MBA Associate at Top BB - What to expect with zero deal experience?

TerrifiedBitch's picture
Rank: Chimp | 10

Hi Monkeys,

Associate joining a top BB (GS / MS / JPM) this July. I summered there last summer in one of the top (industry coverage) groups at the firm and received an offer to return. I've heard in speaking to my staffer and other folks in the group that I was fairly well-respected and that people had very little negative to say about me - this made me happy, as you might expect.

THE PROBLEM: I worked on zero live deals last summer. Absolutely no live processes. I did work on one lev fin deal that was about to go to market and got a little modeling experience in there but for the most part, I have no idea how to run a process.

I love the people at my bank and in my group, but given the brand name, the standards are very high, and I won't have the luxury of having an associate and analyst telling me how not to shit the bed. I'm now about to get thrown into the weeds in about a month and a half and to be frank, I am terrified. Some of the folks in my summer class did a get a crack at running deals and I'm worried that without that under my belt, I run a serious risk of starting out as bottom bucket.

What advice can you give me about what to do and how to best prepare for FT, given that most of my summer was spent fixing the SA's cut on pitchbooks and doing higher level research stuff? Or at the very least, can you help put my mind at ease and quiet down my inner little bitch?

Comments (10)

Best Response
Jun 15, 2017

I've been in a similar position. What I learned: listen and when I'm ready to say something- listen some more. Work extra hard to get things right the first time - double check and print out and re-read before you do anything. Ask if they have any model templates- learn them before you start. Find an ally- one above you and one below you. Be loyal to them and help them in anyway you can. Work hard to understand your market and industry before you start. You will be fine- knowing that you are starting a bit behind is the first step in becoming a great associate.

Jun 16, 2017

Comparing my summer live deal experience to real life - obviously nowhere close, so shouldn't matter. Your first 6 months will be kind of bumbling around with random pitchbooks anyway - like rest of your class.

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Jun 16, 2017

Find the best 2nd or 3rd year analyst and be their best friend. They will know how it all works and can help you manage the more junior analysts. New associates coming in generally think they know more than an experienced analyst and often seek to establish dominance. Don't do that. A good senior analyst who is your ally will make your life way better. Treat them with respect.

Jun 16, 2017

I think this advice is spot on. Befriending a good experienced analyst and maybe wet the beak a little when going out and you should be good.

Jun 16, 2017

You won't be running a deal day one. When you do get staffed on a live deal, chances are it will be with a seasoned analyst and the VP will be more hands on than they would be working with a 2nd or 3rd year. You'll also have an associate on the coverage side that will be able to help.

The learning curve is steep but not THAT steep. You'll be given enough where you'll continuously need to stretch yourself and learn rapidly, but no one is going to set you up to fail because you have no experience (and blow a multi million dollar fee).

Also whatever live deal exposure others you know may have gotten over the summer really wouldn't have made that much of a was an internship where you're given fairly low risk tasks that are thoroughly reviewed, and it as a full year ago. Internships are meant more to allow the intern to see if this is what they want to do and for the bank to assess can this person step up into a full time role a year in the future...I think the amount of learning (that is actually retained) is quite minimal.

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Jun 16, 2017

what was your pre-mba experience?

Jun 16, 2017


Jun 16, 2017

Why are MBA grads recruited for Associates in IB if they have no experience in IB?

Jun 16, 2017

MDs don't deliver value to the firm because of their superior modeling skills. They do so because of superior relationship development/management, strong networks, ability to generate revenue (sales), and a good grasp of the industry dynamics in their coverage universe. It's not like an MBA associate wouldn't be able to develop any one of these things in a career other than investment banking.

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Apr 16, 2018