New VP struggles - asking seasoned VPs for help

Thanks to all you guys and the community for your well detailed advice on previous threads!I've recently been prom to VP, due to good perf as Assoc but also fast-tracked as many VP left. Strategy in the team was to move up assoc and hire analysts.

Sounds like a great opportunity for me after 3yrs as assoc but seems I'm struggling to cope with the VP transition role: lot of deal flow atm on which i still do most of the work I used to as an assoc, empty VPs desks, plus MDs are patching me now in a lots of clients meetings, besides I also need to mentor the assoc/analysts.

We often see a lot of advice for new analysts or MBA-assoc but not that much help about how to manage the VP role, in particular for recent ones.I like the bank, payouts were increased twice this year, the team is great and what I do still motivates me.

However, asking for mentoring advice here cause I'm really feeling a bottleneck and struggle with long days…Any seasoned or recent VPs that have been through this that want to share advice, tips??… there are many great VPs out there!

Thanks guys!

Comments (23)

Jan 8, 2022 - 5:18pm

Not sure what advice you are after but happy to have a chat if you want.

It's time to look up: build relationships with your counterpart, develop true knowledge of your sector, network as much as you can. You should start thinking about your business plan to become an MD...

Might be controversial but delegate as much as possible, stop doing things (excel, ppt), cut the conversation with more junior analyst and speaks to the associate.

Try to set time to mentor the junior but don't be 24/7 available for them otherwise when you are on 10 files, you will answer them all the time and have no time from you.

Depends a bit what your struggle is...

Jan 8, 2022 - 8:36pm

This is a great layout.Could you elaborate more on cutting conversations short with analysts and only go through the associate. It's tough because 2 weeks ago as an assoc, you were part of the junior squad, but now you're intentionally cutting ties somewhat.The other question is it normal to be treated as a senior associate by the more senior VPs, the general team (ie, the promotion takes some time to gel?) feels like some folks are slow to recognize the title shift

Jan 9, 2022 - 4:08am

It is always very easy to answer 10 simple questions from the analysts but that will take you a lot of time which you don't have so by having the associate managing the analyst you save your time.

You don't have to be rude or anything but here are few things you can do:

-Could you check with X please, I don't have the time right now.

-call the associate and ask him X,y z and tell him to coordinate with the analyst

-set aside some time in the day to review / answer questions to the analysts (as opposed to answering all the time).

-let them know that you are busy and will answer later

On the whole, it is a fine balance: you need to find time for yourself but also your job is get the job done... Sometimes it's faster to do it yourself but you should be on 10 other things (or need a rest) so it might be better to delegate...

Most Helpful
Jan 9, 2022 - 12:52pm

To use a basketball analogy, you are now the point guard. The best point guards run the offense which can mean anything from setting up others score, deferring to others who can then take the basketball and score, and also generate offense and scoring yourself. To put that in IB terms, you now have a team of junior bankers and senior bankers that you need to make sure are in the best position to work accurately and efficiently. 

Setting up others to score: each day, ideally at the beginning so that your juniors aren't sitting idly waiting for you, you need to organize your thoughts around what needs to get done and when it needs to get done by. Often this includes shelling out decks (with as specific comments/direction as possible), drawing up slides, and allowing the juniors to work independently on the deck which will free you up to concentrate on other things. You now have years of associate experience and know what a work product needs to look like and say. Your juniors don't necessarily have the benefit of that so be as specific as possible when describing what you need them to do. Don't just say "you heard the MD, make it happen". In all likelihood you will get back a product that is not what you had in mind and will spend more time up on the backend then if you had just sat down and spent an hour or two in the morning really thinking about what needs to be in the deck.

Derring to others to score: There are certain tasks that others (both junior and senior) need to be doing that doesn't necessarily involve you but you need to be responsible for ensuring they get done. Example (junior): you are in diligence on a sellside and the team needs to send out an updated tracker and list of management to-dos/priorities each night so keep the group on track. Your associate/analyst should be able to handle this so just let them take ownership and make your job ensuring that it happens each day. Example (senior): you are reaching out to prospective buyers on a sellside and you know MD has great relationships with x,y,z buyers. The CIP is ready and NDAs are going out, you need to make sure the MD is actually making calls and keeping the process on track so buyers aren't getting behind.

Scoring yourself: Your job as a VP isn't to just sit around and remind people about things and wait for the juniors to do the work. When you sit down in the morning you should figure out what is the most efficient way to get things done and that will include you taking on tasks as well. Feel free and empowered to shift the PPT and excel work to the juniors (but again with actual direction, not just straight delegation) but there are a whole host of tasks that very much can fall in the VP's lap. Are there sensitive documents you need to decide if they belong in the dataroom (and at what stage)? Did buyer y come ask for a call with the bankers to discuss questions they had on the CIP (this is likely your responsibility)? Is there some complexities with the NWC analysis that you need to think through and create an argument for? Is management slacking on their diligence questions or do they need your help prioritizing? The list is endless

Hope this helps. A lot of the examples are deal related but you also need to start thinking about business development too. This doesn't necessarily mean cold-calling funds and drumming up business. It more likely means harvesting the relationships you make with principals and other mid level people at counterparties. The principal you spoke to about the CIP, maybe at the end of the call say "hey we have other opportunities coming to market in the future, it would be great to sit down and figure out what areas your fund is interested in". That's a good way to make warm introductions and get in the loop

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Jan 16, 2022 - 11:43pm

FYI - to the OP. If you're a VP don't just focus on origination. At the end of the day you will never get full credit for new business and you will definitely get blamed if work doesn't get done. It's all about balance. I'm not saying don't do it but I know VPs who think their job is to wine and dine. That is not a formula for success. Your core job is still execution and actually mentorship.

Single most important thing I did as a VP was to mentor. Build up juniors so when you're an ED or MD you get leverage. Otherwise you won't make it and/or will burn out.

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Jan 16, 2022 - 11:42pm

VP is the toughest level at a bank. My VP1 to ED 1 years were brutal. No way to sugarcoat this but to put head down and grind. 

You will need to do all of the below well

1) Mentor and coach

2) Multitask / originate

3) Build client relationships

4) Create content and start developing judgment

5) Still be responsible for work

PM me if you want to chat

Here are the don'ts

1) Don't punt work and not check

2) Don't coast

3) Don't blame your juniors

4) Don't hide and worry you're not senior enough

5) Don't be a lone wolf - learn to actually work with other VPs

  • VP in PE - LBOs
Jan 17, 2022 - 2:49am

Thanks for this list. Some questions on mentoring and coaching.
 

1) If analysts made mistakes, say something goofy by not sanity checking the numbers, how would you tell them in a way that doesn't demoralize them? At what point do these warrant escalating up the chain?

2) How do you deal with hot shot analysts or associates that think they are better than you are? Objective is to get them to cooperate, ideally by building a relationship.

Thanks again for your time and any thoughts.

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Jan 17, 2022 - 8:57am

1) If analysts make mistakes you can be direct. Don't coddle them. They're adults and if you coddle them you're hurting yourself and them but be polite and professional. Escalating? or blaming them. Don't blame take the hit. Then show them that you protected them but that their mistakes can hurt you. At same time, don't flip out at every single mistake. If there are just ability or attitude issues, you escalate once / put in their review. There's formal processes for these but don't do this every day. Frankly your ED / MD rely on your judgment (i.e, do you want to keep them or not). Like I said your biggest goal is to build your team as you get more senior to support your own growth

2) These guys usually leave or get put in their place (i.e., fail on something big). If they think you offer them nothing or are an obstacle and don't want to work with you, just let them work directly with ED / MD. That's something you can tell your ED / MD. You need to develop open communication with your ED / MD to empower you this flex

Jan 20, 2022 - 5:56pm

few things here

1: be direct, give feedback often, but assess based on the recipient. if the analyst f****s up, first question is how did that get to you without being checked by the associate? A lot of fine tuning can be done there. Be mindful that you're years away from the junior analysts so being too rash can make them think that their career is over... 

2. empower them. the deal is that if they do part of your job, you can do someone else's. Keep an eye on things and be sure that they don't go run on their own without you knowning what's happening, but give them freedom to operate. You want them to grow with you

Key things for me:

- you need to think where your time is the best used. Make sure you create quality thinking time. Drawing slides is time consuming and can be done by an associate (or a good analyst). Thinking about sell-side materials / the management presentation (where the analyst was asleep at the back of the room or doing something else whilst on zoom) is value add and where you can leverage your experience. 

- you are likely working on 4-6 different things (and potentially as many analysts / associates). 10 minutes of your time is worth more than 10 minutes of theirs. Brief them to manage some of the work better (e.g. best idea ever was telling an analyst that a PIB was great, but it was better if he had gone through it and flagged the most interestings items. saves from going through x00s pages of useless stuff)

Comments from above where good: prioritize work allocation vs. you doing. leverage your team & allow them to do more.

Don't allow questions on the go: if an analyst or associates needs to discuss something, either it's trivial and they can figure it out with their peers. or it's important and they need to schedule time to discuss it.

Also, establish with them the hierarchy of good practices: "there was an issue /problem that I dealt with doing XYZ" >>> "there is an issue what do I do" >>> "job done no problem [hint: there is always an issue]"

Start having discussions early with directors & MD to understand better how your progression will work out. if you're in an industry group, do you need to think about subsectors to focus on? At that point you should more or less be aligned with some MDs already. IF you're in a product group, will you buddy up with some industry teams and stop working with the others?

Focus on developing your network. Make sure that after each deal you do a lunch / dinner / beers / spin session with your counterpart at the client, and don't skip on the auditors / consultants... Have regular (every 6 months) chats with them about market... some good intel for you to share with your team, and you can offer some intel to them too. Use your Amex, I've been amazed to see VPs with no client entertainment expenses. Internally, you need to be visible outside your team too. director promotions are always through committees and it's useful to have a fan club that reaches beyond your team.

Don't forget that whilst you don't have to manage all the details, you really are responsible for it. So training your associate, judging their ability... is becoming important.

And don't be a yes man or a pass through - it's the worst habit that people take at the VP level. Think leverage: you got 10 from the MD, you give 20 to the associate who gives 50 to the analyst. 

Jan 21, 2022 - 1:42am

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