Starting to freak out about starting FT

I was hanging out at my buddy's place last night and we were talking about vacation plans for after graduation. He talked about how I should be enjoying the last few months of school and go somewhere baller after graduation since I'm gonna get crushed once I start work. I never really thought about it before, but hearing it from him and looking at the calendar freaked me out. 'm still thinking about it a day later and it's making me pretty anxious...

After graduation, I'm starting at a boutique that's supposedly a sweatshop (Moelis/Lazard). Looked at a bunch of WSO threads today and getting pretty scared of both the hours and the work. I'm a liberal arts student who's never taken a finance class. No lie; everything I know is from the WSO technical guide. Also have never had an IBD internship either. I summered in Capital Markets and all I got from that was how to make a fuckton of market update slides which isn't exactly the same as M&A. I know nothing and I'm afraid that I won't catch up and I'll have even longer hours than everyone else because I would have to keep looking everything up and suck balls at the work.

I'm also kinda regretting signing with this particular firm. At the time, I was really amped about exits/pay/prestige but I don't even know if I want to do PE anymore. I thought about it and don't think I have any sort of interest in investing. Had a bunch of other offers with BB coverage groups with a lot better hours at the time I signed and I can't help but think I should have considered those more seriously. I guess I just didn't really think things through and made an impulsive decision based on statistics.

Anyway mostly a rant to make myself feel better but would also like to ask a few questions. Do kids with no experience catch up relatively quickly? Is there anything I can do in the next few months to maybe learn more about finance and put myself in a better place?

Comments (22)

Feb 17, 2016

You could start IB with no knowledge of what the difference between an asset and liability is and still be a rockstar analyst. If this is a reputable bank, which both Lazard and Moelis obviously are, they will provide you with plenty of training. I would not worry about it at all.

Feb 17, 2016

1) You will have no problem learning.
2) Lateraling is relatively easy, even from lesser known banks. (Which you will not be at)

Feb 18, 2016

I don't mean to hijack OP's thread, but I've heard sentiments echoing your second point from other sources too. What do you think would be the lower limit for name recognition in order to be able to lateral over relatively easily to BB/EB's? Or is it doable even from no-name boutiques?

Feb 17, 2016

How did you get a IB job without taking finance courses?!

Feb 17, 2016

Easy - go to a school that doesn't offer any.

Tons of kids who went to LAC schools (like me) never took a finance course in college.

OP: As long as you show a willingness to learn and put in the time, people will understand where you are coming from. Just be sure to show that you're progressing in the first few months you are starting and things will be fine. That said, sometimes I hate my life and really wish I wasn't doing banking.

Feb 18, 2016

I read a bunch of guides and was in a investment club

Feb 18, 2016

Did you attend top LAC?

Feb 18, 2016

Some people go to schools that don't offer finance courses. Such as Harvard, or Yale. But you probably think state school students who took 5 finance courses deserve the job more.

    • 2
    • 3
Feb 17, 2016

But you shouldn't worry too much. A friend of mine works at Lazard as a second year analyst. He was a econ major but there is still a training program for everyone. You'll catch up fast.

Best Response
Feb 17, 2016

my advice to you: learn how to build M&A/lbo models NOW and party your ass off during training. in banking, if your training is anything like mine (i suspect it will) it will be a lot of theoretical bull shit like allocating balance sheet items (goodwill, pp&e stepup/down etc). you do not need to know the "in theory" you just need to know how to do it mechanically. using the goodwill example above, no one in banking or PE will have any clue how to value it so a 3rd party valuation firm will be sent in post acquisition to do this type of work. you will be surprised how much is outsourced.

your mentality and attitude will either make you a rock star top bucket analyst or it will sink you after a year. keep your head up. first 8 months will be the hardest you probably will have ever worked but guess what, at least no one is shooting at you in a desert.

good luck!!

    • 4
Feb 18, 2016

This is good advice. Which sources do you think are best for incoming analysts to independently learn how to model? I have a few buddies in a similar situation as the OP; would be nice to pass on some info.

Feb 18, 2016

Haha can't argue with that.

What's a good way to learn about building the models? I looked at Macabacus when recruiting FT but a lot of that went over my head - are there any other ways you'd recommend?

Feb 18, 2016

I work in M&A and make fuckton of market update slides and how robust the environment is and blah blah blah

Don't freak out. Should be proud of yourself for having made it. If you want to be prepared, read the book Investment Banking by Rosenbaum/Pearl. I quite frankly think all that theory 'BS' is pretty important - you'll have templates at the bank you'll work in and can leverage previously done materials.

Don't freak out, calm down, do some reading and spending some quiet time meditating on how you want to enjoy the last few months of school left

Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.

    • 1
Feb 18, 2016

Regardless of resume pedigree, prior experience included, I generally assume that new analyst hires don't know anything. Better for both parties. I will say this though, memorizing that guide may have gotten you in the door but it sounds to me like what you created is a facade of understanding that at least in part, is fueling your anxiety. Bright side is that you know enough to know you don't really know anything. So if you are that afraid of looking like an idiot, (even if it is just initially) the simple solution would be to dedicate some time to casually study up. I say casually because your friend is right- if you go into this opportunity stressed and tired with, what in retrospect you will surely agree, is marginally more knowledge compared to what you'll learn in training, you wont make it.

Feb 18, 2016

You know what the great thing about banking out of college is? It's not really meant to be a permanent career-long job. If you try it and hate it after 6 months, a year, however long - guess what? You can quit and just work at another job, except you'll have been paid pretty well in the meantime and you'll have a good name on your resume for the rest of your career.

So relax, have some fun, and go hang out with your friends in the middle of the day - just enjoy the rest of college.

Feb 18, 2016

Youll need to put the work in.

At a boutique you don't have the luxury of a full 2 month training program like BBs do (unless things changed since I was there).

The worst analysts at the start got a bad rep and were put on the shittiest pitches, which turned into the shittiest reviews, which turned into the rankings. This is compounded by rockstar summers who will run circles around you when you join.

So relax but start putting some legwork into building up your knowledge.

Feb 18, 2016

Which boutique did you have experience with? From what I've heard, there is a six week training program analogous to what you'd get at a BB

Feb 19, 2016

In a similar situation and I don't think you have too much to be concerned about. Both the firms you mentioned have an extensive training program to bring you up to speed. I'm also a liberal arts major but I have many friends in the undergrad business school and the only advantage they enjoy is a couple semesters of accounting which isn't hard to grasp at all.

Feb 23, 2016

How difficult would it be to lateral internally from a satellite office of an EB (EVR/Lazard/PJT) to the New York office after your summer stint?

Feb 23, 2016