You've made it. The holy grails of holy grails.
Maybe you have successfully escaped your credit analyst internship at Capital One and have landed a cushy job at Citi come Summer 2018.
Maybe you did a summer at Bain last year and realized you wanted a more fulfilling experience than putting buzz phrases and clip art on a really modern-looking powerpoint page and now you're telling everyone that will listen that you will be joining Evercore.
Maybe you were studying abroad/studying broads in Budapest and woke up one day in the Fall of 2017 and realized that all your buddies were going into IB and you would have zero friends if you didn't do the same...and landed at Guggenheim.
Maybe you were a summer analyst at Bloomberg and knew that a future of being a customer support rep for 23 year old fuckclowns surprisingly did not entice you. So now you'll be joining Morgan Stanley...as a 23 year old fuckclown.
Maybe you were hanging out at Meatpacking with your girlfriend of 8 years who you first kissed in 8th grade to a Dashboard Confessional song when a 2nd year analyst at Goldman came by and stole her away from your grasps, and you swore to yourself that #2018 #newyearnewme #lifechanges #crossfit this would never happen again. So you sucked up to dozens of alumni and finally landed a FT job offer at Barclays. Meanwhile, Goldman bro and ex-gf just got engaged and are in Bora Bora for the weekend.
Whatever you did last summer, it doesn't matter anymore. You have successfully navigated through the tedious, horrifying, soul-crushing process that is the full-time investment banking recruiting cycle.
Please realize this...
You have zero idea what investment banking is like. You did not do an internship. Your images of grandeur, your awareness of the long hours, your self-perceived excel proficiency...
You know nothing. It's all lies. You just don't "get it"...yet. As someone currently in investment banking, I have witnessed a bunch of different 1st year analysts. Some have done banking previously, some haven't. Unfortunately, the new analysts that did not do an IB internship do "tend" (but not always) to start off slow, and/or have extremely different expectations as to what they were getting themselves into.
So here is some candid, helpful advice for all you incoming FT analysts who have never done an IB internship.
1. You Have to Get It.
What does this mean? You have to know what you are getting yourself into, and at the very least, fake like you do. You have to be flexible. You have to be malleable. You have to understand that this job is a grind. You work in CLIENT SERVICES. You will be on call for the majority of the day, if not the whole day. You will work for nice people. You will also work for assholes. Strengthen your mentality and your fortitude now. If not, you WILL breakdown and you will leave a very bad first impression. You have to act like you've been here before, even though you have not. You have to understand your social life will diminish. Your work-life balance will be subpar. You're going to need to learn how to manage your time extremely well.
2. Learn As Much As You Can in the First 6 Months
This is kind of your buffer zone. During the first 6 months, it's pretty understood that you're drinking out of a fire hose. The first 6 months are difficult even for kids that did do IB internships. For a lot of the kids that didn't do one, this period is hell. You are exposed to so much info and so many responsibilities and tasks that your mind may explode.
Ask as many questions as you can. Make sure they are thoughtful and that you don't repeat questions. Find an associate or a senior analyst that you naturally gravitate towards, and make them aware that you're aware that you have a steep learning curve, but you are WILLING and have the DRIVE to learn and catch up as quickly as possible. This will put you on their good side.
Take as many notes as possible. Anytime someone says something that can be helpful (excel shortcut...best website for logos...research report resource...etc.), write it down and save it. Since you have no institutional knowledge of where to access resources and such, you need to learn.
Do NOT Rush Through Your Tasks. You may feel inferior and slower than other first years...and as a result, you will try to fucking rush through your tasks and you'll end up misspelling shit like "illustrative" or "exclusive" or "multiples" and really fuck up your first impression. Take your time and double check your work.
3. Grab Coffee With People at the Firm That Show the Willingness to Mentor
As a green, first year analyst with no prior IB experience, you need a mentor. It's great to have a mentor that is outside the firm (i.e. a dude who works for a PE firm or something), but having a mentor who currently works at your firm is of the utmost importance. You need someone who is familiar with the internal workings of your office ON YOUR SIDE. Grab coffee with them. Ask them questions. Show intellectual curiosity. Be thankful.
4. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Buy an excel modeling course. Buy an excel best practices course. Buy something. You need to CATCH UP. The best way to do this is by doing thing as many times as possible. Stay late after you're done with your tasks and familiarize yourself with your bank's comps files, the proprietary powerpoint tools, the internal folder database, etc. You need to memorize these things so you don't spend 2 hours searching for the latest Mining comps file when your dickhead stub MBA associate asks for it.
5. Be a Good Squad Member
Sometimes, the kids with no prior IB experience will clearly show that they had no idea what the job will be like. They'll start having an attitude. They won't check in with their deal teams before leaving. They don't push the process forward. They don't know what's going on. They don't respond to emails because they're busy catching up with their freshman roommate at Whole Foods. It's critical that you are a good squad member. You need be your associate's right hand man, because he's trying to be the VP/Director's right hand man. When you make him look good, everyone looks good. Keeping a good attitude while showing drive and pride for your work product is essential.
6. Seriously Think About Not Going Through the First On-Cycle PE Recruiting Process
You're two months on the job and you start getting inbound emails from Henkel, CPI and the like. You start getting excited. Blackstone?? Yess!! TPG??!! Ok!!
Yet...you barely learned the Index Match formula last week. You're not ready. You will be doing yourself a disservice by going through the PE recruiting process. Here is why:
- You will be busy trying to prep for a job you know nothing about while...
- Trying to do a job that you know nothing about...
- So inevitably, you will fuck both up
Seriously think about not participating in the first year recruiting cycle. Going through the cycle in your 2nd year is perfectly fine, and off-cycle recruiting actually exposes you to a tremendous amount of different types of firms.
You think you want to land at Blackstone. However, you can't even name 6 PE firms. Maybe in 6 months you want to do distressed debt. Maybe you will work on a few deals involving activist hedge funds and really gravitate towards that. Maybe you will work really closely with a MM PE firm that focuses on a specific industry.
Give it some time. You will be ok.
7. Did I Say Ask Questions?? Ask Questions!!
You need to ask questions NOW. You can ask stupid questions your first couple months. You CANNOT ask stupid questions a year from now.
8. Breath. It Will Be Ok.
Whatever happens, don't get overwhelmed. Be cognizant that although this is a stressful industry, you are here for a reason, and you have the talent and the necessary skillset and the desire to succeed. So don't take it TOO seriously.
Get your job done well.
Take pride in your work product.
Show intellectual curiosity.
Be a good squad member.
Party. Repeat. Rule the world.