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The diary of...an associate at Barclays Capital

We peek inside the diary of associate Joe Schneider who belongs to the Financial Institutions Group at Barclays Capital, to find out
Investment banking
Doing the job

Joe Schneider

Associate for nine months

The Financial Institutions Group (FIG) is responsible for advising banks, insurance companies, asset management firms and speciality finance institutions across Europe. We work with other teams across the investment banking and global markets divisions to meet the needs of these clients, whether it's raising capital or executing M&A deals. I joined the team as an associate nine months ago. I was attracted to Barclays Capital because the bank emerged from the financial crisis very well and after completing an internship in FIG in summer 2010, I was eager to return to the team and contribute to its growth.

I did an undergraduate degree in business and then worked in middle-market insurance in the US for several years. But I was always keen to both further my education and gain international experience, so I completed an MBA at the ESADE Business School in Barcelona. I then decided to move into investment banking, and particularly financial institutions coverage, so that I could leverage my experience in insurance while also working on large transactions.

Since joining the team, I've worked on a number of exciting deals and I've had the opportunity to take ownership of some projects. The longer you're here, the more responsibility you're given - I've been able to develop my role in just a few months.

FIG is a highly specialised area of the bank, and deals are often very complex, so there's always something new to get to grips with. I think the point where I felt like I knew everything would be the point where I would start looking for a new challenge! I enjoy working with lots of smart and interesting people who I can learn from, and who make it exciting to come to work every day.

Because the work is client-driven, it's typical here to work long and unpredictable hours from Monday to Thursday, but Fridays tend to be a bit more relaxed. There's rarely a weekend where I can take a complete break from work, but I don't always have to go into the office. It's definitely an ongoing challenge to find a balance between my free time and work - if you join the industry you have to be willing to take a flexible approach to your personal life. Luckily, my wife is very understanding!

I wish I'd realised how valuable the technical skills you learn when you start out in finance are - they're the foundation of your career and can present you with lots of options in the future. I'd also advise students to make the most of any opportunities they have to gain exposure to the investment banking world and to learn from the smart and driven people in the industry.

*08.30 *

I arrive at the office and get organised for the day ahead. I quickly have breakfast and review relevant news that's come in overnight.


I attend a daily update meeting for an insurance transaction I'm working on. In this meeting, both junior and senior team members working on the transaction get together to discuss progress made over the weekend. I provide an update on another meeting I attended last week.


I finish some sections of a memo that I've been working on for the bank's credit committee (the body that decides whether or not the bank should make any particular loan) about a client that is hoping to refinance some of its debt. I send the draft memo to a vice president (VP) for his comments.


I start reviewing a financial model and some additional information sent to us by a client late yesterday evening. The model is particularly detailed, so I put together a list of questions for us to discuss internally before going back to the client for clarification.


A co-worker asks for assistance on some slides I've worked on that we need to update. I show them the source data and the way certain figures were calculated, and we discuss some ideas on how to revise the numbers.


I run out quickly to take care of a couple of errands and then return to have lunch at my desk.


I review some important information in preparation for a meeting regarding one of the deals I'm working on, which is scheduled for 8pm. I collate the relevant documents, including the financial model summary sheet and a corporate structure chart.


I analyse some historical European insurance data and prepare some presentation slides for an overseas meeting that the senior members of my team will be attending early next week. The observed trends in the data seem to make sense, so I pass my section on to another co-worker to get his thoughts and to see if anything needs to be amended.


It's time for yearly reviews, so I begin my self assessment and also start the process of doing the �360s", where everyone in the team provides performance feedback to people both junior and senior to them.


I pick up dinner and a milkshake with a colleague and then head back to the office.


I meet with three other members of the team to discuss a transaction we're all working on. A few items need to be followed up, so I agree to take care of them and revert back to the team tomorrow.


I send out the daily share price and general news update for the project I just discussed with my team. I also catch up on a few emails with our compliance team to make sure everything has been addressed for the acceptance of a new client.


I put my �to do" list together for tomorrow and call a taxi - it's time to go home.