What I Wish Every First Year Analyst Knew

Chimps, after working with all of our first years at our firm on several deals, I've found that I'm frequently getting asked for tips and tricks that I wish I had known as a new analyst. I've listed out some insights on what I think every analyst should know as they begin their stint in banking.

As I've shared this with the first years at our firm, I've made it very clear that my goal for them is to help them get as efficient and as fast as possible, make less mistakes, and go home earlier (meaning I go home earlier) while looking like rock stars to the senior bankers.

I've broken the list into three buckets:

  1. Managing Internally
  2. Efficiency
  3. Managing Externally

Is this an exhaustive list? Definitely not. But if you can do these things, your life for the next two years will be much more enjoyable.

Managing Internally:

Communicate Effectively

  • Don't be afraid to be assertive: Clearly outline everything that you are working on at a given time – if you are not communicating your workload to your seniors, you will get overwhelmed, stressed out and frustrated. Are you going to have to work late? Yes. It's banking. However, this helps you to avoid unnecessary late nights and weekends.
  • Problem and solution: If you have a problem or conflict with workflows, your schedule, etc., always accompany it with a proposed solution when you approach a senior. This is huge.
  • Learn to balance asking questions vs. trying to figure things out without spinning your wheels: There are only 24 hours in the day, and you need to sleep for at least of 5 of them during the week. My general rule when I was first starting out is 30 minutes. If you can't figure it out, ask the associate. It's his/her job to mentor you.
  • Always ask what the timing is on any request: This allows you to prioritize and identify any potential workflow conflicts ahead of time, allowing you to communicate, be assertive and also appear that you have your ducks in a row.
  • Respect everyone's time: Give seniors and associates a heads up ahead of time that you have a question and what it's about. This shows respect for their time and schedule, and also shows that you're being professional.
  • Be clear: Always ensure that the senior clearly knows which project/item you are referring to before you start rambling off questions. They have just as much on their plate as you do, so you may need to remind them on what you're talking about.
  • Over-communicate: Keep the seniors informed on where workflows are at, expected time to finish (you'll get better at this as you learn your work pace), and what potential issues/outstanding items you foresee. If you are going to be late, ensure that you email the team.
  • Never eat alone: Make an effort to walk out to lunch with senior bankers that you are working with on deals. Don't be a creeper, but if you have 10/15 minutes to walk out and grab something quickly, this can be a great way to get facetime and chat.

Build a Professional Presence

  • Easy on the stories: College stories, high school stories, etc. "Cool story bud" I haven't been in high school for 10 years now, so somewhat hard to relate. Save them for happy hour.
  • Never start a conversation about the weather: It just shows that you have nothing interesting or important to say and that you are lonely.
  • Don't draw attention to yourself:: If you are the best dressed person in the room or have to proactively identify your accomplishments to people, you're doing it wrong. If you are doing great work and are a great performer, others will bring the attention your way.
  • Own your projects: Be proactive and work to identify problems and solutions before they happen. What is the big picture or the main idea of what you are working on? What are the key points that the senior bankers are trying to get across with the data/book?
  • Consistently come into the office early: Come in ~15-20 minutes ahead of the normal start time for the day, you will quickly develop a reputation of being an early bird and being responsible. That way, on days you are late (sleep in, appointment, train delay, etc.), nobody questions you because they know that if it's in your control, you would be there.
  • Book and plan for vacations several weeks in advance: The week of your vacation, email everyone that you are working with on Monday, first thing and provide them with a "kind reminder" that you will be out from xx date to xx date, and that you will have your phone and laptop with you should anything urgent arise. Even if you don't plan to be available, this shows that you are responsible and that you are willing to be a team player if needed.
  • Don't volunteer for extra work: All this does is get you overwhelmed. As a first year, you will get plenty of work from the staffer and seniors. I would much rather you absolutely crush your projects vs. getting overwhelmed and not being able to finish everything that you asked for.
  • Hit F7 on everything: Even if it came from a senior banker.
  • Print and highlight comments/requests: When you receive comments or a request, print it, and take a highlighter to check off each comment/request as you do them. I see directors that still do this.
  • Note your mistakes: It's ok to make them, but it's not okay to make them 3x.

Efficiency (Minutes become Hours which means you go home sooner):

  • Learn keyboard shortcuts:
    • You should generally only use your mouse for PowerPoint, Adobe and opening new instances of applications while one is already open.
    • To open an application, hit the Windows button and start typing the name of the application
    • To open windows explorer (share drive, etc.), hit Windows button + e.
  • Get proficient with your bank's Excel add-in. We have both Capital IQ and FactSet, but in Excel and PowerPoint, FactSet is king. If your bank doesn't have it, reconsider where you work.
  • Customize quick access toolbar: For process and keystroke combinations that you use often in Excel or PowerPoint (general rule for me is 4+ steps/keys), customize your quick access toolbar and record a macro for that process. This includes:
    • Underlines
    • Headers filled with the bank's primary and secondary RGB colors that are bold and centered across selections
    • Centering across selections
    • Top Border
    • Right Border
    • Sorting Largest to Smallest
    • Sorting Smallest to Largest
    • Camera function (amazing for pasting a dynamic image of an output on an input page so that you can see the change without tabbing through your whole model every time)
  • PowerPoint tips:
    • Files should only be using one slide master whenever possible. This both reduces the file size, and also makes formatting consistent.
    • Learn how to distribute items vertically and horizontally, along with aligning items either to slide or to selected objects. Start with ALT+JD+… or ALT+JP+… and you can thank me later.
    • Learn how to insert page numbers on slides the proper way. If you are manually typing in page numbers, you are in for a world of hurt.
  • Pin most commonly used applications to your taskbar: That way, when you right click them, you can open new instances of that application or even reopen files that you recently accessed vs. drilling back down on your drive to find them.
  • Paste links in your emails/IMs: This helps others and yourself find data more quickly.
  • Save all of your logins in your browser: This allows you to automatically login to any online application.
  • Format all of your excel sheets in the same manner: Use same column alignment, row alignment, etc. This makes your life easier as you reference other sheets and cells throughout the workbook.
  • Use conditional formatting checks: Create checks for the following in your workbook out to three decimal places. The formatting should be green if it's zero, red if it's not. This should be a recorded macro on your quick access toolbar.
    • Anything pulling data from or pushing data to another sheet
    • Ticking and tying out totals
    • Balance sheet balancing
    • Ending cash on cash flow statement ties to balance sheet (helps to catch historical financial mistakes as well)
    • Net income from P&L is flowing correctly to the cash flow statement
  • Box and label anything that shouldn't be deleted: This includes side calculations or helper calculations. You will have to come back to this model down the road and will NOT remember why or how you did things.
  • Use comment boxes: Place a comment box on any hardcode in the model indicating the source and who told you to do it/when they told you.
  • Only have one hardcode driver for each item in the model that requires a hardcode: Reference directly to that hardcode. That way, if you delete a sheet, but not the hardcode, other sheets won't be affected.
  • Never have a model with external links: Hit ALT+E+K. If nothing pops up, you're golden. If a dialogue box does pop up. You'd better figure out why.
  • Color coordinate your cells properly: The fastest way to find hardcodes (without hitting several keystrokes) is CNTRL+~. This also helps you identify external links and formulas.
  • Printing tips: When you print, first print to PDF and compare it to the previous draft in PDF that is marked up. Set the zooms to be equal to each other, place the windows on top of one another, and you can ALT+Tab between the files. If something flashes, the numbers/values changed. This also works with Excel. Always do this before you print a hardcopy and save yourself some time.
  • Get a gaming mouse if you can:
    • I personally like the G700s from Logitech.
    • You can program the buttons to be shortcuts to excel, drive folders for your deals, applications, etc.
    • The click wheel helps you navigate through pdfs and webpages much faster
  • Email tips:
    • Set up your Outlook to show your to-do's and calendar on the right hand side
    • Each live deal has its own, single folder that contains everything related to the deal
    • Admin has its own folder with sub folders
    • Create a graveyard folder – anything that you are not working on for live deals goes into the graveyard so that you have it for later.
    • Whenever you receive an email that is new to your outlook, add it to your contacts, so that when you respond in the future, names will autofill and you don't have to search for emails.
    • When you get an email with a request, flag it and file it. Don't flag it as complete until it's done.
    • If you can resolve/respond to the email within 30-60 seconds, without much thought, do it. If not, flag it and come back to it when you can set aside time to clear out your inbox.
    • I try to have a clean inbox at the start and finish of every day.
    • Read your inbox top down so you are not behind on threads – it's both annoying and inefficient to respond to an old thread.
    • Before you go home each night, look at your to-do's pane and make sure that you've cleared out everything that you need to clear, and that you know when everything else in there is due. Let Outlook do the remembering for you so it's one less thing to stress about.
  • Develop a good relationship with your IT manager: Once you do, request a RAM upgrade and possibly a computer upgrade. I7 quad-core with 16gb+. It's worth the effort to get it. Life's too short to wait for data tables.
  • Pin deal files: In Windows Explorer, pin your most commonly used deal files to the favorites section, this reduces time spent drilling down through the shared drive.
  • Rip as much prior work as possible: Especially in PowerPoint. As you create more and more different versions of Excel files, you'll be able to leverage your prior work (this is another reason why you keep all tabs the same formatting style from above), so you can rip and replace.
  • Use data tabs for models: If your model is driven off of a consistent excel output that the client provides, instead of typing in updated numbers, create a data tab and have everything pull off of it. That way, you can simply copy paste the client's output into that tab and the model updates itself. If the client doesn't have one, make one for them. They will appreciate it.
  • Find a time when you work the most efficiently: It will either be early in the morning or late at night depending on your personality. This time needs to be when you are not being barraged with emails or calls and you can get your work done and out the door. Save these times for your big projects that require 100% of your attention.
  • How to avoid all nighters: Lastly, I preach this often…All nighters are a result of two things: Lack of planning/communication (By you or your senior) or making avoidable mistakes. I have never had an all-nighter that wasn't driven by one of these in banking or Big 4 accounting.

Managing Externally:

  • Find a hobby/interest: Make time for it. By make time, I mean wake up early for it or set aside time on the weekends.
  • Do not let this job consume you: If you do, you will die alone and very well dressed.
  • Don't forego relationships with family and friends for the sake of work:
    • Work should never be in the top two spots in your list of life priorities.
    • When times get rough, family and friends are there to pick you up. Work won't.
    • Work acquaintances are nothing more than that.
    • Don't be "That guy" that checks his email while talking to others. If it's really that urgent, work will call you.
    • Make time during the day to call/facetime a family member or friend – it will make your day better.
  • Set up your Dr. appointments for the morning: Most Dr.'s offices are open at 9 am.
  • If you are religious, get your worship in: It makes your week better.
  • Go to the gym:
    • Don't let your freshman 15 turn into your analyst 30.
    • Exercise will keep you young, give you more energy and allow you to have an "out" from work each day.
    • Go for a walk every day, even if it's just to grab a Gatorade at the corner store.

This list isn't comprehensive, but I wish I had known all of this when I first started my career.

Hopefully this helps.

GR

Mod Note (Andy): Best of 2016, this post ranks #3 for the past year

Comments (159)

 
Sep 15, 2016 - 5:35pm

Amazing. Arguably the most valuable post I have ever read on this website. Resonates very deep with my experience in IB. Thank you for blessing aspiring bankers with this bible of information.

 
Best Response
Sep 15, 2016 - 7:48pm

Great tips. Can't reiterate enough the communication aspect of being a good analyst. Some add'l commentary below:

Build a good rapport with at least one of the associates or a good 2nd year analyst in your group, preferably more than one. If you don't have frequent formal review processes, once a month ask to have coffee with one of them and ask for feedback. Have them focus on all the stuff you could do better and improve upon and how to build from there going forward. It'll pay dividends as a lot of the things you don't notice / think about and people always take this type of initiative well.

Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate. If you've done x process 2 or 3 times, learn what you have to do every single time one of those comes up and do them once you know the process is starting instead of waiting for somebody to tell you. Ex: At my bank once we have a new deal mandate we have to do background checks, money laundering checks, setting up email distribution lists and all that admin stuff. Just do those on your own volition.

For a lot of the shortcuts using something like the Training the Street macros will be a godsend and so you won't have to write your own. Getting a nice keyboard is great too for the macro key banks many offer.

My one counter to not asking for more work is if you know somebody in your group is notoriously hard to work for (ex: my douchebag svp who is a short tempered and incompetent troll) it's ok to jump on projects that overextend your workload a little bit just so when a new project with them comes up then you can say you have a lot of other ongoing work and then that project gets dumped off on somebody else.

Be nice to all admins including print guys. We don't have somebody in 24/7 but if you're nice sometimes they'll stay later to help you out.

 
Sep 15, 2016 - 7:53pm

Great thread. One other small tip: set shortcuts on your desktop to most-used areas on your share drive, such as a specific deal folder. Right-click on the shortcut, go to Properties, and then enter in a key in the shortcut box. Now, you can open the folder by simply hitting ALT+CTRL+whatever shortcut key you set. That also helps not having to dig through your share drive.

 
Sep 15, 2016 - 10:10pm

Good formatting that makes your material easy to ready.

That's what I wish all bankers knew.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
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Sep 16, 2016 - 5:43pm

Good stuff

Agree on most of the general internal ones except for always coming in early...if you're always early then being on time is showing up late, by your own standard that you've created for everyone to see. In general always keep all sorts of expectations super low so you can exceed them opportunistically

With respect to the efficiency ones, reading them reminds me of how I'm so glad I don't work in banking. Yikes

As to the external ones, if you're religious and believe in some dude in the sky, the solution isn't to pray more. It's to read some Nietzsche, Alan Watts, Sam Harris, etc. so you can straighten yourself out...

 
Sep 18, 2016 - 11:23am

If you go to customize your quick access toolbar, you can add camera to it. To use it, highlight the cells (cells around chart if pulling a chart) then select the camera icon. After that, go to the tab or location and place your cursor where you want a dynamic image of the chart and hit enter.

This is a lifesaver on football fields and lbos IMO.

 
Sep 22, 2016 - 10:27am

This is all great advice - though it's somewhat contingent on being surrounded by a good group of smart, hardworking and REASONABLE people who want to work with you to get the job done. Also people who want to help you learn and appreciate the hard work and long hours the analysts pull. I would say in some banks/groups the analyst is seen purely as a resource that an associate/VP uses up until their time runs out (2-3 years), and the new class of analysts join (and the cycle continues).

Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.
 
Jan 3, 2017 - 12:31am

Somehow I find it funny that one the things is to know how insert the page number in a PowerPoint without manually typing it. I mean I knew that I-Bankers are "spreadsheet" monkeys but that's ridiculous. I can't even imagine the sudden drop in IQ most analysts go through the first year

 
Jan 10, 2017 - 8:34am

You'd be surprised...

Granted, she's only an assistant....but my bosses assistant wants to shoot one of us every time we have a slide to add...and I've only shown her how to add pages to slides 4-5 times...in the last three months.

Director of Finance and Corporate Development: 2020 - Present Manager of FP&A and Corporate Development: 2019 - 2020 Corporate Finance, Strategy and Development: 2011 - 2019 "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin
 
Feb 28, 2017 - 11:12am

This is good. For efficiency - make sure to include the following:

  • when dealing with logos (eg buyer pages, industry landscapes, etc.) use www.Logointern.com

  • use bamsec.com for filings

  • macabacus for modeling education content when you're bored and have downtime.

~~~
Other analyst tips:

Do not be the analyst talking about recruiting from day 1. Obviously it's important - it's probably on your mind, but everyone notices and judges, because your focus should be on performing well on THIS job.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:01am

Tips for an incoming MC analyst (Originally Posted: 10/06/2016)

Hi Everyone! I've been reading these posts for the last year now and have really gained a good insight into MC and the industry as a whole.

In a few months, I'll be joining a Big 4 as an analyst MC in London, and was wondering what tips you would give to a recent grad? Are there any skills that I could brush-up on? Any useful concepts or things that you wish you knew before starting? Any books you would recommend which would give me a head start?

Really appreciate any help! I've been told I should just relax and chill for the next few months, but I'm not like that at all!

Thanks

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:02am

Brush up on excel and power point if you aren't comfortable with them, maybe a data visualization tool if you want to get crazy (Tableau, Qlikview).

Spend more time now figuring out what industries/capability areas you find interesting and target your networking efforts. Very few new hires have skills that differentiate them from their peers, so it helps to have a few people you have talked with to pull you on/put you in contact with people who need resources.

Other than that, focus on your work quality, work hard, and be enthusiastic and positive (but don't over do it). Everything else you need you will pick up on the job.

Good luck!

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:05am

Thanks for the suggestion. Looking at some of the reviews on it, are you sure this isn't for people who have a finance foundation in IB or will it help a total beginner who lets say knows nothing about IB?

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:10am

I'd probably start with a Dick & Jane or Mr Men book. Maybe some Enid Blyton once I got my confidence back.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:13am

Any of those in particular you'd recommend? Also, since you're an analyst, any other tools you'd use to self-teach yourself? I know you guys know IB basics as well as financial modeling, would you suggest I read more about financial modeling?

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:15am

Career Advice for a new Analyst (Originally Posted: 08/02/2014)

So, I have completed an internship at a BB in Corporate Credit Risk. I have been given a full time offer, but I'm not sure if I want to take it. My goal is to end up in PE, and I know you have to go through IB to get there. Apparently some people have moved from this role to IB, but it is really frowned upon. Am I better off searching for an IB job instead? My group works with Corporate Bankers and Investment Bankers, so if I told them I'd rather do IB instead, I think they would refer me, although I'm not sure how helpful that would be. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:16am

Just do what you think right. You will come across a lot of BS along the way, but you will find your style and what you want to do in life by 40. Then you have to stick to whatever it it your are doing at 40, I am afraid.

I will be brutally honest. If you want a normal life, have some time for a nice girl or boy as well. Treat them well because you won't get as many girls or boys as guys who do normal jobs and are retarded (you are too smart), so that you won't die alone. See most guys in the banking look miserable, right? We are too smart to have a nice enjoyable life.

So 2 things. Family (be grateful for them) and do what you think right, career-wise. That's what I say. What do others think?

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:19am

At the end of the day you could do a whole lot worse than BB credit risk. It's a good gig and not a bad place to start. Naturally making a move to PE may be difficult but still possible if you cast a wide net and network.

If you can't get IB at your BB or another firm then I'd def take the credit risk role.

  • 1
 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:24am

I did that. Took a corporate banking / credit risk role and continued looking as soon as I started FT. Ended up leaving a few months in for BB IBD and couldn't have been happier. Sure, I felt bad for the team (I really liked those guys), but it was the best move for me because I knew I ultimately wanted PE, which is where I'll be a year from now.

You have to look out for yourself and you will certainly piss people off, but most will understand. And if they don't, well you will have already quit to join your new shop so it doesn't really matter anyway.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:23am

Not unethical - you should always have an ear to the ground for great opportunities as they tend to come up in my experience when you least expect them to.

I wouldn't ask the guys you worked for this summer unless you have someone you trust in the group but you said they aren't helpful in terms of moving to IB and i have seen people screw themselves over - you might need this full time slot if you don't end up with an IB gig and you don't want people resenting you on day 1 because they have their panties in a bunch over your desire to do IB. If you want to do IB, I would target every other bank / email HR / do OCR and say that you have an offer at XYZ BB to do corp credit risk but IB is really what lights your fire. This is the lowest risk way I think to do this.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:26am

Advice for New Analysts? (Originally Posted: 06/28/2007)

So, i'm starting my first year analyst stint at a BB, albeit it's not ibanking but in securitization banking. Anyone have advice on how to succeed/work hard and get noticed without being a suckup/maintaining good relationships, etc. Also, how to get into a group of your choice? I assume many of these 'rules' will apply to general first years, so I'm throwing it out there. Thanks!

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:29am

Triple check everything. Everything you hand to someone higher up than you needs to be 100% perfect. 99% is not good enough.

Also, try to anticipate the questions you're going to get asked. If you take a model to your VP, think of some of the questions he might have about your numbers or methods, and be prepared to answer them. Better yet, incorporate the answers directly into your work.

- Capt K - "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham
 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:30am

I am a VP now at a top BB firm and deal with junior analysts all the time. Although your fellow analysts can probably give good advice also, my best advice is this:

Make your numbers bulletproof. An analyst looks terrible when their numbers are wrong. When a number is wrong, you should actively be embarassed. Your job is to get the numbers right. Getting your numbers right won't get you noticed, but getting your numbers wrong will. This is the most basic skill and should always be your primary focus.

If you don't know, ask. Making an assumption is something your associate or VP should do, not you. If it isn't industry convention or a common practice, ask. If you can't ask, make a decision and footnote it.

Keep a good attitude. The job sucks and we all know it. Say yes when asked if you can handle more. Take on more than people ask when you have a chance. Make your VP/MD look good; when you're going through financials or IR presentations or whatever, print an interesting fact or slide and show them. If you're feeding people good intel, it gets noticed, even if they already know.

Take ownership of your work. If you are working on a file and an email goes out saying something needs to be done on it, do it. If you're working on a presentation and there are holes, fill them.

Finish the job. When you are given a mark-up of a presentation, use a highlighter to note areas that you either can't do or it doesn't make sense to do and then talk to your Associate or VP. If you just don't make the change you look like you missed it. If there is a reason not to make the change, you need to tell people. Until that happens, you are not done.

Based on my experience, always getting the numbers right gets you into the top half of comp. A good attitude and good communication gets you into the top quartile. Taking ownership for projects gets you top bucket.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:31am

Nayls:
I am a VP now at a top BB firm and deal with junior analysts all the time. Although your fellow analysts can probably give good advice also, my best advice is this:

Make your numbers bulletproof. An analyst looks terrible when their numbers are wrong. When a number is wrong, you should actively be embarassed. Your job is to get the numbers right. Getting your numbers right won't get you noticed, but getting your numbers wrong will. This is the most basic skill and should always be your primary focus.

If you don't know, ask. Making an assumption is something your associate or VP should do, not you. If it isn't industry convention or a common practice, ask. If you can't ask, make a decision and footnote it.

Keep a good attitude. The job sucks and we all know it. Say yes when asked if you can handle more. Take on more than people ask when you have a chance. Make your VP/MD look good; when you're going through financials or IR presentations or whatever, print an interesting fact or slide and show them. If you're feeding people good intel, it gets noticed, even if they already know.

Take ownership of your work. If you are working on a file and an email goes out saying something needs to be done on it, do it. If you're working on a presentation and there are holes, fill them.

Finish the job. When you are given a mark-up of a presentation, use a highlighter to note areas that you either can't do or it doesn't make sense to do and then talk to your Associate or VP. If you just don't make the change you look like you missed it. If there is a reason not to make the change, you need to tell people. Until that happens, you are not done.

Based on my experience, always getting the numbers right gets you into the top half of comp. A good attitude and good communication gets you into the top quartile. Taking ownership for projects gets you top bucket.

good stuff nayls. i will personally incorporate some of your suggestions/advice into my work...

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:37am

Nayls:
I am a VP now at a top BB firm and deal with junior analysts all the time. Although your fellow analysts can probably give good advice also, my best advice is this:

Make your numbers bulletproof. An analyst looks terrible when their numbers are wrong. When a number is wrong, you should actively be embarassed. Your job is to get the numbers right. Getting your numbers right won't get you noticed, but getting your numbers wrong will. This is the most basic skill and should always be your primary focus.

If you don't know, ask. Making an assumption is something your associate or VP should do, not you. If it isn't industry convention or a common practice, ask. If you can't ask, make a decision and footnote it.

Keep a good attitude. The job sucks and we all know it. Say yes when asked if you can handle more. Take on more than people ask when you have a chance. Make your VP/MD look good; when you're going through financials or IR presentations or whatever, print an interesting fact or slide and show them. If you're feeding people good intel, it gets noticed, even if they already know.

Take ownership of your work. If you are working on a file and an email goes out saying something needs to be done on it, do it. If you're working on a presentation and there are holes, fill them.

Finish the job. When you are given a mark-up of a presentation, use a highlighter to note areas that you either can't do or it doesn't make sense to do and then talk to your Associate or VP. If you just don't make the change you look like you missed it. If there is a reason not to make the change, you need to tell people. Until that happens, you are not done.

Based on my experience, always getting the numbers right gets you into the top half of comp. A good attitude and good communication gets you into the top quartile. Taking ownership for projects gets you top bucket.

sure could have used this when i first started...

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:33am

This advice may seem contrary to what Nayls said, so take it for what it is. I've seen alot of my colleagues that are perfectly competent and capable of acheiving top tier rankings blow it by not communicating effectively with their staffer and deal teams.

Yes, you should always be willing to take on more work...until you know you are at capacity, at which point you need to prioritize what you have and communicate what you can or can't do. The problem is if you are over-staffed and stretched thin, noone cares. Each MD on each of your staffings wants his/her work done, priority one. They don't care that you were there until 6AM because in their minds, 12AM-3AM should have been focused on their work. And if you try to explain that you are getting pulled in 12 different directions, not only will they not have sympathy for you, they will wonder why you were stupid enough to think you could take on 8 live deals. Communication is key. Know your limitations and manage expectations upwards. Your staffer might be mildly irratated that you punted on that extra staffing, but people will be PISSED if you take on too much, don't say anything and make mistakes.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:38am

Incoming FT analyst concerned about lack of knowledge (Originally Posted: 09/20/2013)

Hi,

I'm an incoming analyst at a top group/bank (GS TMT, FIG, MS M&A, BX M&A, R&R, LAZ, JPM M&A ). However, I didn't learn that much this summer and am concerned that I'll be far behind my peers when I join the desk. I am interested in buy-side recruiting but I'm unsure whether I prefer PE or HF yet. Anyway, given my lack of finance knowledge, what should I do to improve my chances of landing an MF gig, or at least being a good analyst?

Do you recommend signing up for some of the financial modeling courses that are offered online? I think M&I is the cheapest of the bunch. Do a lot of people feel this way coming in? I am concerned that since I'll be surrounded by elite candidates, I'll be way behind the curve.

Just to clarify, I'm not a bumbling fool. I just don't have the financial background that these Wharton studs seem to all posses. These kids almost operated like full-timers during the summer.

Please advise.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:40am

if you're going to a bb or lazard, you won't have to really worry because of the month long training. not sure about bx m&a.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:43am

There are a lot of resources. While some people seem to propagate modeling courses and skill, I'd actually suggest getting back to basics. Rosenbaum's Investment Banking would be good (as well as Moyer's Distressed Debt if you are in R&R) and if you can get your hands on it, CFA L I might be worth taking a look at.

Modeling skills will come with time and you will be exposed to those skills once you start working. I think that the most important things for you to learn at the moment (given your concerns), would be basic financial and accounting concepts.

And when you refer to incoming, are you saying you will be starting in 2014 as FT?

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for freedom of thought which they seldom use.
 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:44am

you cannot be at bx m&a, bx r&r or laz. they only hire people who have their shit down.

can't believe you got a top bb gig without adequate finance knowledge. what a waste of a spot that could have gone to a deserving candidate

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:46am

dreamer1992:

you cannot be at bx m&a, bx r&r or laz. they only hire people who have their shit down.

can't believe you got a top bb gig without adequate finance knowledge. what a waste of a spot that could have gone to a deserving candidate

The hate is strong with this one. Calm down.

OP, you have roughly a year to catch up. Enjoy your senior year, buy any self-study modeling courses (e.g. BIWS), and get up to speed.

Good luck. Other people posted this same topic a couple of months ago before 2013 FT starts.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:48am

LOL somebody really wanted blackstone.

I've interviewed with some of these groups and from my experience, the technical questions were more difficult than other ibd interviews but if you read the guide books (including the advanced section) and understand the underlying corporate finance theory, you should be ready. They don't have a modeling test or any of that so I think there's room for someone like OP to sneak in.

With that said, congrats OP! You're in a great position to rack of the interviews. As for modeling experience, I wouldn't worry about that. You'll have plenty of time on the job to catch up to your peers since buyside interviews don't start until a couple months into your contract. If you're worried about the lag in your modeling skills when you first hit your desk, then I guess the suggested modeling courses might be of some use. Good luck!

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:49am

dreamer1992:

you cannot be at bx m&a, bx r&r or laz. they only hire people who have their shit down.

can't believe you got a top bb gig without adequate finance knowledge. what a waste of a spot that could have gone to a deserving candidate


You sound so unpleasant not surprised you didn't get a spot and have to hate on op.
 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:54am

dreamer1992:

you cannot be at bx m&a, bx r&r or laz. they only hire people who have their shit down.

can't believe you got a top bb gig without adequate finance knowledge. what a waste of a spot that could have gone to a deserving candidate

lol just stop.

keep making dumbass posts like the ones you've always been making and i'll reveal your identity on these forums. you've been warned. you don't go to HYP btw.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:45am

Lol. 2014 start. Strongly misleading op I suppose. I have a 3.9+ at a top target (hyps). I breezed through the technical interviews because the technical guides are comprehensive. Yes, even the so called "advanced section."

I'm referring specifically to financial modeling. I did no modeling over the summer while some of the Wharton kids built them from scratch. I'm afraid this puts me at a major disadvantage for buyside recruiting since those interviews are far more advanced than the advanced section of some random IB interview guide.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:47am

this is an interesting topic for me as I was in the same boat not too long ago

no matter how much you practice/study, each deal, each model will be unique. just be sure to get your fundamentals down. for example, breaking into wall st has a pretty detailed yahoo - microsoft merger model. but that model is significantly different than say an industrials, FIG, or even a consumer model.

yes you will get training prior to starting, but your real training starts on the job, within the first 4-5 months. as for the other comments out there... sure bx M&A and some boutiques will only hire those who can model, but in reality, no one knows 100% at any given time.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 6:59am

Advice for new full-time PB Analyst (Originally Posted: 06/12/2013)

Hi guys!

I've just received an offer (yay!) for the 2013 PB Analyst Program at a large BB. I am to attend a 6-7 week training program in the bank's NYC office, and then I will commence my full-time, three-year tenure with the bank.

Do any of you monkeys have any words of wisdom or advice as to how to best prepare myself (in addition to the training) for the position?

I'd really appreciate any advice that could help me!

Thank you

-P

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:01am

Advice for new upcoming PB Analyst at JPM (Originally Posted: 06/15/2013)

Hi Guys,

So I've received an offer for the PB Analyst program at JPM. As you can imagine, I am unbelievably happy and nervous about this new chapter in my life.

I was wondering if anyone on this forum could give me some personal experience stories and advice relating to the actual training program and/or your first day at work? What can I expect and which hard skills do you think I should develop.

Thanks!

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:02am

Congrats. rogersterling59 has written a lot about this before. I would read this, if I was you:

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/jpmorgan-private-bank-compensation-ladder-lifestyle

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:07am

Hi,
I was wondering if this is for the NY office? And when did you interview for it? I am going to have a phone appointment with an MD from JP Private Bank and Im just want to know whether they are already done with recruiting or not.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:08am

Training: Lots of fun, great pay, teaches you very little in terms of on-the-job skills, befriend other analysts, and don't get in trouble.

First Day: Easy, meet people, do a lot of onboarding stuff, find the senior analysts in your group or who sit around you, meet them....you will need their help...a lot.

Hard skills: You are going to get very good at excel, ppt, and pdf. Don't worry about this before starting work, it just takes hours and hours and SOME effort to get better and you will become very fast at creating books. By the end of your first year, you will do things so much faster than when you started. It takes time though. A lot of it is also just getting to know the JPM resources which just takes experience. Once you have seen it all through many repetitive and also obscure projects....it becomes much less stressful and much easier.

Office politics: Probably the hardest thing to master and be good at. Biggest rule, do not ever say anything bad or close to bad about a coworker to a co worker. Actually, never even mention another co workers name unless you are saying something good or stating a fact related to work. Try to avoid people who talk about other coworkers, they will bait you into saying something....DO NOT, do not agree, do not shake your head, just stare into the abyss, and also give them the vibe that you don't like talking about other people. Even with the analysts, I'd be weary....people have big mouths...even when they don't do it on purpose. Your analyst friend will accidentally say something that is overheard like "jeanmazpo said this XXXXX". An associate or VP will overhear, but may never say anything about it. Or they might say it over instant message. All the instant messages can be read, and they are reviewed randomly by compliance. You won't get in trouble for talking shit over IM...but if it crosses the line you will....I would just avoid it. But trust me, other analysts WILL NOT. You don't want them saying your name in an IM about something you said, they will get the context all wrong and f*ck you over. So just avoid all of this.

That may seem like overkill but trust me, I sat next to a VP who was the worst gossiper and tried to bait me into gossiping all the time. It was sh*tty because I felt like I had to talk to her....she was the VP on MY team...but she constantly talked sh*t on other analysts, associates, and vp's and even some MDs....sh*tty situation for me. I could only imagine the sh*t she talked on me when I wasn't next to her.

I never even told the other analysts about this, because then they would go around saying I hate my VP, or they hate my VP...and it would all come back on me. So just keep this kind of stuff in mind.

  • 2
 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:12am

incoming 1st year analyst at a small boutique asset management firm, would love advice (Originally Posted: 07/28/2014)

Hi all, I've been fortunate enough to land at a boutique Asset Management firm right out of college, and I would love some help. It's an extremely small shop with a $1.5B AUM. I will be working directly with two portfolio managers in conducting research for potential equity investments. My question is: what are my future opportunities given that I will be working at an extremely small firm? My future goal is to one day become a PM. Also, any general tips or advice on how one would excel for someone in my position? Thanks in advance.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:16am

Advice For Incoming Analyst and Starting a Website! (Originally Posted: 04/30/2010)

I posted this a few weeks ago, but got no responses (posted it in the middle of the night), so I want to ask it again. I have been working on a website with a few of my friends for the past couple months and I'm also starting FT IBD at a MM firm (outside of NYC) this summer. We are getting ready to invest a lot of money into the site and have spent a lot of time in planning everything out. We definitely think it can be a success and something that can provide some decent income in the future. My question is will I have any time at all during my 2 year stint to work on this as a side project or will I be piled with work all the time that I won't have any time on the weekends to work on it or even to check on it during the day? Do you guys know people who did this and I can maybe talk to for some advice on how to balance it?.......this is something that we can't hold off for two years either as we are afraid someone else will come up with the concept (don't want to say what it is for obvious reasons haha).....any advice is appreciated, thanks!

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:17am

Depends on the firm. The workload may not be that much which would give you time. The issue is that the workload in banking is extremely volatile and unpredictable... but if you have a friend who has more time than you I think you should give it a shot. That way you'll at least have somehting to fall back on if you don't like banking.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:18am

haha well that is actually my plan.....I really want this to be my ticket out haha I already know I am going to hate banking, but am forcing myself through it for the reasons everyone does.........my partner is going to be doing Teach for America so he will be busy as well, I guess looking for a 3rd partner who has the time to be on top of it isn't a bad idea.......any other advice?

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:23am

New Analyst Advice (Originally Posted: 08/01/2010)

I'm about to start a job as an ib analyst at a boutique. For all of you who are or have been analysts, what do you wish someone had told you before you started?

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:25am

1.) PRINT EVERYTHING and triple check before you turn it in. It's amazing the errors you'll totally glaze over on screen but can catch on paper.
2.) Smile and say thank you very much when your MD ruins your weekend at 5pm on Friday.
3.) Bathroom stalls are a decent spot for a 20 minute nap if you haven't slept in a day or two.
4.) Make friends with the other analysts. You'll need them to be there to talk you out of throwing yourself through the conference room window at 4am.
5.) When you can't process any more coffee, lots and lots of water can keep you awake almost as well.

- Capt K - "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham
 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:29am

CharmWithSubstance:
Agree with #1-4...does #5 actually work??

At least it fills your bladder.

Array
 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:32am

5 definitely works. Water is crucial and will help keep you awake. It's also good to consume with caffeine as caffeine is deyhydrating.

My view is that caffeine should be used as an emergency measure; when you are getting rocked until 4am and pulling all-nighters. i.e. in the zone. Aside from that, you should avoid it like the plague as you will depend on it and weaken its effectiveness for when you really need it. If you are in a group that has you working 100-120 hours a week with no breaks...well then good luck. Banking is lumpy so there are usually a mix of 70-80 hour weeks with the 120 hour clusterfucks.

As others have said, work quality, work ethic and attitude are the key metrics. There are things that also become important in year 2+, but starting off not much else matters unless you are weird/annoying.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:31am

TheBenevolent:
i am still in training and am so sick of accounting classes, goddamn consolidations

i know unrelated but just wanted to share

if you are sick of accounting now, you will definitely enjoy reading every line on the 10k when you handspread 30 comps for a company that you know will be pointless because the target company sucks

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:33am

Coming from a guy that have done tones of mistakes (and still making some mistakes) I would agree with the above answers.

I would add to not forget to take notes...especially on conf call and shit like that. Or when you have a meeting with MD and other BSD - those guys really don t like to repeat themselves...

A "to do" list is also good, note in advance the thing you ll have to do in your outlook calendar.

Best of luck - personally after 3 years of this analyst I am now more confident - but I do still triple check my work.

And remember - a good job delivered late is way better than a sloppy job delivered on time.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:34am

Advice for incoming FT analysts (see: living in NYC) (Originally Posted: 01/26/2011)

Have made a few related searches, but haven't found too much information and thought a new post could be beneficial for incoming '11 FT monkeys.

For those who have made successful moves, what tips do you have for us? Did you use a broker? Craigslist? How early should my friends and I start looking for places?

Thanks in advance guys...

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:35am

This really has been discussed ad nauseum, can't believe that the search would fail you.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:36am

Whatever you do, don't spend your money on strippers. And if you ever go to a strip club make sure it is you selling goods/services to the dancers. Once people on Wall Street hear about this they will respect you. Keep this on the DL. Oh, before I forget, don't live with strippers.

 
Oct 31, 2017 - 7:37am

Knowledge for first year analyst (Originally Posted: 09/30/2014)

Hey there!, I am an engineer graduating this year from a non-target in Spain and I want to do IB in London (I've heard USA doesn't recruit from Europe). As an engineer I have very limited knowledge in the finance technicals and I was wondering if you could recommend me a book or at least some topics that I should definitely master before applying.

Thanks a lot!!!

 
Feb 26, 2019 - 2:26am

These tips are amazing, Very well written. I wish I had read them earlier when I was starting out.

Visionary | Lead | Enthusiast
 
Nov 5, 2019 - 10:09pm

so what do you do when you are in this position but NOT getting enough work??

 
Jan 15, 2020 - 6:57pm

How long did it take for you guys to get used to the job. I moved over to ib from engineering and it seems that I just cannot do things right and it's been 3 months already. From emailing files to formatting (always missing some formatting, sending a wrong file, etc.), I am always doing something wrong even after checking 2 or 3 times. The team members were nice enough not to yell at me but I'm feeling like am useless and getting depressed atm. Didn't experience this problem when I was working as an engineer

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