How to Survive As An Associate Investment Banker

You are feeling good that you managed to get through the door. It is a huge accomplishment, no doubt. But this is only half the battle. Becoming an associate investment banker doesn’t mean that you will end up becoming a real investment banker.

It is well known that being an associate investment banker is the hardest part of the journey when getting started in this industry. Think of this as your right of passage. You have to go through hard times and perform at your peak under immense pressure to prove that you are capable of great things in the future.

Most people leave halfway through by their own accord. According to Quinlan Associate, 11% of the front office analysts left last year. And every year, around 20% of the associates leave.

So, if you can make it through these few weeks, you will be all set. But you have to make sure that you are not screwing things up for yourself.

How can ensure that? Well, that’s what this article from Sam Shiah Linkedin is all about. Lets jump right into it:

  1. Don’t get comfortable

People want to think that this is the time to show that they can get comfortable in their new position. This will show the managers that you were meant to be working for this company at this position. But this is the opposite of what you should be doing.

The first few years of an investment banker are going to be one of the hardest years of their career, if not their life. So you should take this time to learn as much as you can. Don’t get comfortable thinking that you have struck gold and now is the time to start taking advantage of the seeds you’ve sown.

Quite the contrary.

If a senior person at your company offers you to work on a project that is outside your comfort zone (and trust me, they will offer you to work on those kinds of projects), take them without any hesitation.

The reason why they will give you the work is that they either believe in your ability to get through the uncomfortable part and get the job done. So prove them right by taking the project and doing your best at it.

Even if you fail, you will get to learn a lot more than what you already knew before.

Not just that, the person that gave you the project will also realize that you are not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Just make sure you aren’t making any massive mistakes.

2. Your boss probably doesn’t care

From your company’s perspective, your job should be everything. If they call you, you should be there. They don’t care if your dinner plans are cancelled or if there is a family crisis. You are a new employee and so you will need to make sure that you are always there when needed. That’s what they are paying you for.

But don’t think that your boss won’t show sympathy. After all, he is human and he will be genuinely sorry if you expressed any of those things to them. But don’t doubt that when the time comes, they won’t make decisions that don’t favor you.

They have a business to run and it can’t fit around your life and your schedule.

This might seem harsh, but it is better coming from me than it coming to you from them in the form of a demotion or letting you go.

The company you are working for is a huge company and you are a part of it. Right now, you are just not playing that important of a role. So you can’t make as many excuses.

Sure, when you become a senior manager or partner, then you can do whatever you want. But until then, you’ll have to put your head down and get the job done. Whatever it takes.

Make sacrifices now so you can reach your goal.

3. Be in it for the long-term

This is crucial to remember. Most new employees will focus on the short-term bonus cheques and trying to show off their new job title to everyone. But remember, there are people in your company that have been working there for years and years. Some have been working for 5+ years.

That goes to show the longevity of an investment banking career. And with that longevity, comes ups and downs.

You just have to be patient early on to build yourself a good base to build your entire career on. You don’t want to be the employee that peaks too early and then vanishes from the scene after a couple years.

You have worked for this your entire life and so make sure that you take the time to make the kind of moves you want to make. Even if that means being overlooked for a promotion.