The analyst’s job is the typical entry-level position for investment banking. As an analyst, you’ll be doing industry research, company research, financial modeling, analysis, valuations and coordinating presentations to clients. You’ll be working with a team of professionals that includes other analysts, associates, managing directors and vice presidents. You’ll be in the center of the action, though admittedly, at the bottom of the food chain.
Analysts are usually recent university graduates. They do a fair bit of “grunt work” and it’s been noted that a good analyst needs the patience and common sense to make his or her boss look good. Some of the other key skills you’ll need to be a good analyst include:
-The ability to be an absolute wizard with Excel spreadsheets
-Writing macros in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
-Being able to track markets and write weekly newsletters
-Coordinating the production of pitch books at copy centers
-Fielding client phone calls
-And yes, getting food for the other members of your team
You’ll need to be fast, accurate, and thorough in your work, willing to work long hours and possess the ability be diplomatic in your relationships with other members of the firm. As you gain experience, you’ll have a chance for more contact with clients.
A good analyst also observes what is going on around him and networks. You get things done on time, know when to ask for help if you need it, master Excel, Word and PowerPoint, and know how to suck up just enough to your boss without appearing to be a brown-nose. Knowing when to stay out of the way is important, too.
The analysts role is typically a two to three-year commitment. It gives you an extremely practical, hands-on experience. Analysts who are exceptionally good at their job are sometimes promoted to the associate level. Others pursue their MBAs, often at top business schools, or decide to pursue opportunities in other industries.
Next time, we’ll look at how the research analyst job differs depending on your experience and the type of investment bank you’re working for.