Most Mundane Shit

You read correctly. What is the most mundane shit us monkeys do?

This is what I've got so far (in no particular order):
1. Manual data entry
2. Working group lists
3. Buyer logs
4. Logo slides
5. Weird custom transaction precedents like break fees.

Lay it on me. I want horror stories folks.

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Comments (131)

Feb 21, 2017 - 12:30am

5 is usually the winner. Something is kind of wrong if you're doing too much of 1,2 or 4.

1. Company financials - at least historical - are usually downloadable in excel form (CapIQ, FactSet, edgar, calcbench, etc.)

2. working group link

4. logointern

3. Buyer logs are painful, but they're a meaningful portion of what you're being paid for. If corp dev people didn't hate buyers logs too, they'd run more of their own auctions.

  • 2
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Feb 21, 2017 - 4:38pm
FellowTraveler:

5 is usually the winner. Something is kind of wrong if you're doing too much of 1,2 or 4.

1. Company financials - at least historical - are usually downloadable in excel form (CapIQ, FactSet, edgar, calcbench, etc.)

2. working group link

4. logointern

3. Buyer logs are painful, but they're a meaningful portion of what you're being paid for. If corp dev people didn't hate buyers logs too, they'd run more of their own auctions.

LogoIntern... Holy shit.

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
  • 2
Feb 24, 2017 - 9:23am
Sil:

I've never tried any of the other sources that you listed for pulling historical financials, but I would be very careful with CapIQ. I have found numerous errors on their website not to mention how they frequently break out important line items, such as depreciation, and then lump that line item together with others.

CapIQ (and the other services, I've spent time on most of them) is great for some things, but I would use almost any other financial info I could find before using their historicals.

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
  • 1
Feb 21, 2017 - 9:51am

Are PIBs still a thing? Those were the worst, particularly because no one ever read them.

Feb 21, 2017 - 10:45am

Not sure if analysts at larger banks still do them, but there is actually a Bloomberg function to automatically generate them (typically only works well with public companies though)

The fool thinks himself to be a wise man, while the wise man thinks himself to be a fool.
  • 1
Feb 21, 2017 - 6:50pm
NuclearPenguins:

Yeah they are at my bank especially since we work with a lot of private companies.

My bank also forces people to put all committee memos in 3rd person so you can't simply copy and paste stuff from an s-1 or anything. Such a fucking waste of time.

If you ever get the chance to relay that information to someone in charge of productivity/process improvement, do it. They'll force senior bankers to change. My bank was like that before the "six sigma" portion of the back office found out, after they spoke with the head of IB pasting from public docs, CIMs, teasers, etc. was completely kosher.

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
  • 3
  • Associate 1 in IB - CB
Mar 10, 2020 - 3:31pm
NuclearPenguins:

Yeah they are at my bank especially since we work with a lot of private companies.

My bank also forces people to put all committee memos in 3rd person so you can't simply copy and paste stuff from an s-1 or anything. Such a fucking waste of time.

I love pointing out that our bank specifically asks people not to change things to third-person and to copy/paste from filings where they can. So many hours are needlessly spent making internal memos look beautiful.

Feb 21, 2017 - 4:50pm
TechBanking:

Are PIBs still a thing? Those were the worst, particularly because no one ever read them.

Still a thing. Interns do them

Feb 21, 2017 - 10:58am

My MD made me find out all the locations that our client has (there were over 40), find out the respective MSA (Metropolitan Statistical area) they fall in and proceed to and put dots on a map so we could illustrate their geographic presence.

Hugo

  • 1
Feb 22, 2017 - 11:40am

Circles are keys to success. Without them, the story just doesn't make sense.

Hugo

  • 7
Feb 21, 2017 - 11:55am

Once I received a spreadsheet of over a hundred international PE offices and I had to find out if they had offices locally.

I had to go one by one. Website by website.

Anyone want to top that?

Feb 21, 2017 - 12:40pm

Douche PE associate (who I might add had never been in IB so clearly didn't understand the pain) asked for excel financials - which we were set to receive on Monday from the client - on a sunday, because we only had them in PDF. So I spent around 8 hours on a Sunday transcribing these financials from PDF to Excel at my MD's will. Oh how I don't miss being a summer intern..

  • 2
Feb 21, 2017 - 2:27pm
TheBuellerBanker:

Douche PE associate (who I might add had never been in IB so clearly didn't understand the pain) asked for excel financials - which we were set to receive on Monday from the client - on a sunday, because we only had them in PDF. So I spent around 8 hours on a Sunday transcribing these financials from PDF to Excel at my MD's will. Oh how I don't miss being a summer intern..

don't blame the PE associate, blame your MD. Any reasonable MD would have told the PE client to wait till Monday.

Feb 21, 2017 - 2:46pm

Sure - I didn't care at the time. Thank god I don't work for that MD anymore..

Feb 21, 2017 - 2:53pm

Can't you open a PDF in word then paste the shit into excel? Or copy it into a long string and use a program to break at the dollar signs and return as a CSV file?

I couldn't imagine spending 8 hours doing something so monotonous.

Feb 21, 2017 - 3:54pm

You would think so, but given that the client was very unsophisticated and we tried all that as well as a PDF--> excel converter, the time to reformat the already shittly formatted PDF's would've taken just as long.

Feb 22, 2017 - 12:28am

I can relate to this, thankfully my MD was merciful enough to extend the deadline.

“You adapt, evolve, compete, or die.” -Paul Tudor Jones
Feb 22, 2017 - 1:35pm

Haha to everyone giving me tips on how to circumvent such a situation, thanks but I know how to now. This was in the first half of my summer internship and I didn't want to spend much time figuring out ways to cut down on the time rather than actually getting it done. Yes - wrong approach but oh well stupid intern right?

  • 1
Feb 25, 2017 - 7:36pm

I realize you know pdf to excel now, etc, but just wanted to suggest you (and everyone) check out tabula. It's freeware, has unlimited uses, and is absolutely on point with transcribing/conversion of PDFs to Excel. I'm not sure how widespread knowledge of it is, but strongly recommend checking it out.

Maximum effort.
  • 2
Feb 21, 2017 - 2:15pm

ER TMT - 40 companies, asked to figure out the % of their board members (executive and supervisory boards) that had an academic or professional background in "tech". I searched for and sifted through 500+ biographies using google, bloomberg, annual reports, etc.

Great fun.

Feb 21, 2017 - 2:56pm
Simonal:

ER TMT - 40 companies, asked to figure out the % of their board members (executive and supervisory boards) that had an academic or professional background in "tech". I searched for and sifted through 500+ biographies using google, bloomberg, annual reports, etc.

Great fun.

I actually said "poor guy" out loud. At least the end result of the analysis is a nice trivia piece to know! You were probably the first one to do that at an industry level, which is cool in itself I guess.

Feb 21, 2017 - 3:11pm

Undecided strategic buyer client looking to buy private competitors.
Those guys looked like a bimbo with a credit card but allowed to buy only one pair of shoes.
I ended up making contact target list for 139 companies divided by region, niche, size and management seniority.
Still undecided.

Best Response
Feb 21, 2017 - 4:52pm

Went to deliver some books to MDs house, got roped into fixing his television.

  • 21
Feb 21, 2017 - 5:20pm

Had to drive the kids from a petting zoo once. Got popcorn in the backseat.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
  • 2
Feb 22, 2017 - 10:12pm

Bro -- My MD made me review his taxes in 2015. Wanted me to "double check" his accountant's work and make sure he was getting all the necessary tax breaks. I basically spent two days learning about what rich people do with their money while he was "working from home" until I was done. I was annoyed.

The worst part was he sold an apartment with the furniture included, and we got into a fairly involved debate on whether or not it was "inaccurate" to pretend his furniture was purchased/valued at $400k vs. $200k. So then he made me catalog his furniture using his iPhone which basically included pictures of him getting wasted with his friends in his massive condo in the last five years on all the pieces of furniture. Now I was just fucking irritated.

Finally, he made me write a detailed memo to summarize the "worst case scenario" on whether or not the IRS could 1) figure out we marked the furniture prices up, and 2) what the repercussions would be for doing something like this. To scare the shit out of him I only referenced horror stories of rich people getting massive late taxes interest fines/etc. (there were like 15 links with quotes in the memo, all mortifying to read about). In the end he ended up paying more in taxes than the original accountant version since I scared the shit out of him. My first thought when seeing the taxes paid number increase: I win Bitch.

.
  • 15
Feb 21, 2017 - 5:15pm

Scrubbing precedents to try to back-derive organic vs. inorganic revenue growth. This impresses no one, burns hours, relies on ultimately hand-wavy assumptions, yet is somehow always asked for.

I actually don't mind PIBs because of how totally mindless they are. Good way to burn a few hours and reduce capacity. The killer stuff is really the minimal-thinking stuff ("blue-cell work"; historical financials, WGLs, profiles, bar chart formatting), not the zero-thinking work (logos, PIBs, etc.).

Feb 21, 2017 - 5:27pm

Not banking, but for mundanity in excelsis in a finance job, 10 years ago I was an analyst at a long/short equity HF. We owned a company that made little model NASCAR cars. They were sold at little hobbyist stores nationwide. A couple times a quarter I had to call up these rube storeowners trying to get them to talk about their business in detail. Bottom line, there were a lot of dorks buying little model racing cars, but not enough to move the stock anywhere after we bought it.

Another company we owned was Build-a-Bear Workshops. Every once in a while I'd take a day trip to various malls for a channel check. Worried about being taken for a pedophile while lurking among the kiddies in these stores.

Feb 22, 2017 - 3:05am
ErnstBlofeld:

Not banking, but for mundanity in excelsis in a finance job, 10 years ago I was an analyst at a long/short equity HF. We owned a company that made little model NASCAR cars. They were sold at little hobbyist stores nationwide. A couple times a quarter I had to call up these rube storeowners trying to get them to talk about their business in detail. Bottom line, there were a lot of dorks buying little model racing cars, but not enough to move the stock anywhere after we bought it.

Another company we owned was Build-a-Bear Workshops. Every once in a while I'd take a day trip to various malls for a channel check. Worried about being taken for a pedophile while lurking among the kiddies in these stores.

The Build-a-Bear Workshop story is absolute gold. Burst into laughter - thanks! +SB

Feb 21, 2017 - 5:40pm
  1. Manual data entry. Get a lot of shitty scanned PDFs in DD.
  2. Portfolio company reporting. Lots of budget/model said X, actual was Y. Blah blah blah.
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
Feb 21, 2017 - 6:09pm

Row and company profiles are the worst (logos and reading website info to make descriptions that will naturally be changed dramatically by the MD), followed by precedent transactions and PIBs (particularly private company PIBs).

I am a blogging intern at Wall Street Oasis. Feel free to follow me to see my weekly posts.
Feb 21, 2017 - 7:28pm
  • Drafting engagement letters
  • Dealing with compliance/KYC/NBC
  • Going to roadshow meetings
  • Having to correct errors in analysts work when I've invested time teaching them how to do something I can do myself in 5% of the time
Feb 21, 2017 - 8:17pm

Entering contact information into a CRM program from everyone my MD meets at the trade shows he goes to. Value fuckin add.

The fool thinks himself to be a wise man, while the wise man thinks himself to be a fool.
Feb 23, 2017 - 10:27am

Yeah, you're telling me...

The fool thinks himself to be a wise man, while the wise man thinks himself to be a fool.
Feb 22, 2017 - 10:57am

Retail pitch.
Had to make maps of each of the prospect's locations (there were more than 75 of them) with the color-coded locations of its 10 biggest competitors, the distance of the nearest hypermarket (which could be found on Google maps by searching a list of hypermarket banners until finding the nearest one), and a Google Satellite picture of the location (to have an idea of the parking lot size, said the MD).

Fun times.
Didn't even win the RFP.

Feb 25, 2017 - 6:04pm

As flipcup said, you have to differentiate between the "no-thinking" and the "minimal-thinking", and the latter is actually worse.

I would also differentiate between mundane work whose end product has value but is simply mind-numbing to execute vs the mundane work where even the end product is meaningless. I think the latter is far worse; the former may be dreadful for you as the junior tasked to do it, but there was a point to it. A lot of the examples I've read so far fall under this bracket.

I think the most dreadful is paraphrasing management notes to financial statements into your BB's risk/committee's preferred sentence structure and jargon. Very time-consuming, absolutely zero-insight, done entirely to satisfy a bureaucratic requirement, you'll be reprimanded if the format isn't up to standard, and something software will be doing imminently.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
  • 5
Feb 26, 2017 - 4:18pm

Amen. The general pool of work I dread because I know it will provide little value is where we are providing copious public info mished and mashed about a client to that client.

Oh, you really want an excessively annotated stock price chart? You think management doesn't know when their product launches were and what impact their earnings misses had on their shares? Wait, you want me to detect broad themes from equity research? You think the management that just met with those guys needs to be told that they came out of their talks with "increased visibility on a ramp towards executing a MSD growth pattern"?

Makes my blood boil. At least with rolling multiples, there's some art in comp selection and explaining divergences, but when you're slicing and dicing a company's trading updates and quarterly performance to a Board or management that lives and reviews that stuff damn near every day, you can just visualize those pages being skipped over come meeting time.

Feb 22, 2017 - 9:31pm

Once got asked to draft a list of potential acquisition targets for a portfolio company of one of our PE clients. Involved drafting every potential pest control company in Canada (hint: none are public), and then for the 150 of them that were affordable for our client. Calling each company to ask "Hey, would you be interested in a potentially selling your company to [PE Buyer]"

General response was fuck off we have been family owned for XX amount of years, stop trying to rope us into your Toronto corporate web (for those who aren't familiar with Canada, most of these companies are based in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, (Pick obscure region from Eastern Alberta to Western Ontario), Canada.

Feb 24, 2017 - 5:27am

During an internship several years ago we had to analyze ~350 private companies. So there was this Excel template we used for the ratios and all important metrics.
When I was told that the next step is to mash all the gathered information into a single Excel file so we can compare the companies, I got my inner VBA monster working and figured how I'd extract the info without even opening the files.
Long story short: Numbers weren't making sense, so I investigated each and every file to repair a dude's 'fix of the template because it was ugly.' Apparently the concept of a 'template' was vague.

Feb 24, 2017 - 9:00am

Had to use a desktop scanner during an equity research internship to help a different division make their paper account files into digital account files. This continued for a short time until they hired someone to do it.

  • 1
Feb 25, 2017 - 7:53pm

My bank doesn't have a CRM.

When we make buyers lists and put them into contact logs, we have to search for the best contact person. Sometimes we can use buyers and relationships from prior deals, but not usually. We repeat this process every time we start a new deal. Past relationships, investment preferences, and info about buyers is lost every time we start a new deal. First/last name, title, email, phone number.

We go to >300 buyers per deal, especially if we're going to sponsors.

Maximum effort.
  • 1
Feb 26, 2017 - 5:39pm

Nope, I wish. I think it's generally due to the senior bankers not understanding the benefits of a CRM.

Maximum effort.
Mar 4, 2017 - 8:29pm

HAS to be Working Group Lists... thankfully at this point for any deals we lead, I just aggregate them from all of the banks and send them to some monkeys in Dubai..but before that it would take me forever, and inevitably would get the kickback emails because I misspelled some Jamokes last name from some irrelevant regional shop coming in as co-manager with 1% economics...

Mar 5, 2017 - 4:10pm

Bro... misspelling a name is fucking amateur hour - doesn't matter who it is it makes your firm look stupid. You definitely deserve the shit hahaha

Mar 6, 2017 - 11:33am

You must have a pretty sweet team in Dubai. I couldn't even get native english speaking word processors, upstairs from me, to get more than 2/3 of the names spelled right. So I'd have to send the thing out 5 times.

Jun 6, 2017 - 4:39pm

Least Favorite Pages (Originally Posted: 08/14/2017)

Worst pages. We've all done them. Let's hear what your least favorite are.

To kick it off, some of my least favorite things are:
- annotated stock price charts
- industry landscapes
- complicated bridge charts

Jun 6, 2017 - 4:42pm

Your Favorite and Least Favorite Parts of the Deal Process (Originally Posted: 10/07/2007)

What are you favorite and least favorite parts of the deal process?

Personally, I think writing the CIM is pretty fuckin boring. Just straight up data entry for the most part and it can take a long while.

My favorite part? Not totally sure, building the model can be fun, and actually getting into client meetings and seeing the senior bankers go to work (though there isn't too much for an analyst to do outside of watch and listen).

Jun 6, 2017 - 4:43pm

are you dan bush?

_______________________________________ http://www.drmarkklein.blogspot.com/
Jun 6, 2017 - 4:45pm

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