Day in my life as summer associate

September 13, 2007

I had prepared this write-up for the finance club. Thought of posting it here as well. Day in the life of S&P Summer Associate, Global CDO and Derivatives Group. 8:30 AM - Read WSJ on the way to office. For summer of 2007, might help to be selective in reading stories about CDOs and RMBS. Sometimes you happen to know a little bit more than what is reported in the newspapers. 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM - Fill in the remaining portions of the RAMP (Document summarizing the deal you are working on, typically it’s about 15 pages). Get the cash flow model from the quantitative analyst on the deal. 10:00 AM to Noon - Present the RAMP and the quantitative model of the deal to the ratings committee. The full time associate working with you on the deal will also be present. Highlight the concerns you identified in the deal. During the meeting make a list of all the issues the committee finds in the deal. Alternatively, if you are not presenting a deal that day then attend a committee of a deal you are not working on. You learn a lot about the business by listening to people discuss issues in committee meetings. Noon to 1:00 – Go out for lunch with mentor, manager, or someone else in the group. After discussing the newspaper articles and general market trends get to know the person. On the way back get a cup of coffee and the absolutely delicious free pastry from Financier. 1:00 to 2:00 - You may not understand all the issues the committee raised during the meeting. Go over those issues with the full time associate. Contact the S&P legal counsel to get the list of legal issues identified by the counsel. Consolidate all the issues and send it to the primary associate who will verify and update the list and e-mail the banker informing the bad news. Include reasons (referencing the S&P criteria) why the deal needs to undergo changes. Sometime in the afternoon - Expect the full time associate to get a call from the banker. Attend the telecon and painfully listen to all the banker’s justifications for the current deal structure. Educate the banker about the S&P ratings criteria (which he already knows but for some reason pretends not to) and reiterate the changes. The conversation typically never ends with the baker agreeing to make the changes, but eventually, as we approach deal closing date, the banker gives in . . . but not without first making the whole process tough for you. 2:00 to 4:00 - If you did not have a RAMP to present earlier in the day and were not subject to the eventful banker telecon, work either on the summer project or the online training course. Summer associates work on a 12 week research project for which they spend about 20% of the total time in office. 4:00 to 7:00 - Read the deal documents and go over the cash flow models of another deal on which you are working. If this deal has a committee presentation in the next few days, then also start working on the RAMP. 7:00 PM - Head back to home or some S&P socializing / networking event. If you wanted to really feel good about the day, call a fellow SOM investment banking summer associate and crib about the fact that you left the office one hour late and that you actually had to work 9 hours that day. Keep the phone a little bit away from your ear for the next couple of minutes!!!

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Swadeep Patil