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Investment Banking:
Life as an Analyst

Analysts are typically recent undergraduates who work long hours and do a fair bit of grunt work. A good analyst helps his or her boss get their job done and done well. Analysts are not normally expected to contribute in meetings but often can. After the typical two-year analyst program at a major investment bank, many analysts return to school for an MBA before coming back to investment banking. Others choose to try other opportunities. During recruiting out of an MBA program, former analysts will be at a significant advantage over others without experience.

Key analyst skills include:

The Amazing Wall Street Analyst
  • the ability to work with Excel spreadsheets,
  • write macros in VBA,
  • track and generate weekly newsletters (weeklies),
  • keep schedules,
  • generate prospectuses,
  • get burgers
  • put in and retrieve pitch books from the copy center
  • and answer client phone calls.

Success Factors

Key success factors include (i) getting your job done well and without friction, (ii) getting things done on time, (iii) asking for help when you need it, (iv) dressing neatly, (v) not complaining, gossiping or whining, (vi) learning to use the library and the web to do research, (vii) become a whiz-kid with Bloomberg, Excel, Word and Powerpoint, (viii) always give your boss credit, (ix) know when to cheer up your boss and (x) know when to stay out of the way.

A good analyst also networks, observes and thinks. You want to be genuine yet make it clear that you like your boss. Excessive posterior kissing is a negative. It's always good to have a little hobby as well like following stocks, playing Liars Poker or following currencies. You can do this when things get quiet in August.

Assessment

It's a tiring life but gives you a good chance to learn the investment banking field and bond with people whom you will work with later. Being an analyst is one of the best ways to break into a very good field. The return on investment from being a good analyst can be over 50 times what they actually pay you.
Small Sales and Trading Desk
Small Trading Desk Set up

After two years, most analysts leave to get their MBA or pursue other positions. It all depends on the firm. Some places have a pretty strict policy of getting rid of you. Others are more mellow. It makes sense, after all, to try to keep very good people who can get a job done. If you don't go back and get an MBA you might benefit from going out and getting a CFA.

Recommended Books

Fundamentals of Corporate Finance
By Brealey, Myers and Marcus. An excellent, detailed book on topics in corporate finance. If you want to study what the field is about, this is a good book to start with. Keep this at your desk. An alternative finance reference book to use is Fundamentals of Corporate Finance by Ross Westerfield and Jordan.

The Economist.
A great source for info on what's happening in the world.

Wall Street Journal.
Should read this every day. The Financial Times is also quite informative.

Vault Career Guide to Investment Banking
Guide covers the basics of financial markets, including walk-throughs of equity and fixed income offerings, and M&A private placements and reorgs, and dissects career paths and job responsibilities at departments such as corporate finance, sales and trading, research, and syndicate.

Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies
by McKinsey and Company
A classic that should be in the cube of every analyst and associate on the Street. Another fabulous valuation book is Damodaran on Valuation: Security Analysis for Investment and Corporate Finance

85 Broad Street, NY
A Goldman Sachs Office
Goldman Sachs Office

Equity Valuation: Models from Leading Investment Banks
By Jan Viebig
This book brings together expertise from UBS, Morgan Stanley, DWS Investment GmbH and Credit Suisse, providing a unique analysis of leading equity valuation models, from the very individuals who use them. Filled with real world insights, practical examples and theoretical approaches, the book will examine the strengths and weaknesses of some of the leading valuation approaches.

Finance and Investment Handbook

Applied Mergers and Acquisitions
by Robert F. Bruner and Joseph Perella

Wall Street Lingo

Job Search Success

Getting a job as an analyst isn't so easy and we have put together a number of resources that should be helpful to you as you contemplate entering the market. These include:

Another important resource to have is access to specific contacts in the field. To ease this process we have assembled several lists that should be helpful to you. These lists cost $20 each and include:

Accounting
Consulting
Investment Banking:
  Top Firms
  Boutiques
  Headhunters
  Healthcare
  Technology
  Restructuring

From Bombardiers:


By Po Bronson

"Will there ever be a time I don't have to work so hard?" Sid Geeder wondered under his breath as he ate around the cream cheese center of his danish and listened to someone in New York describe the sales mission for the new Resolution Trust Corp finance package. On the conference table in New York were danishes with strawberry jam centers, and Sid Geeder kept wanting to reach into the video screen and grab one. He hated cream cheese, especially the yellowy half-melted type in two-day-old danishes; they reminded him of sales mission briefings, which reminded him of having to sell whatever they'd been briefed on, which reminded Sid of how hard he'd had to work to meet his quota."

Bombardiers is a highly entertaining, gritty story of the lives of Credit Suisse First Boston bond traders in San Francisco in the late 1980s.

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