Attention M&A i-banking Associates
The excitement of a new deal is often too much for some, and so it was this week as I stood in line at a Brookfield Place Starbucks and found myself being privy to a conversation that I didn’t want to hear.
Two fellows were standing behind me in the 8 a.m. line, dressed in that 2002-vintage M&A i-banker attire of open neck long sleeve shirts. When asked how the weekend went, the one in the blue shirt with the glasses on the left replies “I spent from 12 till 11 on Sunday working on the [Billion dollar market cap. public company] model. I basically rebuilt it from scratch.” That’s right. He didn’t use the deal project code name, as everyone in that business is trained to do; he blurted out the actual billion $ public company name that he was acting for (or against).
In a line-up of more than a dozen people at one of the two busiest locations in Canada. Barely two feet from the guy in front of him.
The conversation continued, and before I had placed my order I knew there were “four things” left to finish and so forth.
There are plenty of investment banks, merchant banks and consulting practices in Brookfield Place, so you won’t be able to narrow the list down to figure out where they work, or which company they’re acting on (and I’m not going to tell.) They collected their fancy coffees at the same time as I, so I happen to have the added burden of being able to guess where they ply their trade by virtue of the tower to which they repaired. But that isn’t the point.
I’ve been in the M&A Associate job, and understand all to well the desire and need to develop a rapport with the MDs; for some firms, that’s actually more important than your client skills. But every Associate, the world over, needs to remember that you’ve got to resist the temptation to use the few minutes you have with a Managing Director to impress upon him (99% are “hims” anyway) how hard you’re working and on which specific files.
At least while standing in line at Starbucks. Behind guys who used to do it for a living.