Need help on how to fit in as a nerdy person (serious)


Hi all,

I'm currently a first year analyst at a mid-tier BB in NYC for training. Simply put, I feel like I don't fit into the culture of investment banking (more on this below) and I was hoping to hear your guys' perspectives and advice on how I could fit in better.

I'm an Indian American male, went to a top 10 university, and double majored in Math and Statistics while there. I recruited full time for IB and feel like I only got an offer because I went to a decent university and nailed the technical questions in the superday. My whole life, I've been rather shy and quiet, and I feel as if I've only found success because I worked hard and studied a lot. In college, I barely went to any parties and instead hung out with other STEM majors who were also "nerdy" and quiet. I've never been in a relationship before and have zero experience with girls.

Coming to analyst training, I feel a bit alienated and realize that I don't fit into the culture well. Many of the other analysts in my class seem very confident and type-A, and I can't participate in the "bro talk" that many of the other analysts seem to enjoy — conversations about partying, drinking, girls, sports, and music festivals. I have literally done none of these things and feel very left out of conversations and have made zero friends so far. I do want to join my fellow analyst in their weekend trips to bars and parties, but I feel like I'd just be standing awkwardly there without anyone to talk to.

Any advice on how I seriously might be able to improve and change? Any advice on how I might become more socially adept and less awkward around female analysts? This might seem like a trivial issue to some, but I'm feeling anxious and even lonely throughout training, and I'm afraid that things won't get any better once I start on the desk. Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks so much to everyone!

Comments (19)

Jul 13, 2019 - 5:40pm

start doing some of that stuff that you are talking about, the stuff that you have never done before. That way, you will be able to talk about that stuff with them, and hopefully will get to hang out with them once they realize that you aren't a hermit. As for the girls, just do it. Just view them as friends, don't view them as potential girlfriends. If you do view them all as potential girlfriends, it will be a lot harder for you to talk to them. Just be yourself man, you will get over it if you just talk to the people there, and do the other stuff mentioned. One last thing: Be cool, but don't try to be someone you aren't.

PS. If you aren't sure how to start a conversation, just ask the person about him or herself. That usually starts the conversation going.


Most Helpful
Jul 13, 2019 - 7:10pm

Moving to a new city is weird, and making friends is hard. You've been at work for like 5 days. Chill, you have time. Also, I can tell you 100% that you did not get your job because you "nailed your technicals." More than one person had to like you. Therefore, you're probably more normal than you think.

You're projecting an image on the new analysts. Not every person in the analyst class is A type. Every bank on the street has normal people, and those people hired your class. You'll find some homies. Making real friends may be hard, work buddies is super doable.

Honestly, you have to stay up to date with pop-culture in some way for small talk situations. You need something. Sports and TV are easiest. Partying and music festivals go away once you hit the desk and party people will set their crews early (don't bother, I don't)

When someone asks what are you in to, talk about stuff you care about. Lying doesn't work. You'll gel with someone

Girls are people too. Say, "hi, I'm xyz. I don't think we've met. What's your name?" Talk about nonsense like schools, majors, and work and build from there. You're not going to be in a relationship with any of these girls, so it's a zero stress game. Just calm yourself down. They're just people.

Jul 14, 2019 - 5:37pm

I sorta have the mindset that I shouldn't adjust personal interests to conform to a work setting, meaning don't keep up with things like sports if you don't care or enjoy it yourself. That just perpetuates that culture and assimilates the rest. I'm more into music, gaming, outdoorsy stuff, and dank memes personally, and I am actually interested in markets more than my paycheck. I'm really type A, but I'm not a bro. Don't change yourself if you don't want to. If you want more of a glimpse into their world, tell them that, and I'm sure they will bring you along with them. They probably wouldn't mind showing you the ropes of that lifestyle.

You may not even fully know yourself if you haven't experienced certain things. If it won't kill you or someone else, you may as well jump into at least once and give it a try. Put yourself out there, do some stupid things, get your heart broken, live life and have some good stories to take away from it all. However you do that should be up to you though.

JUST DO IT. Don't let your memes be dreams.
Jul 14, 2019 - 7:06pm

Putting in my $0.02 here. As someone who still hasn't accommodated to the stereotypical banking lifestyle, it can be difficult but only at first. Just know that many people in banking are not the Type-A / alpha personalities they all claim to be, they only act that way to try to fit in. Try to concentrate on your interests and try to start conversations about that to enlighten others who might not be that familiar to what things that interest you.

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Jul 14, 2019 - 11:15pm

I just wrote a novel only to find that the website didn’t register it. Kind of pissed but I’d still like to help. Main bullet points were:
- You don’t have to change who you are in order to fit in, but if you learn to ask good questions about things THEY are interested in, and have an interest in what they’re saying, you can connect with anyone. Even the ‘bros’
- Be open minded and try any new experience that you can. How will you know if you like something unless you actually try it? I was straight edged in every sense of the meaning up until 20, and when I finally stopped being such a stiff is when opportunities opened up for me.
- Workout, dress sharp in fitted clothes, keep a clean haircut. Your appearance to others is just as important as it is to yourself for your confidence.
- Your brain should automatically lack a focus to find a ‘girlfriend’ at the office. Talk to them as if they’re your friend and in the same way you’d talk to a guy. There’s really no difference.
- Two things you should follow are Joe Rogan’s podcast and the YouTube channel Nelk. Joe Rogan has conversations with people that are interesting to most people. You can easily talk about those topics with coworkers at lunch whether they follow him or not. As for Nelk, they’re degenerates, but they’re funny/witty and it’ll probably just help to watch how they interact with people.
- Find a few sports (college or professional), that interest you. Being a sports fan doesn’t mean you follow every single sport.
- Going off of my first point of asking good questions and listening to what people are interested in, I’d recommend reading “How to win friends and influence people”
- Someone I worked with struggled socially and took improv classes for it. I believe it helped.
- I tried Genius Joy for a bit when my brain was acting a bit weird after moving somewhere for work and not knowing a soul in the city. I don’t think it has negative health effects and it works for a lot of people

Overall, make yourself uncomfortable and have a desire to grow yourself in areas that you haven’t had experience. You don’t need to change who you are to conform to others, but you should instead just seek to understand them, and along the way you’ll learn what you personally like. George Orwell said “Ignorance is strength.” Own your inexperience, don’t try to be a different person. Go to every office happy hour you can, don’t be afraid to ask what other people like to drink, and if someone asks if you want a shot, just take it. In a couple months if you decide that that’s not your scene, so be it, but it won’t kill you to try something new. Feel free to PM if you’d like to talk further. Happy to help

Jul 14, 2019 - 11:25pm

I can actually give you some pretty good advice because I have come from a similar situation as yours. First, you need to change your outlook, don't think of yourself as a nerd, think of yourself as an intelligent individual looking to make a change. You should start acquiring passions such as working out, meeting more people in social situations and I would recommend sports too. If you truly have an interest in something, there is bound to be a person with an interest similar to yours. Just be yourself and let it flow naturally. Send me a PM if you wish because I was exactly in your shoes.

"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"
Jul 18, 2019 - 5:17am

IBD is a sales job it's not a quant job...if you don't feel comfortble in a front office setting and selling (aka networking, drinking and socializing with clients ever more important than your peers) perhaps you're in the wrong industry...and personally given where IBD is today engineering/quant jobs are far superior both from earnings potential and work/life outta think about that.

Jul 19, 2019 - 3:38pm
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