VP Lying

When sprinting on a deal, I sometimes get a note from my VP saying, "what's the status on this? [insert MD's name] is asking for it." 

A short story without going into much detail: the MD isn't asking for these items he's claiming, and the VP is just saying it to manipulate the analysts/associates into prioritizing the VP's work. On multiple occasions, this has caused me to pull all-nighters on a deliverable that ends up not being needed until like a week later. 

Anything that can be done about this or do we just eat it? 

Comments (63)

 
Funniest
Jan 21, 2021 - 11:55am

Do this one time:

1. Finish the work

2. Reply back and cc the MD into the chain saying "please see attached"

3. One off the VP being like "Thought I'd send directly given urgency"

4. You might face some heat, but at least it probably won't happen again.

 
Jan 22, 2021 - 2:44pm

The best way to guarantee someone reads an email is to tell them not to read it lol 

Array
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Jan 21, 2021 - 1:24pm

Do not fucking do this. God wtf lol. Below poster is correct. Your VP will absolutely email the MD to ignore said email as it didnt' go through them to review. It looks horrible on your part for jumping the gun and you will absolutely positively lose points not only from this VP, but other VP's who this VP tells this to and its a downward spiral from there.

 

You're an analyst. Bottom of the totem pole. We were all there. This is just a shitty VP you'll have to deal with.

 
Controversial
Jan 22, 2021 - 12:57am

Guess some people are fine with being a door mat for senior people with toxic habits. People like this VP are a dime a dozen... in every organization. However sometimes the kid on the shit end of the stick has a back bone and stands up for himself. He gains the respect of the VP and other seniors, and his life is now slightly less miserable cuz the VP won't be pulling that shit anymore.

The "gotta get your reps in" in this situation is a cop out.

 
Jan 22, 2021 - 4:20pm

FWIW I was an analyst at a BB M&A group. I would do stuff like this when people tried to screw with me and over time, people knew they couldn't pull BS. Didn't really impact my bonus as I did good work.

People will take what they can get from you, but one thing you start to realize is that this industry is governed by fear. MDs are scared of clients, D's / VP's are scared of MD, Assoc scared of VP, etc, etc. Annoying VPs / Assocs are generally cowards and won't play chicken with you even if there's more downside for you (to an extent). 

 

Beyond all the calcs, I just don't let people push me around in general....self respect is more important to me than money.

 
Jan 25, 2021 - 5:43pm

Do this one time:

1. Finish the work

2. Reply back and cc the MD into the chain saying "please see attached"

3. One off the VP being like "Thought I'd send directly given urgency"

4. You might face some heat, but at least it probably won't happen again.

The only thing funny about this reply is that you think the MD will think twice about this email.  They won't.  Neither will the VP.  All of these petty office antics never resolve any of the underlying issues.  It all comes down to the existing relationship you have with your VP & MD, and what you have done to foster that relationship.  

The best way to solve this is to have a sit-down meeting with the VP and talk to him/her 1v1, understand why they are putting everything on rush order.  It could be that he/she is an ass, it could be that they are real requests, or it could be that you are slow getting work back to the VP otherwise.  Find out the reason why, and reason with him that its taxing your bandwidth and not in his/her best interest to do this.  

If the situation is really bad (ie. VP is not listening) try to sit down with the MD, and tell him that the VP is using his/her name to run projects through making you pull unnecessary all nighters.  

I guarantee you that if the MD has to take time away from his day to address this the VP is going to catch hell.  Most MDs are very sensitive who and in what context their names get used.

"A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself."
  • 1
 
Jan 27, 2021 - 11:21am

"The best way to solve this is to have a sit-down meeting with the VP and talk to him/her 1v1, understand why they are putting everything on rush order.  It could be that he/she is an ass, it could be that they are real requests, or it could be that you are slow getting work back to the VP otherwise.  Find out the reason why, and reason with him that its taxing your bandwidth and not in his/her best interest to do this." 

 

great advice..be an adult and act like you belong. Very helpful imo 

 

 
Jan 21, 2021 - 12:22pm

why not just email this to MD

 

"VP told me you needed this done last night, so i pulled an all nighter last night because i was also doing X, Y, Z, which also needed to be done last night.  That sucked, but here you go"

just google it...you're welcome
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Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 21, 2021 - 12:33pm

Been in this situation, and as an associate think it's on us to push back on the VP. I've responded telling them the status and saying, "realistically, this will be an all night job. Just want to make sure you and MD are aware, let me know if this changes priorities."

Works because a) VP won't want to speak for the MD in telling you to stay up all night, especially not in writing and b) sometimes they just really are unaware of how long the tasks take, especially MDs... so if it is super time sensitive maybe they'll adapt the ask so they can get it in time.

 
  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 21, 2021 - 1:59pm

I agree with this, also want to offer another perspective. I have seen senior associates/VPs take this tack with analysts they see as slow/not great. They are trying to give themselves as much buffer as possible to manage the MD. I don't know the situation at all, maybe the VP is just neurotic/awful, but have you ever had a situation where you've not performed well for this person?  Maybe something was late? Maybe even a situation where you missed a deadline, even if it was completely made up?

 

If that's the case, this VP may be treating you this way because they don't trust you. 

 

If it's not, my personal opinion is that this may be a conversation for the staffer. Instead of trying to play gotcha with the MD/VP (which I believe will backfire and not go the way you want), accept that this is the level of workflow (whether because the VP is a jerk or it's actually needed) and raise your hand that you are gonna need additional support to get it done.  

 
Jan 21, 2021 - 3:01pm

Associate 1 in IB-M&A

I agree with this, also want to offer another perspective. I have seen senior associates/VPs take this tack with analysts they see as slow/not great. They are trying to give themselves as much buffer as possible to manage the MD. I don't know the situation at all, maybe the VP is just neurotic/awful, but have you ever had a situation where you've not performed well for this person?  Maybe something was late? Maybe even a situation where you missed a deadline, even if it was completely made up?

 

If that's the case, this VP may be treating you this way because they don't trust you. 

 

If it's not, my personal opinion is that this may be a conversation for the staffer. Instead of trying to play gotcha with the MD/VP (which I believe will backfire and not go the way you want), accept that this is the level of workflow (whether because the VP is a jerk or it's actually needed) and raise your hand that you are gonna need additional support to get it done.  

Meh ...

 
Jan 31, 2021 - 8:13am

 

Been in this situation, and as an associate think it's on us to push back on the VP. I've responded telling them the status and saying, "realistically, this will be an all night job. Just want to make sure you and MD are aware, let me know if this changes priorities."

Works because a) VP won't want to speak for the MD in telling you to stay up all night, especially not in writing and b) sometimes they just really are unaware of how long the tasks take, especially MDs... so if it is super time sensitive maybe they'll adapt the ask so they can get it in time.

100% agree. The other suggestion of going over the VP's head to the MD to complain is a bad idea - the above approach is much better. Complaining to the MD will just annoy the VP when he finds out - and look at it from the MD's perspective, he's probably not going to care that much as he presumably relies on the VP to manage the whole process. So he will just probably forward your complaint to the VP in all likelihood.

Whereas if you do the above/quoted idea, then the ball is in the VP's court - he tells you to go ahead and do the work, then when the MD complains/asks where his work is then you can say you were told to prioritize work for the VP. In all likelihood the VP won't do this as he isn't going to prioritize his stuff above the MD's. Also sending this response to the VP is perfectly valid - all of us only have so much capacity (even if we're working to 3am etc) and if you've reached your capacity limit, then it's up to the VP to prioritize - that's literally his job.

So it's a very good/polite way to push back - and in fact I think learning to push back gently in this way is a key part of becoming a good analyst/associate. Obviously late nights are a prerequisite of IB, but if you just over-commit and accept everything shoved your way, you will inevitably get overloaded and end up either not getting it all done or making egregious errors because you've been up to 5am for 4 days in a row.

 
Jan 21, 2021 - 1:18pm

How about sending this: "Hey dude, Here's that shitty analysis you asked for. Hope this is useful or whatever. Let me know when free as numbers look totally wrong (L-O-L) but thought I'd send it anyways, what's a couple hundred bps ... at least returns are higher than lower - imma right?! Anyways, meeting the Sheila around 6pm for some sexy time so taking the rest of the day off, need to buy some candles, handcuffs, lube etc. Tonight's our monthly threesome roleplay, so if you call and I sound like a fireman - just go along with it! Any queries, have mentioned to [person X] so they'll cover (hopefully). See you tomorrow, friend. Special regards, you"

 
  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 21, 2021 - 1:39pm

How about you just talk to him directly and maturely about this, giving him the benefit of the doubt by not accusing him but trying to understand the situation. Seems like the best way to go than playing games. You may not have the full story. 

 
Jan 21, 2021 - 3:59pm

The two best ways to pushback and hopefully get it restaffed or get the deadline pushed out is to either (1) list out all of the other things you need to do before you can get to it (bonus points if the same VP staffed those projects too because you might even hear that those projects can be deprioritized) or (2) after you've been told what you need to do, repeat back what needs to be done to the VP as if you're just confirming that you've captured everything, but include the logistics of how long each thing should take and what you'll need to do to to get it done. This one is hit or miss--either they'll say ok thanks and still make you do it or sometimes they'll realize how stupid their ask was and say nevermind. 

 
Jan 22, 2021 - 6:45am

There is a lot of bad advice here. Your vp is a human who is probably remarkably stressed and is super eager to please the md. They probably have been managed in a way they adopted I.e "went through it".

Talk to them like a human. Show respect but ask them about how to juggle competing priorities. If you go over there head or revolt, the vp and md will both make your life miserable. Recognize that this is the boot camp part of your career.

Neither of them wants you to work all-nighters but in there list of priorities that's probably 3 or 4. You want them to make it higher. That's not a hard ask if it's done with respect and not in the heat of the moment.

This isn't a cushy job and you are an adult. Clients set unrealistic deadlines and that gets passed around. But we do make a ton of money for a job that doesn't require advanced schooling, risking your life or picking up anything heavy.

 
Jan 22, 2021 - 9:41am

Try to confuse the VP by asking a bunch of non-questions at random time intervals and don't start until you have answers. Hopefully you can make the process confusing as fuck for them while still looking super involved and like you actually care. That way, you can save yourself time by sheer incompetence. 

Dayman?
 
Jan 22, 2021 - 12:13pm

Call in sick whenever you think a lot of work is due ... your VP will forget about you pretty quickly, and probably stop asking you to do stuff. Use your 20 days wisely. Put your out-of-office email contact as your VP, and turn on auto-forwarding to your VP and IT ... so when they send you an email, they receive it back twice (including an IT ticket reference). Also auto-forward to your colleague, so when they clarify via email ... it goes straight to your VP. Effectively turning the tables as reverse delegating to your VP (with them having now received at least 4 emails for each one request they send). When you (evetually) come back to work from being sick (cough) ... send an email following up if there is anything "else" you could help with, but keep your auto-forward still on. If they get pissed off and shout at you... call up HR requesting your VP undergo workplace behaviour re-training and that you dont feel comfortable working with your VP anymore and need additional leave to time out from the added stress. During your "time out", buy 10 goldfish and let HR know these are emotional support animals ... if they die, means you can take even more leave and work cannot pass unfair judgement or discriminate, because if they do that's a major lawsuit waiting. Good luck !

 
Jan 22, 2021 - 12:55pm

1. Flag your other deliverables to your team. If you're an N1, just flag your other deliverables/timelines to your associate. It's the associate's job to push back here. If you're an N2 or N3, just one-off the VP flagging your other deliverables and teams. If you're working on a live deal for the same MD and the VP had you prioritize pitchwork over the deal, please record your MD exploding on Zoom and share the video with me.

2. Flag the request and urgency to other teams (or team) with actual urgent deliverables. If you're an N1 this comes in the form of asking your associate on the other project if you think it should be flagged to the VP for the actual urgent deliverable. If you're an N2 or N3, just email the VP one-off asking how you should prioritize. As an N1, you'll probably piss off your associate for going around them. Let the VPs duke it out. If they're both truly urgent it'll be escalated to the MD and then they'll probably just re-staff one of your projects. 

3. If it is a vertical or MD who you actually want to work with then just bite the bullet and do it.

 
Jan 23, 2021 - 3:35am

Just ask him if it's urgent, let him know you have other stuff on your plate, and ask him if you can get back to him by the end of the week? 

Most VPs I know don't ask for work way in advance, unless you're a shit analyst/associate whose work will need extensive touch up.

If it gets too rough, then you should cc your MD in responding for work. I don't think that's an issue, at least in most of the places I have worked in.

Array
 
Jan 25, 2021 - 11:08am

I respectfully disagree. Most VPs will simply not work with a shit analyst / associate.

A terrible VP or senior Assoc, otoh, is perfectly capable of pulling this kind of stunts.

 
Jan 23, 2021 - 10:05am

Some awful advice here, some advice on point. Have been on both sides of the table, so here some perspectives. (1) MDs style vary, but in general they don't involved with the materials unless they are nervous about content/quality. Most of the time they just talk to the VP and ask "all good with the materials? Progressing well?". VPs say yes, MDs receive 1st draft of materials 1 week before meeting and final draft 1-2 days before meeting and that's perfect. That's about how it works 90% of the time and the level of communication between MDs and VPs. With live deals turnaround may be shorter, but same applies. There's that rare 10% of the situations where your MD is asking drafts by specific dates, for whatever reasons (e.g. calendar busy after X date, etc.). In any case, it may well be that your VP is telling the truth and the MD is asking for it in her own way ("how's progressing?"), and VP is using his judgement and criteria on when he needs to see the materials.

Which leads me to a second and separate point on VPs judgement. A lot of stuff could go into his decision making for asking materials. Maybe your quality of work is poor and expect lots of mistakes/turns before things are in decent shape. Maybe he knows you miss deadlines and therefore sets fake deadlines with enough buffer time. Maybe he is also optimizing other things in his work/life, and wants to have things early because then launching a live deal and won't have enough time for this. So many potential reasons. Being a douchebag could be one, but in my experience that is unlikely the case. My advice is echoing what many others have said: over communicate. Ask him why he's requesting materials by X date if meeting is on X date. Ask him "is MD really requesting this, or is it that you want enough buffer time to review and make changes?". And tell him why you are asking these questions: "I'm asking all these questions because I have competing deliverables and need more context to know what to prioritize and to communicate to other VP/D/MD why I'm prioritizing X over Y".

 
Jan 25, 2021 - 10:52am

Ahh, classic lazy VP move.  It's a sh*tty play on his / her end, but you're not the only analyst having to put up with this type of crap.  Usually if that charge is legit, the VP will forward the email chain with the MD or at least cc' them.  However, as an analyst, it isn't your job to validate workstreams.  Maybe the VP is trying to anticipate what MD wants and trying to "think up".  Just diligent turn in your deliverables and let the VP deal with the consequences.

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
 
Jan 25, 2021 - 11:06am

No you can't. It sucks but no matter how shitty the dude ahead of you is, he's ahead. Don't ever fight the hierarchy, especially on email. 

Literally the only workaround if if you're friends with an SVP / MD who also hates him.

 
  • Analyst 1 in HF - Other
Jan 25, 2021 - 4:43pm

All depends on your standing in the group vs. the VPs. If you're one of the better analysts and you're working on a bunch stuff and the VP isn't particularly respected, you can get away with pushing back. If that's not the setup and roles are reversed, you kinda just have to eat shit unless you don't care that much about your standing.

If you want to be respected in this job in general you have to pick your battles. When I was in banking if I got a messed up, unnecessary deliverable and got totally destroyed over a weekend at first I just took it and kept a good attitude. Once you get a better rep you can figure out which VPs/associates you can get away with blowing off/pushing back on. At the end of the day if this is a respected VP and you wanna be a respected analyst you have to just take it and/or coordinate with the associate to push back when appropriate. My view is that VPs are deferential to really good associates most of the time as they know the associate often is really driving the bus and managing up/down.

You only really get to complain to the staffer once or twice and when you do it better be multiple incidents potentially corroborated by your associate. 

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