New MBA Associate

First time poster here. I hit the desk as a new MBA Associate a month ago at a well regarded BB Tech group. I've had a few "staffings" thus far but, outside of a few late nights for a deal that went pencils down, I have had almost nothing to do.

I am seeing that many of the other associates are working late nights. I do not currently feel like I am learning much and worry I may be falling behind. Definitely feeling some imposter syndrome. On the projects I've been staffed on I've tried to avoid the typical MBA associate pitfalls- have been doing essentially all of the analyst work, trying to ask insightful questions, not make the same mistakes twice, etc. Have a few questions, some more general than others:

  • is it typical for the workload to be this quiet early on?
  • Would you reach out to the staffer and ask for more? I have been advised against this.
  • I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount I do not know. It seems like everything is learned in a piecemeal manner based on what you are currently staffed on. What would you recommend in order to get up to speed/ get ahead of the current method of learning everything as I do it for the first time under the pressure of a deadline?
  • As of now I am hoping to at least stay through a VP promotion. The current VPs in the group seem wildly ahead of where I am in terms of knowledge/ experience. Have any of you seen someone from a non-finance background stay through VP and have success? I guess, how hard is this to achieve is what I am trying to gauge.
  • Any other helpful tips for new associates would be much appreciated

Appreciate any feedback.

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Comments (13)

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 20, 2021 - 11:26pm

Just wrapped up my first associate year and can assure you the work will come. There are ebbs and flows in this job- sometimes you even have a whole month where the work is 'slow'. For now, try to spend your time practicing modeling, flipping through relevant materials, etc. If you're going into the office try to grab coffee with bankers, especially senior ones you admire and connect- it pays dividends when you're staffed together or they may even staff you directly on something if they like you. Enjoy getting to bed at a reasonable hour, it'll keep you sharp for the moment your staffer asks if you have capacity which will inevitably come...

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 21, 2021 - 7:39pm

I liked it enough to not quit at the one year mark, but a lot of people in my class are leaving/have left.

I hate the average hours question because its transaction dependent. Generally, I worked 9am to 12/1am give or take some weeks with 4/5am-ers in there for crazy deals or pitches. Some weeks were like what you described- quiet-ish and loved those the most!

I'm not built to be a career banker though, my marriage couldn't last the level of unpredictability required to make this a career, plus the upside is not there as much as it used to be in my opinion. Looking forward to taking the skills and the network to something where I have more ownership and control of my time and life.

Sep 21, 2021 - 8:22am

Use the time to get into a sustainable workout routine (something that you can do ~30 min a day) and grab coffee chats with as many people as possible, including contacts in other parts of the bank. Get access to your sector's ER reports and start understanding the ins and outs of the industry. Practice some modeling. Look through old decks. Enjoy your sleep. Finance is an apprenticeship model which means you will all of a sudden look back in a year and realize how much you learned, even if you feel like you are not actively learning day to day. Completely normal. 

Sep 21, 2021 - 9:42am

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