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 (91)

 
7/28/16

Time is your most valuable commodity

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8/5/16

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"

 
7/28/16

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.

 
8/1/16

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

 
8/1/16

"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.

 
8/2/16

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.

 
8/5/16
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.

 
8/8/16

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.

 
8/2/16
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.

 
8/2/16

Listen to what dad has to say.

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

 
8/3/16

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

 
8/2/16

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

 
8/2/16

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.

 
8/2/16

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.

 
8/2/16

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?

 
8/2/16

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

 
8/2/16

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.

 
8/2/16
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!

 
8/2/16

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

 
8/2/16

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.

 
8/5/16

YES! you will definitely reap what you sow

 
8/7/16

Solid advice. Definitely true!

 
8/2/16

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.

 
8/2/16

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.

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7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

 
8/2/16

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

 
8/3/16
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.

 
8/3/16

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

 
8/6/16

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.

 
8/4/16

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

 
8/2/16

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.

 
8/3/16

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

 
8/3/16

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.

 
8/3/16

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

 
8/3/16

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

 
8/3/16

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

 
8/3/16

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

 
8/4/16

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.

 
8/3/16

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.

 
8/4/16

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.

 
8/4/16

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

 
8/4/16

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

 
8/5/16
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.

 
8/5/16

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

 
8/5/16

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.

 
8/5/16

"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"

 
8/6/16

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.

 
8/6/16

hahahaha the last one is golden

 
8/6/16
  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).
 
8/7/16

Go to the best school you can get into => Internship => Work a few years => Then go to the best MBA/grad program you can get into.

At the very least, your alma mater should appear in the T50. If not T25.

I mistakingly went to a non-target MBA right after undergrad. Waste of time and money and my biggest regret. Was young and naive, had different career goals and bad mentoring. Now wanting to jump to MC and eventually PE, I see now how important target schools are in the white-shoe-firm world; in order to land key internships and get to know "the right people" to network. Taken a few years of industry work exp. and now studying another field-related masters (this time, at a target!) to increase my stock for when I jump to consulting. I may never get to a MBB or GS or Blackstone which I accept. But I wouldn't want you to have that glass ceiling.

Millennials and younger are facing more job competition. This isn't 1976 anymore, the senior partner with a history degree from State College of Idaho-Bumbfukville will be a slim chance for us. Cetaris paribus, your CV should be as polished as possible. I'd may be as bold to choose the Columbia or the Duke over the free ride to "satellite State" if given the choice.

Thankfully most of you know this. Hoping my former-dumb-19yo self will read this.

 
8/7/16

One thing I wish I knew: Learning to be patient.

You need to be patient with your co-workers, your superiors and most importantly yourself. You will be under pressure and you will mistakes. You must be patient in yourself to learn from your mistakes and think through problems.

 
8/9/16

To chill, yes - being analytical and knowledgeable is key but so is being able to laugh and not being mr.serious. Healthy balance is key in my opinion. Thankfully i've grown to balance this a lot better than in the past.

 
 
8/9/16

not to feel as if you are entitled to the position and your work stops at just obtaining the internship, work hard during the internship

 
8/9/16

Thanks. I'm obviously prepared to work as hard as I can but just to have a sense, what should I expect in terms of hours? 12 hour days non-earnings season?

 
8/9/16

Pretty much and to follow up below me. They dont expect you to be a rainman, they are just trying to see if you are a good fit for them, so socialize and make friends as well, dont sit down and calculate all day. I build a great rapport with my team and on my last day they got me balloons , a card and they took me out to lunch

 
8/9/16

I definitely second this. OP, don't work work work and expect to be handed the return offer. As you very well know, there are hundreds of qualified kids who are happy to fill your spot and many of them will do it for free. So it is expected that you can handle the workload, what they (also) want to see is if you can hang with the analysts/associates while being able to hold a conversation with upper management. In short, kick butt and be able to shoot the $h!t with your group.

Incoming Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Master
Literally a problem, solve for both X and Y, please and thank you.
Hugh Myron: "Are there any guides on here for getting a top girlfriend? Think banker/lawyer/doctor. I really don't want to go mid-tier"

 
8/9/16

Depends entirely on the bank. I know ER interns who worked banking hours for the entire internship. Once you get there it will be pretty obvious what's expected of you.

As above, the most important thing (assuming your work is good enough) is to be well-liked among the team. This is much more important in a smaller ER team than a large banking group.

 
8/9/16

Your attitude matters especially as an intern. No-one will expect you to be writing earth shattering stuff, but they will expect you to at least pretend you are enjoying yourself and be interested in the work. Going to social events (even as simple as a grabbing a pint after work) with the FT employees will help

 
8/9/16

Thanks for all the responses--much appreciated. A couple of the guys on the team are friends of friends by coincidence, and I like to think I'm a pretty social guy so making relationships with the team shouldn't be a big issue.

In terms of excel, I'm fairly comfortable with all the shortcuts and such, but what am I actually doing? I know that sounds broad, but I hear generalities like "update the models." Would that mean just basic data entry by changing the numbers based on, say, a press release? Or what kind of specific work on excel is there? I'd love to find a way to practice beforehand.

 
8/9/16

From my experiences, "updating the models" can be anything ranging from imputing new assumptions/guidance/press release numbers into existing company models to pulling #s from weekly/monthly industry databases and consolidating them into excel files.

 
8/9/16

That the internship is an office version of The Hunger Games

 
8/9/16

Source: http://epicureandealmaker.blogspot.com/2012/11/the...

Rule #1 -- Obey The Rules.
Duh.

Rule #2 -- Lead by example.
It is forbidden for someone familiar with The Rules to knowingly breach The Rules or assist another person to breach them.

Rule #3 -- Guide the uninitiated.
Investment banking is an apprenticeship business. Whether your charge is McKinley C. Higginbotham IV, scion of a long line of hoary investment bankers stretching back to the founding of Dillon Read at the dawn of the Pleistocene, or Mahindra P. Parametheswamenameran, fresh off the Tuesday boat from Mumbai with an I.Q. of 215, rest assured he or she knows absolutely jack shit about what to do with a client, a deal, or even a spreadsheet. Teach them, or consign your sorry, underleveraged ass to an early "retirement."

Rule #4 -- It's all about the money.
It is absolutely, without question, unequivocally about the money. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar, a regulator, an MBA career counselor, or Matt Taibbi.2

Rule #5 -- Harden The Fuck Up.
If you forget every other rule, remember this one.

Rule #6 -- Free your mind, and your career will follow.
You are not paid to think. You are not that fucking smart. You are paid to do what the client wants you to do. Go do it. The time to add real insight, to offer careful, considered judgment, is before you get hired. Then, and only then, can you tell the client what you think they should do.3 After they hire you, they own your sorry ass. Apply your overwhelming intellect to how and when to achieve their objectives, not why.

Rule #7 -- Dress like a professional, not like a clown.
Wear a suit. Buy good shoes. Own more than six ties. I don't care what your clients wear, they expect you to look the part of a slick, overeducated, hyperaggressive, insanely successful mercenary. Bulletin: the clients who wear blue jeans and sneakers expect their bankers to be dressed to the nines, too, not like themselves, because they instinctively know the difference between an entrepreneur and a professional servant. You are a servant. Dress like one. Oh, and one thing more: no two-tone shirts, banker collars, suspenders, or bowties, unless you are God, a bajillionaire, or Felix Rohatyn. Or all of the above. Nobody wants to hire a fop.

Rule #8 -- Investment banking travel is for badasses. Period.
Unless you are a management consultant or a senior petroleum engineer for a global integrated oil company,4 you have no idea what high stakes business travel really is. It's getting up at 4:30 in the morning to catch a flight across three time zones to meet with some asshole client who'd as soon as piss on you as take a meeting. It's getting a call at your Milan hotel in the middle of a weeklong business trip to catch the next flight to Beijing for a two hour meeting with a bunch of government officials you've never even met. It's traveling to some of the most famous and exotic destinations on the planet, only to have them all look the same: airport-->taxi-->hotel room-->taxi-->conference room--> taxi-->airport. It's learning to become a connoisseur of hotel room service, a Jedi Master of airport Starbucks. Forget about private planes. Those are for clients and the senior executives at the top of your firm. Forget about first class. The only time you'll get to the front of the plane is when you pay for it with your own money or the umpty billion upgrades you've earned by traveling to Hell and back a bajillion times this month alone. So travel like you mean it. Don't fuck around: Rollerboards are for pussies. Checking luggage is for young families on vacation and old ladies. Neck pillows are for moral degenerates. When in doubt, see Rule #5.

Rule #9 -- It never gets easier, you just make more money.
Investment banking is hard. It stays hard. The more success you have, the higher your clients', managers', and shareholders' expectations rise. You're only as good as your last trade or your last deal. Last year was last year, asshole: what have you done for me lately? Furthermore, the higher you rise in the pyramid, the closer you come to the clients, managers, and shareholders and their unrelenting, unreasonable, unjustifiable demands. Sur la Plaque, fucktards. See Rule #5.

Rule #10 -- Don't be a scumbag.
The pressure, the money, and the prestige will tempt you to cut corners. To steal credit. To stab colleagues and subordinates in the back. To gutlessly steamroll brighteyed young acolytes in the name of shareholder returns or your own personal compensation. Resist this. Don't be a fucktard. Don't be a gutless pussy. The life of an investment banker is nasty, brutish, and short. But if you can manage to avoid succumbing to the myriad base temptations to screw people over the profession offers you, you will earn a reputation as a... as a...

Oh, screw it. You won't earn any reputation at all, except maybe among a few hundred of your professional colleagues. The general public won't ever know or care about you at all.

But since when did you care what the general public thinks? Matt Taibbi sure doesn't think you do.

 
8/9/16

Source: http://epicureandealmaker.blogspot.com/2013/03/cur...

FINANCIAL ANALYST
Now the actual specifics of our novitiate's duties and day-to-day activities will depend quite heavily on her bank's organization and practices when it comes to Financial Analysts. Some will put her directly into a dedicated product group, like mergers & acquisitions, where she will be tasked with supporting senior M&A bankers in executing transactions alongside other bankers. Others will place her in an industry group, like Healthcare or Energy & Power, where her job will be to support industry-focused bankers who originate and execute all sorts of deals for their clients, including M&A, capital raising, and the like. Still other banks will put her in a large analyst pool, where she will be one of many analysts loaned out on a case-by-case basis to support bankers from different groups across all of corporate finance and M&A.

In general, however, these minor details don't matter for our purposes here. A Financial Analyst's job is to support senior bankers, from Managing Director on down, and to do whatever they ask her to do. Most of the time, this involves doing research, maintaining and updating various databases, creating or modifying financial models for specific transactions or a range of related companies (known as "comparables"), and editing and producing tons and tons and TONS of presentation books. Analysts work under close supervision by Associates (the next rung up) and sometimes Vice Presidents, who supply the content of each presentation or related work product (at the direction of their superiors) and who check the Analysts' work for completeness and correctness. Analysts, being bright-eyed, intelligent, but largely clueless young things who usually look like deer in headlights or zombies on Adderal, almost never travel and rarely get to attend client meetings. When they do, they virtually never speak and are only there to hand out the presentation books to other attendees. At the biggest banks, an Analyst may only see her Managing Director once a year in the distance, like some mythical unicorn, and only read about her clients in The Wall Street Journal.

Analysts tend to work the longest hours, are in the office late every weeknight and most weekends, and rarely see the light of day. If shit flows downhill, Analysts are the ones at the bottom collecting and processing it every day before they hand it back up the chain of command, hopefully prettier and less aromatic than when they received it. Analysts are cannon fodder.

Now, because of this, you can see that a successful Analyst must have several important traits. She must be intelligent, patient, hardworking, relentless, unflappable, diplomatic, self-sacrificing, and forbearing. She must always maintain her equanimity, even in the face of a spittle-flecked Associate berating her for not correcting his misspelling of the client CFO's name in a presentation book or a Managing Director who looks at her blankly when she asks how the meeting she skipped Christmas Day with her family to prepare the book for went (the client cancelled). It helps if she is a wizard with Excel or Powerpoint or Capital IQ and is a great stickler for detail (like saving her misspelling Associate's ass). It is extra good if she is innovative and comes up with new ideas for doing things, better financial models, or even a clever suggestion for something even her MD has not thought about on a deal. Taking initiative and asking for more work is like whipped cream with a cherry on top.

What she is not expected to do is come up with the ideas her seniors pitch, cold call new potential clients, manage transactions, or sell. Most Analysts are hired for a specific stint of two years, after which they are encouraged to move on. Most do: some back to business school for an MBA, some to clients or other industries, and a few--usually the most proficient modelers and most eager deal junkies, natch--directly to private equity, where they will trade client service kneepads for a spot on the bottom rung of a financial sponsor and the dream of becoming another Steve Schwarzman or Leon Black. Increasingly, many banks have begun to encourage their top Analysts to stay on for a third year, and sometimes even a fourth plus a field promotion to Associate, if both they and their seniors are willing. It makes sense: why lose your best-trained, most competent people to business school or the competition?

 
8/9/16

Perception matters - of course your team must like you, but it matters just as much what the perception of you "the floor" has. Be nice and enthusiastic when you speak to people - in general.

Don't look nervous - bankers hate people who look nervous too much of the time.

Taking initiative is a double edged sword - if you try to over perform, you may get the stamp of "overachiever".

It's 20% luck - even if you are a superstar, you might not make it. There are more employers to work for.

DYEL

 
8/9/16

Didnt read previous responses so might be re-iterating but:

1. Read the situation. Dont act like you are one of the boys from the get go, you arent. It takes a lot of time to be "accepted" into a desk most of the time. I knew some guys who were very cold until about 6 months into the job when those walls started breaking down. Obviously some guys will be different, but until you are sure (as in they shoot the shit wiht you) then be cautious and just be humble.

2. Be humble, dont act like you know everything. You need to try and show you know stuff through work/projects. THe old adage show dont say applies

3. When people get in go around asking if anyone wants breakfast. On the first day ask when people like to eat lunch, then start asking people what they will want at least an hour before this. This is because it takes at least 30 minutes for people to actually come to an agreement what to eat, and then taking orders, and then getting the food. If you dont let anyone go hungry you will do alright

4. Anything social you are invitied to make an effort to go. Dont be too keen, treat people as if you met them at a bar (but maybe a bit more professionally). Try not to talk about work/finance unless that is the conversation. Again read the situation. Even if you have tons of work, if someone asks you to go for beers, go and then come back to the office and finish your work or get in early the next day.

And most importantly:

5. Get to know as mnay people as possible. I was lucky, my first rotation was a salestrading one, and my manager simply told me that my first week i was supposed to go sit with someone on every desk on the floor. I wanted to be in trading but this was a god send, as I knew almost everyone on the floor and there was at least one person on each desk that knew me. At the end of the day, getting hired is a popularity contest. Never forget that.

 
8/9/16

There's a fantastic post by a user called something like frgna which addresses this perfectly. On the phone so too much effort to find.

"After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper

 
8/9/16

"After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper

 
8/9/16

Understand the politics of the firm and your team.

 
8/9/16

Simply getting things done is a prized and valuable skill; far more so than most people realize. In my experience most people spend an absurd amount of time tyring to figure out ways to skirt work or push it along rather than simply figuring things out and getting them done.

The other thing I wish I had known was that most things end up in a gray area where there isn't a definitive answer for you to fall back on. It is crucial that you are able to quickly think through things and be comfortable with defending the methodology as much as the answer itself. Oh, and always have an answer. The answer can be something like, " Let me double check and I'll get back to you right away" but don't simply sit there like a deer in the headlights.

Take note of your supervisors style and the overall formatting of projects, etc. Mimic it. If they say they like something, strive to make as much as you can look similar to it.

Lastly, be like-able. Make an effort to get to know people and generally be a decent person. Endearing yourself to people if at least half the battle; if not more so.

 
8/9/16

Realize that you're not expected to know everything day 1 or even your last day. With that in mind, you need to demonstrate that you've learned something in between that time. Doing so successfully your chances of getting a return offer will be greater.

 
8/9/16

So if I want to just practice things that I'll be doing this summer, where would be a good place to start? Maybe pulling info from a company's 10-k or a PR statement and trying to update their statements based off of it? Building one of those fully from scratch/a blank document seems pretty overwhelming.

 
8/9/16

At the BB I SA'd at, nearly every intern got offered back. What I observed and experienced was:
1) You will likely work on a small industry team (my group was 3 other people) as a part of a larger sector team. Be personable and friendly with your team. No one wants someone working for them they don't like.
2) You will go through at least 1 earnings season with the team. These are the busiest weeks for an ER team- your team's resources will be taxed- associates will be on earnings calls for one company and unable to read press releases with earnings numbers from other companies so you need to prove you are able to work independently to update models/write blasts/take notes without mistakes. Take time to look through your team's models and understand their formatting before earnings season so it's not your first time.
3) Be proactive in your learning experience. I know a lot of people say that you should ask questions but not too much such to be annoying. I personally think it's harder to feel out that balance than advertised, so I asked my team if every morning around 10:00a and afternoon at 4:00p, when we were generally the least busy, if I could borrow 10 minutes of their time for a quick meeting to throw out any questions/ideas/progress updates on things I was working on. Especially because they recently hired a new associate who was getting to know the ropes as well, the team loved this idea and it really helped me.
4) Make an effort to show you are more than just a computer jockey- I asked my boss one day if he could arrange for me to sit with our sector traders for the opening bell for two hours on one of our slower weeks. I got a great review in part from this, they really praised that I was making an effort to understand the full business model of the firm and how ER fit into the picture.
5) Don't be obnoxious. The few interns that did not get offers back were loud personalities, didn't work hard, and didn't show that they really enjoyed what they were working on by being engaged.

Good luck, wouldn't stress. I made plenty of mistakes when I SA'd but still got a rave review.

 
8/9/16

This is a really helpful response and I appreciate you giving it. I definitely like that you asked to sit with the sector traders too.

It seems hard to know how to, for example, send out a blast without practice. I guess you saw how they did it in the past and basically just modeled your own work after what had been done before?

 
8/9/16

Correct, it was intimidating for maybe the first half of the summer being asked to write up first impressions blasts, but since they were small someone was always able to look at it before we sent it out and I literally took old blasts and copied the same format and tried to just modify numbers.

When it comes to the actual report writing, my first draft of a report was really heavily marked up and it was from that first draft that I really began to understand how my team writes and from then on was able to match their writing style very well. So don't panic the first time you get a heavily edited report back, it's expected that you bomb your first try.

 
8/9/16

This is a really helpful response and I appreciate you giving it. I definitely like that you asked to sit with the sector traders too.

It seems hard to know how to, for example, send out a blast without practice. I guess you saw how they did it in the past and basically just modeled your own work after what had been done before? Perhaps the same thing for updating models?

 
 
8/9/16

how about things i knew as a high schooler, such as i would have switched from a pharmacy major and shouldnt have gone to uconn? lol (although all worked out in the end)

 
8/9/16

That I am not special.

 
8/9/16

While in retrospect I actually did a good number of things right (killed myself learning to speak chinese, etc), there are so many things I wish I'd known... most notably: (1) I should have majored in engineering / CS or something else quantitative, (2) shouldn't have completely relied on connections to get my first job and should have actually utilized OCR since I was at an Ivy and one might as well use the primary channel for all UG recruiting and (3) your undergraduate GPA does matter - A LOT - even if you don't want to go to law or medical school.... if I had realized this I'd have gotten a 3.9 instead of a 3.5 without to much extra effort

As shorttheworld said though--- things worked out in the end.

@Password-taco: you are special, bad attitude!

 
8/9/16

here is the thing... your exp will shape you and change you... you may fall in love with your job and never want to or need to go to b school.. and who knows who will be in top 5 in 5 years.. we have a good clue but who knows.. also dont try to game what your going to be doing in 5 years.. just live and see what happens...

what i would of done different? drank more, slept less,

 
8/9/16

There is so much wasted time in undergrad..in life in general. If you don't waste time, then getting that 3.9 GPA and getting wasted 3-4 times a week can easily become a reality.

"Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."

 
8/9/16

1- Your GPA matters a lot.

2- Your GPA matters more if you are not a Math/Engineering/CS major

3- Your GPA matters more if you don't go to a target

4- Create something while in College, extra-curricular, you name, at the end your leadership skills will grow so much

 
 
8/9/16

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8/9/16

When a plumber from Hoboken tells you he has a good feeling about a reverse iron condor spread on the Japanese Yen, you really have no choice. If you don't do it to him, somebody else surely will. -Eddie B.