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The ethics of managing expectations... what would you do?

Tuesday 4 August, 2020
by Anonymous

You’re a first-year analyst at an investment bank and happy to be working long hours to produce high quality work after having landed your dream job upon graduating from uni. You have the opportunity to work with one of the organisation’s most reputable senior bankers on a deal, and you're pleased when they compliment you on the presentation of your reports as well as your attention to detail.

Although there is a leader at the firm who is responsible for allocating workflow amongst the first-year analysts as well as managing their team morale, the senior banker always comes directly to you to request reports for certain deals that they are working on as they believe that you are “reliable” and have a “great standard of work”.

At first, you are content with turning a blind eye to the correct deal allocation process and with completing these requests on top of your existing work as you feel as though you are proving your value and will be well regarded by this senior banker, presenting potential development opportunities in the future. However, it soon becomes apparent to you that you are finding it increasingly difficult to balance your new workload, staying back at the office much longer than your peers in order to finish all your tasks. Furthermore, the leader responsible for first-year analysts notices that your quality of work for your allocated workflow has significantly declined, and is not aware that a senior banker has been exclusively requesting work from you.

What would you do?

  • What is your duty in this situation?
  • Who are you most accountable to?

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There are 4 comments for The ethics of managing expectations... what would you do? .

Re: The ethics of managing expectations... what would you do?

Wednesday 5 August, 2020
by Chris
In this situation my duty would be first and foremost to my line manager who is responsible for distributing the work to me and my colleagues. If anyone is bypassing that due process, they should be referred to my manager. As a senior professional, they really should know better.

Re: The ethics of managing expectations... what would you do?

Monday 10 August, 2020
by David
I don't see any another option but to provide an explanation to the leader responsible for first-year analysts. They have already observed a decline in the quality of your work and would value a proactive move instead of them scheduling a performance conversation. Similarly, the current situation is not sustainable as the long hours will begin to negatively impact your overall well-being.

This issue of saying yes to everyone and trying not to disappoint is a common one graduates face. I would think the leader responsible would understand and have experienced similar behaviour from previous graduates.

Therefore, in your discussion you will need to be honest with what has happened, how you knew the process, what you learned and how you will apply this moving forward.

Re: The ethics of managing expectations... what would you do?

Thursday 13 August, 2020
by Darren
I think it's important for the first-year analyst to first give their manager a heads up & then have an honest conversation with the senior banker.

Face-to-face would be best option.

Be polite & thank them for the opportunity but let them know that you can't continue with the ad hoc requests as it is impacting your own deliverables & quality of work.

If the requests continue, alert your manager so they can intervene as necessary.

Re: The ethics of managing expectations... what would you do?

Wednesday 19 August, 2020
by Anonymous
I've been in this exact situation before... It's a tricky situation to navigate, but being honest with your line manager as well as the senior banker is the first step in laying a professional relationship founded on the values of trust and integrity. As an analyst, you want to produce the best work on the deals you touch, and it's important that you convey that you want to give your 100% to the deals you're allocated rather than only being able to contribute 50% to them due to additional work.

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