by Brian DeChesare Comments (7)

The Worst Time To Be An Investment Banker: Friday At 4 PM

Surprisingly, investment banking is not always about killing yourself at all times of the day and night and suffering without remorse all in search of those elusive investment banking salaries. There’s a lot of downtime, where you’re sitting around surfing the internet, going to Starbucks or thinking “this job really isn’t so bad.” So what breaks this downtime and makes your peace come crashing down like the Hindenburg?

Friday at 4 PM

Friday at 4 PM.

In normal jobs people usually dread Monday mornings. Recovering from the weekend’s hangovers, contemplating the purchase of a new alarm clock once you’ve smashed your existing one into pieces after it went off one too many times and hearing that Friday is Hawaiian shirt day all contribute to the universal loathing of Monday mornings.

But in the world of investment banking no one does anything in the morning, and especially not on Monday mornings. There might be meetings, 567 unread emails to answer and a stack of markups on your desk, but nothing substantial happens before 12 PM.

When the afternoon rolls around, there are even more conference calls and meetings, but you still haven’t received most of your work yet.

No, night is when work actually gets done at an investment bank. When your VP is on his way out the door at 6 PM he’ll stop by your cubicle and dump a few bricks on you, all of which must be polished and turned to gold by the next day. Most nights you’re working on stuff that has already been assigned to you days ago (and it is currently in revision #41) or sometimes hours ago.

But it all starts on Friday at 4 PM.

All the senior bankers do their planning for the next week on Friday at 4 PM. Suddenly, they’ll remember those Monday/Tuesday meetings they had planned the whole week but somehow forgot to tell you about. And the pitch or board presentation on Tuesday that they also conveniently forgot to tell you about.

Every time I’ve had a painful weekend it has been because of work received on Friday at 4 PM. Sometimes they’ll try to make it less painful by going straight to voicemail and not calling or emailing you directly (credit to Monkey Business here). But no matter how painful or painless it is, the work always arrives at the same time.

If you’re doing an investment banking internship this summer or have landed a full-time investment banking job, I have one recommendation: always be on vacation on Friday at 4 PM, every week. If that’s not possible, at least don’t walk by the staffer’s office.

And especially not if it’s anywhere close to 4 PM.

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. My dream retirement is to under no circumstances must deal using the cold of winter or heat of summer. An A-Frame in Vermont and also a cottage by the sea near Savannah.

  2. I’ve been using some of the BIWS networking strategies for the last few months and im happy to say i’ve set up two informational interviews with analysts already. Coincidentally both suggested to meet on a Friday at 4pm. Prob a good tactic for them to avoid the staffer hawking them down. Maybe it’s not an altruistic reason to meet up with me, but hey, no complaints here – if it works to my advantage, ill take it. Thanks for all the help and guidance!

    1. Awesome glad to hear it!

  3. really 41 revision?

    1. Yes. I’m also afraid this is one aspect of investment banking that can’t be saved if you move into consulting. At my former consulting company, we would routinely go through this number of versions for a pitchbook or other presentation. And this was with a template already in place at the beginning…

  4. I completely agree that this is a dangerous time. During my summer analyst stints this was always the time the associates and VPs were having awkward conversations with the analysts they wanted to work over the weekend.

    1. Yeah this is exactly why I always try to be away from the office on Friday afternoon. I can’t even count how many calls I’ve gotten late Friday afternoon/evening on things they could have told me about a week ago but somehow “forgot” about until 4 PM.

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