or are you having a boozy lunch with your school friend who just moved to Blackstone? If latter, you do not need 20 pages of LBO outputs on each of 10 potential targets you could think of. Yes, you have the power to make us do them anyway, but with great power comes great responsibility. Be smart and kind

Comments (6)

  • VP in PE - LBOs
Jan 20, 2022 - 1:44pm

Agree with this wholeheartedly. Although by the time you're 2nd year (or 3rd year when it was a thing) analyst, you could become so good at deciphering that newer team members, including those more senior, come to you as a go to decryption specialist. 

Jan 20, 2022 - 2:51pm
Bullet-Tooth Tony, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm convinced older MDs are just so inefficient at typing that they need to use handwritten notes/mark-ups still. Logically, you'd think there is no other reason not to edit in PDF so it's legible for juniors.

But, then I listen to them pecking away like my then 80 year old grandfather (RIP) who grew up with a typewriter and it suddenly makes sense.

  • VP in PE - LBOs
Jan 19, 2022 - 4:12pm

One thing that annoyed me was that MDs would often start the bonus conversations with "market conditions have been challenging for the [bank/sector/product/team] so bonus pool was impacted accordingly. Your bonus is [flat/modest increase/decrease] vs. last year, which is strong. I want to point out that I took a larger percentage hit of [x%], so overall I think the bank has been fair." The lead in is bad enough, and the relative percentage comparison is just offensive. If you're looking at shit, and I'm looking at shit, let's both call it what it is. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 20, 2022 - 12:28am

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