Q&A: Consistent Top Bucket IB Analyst

Hi WSO Community, 

I've recently gotten a lot of PMs from prospects/SAs on this forum asking for advice, so I'd like to open it up to a discussion. A senior banker once told me that banking wouldn't be anywhere without top bankers passing down knowledge/skills to junior bankers. 

A bit about me- I came from a non-target in the midwest and recruited heavily to get into IB. During my time in IB, I picked up a lot of skills from the top analysts and associates, and finished top bucket the past two years. 

I'm going to share some top bucket advice below, but please feel free to ask me any questions. Some of this advice I'm going to reuse from my prior posts, but it's always worth hearing a second time. 

  • Overall as an analyst, your job is to make your MDs, VPs, and Associates job easier. If you apply this general principle to your everything in your work, you'll finish top bucket. Don't be a kiss a$$, but I usually ask my VPs or associates what I can do to make their life easier every night before they leave. I have a great culture in my current role so this may not work out for you, so take this with a grain of salt if you like 

  • Be everyone's "go-to" analyst. Whenever associates or other analysts have questions about something they haven't done before, get them to ask you and not others. I do this by learning the ins and outs of models, understanding debt, becoming a great data analyst, learning the industries you cover, understanding legal and credit agreements, and many more. Look through past deals that you weren't on at some of the financial analyses performed, terms of deals, etc

  • Triple check each email sent out, especially to clients. If I'm sending critical emails, I'll always type "XX" in the cc bar so it stops me from sending it. That makes me read it one last time

  • F7 everything 

  • Print out all your decks and deliverables and read through them without any music playing / no distractions

  • Ask for more speaking roles, and prep for each one. This will earn you respect and prep you for your next career progression 

  • Treat every excel output like you're reviewing it before you send it off to the associate / VP. Alt + M + D should be your best friend. Build more checks than you have to. Treat your work as if you just received it from a junior analyst and have to review it before the MD sees it. Everything should make sense

  • When sending excel outputs to your associates of VPs, use Alt + W + I and print them as PDF and send the PDF to them as well. They love to see this, especially if they're on their phone and trying to look at the output

  • By hyper organized as an analyst. This takes the form of creating dozens of folders for your deals, labeling different turns of purchase agreements in separate folders, etc.

  • Be hyper attentive to your email. A morgan stanley MD once told me that you could be the smartest analyst alive but not respond to emails in a timely fashion, you're less useful than an averagely smart analyst that's always responding as quickly as possible

  • Be a mastermind in excel and powerpoint. This should be a given, but you should be completely hands free in excel and 80% hands free in powerpoint. Create your own quick access toolbar- this cuts down on keystrokes rather than using shortcuts

  • Learn how to model, even if you're just starting out and it's the associate's job to model. F2 the formulas and see how things flow through the model. You should learn how to LBO as well, especially if you're considering buyside opportunities. I build models from scratch in my downtime rather than mindlessly scrolling through the internet. You either get better or worse everyday, I choose to get better

  • Understand credit agreements purchase agreements, and other legal documents. I can't tell you how many times we've been on internal calls and a VP asks "what was XXXX prevision in the purchase agreement, let me look it up" and I have an answer for them on the spot. You definitely won't understand everything at first, but this will be a crucial role as you move up in banking, PE, etc. Obviously there's lawyers that ultimately handle this, but you'll be very valuable to your client / internal team

  • Understand debt. I don't know why debt gets trashed on so much on WSO, but it's such a large influence on the markets, especially M&A. You should know the industry's leverage levels, typical lenders that cover the space, covenants, etc. Pull public comp credit agreements and read through them. You should also learn how to model debt, even though PE shops do it on their own (especially if you're recruiting buy-side)

  • Learn how to say no. You can't be on every deal and help out everyone. That's how burnout happens. You need to manage your workload. It's a marathon, not a sprint

  • Manage your expectations. Come into everyday thinking you'll leave the office at 11 pm at the earliest. If you leave at 8 pm instead on a Thursday, it makes your week. Being an analyst will be a grind and you need to have the right mindset if you're going to make it. Establish the "survivalist" mentality

  • Always take detailed notes, no excuses. Your notes should be heavily relied upon, especially when your higher ups can't be on every call. Always put the meeting attendees, action items, and the body of the meeting. We've all been in calls when we feel like we don't need to take notes and be on our phone, I'd say put the phone down and take notes instead. It'll pay dividends in the long term

  • For health purposes, eat salads for lunch and less carbs for dinner. You can get in exercise everyday, no matter what. This can be running a 7 minute mile right before bed. Prioritize sleep. Don't drink alcohol during the week

If you've made it to the end, feel free to ask away at anything you'd like

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (63)

Nov 19, 2021 - 12:22pm

1. Yes, just keyboard only 

2. Best way to read is starting with defined terms, then moving into covenants/provisions. For example, to find fixed charge coverage terms, you have to read what the document defines EBITDA as, as well as other additions to the numerator, along with what they consider principal payments on debt outstanding (sometimes senior debt is only looked at here, depends on the deal). I'd also recommend learning the capital structure of NewCo/CombinedCo, learn and understand the flow of funds, escrow triggers, etc.   

  • Summer Associate in IB - Cov
Nov 19, 2021 - 12:14pm

Thanks for this - it is amazing. A few questions below: 

1) Best way to learn modelling / PowerPoint ? I am at a super small regional office with not many mentors so looking for good resources. How did you also go about learning shortcuts?

2) Similar to above poster, what is the best way to learn about purchase agreements, credit agreements, provisions, covenants, legal documents etc. to add value to the team?

3) What are your future plans? Staying in IBD? PE? 

Thank you! 

3)

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Nov 19, 2021 - 1:54pm

1. I learned best by watching my associates / VPs model. If they're running with a model or some analysis, I always ask if I can sidecar if I'm not busy. Second, I F2 formulas to understand their inputs, along with ALT + M + D to see how the model flows through. Last, it's always helpful to model in your downtime. I pull up models from deals I'm not working on and see if I understand them. 

2. Answered above

3. See myself as a career banker for now. I'll stay on at least till I'm an associate, but my bank has been transparent with me and indicating they'd want me to stay on to VP, assuming I reach certain goals and operate at/above my current level 

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 19, 2021 - 12:29pm

Fuck is it just me or does anyone else just not have motivation for all this. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I'm tired of it all. All this shit and dudes are flipping our salary on a few crypto trades in their pajamas. Appreciate the write-up regardless.

Nov 19, 2021 - 9:02pm

Definitely not just you. I don't even know where this guy finds time to do the shit he does. I barely have enough time to even touch my phone some days. You think in the 5 minutes I have to check all the missed texts/emails from family and friends, I'd rather ignore it and look up nuances in legal documents? Yeah fuck that. I barely have time to take a piss, much less be a JD-having, LBO-modeling, go-to guy for the whole office.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 19, 2021 - 10:03pm

Yeah and I'm sure some senior guy will stroll in here and try to convince me that "for every winner there are thousands of losers" or some shit but who gives a fuck about losing a few thousand dollars when your upside several hundred thousand or even a million? Maybe again it's just me, but I could give less of a damn about the "risk" of losing $5k and it does feel like shit when your doing something you hate everyday and you feel like everyone else is getting rich around you. yeah I get it apparently comparison is the thief of joy or something...whatever

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 20, 2021 - 10:45am

My man I've been feeling the same way. I'm not sure if its just more extreme in IB, but I just don't feel the same corporate grind motivation that others seem to have. Feeling like I should've accepted decent money for a normal life over this. Doesn't help that I did make pretty good money junior and senior year of college too and now these IB paychecks just don't seem worth this grind.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 20, 2021 - 12:37pm

Wow your last sentence about making a bunch of money your last year of college is me and feeling that way is literally me. We sound like the same person lol. Crypto or something else? Regardless, at least you know you are not alone in having these thoughts. I didn't expect my comment to get as many SBs on this post as it did and is still going up some many others share our sentiments man.

As much as this is a great site, vast majority of the advice on here outside of recruiting is downright awful. If I listened to the mindset of some of these people of "playing it safe" or that "comparison is the thief of joy" I would be no where near the position I am in currently. I don't want to be a dick to the OP, but life is so short. Unless you genuinely enjoy it, why push yourself so much in a job where your upside is capped? Let's keep our heads up.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 21, 2021 - 2:17pm

Didn't expect this blow up...can definitely take solace in the fact that many others feel the same way. We are not alone hang in there. Appreciate it guys. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 19, 2021 - 2:04pm

Appreciate the write up but after half a year of doing this and being everyone's "guy." I stopped giving a fuck. Not responding to emails for hours and such. Obviously I still do a good job but if they're not gonna respect my time, I won't respect theirs. I'd rather have better hours and a shittier bonus, then no life and an extra 20K.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 21, 2021 - 10:43am

Mid-bucket is a pretty good spot to be. 

That doesn't mean you shrug off associates it just means you might actually be able to date before you are 30.  

Nov 19, 2021 - 3:08pm

1. How do you balance being everyone's "guy" while being able to push back? I'm the kind of person who would rarely push back on work during my time in IB, and that combined with being very responsive with email, ensured people could turn to me. What kinds of things do you push back on and when do you feel most comfortable doing so?

2. I've always been a significant believer in documenting all of my work and keeping it organized. Do you have a system of maintaining your notes?

3. What are some regular practices you do to keep organized? You mention use of folders and such, but is there anything else? I'm actually a bit of a freak for neatness and regularly found my colleagues were able to perform ok without being perfectly organized, since organization in itself is rather time consuming (as it was in my case). 

4. What do you use for your Excel hot-keys (quick access toolbar shortcuts)?

5. Any good dinner recommendations?

Best of luck with the job and way to go with being a top player! Everyone here appreciates your time in giving back to the community as well. Very cogent post!

Nov 19, 2021 - 6:37pm

1. Give pushback on redundant tasks, if possible. For example- MD asked me to make more buyer profiles than people that were actually attending, I pushed back and won. You have to have a fine line and make sure you're well respected by the person you're pushing back against

2. I use one note- it's great. Has a great keyword search functionality that lets you search for notes years back. I structure folders in a deal like "client," "internal," "buyer," "advisor," etc.

3. Version things out more than necessary, keep an archive of CIPs and leverage work you've used before, create more folders than less, there's a lot of examples here

4. I tried to paste a picture of them but it didn't work. Basically all your most-used tasks that require 3-5 keystrokes should go on your quick access toolbar (in excel, add row, change fill color, decrease decimal, filter, new window, freeze pane, etc, in ppt- align function, create object, crop, etc.) all these shortcuts take 3-5 keys, using the quick access toolbar takes 2-3 keystrokes. Hint- use ALT + W + N to open two panes in one model

5. I usually eat chipotle, so chicken, extra veggies, guac, spinach, and that's it. No queso, rice, steak, or chips

Nov 20, 2021 - 7:09pm

have you ever seen how much salt content is in Chipotle tho? that plus lack of sleep = instant high blood pressure diagnosis. just saying

Nov 19, 2021 - 11:49pm

You mentioned the best way to be a great financial modeler is on the job and practice when you have leisure time. Mind sharing resources that can be leveraged i.e. one that gives color on how to make great assumptions for projections 

Nov 20, 2021 - 10:16am

Sure, two answers to that. Macabacus has good excel templates for merger models, lbos, and more. They're quite useful for understanding how to model. For making great assumptions for projections, it's really an art more than a science and every deal will be different. If you don't have any input from management, you can analyze historical trends or pull analyst reports / equity research reports on public comparable companies and look at their projected growth rates

Nov 20, 2021 - 5:14am

Really appreciate the well written note. This was super useful.

On building models from scratch for practice - I like spending time on existing available models at the firm and always F2 through formulas to fully understand the logic / inputs behind the formulas. Im a first year analyst and work at a relatively smaller IB shop so there is limited exposure to the more intermediate level, and above, complex models more commonly used at bigger shops that perform more of the standard detailed analysis.

I like working in excel and am eager to expand my skillset in this area but feel like im missing out on opportunities to build that exposure and dont really know the full extent of what I am even missing out on.

  • Can you please point in the direction of any resources / examples of types of models that could help with this? Or any suggestions in general. Would very much appreciate
Nov 20, 2021 - 10:13am

Sure, my firm has tons of different kinds of models, so I'm able to leverage those. It's disappointing that you're not in the same boat. 

After I've spun though most of my firms models, I've tried a few models I've been able to find on the web. Macabacus has a good lbo, merger modeling, and other template excel models- I've pasted the link below. Lbos are always great to learn the concepts of modeling, so I'd start there

https://macabacus.com/lbo-model/templates  

Nov 20, 2021 - 9:10am

This is an excellent post, for everyone in the comments saying you don't have time or motivation to put in the extra effort it's likely a function of your group's culture. Correct me if I'm wrong OP, but are you often receiving positive feedback or getting commended publicly by MDs? I was in a similar situation during my stint in IB and even the smallest gesture of gratitude for your effort can fuel you for a while. There was a mantra in my group that doing the bare minimum was the best way to survive as seniors would often take advantage of you (i.e., pile on more work) if you went above and beyond. I found this to be mostly true but there were a few VPs / MDs who noticed and I did my best to get staffed with them as much as possible. There's bound to be at least someone who appreciates your effort so if you're in a bad group focus on getting staffed with folks who will actually give af and notice your value adds. If you're good you can likely accomplish this using built up political capital to dictate your staffings (a common feature for highly regarded analysts). This will make your experience MUCH better and you won't burnout as quickly as others and likely place top bucket. Positive feedback loop is real and ultimately becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Cheers

Nov 21, 2021 - 9:50am

Sure, see some pointers below: 

  1. Network deep instead of wide. Although it's great to know many analysts/associates. It's far better to have one deep connection with a few analysts who'll step up to the plate for you instead of just rattling off names of people that "know you," but really don't after one phone call.
  2. Stagger your emails if you're going to email multiple analysts at a bank/in a group. These analysts talk to each other, and nothing makes them laugh more than an undergrad trying to hit them all up at the same time.
  3. Type out your emails every time, never cut and paste. Programs, even gmail and outlook, can take cut and pasted emails and turn them into a weird format. It's happened to me before, and that can ruin your reputation at a bank. Analysts fwd these to their whole teams and laugh at you if it happens.
  4. It's a numbers game. Don't get down on yourself if you're not having as much luck as you thought. Keep at it, it will pay off.
  5. Be sure to change up your wording if emailing analysts at the same bank. They'll show each other messages sometimes, and it looks bad if they're all the same. It's tedious, but worth it.
  6. Email your "top" picks at 10:00 AM on Tuesday. It's the best time to send emails and you get the most responses at this time.
  7. Always confirm the exact time (and time zone)/date of a meeting or a call with the analyst. This sounds like common sense, but I've made a call to an associate by mistake at 10:00 AM instead of 10:00 PM.
  8. When in meetings, ask inquisitive questions, and then shut up. Analysts love to "show off" how much they know. They don't like being interrupted. Asking good questions and being genuine will make them want to step up to the plate for you.
  9. Always close the meeting out by asking what they like to do for fun or if they have any hobbies. Many of them work so much, but it's nice to have a personal connection. In addition, write down this personal trait in your contact spreadsheet so you can steer future conversations to a more personal tone.
  10. When asking for analyst's time, propose a wide range of dates/times your available for them to choose from. It's nice to have analysts not go back and forth with you asking when you're available. Shows them you know how to network as well.
  11. Always send follow-up emails and thank them for your time.
  12. Make a judgement call on whether you can ask them for any analysts they can introduce you to. Sometimes calls go well, sometimes they don't. Don't always jump the gun and awkwardly ask who they can introduce you to.
  13. Know your stuff before you go to the meeting. It varies, but some analysts treat networking meetings as an interview. Don't be surprised if they ask you technical. It's low pressure, but you still don't want to screw up. You also should be able to tell your story and the "walk me through your resume/tell me about yourself" questions with ease.
  14. Take notes in meetings, especially how they describe their deal team, culture, and other things about the job. When in interviews, you can say these buzzwords that analysts have previously said about the culture, deal teams, etc.
  15. Never stop networking. I still network/keep in touch with new analysts and my current contacts even though I have a job. You never know when you'll need to call on one of them and see if they can throw your resume in.
Nov 22, 2021 - 1:37pm

wow thank you so much for your detailed response, its extremely helpful. One more thing apart from mailing the analysts have you found good success using Linkedin, being from a non target and having less alumni? Also you talked about staggering emails throughout different groups, so should one mail analysts in all the groups I can access to or only the ones I am really interested in working? Thank you in advance!

Nov 20, 2021 - 11:16pm

Do you think all the effort that you put in to get top bucket was worth it at the end of the day? If so, why? 

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 21, 2021 - 1:37am

All of the above will make you not be bottom bucket, it won't make you be top. I think this is a misleading misconception people who haven't done the job for 2 years have. Being top bucket is about 50% luck 50% skill, it's not as simple as whoever works the hardest or is the smartest is considered the best. There are certain staffing/ paths analysts can get on that will set you up to succeed or set you up to fail. Working with more positive people who are also professionally succeeding in the organization will help you ride momentum and they will be more likely to vouch and advocate for you. If you have busted processes or teams that are struggling in their career, they will naturally be more negative about their experience and your performance as an analyst.

Top bucket is a combo of getting good staffings/ being put in situations to succeed and doing what this post describes. If you end up with an asswipe negative MD it will be impossible to be top bucket and you just do damage control. There is significant luck involved in working in any large organization and if you get traction with good teams/ processes you will have a great experience. But you also could be an amazing analyst that gets on not great projects or has incompetent managers and you can get setup to fail no matter how great you are. I didn't realize this until on the back end of my analyst experience I had a terrible VP who didn't know how to run a process and was very insecure. All of a sudden suggestions I had on improving processes weren't welcomed/ he viewed things like taking initiative as an attack on his job or me insinuating he didn't know when to tell me to do things. I also had a brilliant analyst in my class that seemed to have deals die on them constantly and they delivered solidly for one project, but that's not enough to really make you be top bucket. You can't be top bucket being a pitching machine. The way you get top bucket is you work with the better managers in the organization that set you up to succeed and you also deliver by doing the above. 

Nov 21, 2021 - 9:36am

That's very true, good point. The deals you're staffed on can really make or break your spot as a top bucket. I've been fortunate enough to be put on more desirable deals with a great MD that will back me no matter what, so that definitely plays a role. I think doing the above helped me get to be put on those type of deals as well. 

Nov 21, 2021 - 4:14pm

Agreed. Doing great work for a a set VPs or Associates that are not respected in the group won't benefit you as their inputs are not as valued in the group as others. There are a lot of politics that go into bucketing.

Putting in 100 hours for a set of teams that are not respected is not worth it.

Run in the middle of the pack and let luck determine the rest, is my approach lol.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 21, 2021 - 5:13pm

Personally I'd argue it's worth it being top bucket if the luck lines up, but if it doesn't, it isn't. Put another way, at a certain point you should be able to recognize if your staffings lined up or not or if someone else has a hype train behind them. If your luck didn't line up, start coasting and be middle of the pack/ known by everyone as a "solid" person to work with, but who pushes back and at times will not prioritize work (because you say things like, "I'll be out tonight because I'm having dinner with friends" What isn't worth it though is acting like you are the top bucket analyst and never pushing back and being a doormat for a team that won't end up with you comped appropriately. If you work with people who are negative and not key decision makers optimize for yourself and start slacking. There's no reward for being close to top bucket-be solid and competent but have a spine. 

Nov 22, 2021 - 6:58pm

This is quite a write-up and kudos to OP, but for many people this isn't it. I did not know a single top bucket analyst at my EB who did even half of this shit.

Maybe it's because I'm washed, but I would seriously caution against wasting your early twenties for extra stuff - unless you absolutely love finance, it will seriously drain your mental health, and there are few actually practical benefits. I think in my year, top bucket was $10K above the "very-good-but-not-top" bucket at an EB, but those guys literally almost died. Also, it's not like they had better exit ops than others, since the recruiting timeline is so accelerated.

Anyway, here is some in-line advice for those who wish to be well-regarded / "very good" bucket without making you want to kill yourself.

  • Be everyone's "go-to" analyst. Whenever associates or other analysts have questions about something they haven't done before, get them to ask you and not others. I do this by learning the ins and outs of models, understanding debt, becoming a great data analyst, learning the industries you cover, understanding legal and credit agreements, and many more. Look through past deals that you weren't on at some of the financial analyses performed, terms of deals, etc

    • Why would you do this? Yes, you should help people out because that's what good people do, and if you're smart, then more people will ask for your help and respect you. But you do NOT want to be everyone's go-to. That's called getting taken advantage of, and unless you're some masochistic fuck, I wouldn't just parade around and offer up my limited time

    • Above applies especially for the MDs/VPs who garner little respect in the group relative to others and have less of a voice on your rating. Also, you might risk getting yourself stuck with some shitty senior folks by raising your hand when others don't (maybe there's a reason others aren't volunteering). Know some people who have inadvertently found themselves in this situation and it is truly fucked

  • Print out all your decks and deliverables and read through them without any music playing / no distractions

    • I actually think you shouldn't do this after the first 6 months. Unless you're a dipshit who literally can't type, a typo here and there won't hurt, and honestly efficiency is the name of the game. Sometimes doing that whole printing + highlighter is good when you absolutely have to, but if you're a good analyst you're consistently churning things out that are 90% accurate, with speed/efficiency more than making up for a few stupid errors (and with the amount of eyes that read every deck, the end state will be fine)

  • By hyper organized as an analyst. This takes the form of creating dozens of folders for your deals, labeling different turns of purchase agreements in separate folders, etc.

    • Be organized. This doesn't mean making dozens of folders for everything. Really pisses me off when I have to navigate into 6 layers of folders to get a single doc that's the only file in that folder. You couldn't just rename the file names based on version / timestamp??

  • Be hyper attentive to your email. A morgan stanley MD once told me that you could be the smartest analyst alive but not respond to emails in a timely fashion, you're less useful than an averagely smart analyst that's always responding as quickly as possible

    • Read the email, then decide how/when to respond based on urgency.

  • Learn how to model, even if you're just starting out and it's the associate's job to model. F2 the formulas and see how things flow through the model. You should learn how to LBO as well, especially if you're considering buyside opportunities. I build models from scratch in my downtime rather than mindlessly scrolling through the internet. You either get better or worse everyday, I choose to get better

    • If it's 2pm on a Tuesday and you've exhausted Netflix / WSJ, then buy-side LBO practice makes sense. You actually don't have to either get better or worse every day. It's OK to stay the same lmfao I hate this hustle culture mindset

  • Understand credit agreements purchase agreements, and other legal documents. I can't tell you how many times we've been on internal calls and a VP asks "what was XXXX prevision in the purchase agreement, let me look it up" and I have an answer for them on the spot. You definitely won't understand everything at first, but this will be a crucial role as you move up in banking, PE, etc. Obviously there's lawyers that ultimately handle this, but you'll be very valuable to your client / internal team

    • Nah. I'm in PE and I don't read the fucking credit docs aside from ctrl+F. There's like 3 things that matter to you as an Analyst / Associate, and I have better things to do than know certain random provisions of a purchase agreement on the spot for a call. Maybe just pull up the document and ctrl F while on a call if necessary?

  • Understand debt. I don't know why debt gets trashed on so much on WSO, but it's such a large influence on the markets, especially M&A. You should know the industry's leverage levels, typical lenders that cover the space, covenants, etc. Pull public comp credit agreements and read through them. You should also learn how to model debt, even though PE shops do it on their own (especially if you're recruiting buy-side)

    • Okay...learning how to model debt is the same as preparing for buy-side, and it's not that hard to understand the fundamentals, so you're covered there if you're gonna recruit regardless. No analyst should be reading credit docs for fun unless you hate yourself

  • Learn how to say no. You can't be on every deal and help out everyone. That's how burnout happens. You need to manage your workload. It's a marathon, not a sprint

    • Agreed

  • Manage your expectations. Come into everyday thinking you'll leave the office at 11 pm at the earliest. If you leave at 8 pm instead on a Thursday, it makes your week. Being an analyst will be a grind and you need to have the right mindset if you're going to make it. Establish the "survivalist" mentality

    • Agreed

  • Always take detailed notes, no excuses. Your notes should be heavily relied upon, especially when your higher ups can't be on every call. Always put the meeting attendees, action items, and the body of the meeting. We've all been in calls when we feel like we don't need to take notes and be on our phone, I'd say put the phone down and take notes instead. It'll pay dividends in the long term

    • Disagree pretty heavily. Detailed notes are actually pretty tedious to wade through, and senior people have the attention span of children. You're literally doubling your workload by taking notes, then having to summarize the notes you took. Again, efficiency

    • You should actually try to do the opposite and take fewer but more effective notes. This trains you to actually listen to what matters and filter out the bs. Once you've mastered this, you can browse memes during meetings while also writing down the most important details. Also, if you wrap up a call by verbally confirming the To-Do's and people agree before hanging up, then you've literally eliminated the need to take detailed notes to begin with, and covered your ass at the same time

  • Prioritize sleep. Don't drink alcohol during the week

    • Lol
Nov 23, 2021 - 1:35am

This is good advice for the people who care  but maybe aren't super bright or don't quite "get it". This is a decent chunk of analysts. 

For the people trying to coast, ignore and just do enough to get middle bucket. Respect that. 
 

For the truly talented, please do not waste time on taking detailed notes and reading stupid credit and purchase agreements. Ask to be on more client calls where you can observe good MDs. Think about why a good VP wrote an important external email a certain way. Learn a subsector deeply. 

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2021 - 1:18pm

I don't think this is all good advice. Do not become everyone's go-to-analyst. That's a recipe for disaster. You want to be the go-to-analyst for like 1-2 great MDs and the 1-4 good Assoc / VPs / Directors etc that work for them. You absolutely do not want to be the go-to analyst for the majority of bankers. Even in productive groups / elite firms, there's a lot of garbage people who will never make it up to the top of the firm or bring in business. There's gonna be that one MD who is always on the cusp of getting something, always making long books no one ever reads (no one reads long books, it's impressive when you see an MD go in with a short book, that's when you know they are good), and always sending comments late at night because they are always going to dinner with "clients".

You also do not need to read purchase agreements/credit documents on your own to be a top analyst. Sure it helps with that edge case where you are on that super important call and you speak up and you can tell all your analyst friends about that one time you said something important on an important call, but otherwise, it's not a big deal at all. You likely won't even understand the terms without someone kind of explaining what "norms" are to you. Like if you saw a total leverage covenant of 12.0x in a credit doc, you would never know that's super high and not at all "market". You'll learn all of this over time. Just make sure you do good work, avoid mistakes, and be super presentable. 

Think commenter above mentioned you should absorb the soft skills, would double-down on that idea in exchange for the bs above.

Nov 26, 2021 - 2:45pm

Expedita porro autem nihil ducimus ipsa incidunt. Ad veniam minima rerum optio. Quas qui beatae est neque accusantium cumque. Aut dolor aut autem doloremque aut.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

December 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (40) $360
  • Associates (237) $235
  • 2nd Year Analyst (146) $155
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (34) $154
  • Intern/Summer Associate (107) $146
  • 1st Year Analyst (515) $136
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (397) $84