To All the IB Analysts - Think About How You Treat Your Interns

Recently I was reflecting on some of my IB internship stints. I was fortunate enough to work at a few different shops and to actually gain some perspective on how a good vs. bad Analyst treats their interns. My biggest takeaway was that Analyst treatment of interns is one of the most important drivers in determining the quality of an internship experience. Had I generally not gotten along with the Analysts I worked with, I doubt I would have pursued banking. 

90% of My Analysts Made a Serious Effort to Help Me Develop

Having worked with probably about 10 different Analysts closely for multiple months each, 9/10 were stand up guys / gals who made a serious effort to help me develop. They took the time to teach best practices, walked me through how they approached different asks, and genuinely tried to introduce me to the work they did while still protecting me from some of the stress (e.g., if I made a mistake they didn't catch they never threw me under the bus). They did all of this while regularly working 80+ hours per week. 

As an intern I was highly impressionable and always looking to make friends with the Analysts I worked for. Again, the majority of the Analysts that I worked for were amazing, and we went out together, shot the shit, and created some level of friendship. We watched TV at the office in between turning comments, worked out together, grabbed beers together, etc.

I did anything for the analysts I liked, from getting them breakfast / lunch to driving their cars home if they had too much to drink. In return, they always had my back and it led to an extremely rewarding relationship. I also let them vent about all the Associates and VPs they hated, which in hindsight was probably essential for them and borderline therapeutic. I never told a soul what they confided in me, not even to the other Analysts, and this level of trust only benefited me. As a note to any incoming intern reading this, never break the trust of the people you work with day in and out, nothing is worth losing that trust. 

The Feedback Can Make or Break Your Day

Even though I wasn't nearly as busy as the Analysts and Associates I supported, I was working enough where I had few other meaningful relationships at the time (e.g., barely any dates, only saw friends once a week on Saturdays maybe Friday night too, chatted with family for 15-30 min a few times a week). This meant that when an Analyst gave me a complement or chewed me out for a stupid fuck up, that action alone made or ruined my day. When you have almost no interaction with other people and all you are doing is working, what else could make or break your day but that feedback?

With so many virtual experiences, and with analysts being worked to death, it is likely that interns will not receive the same quality experience, but I would mention that to every Analyst working with an intern, they care about all of your feedback and your treatment of them more than you could possibly imagine. 

One Analyst Made My Life Hell

I worked with one analyst who made my life hell and I will never forget it. Despite working FT for multiple years now, I still shutter when I think about working with this particular individual. He would always rush me on tasks (even stuff I was proficient in and didnt even stop working on to go to the bathroom, so it wasnt like I was slow), commenting that he would be done by now, criticize the quality of my work, and just generally make me feel terrible day in and out. It resulted in extremely poor work quality (because he rushed every task I worked on, I was never able to edit thoroughly), and almost made me decide not to pursue IB FT despite so many other positive experiences. Despite working alongside three other Analysts during that same summer who were all extremely supportive, encouraging, and people who I stayed in touch with years later, one person can really ruin your IB internship experience. 

Comments (26)

  • Associate 1 in VC
Jan 6, 2022 - 3:23pm

Really good post and it's always good to pay it forward and be positive it travels up and down the chain. I gotta know…what's the hardo ass hole analyst doin these days?

  • Analyst 1 in CorpDev
Jan 6, 2022 - 4:09pm

Idk if I got my point across in my post but I was treated like an Analyst, but with 50% of the responsibility and 60% of the stress. I worked until 1-2 AM, I skipped dinner to meet deadlines, and it was made clear when I fucked up. But, the upside is that I was actually given enough responsibility to be held accountable for things, and so I felt as though I made an impact. I had to "earn" the right to contribute by proving to each Analyst I could handle the responsibility. 

Great point though, I know that is a common problem. 

Jan 6, 2022 - 7:54pm

I still shutter

It's shudder, pls fix.

In all seriousness though, this is a great post. Although I have a very different backgrounds, the internships I had treated me as an actual partner in the work and it definitely made a big difference in my perceptions of the industry. I had one construction internship that was amazing in the first half, I was basically a PM for the tail end of an office fitout so I was responsible for punchlist and closing out the project, which was great experience for a sophomore. But once that was over they didn't know what to do with me and I just browsed the internet for a solid 4 weeks while collecting a paycheck, I didn't bother trying go back the next year, it was clear they weren't set up to handle an internship or train up junior employees. But that first half gave me a taste of project management and it's what I turned my career into. 

Jan 6, 2022 - 8:10pm


back in the stone ages as a summer analyst, i thought the analysts were pretty patient and chill. some clearly didn't give a fuck but i appreciated the transparency. if anything i think they tried to teach us how to drink and hang out with other full-time analysts

as a full-time analyst, i thought the analysts actually i worked with were chill. the shadiest thing would be passing off their worst / trainwreck projects to me but i never worked with them directly after

associates are a completely different story

fuck, i kind of miss being a summer analyst!

  • Associate 1 in PE - Growth
Jan 7, 2022 - 1:44am

As an intern I had an abusive full time. It made me consider leaving the industry entirely and completely defeated my confidence that summer. I remember one night thinking about jumping out the window because I hadn't slept the entire week and felt so miserable after being told I was worthless and a waste everyday. Fortunately, I got a return offer because I was able to work with other people in the org, even though I was told in my feedback one person consistently gave me underperformance reviews. I returned for full time expecting to just tough it out for a year and leave, while preparing for the most miserable year of my life, but interestingly enough that person had been fired for poor performance. I also ended up being a top performer during my stint. From my perspective, the full time role was nothing like that summer from hell. Not even close, in almost every way. 

Once I became full-time and even after in PE, I noticed a theme and general lesson for interns/ prospects: there is an enormous correlation between assholes in the industry and people that are shit at their jobs. Like 95% of the people who are abusive are bottom performers who are unbelievably stressed about their position in the firm and don't like their jobs because they suck at it. As a result, every mistake you make reflects on them and they view mistakes as the straw that will finally get them canned/ continue to make them appear as a poor performer. The reality is, a normal person doing well in the industry won't take an intern screw up personally, it's a teaching moment where you say, "yo, don't mess this up again". Or, if it happens continuously, you don't yell at the person, you just stop trusting them and don't give them work.

The 5% who are the few assholes actually good at their jobs, usually behave differently. If they are shitty, It's not a personal attack at you, usually they just demand a level of excellence in the work product and if you mess up they will chew you out, then move on, even if they call you a fucking idiot etc. The whole tone and pattern of behavior is different.

If you ever had a truly abusive person you worked with, try doing some sniffing around to determine whether they suck or not. Willing to bet most likely they are terrible and if you check LinkedIn 3 years later they will no longer be in the industry. 

Jan 7, 2022 - 5:07pm

This!! I agree with your sentiment 110% That goes for any career. The people who are generally unhappy with themselves or insecure, will be the biggest assholes.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 12, 2022 - 12:04am

Wow, this post mimics my exact SA experience -- thought my experience was unique/a one-off.

I'm returning full time to the same group I interned with in the next few weeks, and said full time analyst that I had a bad experience with is still in the group, now as an associate.

The group is very small so will likely be working with them quite closely. Would say I'm typically a mid-bucket performer, but when I was under the pump from said analyst I would completely lose my composure and make more stupid mistakes.

Any advice/tips on how to deal with this situation and navigate the initial period while i'm still finding my feet?

  • Associate 1 in PE - Growth
Jan 12, 2022 - 1:03am

A few things:

  • Try to avoid working with them. Point blank, there are toxic people in orgs that are minefields you need to just avoid. No one wins, they are just tornados of destruction because they are unhappy miserable people. Anyone staffed with them loses from a personal and professional standpoint.
  • If you have to work with them, learn whether others respect them in the org or not or if they have a bad rep. There is a chance that person has a good rep in the org and you just are being overly sensitive in the role because you aren't used to it. For example, there were a ton of stickler antisocial types I thought were assholes early in my stint, but they ended up being good people just poor managers and awkward. If this is the case, over time it might be ok. If they actually are an asshole and you learn from other experienced individuals in the org they have had problems in the past, do a few things. First off, express to your staffer you will take it, but have heard from other analysts and experienced that this manager is terrible and you don't wish to work with them again. Second, draw hard lines in the sand and don't back down. These are things you do to protect yourself and that you can explain to anyone else in the team even the head of your group if called out. Examples of lines in the sand to draw:
  1. You have stayed up till 3am 2 nights in a row and say you are going to sleep at 12am because you were up till 3am the last two nights. You need to communicate you are doing this, but it's a simple convo. "Manager, I am going to sleep and will turn back to this deliverable at 9am tomorrow. Understand it's not where it should be and this is unideal, but I can no longer function due to lack of sleep."
    After this, see what their response is, if it's "you can't do that or blah blah blah" respond at 9am the next day.
  2. You have therapy, a doctors appt, or some other health conflict that you receive flak for. "This is my health, I glave advanced notice, apologize for the inconvenience, will be back online at x hour"
  3. You have a major life event (wedding, seeing an old friend, funeral, etc.) "I will be out of office from x-x. Will respond to things after that time. 

Sadly, this job is so time consuming and immersive, if you work with an asshole they just run your life for that time. Count the days down and work internally in the org to not work with that person again even threatening to quit if it gets that bad.

Jan 12, 2022 - 12:26am

Excellent post. Showcases how much of the "burnout" is actually driven by shitty people in the organization. End of day, the vast majority of people coming into banking know it is hard work. What catches them by surprise / creates difficulty for them, is the fact that they are, sometimes for the first time in their life, forced to interphase with anti-social individuals. I do not consider people that are highly demanding but good at their jobs assholes. I strive to learn from such people (and I still learn to this day)

Most Helpful
Jan 7, 2022 - 3:54am

I think this is an important post.

It has been quite a few years since I was an intern myself, but I think all people who regularly interact with interns need to recognize their role; The company's face. You are what they will remember, most likely for the rest of their career, because you'll be the first interaction they have with the professional world. If you can't be nice for the sake of being friendly, then think about how small the world of finance is and do it for your self-interest. Some may choose other paths, but I find it fascinating how many interns stay in banking and finance. You will likely meet a large portion of these people again, and it can be valuable to have rapport even with people who are junior to you now.  

Most of our interns that we have had are having their first experience with banking and the professional world. I don't believe in teaching them all the best practices over one summer, as this takes much more time. When they leave, they should become reasonably proficient in Powerpoint and know a thing or two about pulling comps and what to look for when making buyer's lists. Give them honest feedback in a nice way, so that it feels genuine and considerate, instead of generic pointers on "work on attention to detail", etc. which all interns need to work on. However, I think it is far more vital that they learn how to operate in a professional environment, how to act in meetings, and how to carry themselves. I'll try to bring them into meetings with clients I am close with, and although they are not expected to talk much, I'll let them present one or two slides that they have made if they are comfortable doing so. It doesn't take much, but it gives them a sense of meaning.

I don't know... Yeah. Almost definitely yes.

  • 11
Jan 9, 2022 - 6:00am

I was going to post as I feel strongly about this but you nailed every point I wanted to make. Good stuff

  • 1
  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 7, 2022 - 4:02am

The totem pole:

Senior Analysts > Managing Directors > Senior Associates > VPs > Associates > 1st Year Analysts > Interns

Jan 7, 2022 - 10:48am

Analyst 1 in CorpDev

I worked with one analyst who made my life hell and I will never forget it. Despite working FT for multiple years now, I still shutter when I think about working with this particular individual. He would always rush me on tasks (even stuff I was proficient in and didnt even stop working on to go to the bathroom, so it wasnt like I was slow), commenting that he would be done by now, criticize the quality of my work, and just generally make me feel terrible day in and out. It resulted in extremely poor work quality (because he rushed every task I worked on, I was never able to edit thoroughly), and almost made me decide not to pursue IB FT despite so many other positive experiences. Despite working alongside three other Analysts during that same summer who were all extremely supportive, encouraging, and people who I stayed in touch with years later, one person can really ruin your IB internship experience. 

I have very mixed feelings on your post. On the one hand, I completely agree that people need to be nicer in this business...there are way too many assholes. On the other hand, I'm still rushed on a daily basis and have unreasonable deadlines basically every week of my life more about a decade into this. Also, I've had to work with a lot of assholes - there are plenty of them in finance.

So, if the interns are being treated with kid gloves, are you really doing them a favor? The best thing that can happen is for you to get the most realistic portrayal of this business in your internship. The sooner you can decide whether this is for you or not - the better! So, if you don't like unreasonable deadlines and unreasonable people, wouldn't it be great to know about that on your first internship rather than halfway through your analyst year?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 7, 2022 - 4:30pm

Couldn't agree with this post more. Having done my summer internship virtually, the second-year analyst in my group was instrumental in making my experience a positive one. He was stretched very thin, but always made the time to message me / hop on the phone / video chat whenever I had a question for him. Now that I'm FT, I'm shocked at how available he made himself given how fast-paced and hectic our days are. While his are tough shoes to fill, he's my role model for when I have to take interns under my wing next summer. 

Jan 8, 2022 - 5:07pm

I am pretty aggressive to our interns but I make sure they know that I am not doing it to be an asshole, it's just the nature of our environment. If I can be aggressive and still get dinner with them as friends at the end then I call it a success

Jan 14, 2022 - 2:50pm

I'll add in my 2 cents: During my first intership in wallstreet years ago, there was one associate who also made my life a living hell.  This associate was known as the best in his class, and what was initial excitement at getting to learn from the best quickly turned to general dread.  He demanded from me what he demanded from himself and in the first week of the internship he told me that he already knew I wasn't going to meet his expectations and by the end of the internship he reiterated that, as he predicted, I didn't meet them.  He told me 1 week ahead of going into my final review that he was going to recommend I not get a return offer (at this point I wasn't surprised).  And just as he promised, he was in the meeting room during my final review, along with a VP who was in charge of the internship program and the head MD of the group, and he was the one to officially tell me I wouldn't get a return offer despite having top reviews from everyone else that I worked with that summer.  I'm pretty sure they made him reject me as he was the only one against it, and I learned after the fact that everyone else was on board with me coming back as they offered me a full-time position 1 year later after I graduated while networking for a job (I didn't accept).

What I don't understand is that this associate was a socialite and I don't understand how someone so technically social could be such a douchebag.  I think he should've never been a mentor in the first place.  He was a complete asshole and at times treated me less than a human.  While personal interactions were always negative, my stance on what I gained through the ordeal is nuanced.  Thanks to this piece of shit, I developed a rock solid foundation which has never really left me and I learned what it means to be an actual perfectionist and what quality work is.  I disliked how I saw myself become more calloused as a result of this experience.  I hate how I gained something so valuable from someone who I wish I didn't (as it would make hating them easier).  In my going away dinner I was asked who I learned the most from, and I was brutally honest that I learned the most from said associate but that they should never be a mentor again.  I'll never forget the smile of the associate as I called him out in front of everyone. 

I don't really know what the moral of the story is, and I'll leave it for you to decipher if there is any, but I do want to end that this person since then has found huge success, as have I.

Edit: Typing this out has made me become a little introspective, and I guess one of the main lessons is this: Learn to enjoy the process regardless of the outcome.  I was made to believe (rightfully so) that I was going to fail from the beginning, and therefore I made a conscious effort to just not give a fuck about the end result and I attempted to the make the best of it anyways by allowing myself the ability to only focus on learning and improving.

Jan 14, 2022 - 3:20pm

Some people are just psychos and / or really insecure, so they resort to putting others down to make them feel better about themselves. Like my old group head in PE who felt like he needed to flex on associates and "show them who's boss" - like bro, you're supposedly super successful with decades of experience and make millions per year, but somehow felt threatened by mid-20s associates? Give me a break lmao.

  • Analyst 1 in CorpDev
Jan 14, 2022 - 4:25pm

It is astonishing how similar our two experiences are. Reading your post was almost surreal, as it felt like I had written it myself. 

The primary difference is that the person who made my life hell was socially retarded. I guess in some ways I can excuse him due to this variance. He was also a perfectionist who applied the same pressure to himself. The problem is that an intern working at your bank for the first time will not be as proficient as an seasoned Analyst two years in. I simply had 1/1000th of the reps he had, and he was objectively smarter than I was. He literally applied his expectations of himself to me, and I was simply too new to banking to ever meet them. Then, his frequency in commenting about my slow pace on work (to date I have never ONCE not met anyone else's timeline, so I can't possibly be that slow) led to one of the more miserable few months of my life. I had an excellent relationship with everyone else at the firm, but yet I swear this one individual was the sole reason I didn't get a return offer. I was invited out by the other Analysts, had 1:1s with VPs that I could set up at a moment's notice, and even had an MD say he worked for me while a girl was hitting on me during a happy hour (one of the funnier moments from that summer). 

Working for him allowed me to expect more from myself. It allowed me to push myself the hardest in a professional setting. However, I fell short every time, regardless of level of effort. This breaks a person down over time. Eventually, you realize you will fail before you start, and this mental mindset seriously impacts how you perform in a work environment. 

I am not against working for hardos or for perfectionists (I actively seek out challenging people to work for), but if you make it clear that a subordinate ALWAYS fails to meet your expectations, don't be surprised when they lateral or go buy-side. 

Jan 14, 2022 - 5:19pm

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