“Big picture,” noun phrase, a broad, strategic perspective (without the benefit of any detail whatsoever and, as a result, often flawed) on a particular subject. This expression can also be used adjectivally.
Usage note: Those lower on the totem pole, e.g., investment banking analysts and associates, should never, under any circumstances, reveal that they might have a big picture view on a work-related topic. The reason is simple: No one cares whether they understand the big picture (or even know it exists), but they better be able to explain why deferred tax assets doubled in year three of the projection model or whether the credit agreement’s definition of EBITDA (a future and very long FEotD entry) includes pro forma adjustments (yet another future and very long FEotD entry) or their careers will be over. One might say of a managing director who brings in considerable business but thinks that a reversing entry might be a sexual maneuver, “Yeah, he’s a big picture guy.” If the MD really knows nothing at all, one might describe him as a “huge big picture guy.” Final note: It is frequently better to work for a big picture MD because if there is something wrong with the numbers in the presentation, he’ll be the last to catch it.
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