What I learned from being a Summer Analyst at an EB

Recently just ended my internship and got the return offer for a top group at a EB in NYC (EVR / MOE / LAZ / CVP / PJT). Here are a few lessons I walked away with:

  • All your work as a SA is absolute bitchwork. Basically, all the things on your deal team/group that nobody wants to do (because of how tedious/repetitive they are) are gonna fall on your hands. It's incredibly frustrating, especially because these tasks are extremely boring and often have no learning value. It might just be realigning some logos, updating bios and quals, digging up random research that's probably not even gonna come up in a discussion etc. But the goal is that you just need to accept it and do it with a smile. Had multiple instances over the summer where an analyst would give me a task from one of his deals that I wasn't even staffed on and then he ended up taking all the credit for the work. Pissed me off every time but I kind of just took it as part of the job. 

  • The hours aren't bad, the unpredictability is. Yes, 70-80 hour weeks suck, but given the fact that most people on this job come from prestigious schools and have hardworking backgrounds, it's not the craziest thing in the world. But what really sucked was the unpredictability. Impossible to make plans with family/friends/significant other due to the fact that you can be called in at any time. Also, seniors in my group had little respect for personal time. Even though I was at an important family wedding on a Saturday night and I communicated this a lot earlier, I got called in and had to work in the middle of the wedding for something that wasn't even that pressing or HAD to be done by the next couple of days. 

  • Cultural fit matters more than technical capabilities. When I came into the job, my technical capabilities were absolutely shit. Made a ton of lack of attention to detail errors on pitch decks, models were not always properly formatted, but I seemed to get along with my immediate seniors (analyst/associate). That ended up mattering a lot more as they vouched for me. I obviously had to learn from my mistakes and not make them over and over again but those friendships with your immediate seniors really help in the long run. This is harder said than done, especially remotely, but take time off your day to schedule some chats with people on your deal team. 

  • The best part of the job is learning business strategy. At least in my opinion. Yes you build technical skills, but honestly, after enough training, anybody can build out models or make pitchdecks. + Half the time these models are complete bs with assumptions not even based in reality. But the most fun part and best learning opportunity is strategizing with the clients. I sat in on calls where my MDs walked clients through complex business decisions, and just hearing about it from someone who is experienced and seen these deals time and time again is very interesting. I was luckily in that I got to sit in on a bunch of live deals rather than just pitches, which made my SA experience a lot more interesting. 

  • Don't take it too seriously. Trust me - the MDs and even VPs will barely know you exist, especially when you're doing the internship too remotely. If you fuck up, don't take it too seriously. Just remember it's a job and try to learn from it. Also important that you don't build a massive ego just because you are an investment banker. Again, it's just a job. 

  • Prestige doesn't matter. Everyone has a big hard-on for prestige when it comes to college or bank or group within the bank. Once you enter the industry, none of it matters. Everyone is trying to get by their day without losing their shit, and as long as you are a nice person and adding to the deal team in some way, you're gonna be set just fine for the return offer.

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Comments (24)

Aug 9, 2021 - 4:19am

Hands down for the last point: "Everyone is trying to get by their day without losing their shit". True. It's not just IB, everyone you see day to day no matter their job are in the same boat trying to stay afloat. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 9, 2021 - 7:21am

I mean prestige matters in an opportunistic sense where if you want to go to a MF, you need that "prestigious" name. But I agree other than that prestige is worthless.

Another good point would be that IB is basically in waves: there will be always certain period of time (could be long or short, 1 month or 6+ month), in which you will face a tsunami that cannot be avoided. But. It will always end and at the end of the tunnel, the wave will crash down and you will get that precious one chill week where you can fk around and sleep more. Helps me go through the all nighters and back to back 4 am's.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Aug 13, 2021 - 12:08pm

Could you explain why going to an MF is any better than going to a UMM or rising MM PE shop? As I understand it the path to getting carry is faster from the latter options and more importantly theyre culturally better and I'm pretty sure the pay discrepancy isn't a big deal. What am I missing

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 13, 2021 - 10:26pm

Have not been to MF (obviously, as a first year) but I think reasons are similar to EB vs MM or BB vs MM for IB

1. MF offers more high profile deal experience with some of their total transaction value in the billions. UMM less so

2. MF has more standardized training / structure, allowing you to learn. UMM I guess it depends.

But the caveat here is that because MFs are so senior-saturated, I have heard it is incredibly hard to advance to Principal level.

Just my 2 cent - better to network with an actual PE person that will probably have more accurate info

Aug 9, 2021 - 1:58pm

Quick comment on the first point. This is going to be true in any industry, not just IB. Low man on the totem pole will get the bitch work to free up time for the more tenured employees who have the experience needed to take on the more complicated (and "interesting") work. Advice going into FT is to try to become the latter ASAP even if it sucks seeing other analysts work less hard. There will always be bitch work and when there aren't interns around I see this typically fall on the less skilled analysts / associates.

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  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Aug 10, 2021 - 1:19am

Did my SA at one of the listed EBs; below is a comparison of my experiences and thoughts. Will preface by saying ultimately every SA experience is different, especially among different firms. 

All your work as a SA is absolute bitchwork. 

Sometimes… However, there were instances where the workstream I was on was rather impactful, interesting work (beyond formatting/research/repetition/admin) - of course it was to be signed off / checked by the analyst then associate, but I definitely have been in situations where I was assigned something that required true diligence on my part. Heck, I've even been instructed to email materials I've worked on directly to the client many times. To your point, everything that was repetitive / administrative did fall in my court as well; I just wouldn't say it was solely that. I think the nature of your firm/group plays into this, as well as the trust established within your working group.

The hours aren't bad, the unpredictability is.

Totally, totally agree

Cultural fit matters more than technical capabilities.

TBH I don't know if this is completely true in my experience. I've found "fit" to be closely tied to "competence." To elaborate, my analysts/associates of my deal teams warmed up to me once they saw I was actually a value add… being able to lighten their load and show that I could do the job made them much more fond to me and willing to have coffee chats/provide additional color about the group and answer my questions. To be honest I found that differences in group "culture" revolved pretty heavily on attitude/expectations towards work product, which is inevitably tied to technical ability. Of course, that's not to say that your technicals will 100% compensate for attitude/personality symmetrically… But moreso at the end of the day, I think technical ability and consistently good work product mattered significantly in my experience in effort to enable that sense of "cultural fit." People are far more likely to take the time to be your friend if you demonstrate promising potential and give them reason (e.g softening their workload)

  • The best part of the job is learning business strategy.

Super interesting! Def up to personal preference but I really loved being a part of the lifecycle of multiple live deals…. Definitely related to your point here - it's such a unique opportunity that no one outside looking in could understand unless experiencing it. M&A is such a rewarding (albeit exhausting) process. Seeing the dynamic between bankers and their clients (despite always being camera off and virtually nonexistent on these calls) is a truly interesting experience. Runner up is definitely being a part of the closing of these deals- the ramp really sucks work wise but it's super rewarding for the team. Happy my time aligned to see the closing of some of these processes.

Even though I was at an important family wedding on a Saturday night […] and had to work in the middle of the wedding for something 

Don't take it too seriously.

These two points kind of contradict. I get what you're saying about IB just being a job and not to take too seriously, but at the same vein you still worked during an important family obligation. My pointing this out isn't to be an annoying hardo but to emphasize that you *should* be taking this too seriously (one may argue that you working during a wedding is *too serious*)

At the end of the day you are an SA and not guaranteed a spot… nor are you a full time employee. Thinking about the odds of you occupying your position, particularly at an EB with limited spots in the first place, you should be taking it too serious. Hell, as an SA, you're technically not even occupying a full time *job* yet- the job is for you to earn at the end of your time. Any lapse in judgement or attitude during work may very well cost you an opportunity to solidify your career. Trust that I actually am not the stuck up nor intense type, but I do think all SAs should be handling the opportunity in this view as it is reality. Time and time again we see threads of SAs who didn't get a return and are struck with cold water, scrambling to ensure a career in IB is still viable. That's to say, don't stress yourself out to the point where you're riddled with anxiety and it is detrimental to your work product, but realize that this is effectively still a 10 week interview and your position is still tentative. I would inquire you also held this view when working through a family member's wedding. 

  • Prestige doesn't matter. Everyone has a big hard-on for prestige when it comes to college or bank or group within the bank. Once you enter the industry, none of it matters. 

Doesn't matter in SA, agree that it doesn't matter internally once FT.

However it begins to matter again once buyside recruiting begins a few months into FT. Matters when going for MBA. Unfortunately prestige will always be a point of relevance in this industry whenever involved in external processes.

Aug 10, 2021 - 10:54am

Good all around post except for the bitch work part. Its a reality of the job and thus someone has to do it. Also, why would an intern be given any actual responsibility - the risks of an error are to high and the inefficiency to recreate to work is to great. Also, as someone mentioned, it exists in all industries. But really think about it rationally, why would someone so inexperienced, working on something so time sensitive, be given anything of substance. Especially for transactional related work that might still be on going after the internship ends. This isn't of course to say that an intern should only do busy work...but its a reality of the job and as you move up the totem poll you do less and less. 

Aug 10, 2021 - 11:46am

Nice. I'd add one more which is at the analyst level it actually takes people more time to teach you how to do something than do it themselves. So yes it is bitch work but they are taking time out to teach you when they have a ton of their own work.

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Aug 10, 2021 - 12:21pm

You're given bitchwork because nobody trusts you to do anything else. That's just about the only capacity in which you can be useful, at least until the final couple of weeks (i.e just before you leave).

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Aug 13, 2021 - 12:09pm

Lol we know that and it makes sense. Still sucks though. Everyone has to go through it so that part is nice lol.

Aug 11, 2021 - 4:29pm

Thanks for taking the time to give back like this and share your experience bro. This is super helpful and cool to hear. I'll keep these tips and insights in mind for when I land an internship here soon hopefully. 

Aug 11, 2021 - 7:12pm

what type of group makes their SUMMER INTERN work on some saturday night last minute deliverable when he communicated attendance at a wedding beforehand?

Most seniors dont even know the interns names...let alone know them enough to give them the "pls fix" on a saturday evening when they communicated they were out of pocket.  Where was the analyst?  The associate?  

Was an ask from an associate or analyst? - if so thats even more indicative of a shit culture.

sounds like a group I would want NO part of. srs.

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 11, 2021 - 7:23pm

What kind of retard intern goes to a wedding during their internship? You have one single shot and ten weeks to get the job. You will see your college buddy and wife again. 

Most Helpful
  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Aug 11, 2021 - 8:01pm

Huh? He said it was an important family wedding…..if you were to skip a sibling/immediate family wedding in sake of an internship, I really feel bad for you and where you rank life's priorities 

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Aug 13, 2021 - 12:11pm

It was an immediate family wedding wtf are your priorities. Associates rly on that sellout grind oof. I didn't think you'd get that corrupted that quick out of school lmfao.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 12, 2021 - 3:47am

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