Top 10 Pieces of Advice for Surviving Your First Year in the Finance Industry

All the education in the world won’t prepare you for what awaits in the financial industry. The brilliant networking, acing the interview, getting close to the players, it all goes out the window the first time the phone rings or your manager asks about a project you never heard of. Survive that first year and you are considered a seasoned professional (Well, it depends how you did…). To help with that, here is practical advice from veteran bankers for the young analyst to prepare them for surviving the tumultuous first 12 months.

  1. An analyst that worked at a boutique investment bank suggests being prepared to spend time just being in the way. Every analyst wants to be THE star. It’s more likely you will have no idea what is going on. And that will annoy people, especially if you’re pretending otherwise.
  2. One managing director at JP Morgan Hong Kong suggests young bankers take off their shoes and relax for a while. The tendency is for analysts to jump ship for the financial gain instead of looking at the long term advantage of establishing a relationship that can lead to career success.
  3. In that same vein, one wealth management advisor believes when it is time to find new prospects, look for opportunities that will build the career you want. Don’t stay in investment banking when your skill and interests are geared toward wealth management.
  4. A former managing director at Merrill would remind young bankers to support their superiors. Learn the business and the work culture first. If you do the work and let others see how your talents distinguish you from peers, greater opportunities will come your way.
  5. Continue to educate yourself, one young analyst suggests. Especially take advantage of company seminars and training to learn about the place you are going to be spending a lot of time at. It is also a great opportunity to meet people in other departments. Aim to let your employer know you want to be an ideal source.
  6. A high level executive at Goldman suggests analysts be prepared to grow up fast. College life is over and people are going to expect serious accomplishments out of you.
  7. Investment bankers agree that an analyst should accept they are at the bottom. No one cares that you graduated magna cum laude and have an IQ of 157. Do the work no one wants and do not complain. It’s unprofessional and when the good work comes around, you will be the last person they think of.
  8. A former investment banker with Merrill challenges young bankers to seek out and volunteer for the tough assignments. Completing them will draw senior personnel to you and have a dynamic impact on your future.
  9. One managing director cannot stress the potential of working with boutique investment banks. She believes while most newcomers want to jump aboard the large corporations for the name, the analyst at a boutique has a greater chance of learning and, more importantly, standing out.
  10. A former analyst at a bulge bracket bank suggests getting some sleep. Advice any experienced analyst would agree with.
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