When you’re a student, hoping to start a career in investment banking, you imagine a glamourous world of deal-making between the bankers and CEO and CFOs of major corporations, but that’s not quite what you get on your first day on the job as a summer analyst. When I started as a summer analyst at Scotia, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect and though the day turned out to be a little strange, there were certainly many lessons to be learned.
First off, the dress code. I don’t remember exactly what I was wearing, but I do know with absolute certainty, that I was not wearing a black dress shirt. Why do I know that? Well, like gluten to a celiac, bankers simply do not tolerate black shirts and another summer student was about to learn the not-so-subtle way that the dress code is enforced.
“What’s with the shirt man?” or something more aggressive was the first thing he heard from many of the people on the floor he was meeting for the first time. Finally, after an entire 9-5 workday of incessant comments about his shirt, he went home to change before coming back for dinner. Welcome to the world of investment banking – we take the dress code seriously!
The second lesson was about work flow. Anyone who has ever spent five minutes researching investment banking knows that the hours are long, so when you start, you expect to be immediately hit with a barrage of work. This, however, isn’t usually the case. Whether it’s a live deal or a pitch, you usually do all your work with the same group of people, called the deal team and it’s not always possible to just throw someone else into the mix. First of all, you’re not up to speed on what’s been going on with a particular file and that might be necessary to do the work. Second of all, you’re a brand new summer student so you might be completely useless anyway! At this point asking you to help out could be a serious risk!
So what happens during Day 1? Well, typically you have some sort of welcoming session in the morning, during which they give you some administrative/HR related work to do when you sit down at your new desk. Once that gets done, someone will usually take you for a walk around the floor to introduce to everyone. After that… you just kind of sit there. I personally remember making eye contact with the other summer students, all sitting out of earshot and exchanging glances to the effect of “what now?”
The lack of work doesn’t last forever though and one by one, each of the students gets hit with their first assignment. It usually starts with someone coming up to your desk and asking “are you busy?” Seconds after you answer “no”, you’re whisked into a side room where you’ll be hit with a task that will take you anywhere from 30 minutes to 100s of hours to finish.
My first assignment was with the Power & Utilities group…
To be continued…