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:
1) DON’T SIT TOO COMFORTABLY
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.
2) MAINTAIN PROFESSIONALISM
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.
3) DON’T BE SEEN TO BE CHATTING
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.
4) DON’T DRESS LIKE A FOOL
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.
5) USE YOUR NETWORK
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.
6) LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES
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.
7) WORK OUT THE PROCESS
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.