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.

Comments (125)

Feb 20, 2017

And to start off the horror stories, once had to look up ~100 precedent deals for reverse break-up fees. Combing through filings for days. Why we did this instead of lawyers I still don't know.

Feb 21, 2017

Probably because you're way cheaper labor than a lawyer

    • 2
Feb 21, 2017

Thomson Reuters will send you a list for $0.60 per cell, to put in perspective what your time is worth.

Feb 20, 2017

Tell that to my MD

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

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.

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Feb 21, 2017
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.

    • 1
Feb 20, 2017

My reaction exactly

Mar 6, 2017

Game changer

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

I used to work at a boutique bank and so much of my time was spent doing #1 because the companies were private

Feb 22, 2017

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.

Feb 23, 2017

Can confirm. Found basic numbers irreversibly messed up on CapIQ just last week

Feb 21, 2017
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.

Feb 23, 2017

There are definitely a ton of time-saving tools out there to cut down on the mundane work. You can get 20 years of highly-detailed historical financials for free from Rocket Financial if your firm doesn't have a subscription with those other services.

Feb 21, 2017

anything on ppt.

Feb 21, 2017

You're in for a bad few years.

    • 7
Feb 21, 2017

Trying to run away to some sophisticated investing/PE firm where intellectual honesty is valued. but you're probably right :(

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

You're in for some fun buddy

Feb 21, 2017

company profiles.

    • 6
Feb 20, 2017

What's the most company profiles you ever included in 1 pitch?

Feb 21, 2017

last one was 100 page deck with 30 company profiles.

Feb 25, 2017

Worst one I've ever done was just under 70 profiles, most of them had to be remade since my firm went through a company-wide rebranding and all our templates and formatting had to change. 130 page deck.

Feb 21, 2017

Waiting for clients to answer

Feb 21, 2017

Realistically 80% of your job

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

99% If you're not in a top group where they execute a lot more than they pitch.

    • 2
Feb 21, 2017

Company profiles

Feb 21, 2017

I do a lot of retail / restaurant work and trying to find operating statistics like AUV, SSS, cost to build and targeted returns can be brutal.

    • 2
Feb 21, 2017

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

Feb 21, 2017

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)

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

What is this function?

Feb 20, 2017

Id never heard of this either. This would have saved me a lot of aggravation, but different seniors had different bespoke PIB requirements so not sure it would have fully prevented the manual aspect...

Feb 21, 2017

At my (former) MM SA stint, they were most definitely still a thing. Nothing like sourcing dozens (sometimes hundreds) of pages of information that no one will read. Great SA hazing ritual.

    • 1
Feb 25, 2017

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.

Feb 21, 2017
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.

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017
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

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.

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

that's the sort of crap where you want to hang yourself or kill the dude.
Which industry has the most of such crap ? retail is def at the top of the list

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

did that before...and to make it even more enjoyable, senior banker wanted circles sized accordingly...definitely adding supreme value to client needs...this is why IBD analysts get paid the big bucks!

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

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

    • 7
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Feb 21, 2017

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?

Jun 6, 2017

IB analyst?

Feb 21, 2017

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..

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017
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.

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

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

Feb 21, 2017

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

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

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 21, 2017
TheBuellerBanker:

So I spent around 8 hours on a Sunday transcribing these financials from PDF to Excel

If you didn't know this website, it's going to save you some time.

Feb 21, 2017

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?

Feb 25, 2017

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.

Feb 21, 2017
  1. Enter the deal into pipeline
  2. FAS
  3. Red Rope
  4. Just submitting closing files in general
Feb 20, 2017

Closing files = the worst. How could I have missed this one. Closing files are clear winner folks.

Feb 22, 2017

Agreed closing files were such a pain. Felt so bad for the guy who's only job was to chase down analysts who didn't submit those on time.

Feb 21, 2017

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
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.

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Feb 21, 2017

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

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

Feb 21, 2017

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 21, 2017
NESCAC:

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

This was probably more meaningful than any of the jobs you did for him at work.

Feb 22, 2017
NESCAC:

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

Helped a director to rank the tiles he was considering to put in his kitchen.

    • 1
Feb 20, 2017

I'm not sure what surprises me more - that this happened or that he trusted you to advise on his kitchen tiles

Feb 22, 2017

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.

.

    • 10
Feb 20, 2017

I just lol'd.

Mar 4, 2017

One of the great things I've read on this site - pure gold

Feb 21, 2017

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.).

    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

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.

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Feb 21, 2017
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

    • 2
Feb 21, 2017
  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.
Feb 21, 2017

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
  • 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
    • 1
Feb 21, 2017

Pulling contact information (emails) for companies we want to reach out to. Some email formats for companies in Asia are impossible.

Feb 21, 2017

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

Feb 22, 2017

Lol. Sucks extra when your keyboard doesn't have a number pad.

...

Feb 21, 2017

isn't this a secretary's job ?

Feb 21, 2017

Yeah, you're telling me...

Feb 22, 2017

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

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.

    • 2
Feb 25, 2017

That last bit is fucking bullshit. Have to do the same thing to go through my MMs committee.

Feb 21, 2017

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.

    • 1
Feb 20, 2017

This is so spot on - and the best description of much of the analyst role. Filler pages that make the book fat and are never looked at? Yes please.

Feb 22, 2017

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.

    • 1
Feb 23, 2017
  1. KYC
  2. Closing Files
  3. Money Laundering Courses
  4. F*cking. Precedent. Transactions.
Feb 22, 2017

Work.

...

    • 1
Feb 24, 2017

Translating document titles in a 2000+ document data room into English

Feb 24, 2017

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.

    • 1
Feb 24, 2017

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.

Feb 24, 2017

maps of infrastructure assets - had to manually plot hundreds and hundreds of dots on a map. Took days when you can buy a program that does it for your automatically.

Feb 20, 2017

:(

Feb 25, 2017

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.

Feb 26, 2017

Is this due to some sort of legal requirement? That sounds insane!

Feb 25, 2017

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

Feb 25, 2017

On the PE side, preparing data rooms for off-market transactions... Having to pull all the information from the portfolio company and vetting it to make sure it all makes sense..

Mar 4, 2017

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...

Feb 21, 2017

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

Feb 20, 2017

In fairness, few things worse than the dreaded wiggle...

Feb 21, 2017

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.

Mar 8, 2017

...delete...

    • 1
Feb 20, 2017

You using BamSEC, Macabacus or LogoIntern at all?

Jun 6, 2017

Try building a 100+ list of competitor suppliers (niche, mid-market manufacturing cos). Do most of them have an easy-to-find/navigate website? Nope.

Did I spend all day yesterday and most of the night making said list? Yup.

Did the partner give 2 shits? Nope.

Jun 6, 2017

Complicated bridge charts!

Jun 6, 2017

Is this the same thing as a football field? Because if so, this is my answer as well. Necessary but a total pain

Jun 6, 2017
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