Global journalism demands investment for high quality results. NYU’s former investment bankers are sharing their expert advice for the associates of upcoming generation.
A twenty year old analyst of first year at Wall Street firm recently embraced death, an incident which has called out for a prompt reflection from many. Former investment bankers are of the firm belief that one’s analyst track not only offers lessons regarding the industry but also in terms of management.
A financial analyst’s job has high levels of significance. It is valued for the kind of future opportunities it provides along with the training and prestige. Financial analyst’s jobs are generally sought by students with the most competitive caliber from all across the globe. The pay is a great plus as well even for the twenty year old starters. However these jobs do have a lot of work hours associated with them. A financial analyst is generally expected to work about eight to hundred hour workweeks. These jobs require the employee to be complete immersed in the firm leaving hardly any time for development of a social or real life.
A huge reason for such intense work schedule is the unpredictability associated with activities in capital markets. This includes execution of new security issues, mergers, acquisitions and mergers along with their prospection. For instance, consider this year’s level of activities. It is significantly higher than the previous year’s. Everyone is aware of the fact that it becomes hands on deck once the activity levels begin to surge.
However there is another reason for this immense workload and that is in cultural context. The firms working in capital markets are of the opinion that a comparatively small staff consisting of high grade junior employees for business management offers and intensified training procedure. They believe that such a form of training has the potential of producing an array of mid level professional employees with good long term career potential.
Positions of analysts were typically awarded along with a contract of two years. This led to the expectation of MBA on completion of the contract from the individuals. However the recent years have led to the replacement of this two year contract with an open ended job opportunity that indicates the chance of upgrading to some but not all of the analysts to associates.
The very first two years at firms of elite stature require a lot of intense work load and focus from the individual to such an extent that most twenty year olds never get to experience. The process can be regarded as a harsh, sink or swim kind which helps in separating out the ones with the right aptitude and persona for this particular kind of work.
The workload tends to be quite nerve racking and demand a different form of physical labor as well. There are certain ways in which you can compare it with the elite military training for Seals or with the Special Forces units. The level of toughness is more for the foreigners who are alien to the American work environment. This however doesn’t demand people to work themselves to death.
Obviously firms are responsible for providing a kind of watch over the blossoming analysts in order to make sure that these individuals are not bombarded with work load more than they should be expected to deliver. The entire package should inculcate some kind of mentoring as well along with time to time intervention for shifting the work around at the time of deliverables. This avoids immediate delivery expectation of all at once which can be an absolute nightmare.
Majority of the firms have recognition of this fact which has triggered attempts to ease the overall pressure through hiring of larger analyst classes and reduction of weekend workload along with support such as counseling and other such services. Nevertheless a lot of the total pressure on an analyst tends to be self induced and it is more often than not due to the individual’s struggle with the job paired with the unwillingness to seek help owing to the fear of appearing weak or incompetent.
We can offer some professional advice which might be effective in helping young analysts in getting through the first two years. First off, you need to relax a bit. Do not forget that entire point of the training is based on establishment of a reputation of professional reliability which ultimately means getting work done efficiently and accurately without the annoying others with questions. Only the reliable analysts witness promotion while those who lack in this department don’t.
Secondly, you need to learn to manage disorder and chaos. Majority of the analysts tend to work on several deal teams simultaneously including deadline requirements, meetings and weekly change which can cause convergence or system overload. Thought it appears quite chaotic but flourishing analysts have the ability to predict ahead a week or two. They know how to prioritize the workload and what to anticipate in order to plan accordingly. At the time of conflict you should inform your boss well before time along with a possible alternative suggestion. This might require an analyst to declare a busy schedule to refuse a new assignment.
Thirdly, you must endure a tough environment before you decide upon whether this is the right career and work for you. There is always the option of going with some other field of work but for majority the best possible advice is to simply stick it out.
A two year dig as an analyst has a lot many benefits. A lot many seek MBA after completion of this two year tenure or similar graduate degrees in hopes of landing an associate’s position in a good financial firm based on their analyst experience. On the other hand many continue to work and get promoted to associate without rejoining a business school for higher education. There are those who opt for hedge funds, non financial destinations and private equity firms for the hope of establishment of a good work-life balance.
Whatever the case may be, these in no doubt that the two year analyst programme is probably the best experience of training in terms of financial and other such careers even if you don’t have a liking for investment banking. Those who have successfully completed these programmes are in thousands but each one of them had to adapt to the rigorous work environment to make things happen for them.
References and Resources for Career in Finance:
Why outstanding Chinese students want your job in finance, available at: http://news.efinancialcareers.com/uk-en/215871/why-outstanding-chinese-students-want-your-job-in-finance/
3 Surefire Ways to Become More Financially Literate, available at: http://www.ebony.com/career-finance/3-surefire-ways-to-become-more-financially-literate-333#.VaObOPlVhBc
Top tips for finance students, available: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/14b5d1de-135e-11e5-ad26-00144feabdc0.html
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