Chapter 5 introduced the importance of networking. I think of networking as creating a foundation of relationships from which you can identify role models. As you add role models to your network, mentors will emerge who can provide advice and coaching and spot new opportunities for you. From those mentors, you will find sponsors who invest their personal capital in you and take action to open new doors for you to advance your career. This is depicted in the Sponsorship Pyramid in Figure 8.1.
A subset of your network will be your role models. From networking, you can start to home in on who might be a good role model for you. A role model is someone you identify with, someone who inspires you and someone you aspire to be like: “If she can do it, I can do it. If I can present like her or persuade clients like her, then I can succeed like her.” If your role model is a senior person at your firm, you need to take the initiative to have that senior person be part of your network so that you can get to know that person better.
When I was starting out, we had an informal apprentice model where we learned investment banking by paying very close attention to how more experienced people behaved in front of clients. By watching my role models, I learned how to balance decisions between choosing what was ...