7/5/16

So I'm recovering from a procedure and out of commission for a couple days, and I thought I would use the downtime share a few observations / career guidance for those people starting out in the business. Take this with a pinch of salt, as its one person's advice, but these are all things that have served me well over the years. To give you a bit of background, I've spent more than 14 years in the industry, having started as an analyst at a BB M&A group, and principally worked in BB M&A, although increasingly sector focused. I now run a sector coverage team at one of the leading firms, across all products including M&A.

1. You are your deal experience

Your ability to be an effective senior banker (or senior private equity professional or corporate M&A head or even hedge fund manager) is almost entirely an accumulated sum of the wisdom, knowledge and experience you gain doing deals. Every transaction is unique and one's ability to provide customized high stakes advice or judgment (and the stakes are always high) on tactics, pricing, counterparties, structure, etc. is a function of having been there before enough times that you know instinctively how to react. The single biggest thing you can do as analyst to guarantee your success later on is to work on as many complex transactions as possible and dig deep to ensure you really understand what is going on. I read a thread somewhere where people were saying its better to avoid live transactions since they kill you, and it doesn't affect PE recruiting. I can guarantee that the analyst who has worked on more live deals when they start at H&F or Apollo or Blackstone is going to get the best staffing and experience, and its a virtuous cycle thereafter.

2. It only gets more competitive

Its great to get that analyst job, that associate promotion, the job in PE, into HBS, etc. etc. It only gets more competitive from here. When I was an analyst, I thought the greatest thing in the world was making associate. The day I became an associate, I was not satisfied and was gunning to be a VP. Now that I'm a team head, I realize I'd really like to run the investment bank. Guess what, there are probably about 20 people equally qualified who feel the same way. You cannot let your foot of the gas if you want to make it. Out of my analyst class, less than 15% are at MD / partner level today (of course, others will make it and many do very different things). An even smaller group will make it to the real top.

3. Its a long game, stamina matters

I have never pulled an all nighter in my life. I hate it when people who work for me do. A great chunk of the battle is showing up, and you cannot burn yourself out. Its more important to be crisp, efficient and thoughtful than trying to be the hardest working person out there and burn out. People rarely care about facetime as long as you are equitably pulling your weight; output is much more important.

4. You don't have to be perfect, but you have to "get it" and be part of the team

Getting it is understanding the broader objective, and being an indispensable member of the deal team. If you "get it", we will cut you slack when you make mistakes.

5. Enjoy your personal life

You will never be successful if you are miserable personally. Everyone has different interests, but ensure your indulge them, and you are happy. Have a good group of friends, party a lot, have good sex. Its not mutually exclusive with working hard. And don't miss the big stuff (friend's weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations ever). As long as you plan and are efficient, there is no excuse for missing any of this.

6. Be amongst the best in your profession at something

If you are an investment banker, know one industry or product exceptionally well. The same thing applies in private equity or public markets investing. You may be a generalist later on, but during the hard times (and there are always hard times), having core expertise is something no one can take away from you. I've been on the rocks twice in my professional career, and each time, being damn good at something got me through that.

7. Your analyst years matter

Many of my most fortuitous career moves, or pieces of business I won were because of colleagues or clients I worked with when I was a very junior banker. People have long memories in this business, and the assistant treasurer you built a model with as an analyst could well be the CEO when you are an MD.

8. Develop close friendships with your analyst class

Always be supportive and never be competitive. It is not a zero sum game.

9. Develop your professional "team"

Colleagues, former colleagues, friends, clients, who you respect and have a lot of respect for you. These are the people who you fall back on when you hit career pitfalls. Be unfailingly loyal to these people. Help them out whenever you can. Never be judgmental, and always go the extra mile for your people.

10. Influence is free

Use it to help people. Especially when you get nothing in return. Karma is real in this business.

11. Participate in team drinks

Get to know people out of the office. And learn how to drink in quantity without getting too drunk. It helps that I can drink my analysts and clients under the table when I need to.

12. Develop an international perspective and learn to think beyond the NY financial bubble

If you are offered a chance to work internationally, jump at it. The world looks very different in Sao Paolo or Warsaw or Riyadh or Istanbul or Jakarta, and this will be where the overwhelming global economic growth will be in your careers.

13. Read a lot, not related to finance

History, classics, great literature. Being an interesting person is very important professionally, and it means you're a lot less likely to be a personal douchebag.

14. There are jerks in the world

Its not personal, strictly business.

15. Enjoy NYC (or London or Hong Kong or all three)

Appreciate the great nightlife. Know the great bars, and clubs, and the great restaurants. Have a go to where people know you.

16. Travel the world

Mod Note: Best of WSO, this was originally posted November 2014.

Comments (130)

11/15/14

Good stuff :) Thanks for writing this

Investment Banking Interview Course
11/15/14

Speedy recovery. Great post.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

11/15/14

+1

11/15/14

Great stuff. Frontpage @"AndyLouis"?

11/16/14

definitely tomorrow, one of the best posts of the year!

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

11/15/14

As a first year, I can't thank you enough for this. +1

11/15/14

mergersandacquisitions78:

1. You are your deal experience: Your ability to be an effective senior banker (or senior private equity professional or corporate M&A head or even hedge fund manager) is almost entirely an accumulated sum of the wisdom, knowledge and experience you gain doing deals. Every transaction is unique and one's ability to provide customized high stakes advice or judgment (and the stakes are always high) on tactics, pricing, counterparties, structure, etc. is a function of having been there before enough times that you know instinctively how to react. The single biggest thing you can do as analyst to guarantee your success later on is to work on as many complex transactions as possible and dig deep to ensure you really understand what is going on. I read a thread somewhere where people were saying its better to avoid live transactions since they kill you, and it doesn't affect PE recruiting. I can guarantee that the analyst who has worked on more live deals when they start at H&F or Apollo or Blackstone is going to get the best staffing and experience, and its a virtuous cycle thereafter.

I think this is being taken a bit out of context. I didn't participate in that thread nor have I ever worked at Moco, but I think the point was more that if you've already executed a few M&A transactions, a handful of debt financings on top of the dozens of bake-offs you're forced to endure as a junior banker, the last thing you want is to get slammed hard during the last 3-6 months of your analyst stint working on another set of M&A processes and regular-way refis. Not to say you won't learn more, but to your Third Point, it's also important to pace yourself, and you'll have plenty of opportunities to get additional reps in your next stint.

But I couldn't agree more with your underlying point on the importance of getting good deal experience as a junior banker.

11/16/14

@"iheartdietcoke" - I agree with you. There are diminishing returns, and if its more of the same, its understandable. I think in that case the key is to avoid being the guy/gal who worked their ass off for 18 months, and then left a bad impression because the last thing people remember is their being a slacker for the last couple months (I've seen it happen). By the time you've worked 18 months,.you are super efficient and you need to a) use that efficiency and b) not take on too much, so you are not killing yourself but also continuing to make a good impression. After all in two years, you will probably need to hit your former colleagues up for an HBS recommendation.

11/16/14

I have read this in a few other places. How does one know when he/she becomes that person who is working too much, and biting off more than they can chew?

11/18/14

BillieJean:

I have read this in a few other places. How does one know when he/she becomes that person who is working too much, and biting off more than they can chew?

When work you are supposed to be doing (not the extra work) is not being done well or on time.

11/15/14

Excellent write-up.

You cannot let your foot of the gas if you want to make it. Out of my analyst class, less than 15% are at MD / partner level today...
11/16/14

Many thanks for this post. Very insightful!

11/16/14

Thanks for the comments guys - I have a 2-3 days ahead where I am working from home, so I can address questions, etc.if that's helpful.

11/16/14

Thanks for the comments guys - I have a 2-3 days ahead where I am working from home, so I can address questions, etc.if that's helpful.

11/16/14

Any thoughts specifically on career switchers? I work at a BB (sounds like maybe the same one you do) currently in an FP&A function and am looking to make the jump to banking. In your opinion is the route there pretty much b school? Or are you ever open to hiring experienced hires without deal experiences?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

11/16/14

You mentioned you run a group but didn't mention any time spent in b-school so assuming you don't have an MBA. I'm aware that an MBA isn't necessary to advance to the MD level/group head level etc., but do you think one would be helpful at all? What about a JD/MBA (likely a 3 year program from Columbia or Wharton/UPenn) in the context of wanting to advance to senior management at a bank - will the greater familiarity with regulations, the law etc help at all?

Looking at it from the context of joining IB at a top bank right out of undergrad, and possibly wanting to stay at the same bank all the way through my career, finally advancing to senior management at the bank (as in your post, head of IB or something similar) - will an MBA (or JD/MBA) help or hurt me or is it irrelevant?

11/16/14

Great stuff, thanks a lot!

11/16/14

read your post about starting your own fund. is that still in play?

11/16/14

@"kyc133enydc" - no it didn't work out, my anchor investor pulled. I'm back to banking and here for the long haul.

11/16/14

@"notthehospitalER" - I do not have an MBA, and was a direct analyst promote. I do not believe having an MBA or a graduate degree is a prerequisite or an advantage, in itself, to rising up to senior management and beyond in investment banking. That said, there is certainly social and educational value in graduate school, and I believe what you learn in business school or law school (JD / MBAs tend to make excellent M&A bankers) can positively impact your career going forward. So its absolutely not necessary, but it still may be something you want to do.

If I had to do it again, I would have taken the time to go to business school because those two years matter very little in the context of a long career but would have been a lot of fun. Although, instead of an MBA I went international for a while, which was a phenomenal experience as well.

11/16/14

mergersandacquisitions78:

@notthehospitalER - I do not have an MBA, and was a direct analyst promote. I do not believe having an MBA or a graduate degree is a prerequisite or an advantage, in itself, to rising up to senior management and beyond in investment banking. That said, there is certainly social and educational value in graduate school, and I believe what you learn in business school or law school (JD / MBAs tend to make excellent M&A bankers) can positively impact your career going forward. So its absolutely not necessary, but it still may be something you want to do.

If I had to do it again, I would have taken the time to go to business school because those two years matter very little in the context of a long career but would have been a lot of fun. Although, instead of an MBA I went international for a while, which was a phenomenal experience as well.

You are the guy who writes GSElevator, aren't you?

11/16/14

@"notthehospitalER" - I do not have an MBA, and was a direct analyst promote. I do not believe having an MBA or a graduate degree is a prerequisite or an advantage, in itself, to rising up to senior management and beyond in investment banking. That said, there is certainly social and educational value in graduate school, and I believe what you learn in business school or law school (JD / MBAs tend to make excellent M&A bankers) can positively impact your career going forward. So its absolutely not necessary, but it still may be something you want to do.

If I had to do it again, I would have taken the time to go to business school because those two years matter very little in the context of a long career but would have been a lot of fun. Although, instead of an MBA I went international for a while, which was a phenomenal experience as well.

11/16/14

@"AllDay_028" - its not that straightforward to move internally at the large firms.

There are two ways to do it, the first is that you work directly with bankers who know their teams have headcount. The second is that you go to HR; this only works if you are an absolute top bucket performer. In either case, you would probably need to start as a first year analyst.

I think B-school is a good option here. Or lateral to a bank through networking, but again, why take the hit when you can reset with an MBA?

11/16/14

@"AllDay_028" - its not that straightforward to move internally at the large firms.

There are two ways to do it, the first is that you work directly with bankers who know their teams have headcount. The second is that you go to HR; this only works if you are an absolute top bucket performer. In either case, you would probably need to start as a first year analyst.

I think B-school is a good option here. Or lateral to a bank through networking, but again, why take the hit when you can reset with an MBA?

11/16/14

mergersandacquisitions78:

There are two ways to do it, the first is that you work directly with bankers who know their teams have headcount.

Can you explain "have headcount" please?

11/16/14

He means teams that have space for more analysts/are hiring.

11/18/14

LongandShortofit:

mergersandacquisitions78:

There are two ways to do it, the first is that you work directly with bankers who know their teams have headcount.

Can you explain "have headcount" please?

You have the authorization / sanction to hire people at a given level.

11/16/14

No, I have never worked at Goldman Sachs. And that guy was a bond guy.

11/16/14

mergersandacquisitions78:

No, I have never worked at Goldman Sachs. And that guy was a bond guy.

He worked at Citi I think. And I was kidding. He also never got an MBA and went international.

I just started out in CF at a F50 company, and going international seems to put you on the fast track.

11/16/14

how often do you see analysts burn out? and can you elaborate on what "getting it" is?

Thanks.

11/16/14

@mergersandacquisitions78 What is your opinion of analysts starting out at a MM bank in another city as opposed to a BB in NY? Would it have any effect on their finance career?

11/16/14

@"kyc133enydc" - I haven't done a scientific estimate but in teams that are functioning and well managed, its about 10-15%. Basically people who were unsuited for the job and fell through the cracks. The others will not be allowed to burn out. In teams that are poorly managed, 1/3 by the first year and over 1/2 after two years. In my view, retention of top junior talent makes my life and productivity so much better as a senior banker, there is simply no excuse for bad management.

If you think of investment banking, its a lot like Russian dolls, where you have a very high level overall objective (say, I want to sell this division of the company), which breaks itself out into smaller objectives (development of a carve out financial model, drafting of an information memorandum, etc.), which breaks itself out into ever smaller tasks (preparation of a certain analysis for a management presentation). An analyst that "gets it" - in addition to being able to do all the technical and presentation work that's required in the job - is able to understand the interplay between the specific job they are doing, the broader tasks and the larger deal objectives, and put it all in context. They are not just processing, but are actively contributing to the overall deal, and being able to think critically about the job they are doing to improve their product and make it more relevant. Ultimately, that analyst is going to be guiding major aspects of the transaction and isn't just being told what to do.

BTW, that's the same person who will be successful in a private equity role, for example.

Best Response
11/16/14

@"DMVbro" - its a perfectly fine way to start off. There are many bankers who have made very successful careers in regional cities and focusing on the MM market. But if you want to come to NY, there will always be windows, particularly early on where the opportunity to lateral to a BB firm in NY is there. And an MBA is a great reset too, and given your banking background, you will be in a great position for recruiting.

What I would say is that MM firms offer some benefits that BB firms don't always, so be willing to take care of them. If you get greater exposure to senior people and clients, take advantage of that and dig deep on transactions. For example, MM firms tend to do a lot of sellside M&A. Make sure you that once you get your feet wet, you are the lead person drafting the CIM and building the financial model. Make sure you are running the due diligence and understand the business well enough that you can proactively address the buyer's issues, and not just a gobetween. Insist on understanding from your MDs how the sale and purchase agreement works, and try to sit in on those negotiations. Be on every legal drafting call for the SPA. That way, even if you haven't worked on the largest deals, you will get exposure that a BB analyst will not have had, and you bring something unique to the table when you lateral.

11/17/14

mergersandacquisitions78:

What I would say is that MM firms offer some benefits that BB firms don't always, so be willing to take care of them. If you get greater exposure to senior people and clients, take advantage of that and dig deep on transactions. For example, MM firms tend to do a lot of sellside M&A. Make sure you that once you get your feet wet, you are the lead person drafting the CIM and building the financial model. Make sure you are running the due diligence and understand the business well enough that you can proactively address the buyer's issues, and not just a gobetween. Insist on understanding from your MDs how the sale and purchase agreement works, and try to sit in on those negotiations. Be on every legal drafting call for the SPA. That way, even if you haven't worked on the largest deals, you will get exposure that a BB analyst will not have had, and you bring something unique to the table when you lateral.

I'm nowhere near the same level as OP but could not emphasize the above post enough. I was in the same position at my first bank and had the luxury of working directly with owners, CEOs, CFOs, etc. as an analyst, drafted the first cuts of models, CIMs, MPs as a 1st/2nd year and participated in almost all SPA negotiations (even though I was just listening to lawyers and taking notes, I was amazed at how much I learned and was able to understand the next time I was on a similar call). Speaking with friends at BBs, MMs, elite boutiques, etc. I quickly realized how rare this level of experience was, so if you have the opportunity to participate in all phases, don't underestimate it, and if you don't, ask your deal team to get more involved wherever possible. It'll be a huge differentiator when interviewing for future roles in any field.

7/6/16

thanks for the advice

11/16/14

@"snakeoil" - going international is even more valuable in a corporate / F50 job than in banking. That's where the growth is and you can definitely move up the ladder faster. Just make sure you keep your ties to the home vase.

11/17/14

Excellent post and superb advice! Thanks a ton!

I'd like to seek your opinion on something I read elsewhere on the site that "I'd argue that many of today's MDs are kinda dorky as well. The type A Wall Street is a thing of the past, unfortunately for some and fortunately for others".

What's your take on this?

I'm trying to understand how someone at/near the top views the current culture and how it is changing - both at the top and at the analyst/associate level.

Back in the monkey business.

11/18/14

inikad:

Excellent post and superb advice! Thanks a ton!

I'd like to seek your opinion on something I read elsewhere on the site that "I'd argue that many of today's MDs are kinda dorky as well. The type A Wall Street is a thing of the past, unfortunately for some and fortunately for others".

What's your take on this?

I'm trying to understand how someone at/near the top views the current culture and how it is changing - both at the top and at the analyst/associate level.

I don't believe there has been a material cultural shift at the top in the past 25 years. The 1970s effectively heralded the end of the "gentleman banker" in New York (it was the 1980s in London). Yes, MDs are nerds to some degree. After all, when we were recruited out college 15-20 years ago, it was the same thing - top schools, high grades, etc. etc. But you need to be an aggressive type A person with strong social skills to be an effective investment banking MD.

Investment Banking Interview Course
11/16/14

What's your best advice in terms of preparation for PE/HF? (yes live deals) but what other prep can you recommend? Also, if at a MM bank do you recommend lateralling to a BB bank after 1 year or attempting buyside recruiting with headhunters now and see what opportunities are available?

11/18/14

ValueInvestor888:

What's your best advice in terms of preparation for PE/HF? (yes live deals) but what other prep can you recommend? Also, if at a MM bank do you recommend lateralling to a BB bank after 1 year or attempting buyside recruiting with headhunters now and see what opportunities are available?

Understand what these firms do and how they make money. Each firm has a unique investment thesis and approach. Figure out what that is and learn to think through that lens.

Also, be the best analyst you can be. I can get my top analysts interviews at 5-6 top PE firms and 5-6 top HFs, if I decide to make those calls. But you have to be really good for that to happen, generally its one max two a year.

Hard to answer your questions - depends on the MM firm, and depends on the extent you interact and work for PE and HFs. Harris Williams is a different story than some lesser known bank.

11/16/14

Wow Thanks for the write-up!

11/16/14

Has your view on work-life balance for junior bankers working for you changed in the past few years, and do you see a long-term change happening or is it just a transitory trend? What can a junior banker do to try to improve their work-lofe balance and still get a top ranking? If you do well, I have a feeling there's going to always be pressure to take on more deals, which is great, but not if you burn out.

Further, what are some of the things first-year analysts have done to make a relationship with you that you think has had a positive impression on you?

Thanks!

11/18/14

TheSanchize:

Has your view on work-life balance for junior bankers working for you changed in the past few years, and do you see a long-term change happening or is it just a transitory trend? What can a junior banker do to try to improve their work-lofe balance and still get a top ranking? If you do well, I have a feeling there's going to always be pressure to take on more deals, which is great, but not if you burn out.

Further, what are some of the things first-year analysts have done to make a relationship with you that you think has had a positive impression on you?

Thanks!

Hasn't really changed in my view. There is an acknowledgment that things need to improve and yes, there are these initiatives that management is putting forward, but it doesn't change the fact that good, efficient management is better than any imposed limits.

Best way is to be super efficient at what you do and take charge of the process. When an MD assigns a pitch for example, take charge of the outline, hold people more senior to you responsible for deliverables as well. The work doesn't decrease, but you have a lot more control of your life.

Analysts that make an impression are ones that a) really understand the industry, b) are technically impeccable, andc ) take responsibility / take charge. I want to see analysts working to make associates redundant.

11/18/14

"I want to see analysts working to make associates redundant" is a very pertinent point. Maybe your procedure was a blessing in disguise to get you on here for a while. Hope your health recovers soon!

What do you want to see associates working towards?

Back in the monkey business.

11/22/14

Still a bit of bother, but ready to get back into the game.

Making VPs redundant.

inikad:

"I want to see analysts working to make associates redundant" is a very pertinent point. Maybe your procedure was a blessing in disguise to get you on here for a while. Hope your health recovers soon!

What do you want to see associates working towards?

11/16/14

Great write up! Seems like you're the MD one would love to work for!

VPA

11/18/14

vpa94:

Great write up! Seems like you're the MD one would love to work for!

Thank you. In real life, junior bankers either really like or really dislike working for me. I work very hard myself and expect a lot out of people, and expect analysts to take a lot of responsibility. Not everyone can do that, but the ones that do, I take good care of career wise.

11/19/14

Everyone has different views, i personally believe that you cannot truly experience and be opinionated on something, unless you do something you are supposed to and do it to your highest level of potential. Many people do wrongful things and give their opinions negatively, even though they don't realize that they didn't cooperate with things and how they should be done. Thanks for replying!

VPA

11/16/14

Now really, I should go prepare for interviews...or I may never be able to use all the useful things i collected .

11/16/14

WIth regard to going international, what is the best way of doing so? Would love to work internationally, but my firm does not have any international offices to be placed in, I don't plan on getting an MBA, and I don't speak any other languages. Currently in corporate finance and would be interested in finding a way to spend a few years working out of the country for the life experience without sacrificing my career in the process.

11/18/14

jss09:

WIth regard to going international, what is the best way of doing so? Would love to work internationally, but my firm does not have any international offices to be placed in, I don't plan on getting an MBA, and I don't speak any other languages. Currently in corporate finance and would be interested in finding a way to spend a few years working out of the country for the life experience without sacrificing my career in the process.

In your situation, its very tough with the status quo. Move to a firm with international offices.

11/16/14

"Its a long game, stamina matters. I have never pulled an all nighter in my life. I hate it when people who work for me do. A great chunk of the battle is showing up, and you cannot burn yourself out. Its more important to be crisp, efficient and thoughtful than trying to be the hardest working person out there and burn out. People rarely care about facetime as long as you are equitably pulling your weight; output is much more important."

How do you avoid pulling all nighters, especially at the junior level? What if you're a first year analyst and the second/third year analyst or the associate on your team decides to pull an all nighter? You can't just go home before them. I'm a first year analyst, and I've already had to pull a couple all nighters.

11/17/14

freecashflow:

How do you avoid pulling all nighters, especially at the junior level? What if you're a first year analyst and the second/third year analyst or the associate on your team decides to pull an all nighter? You can't just go home before them. I'm a first year analyst, and I've already had to pull a couple all nighters.

What makes you think you can't go home before a second/third year analyst?

11/17/14

Exactly. Just ask them if there's anything you can/need to do instead of assuming the junior most person leaves last.

Back in the monkey business.

11/17/14

Great thread! Thank you for the information.

freecashflow:

How do you avoid pulling all nighters, especially at the junior level? What if you're a first year analyst and the second/third year analyst or the associate on your team decides to pull an all nighter? You can't just go home before them. I'm a first year analyst, and I've already had to pull a couple all nighters.

I am curious about this as well. I forget the economics term, but all nighters are kind of like that situation that is frequently presented in economics classes where two prisoners are in two separate rooms and the police tells both of them that the other one is cooperating with police, so each prisoner has to decide whether or not he/she should as well in order to get a plea deal or if he/she should simply no cooperate, but risk that the other prisoner did. All it takes is one analyst to pull an all nighter, and then all analysts do.

11/17/14

prisoner's dilemma in the game theory

11/17/14

kyc133enydc:

prisoner's dilemma in the game theory

Thanks. SBed.

11/17/14

complete digression, but would you strongly recommend taking a course on game theory, or is that something you can "pick-up" in the biz?

11/18/14

BillieJean:

complete digression, but would you strongly recommend taking a course on game theory, or is that something you can "pick-up" in the biz?

Only if it interests you greatly. I personally think its the sort of thing you can read a book on and use your course credits for something more edifying.

11/18/14

freecashflow:

"Its a long game, stamina matters. I have never pulled an all nighter in my life. I hate it when people who work for me do. A great chunk of the battle is showing up, and you cannot burn yourself out. Its more important to be crisp, efficient and thoughtful than trying to be the hardest working person out there and burn out. People rarely care about facetime as long as you are equitably pulling your weight; output is much more important."

How do you avoid pulling all nighters, especially at the junior level? What if you're a first year analyst and the second/third year analyst or the associate on your team decides to pull an all nighter? You can't just go home before them. I'm a first year analyst, and I've already had to pull a couple all nighters.

As I've said many times, take control of the process. Then you can dictate timetables better.

11/16/14

So many people underestimate the value of cultivating those contacts, relationships, 'team' and how much 'getting it' can work in your favor. Good post, SB'd

11/17/14

mergersandacquisitions78:

So I'm recovering from a procedure and out of commission for a couple days, and I thought I would use the downtime share a few observations / career guidance for those people starting out in the business. Take this with a pinch of salt, as its one person's advice, but these are all things that have served me well over the years. To give you a bit of background, I've spent more than 14 years in the industry, having started as an analyst at a BB M&A group, and principally worked in BB M&A, although increasingly sector focused. I now run a sector coverage team at one of the leading firms, across all products including M&A.

1.

Hi

Great post.

Just wanted to ask,

1) do you believe its always better to jump around different firms (assume same industry) in order to get promotions faster? e.g. analyst in one firm, associate in another firm, VP level in 3rd firm? Or do you believe its better to stay in 1 firm and cultivate long term relations with those at the top to help you advance?

2) what kind of things did you always wish that associates switching from different industries knew / could do and perhaps never told them (or in fact did tell them, but wish someone told them this earlier e.g Learn x,y,z .....or "ask questions when you don't know" ..."don't see analyst as your rival" etc etc).

thanks!

11/18/14

moneytrail:

mergersandacquisitions78:

So I'm recovering from a procedure and out of commission for a couple days, and I thought I would use the downtime share a few observations / career guidance for those people starting out in the business. Take this with a pinch of salt, as its one person's advice, but these are all things that have served me well over the years. To give you a bit of background, I've spent more than 14 years in the industry, having started as an analyst at a BB M&A group, and principally worked in BB M&A, although increasingly sector focused. I now run a sector coverage team at one of the leading firms, across all products including M&A.

1.


Hi

Great post.

Just wanted to ask,

1) do you believe its always better to jump around different firms (assume same industry) in order to get promotions faster? e.g. analyst in one firm, associate in another firm, VP level in 3rd firm? Or do you believe its better to stay in 1 firm and cultivate long term relations with those at the top to help you advance?

2) what kind of things did you always wish that associates switching from different industries knew / could do and perhaps never told them (or in fact did tell them, but wish someone told them this earlier e.g Learn x,y,z .....or "ask questions when you don't know" ..."don't see analyst as your rival" etc etc).

thanks!

1. It really depends. All told, its best to stay at one firm. But the reality is banking is about open "seats" and constantly increasing role / responsibility / comp, and if that can happen better at a different firm, so be it. Don't actively seek to move, but also don't wait around too long if you're stuck at your present employer.

2. Banking is an apprenticed job. Watch the best VPs and the best analysts and see what they do and learn from them. Do not see anyone as your rival.

11/18/14

mergersandacquisitions78:

moneytrail:
mergersandacquisitions78:

So I'm recovering from a procedure and out of commission for a couple days, and I thought I would use the downtime share a few observations / career guidance for those people starting out in the business. Take this with a pinch of salt, as its one person's advice, but these are all things that have served me well over the years. To give you a bit of background, I've spent more than 14 years in the industry, having started as an analyst at a BB M&A group, and principally worked in BB M&A, although increasingly sector focused. I now run a sector coverage team at one of the leading firms, across all products including M&A.

1.



Hi

Great post.

Just wanted to ask,

1) do you believe its always better to jump around different firms (assume same industry) in order to get promotions faster? e.g. analyst in one firm, associate in another firm, VP level in 3rd firm? Or do you believe its better to stay in 1 firm and cultivate long term relations with those at the top to help you advance?

2) what kind of things did you always wish that associates switching from different industries knew / could do and perhaps never told them (or in fact did tell them, but wish someone told them this earlier e.g Learn x,y,z .....or "ask questions when you don't know" ..."don't see analyst as your rival" etc etc).

thanks!

1. It really depends. All told, its best to stay at one firm. But the reality is banking is about open "seats" and constantly increasing role / responsibility / comp, and if that can happen better at a different firm, so be it. Don't actively seek to move, but also don't wait around too long if you're stuck at your present employer.

2. Banking is an apprenticed job. Watch the best VPs and the best analysts and see what they do and learn from them. Do not see anyone as your rival.

thank you for your reply. very interesting stuff.

whilst I appreciate your answer to #2, and I think its a very valuable comment to take on board for people who have already joined, but I guess my question was more along the lines of "before" someone joins as an associate, particular things which have the most value add e.g. "learn VBA / learn how to audit/check spreadsheets made by your analysts before you join so we don't have to waste time teaching you to do this simple stuff which has a lot of value add. "

thanks again for taking the time out to do this.

edit: out of interest, how much work are you currently doing per day / expected to do per day even though you are 'out of commission' & recovering...and in general...is there much 'sympathy' for people who are feeling extremely ill? or would you still expect them (Associates mainly I guess) to come into work unless they are literally burning up with a high temperature & puking all over the place etc.

11/22/14

I had a fracture from playing a sport (you learn that your hand / eye coordination is slightly off in your mid 30s).

I was out of the office for a week getting it sorted out, but was on calls pretty much all day this week, starting at say 730am and finishing up around 7pm. I'm off to the airport tomorrow night, and will be back on the road for the better part of the week.

No one wants a sick person in the office. As long as you are not a hypochondriac, people understand.

In terms of your first question, I think its very hard to really prepare for the job when you're not doing it, so I would recommend enjoying your life as much as you can before start, and being sure you are committing 100% when you are in the job.

moneytrail:

mergersandacquisitions78:
moneytrail:
mergersandacquisitions78:

So I'm recovering from a procedure and out of commission for a couple days, and I thought I would use the downtime share a few observations / career guidance for those people starting out in the business. Take this with a pinch of salt, as its one person's advice, but these are all things that have served me well over the years. To give you a bit of background, I've spent more than 14 years in the industry, having started as an analyst at a BB M&A group, and principally worked in BB M&A, although increasingly sector focused. I now run a sector coverage team at one of the leading firms, across all products including M&A.

1.



Hi

Great post.

Just wanted to ask,

1) do you believe its always better to jump around different firms (assume same industry) in order to get promotions faster? e.g. analyst in one firm, associate in another firm, VP level in 3rd firm? Or do you believe its better to stay in 1 firm and cultivate long term relations with those at the top to help you advance?

2) what kind of things did you always wish that associates switching from different industries knew / could do and perhaps never told them (or in fact did tell them, but wish someone told them this earlier e.g Learn x,y,z .....or "ask questions when you don't know" ..."don't see analyst as your rival" etc etc).

thanks!

1. It really depends. All told, its best to stay at one firm. But the reality is banking is about open "seats" and constantly increasing role / responsibility / comp, and if that can happen better at a different firm, so be it. Don't actively seek to move, but also don't wait around too long if you're stuck at your present employer.

2. Banking is an apprenticed job. Watch the best VPs and the best analysts and see what they do and learn from them. Do not see anyone as your rival.

thank you for your reply. very interesting stuff.

whilst I appreciate your answer to #2, and I think its a very valuable comment to take on board for people who have already joined, but I guess my question was more along the lines of "before" someone joins as an associate, particular things which have the most value add e.g. "learn VBA / learn how to audit/check spreadsheets made by your analysts before you join so we don't have to waste time teaching you to do this simple stuff which has a lot of value add. "

thanks again for taking the time out to do this.

edit: out of interest, how much work are you currently doing per day / expected to do per day even though you are 'out of commission' & recovering...and in general...is there much 'sympathy' for people who are feeling extremely ill? or would you still expect them (Associates mainly I guess) to come into work unless they are literally burning up with a high temperature & puking all over the place etc.

11/17/14

+1 Thanks!

11/17/14

great post! Thanks!

11/17/14

great post! Thanks!

11/17/14

Great stuff. SB'ed

11/17/14

@mergersandacquisitions78 Thanks for the great post, very informative and useful!

I was wondering if you could please shed some light on your rationale for staying in banking past your analyst/early associate years as opposed to moving to the buyside? I know it's not for everyone, but I was wondering why you personally decided to stay?

I'm currently an analyst at a strong shop with a great culture that likes to retain its analysts (i.e. along the lines of Centerview) and have constantly debated whether or not to stay in banking past my analyst term.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

11/17/14

I can't speak for this guy personally, but I have spoken to another MD about this. He had an interesting answer.

He said that throughout his life, he has always avoided doing what the average person does. The average analyst does two years, and moves over to the buyside. Gets an MBA after two years, and then gets another position on buyside. Does a few years....and then what? Corp Dev?

My MD said since the average person goes to the buyside, he decided against it. Always trying to avoid the herd. Simple as that. It was an interesting, and enlightening discussion.

11/18/14

ME207:

I can't speak for this guy personally, but I have spoken to another MD about this. He had an interesting answer.

He said that throughout his life, he has always avoided doing what the average person does. The average analyst does two years, and moves over to the buyside. Gets an MBA after two years, and then gets another position on buyside. Does a few years....and then what? Corp Dev?

My MD said since the average person goes to the buyside, he decided against it. Always trying to avoid the herd. Simple as that. It was an interesting, and enlightening discussion.


Because going into banking wasn't following the herd to begin with?
11/17/14

that's some great general life advice for any profession, thanks for sharing

11/17/14

I'm at a small PE firm and we're working on my first deal, which is pretty complicated. It's actually two deals in one:

1. A recapitalization of one of our portfolio companies, through raising additional equity to dilute the original unit holders down to 10%, by creating a new investment entity, a new company entity, and merging it into the existing company entity.

2. This is followed shortly thereafter by purchasing two companies bundled as one, whose combined size is comparable to our portfolio company, and merging the whole lot together into a single holding company where each individual company becomes a distinct business unit.

In addition, a portion of the sub debt we're putting in is coming from an internal debt fund for which I manage the finances.

We're a very small shop, and so I'm able to get involved in everything. I'm interested in getting as much out of this as possible. Aside from just doing what I'm told, and attending meetings, how else can I contribute in a way that would be good experience for down the road?

I struggle with this question regularly because I'm the only employee and work with the firm partners on everything, and they've been doing this so long they seem to know how to do everything so I have difficulty bringing anything new to the table.

11/18/14

Khayembii:

I'm at a small PE firm and we're working on my first deal, which is pretty complicated. It's actually two deals in one:

1. A recapitalization of one of our portfolio companies, through raising additional equity to dilute the original unit holders down to 10%, by creating a new investment entity, a new company entity, and merging it into the existing company entity.

2. This is followed shortly thereafter by purchasing two companies bundled as one, whose combined size is comparable to our portfolio company, and merging the whole lot together into a single holding company where each individual company becomes a distinct business unit.

In addition, a portion of the sub debt we're putting in is coming from an internal debt fund for which I manage the finances.

We're a very small shop, and so I'm able to get involved in everything. I'm interested in getting as much out of this as possible. Aside from just doing what I'm told, and attending meetings, how else can I contribute in a way that would be good experience for down the road?

I struggle with this question regularly because I'm the only employee and work with the firm partners on everything, and they've been doing this so long they seem to know how to do everything so I have difficulty bringing anything new to the table.

At this point, watch, learn and proactively see where you can be helpful. You will need to get more experienced before you can realistically expect to bring anything new to the table.

11/17/14

@"freecashflow"I can answer one about allnighters. The key as an analyst to avoiding allnighters is to take control of the book. Send an outline to the team, and ensure they agree with it. Chase deliverables. At that point in time, its your book and you are charge and you set the deadlines. Everyone is busy enough that when some junior takes charge, their life frees up.

11/17/14

What qualities do you look for when you hire an analyst vs promote an analyst to an associate?

11/18/14

Great post.

11/19/14

Excellent.Excellent post.

11/19/14

@mergersandacquisitions78

Can you comment on your thoughts about moving upstream the later one gets in their career (moving upstream at VP vs. associate level)?

Working at a lower MM IB with a few opportunities to move up into traditional MM IB (upstream). I am an experienced Associate one year away from making VP and I have a wife. If I lateral, I would need to stick it out for probably an extra year in an experienced associate role (maybe junior VP), meaning my work life balance would deteriorate significantly (75 hours/wk - some of which I can work from home at night to 95/100 hours per week).

My concern is that, if I do not lateral at the associate level, I may not be able to move upstream as easily as a VP b/c of my lack of deal experience (relative to the shops I am applying to) and size of transactions.

Any thoughts as to whether these concerns are valid?

11/22/14

This move gets materially harder as a VP. I wouldn't necessarily wait if the option is available to you. Your concerns are valid.

Bullet-Tooth Tony:

@mergersandacquisitions78

Can you comment on your thoughts about moving upstream the later one gets in their career (moving upstream at VP vs. associate level)?

Working at a lower MM IB with a few opportunities to move up into traditional MM IB (upstream). I am an experienced Associate one year away from making VP and I have a wife. If I lateral, I would need to stick it out for probably an extra year in an experienced associate role (maybe junior VP), meaning my work life balance would deteriorate significantly (75 hours/wk - some of which I can work from home at night to 95/100 hours per week).

My concern is that, if I do not lateral at the associate level, I may not be able to move upstream as easily as a VP b/c of my lack of deal experience (relative to the shops I am applying to) and size of transactions.

Any thoughts as to whether these concerns are valid?

11/21/14

Excellent point

11/21/14

@mergersandacquisitions78 Thanks for the post!
Background: 2 yrs in FLDP (corporate finance fp&a) at a F200, 1 year in corporate m&a at a medium size fast growing company, deal size $2M-$20M.

Question: What path to take to get to PE?
1) Network now and hopefully break in
2) Network now and break into IB and then recruit for buyside (if IB what is best chance at BB or MM? I assume MM since I'm at private company and deal experience is smaller deals)
3) Stay 1-2 more years and go to M7 MBA program...but then whats the plan? IB Associate and try to break into PE?
Would really appreciate your thoughts

11/22/14

Probably try to lateral to a MM investment bank now and see what comes. recruiting in MM PE is less structured, and if you do well, options should arise.

amach3:

@mergersandacquisitions78 Thanks for the post!

Background: 2 yrs in FLDP (corporate finance fp&a) at a F200, 1 year in corporate m&a at a medium size fast growing company, deal size $2M-$20M.

Question: What path to take to get to PE?

1) Network now and hopefully break in

2) Network now and break into IB and then recruit for buyside (if IB what is best chance at BB or MM? I assume MM since I'm at private company and deal experience is smaller deals)

3) Stay 1-2 more years and go to M7 MBA program...but then whats the plan? IB Associate and try to break into PE?

Would really appreciate your thoughts

11/24/14

By lateral now do you mean go for an analyst position? If so, would that be spending the typical 2 years (though less structured so timing could vary)? Just wanted to clarify since I would be lateraling with 3 years of working experience so hopefully I wont be seen as too late to the game.

11/25/14

If you've been working for three years, may be best to apply to business school and hope you wind up at a target school. Lots of post MBA associates go to PE, its just not as structured a recruiting process.

amach3:

By lateral now do you mean go for an analyst position? If so, would that be spending the typical 2 years (though less structured so timing could vary)? Just wanted to clarify since I would be lateraling with 3 years of working experience so hopefully I wont be seen as too late to the game.

11/21/14

Party hard and have good sex, Sector Head at BB, don't think Jefferies counts, on leave...Sage Kelly?

11/22/14

Sadly, I have not tasted from the cup of life in the same way as Mr. Kelly.

AKBOS:

Party hard and have good sex, Sector Head at BB, don't think Jefferies counts, on leave...Sage Kelly?

11/21/14

Thanks for the thoughtful writeup.

Anyone seeking a career in banking / tech should also check out Lessin's Lessons. Written by Robert H Lessin, I pick it up from time to time. I grabbed his book at an event his son was hosting a couple years ago and its been great. Oh and his son career at Drop.io and FB is nothing to sneeze at either.

I'll offer a slightly different perspective. Especially for those just starting out. Rather than grabbing the keys at the top of a corporate ladder, try to find a way around the competition. There are smart kids pouring out of the Ivies every year, now from all over the world. If anything its even harder to get ahead. In that game, EQ is more important than IQ (though a base IQ of X is probably required). If you get the chance, start something. And there will be chances. There always are. I think Forbes mentioned that there are only 2 people that ever made the billionaire list from a company they didn't start. Everyone else from finance to real estate to tech (Warren Buffett, the Google guys etc) were all entrepreneurs.

Some of you will say its too risky. I know its not. I've been where you guy are (M&A banker, a private equity guy) before transitioning to my own company. Its risky not to. Who wants to wake up at 49 like lots of folks did in 2008 and have to look for work?

Then again I'm only mid 30s so take this with a grain of salt....but I have made $5M+ and counting.

good luck!

11/22/14

I never met Bob Lessin, but he was a mentor to several people I know well, and he is universally regarded as a special banker and human being (RIP).

I don't disagree with your views on starting a company, but I also happen to really like my job. You can't really put a monetary value on that, although they do pay me pretty well to stick around.

seekingnames:

Thanks for the thoughtful writeup.

Anyone seeking a career in banking / tech should also check out Lessin's Lessons. Written by Robert H Lessin, I pick it up from time to time. I grabbed his book at an event his son was hosting a couple years ago and its been great. Oh and his son career at Drop.io and FB is nothing to sneeze at either.

I'll offer a slightly different perspective. Especially for those just starting out. Rather than grabbing the keys at the top of a corporate ladder, try to find a way around the competition. There are smart kids pouring out of the Ivies every year, now from all over the world. If anything its even harder to get ahead. In that game, EQ is more important than IQ (though a base IQ of X is probably required). If you get the chance, start something. And there will be chances. There always are. I think Forbes mentioned that there are only 2 people that ever made the billionaire list from a company they didn't start. Everyone else from finance to real estate to tech (Warren Buffett, the Google guys etc) were all entrepreneurs.

Some of you will say its too risky. I know its not. I've been where you guy are (M&A banker, a private equity guy) before transitioning to my own company. Its risky not to. Who wants to wake up at 49 like lots of folks did in 2008 and have to look for work?

Then again I'm only mid 30s so take this with a grain of salt....but I have made $5M+ and counting.

good luck!

11/23/14

Facetime is important in investment banking. I work at a big corporation that gets pitched. If a banker doesn't show up at my office, physically show up, they will never get out business. Even for a meeting hat can be done using a telephone conference facility, if you don't show up, you won't get a business. Its not about efficiency, its about knowing your place.

Know your place in society is also very important. Bankers are providing professional services. We can wrap up a deal without you, but because corporate procedures have become complicated (meeting internal compliance, regulations, etc.), we have to get a banker involved in a deal (this is the truth! - bankers are like consultants, we don't need them to do business, we just need them to be there).

Having said that, the guy is right, all nighted is a big bullish*t.

11/25/14

I suspect you are very junior in your organization. I doubt that if you were working for a client of mine, we would ever interact.

Most of my clients are either CEOs and CFOs of large corporations or Managing Partners of private equity funds. They are extraordinarily busy, and do meetings when there is a real need to have that meeting. The concept of facetime doesn't register. They would any day rather have a quick efficient briefing on the telephone than a BS facetime meeting.

This is not to say I do not travel and meet clients in person. I do that very often but it is always with very good reason (Board meeting, deal negotiations, etc. etc.) and not just to show my face.

My clients also tend to pay high 7 figure / 8 figure fees for my and my team's advice. Maybe they could do the deal themselves, but I doubt they would pay that sort of dough for a rubber stamp.

Hard Knock:

Facetime is important in investment banking. I work at a big corporation that gets pitched. If a banker doesn't show up at my office, physically show up, they will never get out business. Even for a meeting hat can be done using a telephone conference facility, if you don't show up, you won't get a business. Its not about efficiency, its about knowing your place.

Know your place in society is also very important. Bankers are providing professional services. We can wrap up a deal without you, but because corporate procedures have become complicated (meeting internal compliance, regulations, etc.), we have to get a banker involved in a deal (this is the truth! - bankers are like consultants, we don't need them to do business, we just need them to be there).

Having said that, the guy is right, all nighted is a big bullish*t.

11/26/14

@"mergersandacquisitions78"
This is a great post, +1.

Could you elaborate a bit more on #6: Be among the best in something in your profession? What specific skills made you stand apart? What are some of the things that the best analysts/associates in your team right now are really good at?

11/29/14

When I was an associate and VP, I developed a certain expertise executing transactions in a specific niche of my industry and developed a reputation as an expert there amongst other bankers and clients. That kept me active and employed during a very ugly downturn. I could have continued to focus on that specific niche and could have had a successful career, but made a conscious decision to broaden my focus area product, geography and industry subset wise. It took some effort, but I wouldn't be in the position I am had I not done so. My view is that to be very successful, you need to have a "major" (an area where you are simply one of the top in your field), but be sufficiently broad minded to go beyond that.

My analysts and junior associates are still a work in progress so too early to comment. I have two senior associates currently in my growing team, both of whom are excellent. Both are direct analyst promotes. One is very good at modeling / understanding transaction structure and legal context, and probably needs to work on strategic perspective (and will get there). The other one has a very good strategic / tactical mind, industry knowledge and is an excellent writer, but is not as granular on the modeling / structuring. Needless to say, they both have an impeccable work ethic, are good mentors / role models to the analysts, and are socially good fun. Both have a very good path to MD.

MBA_Junkie:

@mergersandacquisitions78

This is a great post, +1.

Could you elaborate a bit more on #6: Be among the best in something in your profession? What specific skills made you stand apart? What are some of the things that the best analysts/associates in your team right now are really good at?

11/27/14

Could you please elaborate a bit more on the JD/MBA being a great M&A (or restructuring, which is why I thought I may go down that path) banker? Any anecdotal data points you may have that point to bankers for whom getting the degree was definitely worth it (monetary or non)? I am seriously considering the degree (especially a 3 year one rather than a 4 year one - from a school like Penn/Wharton or Columbia) but do not intend to actually practice law, so whether the benefits would outweigh the costs is a valid concern.

If a goal is senior management at a bank (up to but not necessarily C-level) do you think a JD/MBA would make someone better at their job down the line, or is the army of lawyers supporting senior management enough to make the degree unnecessary/redundant?

Finally, do you think someone who studied and worked in IB outside the US (Australia) before transitioning to the US would need a US MBA for any sort of credibility? Or is the important thing, as you said in your post, really only the transaction experience?

Thanks again for doing this - awesome post. I'm an incoming analyst at a so called top-tier BB in Australia and will re-read this thread before I start work for sure.

11/29/14

There are so many factors that go into success, that its hard to point to any one thing, even a degree. There is a guy I know who is a Penn JD / MBA who is a very successful distressed debt investor, and I'm sure that law degree helps to some degree. But he was a very bright guy and good analyst before he went to Penn, so there is a high likelihood he would have made it anyway.

I do not believe that having an MBA or JD / MBA impacts your ability to reach senior management at a bank. Once you are at a senior level, the skillset needed to succeed is quite broad (commercial judgment, legal judgment, client impact, etc.) that you have to be broad based. My job can be very legally intensive at times, and I personally like diving into the documentation at a granular level, but I have not required a law degree to do that. Contract law is a combination of commercial judgment, drafting and judicial precedent, and you can teach yourself the first two and rely on lawyers for the latter.

I think it actually helps most at a junior level, where everybody is looking for that little edge to differentiate themselves. The good part is that if you are a high performing young banker and actively learning on the job, you are already differentiated.

A US MBA is not necessary, but can help getting you to the US. If you lateral with your current bank and spend a couple years in the US with that bank, you don't need an MBA; you are as well set as any US hire. Where an MBA helps is: a) if you cannot lateral with your existing employer, or b) if you lateral but want to exit before a couple years.

notthehospitalER:

Could you please elaborate a bit more on the JD/MBA being a great M&A (or restructuring, which is why I thought I may go down that path) banker? Any anecdotal data points you may have that point to bankers for whom getting the degree was definitely worth it (monetary or non)? I am seriously considering the degree (especially a 3 year one rather than a 4 year one - from a school like Penn/Wharton or Columbia) but do not intend to actually practice law, so whether the benefits would outweigh the costs is a valid concern.

If a goal is senior management at a bank (up to but not necessarily C-level) do you think a JD/MBA would make someone better at their job down the line, or is the army of lawyers supporting senior management enough to make the degree unnecessary/redundant?

Finally, do you think someone who studied and worked in IB outside the US (Australia) before transitioning to the US would need a US MBA for any sort of credibility? Or is the important thing, as you said in your post, really only the transaction experience?

Thanks again for doing this - awesome post. I'm an incoming analyst at a so called top-tier BB in Australia and will re-read this thread before I start work for sure.

11/27/14

Greetings from Jakarta. Come, come to Jakarta!

Solid yet fun advices. You sound like a great boss.

Fortes fortuna adiuvat.

11/29/14

Apa Kabar. I've enjoyed the time that I spent in Jakarta, and think that Indonesia has phenomenal business opportunities going forward. I'm looking forward to my next drink at SKYE.

ramadjaffri:

Greetings from Jakarta. Come, come to Jakarta!

Solid yet fun advices. You sound like a great boss.

12/3/14

Just out of curiosity, when in your career did you know that you wanted to stay in IB for the long haul?
Also, thanks for the fantastic thread!

12/14/14

Suzukibooii247:

Just out of curiosity, when in your career did you know that you wanted to stay in IB for the long haul?

Also, thanks for the fantastic thread!

I decided first after my analyst program. I had a job offer from a PE megafund and turned it down for my associate promotion (probably a financial mistake, but let's see in the long run). I decided again after a short stint trying to create a more entrepreneurial investment platform.

But the reality is I'm still quite young, I could work for another 10 years as an MD and only be in my mid 40s. So there is nothing to suggest that at that point in time, I do something different (whether its private equity or C-level management at a corporate or something more out of left field).

12/5/14

How did you find your niche within IB? Before or after you decided to stay for the long haul.

===================================================================

You have worked in the industry for quite a while. Have you ever employed someone from a relativity "weak" background that exceeded your expectations?

12/14/14

BillieJean:

How did you find your niche within IB? Before or after you decided to stay for the long haul.

===================================================================

You have worked in the industry for quite a while. Have you ever employed someone from a relativity "weak" background that exceeded your expectations?

1. It sort of happened in my sr. associate / early VP years where I worked on several transactions that were all quite related and developed a strong reputation / industry understanding / client network

2. This is an interesting question with a nuanced answer. I would say that three sorts of people get into investment banking: (a) the ones that tick all the boxes prestige wise, top target with good grades, experience and pedigree; (b) the ones who didn't go to a target but had something unique to recommend them (very good grades, interesting experience, athlete, etc.), (c) the "filler", people we didn't really want to hire but had to in order to fill a slot. They may well have gone to a target but did little to impress us but we had the headcount (this happens most often in bull hiring markets like 2000, 2006, 2014, etc.)

a) and b) tend to do well, with some who do very well and a few flameouts

c) almost never works out in my view

12/11/14

Great thread, Bookmarked. using this as a guide.

1/1/15

Some questions:

1.) During your career at the BB, have you ever thought about moving to an elite boutique (ex. Laz, EVR, Moelis etc)? If so, why did you decide to stick with the BB?

2.) For an MBA student exploring a LONG-TERM career in banking, what are your thoughts on entering a BB vs. an EB? Would a BB be more advantageous due to the brand name / vast array of products or would the smaller / less bureaucratic nature of an EB be more advantageous?

1/2/15

1. I've thought about and recently when I took this particular position, I was evaluating going into one of the firms you mentioned above in a senior role. Ultimately, I didn't do it when I was a younger banker because it is virtually impossible to make partner at an EB as a homegrown banker. EBs are full of very good execution Directors or non-partner MDs who simply do not have the platform or the opportunities to develop their own book of business. You will note that the senior people in EBs are never homegrown and were almost all senior guys from BBs. I didn't move as a partner because I like the broader network, platform, resourcing in my current firm. At this stage in my career, I'm more interested in running the top team in the street in my area, than doing a couple one-off deals at an EB. Restructuring is really the only area where you see homegrown partners.

2. I think you get great training at an EB, but you do as well at a top BB group, so its a hard call as an associate - really depends on specific groups. But for reasons noted above, unless you are doing restructuring, you should move to a BB as a junior VP in order to have a path to make MD.

2/15/15

Hi mergersandacquisitions78,

I wanted to follow up with a couple more questions to get your perspective.

1.) Currently we see in the news of how European banks (Barclays, CS, UBS, DB etc.) are mostly scaling back due to stricter regulations whereas US banks (JPM, Citi, BAML GS, MS etc.) are scaling forward, even taking over the market share in EMEA. In terms of a long-term career in IB, do you think US banks would be more favorable to European Banks?

2.) For a long term career, what are your thoughts on Leveraged Finance? I was thinking that LevFin would be strong during good years and also have plenty of activity in bad years (restructuring financing). Yet during the crisis of 2008, it was all over the news of how everyone is laying off their LevFin groups. In that sense would you say that LevFIn has low career stability?

3.) How exactly do MDs in product groups (ex. LevFin) generate fees? I just wanted some clarification since it seems like industry group MDs usually hold the relationships and therefore I was curious as to how product group MDs actually generate business (do they piggyback off the industry groups MD's sourcing or do they seek out their own clients?)

Thanks!

2/15/15

rx.:

Hi mergersandacquisitions78,

I wanted to follow up with a couple more questions to get your perspective.

1.) Currently we see in the news of how European banks (Barclays, CS, UBS, DB etc.) are mostly scaling back due to stricter regulations whereas US banks (JPM, Citi, BAML GS, MS etc.) are scaling forward, even taking over the market share in EMEA. In terms of a long-term career in IB, do you think US banks would be more favorable to European Banks?

I'd be very interested to hear this as well. Thank you!

2/21/15

1. It certainly seems as if the US banks are gaining a stronger position and, certainly, at my firm, we are profiting from the weakness at several of our European competitors. That having been said, there are still pockets of excellence at all of these firms. CS's U.S. business remains very strong, for example and UBS has certainly made some impressive strategic steps.

2. This may seem a biased view, but leveraged finance is a great job as a senior banker, but I wouldn't start my career there. A top senior leveraged finance banker always has portability and a degree of career stability and can get paid extremely well when markets are hot. But its more volatile as a junior banker, and I don't believe one is particularly well served early on by a more narrow experience. Of course, its fine for a couple years but if you want to seek a longer term career in the business, there is great value in spending time in M&A or a very good coverage group and revisit the LevFin role as a Director perhaps.

3. Most often, product MDs work alongside coverage MDs in relationship management, but the primary relationship is held in the coverage team, and the product MD gets revenue credit for the transactions they work on. The exception is a) M&A where the best M&A bankers often own client relationships at the CEO level and b) leveraged finance in the case of repeat HY issuers where the CFO will be close to the LevFin banker.

rx.:

Hi mergersandacquisitions78,

I wanted to follow up with a couple more questions to get your perspective.

1.) Currently we see in the news of how European banks (Barclays, CS, UBS, DB etc.) are mostly scaling back due to stricter regulations whereas US banks (JPM, Citi, BAML GS, MS etc.) are scaling forward, even taking over the market share in EMEA. In terms of a long-term career in IB, do you think US banks would be more favorable to European Banks?

2.) For a long term career, what are your thoughts on Leveraged Finance? I was thinking that LevFin would be strong during good years and also have plenty of activity in bad years (restructuring financing). Yet during the crisis of 2008, it was all over the news of how everyone is laying off their LevFin groups. In that sense would you say that LevFIn has low career stability?

3.) How exactly do MDs in product groups (ex. LevFin) generate fees? I just wanted some clarification since it seems like industry group MDs usually hold the relationships and therefore I was curious as to how product group MDs actually generate business (do they piggyback off the industry groups MD's sourcing or do they seek out their own clients?)

Thanks!

2/22/15

Great insight

1/4/15

Nice, very nice!

2/22/15

Are the majority of your clients and those who contributed to you being a successful senior banker people that you met on the job over the years, people from your undergrad, or somewhere else? I'm curious if coming from a school with nobody on the street would make it harder for me to be successful as I would move up the ladder since the job starts to become more relationship driven.

2/23/15

@wallstreetdream - I can confidently say that every single one of my clients were people who I have met on the job, working on transactions or through client coverage efforts. Many of these clients have become friends, but I have never relied on my undergraduate network (although I went to a top undergrad school) or my circle of friends.

My experience is the only things clients care about are competence and ability to deliver. Network / social relationships / college relationships are great when you want someone to grab beers with, but useless in the business. The only relationships that matter for business are those that are won while doing business well.

2/23/15

Is there really any significant material difference between MM work and the type of F500 work that Bulge Brackets and EB's deal with? My gut would tell me that the F500 stuff would be more complex due to the sheer size of the organizations involved etc. I am interning at a BB this summer and will probably work there for a few years, but I am just not sure NYC is the place I would like to be permanently. I would love to work and live in Chicago, and I know there is some BB work there, but the space is heavily dominated by MM players.

Do you have any insight into the real differences between what your work would be as an MD where you are vs the work of an MD at Baird in Chicago for example? Do MM firms compensate for smaller deal fees by sheer volume etc?

2/24/15

thanks for the share

2/24/15

How screwed are you for SA positions if you don't have a sophomore internship?

3/1/15

A follow up question:

1.) I remember in one of your previous posts you mentioned that looking back, you would also have been open to a long term career in ECM. Going off that, I was wondering if you could provide some insight on the pros and cons of doing a LONG TERM career in ECM vs. DCM vs. Regular coverage groups.

Many on WSO clarify that for a long term career, Capital Markets functions are very attractive, considering the lower hours and in the case of DCM, steadier deal flow. Does this conception still hold at the senior levels, and specifically, which woul you say provides more career stability between ECM and DCM?

3/8/15

bump

5/6/15

Really enjoyed these. Rules to live by. Thanks.

2/17/16

+1 Thanks for the insight

2/21/16

thanks for the great post!

4/10/16

If you're ever in the Philippines, please let me buy you a beer.

4/19/16

I think this is great stuff and this type of writing is vital for people like myself who are trying to understand , navigate and successed in the field of finance.

Thanks

Want to Lose the body fat, keep the muscles, I can help.

7/5/16

Great post, thanks for the advice and input - I like the manner in which you emphasise (on the whole) a sustainable work-life balance!

"Average people have great ideas. Legends have great execution"

7/6/16

Unlock These Comments - Free

Join Us or Login
7/9/16
7/7/16
8/3/16
1/19/17

"Loser terrorists" & "bad hombres"

"Typical candidates are those who attended a reputable academic institution"
-Most job applications

3/18/17
5/5/17
Add a Comment