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GUEST COMMENT: What I wished I knew when I started as an analyst in an investment bank

Starting as a graduate in any IB is one of the most exciting yet daunting times of a young person’s life. It’s blo*dy hard work BUT can also be a lot of fun. If you want to play it right, may I strongly suggest that you:


You still have a lot to prove. Don’t be fooled by a welcoming team which enjoys banter and has a relaxed attitude. You will still be expected to perform, produce good results. Don’t pack up shop at 4:35pm! Don’t put in unnecessary face time, but you do need to be keen.


Don’t believe you can’t be fired….believe me you can. A lot of grads believe they are secure for 2 years but fact is, if you have an error, act inappropriately, or are labelled with misconduct you will be out of the door on your ass so quickly you won’t even realised it’s happened!

Be careful of IB chats, your use of language on the phone and on the floor.


Don’t be seen to be texting all day long. And there is nothing worse than MD’s, ED’s etc seeing you scuttle off with one of your buds for a quick chit chat.

Meet for a beer after work, meet outside the building, walk to grab lunch but don’t be seen loitering around people’s desks when you could be number crunching.

I was always very conscious of how I was percieved and at the very start I would bend down and almost kneel to speak to people – 99.9% of the time this would be genuine business chat. Then one day an MD mentioned to me I looked like I was always whispering and gossiping. I realised while one shouldn’t be over boisterous and loud it was important that people around me didn’t perceive the reverse.


Don’t let your standards slip. You want to be that kid that you MD is comfortable to pull into a client meeting at any time on any day because you still wear you jacket, and you still have your tie sitting in your drawer.

Ladies, there is nothing worse than wearing sky high heels and having to run up and down the floor – tottering around like a dolly bird will only incite trader banter. Wear comfortable shoes….you’ll thank me when it isn’t you who’s spilt the entire desk’s coffee order all over the carpet.


Your grad class is a great network….use it. Make sure you draw on the expertise of that person’s field. If you’re in equities you will inevitable cross someone in prime brokerage at one point or another. You will need to understand the various products on offer and how the teams link together. It’s far better to learn from your fellow grads than the MD.


Speak to your peers, see what they’re talking about and if they are developing anything new for their clients; inform your team on the funky product. It shows your cross-product understanding.


Don’t be naive. There are mid-year and full year reviews. Don’t be ignorant to the hoops you’ll have to jump through. Figure out how it works, what you may or may not need to achieve to pass certain criteria.

One competency on my first year review was leadership. In the first year, the opportunities for leadership weren’t obvious. I thought this was ok, and was scored a 1 out of 5. I was told I had to find those opportunities and show I could be a leader. Work out what’s coming and be ahead of the game.

It’s the grads who treat their first year as a 12 month, 365 day internship that really prove themselves and get the tier 1 reviews. Remember this in the months ahead.

The author is someone who was once an analyst in an investment bank, and survived.

Comments (13)

  1. I though markets were efficient,so whats the point of analysts anyway?

  2. Shows how much you know…

  3. “I though markets were efficient,so whats the point of analysts anyway?”

    Stiglitz arbitrage paradox, markets are efficient but just uneffiicient enough to make it worthwhile watching to check when there not.

    Professor Green Reply
  4. anyone who writes this drivel should be taken out and shot .. anyone who believes this drivel should have a lobotomy

  5. True Story. I constantly fought with my arrogant Senior VP in Sales, nasty behaviour. He never liked me from the beginning, because I didn’t have a classical finance education like him. I eventually got the sack. Truth be told I never liked markets or finance that much…I just liked the money and glamour (Bud Fox, Gordon Gekko, Models, bottles and all that). Now I work as a private financial adviser. Want another career, but stuck.

  6. I wish you’d known incite from insight, but that’s just me being me.

  7. ..if they read your IB chat I think half the industry will be fired by now…

  8. Professor Green, I think you meant to say they are, not there. Whatever you may be a professor of, I guess it isn’t English.

  9. mah…i dont know which movie have you seen…being a client of these IBs i can tell you that bankers are in general not wearing well, poor attitude, and scarce knowledge. At least VPs and above…
    btw: I never seen a girl so far

    different_movie Reply
  10. Hahahahaha WHY does efinancialcareers allow back-office “analysts” to comment on “Investment Banking”?

    I doubt any real, front office IBD analyst would make a mistake as glaring as using the word “insight” instead of “incite”.

    Piss poor commentary from a former back-office grad, as usual.

  11. @Broldman – this is a front office commentator. As some of the comments that are left here show, not all front office people can spell.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  12. Good piece of advice

  13. Does anyone think some of the commentators on here are simply looking to pick the articles to shreads? Don’t read them then!
    Sarah love all the articles – some are useful and others are not but you guys do a great job of trying to inform those that might not know.

    Leigh BofA Intern Reply

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