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. Now, that being said, this may or may not be helpful to share with the forum, but either way, 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 and 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.

So, let's begin:

Managing Internally:

  • Don't be afraid to be assertive and 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.
  • 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 that is provided to you. 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 (even if you don't yet).
  • 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.
  • On top of that, 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.
  • 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.
  • Easy on the 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.
  • If you are the best dressed person in the room or have to proactively identify your accomplishments to people, you're doing it wrong. Don't draw attention to yourself. 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?
  • 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.
  • Consistently come into the office early (~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.
  • Should you get vacation, make sure it's booked and on the calendar 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 go around volunteering for extra work outside of your projects unless you are a glutton for punishment. 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 (which looks terrible by the way).
  • Hit F7 on everything, even if it came from a senior banker.
  • 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):

  • You should generally only use your mouse for PowerPoint, Adobe and opening new instances of applications while one is already open. Yes, I just said that. Spend the extra time, learn the shortcuts and figure it out.
    • Everyone has their favorite set of excel shortcuts, learn them, love them, use them.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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)
    • In PowerPoint, 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.
  • PowerPoint files should only be using one slide master whenever possible. This both reduces the file size, and also makes formatting consistent.
  • Learn how to insert page numbers on slides the proper way (different between version of PowerPoint). If you are manually typing in page numbers, you are in for a world of hurt.
  • Pin you 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 from Windows explorer to help others and yourself find data more quickly.
  • Save all of your logins in your browser so that you can automatically login to any online application.
  • Format all of your excel sheets in the same manner with column alignment, row alignment, etc. This makes your life easier as you reference other sheets and cells throughout the workbook.
  • Use conditional formatting on your checks and 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 is a side calculation or helper calculation that shouldn't be deleted. You will have to come back to this model down the road and will NOT remember why or how you did things.
  • 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 and 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.
  • 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
  • Everyone has their own "method" for email, but here's what I do and so far, it's been pretty bullet proof:
    • 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.
  • Make sure you 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and 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
  • Set up your Dr. appointments for the morning. Most Dr.'s offices are open at 9 am.
  • Make time during the day to call/facetime a family member or friend - it will make your day better
  • If you are religious, get your worship in. It makes your week better
  • Don't be "That guy" that checks his email while talking to others. If it's really that urgent, work will call you.
  • 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.

Like I stated previously, 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 (146)

 
9/15/16

This is fantastic. Thank you.

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9/15/16

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.

 
9/15/16

I am starting FT next year and this is a godsend. Definitely checking this before and during my analyst stint. Thank you so much.

 
9/15/16

Thanks so much for sharing this. This is great.

 
9/15/16

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.

 
9/15/16

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.

 
9/15/16

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.

 
9/19/16

+SB

I worked in IB for two years before moving to corp dev for a highly-acquisitive company. We get teasers from "name-brand" banks on a daily basis, and I cannot tell you how many times the formatting is poor. It really is amazing.

 
9/16/16

Bookmarked, thanks for this.

 
9/16/16

Great post! Appreciate you taking the time for it!

 
9/16/16

Really, really excellent post. I regret that I have just one SB to give.

 
9/16/16
 
9/16/16

Great post! Thanks for sharing.

 
9/16/16

This is great, thanks for sharing.

 
9/16/16

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...

 
9/17/16

What is this magical camera function you speak of? I normally just open a new window of the same file when I need to do that.

 
9/17/16

Great... That very awesome post..

 
9/18/16

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.

 
9/21/16

That's incredible, I can't believe I never knew about that.

 
9/22/16

Happy to help. Life's too short to scroll through tabs to see what a change in one assumption makes to the outputs of the model, especially when you are on the phone with a partner.

 
9/26/16

Yes, this is a life saver.
You could also do this way: copy the range, then Paste -> Linked Picture (I).

 
9/22/16

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.

 
9/22/16

"Do not let this job consume you. If you do, you will die alone and very well dressed."

This. +1 SB

 
9/22/16

thank you

Observe. Learn. Share.

 
9/23/16

This is great! Definitely sharing with the interns we are hiring. Thanks so much for sharing!

 
9/23/16

This entire post made me smile. Amazing. And I'm not in it yet but the closest I've ever been from a non target journalism degree. Invaluable.

 
9/24/16

Fantastic article, much appreciated.

Chicka chicka yeah!

 
9/26/16

Coherent and lacking in unnecessary details. It's obvious that you practice what you preach!
I for one could learn a lot.
Thank you!

 
9/27/16

WST excel plugin bruh

 
9/28/16

I don't understand- you say you have a G700 mouse, how did you install the logitech gaming software on your computer? Doesn't your employer screen/block that kind of stuff?

 
9/28/16

I would just ask your IT admin to install it for you. If it wasn't secure, then you wouldn't be able to use most keyboards with additional function keys anyways.

 
9/29/16

Great post, but you should never end bullet points with full stops.

 
11/7/16

This is the best solid and real advice that all the analysts can benefit from.

 
11/7/16

This is the best solid and real advice that all the analysts can benefit from.

 
1/3/17

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

 
1/10/17

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.

Corporate Strategy and Development: 2018 - Present
Corporate Finance (FP&A/Treasury/Development): 2011 - 2018

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

 
1/10/17

The best way to do it too is to have it so the page numbers only show up in the slide master so they don't get accidentally deleted or moved when you're actually editing slides.

 
2/28/17

Awesome post!
Incoming FT analyst here and this is gold. Thanks!

 
2/28/17

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.

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

 
6/7/17

I wish my analysts at a bulge bracket knew how to calculate enterprise value

 
6/7/17

For PPT, include www.logointern.com on there -- best resource for logos. It makes it super easy for me to create buyers overview slides and industry landscapes.

 
8/4/17

are you going to post one for associates now too?

 
10/16/17

extremely helpful. Thank you for taking out the time to write this.

 
10/31/17

Very useful. I'll take it into account. Waiting for your next posts

 
 
10/31/17

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!

 
 
10/31/17

Rosenbaum & Pearl - Investment Banking.

 
10/31/17

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?

 
10/31/17

i was a complete noob to finance (math background) 4 months ago. now i like to think that i know a lot.
- Demarzo corporate finance , select chapters.
- Rosenbaum&Pearl
- watching bloomberg for that market touch
- reading zero hedge for those charts
- reading Damodaran for that theoretical knowledge and research papers
- James Morris' Book on Accounting for credit analysis & M&A (if u really want to impress ppl)

 
10/31/17

It's taught from a point of view of the reader having no knowledge. 4 chapters on valuation, 1 on leveraged finance, and 2 on the deal process. This will give you a pretty thorough knowledge of what bankers do and the main valuation methods (you need to know valuation for interviews).

If I woke up tomorrow and had forgotten everything it is the first book I'd go to. It is specifically written for IB. What are you looking for in terms of a book? A general guide of what bankers do or what would be required to get through interviews? Knowing what a banker does without knowing the valuation methods and basics of accounting is useless if you intend to apply for IB roles.

 
10/31/17

I want to eventually break into IB, I'm in another career ATM so I don't want to appear like a fish out of water. Trying to learn as much as I can on my own, then see who will give me a chance.

 
10/31/17
  • WSO guides are good
  • Vault guides are excellent (and easy to find online)
 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17
 
10/31/17

Honestly, I wouldn't read any of these books. The Rosenbaum and Pearl is a great book, but more so for interviews, not really understanding the industry. If I were starting out, I'd read through every article on Mergers & Inquisitions. It's very easy to get an overview of IB from that website.

 
10/31/17

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?

 
10/31/17

I would read everything on M&I, browse WSO daily, study the interview guide from BIWS, and take the basic modeling course from BIWS too. I'm not affiliated with M&I/BIWS, but have had good experience with their products. That really is all you need.

 
 
10/31/17

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?

 
10/31/17

I am assuming you are venturing off on my comment that 'any advice would be greatly appreciated,' and it definitely is! Do you have any advice that pertains to my current internship situation and career goals?

 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

I wish I felt good about the internship, but I just don't think it was the right place for me. I learned a lot, but the culture was... different. They have had a lot of turnover (>6 people) in the last 4 months, and I just didn't like it either. Maybe that is the case everywhere, but it didn't feel like a cohesive group.

 
10/31/17

My advice is always "take the job and keep looking".

 
10/31/17

Is that always the best option? I don't want to commit to the group, only to leave later on. It seems... unethical. That's just me.

 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

Well, PE is my goal. I am continuing to apply to Banks and networking, but the offer is going to explode soon. I might just take it and work there for a year and keep looking if the small leads I have right now fall through.

 
 
10/31/17

Securitization desk is much better than banking....Check your work and don't screw up...You don't wanna get pegged as incompetent.

 
10/31/17
 
10/31/17

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

 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17
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...

 
10/31/17
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...

 
10/31/17
 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

yeah, def. triple check. Not some cursory overview either. I've been fucked on this a couple times in the past week.

 
10/31/17
 
10/31/17
 
 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

I think we need hiring reform in the industry

 
10/31/17
goblan:

I think we need hiring reform in the industry

 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

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

 
10/31/17
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.

 
10/31/17

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!

 
10/31/17
NYKnicks92:

LOL somebody really wanted blackstone.

BX M&A? No sir, I would much rather have the offer I do. I was merely referring to the fact that the non BBs don't invest significant resources in training, and therefore NEED to hire candidates who can hit the ground running. That being said I believe Lazard and BX actually do have TTS so I maybe wrong...regardless their interviews tend to be very technical, and without solid finance basics you can't land those gigs. There is a reason why most of the kids they hire are Wharton u-grads. In fact weren't 90% of BX M&A's hires this year from Penn? Which makes me even more certain OP is at a top BB instead.

Back to the OP - I came off irritated because it seemed from the way he phrased his question that he lacked basic finance knowledge. I go to HYP myself, and cannot enumerate the numbers of times I have seen undeserving candidates land the best gigs on Wall Street - sorority girls with simpering smiles, privileged douches who were hooked up through daddy's network, social climbers who were able to ingratiate themselves to the interviewer, the list goes on and on...I see these people running around campus after spring or fall recruiting, offer letters in hand, acting like they rule the world. And then when they sit next to me during training or in the bullpen, and ask trivial questions that reveal their inability to grasp even the most basic concepts, I just cringe. I am just like you need to GTFO, how the hell did you land this job. Each of them is taking up a place that belonged to a deserving candidate with high GPA and strong intellect, but who was unable to influence the interviewer with connections or snake like charm. If the OP truly goes to a top school (particularly Harvard / Yale), he knows exactly what I am talking about, because he has seen this pattern replicate itself over and over again on campus...

I won't apologize for being pissed off with those types of candidates. However if OP is not one of them, then my earlier post was obviously not applicable. He should chill out, enjoy senior year, and perhaps brush up on some of the modeling courses others above recommended.

 
10/31/17
dreamer1992:
NYKnicks92:

LOL somebody really wanted blackstone.

BX M&A? No sir, I would much rather have the offer I do. I was merely referring to the fact that the non BBs don't invest significant resources in training, and therefore NEED to hire candidates who can hit the ground running. That being said I believe Lazard and BX actually do have TTS so I maybe wrong...regardless their interviews tend to be very technical, and without solid finance basics you can't land those gigs. There is a reason why most of the kids they hire are Wharton u-grads. In fact weren't 90% of BX M&A's hires this year from Penn? Which makes me even more certain OP is at a top BB instead.

Back to the OP - I came off irritated because it seemed from the way he phrased his question that he lacked basic finance knowledge. I go to HYP myself, and cannot enumerate the numbers of times I have seen undeserving candidates land the best gigs on Wall Street - sorority girls with simpering smiles, privileged douches who were hooked up through daddy's network, social climbers who were able to ingratiate themselves to the interviewer, the list goes on and on...I see these people running around campus after spring or fall recruiting, offer letters in hand, acting like they rule the world. And then when they sit next to me during training or in the bullpen, and ask trivial questions that reveal their inability to grasp even the most basic concepts, I just cringe. I am just like you need to GTFO, how the hell did you land this job. Each of them is taking up a place that belonged to a deserving candidate with high GPA and strong intellect, but who was unable to influence the interviewer with connections or snake like charm. If the OP truly goes to a top school (particularly Harvard / Yale), he knows exactly what I am talking about, because he has seen this pattern replicate itself over and over again on campus...

I won't apologize for being pissed off with those types of candidates. However if OP is not one of them, then my earlier post was obviously not applicable. He should chill out, enjoy senior year, and perhaps brush up on some of the modeling courses others above recommended.

welcome to the real world where shit isn't 100% fair.

 
10/31/17
dreamer1992:
NYKnicks92:

LOL somebody really wanted blackstone.

BX M&A? No sir, I would much rather have the offer I do. I was merely referring to the fact that the non BBs don't invest significant resources in training, and therefore NEED to hire candidates who can hit the ground running. That being said I believe Lazard and BX actually do have TTS so I maybe wrong...regardless their interviews tend to be very technical, and without solid finance basics you can't land those gigs. There is a reason why most of the kids they hire are Wharton u-grads. In fact weren't 90% of BX M&A's hires this year from Penn? Which makes me even more certain OP is at a top BB instead.

Back to the OP - I came off irritated because it seemed from the way he phrased his question that he lacked basic finance knowledge. I go to HYP myself, and cannot enumerate the numbers of times I have seen undeserving candidates land the best gigs on Wall Street - sorority girls with simpering smiles, privileged douches who were hooked up through daddy's network, social climbers who were able to ingratiate themselves to the interviewer, the list goes on and on...I see these people running around campus after spring or fall recruiting, offer letters in hand, acting like they rule the world. And then when they sit next to me during training or in the bullpen, and ask trivial questions that reveal their inability to grasp even the most basic concepts, I just cringe. I am just like you need to GTFO, how the hell did you land this job. Each of them is taking up a place that belonged to a deserving candidate with high GPA and strong intellect, but who was unable to influence the interviewer with connections or snake like charm. If the OP truly goes to a top school (particularly Harvard / Yale), he knows exactly what I am talking about, because he has seen this pattern replicate itself over and over again on campus...

I won't apologize for being pissed off with those types of candidates. However if OP is not one of them, then my earlier post was obviously not applicable. He should chill out, enjoy senior year, and perhaps brush up on some of the modeling courses others above recommended.

Shut up

 
10/31/17

It looks like this kid went from DB m&a/levfin to GS tmt (prob SF). Pretty easy to figure out who he is. 90% of BX m&a hires were Wharton kids is untrue. Just congratulate the OP for busting his ass and focus on improving yourself.

But alas, haters gon' hate.

 
10/31/17
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.

 
10/31/17
leveredarb:
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.

I actually DID get a spot. I ll be at GS TMT/MS M&A next year. Your argument is invalid fool.

 
10/31/17
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.

 
10/31/17
joker2:
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.

Oh.

Shit...

 
10/31/17

Lol he's legit going through and deleting all his old posts and comments

 
10/31/17
NYKnicks92:

Lol he's legit going through and deleting all his old posts and comments

He doesn't know that once your post is quoted, it never gets deleted.

Lol.

 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

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.

 
 
10/31/17

Sounds like I'll see you in Brooklyn in a few weeks

 
 
10/31/17

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

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/jpmorgan-pri...

 
10/31/17

JeanMazpo- going for a similar position. Any tips/advice on getting the spot?

 
10/31/17

Mistress, feel free to pm if you have any questions. It would help to know your background.

 
10/31/17

Thanks JeanMazpo- I need to get a few more banana points before I'm allowed to PM (ultimate pledge right now ...) I'll have something to you by EOD!

 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

sorry i need to get 10 points to PM, really interested in learning more about this

 
10/31/17

Need to get 10 points to be able to PM....

 
10/31/17
 
 
10/31/17

1.5Bn is not all that small. Congrats

 
10/31/17

Good enough size. You will be able to learn a lot there. Try to read as many sec filings, industry reports/primers, investment classics as possible.

No bias, no ego and no emotion

 
10/31/17

Thanks for the help guys!

 
 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

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?

 
10/31/17

very interested in this as well....anyone know of any success stories of people doing this and leaving banking for it? When did Patrick create this site? When he was still in banking or after?

 
10/31/17

site link? at least a description? I work for a startup site as well

 
10/31/17

http://www.oxfordentrepreneurs.co.uk/archive/2007/...
dont know if it specifies in this article, but i read somewhere he actually got some seed money from an MD at DB when he left

http://convertyourbond.comFree market commentary and trading insights to help with interviews

 
10/31/17

I have interest in resources on this as well

 
 
10/31/17

A) Learn to love and live on coffee... or don't drink any caffeine at all... half-assing it just doesn't work
B) Double and triple check your work. Go through each turn with a highlighter and check off the changes as you make them. No worse feeling than having your boss come to you and point out dumb mistakes

 
10/31/17

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

 
10/31/17

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

 
10/31/17
CharmWithSubstance:

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

At least it fills your bladder.

 
10/31/17

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.

 
10/31/17

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

i know unrelated but just wanted to share

 
10/31/17
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

 
10/31/17

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