The one thing you wish you knew?

What is the one thing you wish you knew before starting IB or your career in general?

Could be any tip or advice...

For me, I wish I knew the true meaning of "it's not about what you know, it's about who you know"

Comments (53)

Jul 28, 2016

Time is your most valuable commodity

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Aug 5, 2016

Provided you utilize it effectively to achieve your goals, yes....realizing time is valuable and actually acting on that realization are two very different things...

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

Aug 5, 2016
Jul 28, 2016

Successful people can sometimes unintionally or intentionally give self-serving, incomplete, and misleading advice. This industry is full of bullshitters, so beware of who you seek council from and always ask for multiple opinions. And if in doubt, trust your gut in the context of another person's interests.

Aug 1, 2016

It is all about perfection and the willingness to learn new things.

Best Response
Aug 1, 2016

"There is no reason to wait."

In hindsight, I should have went to grad school sooner. I approached master of real estate programs like one would approach MBA programs and I assumed both had a similar level of work experience required. That is incorrect and I'll be graduating close to 30 with the same degree as my 25 year old classmates.

So, if you don't like what you're doing, there's no reason to toil away and "put your time in." Get out there and take the next step as soon as possible.

Aug 2, 2016

I definitely agree with you, but not everyone has the luxury of moving on from something.

Let me explain, during my last year of college, I just wanted to get some experience in any large corporation, so I went into a large cap energy company, did my internship and then got hired.

Before the end of my internship, I had realized that I wanted to work in banking/markets, however, I started having multiple responsibilities and had to assist my family to cope with finances.

When the offer and the sweet salary was put in front of me, I directly took it which of course helped a lot financially but the whole experience is a waste of time.

I was 21 at the time and thought that I still have enough time to find something in banking . The days went by and I am now 24 (today is my bday) and still couldn't find an opportunity. I also cannot just leave my job to intern somewhere and start fresh in banking as I have responsibilities to take care of so I can't afford to not get paid.

And this is why not everyone has the luxury to move on and get out there to take the next step.

Aug 5, 2016
LeNasser:

I definitely agree with you, but not everyone has the luxury of moving on from something.

Let me explain, during my last year of college, I just wanted to get some experience in any large corporation, so I went into a large cap energy company, did my internship and then got hired.

Before the end of my internship, I had realized that I wanted to work in banking/markets, however, I started having multiple responsibilities and had to assist my family to cope with finances.

When the offer and the sweet salary was put in front of me, I directly took it which of course helped a lot financially but the whole experience is a waste of time.

I was 21 at the time and thought that I still have enough time to find something in banking . The days went by and I am now 24 (today is my bday) and still couldn't find an opportunity. I also cannot just leave my job to intern somewhere and start fresh in banking as I have responsibilities to take care of so I can't afford to not get paid.

And this is why not everyone has the luxury to move on and get out there to take the next step.

You might do that for 4-6 years and then use business school to break in as an associate in O&G banking. At least that seems like the most logical transition.

Aug 8, 2016

Do you happen to have a degree in petroleum engineering or work on the engineering side?

There are people that go directly from the E&P side to banking without an MBA.

Aug 2, 2016
CRE:

"There is no reason to wait."

In hindsight, I should have went to grad school sooner. I approached master of real estate programs like one would approach MBA programs and I assumed both had a similar level of work experience required. That is incorrect and I'll be graduating close to 30 with the same degree as my 25 year old classmates.

So, if you don't like what you're doing, there's no reason to toil away and "put your time in." Get out there and take the next step as soon as possible.

I will most likely be 34-36 by the time I am all said and done. Though I am planning on starting a brokerage, if anything. It is a little difficult for us older folks to make the transition (family and life issues).

I agree with you, +1 SB, keep on rolling and don't stop.

Aug 2, 2016

Listen to what dad has to say.

"We listen, if it feels good we shake."
"This town is nuts, my kind of place."
-WSMFP

Aug 2, 2016
Aug 3, 2016

*Do not follow above advice if your dad is an idiot or piece of shit.

Aug 2, 2016

stop glorifying investment banking - in the end it is still a brokering deals
in the end of the day, it is still about making a right connection between projects and funding
so if you don't like dealing with people or developing long term relationship, you shouldn't be in IB

the more senior you get (at least in IBD), the more it become about soft skills
- developing a view on the macro economy
- seeing how you can benefit from a particular industry trend
- building the right Rolodex of investors and CEOs
- grooming a right team to execute those deals

so if you don't like people, don't waste your time in IBD

Aug 2, 2016

Yes and this kind of industry I want to be in. Sometimes you miss the whole point of IB/PE, let me tell you:

I live in a region where Financial Markets are still in an early stage, there are so many Business Opportunities that are yet to be explored.

We have thousands of SMEs waiting to be developed into more mature companies so this is where IB/PE can come in & give proper advice to grow by M&A or securing funding for their international or at least regional growth or IPOs.

This is basically why I want to be in this Business, It's for a defined purpose, to help the Region I live in develop, there is not much large cap listed companies in the whole region here. I know that this will change in the future and I want to be a part of that.

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Aug 2, 2016

If you're concerned about graduating age just come to EU. It's basically the norm to finish your bachelors degree when you're 23-24.

Aug 2, 2016

I've actually graduated from a French University with a Masters in Finance at the age of 22.

However I believe the unemployment situation in France is pretty tough so for a foreigner to break in it will take some very powerful connections.

let's see which city gets a boost from Brexit banking jobs and I will consequently decide whether if I should go there on site and network my way into a decent opportunity.

What do you advise as someone living in the EU and what is your perspective on the future of Banking post Brexit?

Aug 2, 2016

So you began uni at 17? You graduate HS here at 19, most people have a gab year and start uni at 20.

Aug 2, 2016

yes I started uni when I was 17, actually when my parents moved out from my home country to where we live now, I skipped a year and entered a grade higher thus I finished HS early.

Aug 2, 2016
LeNasser:

yes I started uni when I was 17, actually when my parents moved out from my home country to where we live now, I skipped a year and entered a grade higher thus I finished HS early.

Impressive!

Aug 2, 2016

Take better care of your health when you're younger.

Aug 2, 2016

Things may not always play out in the exact time frame that you want them, but have patience, don't stress, work hard, and have a good heart. Your karma will come back tenfold when you least expect it.

Aug 5, 2016

YES! you will definitely reap what you sow

Aug 7, 2016

Solid advice. Definitely true!

Aug 2, 2016

I have a few key points that I wish I knew earlier in my professional career:

(i) Enjoy the journey. Many people in our generation are focused on the end-goal, and will wish away the nights that it takes for them to ultimately realize that goal. Enjoy the late nights in the office, although they suck in the short-term, in the end they will make you a better person and professional. Getting that dream gig on the buyside is great, but once you're there, you will quickly focus on a new goal and the cycle starts over again.

(ii) Accept that you know nothing. We are all pieces of clay and have much to learn. We are molded by the people we surround ourselves with, including our co-workers. One of the things I wish I had learned early on was to associate yourself with people who you hold in high regard, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Although at an early level, we are all easily replaceable cogs in a large machine, you need to invest in yourself to become an integral and irreplaceable component of that machine. The best way to do that is to learn from those who are already established.

Father to Junior EightAceTres, the projected top summer analyst in Gleacher's 2034 Investment Banking program.

Aug 2, 2016

One thing I wish I knew a long time ago is: start early and persevere.

You don't have as much time as you think.

Aug 2, 2016

That there is no "one thing" that you should know, and that you should stop looking for easy one liners that will sum up all of your professional and personal life in one pithy saying

That being said, one piece of general work advice I will offer you is to figure out what you are really good at. Not what you want to be good at, not what will impress your friends and family, not what will get you the most money and prestige, but what area you genuinely have some sort of talent that most others don't have. This might take many job changes before you start to get a decent sense of it, but a little hint to give you a head start: look to what you excel at in your personal life. Following this approach I believe will steer you in the direction of being the most happy and most successful that you can be, assuming those are the things you care about

Just think about it. Why try for a career in investment banking if you couldn't sell water in a desert

Aug 3, 2016
Going Concern:

That being said, one piece of general work advice I will offer you is to figure out what you are really good at. Not what you want to be good at, not what will impress your friends and family, not what will get you the most money and prestige, but what area you genuinely have some sort of talent that most others don't have. This might take many job changes before you start to get a decent sense of it, but a little hint to give you a head start: look to what you excel at in your personal life. Following this approach I believe will steer you in the direction of being the most happy and most successful that you can be, assuming those are the things you care about

Yes and no, GC. Part of the problem with my (our?) generation is that we've been told to "follow our dreams" with no reality-based checks. There are plenty of things I excel at at that I would never follow as a career because they're either impractical or, while I'm better than "most people I know" I'm still not good enough to truly succeed at.

For example:

  1. I'm a huge fan of working out and the whole bodybuilding/gym scene. When I could dedicate a lot of my day to it, like in college, the results were pretty impressive. I look at all those instagram "models" legitimately making bank by posting shirtless selfies, selling t-shirts, and making youtube videos and I think "man, I could probably do that." I'm not about that injection life though, so in reality I couldn't. I'd never be able to compete on stage. I'd never maintain the required size and leanness without PEDs. I'd just end up as some douchebag working at LA fitness holding a clipboard for someone else's workout.
  2. I am rather good at singing. Made select choirs and choruses. Had a few legit solo performances. Walked in and got the lead in my highschool musical even though I had never been in high school drama. Should I have tried to "make it?"
  3. Likewise, I've been a paid writer. Websites, companies, etc. I'm definitely not a journalist, so...am I going to be the next great novelist?

People have told me to pursue all three of those "talents" in the past simply because I may have been better at them that the handful of people they've personally witnessed, similar to thinking that the star of the highschool football team genuinely has a chance at the NFL. The reality is though I'm probably not in the 90th percentile at any of them - maybe not the 80th even.

Aug 3, 2016

You're taking my post too literally. I meant talent in a more subtle way, specifically how it might be used to guide your path through the many career options in the finance/corporate world, based on what strengths you have

For example:

Bodybuilding = discipline, stamina
Singing = presentation, memory
Writer = communication, creativity

I find it pretty hard to believe you're equally good at all three though, unless you're some sort of modern renaissance dude

Aug 6, 2016

Why would you doubt his post? It seems reasonable to me. I've been interning in consulting this summer and have worked out 4-5 days a week, I play an instrument and I also write. They're not three things that he's claiming he devotes 3-4 hours a week to apiece and he's claiming to be better than most of his friends that pursue those activities, not a regional best.

i know people in grad school that ARE regionally ranked athletes, hold down internships in IB/etc, and play multiple instruments.

Aug 4, 2016

Solid post. I couldn't agree more. You will end up liking whatever you're good at in the overwhelming majority of cases.

Aug 2, 2016

Don't be intimidated by people because they are more important.

As one of the youngest on this site the only reason I have been able to do what I do is that I have never been afraid to talk to people. Whether that meant walking into the CEO's office to introduce myself at a boutique or emailing the MD for coffee always treat people older or more important than you like a friend while remaining respectful.

Aug 3, 2016

It's not who you know, it's who you blow

Aug 3, 2016

Your salary is your market value, decided by your current employer.
Your knowledge. ability, and potential determine your intrinsic value. There is zero excuse not to increase your intrinsic value through proactive learning.
Sooner or later, your market value and intrinsic value will converge.

Aug 3, 2016

oh wow that sounds really sexy. are these your own words?

Aug 3, 2016

No, Ben Graham and Warren Buffet's words :) I just applied it in a different way

Aug 3, 2016

Keep your current friends close. It becomes much harder to connect with people on the level you could in college.

Aug 3, 2016

1) You can't do it alone!!! Believe it or not, there are people out there who are willing to help IF YOU ASK FOR IT. It's not degrading or "weak" to ask for help; if anything, it's weak to let your ego get in the way of it.

2) 30 no's and a yes still gets you a job

Aug 4, 2016

Always have at least three mid term significant personal goals; physical, professional and personal (i.e. run a 10k, learn how to do X analysis, learn an instrument) and spend your free time actively pursuing all three. I wasted years focused on one or two of three areas and let the other one or two suffer.

Aug 3, 2016

Coming out of college I wish I knew that there is not a textbook way of getting something done. Treat your work like guerrilla warfare and use your intuition to get it done. Early in my career I was timid and operated like a robot trying to do things the textbook way. I now try to approach new challenges as if my back is already against the wall and I have to figure it out or else.

Aug 4, 2016

True that, when I graduated and was released to the real world I quickly discovered that it's a wild jungle out there.

I wish I read the 48 laws of power before I started my first job, would of made it a lot easier to manage my expectation of how to deal with people.

Aug 4, 2016

Don't stop going to the gym just because you're "tired", drink some coffee and deal with it. It's harder to lose 10 lbs than keep it off.

Plus buying a new wardrobe is expensive.

"Be the Disruptor, not the Disrupted" - Clayton Christensen

Aug 4, 2016

Don't sacrifice your relationships or families and friends for IB... It's not worth it - but I'm kind of doing that now.

Aug 5, 2016
chille:

Don't sacrifice your relationships or families and friends for IB... It's not worth it - but I'm kind of doing that now.

That's like saying "make sure you get more sleep." Don't expect it to happen. You have to take care of yourself and your own career first.

Aug 5, 2016

that's why later on you are likely going to regret it.

Aug 5, 2016

But if you didn't make sacrifices you would never have a banking career (or potential banking career) in the first place. My advice is to always take care of yourself first.

If, for example, you went home each summer and helped your parents with chores around the house or went with your friends to the beach instead of doing an internship isolated from everyone else, don't expect to get a job in banking regardless of how much ability you might have. You might have a better relationship with family/friends, but unemployment and being broke sucks even more. You might lose some friends by going into banking and your family might not understand it, but that's why it's a sacrifice and unsupportive people aren't worth your time anyway. Play your cards right, you'll have more money than 99% of everybody else.

Aug 5, 2016

"Talk less, smile more" and always make sure you have a bias towards action.
Another tip I got from my mentor - "As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another" - so surround yourself with people who are better than you and you will inevitably become more like them.

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

Aug 6, 2016

Career wise:

Almost everyone is just pretending they know what they're doing and making it up as they go along.

You're always involved in office politics, right from the moment you walk in the door as a new grad.

Perception is more important than reality.

General life:

Sleep with as many woman as you can when you're young as you don't get the opportunity later in life.

Aug 6, 2016

hahahaha the last one is golden

Aug 6, 2016
  1. I am not special - Unless you are Jonathan Gray of an industry, you are not going to be the first one taking a look at this deal. Find out why others passed on the deal and squeeze a good lunch or two from the greasy broker.
  2. I don't know shit, but my parents do - Always listen to your parents. They love you and have no reason to deceive you. Most of all, they want only the best for you.
  3. You ain't shit to me unless you sign or can affect my paycheck - There will always be an asshole who fucks with people for no reason. Fight back and burn the asshole's asshole.
  4. Action speaks louder than words - If you are mad that your tax rate is too low, make a donation to Treasury and stop bitching (Yeah, I am talking to you, Warren Buffett. Write a check to Treasury rather than to Hillary).
Aug 7, 2016

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