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3 Months In The Job And This Is What I Learnt

24/12/2014

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Mai Le

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Below are actual lessons I learned from the mistakes I made in the past 3 months as an investment banking analyst:

  1. Read or listen to the instructions carefully. When listening, note down word for word; when reading, read word for word. This prevents you from either overdoing or underdoing the task.
  2. When your boss asks you to send materials to a client or internal party, inquire if it’s the final version. If it is, rename the file to exclude the version number.
  3. Learn how to book a timeslot for print production instead of immediately printing the book.
  4. When Excel cells are left empty and you copy values over the table, these cells will default to 0. Ensure you delete them because an empty cell is not the same as a cell with a 0 value.
  5. ALWAYS save a new version, regardless of how minor the change is.
  6. On emails:
    • Stay on top of all emails. Treat every email as an action item. Reply, forward to the person in charge, or act on it immediately if the task takes less than 5 minutes.
    • NEVER leave an email unanswered. If it’s not addressing you, MAKE SURE to follow up with the person who’s supposed to answer it if it remains unanswered after some time.
    • Check emails every morning upon waking and every night before sleeping. Ensure you’re referred to (read the entire conversation; your name might appear somewhere).
  7. When you cut a cell/column in Excel, double-check all the formula references as they can easily become misaligned. It’s often better to clear the content or delete instead of cutting rows.
  8. If you wish to leave early and the rest of your team is in a meeting, send emails to ensure it’s okay to depart.
  9. CHECK, CHECK, and CHECK your work repeatedly. Print it out and read word for word. There’s no limit to verification because errors can lead to significant problems.
  10. Get to know people’s working styles.
  11. If Excel output is hardcoded from an email source, add the email contents as comments in Excel so you can trace sources later.
  12. Don’t just copy and paste! Reading and understanding the content before executing tasks can significantly improve the output quality.

I’ve amassed over 300 cover letters from myself and friends and curated them in the Cover Letter Library to aid your endeavors. This exclusive library showcases successful cover letters from individuals who landed roles at premier investment banks, Big 4 firms, and more. Check it out ūüôā

Illustration by my friend at ANML Studio. Support her by checking out her art on Instagram @anmlstudio and consider making a purchase.

I’m active on Instagram as well! Follow me @official.mai.le¬†

Written by Mai Le

My name is Mai. I am originally from Vietnam. After my university years at LSE, I worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. After a wonderful time there, I started several of my own business as well as helping others on theirs. I've always been building communities and businesses for as long as I can remember, and absolutely thrilled to see others enjoy what I've built.

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