I was a newbie in a bank once, so please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m writing this in the context of “things I wish I knew then”…
1) You’re useless
One day, with careful nurturing, you might be useful, but until you wise up you are a cost centre. Whatever your job title you are an apprentice.
2) You’re dumber than the people you work with
Banking pays better than real work, so we get the best people. My database has four people with personal recommendations from Stephen Hawking. Your 2:1 in French impresses people not one bit.
3) A bank is a machine to make money
Spend time and energy working out how you contribute to this, if you can’t then you won’t, and that will not end well.
4) You have the manners of a spoilt 7 year old
What sounds cool in a student bar doesn’t work in a bank, or maybe it does, fact is that etiquette varies both by bank and department, you need to tune in fast, else you will get hurt. Being pretty or smart might have helped you get the job, it won’t keep you there.
5) The reason you have two hands is so that you can carry coffee for others
You need to become ‘part of the team’ as fast as you can, that means every time you get a drink, you ask if anyone else wants one. That may cost you money and occasional scalds. Tough. If you haven’t worked out that buying the first round in the bar is a corollary to this, then you are better suited to working in local government, apply now.
6) There is no work that is beneath you
It’s depressing that I even have to write this, but I hear too many bloody stories of arrogant new grads refusing to help out, or looking like their face has been hit by a wet fish whilst they do it. Banking is not just high powered meetings, shouting “buy” and “sell”, and business lunches. Sometimes bulk data needs to be typed by hand into Excel.
7) Don’t expect to be thanked
Some newbies get sad that no one has told them what a good job they’ve done. This is not school, you don’t get your work marked every time you hand it in, except when it’s sh*t. But you need to say “thank you” every time anyone does anything for you. Is this fair ? No it is not. Welcome to banking.
Dominic Connor is a quant headhunter at P&D