Your career has taken off. Congratulations! Early on in one's career, everyone makes mistakes, even the most successful professionals. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not taking enough risks, and you won’t be learning as fast as you could. The most important part is to learn from your mistakes. 

One thing that people don’t talk about is that it’s good to learn from your mistakes, but it’s even better to learn from someone else’s mistakes. In this post, we will take a look at some of the biggest mistakes bankers make early on in their career, and how you can avoid them.

1. Not Asking for Help

Asking for help is perceived as a sign of weakness by a lot of people. Whenever you ask for help, you're admitting that you can't finish the task on your ow, or maybe you’re just too lazy to walk to your colleagues and talk to them. The fact is that asking for help can actually be seen as a sign of strength and wisdom and can help you achieve the number of footsteps your Fitbit tracks. You know what they say! Sitting is the new smoking. 

It is important to ask for help from your colleagues, especially when you’re young in your career. This will help you grow your professional network and learn more about the banking industry.

There are many ways that you can ask for help:
  • Ask someone in a similar role to teach you how they do their job.
  • Ask someone who has more experience than you, how they got where they are today?
  • Ask someone who is in a different department if they can give you advice.

In banking, relationship building is everything. Very often, who you know matters more than what you know (make sure you know your fundamentals though).  

2. Not Taking the Time to Understand the Data

I’ve seen this mistake happen so many times. Ok, I admit! It happened to me many times when I just started my career. 

It is important to take the time to understand the data in order to make an informed decision. It can be difficult to understand the data when it is not explained properly or presented in an easy-to-understand format. As a young banker, you should always take the time to understand the data you are working with. If you don't, you will not be able to ask relevant questions to your clients.

As a young banker, you will have to enter the financial statements of your client in the system to come up with a risk rating.
 Very often, you’ll have to reclassify the information. If you don’t understand the numbers to begin with, it will be hard to classify them properly. It will also be hard to prepare your questions and do your financial analysis. 

3. Relying on Templates Too Much

Do you know about the path to the least resistance? Human beings are lazy animals. We will always choose the easiest rout to achieve our goals. It’s ok, this is how we survived so many years. 

As a young banker, you often have to write documents that are very specific and require a great deal of attention to detail. However, it is all too easy to rely on templates to do the heavy lifting for you. This can lead to problems down the road, as well as a loss of business. While templates can be a helpful starting point, they should not be used as a crutch.

When you rely too much on templates, you run the risk of missing important details or making errors in your documents. This can be costly for the bank and may even lead to legal problems. So, while templates can be helpful, be sure to use them judiciously and always double-check your work before you submit it. Again, always double check your work before submitting it! I saw so many times people eager to hit the send button to cross off one additional item on their list. Quality supersedes quantity. 😉

Remember to question every item you see in a template. Always ask yourself why are we using this sentence, this format or table? The most important point is to understand the purpose of the document you’re traying to build. What are you trying to achieve with this document and how can you make it more relevant for your manager, credit committee or your client?
Also, when you rely on templates, you miss out on the opportunity to show your clients who you are as a banker. It’s your chance to build rapport and trust with your clients. This can lead to lost business and a decline in your reputation.

It's important to remember that every client is different and that you should tailor your approach to each one. Taking the time to really get to know your clients will pay off in the long run.

4. Not Testing Your Model

As a banker, you are responsible for ensuring that the products and services you offer are of the highest quality. To do this, you must test your models before release. Testing helps you identify errors and potential areas of improvement, which can save your company a lot of money.

Unfortunately, not all bankers test their models before release. This can lead to costly errors that could have been prevented with a simple test. If you are not testing your models, you are putting your company at risk. It is therefore crucial that you test your models regularly. By doing so, you can catch errors and ensure that the bank's models are accurate and up to date.

5. Not Updating Your Model

This one is a continuity of the previous point. One of the most important things you can do as a banker is to make sure your model is always up to date. Your model is what you use to make decisions about loans, investments, and other financial transactions. If your model is outdated, you could make decisions that cost your bank a lot of money. That's why it's crucial to regularly update your model so that you can stay on top of the latest changes in the market.

By taking the time to understand the concepts involved in financial modeling and by constantly testing and updating your models, you'll be able to build more accurate forecasts and be proactive instead of reactive.
We hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to comment and give your opinion. If you liked it, share it with your friends, it will show them how much you care and how much you’re a perfectionist. 

How about you? Tell us what are the mistakes you use to make when you started and what actions did you take to improve? 
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