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Analysts vs. associates

Ever-expanding workloads are upsetting the delicate equilibrium of analyst/associate relations.

Logan Naidu, a consultant at recruitment firm Cornell Partnership, says higher volumes of work are rocking the analyst and associate boat: “There’s more stress, they get more tense, and it’s easier to get ratty with each other.”

One associate (and former analyst) at a major European investment bank says associates who behave with Ted Bundy-like compassion are the main reason analysts quit: “The culture in investment banks is that the crap starts at the top and is thrown downwards. Analysts are treated badly by associates; associates are treated badly by VPs. One of the main things that drives associates is that they’re trying to get their own back.”

An email brouhaha offers a window onto the dirt-slinging. An analyst at an anonymous bank lays in to his associate for asking him to compile a working group list (used to disseminate information on parties involved in deals) at short notice late in the day – “I was here all night, you know that, and I am curious as to why you are passing this off to me. I am aware that it takes 5 minutes to do, but you should know there is a difference between ‘pushing back’ and wondering why (for the 2nd time this week) you are giving me in particular a WGL. I thought that’s what staffing is for.”

Our contact suggests that part of the problem is simply that associates – many of whom are fresh from business school – know less about banking than analysts and this tends to grate.

But another analyst-turned associate, in IBD at a bulge-bracket US house (who really therefore ought to know about analyst angst), says problems only arise when either analysts or associates don’t measure up: “At the end of the day, the associate’s role is to delegate, and most good analysts can take the pace. If you have a good team you never have an issue of analysts feeling overburdened – everyone knows their limits.”

If you can’t stand the heat, you know what to do with yourself (retire early and become an accountant).

· Read the email exchange here

Comments (18)

  1. The analyst is absolutely right! The associate is being a jerk

  2. Its not just associates who tend to milk the hierarchy..VPs and Directors are known to take full advantage of their seniority in emailing work to analysts for first thing Monday on their way out on Friday evenings from their Blackberry

  3. Yeah right, Analyst, cos when you’re an Associate you’ll be doing your own WGL!! As if.

    Associate, Investment Banking Reply
  4. Analyst has major attitude problem. Regardless of how much a jerk you may think the associate is being, you should never speak to a senior banker. Fire him

    Senior Associate Reply
  5. Analysts open it when times are good but will shut it up when bad times are back. I have experienced a full cycle and I can tell you that everybody will be happy if they can work at night! Analysts cannot have it all.

    At the end of the day, they are paid crazy amounts of money for fresh graduates and this is not for their outstanding intellect. Just step back and wonder if what you do is worth so much money or could not be done by somebody else, and you will understand that what the banks pay for is for your life. You cannot have it all, so this is your choice!

  6. My dear Analysts,
    All these people who are neither junior nor senior (neither an Analyst nor an MD) are struggling to get up the hierarchy and are licking a lot of asses… stinky ones. They are the ‘no-ones’ in the industry… If all the analysts in a division decide to leave, it will be in doldrums. And you should know it.

  7. WGL is an analyst job, no argument. Most associates have done the analyst role so have served their time as a grunt, you’ve got to earn your spurs and if there’s little sympathy it’s because everyone from MD down learnt that way.

  8. Why? Nobody is above criticism.

  9. So who’s supposed to do the WGL?? That’s what an analyst is supposed to do… Those who think analyst years are supposed to be “painless” are in the wrong job, it is the worst time of any banker’s life…

  10. is the trend specific to bulge bracket US banks?? i work in a european IB and the culture is very good. anybody from other European Banks want to share his/her experience.

  11. European Banks are for losers.

  12. Analysts and associates work a lot. Both can be stressed, both can feel the burden of work being thrown at their face. Better for everyone to calm down and search for maximum efficiency as those people will have to work together and as one must ackonwledge that both are under pressure. This story is a non-event and people should look a ways to overcome it with calm and better understanding of each other position.

  13. investment bankers are losers whether they are in a US or European bank..

    Trading is the for real men.. Investment banking is for monkeys who like getting a beating from arrogant, overpaid & overweight MDs..

    As they say…Investment banking in a nutshell is about the incompetent leading the unwilling to do the unnecessary.

  14. Nice to see your typical, balanced view from the hedge-funder.

  15. Sounds like all of you need a holiday

  16. Dear “trader”,

    investment bankers shape whole industries and economies. Any equity, debt instrument, M&A event that you “trade” is originated by us.

    Some people have the intelligence and drive to make things happen. Others don’t…(and are happy with overrated, mediocre returns.)

    Investment Banker Reply
  17. Analyst did not handle it with any tact or class. If you want to survive, and make it to the top in banking, you have to learn to influence and charm others: particularly the ones who are difficult, unfair, or that act emotionally/irrationally. Reacting to other people by just telling them what you think of them/their behaviour may make you feel better, but it’s not going to get you results. He should keep his feelings to himself, and look for a way to control the outcome of events, in his favour. He could start by trying to figure out & influence the associate’s psychology, rather than just concentrating on what he is feeling.

  18. WGLs are done by secretaries here

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