When you work with incompetent managers

Hi All,

I just joined this MM M&A boutique from a 2nd tier bank where I was in front office and did deals but not M&A specific. Really wanted to try out M&A and this was a great opportunity to make the switch before I get too senior in my 2nd tier bank role and find it hard to move. Besides, no serious M&A house will take in someone with no prior M&A experience or an MBA, something that I'm not ready to do yet. I also wanted more autonomy, which I was promised in this M&A boutique by the hiring manager, and was previously not given in the bank. While I knew the M&A boutique was not well known for their quality of work, I thought I would gain some experience and move on.

However, after 6 months, it's clear to me that there is no experience to be gained and no autonomy given in this M&A boutique. In terms of technical skills (i.e. building models, looking for comp tables, creating buyers list, I am better and faster than my seniors. In terms of preparation, I am always more prepared than my seniors when meeting clients, investors, etc. In the first two months, I was motivated and enthusiastic and went above and beyond my current seniority. I was doing what a level above me was doing, let's call this level an associate. I was doing so well that I was labelled the "star analyst" within 3 months of being in the new place, even if I was the only one among the juniors who had no "M&A experience".

I am in a deal with a senior vice president and an associate but was told that it was rude to correct my associate's work without first asking him nicely and making him realise that his work is wrong before correcting it. This applies even if his mistakes are huge enough to cause us an embarrassment - sending the wrong deals to the wrong investors, coming up with a subsidiary that doesn't exist and notifying it to the investors even before anyone has a chance to stop him, giving out the wrong numbers, etc. His excel is all over the place and he doesn't seem to know how to do a proper model. He doesn't even seem to be able to read his emails most of the time because he's the type who has to have me explain emails to him sentence by sentence.

He was terribly incompetent.

My senior vice president has also been throwing me deals after deals, even when the staffer has stopped staffing me with deals due to my heavy work load. This senior vice president will cc me in new deal emails promising clients that I will deliver when I have already told him I won't be able to do the work due to my other deals.

I was working for this senior vice president beyond my job scope, doing the work of an associate.

If I have to babysit the incompetent associate and do double the work in other deals, then the least I can ask for is a double promotion to an associate. I asked him for this and he refuses to help me, telling me that I should just follow the normal route (I am already guaranteed an analyst 3 next year). I asked him if he would be willing to recommend me to a different company - he told me he won't.

This senior vice president only does small deals with low technicality. I have not been learning much from him at all and have only been overworking myself covering his many deals for very little in return - no double promotion, no recommendation promises, no learning experience because all these deals are low in technicality, having to work with an incompetent associate who refuses to ... and an opportunity cost of missing out on bigger deals (I have spoken to other vice presidents who would be happy to staff me in their bigger deals due to my competency and feedback thus far, but all have required that I have more time than I currently do).

Let's not kid ourselves. Our job is a transaction. If you're not willing to pay, then don't expect better quality work from what you're willing to pay. I am not exactly doing less than what my designation requires, he just wants me to do as much if not more work than the associate and to cover his slack in a "nice way" to make this baby of an associate feel better about himself. The senior vice president also wants me to work exclusively for him when he does not want to offer me anything in return.

What are your thoughts on these:
1. Break the relationship with this senior manager?
2. Find a new job that gives me room to grow and actually learn new things and how an actual M&A deal works?

TLDR: Moved to a new place and realise how terrible the quality of the work is. Senior vice president wants me to work with incompetent associate and always staff me on his deals (which are small in size with low technicality) but doesn't want to double promote me or offer me a recommendation to a different place.


Comments (1)

Jan 11, 2019