From Analyst Monkey to King of the Jungle MD: The Investment Banking Hierarchy

144 Comments | Investment Banking - Salaries & Bonuses, Investment Banking - The Hierarchy & Promotions

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Investment Banking Hierarchy“This is not a fraternity house,” my staffer explained as he hauled me into a small conference room.

“Some of the MDs have complained about how messy your desk is, so clean it up.”

Genuinely curious, I replied, “Were you referring to the empty Red Bull cans or to all the papers too?”

Not a good start to your 3rd week on the job.

I told this story to a few co-workers afterward and they all laughed and responded the same way:

“He’s lying, a bank is exactly like a frat house.”

  • Jay says

    How many team mebers are there on a typical deal team. Is it one analyst reports to one associate and so on or are there multiple analysts and associates on a typical deal that report to one Sr. VP?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      There can be up to 3, though usually 1-2 analysts on a typical deal. It also depends on the deal size and how much importance the bank places on the deal. There’s usually one associate though there can be 2.

  • D says

    So would becoming an analyst for 2 years after university and then going for an MBA to try for an associate position be inefficient?

    I mean, wouldn’t getting an MBA then be pointless??

  • D says

    because I always assumed having an MBA on top of experience would look better, but would it make that big of a difference?

  • D says

    because I know some recruiters say an MBA is preferred but not required, so how much of a influence would having one have on a job possibility?

    sorry for the multiple posts

  • Ethan says

    Great article! Love your guys’ work! I’m not sure how long ago this was written but Late summer or early fall of last year, JP Morgan actually hired a VP to their new legal department that was created following the London Whale incident, and he’s never been in banking before. His name is Malcom Carter, and he actually reports to Jamie Dimon directly. Just thought I’d add that tidbit just to to illustrate that even though it’s rare, it has happened at a large bank.

    • says

      Thanks for adding that. Yes, it does happen sometimes but the legal department is a bit different from traditional IB advisory roles. It would be tougher to come in from a different industry at the VP-level there.

  • Sam peters says

    How many managing directors do u think work at all 5 bulge bracket firms? How many do you think make more than $2m per yr?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      This is hard to say. I can’t give you the exact answer to this because this information is relatively confidential ; most MDs may not want to reveal such information.

  • Jay says

    I have a few questions primarily relating to PE. First off, what is the PE hierarchy like and how do you move up it? How do you advance to the senior levels in a buy-side firm, what is the career path at a buy side firm and what is the pay at each level?Do you have an article about moving up a career path in PE?
    Also, I have a few questions about schools. Do you guys have a list of undergrad target and semi-target schools? How do banking firms look on Georgetown and Carnegie Mellon?
    Thanks again!

  • Bern says

    Do you think location matters when selecting Goldman Partners? Because I am thinking whether to reside in New York or Amsterdam.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d say New York but hard to say in this forum since I don’t know your background etc, but I do think NY may offer more international opportunities especially since its arguably the world’s financial hub

  • Ford says


    I actually broke in as a VP from a tangentially related group (S&T, but same industry) while at the middle of the age range you specified. I’m at a boutique, not the highest regarded, but we make the news on occasion.

    Regarding your VP comments, I’ll say this: the transition is intense. The learning curve incredible. It’s assault and battery. New to IB, you are expected to develop the ability to execute anything an analyst or associate can do, all the while tapping existing contacts, managing deals, and serving as a VP. While analysts and associates can say this too, if I worked 24 hours a day it wouldn’t be enough. It’s learning three jobs at once and is the most exhausting, frustrating, and sometimes fun thing I’ve ever done. The topper is you do this at a much more advanced age, so the wife, kids, etc. is a tough balancing act.

    That about sums it up. It’s nearly impossible to break in during your mid-30’s, especially given the info I’ve provided. You better know what you are getting into and realize that it’s a learning experience. Every. Damn. Day. Is a learning experience.

    BTW, I am a big user of your products, they were and are still a great help. Thanks.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Thanks for your note. We greatly appreciate your comments and agree with you that the learning curve is steep, and balancing family and work obligations can be challenging. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy the work you do!

  • Josh says

    Would West Point be considered a top school? And would banks be likely to hire a west point grad after the 5 year service commitment?

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