To get ahead in banking you have to successfully progress from analyst to associate to VP and beyond. And that can be a tough transition.
Your once analytical and execution-focused role suddenly transforms into one where you’re responsible for sourcing potential clients and drumming up new business from existing ones. And this means an entirely new skillset.
You need to anticipate the change and start mastering the relevant skills now to get ahead. That means learning how to strike up relationships, build on existing ones and pitch for deals when the time is right, before you’re thrown in at the deep end.
So how do you get ahead in banking when you’re still the one executing the deals?
Friends in high places
Speak to your boss and make it clear that you aspire to be an originator and want to start building connections on the client side. This is not just needless posturing; you can add value to your team by building relationships with your junior counterparties, thus influencing the current deal and giving you the opportunity to scope out future work.
It can feel awkward swinging your weight around as a junior, but if you want to prepare for a more outward-facing role, you need to get your elbows out and get into client meetings – don’t take no for an answer.
Tell the senior members of your team that you’ve got two or three key areas you want to develop – getting a feel for managing client relationships, for instance, or how to ask the right questions – to build the sort of skills you need for sourcing work.
Then get permission to contribute to meetings in a way that goes beyond merely answering questions about the details on your analysis so you can make your mark early on.
Three moves ahead
While your role in analysing and executing the deal focusses on the day-to-day, you should be thinking three moves ahead. It’s all too easy to get distracted thinking:
- What’s the agenda for the next meeting?
- Does the data stack up?
- Is the documentation correct?
But execution is actually the best place to think about originating future business.
As a junior, you’re on the frontline of the deal and you’re close to senior management, the corporate development team and key stakeholders on the client side, seeing them day after day for weeks. Make the most of this position: demonstrate the high quality of your execution, but keep your eyes fixed on the prize of future work.
Make a note of the key influencers in the deals you do and stay in touch with them. In an industry where the number of clients is relatively low but the value of each client is high, you need to get personal to make deals happen.
(Hat tip to gnosne for the featured image.)