top of page

100 Investment Banking Career Tips 

This list is updated weekly. If you want to receive IB tips directly to your inbox sign up to our newsletter:

Join our mailing list

Thanks for subscribing!

  1. Make the bars look as high as possible to make the jump/growth look bigger than it is

  2. Bullets should be well-written, succinct, and necessary (avoid fluff). There is no excuse for a misspelled word (F7)

  3. Don't just copy client materials or website, at least reword and reorder

  4. We get hired for financial advice. Don't cut corners or let it be sloppy – ever

  5. Make sure we show our bank in the best possible light. Examples: Are our deals in the comps? Are our deals in the buyer profiles? Is our best contact really the Manager of business development at IBM?Areweshowingthemostinvestment bank ranking? For example, if we are pitching a $2bn sellside, should we show our rankings on sub-$1bn sellsides?

  6. Learn how to leverage other people's work. We create far too much stuff over and over again. Maybe even take responsibility for fixing this

  7. Create Review Checklist section which you could put on your desk. Some examples: Are forward revenue multiples lower than trailing? Is the shares calculation correct? Do the sensitivity tables relative increases(ordecreases) make sense? Do any multiples look off (.2x revenue? 17x revenue? 2x PE?)? How was the discount rate calculated?

  8. Make sure you understand all the comments/edits that you’ve been requested to make / turn

  9. As you turn comments, mark/highlight/tick them on the markup as a confirmation that you’ve turned them

  10. Once you turn comments that are part of sentences, read the sentence to make sure it makes sense (grammatically and from a commonsense perspective)

  11. Once you’ve turned all comments on screen, start from the beginning, and quickly check that you’ve turned all of them

  12. Upon double-checking everything on screen, print out the work and check it again (often, work that looks correct on-screen is wrong/incorrect when printed)

  13. Always print out your work and read and check everything over before sending it off to your Associate or VP

  14. As an analyst you will make mistakes but the analysts that submit work with very few or no mistakes are generally the highest ranked (this really stands out as you save time for your reviewer)

  15. Read every single word in the document, checking for spelling, sentence structure, tense, consistency, context

  16. Tick and tie every number in the book, including calculated numbers

  17. Read every footnote; check that every footnote reference matches the footnote and search for stray footnotes

  18. Review for general look of the document: object spacing, line spacing, colors, formatting consistency

  19. Then, hand a printed copy / send it (based on person’s preference) along with the original markup so that the person can check it

  20. At that point, if there were any issues that came across when turning the comments, let the person know (depending on your relationship with the person / their style, this can be done as you turn the comments; you may not need to wait till the end)

  21. If your reviewer is busy, put a post-it note on the page or a TBU box saying that you would like to discuss this comment or page

  22. Remember: be proactive when turning comments, not reactive

  23. Make sure you understand what the point of the task/pitch/etc. and if the comments you are turning make sense in accomplishing that goal

  24. Footnote references are superscript, a superscript space is present between the text and footnote reference (1)

  25. Source then Notes should always come before footnotes

  26. A period should appear at the end of each source/note/footnote

  27. Always ask VP if I can join the client meeting

  28. Be on time Dial in Zoom calls 5 minutes early. Take a note who has joined the call and when VP joins give a summary who is on, who is missing

  29. Check conference call numbers before sending it out

  30. Be on mute unless you’re speaking

  31. Prepare 10 min before and practice what would you say, if your are on the spot and VP/MD doesn’t show up

  32. Have client names and contact information readily available

  33. Send cheat sheet email to MD before the call if appropriate or even better if you have a cheat sheet so you could chime in

  34. Prepare before the call, know background, who will be on the call, what do they know

  35. Always announce yourself on calls, don’t hide, be visible

  36. Always be prepared to turn on video camera for Zoom meetings (typically you don’t need to when you have not speaking role, but if everyone else turns it on you have to do so. You don’t want to be thestalkingpersonwhois afraid to turn on the video because your hair looks messy, and you wear an orange T-shirt

  37.  When in doubt turn on your video on a Zoom call. It is a way to build relationship with the client even if you don’t have a speaking role

  38. Know how to introduce yourself. Practice it with your VP. They won’t think this is odd

  39. Come up with small talk and phrases when joining the call early and you’re the only one from the bank

  40. Write down how other opened the call and finished the call (sentences that can help you when your VP is late from calls)

  41. Clients like personal contact, get to know your client, but keep things appropriate

  42. If you dial in to a call and are waiting for a third party (buyer, client) to join, draft a polite email with the dial-in info and send it around 2-3 minutes after the scheduled start time. Stay on for atleast10minutesbefore hanging up

  43. If the senior banker still doesn't join, call them on their mobile to conference them in. Small talk or on hold until they join; don't start without them

  44. Practice what you would say to client if you were the MD, (but if MD doesn't show up, don't start the meeting)

  45. Do your homework before we make a call to a buyer. Who are we calling? Does someone else in the firm know them? What level are they? What is their bio?

  46. Speak up. Speak clearly. Ask at least 1 question

  47. Don't limit conversations to "checking the box" topics use the time as an excuse to learn a bit more about the business, be ready to have some commentary about the market and be conversant on our recent dealsevenifthey'renot yours

  48. Don't ever bad mouth colleagues or anyone on the client side, if they complain just nod and smile

  49. Take many notes, use laptop if possible, as hard copies disappear and hard to refer back to them 6-12 months later

  50. Be proactive about follow-up requests

  51. Logistics matter for client meetings. Do we have the address and floor? How gets the car? Get the driver’s cell phone number at the beginning of the day if applicable

  52. How many attendees are coming and what are their titles? Do we have their contact information?

  53. Is there a projector in the room or do we need to provide? I there a spare bulb?

  54. Is the meeting space clean and reserved?

  55. Is there lunch provided? Do we have food and refreshments? How about dinner reservations?

  56. Who is driving the presentation and on what laptop is it on? Is the room big enough for the number of attendees? If logistics are messed up, we look bad.

  57. Have we printed hard copies? Who will carry them to the meeting? This is your responsibility

  58. Bring business card, laptop and phone chargers, pen and pencil, corporate credit card, calculator

  59. Always carry something to write with and on to take notes or your laptop

  60. Know how to dress appropriately

  61. Ask one question every meeting

  62. Don't schedule meetings too close to one another (buyers might run into each other)

  63. Have we sent briefing materials to the client about the counter party? If the client wants to change hotels for the meeting, is there a change fee and have we told the client? If it's a closing dinner, shouldtherebeaseating chart? 

  64. Story about behavior in a pitch mirroring behavior on a deal. Meet with the company ahead of time. Send follow-ups. Invite to dinner. Send more follow-ups. Ask questions

  65. The first few weeks of a new client are particularly sensitive. Overdeliver. Think of additional things we can do so that they trust that they have our full attention

  66. During trainings, team meetings sit in the middle / front

  67. Attendance at internal events is just as important as attendance at client meetings

  68. Clarify binding and cover format

  69. Tabs before section dividers

  70. Flip through presentation to make sure there are no errors

  71. If delivery is needed, try a courier service

  72. If news is sensitive, pick-up the phone, it is better telling over the phone (especially if we missed something) than sending the bad news via email that can be easily forwarded and shared

  73. Keep it clean on email and chat because everything is monitored

  74. Don’t ever badmouth other employees or clients. Using initials is not a loophole

  75. Don’t express valuation viewpoints about clients or companies you are pitching to (e.g., “no way they’re worth $500M” or “I’d be surprised if we get any bids” or “I couldn’t find any research so inventedthegrowthrate”)–these messages are monitored, archived, and may be used as evidence if there is a lawsuit involving counterparties

  76. If you inadvertently receive or distribute an email containing confidential or material, nonpublic information, contact the Control Group immediately for appropriate next steps

  77. Don’t take shortcuts around any legal, due diligence or risk processes. Elevate any concerns or problems you encounter in these areas to more senior people as soon as you identify a potential problem

  78. Don’t be political

  79. Don’t assume anything

  80. Don’t decide yourself the priority of work assignments. Always ask

  81. Don’t walk around boasting about how busy you are or how much you’ve done

  82. Don’t save project files to your personal hard drive

  83. Don’t leave office with work outstanding on next-day deliverables or without checking in with your project teams

  84. Don’t go to your team with work that you haven’t checked or comments you haven’t turned – It’s the easiest way to lose trust. Reputations spread upward

  85. Don’t run multiple versions of a file. You’d be surprised how common versioning issues are

  86. Don’t start working from a read-only version and save-up without asking

  87. Lack of attention to detail

  88. Being reactive instead of proactive

  89. Never, ever violate expense or trading policies. Career limiting move

  90. Never hide rows or columns -> collapse cells in groups if you must

  91. Beauty save = put your cursor to the top left corner on every tab before saving

  92. Same columns (D, E, F) across tabs should refer to the same month

  93. Color code in Excel (black = formulas , blue = inputs , green = link , red = issue/CapIQ/FactSet)

  94. Include all source files received from clients in model. Keep notes on all inputs / assumptions you receive from clients (can be in comments or noted in far right) -> will be deleted before final version

  95. You will never run out of rows so rather than building an overly complex formula, do one step at a time in a new row (easier to follow for other people)

  96. If absolutely no info to calculate anything accurately use % of Revenue for everything to project e.g., payroll, marketing, etc.

  97. In the financial model code clients as Client 1, Client 2, etc. instead of revealing their name so it could be shared with investors as needed

  98. Typically, you set up multiple cases (base, upside, downside) -> Use Offset function and refer to the "Case_Number" cell which is on the first tab of the excel typically

  99. Prepare a Dashboard Tab (for quick review) + a separate tab for Printing (all fonts are black) for client or to copy into presentations

  100. Sanity check: Check annual numbers and Dashboard - Does it make sense?

What People Say
bottom of page