In debt and equity capital markets positions, key associate skills include:
- the ability to massage league tables
- the ability to price up new deals (e.g. bonds, convertibles, preferreds)
- pretend that you know what's going when clients call in and the boss is not around
- the ability to track past deals and pricing to sense where the market is going
- check and generate weekly newsletters (weeklies)
- the ability to fill in silences in meetings with insightful comments (while making sure your boss controls things)
- coordinate due diligence
- prepare document on debt and equity deals
- make sure analysts get burgers from the right place
- generate pitch books with your eyes closed while talking to clients and screaming at syndicate
In sales and trading positions, key associate skills include:
- the ability to watch your bosses blotter
- the ability to know where prices are
- the ability to work options pricing models
- the ability to bluff a little when needed
- the ability to eat endless fattening food without getting fat
- the ability to golf, play tennis, drink and joke around with clients
- the ability to make clients feel comfortable with you
Key success factors include (i) getting your job done well, (ii) getting many things done in a chaotic environment, (iii) dressing well, (iv) having a beer and a good time every once in awhile, (v) always making your boss look good, (vi) being a total whiz with computers, (vii) being able to spin bad news into ok news and (viii) network within the firm. Other good things to do include figuring out when a job could be done better and going out and doing it. For example, create a database to track the results of an equity tender offer. Initiative is key. Also, getting to know clients is very important since you will be using those relationships later on.
As an associate you are in. Your job now is
to prove you have what it takes to make in investment banking. You may not always like the environment and culture you are in, but your job is to survive and eventually excel. You are only a few years away from getting your own clients, initiating your own deals and making some good money.
Play your cards right and you'll be happy you did the time. Big time.
Recommended Books and Resources 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.
Applied Mergers and Acquisitions by Robert F. Bruner and Joseph Perella
Handbook of Fixed Income. Frank Fabozzi (editor). This is the bible for any job involving fixed income sales, trading, underwriting or derivatives. If you are headed for sales and trading you should know this material.
Job Search SuccessGetting a job as an associate 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:
- Surfing the Cataclysm: Finding an Investment Banking Job in 2009
- Headhunter List - very helpful to have good access to executive recruiters
- Guide to Boutique Investment Banks and Recruiting Contacts - good place to look in a tough market
- Guide to Healthcare Investment Bankers - hot area
- Guide to Investment Bankers in Restructuring and Bankruptcy - another hot recruiting area
- Guide to Technology Investment Bankers - another hot recruiting area
- Recruiting Contacts at Top Investment Banks - includes HR people that recruit analysts & associates as well as experienced hires