Making VP in 4 years?

Emperorᅚ's picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 644

Is it possible to make VP in 4 years in investment banking? This would be 2 years analyst + 2 years associate, promoted to VP at beginning of 5th year. Many if not most banks now offer analysts early promotion to associate after 2 years, to lure them away from the buy-side. But I haven't seen any data points as to whether this extends down the line for VP promotions.

Has anyone seen A2A2VP in 4 years and how common is it across the street?

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Comments (46)

Dec 16, 2018

bump

Most Helpful
Dec 16, 2018

No unfortunately some even tack it on to the 4 years as an associate, making it 2+5.

No shortcuts to having your face to the grindstone for the better half of a decade before becoming an officer

sorry. would also recommend getting at least 6 months into your first year as a full time before planning out the path to senior banker. stuff changes even for the most resolute of us

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Dec 16, 2018

There are always shortcuts. I'm looking at a LinkedIn of an MD right now who spent 3 years as an associate, 3 years as a VP and 2 years as a Director before promotion to MD. He was presumably ~31-32 when made MD. My question is whether this is one in a million, one in a thousand, one in a hundred, etc... that makes a big difference.

And I'm just thinking about my options. I don't really see VP as senior banker since at most places they're not driving business they're just managing the grunts. I see the VP's in my group and I think I would almost certainly be able to do their job in 4 years.

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Jan 11, 2019

That guy is an absolute rockstar. One in several thousand if I had to bet. I have never heard of doing only 2 years at associate level before making VP. I was ~6 months into my 3rd year when I left. Even though I was the top rated associate in my group globally 2 years in a row, no early promote. VP was promised though so I knew what I was giving up before I left.

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Jan 14, 2019

That is definitely the exception. In order to make the jump from director to MD, you have to be able to generate deal flow. People underestimate how difficult it can be to "sell" as a 30 year old to predominantly older management teams and ownership.

That being said, occasionally you come across someone who is brilliant, thinks differently than most (gives them unique angles or advantages in thinking about situations) and is personable. It is rare, but happens. A person that makes MD at a legitimate shop (EB/BB/MM) in their low 30s needs all three.

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Dec 16, 2018

Bump

Dec 17, 2018

Gotta assume this is pretty bank dependent but highly doubt making VP in four is super possible. I am friends with a guy who made MD in only nine years at a BB, with two extra years spent getting an MBA, but seemed like a real exception. As much structure as there is, banks are still somewhat meritocratic if you're actually that good and will probably look to keep you around.

Dec 17, 2018

I know someone who lateraled and became an Associate at a BB after only 1 year, so it's definitely possible.

Jan 11, 2019

He did not come in as an A1 then.

Dec 17, 2018

Clarification and correction: He did A1 at another bank but then his new position that he lateraled to was Securitization at a BB. I guess still nice though since pay probably increased while hours decreased.

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Dec 16, 2018

Any other opinions

Jan 11, 2019

I know someone who did only 1 year as an associate.

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Jan 11, 2019

My bank does not yet have a 2 year analyst program, the associate to VP stint is typically 3.5 years (analyst get promoted to associate mid-year, then spend the remainder of that year as stub), however they do 2.5 years to VP for very high performers.

Dec 16, 2018

Can you share what kind of bank you are at - BB, MM, EB?

Jan 11, 2019

Upper MM/lower BB

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Jan 11, 2019

At one of the BB with A2A promotes, they call them "foundational analysts" and they are treated either as analysts or in a hybrid role (the promotes call themselves analysts). Although people can get promoted to an associate role sooner, it hasn't really changed the timeline to advance to more senior roles unfortunately

"If you ain't first, you're last!" - GOAT

Jan 12, 2019

Have seen someone only spend two years as an associate before getting a VP promote. This was post b-school however and guy was a manager in corp dev before b-school, so he was pretty much already playing at a VP type level beforehand. Also is a total stud.

Jan 12, 2019

might be possible. at a lower-tier bb (UBS, Wells, DB), there is an MD who is 32. Granted he is in a capital markets group that focuses on debt vs conventional investment banking, but at that rate he must have made VP in 4-5 years.

Jan 11, 2019

Is he in origination? if so and he's bringing in a lot of business, they'll promote quickly as to keep him happy.

Jan 13, 2019

This is 100% possible in some middle market, boutique, and regional banks where there is less red tape, politics, hierarchy, and process (relative to a BB or EB). Some advisory firms that are in hyper-growth mode will just need bodies in the VP seat and are happy to promote from within if they struggle to recruit externally. Further, in the smaller types of banks I mentioned, the teams are generally leaner giving skilled associates more opportunity to directly impress the senior decision makers and accelerate their timeline.

All this said, I know most on this forum would rather commit seppuku than work at a middle market, boutique, or regional bank... but don't rule out the benefits

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Jan 11, 2019

I mean, define MM. That type of trajectory is not going to happen at HL/HW/etc. Define boutique, it's not going to happen Evercore/Moelis/etc. I think if you're talking smaller 2nd tier then yes, you're probably right. I think in general that decreases the overall incline of your career trajectory. I think the smarter move would be to take the entry point at the weaker firm, trade up when it makes sense, and go from there.

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Jan 13, 2019

We are largely in agreement. Agreed it is more unlikely at larger middle market firms, but not out of the question. Also agreed on your second sentence - I would categorize Evercore and Moelis under EB, so they would be captured in the bucket of firms where I would say it is not possible.

To be more specific, I'd say it is most possible at the smaller tier 2 firms you rarely hear about on these forums. The types of firms that when you ask someone where they work and the say the firm's name, you nod and say "oh ya - great firm!" but you really have no idea because you don't have any experience with them nor do you know anyone who works there. Not bad firms, just smaller and less prestigious.

Can't speak to your last two sentences.

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Jan 13, 2019

I have not gone through all the messages at the top. At my former employer (top 3 BB), analyst program is 3 years and associate program is 3.5 years. You can be fast tracked at Analyst level (i.e. down to 2 years) and maybe you can be fast tracked again at the associate level (down to 2.5 years).
I have not seen that but they have added the fast track option like 3 years ago so there is not a relevant sample yet. I have seen people getting fast tracked at either analyst or associate level but not at both (not enough years since they launched the fast track option).
That said, one MD in my previous group in NY did 3 years as a Associate, 3 as VP and 2 as Director and was fast tracked by the head of the team. I think when you become director / ED, you cam be fast tracked after two years if you really bring deals / fees in and if you can leverage this. It is a negotiation ultimately.

Your best way to do this is to be at a bank with a 2.5 years analyst program (UBS program is 2.5 years, GS is 2.5 I think), get promoted there and then go as an associate to another bank, kill it there an be fast tracked, or simply leave for a bank that give you the promotion.

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Jan 13, 2019

I'd also add, from my understanding, aside from how good someone is there needs to be "space" for another MD so to speak. Say you're in an industry group and basically all the players in the space are covered by current MDs there isn't really room for another one. So on top of being really good, to a degree there needs to be a component of structural luck/timing in place too.

Jan 11, 2019

This is something most of us have missed. MD seats are not exactly plentiful and if there isn't an opening, well tough shit, you'll just have to sit there until the spot opens up.

Jan 16, 2019

More likely you get blown out and your execution responsibilities are summarily handed off to someone a little younger and cheaper...

Jan 14, 2019

Good point, but in reality, if that is the case, that banker should pursue an MD position at another bank where there is a clear opening and runway to pursue deal flow in whatever niches the MD focuses on.

Jan 14, 2019

at my bank (EB) we don't have any shortcuts for analyst, associates or vps, but in the past our group has had two directors who made it to MD after two years. they were bringing in a lot of business at that point though so it makes sense

Jan 14, 2019

Very doable, albeit at a really shitty bank.

"Anything less than the best is a felony"

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Jan 14, 2019

Watch OP get fired year 1.

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Dec 16, 2018

At least I don't have a 3.0 engineering from a state school

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Jan 15, 2019

Big F

Jan 14, 2019

I work 40 hours a week and make six figures.

Back to the mines for you. I'm surprised you had the time and/or cared enough to actually go look at my previous posts.

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