When you work in Investment Banking you are likely to have both good days and bad days. Often, when you hear people talking about their time in Investment Banking, you are hearing about their really bad days. Sometimes you may even hear about the day they completed a massive multi-billion dollar deal. However you rarely hear about those ‘run of the mill’ days in Investment Banking.
This post will go through the chronology of one of my regular days in banking. This particular day occurred in my second year of investment banking (the year when the hours are slightly less on average but the pressure is slightly more).
Obviously every day was different and one of the best things about banking is that no two days are ever exactly the same. All the same, I really think it helps to see what banking is really like so here is the story of one of my days as an Investment Banking analyst.
A day in the life of an investment banking analyst
7.00am Wake up after ~5 hours of sleep and curse the fact that I decided to live at home instead of moving closer to the city.
7.00am – 8.00am Get ready for the day trying to avoid the flashing red light on my blackberry. I just know it is already going to be full of work for me to do today
8.00am – 9.00am Catch the train into work while trying to catch a few minutes sleep and read all the emails that have collected since I went to bed. Curse the fact that my VP started email me at 6.30 this morning…why can’t she sleep in sometimes
9.00am – 9.30am Get into work, attempt to read the news headlines from overnight. Head down with others in the office to get a coffee. I’ve tried giving it up before but realise that it is a normal part of the day.
9.30am – 10.30am Update and send out trading updates for a deal I have been working on. I am convinced that no one else looks at the trading updates but the senior bankers would flip if there was a single spelling error so I need to make sure it is perfect.
10.30am – 11.30am Start responding to the emails that have been collecting since I went to sleep last night. Mark ups have invariably arrived on several pitches and deal presentations that I have been working on so read through them to make sure that I understand what the senior bankers actually want you to change (for the 5th time)
11.30am – 12.30pm Put through mark ups on the most important presentation. This is normally the one I am getting the most annoying phone calls and emails about from the senior bankers. Shoot it off at 12.30 on the dot and hope that no one looks at them until after lunch so you have a bit of free time.
12.30pm – 1.00pm Go out to pick up some lunch. I could bring it in from home but that would involve a) waking up earlier and b) picking it up means you actually get some sunlight. Sushi is normally a popular choice because it fools you into thinking that you are being healthy. Also pick up lunch for anyone that is jammed and can’t leave their desk. Note that I also ended up eating lunch at my desk.
1.00pm – 2.00pm My associate calls me over to walk through a model of mine that they have been auditing. They have found a couple of mistakes for which they give me some grief and then decide that they actually want to change what is in the model itself. They could have made a lot of these changes themselves but they end up giving the mark ups to me on a print out so I can have the pleasure of doing it.
2.00pm – 4.00pm This is the prime time for calls with clients. I don’t know why they don’t happen at other times but most deal related calls seem to happen between these hours. If you are working on a deal (even if it is not close to important deadlines on the deal) there will invariably be calls at these times. You don’t really listen to the calls all that carefully because you are trying to multi-task and put through the changes the associate wants on their model.
4.00pm – 5.30pm Complete any requests that the client has made. All requests from clients need to be done ASAP (regardless of whether they say that you can send it through in a week). If you can’t get it done by 5.30 you will probably cop a bit of grief from the senior bankers but given the clients have probably gone home after this you can put it off and do it later in the night.
5.30pm – 6.30pm This is the most deadly part of the day. This is when the senior bankers call you into a meeting room and tell you about an ‘idea’ they have for a new pitch. They outline the basic concept and tell me what they want. They say they have set up a meeting for ‘early next week’ so want to see a draft ‘as soon as possible’ (sometime tomorrow)
6.30pm – 7.15pm Dinner. I have been looking forward to this for hours. It is when I let off steam with the other analysts. Relax a bit while eating an unhealthy meal (funded by the bank, of course).
7.15pm – 9.00pm I get the comments back on the presentation that I updated earlier in the day from the mid-level bankers. There are invariably changes to be made so I put these through and shoot them back to them (praying they have gone home and will not look at it until tomorrow)
9.00pm – 10.00pm I complete the client requests from earlier in the day that I didn’t get done and then send it to the client. I hope they notice the time stamp and comment to your boss how hard I work for them (it never happens)
10.00pm – 12.00am I make a start on the new pitch that the director gave to me. It is remarkable how efficient I am at this time of night (when no one is around to bother me) and I actually get a good amount done. Turns out I have done a similar pitch about 8 times before so you can pull a lot of old material and update it. I send a ‘rough cut’ to the mid-level bankers to get their opinion on whether I am heading in the right direction. I once again hope they notice the time stamp and will realise how hard I work and perhaps it will result in a better bonus later in the year (it never happens)
12.00am – 12.30am I do all the miscellaneous things that hit my inbox over the day which I didn’t have time to deal with. Honestly I couldn’t care at this point in the night but there will be hell to pay if I don’t do all the 5 minute research tasks that people want me to do.
12.30am – 1.15am Catch a taxi home (once again on the firm account) and try and catch as much sleep in the cab as possible.
1.15am – 2.00am Read my mail and try and do a few personal tasks before going to bed. I realise that I haven’t done your taxes for the last 2 years but then decide to put it off until a later date.
2.00am Go to sleep wishing that I hadn’t bothered to do any of my personal tasks
Every Day is different
Not all days turn out like the one above. Some are more focused on building financial models than on presentations but a lot of days are like the one I described above. In terms of finishing time…sometimes you will leave later and sometimes earlier…but there were not a whole lot of days that I finished before 9pm.
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