Analyst for three months
I joined Barclays Capital three months ago. I feel like I was thrown in at the deep end, but have learnt very quickly. Since I started, I've done a lot of company profiling, which involves digging into a company's balance sheet and analysing its finances to gain an in-depth understanding of how it operates. I've also begun to do some valuation work, and I'm currently working on an exciting project which is helping me to get a big picture understanding of financial institutions in Europe.
I studied economics at the London School of Economics, and while I was at university I got involved in lots of activities related to finance. Investment banking initially sparked my interest because of the ï¿½wow" factor of the exciting transactions that make headlines in the news. But as I learnt more about the sector, I realised that it's the nitty gritty of the industry that fascinates me. Studying economics taught me how to analyse problems and gave me the mental flexibility to do my current role, but I've learnt most of the specific knowledge I need at my desk.
When I joined the bank, I participated in a training programme which included technical training in valuation, modelling, and financial products, in addition to team-building activities, and presentation and leadership skills workshops. The programme also included lots of networking opportunities and I can still reach out to the people I met while training to ask them for help. The biggest challenge I've faced so far has been getting up to speed with the technical side of things and understanding the vocabulary that's used around the office, but luckily everybody is willing to lend a hand, even though they've got very busy schedules.
I work in a big team of 50 people, and we have a great working culture. Every Friday, we have what we call ï¿½Peanuts", where everyone gets together for a chat over drinks and snacks - it's a good way to get to know the people you don't work closely with on a daily basis.
Working late is quite typical in my job and, depending on what I'm involved in, I sometimes have to work at the weekend too. I completed several internships before joining the bank, so was prepared to work long and unpredictable hours. That said, I think balancing your personal life with a demanding job is a constant challenge. I try to relax by chatting to my friends, and catching a movie when I can.
I'd encourage students to do an internship before starting a career in investment banking, and to appreciate that it involves working very hard for a long time.
My alarm goes off. I hit snooze to sneak in a few more minutes of sleep.
I get into work. I grab a coffee and chat to the other analysts who have already arrived. I go through the emails I've received overnight, and read the Financial Times to get up to speed with global developments.
I put some finishing touches to a document I've been working on and send it to our presentation services team - they're lifesavers! All detailed graph work and formatting can be sent across to them - I just have to be sure to check through everything when it comes back.
I'm asked to edit some charts I prepared for a client as part of a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP), a stage in the process of pitching for new business.
I go out to grab some lunch and bring it back to my desk. I catch up on my emails and read the news - you should never forget the bigger picture!
I switch back to working on what I sent to presentation services earlier, and check through what has been done to make sure everything is spot on.
I see a mistake in the document, which I have to discuss with presentation services and wait for it to be corrected. In the meantime, I analyse some additional financial data to add to the slides. An associate director is flying to Tokyo in a couple of hours, so I'm under pressure to finish the project before he leaves.
I have a catch-up meeting with my colleagues to discuss further work we need to do on the document, including making a few changes and sourcing some additional information. I order dinner online and hope it arrives on time.
I have dinner, and read some sports news.
I'm asked to work on another RFP for the next day, which I'll have to manage it alongside my other work.
I switch gears to work on the new RFP - I'm keen to start it today to ensure it won't be a mad rush and an extremely late night to get it finished tomorrow!
I finish up as much as possible, and shoot out a few update emails to the associates I'm working with so they know how my tasks have been coming along. I check that presentation services understand what they need to format on the document I've given them.
I book a cab and go home.