How to Crush Your Analyst Years

So you’re done recruiting, and you’ve landed the offer of your dreams. Now the work has just begun. If you’re an intern, you’re looking to lock down a full-time offer. If you’re an incoming analyst, you’re looking to earn that top bucket bonus and work on the best deals your bank gets. Regardless of the position that you’re in, here are some tips to excel during your analyst program.

Attitude

Having a good attitude is the number one factor in being a good analyst and an analyst that other members of your group want to work with. As an analyst, you’re not expected to know everything about financial markets or your client companies, but you are expected to come into the office with a smile on your face, even when you don’t want to be there. Your bosses will respect you so much more if you show up every day with a “can-do” attitude and willingness to learn. As cheesy as that may sound, you will be extremely surprised how far it can take you.

Attention to Detail

Another hugely important part of being a good analyst is attention to detail. Remember, you are making everything that the client sees, and you cannot expect your deal team to trust you with the complex parts of the role such as making the model or speaking on a call with a client if you can’t get the easy parts of the job done. We recommend printing everything that you make out before turning it over to the associate or VP on your deal team. Reading over a hard copy will save you many typos and allow you to pick out items that look funny. At the end of the day, investment banking is a client facing industry, and you always want to show the client your best work.

Manage Down Time Effectively

Investment banking hours can be very cyclical. Some days you will be so busy that when you sit down at your desk in the morning, you might not get back up until late that night. Some days you may feel like you have nothing to do, and you may be bored out of your mind. Managing down time is a critical component of being a good analyst. You must walk a fine line between staying engaged with your deal teams and showing that you are eager to take on more work, but also take some of that down time for a well-deserved rest.

The easiest way to manage your down time is to be very open with all of your deal teams and your staffer with what you are working on. It is your staffers job to manage your workload, and he/she will rarely get upset if you over communicate what you are working on. This way, you can show that you are engaged and ask for more work at the right time, but you can also avoid getting stuck with 5 deal all blowing up at once.

Find a Mentor or Sponsor in Your Group

As an analyst, you will be working with a bunch of different combinations of associates, vice presidents, directors and managing directors. Everyone is extremely busy, and it can be extremely easy to get lost in the shuffle. For this reason, it is important to find a mentor in your group to keep you moving on the right path. Obviously, you can’t just go ask a managing director, “Do you want to be my mentor?”, but you will find that you naturally get along with some people better than others. Seek those people out, grab coffee or a beer with them and talk to them about what they are working on. These people will generally have a large amount of sway come bonus time or when a big deal is being staffed. More importantly, they’ll teach you what they know, which will make you grow faster as a finance professional.

Be Social

So you’re going to be spending 80+ hours per week with the same people, in the same office. You better get to know them. Working with people that you like and can hang out with will make your time as an analyst 100 times better and easier. For this reason, take every opportunity to go out and be social with people in your group. Even if you have a ton of work, take 15 minutes and go to a happy hour with the group if everyone is going. These conversations are often the most valuable, not only from an overall happiness stand point, but also for the advancement of your career. You never know, maybe you find a common interest with one of your MDs over a few beers and you get staffed on his next big deal.