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100 Investment Banking Career Tips 

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  1. Review all workstreams daily even if only for 5 minutes. Review all your projects once a week in great detail. Check your calendar both 2 weeks ahead and back and set up to-do list and deadlines

  2. Be diligent about updating trackers / internal databases to save others time (creds book, profile tracker, etc.). Be an expert of keeping and organizing lists (your personal to-do list, lists for each deal you’re on, etc.)

  3. Manage your seniors and remind them to deadlines, they might have more important things to track

  4. Verify time zones when scheduling meetings (Outlook has a great feature for that)

  5. Always keep mark-ups. Scan them to your drive just in case

  6. As an associate, talk to analysts instead of sending emails all the time and hiding behind your desk

  7. Always add value, don't just pass on task blindly. Own the process. It's easier to tell than you may think who actually does work 

  8. Never delegate a task you personally don’t know how to do

  9. Don’t just copy client slides and reformat them, always think about how the presentation flows from one page to the next. Typically, we can re-use many client slides, but we need to create a few new from scratch to connect the story and flow

  10. Imagine that you are a PE firm: Would you invest? What things we might not want to mention and what is not clear?

  11. Think like you were the Founder, what would you do? How would you approach this problem?

  12. Always think about: what else could we do for our client? Our job is to make people love us

  13. No task is to small. Even your MDs do administrative tasks occasionally. “Managing Analysts” do not succeed

  14. Under-promise and over-deliver, especially around deadlines

  15. Always flag hardest tasks and do them first, this way you can ask questions immediately if anything is unclear before seniors log off around 10-11 pm. Easy tasks can be done at 2 am without additional instructions and without a fully functioning brain 

  16. Stay on top of Market, M&A and your industry news. Subscribe to daily newsletters

  17. Forward your desk phone when you’re OOO and learn how to use the conferencing feature on your office phone or cell phone

  18. Set up the same signature line (format/size) on your cell phone and laptop. It will make it less obvious if you respond from a gym or from a dinner party

  19. When you get staffed to a new client, start pulling together a very draft shell immediately with a lot of TBU/placeholder slides to move the project along and you can immediately ask questions and show that you are proactive

  20. Don’t delay process. Act confidently even if you are not, make decision even if only 90% sure unless you are sending it directly to the client

  21. Have a sense of urgency, act immediately when you get a task from supervisor

  22. Don't be afraid to speak up, you’re paid to have an opinion -> Always have an opinion and defend by a reason or story (you can change your mind later), don't look ambivalent as it will make you look weak

  23. Take good notes and always bring your notebook and calculator with you to VP / MDs’ offices

  24. Don t answer your phone on speaker to external callers.

  25. Always print and leave physical copies of decks on VP / MDs’ desks after you turn comments

  26. If a senior banker asks to leave a printout copy in their office, leave it on their chair, not desk

  27. Make comprehensive list of questions to efficiently make use of senior bankers’ time

  28. Know how to negotiate an NDA

  29. Organize your thoughts before leaving a voicemail. Be concise. Speak slowly and clearly and repeat your telephone number twice

  30. Be patient with yourself. It takes time to come up to speed. You are not supposed to understand what’s going on in your first 6 months

  31. Always use spell check

  32. Request vacation in advance and send reminders 2-week and 1-week in advance. Send a to-do list and timeline to your team about project status on your last day before vacation

  33. Don’t take on too much and don’t over-commit. Remember everything will take longer than expected

  34. Create folder and subfolders in your inbox. Check with your team for best practices

  35. Communicate if a task is taking longer than expected

  36. If you know you will not be able to deliver work on time contact your staffer or manager immediately

  37. When you work with other groups, make sure you are viewed as a partner

  38. Spend time researching the Company – as juniors you can add a lot of value here when meeting with senior bankers, and it will be noticed

  39. For public companies, equity research (especially initiating coverage), earnings transcripts, investor presentations and S-1 filings are a great place to start

  40. Couriering books to a senior banker: Make sure books are in an opaque envelope for confidentiality + Leverage assistants to find out where a banker is staying (if traveling); don’t wait till late at night for this

  41. When there is a question to CEO try to answer yourself how I would answer and pay attention how the CEO answered the smaller the gap is the more ready you are

  42. If you are an associate, review every turn, don’t let analyst cut you out and send it to VP or above directly

  43. If you are an associate, don’t let VP cut you out, you need to be visible to directors and MDs

  44. Most important thing is to move along the processes and client interaction timely (HR and admin emails can always wait) and prioritize MDs emails

  45. Set your voicemail announcing yourself, otherwise the client will not leave you message

  46. This is one of the most important steps in our clients live. Treat it as such

  47. Treat the firm like an owner

  48. Treat your clients like they hired YOU specifically

  49. Treat banking like it is your long-term career even if it isn't. I promise you'll have more fun (in addition, recognize that it is the long-term career for some and be mindful of that)

  50. Once you have at least 1 year investment banking experience it is pretty easy to find a position at a bigger bank where you most likely get paid more and have a chance for a PE exit. See www.wallstreetconnector.com to start the process

  51. The more time you can save for your supervisor, the better rating you’ll get. Always think, how you can save time for them. If you do, they will want to work with you

  52. Quality over speed. Yes, you need to be fast, but there is nothing that would slow down the process more than turning comments 3-4 times instead of once or twice

  53. If it takes you 60 minutes to save 30 minutes to your VP, do it

  54. Do a few little things they don’t except you: e.g., add a few bullet points / suggestion to a slide they told you just leave blank; that’s how you will stand out

  55. Don’t just ask what you should do. Describe what the issue is, tell them what you tried to do. Tell them 1-2 proposed solutions. It shows that you think ahead and do some homework

  56. Don’t just pull the research reports they asked you to do, but skim through and highlight sections

  57. They will often get back to you on which public comps to include in the valuation analysis, but you could just send your thoughts and they will appreciate it even if they ignore most of it

  58. When sending work, flag anything you are not 100% sure so they know where they should spend more time when reviewing

  59. Always repeat to-do at the end of the meeting to ensure your understanding is correct

  60. Keep a status report organized, thorough and up to date at all times

  61. Your goal should be that people request you on their projects

  62. There is not a "master plan" to manage your career. You are responsible for managing it. What projects are your getting on? Are you being exposed to different sectors? Have you mastered every type of typical financial analysis? Have you worked on multiple products? Are you gaining increased responsibility?

  63. Be aggressive: staffing, work product, coffee chats, meetings, questions, etc. Don’t wait for things to come to you

  64. Take calls from the senior banker’s office to increase presence and interaction

  65. Invite yourself to pitches, negotiations, client calls. Simply tell your Vice President (VP) that you would like to join the client meeting to learn and whether it is OK (most of the times it is OK)

  66. Say yes to opportunities

  67. Be a leader in the office. Organize events. Contribute. Mentor. Volunteer. Give presentations

  68. Share initiatives / your opinion with influencers

  69. Stay on top of industry news and what’s happening in the markets

  70. 1Seek feedback at the end of every project, don’t wait till year end to get development point feedback. You obviously get better rating if you can show that you already started to make steps to improve in certain areas

  71. Every Sunday set up reminder and ask yourself: What can I do for my client especially something they don't expect us to do?

  72. When do I talk to CEO / My contact 1:1?

  73. What work process should be prepared during the week? Think about random things we could do for our clients

  74. Become a trusted partner by the client, understand the numbers and be insightful of your industry

  75. Demonstrate professionalism

  76. Be able to give big picture guidance on process and analytics

  77. Set up alerts with your client names

  78. Follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter

  79. Send news articles, congratulations, industry pieces to your client contact that might be relevant to them

  80. Triple check emails before hitting send especially sent to and subject line. No grammatical errors, typos and don’t forget the (right) attachment. This happens more often than you think and can have devastating consequences

  81. Always open and check every attachment before sending your email

  82. Respond to Client MDs emails/calls within 5-10 minutes, acknowledge task immediately even if no time currently (don't worry about wordings of quick internal emails)

  83. External emails: assume it will be forwarded, proofread subject, body of email and email chain below, make sure you copy the right people

  84. If you are an analyst, give your associate 15-30 minutes to respond (you don’t want them to think you try to cut them off), but if they don’t you should go ahead and acknowledge receipt directly with an email so Client/MD is not wondering too long if it is on our radar

  85. If you are an associate, same thing, give your VP 15-30 minutes to respond first so they don’t feel like you try to cut them off

  86. Communicate. Keep the right people informed

  87. Don't communicate to people who don't need to know (i.e., some processes are confidential even internally)

  88. Attention to detail, no formatting error is too small to fix!, spell check, correct font, quality is more important than speed most of the time

  89. A typo in presentation is similar to a typo on your resume. It ruins our credibility

  90. Print everything out -> It Is easier to see mistakes with tangible version -> alternatively print it in a PDF and double check

  91. Don't do the same mistake twice, make a list of things you had to correct previously (and keep it on your desk for reference)

  92. Use Ctrl + H to find and replace double spaces

  93. Pay even closer attention to “sensitive” parts of the analysis such as: Are the client’s numbers correct? Are the names of the management team spelled correctly?

  94. [TBU] use brackets for sentences to be updated. Bankers will search for “[“ in a presentation to see what is still outstanding

  95. Use [bracket] for any word, fact, you are not 100% correct, so it can be easily found / searched for in presentation

  96. When repurposing existing documents: check headers, master slides, check/delete named cells, check footnotes and references

  97. Make 5 minutes break and reopen documents to get a new perspective if you work on it for a long time

  98. Understand big picture, why we do this. It is often very obvious if someone doesn’t get the context

  99. Footnote everything, but never have a footnote on the title of a page

  100. Understand every number and how to calculate it, Check consistency in numbers (does the LTM revenue on one-page matches to the number one page later? Are we showing $ signs in a table for all numbers or just the first one and the total?

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