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GUEST COMMENT: Seven things the new graduates joining banks this summer need to know

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

Comments (27)

  1. Nice article – time will tell if it holds true for the new grads – I greatly suspect it might, however.

  2. dc – you say what other people think – loving your work !

    Grad Recruiter Reply
  3. 8) Do everything in your power at all times to impress your boss
    9) Be very clear about what is expected of you, i.e. what you would need to do to be deemed to have done a stellar, rather than mediocre job; and what’s the minimum you need to do to avoid getting the boot

  4. “Banking pays better than real work, so we get the best people”…

    Well I am not so sure about that! You are so smart Dominic but why don’t you work into a Bank to send skyrocket to the moon?

    “quant headhunter” you should tell your scientist friends to go back in those industries where their skills are used efficiently. Being a skyrocket scientist doesn’t make you Milken, Ranieri… You may not know those names because as smart as you are you do not understand that finance is a business and that quants are workmen not businessmen ;-)

  5. how about “you dont need a life outside a bank”

  6. Very accurate – although it might seem obvious, many grads do not adhere to it.

    Newbies – take note. The best way to make an impression is to be useful – the desk has nothing to gain from teaching you on the Grad rotation, you have a lot to gain if you get a job on the desk

  7. Ha…finally an article that made me laugh…Tis so true…plus u must add…new grads are here to provide amusement for us…therefore expect practical jokes and to be the butt of all humour…

  8. @ ZLTE017-Yes I be your ‘jokes’ are really funny

  9. …DC sounds like an arrogant prat i wonder why?
    ugly and a headhunter?
    not impressive.
    regards new grad starting this summer

    ps noone in a bank is that great, lets be honest and im starting in a top tier one in a top tier role as you vile elitists would say

  10. turthteller = IDIOT

  11. 8) Most people choose finance/banking because they are good with numbers and lack interpersonal skills. They gravitate towards banking which suits these two traits. Unfortunately these people, rightly or wrongly, were considered geeks at school, and they were therefore bullied and developed insecurity complexes, they grew up to be people like Dominic Connor – exactly the kind of person you dont want as your boss. Although this seems unlikely as he is a ‘quant headhunter’

  12. @Raoul thanks, btw how many folk do you intend killing? As we’re running a spread over here

  13. Dominic Conner – what an arrogant and useless piece of work you are…..

  14. This is rubbish. DC you are a total idiot and I bet you 1,000 that your skills are shit because if you actually knew something you would be more humble about it.

  15. thanks for your extremely unique wisdom, you old a*hole

  16. I feel like this man has been hit badly by the banking but at the same I am afraid that to some extent Mr. Conor is telling the truth and it needs guts and we must appreciate it.

  17. @boondoggle I can think of a lot of careers that feature number crunching/lack of communication more than banking. People choose banking for the money.

  18. It doesn’t sound pretty and you may not like it but Dominic is mostly right. 18y ago I’ve been there and seen it and not much has changed today. In fact post credit crunch it may have got worse.
    Grads who read this, at least you’ve been warned…

    P.S. Personal abuse does not add value to this discussion and should be left aside…

  19. All quite plausible, apart from the bit about Steven Hawking. Does anyone know how to fix a bull$hit detector?

  20. 8) Get along with your colleagues, if they dont want you to fail, it becomes really hard to

    9) Buy your secretary coffee once in a while and be nice to her (expenses and travel booking can be a b*tch)

    10) If a question sounds stupid, it will even be more stupid tomorrow (ask for clarity)

    11) Read a book that has nothing to do with finance now and then

    12) On average your VP/Associate is more useful to the MD/Bank, a fight with them is not going to end well for you

  21. Mr Connor, you are an arrogant little man. If you are really such a banking guru, why on earth are you in recruitment? Oh, hang on a second, you probably failed on one of your seven points and did not quite make it, right??

  22. ..i think this is being too nice, but very funny

  23. All the prats who have criticised this article are really not in the loop – the reality is that this is actually good advice for grads etc. Get used to it PC loving middle office trash…

  24. A headhunter? That used to work in a bank? Hmmmmm, credibility?!?!

  25. ‘…better suited to working in local government, apply now.’ Are you criticizing local government? It certainly sounds like it. What makes headhunting/recruitment so special?

  26. All you need to be able to do is lick the browN doughnut. That is all

  27. Dominic is spot on as usual. Especially no. 1 and 3 applies in the longer run. Many are indeed too arrogant to get this.

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