Trying to lateral out of investment banking - excuses to get out of the office to take calls

Hey guys, I'm trying to lateral right now. Just wondering, what excuses do you guys use to step out of the office to take a phone call? Obviously if its 12pm/1pm you can use the lunch excuse, but what about a call at 4pm?

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Comments (40)

May 8, 2017

Tell them that you've gotta take a call from some student?

    • 1
May 8, 2017

+1 SB, That's a good one. If I may ask, any others?

I've had a friend say that he would just take say that he wanted to take a walk.

May 10, 2017

Tell them call from home. Why are guys getting less brighter by the day?

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
May 8, 2017

On the same boat as you, in the process of trying to move firms and I've had to make calls at odd times, which is when it gets tricky. I've used the one above. "some kid from my alma mater wants to talk about stuff". Depending on how big your firm is, I have gotten by with saying I was at IT updating some stuff on my computer. My office is pretty relax so I can get away with, "I wanted to step out for fresh air" or if I step away from my desk for 15-20 minutes to get coffee and shoot the shit. I've also used, "had to call my credit card company because my account info got hacked", "I ran across the street to the bank to get some documents", "my doctor wanted me to sign some papers and talk about my physical results", "hey, im running to duane reade to get my prescrip refill". That's all I can think of right now, basically have to get creative.

I've also noticed that we (the people interviewing) are more paranoid about being called out for shit but in reality, most people dont even bat an eye if you tell them you went downstairs to get coffee and it took a bit longer.

    • 4
May 8, 2017
<span itemprop=name>conyak</span>:

**I've also noticed that we (the people interviewing) are more paranoid about being called out for shit but in reality, most people dont even bat an eye if you tell them you went downstairs to get coffee and it took a bit longer**.

Very true statement.

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May 8, 2017

Quick follow up, so where do you end up going when you are outside? I've spoken on the phone on the streets of NY, and it's pretty loud. Do you just go to a coffee shop or something that you know people at your firm don't frequent?

May 8, 2017

Coffee shop, also in midtown there are these indoor seating areas where people go to sit and have lunch so this works too.

    • 2
May 8, 2017

If you're going outside too....sometimes I can even just say that I've hit a roadblock and want to talk a walk around the block to think about the problem. I actually do that sometimes and my best ideas come then.

May 8, 2017

Maybe skip stepping away for lunch on the day you've got your phone screen, and just tell everyone you're taking a late lunch?

I know where you're coming from, I lateraled myself and was always stressed out during the interview process with other banks because my deal team's were nazis about my time. Fortunately, some of the groups I interviewed with were pretty understanding of my current situation and would do calls with me after business hours or on a weekend.

You don't want to jeopardize the job you already have for one you don't, so be mindful of that, however, you may ultimately come to an impasse and have to make a judgement call and just see what you can get away with.

    • 1
May 8, 2017

I would just let people know i was stepping out for a walk and take calls outside

May 8, 2017

I've also heard, just to add to this, people say they are stepping out for a coffee & take a walk

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Best Response
May 9, 2017

Are you guys under so much scrutiny that you need permission to step out for 15 minutes?

    • 7
May 8, 2017

Small team, that is why I'm trying to be extra careful

May 9, 2017

People don't care enough about you to micromanage your location. Just go take the call. I am not trying to be a dick, but people will probably think you're in a meeting or taking a shit or something.

May 9, 2017

On the same boat. I eat at my desk (whereas others take longer lunch breaks) and take 10 minute breaks to stretch my legs every ~2hrs, so people in the office are used to me dropping out every now and then.
Unless we have a meeting or I'm showing my progress to someone, no one asks why or where I've gone if it's for a short period. I don't think they really care to be honest.

May 9, 2017

I lateraled after my first year at a "no-name" boutique. When I started at my MM, I regularly took time to take recruiter calls in order to plan my next move. Maybe my banks were different, but no one cared as long as I was stepping out of the office during a reasonable time (e.g. not during a firedrill or when I knew my VP was expecting a turn of the CIM ASAP). The longest I ever had to step out for was an hour for four one-on-one phone interviews. I told them I needed to see the doctor.

As others have stated, no one cares or notices. Chances are, they think you have a case of diarrhea or some medical condition and don't want to embarrass you by asking.

    • 3
May 9, 2017

From your past posts, I can surmise that you're an incoming analyst at RBC NY working in Energy. I think that your energy (no pun intended) would be better spent focusing on PE and HF recruiting (which you seem to be serious about) than lateraling. Plenty of top PEs and HFs take RBC very seriously.

    • 2
May 10, 2017

I remember being new and thinking up excuses to be gone for an hour or two...

Who gives a shit? Unless you're working in a real viper pit, just say you worked through lunch and you're taking a late one? Or you need to take a personal call? Maybe your goldfish is going into chemo and you're phoning in for moral support??

As long as it's not gratuitous and you saved your lunch hour for it, I would feel comfortable being like "I'm stepping out for an hour, what the fuck is it your business for?"

Obviously don't do this in the middle of a fire drill, but otherwise...

May 10, 2017

Worked as part of a small team in a glass bubble office so I understand but don't make it more of a thing than it is. I always just stepped out into a meeting room and made a call.

Nobody ever asked but if they were anal enough to ask why I went away for 15 mins I always had my excuse ready "I was taking a wicked shit".

May 10, 2017

Lmao and if they ask "why not on our floor?"
"Because I was shy..."

May 10, 2017

I have to return some video tapes.

May 11, 2017

Came here to post this

May 10, 2017

I've done this, literally just say "i'll be right back" if anything at all and take the call in the lobby of the building or outside if it wasn't too windy and loud. Or you could just go in a conference room and take the call, check to see if anyone reserved it first. If people randomly ask you who you were talking to, that is kind of rude anyway

May 11, 2017

http://www.obit-mag.com/media/image/chimpanzee_nzg...

No one willing to help out a fellow monkey in need?

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.

May 11, 2017

You're looking at it wrong. Buyside recruiting while you work in banking doesn't work the same way that IB recruiting works while you're in school. In school, you interview with as many firms as you can, (hopefully) get some offers, and then evaluate your options and take the best job. In IB, when you're interviewing for buyside exit opps (or even more generally, any other job), you interview until you get an offer you're comfortable with taking, and then you take it. You don't shop it (very much anyway), you don't go to 10 different super days - the process is much more drawn out (i.e. think weeks instead of days), and your offer will explode in less than a week.

When you do get a final round and have to be out of the office, you need to make a decision to either be up front about it or to make up a reason for taking a personal day. This will depend on your office and how open they are to what you're looking at (i.e. you'll have to make up a personal day reason if you're looking at other banks, but if your office follows a rigid analyst 2 and out program, then they'll likely be understanding about a PE/VC superday if you're upfront about it).

May 11, 2017

Agree. Its much more manageable than you think, unless you're flying out for interviews. It is grueling through and it helps if you have a few people you work with that you trust and can cover for you.

On another note, if you literally hate your job now, why are trying to continue on in that same path? Its basically the a derivation of the same job and people on WSO completely underestimate how similar these paths are. Everyone thinks once you go to the buyside its a game changer, its not... its not really all that different. You're not servicing a client so there is less bitch work, but its more than offset by the added stress and responsibility and expectation to constantly make thoughtful contributions... you're not just a processor of work anymore; the bar is pretty high and if you hate banking, you're not going to like PE/VC much.

May 11, 2017

Thanks for the advice guys. Just an interesting wrinkle I thought I should add to the story:

There is a VC firm in the same building I work in. They have about $8bn AUM, and are mostly based out of Palo Alto, but have 5 people in their London office (3 principals/ 2 associates). I am considering one day just going up to their floor and seeing if they would be willing to interview me. This may be a stupid question, but surely a year at a small VC fund in London would place me in better stead for Silicon Valley VC than a year in M&A?

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.

May 11, 2017

Not necessarily. There are tons of VC shops out there and there is a reason why most of them hire from [wherever VC firms hire from]... presumably out of banking, M&A according to you (I don't know myself).

The main reason the buyside hires out of banking is because of (1) the pre-screening bias; (2) the thorough training and hand holding; and (3) the volume of content you work on. So you take a driven high achieving person, teach them the basics, provide them more experienced people to work with, and throw all types of shit at them for 18 hours a day and you get someone hopefully with a pretty solid set of skills.

The idea that getting PE/VC experience as an analyst > banking experience is not really valid UNLESS the shop you're getting experience at is very very reputable and is an quickly recognized name. When they hire someone out of Goldman or DB or CS or JPM or whatever... they know the type of experience they had, the types of work they were doing and the quality of work expected of them... not so for Wilson & Katz Venture Capital.

So in short, if its a very reputable shop then yes. And people tend to research a firm and decide it is reputable... thats not what I mean. All these shops have some senior semi-accomplished guy at the helm. .. most of them are credible, thats not what I mean. What makes it reputable is if someone who works in the industry would get laughed out of the room for not recognizing the name at its first mention.

May 11, 2017

I am still a student, so my info comes from the book Monkey Business (both authors were IB associates who went to HF). The fund/headhunter knows that you are still an analyst so interviews are scheduled around that. In the book, interviews were done very early in the morning (6-7 am), secretly during lunch breaks, over the phone, doctors appointments, taking mother to the doctor, ect. Basically any excuse.

May 11, 2017

or sundays?

May 11, 2017

Early morning or late afternoon/evening.

Also try to make it a multi-visit appointment... i.e. root canal, you can probably drag this into 2 or 3 separate visits. So don't take off for a dental appointment... take off for a dental procedure.

May 11, 2017

For some reason or another whenever I have an interview, I also happen to have client meetings. But for the off days, if I'm staffed on numerous deals simultaneously no one person knows whether I have meetings that day or not so I don't really give a shit... or if thats not the case, just fold up your jacket and stick it in your bag.

May 11, 2017

I used to keep the suit in the coat closet (further away from anyone that would care... different floor if needed)

May 11, 2017

hm, everyone has a jacket at my place just in case ppl get pulled for client meetings. not a big deal to see someone sporting a jacket either

May 11, 2017

Keep jacket and tie hung up else where....