“The Process”: Financial Expression of the Day

The process

Investment bankers love “the process.”

The process, noun, any undertaking that involves following a specific, multi-step procedure.  Usage note:  This is a versatile word that any self-respecting investment banker uses several times a day.  Warning:  Those lower on the totem pole, e.g., analysts and associates, should use this term sparingly and with great caution, or they run the risk of appearing too ambitious.  A managing director might say:

  1. Regarding an MBA recruit:  “I don’t know where he is in the process right now, but we (“we” used for the team-effort effect) can’t fall asleep at the wheel on this one.”  When talking about the process, the MD (managing director, naturally) will pile on as many clichés as possible.
  2. Regarding a pitchbook that is being edited by a lowly analyst:  “I don’t know where we are in the process.”  The MD uses “we” here even though it’s the meager analyst, not having left the building in three days, who is the one stuck waiting through the night to get the document back from the computer graphics area.  The MD, on the other hand, might be at happy hour when he makes this remark.
  3. Regarding a client who has not returned commitment papers:  “I don’t know where they are in the process.”  The MD tosses this comment out very casually, although, deep down, he’s terrified that the client has decided, at the last minute, to retain a different bank for its transaction.
  4. Regarding his messy divorce:  “I don’t know where I am in the  process.”  The MD can’t help but use banking lingo even when discussing his personal life.
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