A Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst
“6:30 Sycophant drops by on his way out. Client meeting next Friday but wants complete turn of a pitch for first thing tomorrow morning (tomorrow morning = when he finally gets around to looking at it at some point next week). A quick calculation; there’s no way I’m getting out of here before four in the morning.”
Ah, the life of an investment banking analyst.
What will your hours be? How much work do you actually do? Do you really just play Solitaire most of the day and then only work at night?
Some days you’ll be so busy that you have to discreetly use a bottle under your desk if you need to go to the bathroom.
Other days you’ll have so little to do that you can take 3-hour lunch breaks and download different themes for Windows Solitaire.
Doing investment banking is like doing drugs: on your good trips you dance in clouds of marshmallows, surrounded by beautiful women (or men) serving you fruit in canopies.
On your bad trips you scratch your eyes out and jump off buildings.
This 24-hour period was a bad trip. And unlike The Bitter Investment Banker Email, it actually happened.
7:30 AM – I am woken up by an Associate at work asking where I am. He told me to come in at 8:00 AM to send out a status report. It’s 7:30 and I’m not there yet, so a cloud of panic has descended. I roll out of bed, shower for a minute and head into work.
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM – The Associate hands me a marked-up version of the status report in question. Most of his changes consist of adding/deleting commas, capitalizing nouns or changing font sizes. I send it to our team at 8:55, in advance of our call at 9:00.
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM – Our investment banking team tells management about the buyers who are interested in them and the meetings we’ve set up.
I am vaguely listening but also working on a pitch book for an IPO in the background – multi-tasking is easy when all you do is copy and paste Excel into PowerPoint. 12:30 PM – We send out a draft of the IPO pitch book to 3 Managing Directors who will be at the meeting the next day. This is the “final” version, which means that everything will be scrapped and re-done in the next 24 hours.
12:45 PM – One of the Managing Directors is traveling and has requested a Briefing Book on the company we’re pitching because he doesn’t know anything about it. It’s not feasible to FedEx the book because he is 3,000 miles away and needs it ASAP – we need to PDF this bad boy.
1:00 PM – The Associate drops off revisions to a presentation we’re working on for another client. I tell him I don’t have bandwidth because I’m working on a big IPO pitch for the next day as well.
He tells me to finish by 5 so he can give me more changes and I can “turn” another revision by the morning. It’s probably going to be an all-nighter.
1:30 PM – One of the Managing Directors who received the Briefing Book calls another Associate (Associate #2) on my team and yells at him for sending 100 pages of material – it’s taking 30 minutes to print out everything.
The Associate takes the brunt of the damage. I’ve cleverly avoided the fallout by having Associate #2 be the point person for this project.
3:00 PM – Starbucks. The lifeblood of investment banking analysts. I go with a friend who’s in the midst of private equity interviews and we discuss how those are going.
3:30 PM – After speaking with our equity research analyst, the Managing Director decides we need to add more analysis to our pitch and focus on completely different metrics. I need to re-do most of my work.
5:00 PM – I finish up with the other client presentation that Associate #1 wanted me to finish. Now it’s a waiting game on that one as I continue revising the IPO pitch.
7:30 PM – I’m eating dinner at my desk. No time to go join everyone else today but it’s Japanese food so I’m satisfied. Meanwhile someone from Equity Capital Markets, the team responsible for IPOs, comes over and tells me to scrap all the analysis the MD wanted.
10:00 PM – I get last-minute changes from everyone else on the team. Shouldn’t take too long to process, but production can only start printing at midnight, which means I’m going to be here until 1 AM minimum.
10:15 PM – As I’m going through changes, Associate #1 stops by and has a bunch of changes to the client presentation I finished at 5 PM. I tell him I can only get started after 1 AM so I probably won’t have anything until the next morning. “Dance, monkey.”
12:30 AM – I finish up and production starts printing the presentations. Associate #2 comes over to “supervise” the production and review the finished product.
1:00 AM – I notice an inconsistency on 1 slide – stock prices have been updated earlier in the presentation but not here. Time to check over everything again.
2:00 AM – We’re done re-checking every single page for the same mistake now. Time to re-print.
2:15 AM – The printers all have paper jams and are out of ink. Since it’s late, the printing/production crew has disappeared and I have become the production team.
2:15 – 3:30 AM – I need to refill the ink and fix all the printers. This requires a group effort so I call some other analysts over to help.
4:00 AM – Go home and go to sleep. I need to wake up by 6 to finish work on the presentation Associate #1 told me to “finish by the morning.”
6:00 AM – I’ve overslept. Associate #1 is already up and has left 3 voicemails on my cell phone asking why I haven’t sent the presentation to our client yet. I Blackberry him that I was up all night working on another pitch and was going to send it by 9 but needed an hour of sleep first.
6:15 AM – 6:30 AM – As I’m coming into the office we’re trading angry emails back and forth. He says I should have emailed our entire group saying that the presentation would be late.
8:00 AM – Associate #1 strolls into the office just as I’m about to hit the “Send” button. I tell him that I’m about to send the presentation.
He tells me to email everyone twice – once to tell them that they’ll get the presentation in the next 2 minutes, and then once again to actually send the presentation.
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