What are the dumbest/ least value add edits you’ve received on a deliverable?

Everyone knows between the models and the bottles and the truly glamorous life of an investment banker, there are comment turns that make you question your reality at 2am in a bathroom stall. Comments such as: 

  • This entire deck needs to have squares with rounded edges instead of square edges
  • Plz globally change all dates from dash format (7/23/2021) to words (July 23, 2021)
  • Quick nit: globally ensure all numbers go to two decimal places instead of one and tie. Thx.
  • Need to make longer (team any ideas for additional slides?)
  • Change title from "expand market opportunity" to "enlarge market opportunity"
  • Fix bullets to be not filled in circles from filled in circles

What are some other truly useless/ least value add comments you have ever gotten?

Comments (69)

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jul 23, 2021 - 7:14pm

Oxford commas - none of them, globally. Thx

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Jul 25, 2021 - 11:35am

I mean, as much as I love Oxford commas, they are a big NO in IB and overall business writing.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 25, 2021 - 5:16pm

I mean, as much as I love Oxford commas, they are a big NO in IB and overall business writing.

Thanks incoming analyst.  This is entirely incorrect. 

Comes down to personal preference

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 23, 2021 - 8:00pm

I can't believe this is the kind of stuff people sit around at 10pm/however late waiting for only to stay up in the wee hours of the night. I mean, obviously you have to if MD asks for it, but this just seems so useless to me. Why would any of the points OP listed need to be changed? Is this what people are routinely up late for?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 25, 2021 - 2:12pm

OP here. Two reasons this happens:

  • Someone who doesn't add value and doesn't want to step on any toes by making a real change, wants to show they contributed so they provide comments to show they did something
  • Someone who lacks an understanding of the bigger picture and has nervous energy so they want to make odd edits to marginally improve the product

As a note, I've never had a rainmaker MD make comments like the ones listed. Those guys usually are too busy and end up moving the conversation to a discussion anyway rather than walking through slides.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 24, 2021 - 11:35pm

thats what I thought, but I started using c. instead of ~ because I was asked to change from ~ to c. on my first deal 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 24, 2021 - 12:37am

M&A associate emails me:

"Swap the order of the distro list / I should be higher on the page than the sector team associate; I am a third year associate, he is second year"

I make change.

Sector associate emails me

"Hey, I should be higher on the distro list, please adjust. Sector team always goes above M&A as we lead client relationship"

I hate banking

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Jul 24, 2021 - 1:05pm

surely the guys who actually do this realise how cringe it is? I would lose all respect for any co-worker who went to that hassle

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 24, 2021 - 10:40pm

its pretty common for bankers to get worked up about this

the amount of comments you get on a stupid team page for a pitch are ridiculous

"I should have "Head of Exclusive Sales" as well by my name, not just managing director"

"Please place the APAC banker team below the EMEA team (from a London banker)"

"I am actually now the global head of chemicals in addition to being the AMER Industrials group head, please also include that title by my name.  If you don't have space, please remove the associate"

"Why am I as an executive director at the bottom of the team page?  I should be moved up, please remove all analysts as well -  we need to keep this to a concise group of team members, thx"

Such insecurity from so many bankers

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 24, 2021 - 10:35pm

i lost respect for both of them well before this, it was truly icing on the cake

i almost screenshotted and shared with litquidity it was that bad

i ended up just sending the slide to one of the associates to work on

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 25, 2021 - 8:05am

mines pretty savage

"we're looking like a sausage party here, let's remove the junior blokes and add some female associates from financing and sector"

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Apr 18, 2022 - 1:27am

As a coverage banker, let me assure you we do that to mask our insecurity that execution bankers know more about the execution details than us. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 24, 2021 - 12:59am

During my SA stint, I was in the middle of being told to change the dates from "Mon - Thur" to "Mond - Thurs" format, then back, then back again haha

Jul 24, 2021 - 4:41am
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As a summer analyst doing a sell-side bake-off deck with 20 pages of international buyer strips (3 strips to a page). Was asked to make the flags corresponding to the buyers smaller by .08 in powerpoint. Absolutely asinine and mind-numbing ask

  • 2
Jul 24, 2021 - 4:48am
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was once asked in PE to make a revenue build for an LBO which was by country and then by SKU. No matter who you are you can't do this with any degree of certainty. I was also asked to provide rationale for each growth assumption. Total BS exercise which helped accomplish nothing other than adding more variables into our model. No one can forecast things on a SKU level with any degree of certainty lol.

Forecasting in general is always a crapshoot any is really useful imo when evaluating downside scenarios but yeah, totally useless

  • 3
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jul 24, 2021 - 12:40pm

So many. a few that stand out:

1. universally changing it so ranges are represented by n dashes instead of hyphens (i.e., changing "2015 - 2021" to "2015 – 2021" 

2. universally changing all page titles and table labels from title case (i.e., first letter of each word capitalized) to sentence case (i.e., only first letter of first word and proper nouns capitalized)  

3. New VP who had recently joined the firm from a different bank and made us do all of these random formatting quarks of that bank's template Only to have to change back after the MD sees the deck. My favorite was that the VP didn't like our color pallet so we had to universally change our primary color for graphs to a different color. 

4. changing a bullet 5 minutes before we need to print the decks from "the Company has ample opportunity to take significant market share" to " there is ample opportunity for the Company to take significant market share"

5.  right before we need to print the decks, telling me to recut my income statement to breakout each line item within the "other expenses" line I create to capture 5 expense categories that collectively represent like 6% of OpEx that was properly footnoted to explain what was included. Ditto for an "Other Assets" line on my balance sheet

6. being asked to pull precedent transactions on situations so esoteric that there's maybe 1 other truly comparable deal ever done. Then having to send MD lengthy write up of screening methodology and explanation for why no comps. For a situation where the client said they want to be the first company to ever do x when they hired us, so dont think they would be surprised to hear that there are no precedents

7. universally changing all black font text from 0-0-0 to 10-10-10 and all gray from 60-60-60 to 80-80-80

8. My all time favorite. last minute comments to update the MD's bio page such that we referred to him as mr. lastname instead of his first name and to add some BS about Mr. lastname being the preeminent banker in xyz space

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 30, 2021 - 1:31am

I've only worked on one pitch deck this summer, and I can confirm that both MDs requested changes to their bios.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 24, 2021 - 5:24pm

A company listed in the legend of a chart as a 4-letter acronym (won't say the company for obvious reasons)... MD asks me to change to their also-used 3-letter acronym instead. For reference, the 4-letter acronym is the one used across their entire website, but for some reason he thought the 3-letter one was better.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 24, 2021 - 11:46pm

Man... this industry is fueled by pure autism (and not the intelligent kind)

Jul 25, 2021 - 5:47am
ninjawarrior27, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What drives it? Just insecurity or some false illusion that makes bankers think they add value?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 25, 2021 - 11:05am

I think its just shitty culture passed down over the decades. I try to shield my interns / analysts as much as possible from the stupidity that comes from above (comments like the ones you see above) but its so deeply engrained in some people. We had an associate join recently that's an absolute cunt and you can see how much he's destroyed the culture of our office. On the bright side, it gives me a chance to bond with my interns / analysts as we get the opportunity to talk shit about him and make good meme content. Bonding over hate is a powerful drug.

Nov 3, 2021 - 10:17am
Five Star Man, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In my opinion, people are scared to say they "lost" the pitch - so they want to blame an extremely small, likely not noticed, issue in acronyms or that they weren't title as Head of Jerking Themselves Off instead of Senior Stroker.

Always have something else you can shift blame to is the name of the game. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 25, 2021 - 5:55am

This all sounds like intellectually stimulating work that can only be trusted to a Harvard 3.9 GPA grad

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 25, 2021 - 4:43pm

Can we convert all numbers in deck(a detailed 40 page pitch deck) to Japanese yen instead? Should be Quick change, id like to see in the next 1 hr.

Bro wtf.....

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Jul 28, 2021 - 12:50am

Same thing happened to me. We were pitching a Canadian company to one of our clients. Meeting was set to start at 3pm, got on a late call with VP and MD at 1:45pm. "Everything looks great, the team did a great job on this book. One final comment, the EBITDA numbers seems too low, lets change all the financials back to CAD from USD, it will give it more volume… have it on my desk by 2:50pm". I told them it wasn't gonna happen . Are you kidding me? Like a client won't know the difference between CAD and USD.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 25, 2021 - 5:39pm

Always curious if the consultants deal with the same stupid edits.  Any consultants want to comment?

Jul 25, 2021 - 7:28pm
J.T.MarlinMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1. Global comment literally on the final turn of the deck: "Please add periods to the end of all footnotes"

2. MD's comment on his bio: "Please go back and add more of my deals to my bio so that it isn't the shortest on the page" 

3. MD's comment on a 20+ person team page: "Think you can try squeezing in pictures for everyone? If you can't find one, feel free to use whatever is on their LinkedIn" 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 26, 2021 - 12:46pm

Just saying, none of these feel that out of line on what sounds like a bake-off.

  • Periods/no periods on footnotes/bullets is generally a firm standard thing, and the MD will call it out.
  • More deals on bio...annoying but could look weird if presenting with what looks like less experience. 
  • Photos...SUPER annoying to be sure, but generally team page has photos. If it's me I kick it out to graphics team if possible who is way faster than me/even the analyst on formatting
  • Analyst 2 in ER
Jul 25, 2021 - 11:59pm

"Factual correction - need to add rocket league to list of esports tx"

Actual Okay Boomer moment jfc

Jul 26, 2021 - 12:34pm
Lupus1702, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Most stupendous thing: "Can you please insert this GIF into the PDF-File?"

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Jul 26, 2021 - 2:59pm

Have received most of the ones already mentioned - additional couple that I hit the wall on were "Go through and change all '$ & Share Counts in Millions' to '$ and Share Counts in Millions' and 'Change the fill between table rows to a slightly darker gray throughout'

Same VP who gave those two also dropped 'Change $mm to $M and $bln to $B throughout commentary.'  Wasn't a matter of inconsistency where both were being used, was '$mm' every time throughout the deck.  I was mad at the time but felt like a fool when the lender followed up saying "We were on the fence w/ this deal, still think that the borrowing base will be insufficient and the covenant package isn't market, but the "$M" throughout the materials allayed our concerns.  Please send wire instructions - we don't even need to do diligence." 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 27, 2021 - 9:58am

1. Please change MD's picture, he looks too young in this one. (Yeah sure, let me just phone up his wife if she has a more recent one, wtf)

2. Deck signed off by MD's. Associate calls me: I think we could better space up slide 1-2-3-4. Can you amend that?

3. Pitching a financing for a football team. "Can you please make the logo smaller? I hate that team and don't want to see such a big logo"

  • VP in IB-M&A
Jul 28, 2021 - 10:44pm

1. Please change MD's picture, he looks too young in this one.

That's an absolute first. I remember when I was an analyst and one of the MDs would flip out if we used his internal headshot instead of his preferred one from 20 years ago in a completely different style from everyone else's on the page. Fucked up the flow of the entire slide. Good times. 

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jul 28, 2021 - 11:03pm

yea but this could be the case that the MD looked like a kid and too junior and they wanted to add gravitas by making him older

  • Associate 3 in PE - Other
Jul 29, 2021 - 12:47am

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Jul 30, 2021 - 4:50am
WhateverWorks, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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