Curation: It doesn’t only belong in a museum

Ask junior investment bankers on what they spend most of their time, and pitchbooks will usually be the one of the top answers. Be it getting the numbers, adding analysis, building and formatting charts, or just writing and editing the damn thing, countless hours are spent building these massive documents.

But if you can curate information to the needs and interests of clients, you can cut down on pitchbook churn.

With its roots in museums and galleries, curation is arranging work together to highlight individual pieces while simultaneously adding value to a collection. Content strategist, Sara Wachter-Boettcher says, “Curation makes new meaning—it creates something that’s more than the sum of its parts.”

As creating something more than the sum of its parts is a banker’s M.O., curation should be a natural skill.

So, after years of focusing on how to turn my pitchbooks into works of art, I wanted to share my process.

First, dump unnecessary slides. I've found that bankers tend to be slide hoarders. Focus on the value provided, not the number of pages.

Then, adopt an iterative process of:

Ideate. Generate. Cull. Repeat.


And you keep doing this until the pitchbook flows tightly from one page to the next.

That’s it.

It will take a couple of run-throughs; I have found the lifecycle of an effective pitchbook follows this curve:


Evaluate each slide for its collective and singular value, purge anything that doesn’t offer both. The best meetings I’ve had weren’t with 100 plus page documents, but with 10-20 page, curated decks.

As a gut check, think about it this way, what do you think will happen to your pitchbook if it travels outside the room? Do you think a CFO would be comfortable—or even prepared—to go over a 100-page deck with the CEO? How about a 20-page one? And which will best hold the CEO’s attention?

So next time you find yourself chatting with someone who’s job it is to curate, or you’re wandering around a museum, look deeper and identify how curation is used to add value and how you can apply this to your pitchbooks.

Do you curate? Do you have any experiences of presenting shorter decks to clients? Let me know at

Gallery image credit: Stan Narten