Investment banking is a career with long hours and grueling demand. Brad Epstein, director within the global energy investment banking group at Citi, is proud that he’s had the longevity to reach the director level.
“There is generally a significant amount of attrition in the business through the earlier years [of someone’s career], those years being the most challenging from a work-life balance perspective. It requires a certain level of desire and drive to push through those years in order to advance your career to the point where you are responsible for building relationships and generating revenue,” Epstein says.
Happy where he is as a director, which allows him to lead, Epstein says he has been part of numerous transactions and been able to see and participate in “the changing landscape of MLPs and midstream infrastructure companies.”
Epstein says, “There has been a real shift in the market for MLPs over the last few years, which has driven many companies to assess their structure, explore various alternatives to accessing capital, and consider their ability to participate in strategic M&A.”
Intimately familiar with the culture of investment banking, Epstein says “It is critically important to create a positive environment and culture in the office, particularly given the significant hours worked by the more junior members of the team. We are each responsible for ensuring that we contribute toward that goal. Ultimately, people will be much more likely to truly engage in their roles if they feel as though their efforts are valued, they are treated fairly and respectfully and they have an opportunity to grow professionally.”
Epstein’s own long-term goal is “to become the trusted adviser and first-call for my clients, both new and existing.”
Milestone: In the short term, Epstein aspires to become a managing director. “Investment banking has a rather structured hierarchy,” he says. However, the position of managing director “does not have the same structural rigidity and is based on capability, merit and achievements. I am driving to achieve that sooner than later.”
To the point of hard work and merit yielding reward, Epstein has advice to give—go all-in at whatever you do.
Advice for young professionals: “Dive in headfirst. There will be sacrifices made, especially early in your career, but it’s those experiences, knowledge bases and relationships that set the stage for future success.”
Another piece of advice is more tailored to investment bankers, but with a universal theme: “Reputation is everything. Though it may not pay immediate dividends, providing the right advice for your client will ensure your continued success.”