August 06, 2019

M&A Professionals Rank Top 5 Challenges New Investment Bankers Face: Merrill Insight™ Poll

More than 120 seasoned investment bankers share insights on common mistakes and key learnings


ST. PAUL, Minn., August 7, 2019 – Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) professionals define task prioritization as the most difficult responsibility to master when starting a career in investment banking (IB), according to a Merrill Insight™ poll of global M&A professionals. Merrill Insight™ is part of Merrill Corporation, the leading technology provider for finance professionals around the world.

According to the poll, which included more than 120 respondents across the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), 35% of respondents believe learning how to properly prioritize tasks was the steepest part of the learning curve in their first year as an investment banker. This was ahead of 28% who said financial modelling and analysis was most challenging, followed by M&A fundamentals (19%), performing tight deadlines (14%) and writing succinct emails (4%).

“These poll findings provide an important roadmap to new professionals who are just beginning to navigate the M&A landscape,” said Rusty Wiley, Chief Executive Officer of Merrill Corporation. “We work with so many M&A professionals to help them accelerate the deal making process and we are committed to providing analysts and associates the information and tools, including our investment banking playbook, they need to succeed in the complex world of investment banking.”

Additionally, poll results found that personal organization was deemed extremely important, with over 36% of participants believing this area is where most slip-ups occur. This concern was ahead of Q&A tracking and answer management (22%), data room management (17%), confidentiality (15%) and asset marketing (10%).

Other key poll results included:

  • 51% of respondents said the most technical error to watch for is reading work before pushing send, followed by failing to check numbers (30%), and missing something (19%).
  • 52% of respondents were drawn to investment banking because it combines skills in an interesting and challenging way. This is ahead of 21% of respondents who pursued a career in investment banking to advise on transformational deals, 15% who joined because they believe it’s a path to private equity and 12% who said it is a launch pad for other careers.

For more information on how to succeed in investment banking, please see the Merrill Insight™ replay and the investment banking playbook. The poll results are based on responses from global M&A professionals in the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who participated in the event.

About Merrill Corporation

Merrill Corporation is a leading global SaaS provider for participants in the M&A lifecycle. Clients trust Merrill’s innovative applications, excellent customer service and deep subject matter expertise to successfully navigate the secure sharing of their most sensitive content. The company’s flagship platform, DatasiteOne, powers secure, intelligent due diligence and enterprise collaboration for thousands of deals in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit


Laura Powers
Merrill Corporation
[email protected]

Nicholas Koulermos
5W Public Relations
[email protected]


Media Relations
Marta Carraro

Vice President, Communications


[email protected]

Investor Relations
Jennifer Percy

Senior Vice President, Finance & Treasury


[email protected]

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