CEO-in-residence, Accel Partners
When I got my first job at Merrill Lynch [as a junior analyst], I ended up working for a managing director, Henry Michaels. He was known from his more junior days as "Hank the Crank" for his ability to crank it out and work fast. At only 32 or 33, Henry was already a managing director. At my level [then] you were typically staffed on a project with the managing director, a director, and an associate in addition to the junior analyst. I got staffed directly with Henry on a project with no one in between and he gave me a lot of runway. His advice to me was to work exceptionally hard and step up from day one, despite being junior. In the first three to four months that you're in a job, you can create positive or negative momentum. I got to Merrill already hungry to prove myself and exceeded expectations; from that point on I got staffed on the better assignments and was given the opportunity to move to London. Hank's advice has always stayed with me. It's key to starting any new job because you have a few months to make a first impression, and a finite window of time to create professional momentum and start building a brand for yourself.
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