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What investment banking job titles really mean

If you already work in banking, you’re probably fully cognisant with what it means to be an MD, analyst or associate.

However, just in case you’re not and just in case you want to know what being an MD, analyst or associate truly entails, someone claiming to be a fund manager and professional empiricist has provided some handy tips here, summarised/lifted as follows:

Global Head of X” / “Partner Managing Director” / Management Committee member

Counting their coin. Checking it twice. Determining bonuses of who’s been naughty and nice.

Managing Director

Actually runs a desk or unit.

Executive Director

Being groomed to run a desk or unit.

Vice President

Runs/manages subsets of a desk or unit, generally the bits the ED thinks are less profitable than the bits he manages.


Runs themselves and an analyst.


Runs Excel, if lucky.


Secretly run everybody with vast amounts of power that are completely under-estimated by everyone else.

Categorisation number 2:

Also present in banks, according to author, are the following personality subsets:

Person who gave their life to the firm

A master of Darwinian corporate evolution. Feared, respected, culture carrier.

Person who runs the show

Knows it and makes sure everyone else knows it, too.

Person plotting

… extensively to run the show.

Person who thinks they run the show

… because the ED and MD are too busy plotting and power-tripping to ever actually check up on them

Person running the one or two people beneath them with a sadistic zeal known only to a person who has been subject of extensive abuse and suddenly given the tiniest possible amount of authority over others

Nameless, faceless person

… who…well, looks nervous, frequently scurries with their head down and treats cafeteria, administrative, custodial staff and BigLaw school friends remarkably poorly. Generally act like MD’s in the presence of anyone who doesn’t work at the firm, or people they went to school with.

Comments (3)

  1. Most firms have a Director between Executive Director and Vice President. What sort of person are they?

  2. No they don’t. VP is broadly equivalent to Director.

  3. said a VP

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