Rising to the ranks of managing director is as much about gamesmanship as it is about determination. And help along the way can come from all directions - from your first mentor to passages in Liar's Poker.
Apparently, trouble can too. The conventional wisdom goes that the possession of certain tried and true skills is the key factor to success. They begin with a strong mathematical acumen and move into grayer areas like sound judgment and the ability to handle stress.
But here's another one that can seal your fate: knowing whom to surround yourself with. Aligning yourself with the right people: For instance, there's the vice president who's well-connected and can teach you the group dynamics. At the other end of the spectrum are the personality-types to avoid before they get in the way of your work.
Some can be destructive: Stay clear of the binge drinker who enjoys his 9:15 a/m/ libation. Or the guy who can drink until 1 a.m. on Tuesday and says he's immune to hangovers.
Others are pure annoyances: the guy who relies on cliche' ("take one for the team"), or the girl who cries at her desk because her boyfriend's dog left.
Finally, there are the ticking time bombs: the banker who can't close a deal, but keeps his job, or the hotshot who keeps failing the CFA level 1 exam.
Finding people the right people who can provide sound advice, understand the firm's culture or who have the top clients can be your ticket to stardom Yet, one thing is for certain, the ability to detect the potholes along the way is becoming an increasingly important skill, too - one that can prevent both quicksand and a whole lot of aggravation.