A Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst

288 Comments | Investment Banking - Day in the Life & Week in the Life Accounts

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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.”

The Bitter Investment Banker Email

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 PMStarbucks. 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.

I ignore him and just send the presentation.

About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

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288 Comments to “A Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst”


  1. Nicole says

    Excuse my french, but sounds more like b*tch work with a fancy job title. No thanks. And I went to business school.

  2. Rino says

    Since my childhood I start my day at 9 AM and go to sleep at 4 AM, its my “natural biological rythm” which is different from “normal range” of office hours.

    So far I am a full-time entrepreneur, however I am now very interested to get an IB experience for my passion and my future.

    I can work consistently, efficiently, creatively, often with remarkable result, but with special requirement: good scheduled nap, good diet.

    Can a nocturnal-type person/night person, like me get a good job in a large IB/Private Equity? (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan etc)

    Is it possible to get a “flexible” working hours in IB/Private Equity?

    Maybe you can add what is office situation for typical IB/Private Equity office. Do everybody get their own office room? Is it so strict? Can we take a nap when we need to?

    Thank you. Great website. Sorry for my english :)

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes it may fit you well. Flexible hours – well there is a lot of down time in IB/PE but when you first start out in your job you’re likely to be working quite a lot and “flexible” hours aren’t common in the industry. No, people usually have their own cubicle. And no, many juniors lack sleep and can’t take naps even though they want to.

      • Rino says


        Can IB/PEQ-ers worker start later, but finished later as well? Kind of “night-shift” job? or “afternoon-shift” job?

        Or maybe we can negotiate with the employer about the shifting/schedule, without reducing the amount of time we work?
        I even can trade by adding more working hours, actually.


        • M&I - Nicole says

          It depends on your employer. If you’re talking about bulge brackets, I don’t think you can negotiate. If you’re talking about smaller banks there maybe a chance though it can still be challenging since you’re still relatively junior

  3. Rino says

    So, whats position/department in IB/PEQ, that will be suit the best with “afternoon/evening type person” ?


  4. Joshua says

    Do hours get better for 2nd year analysts vs. 1st year analysts? (all else equal; aside from the fact that you understand politics better, get more efficient at your job and etc…) What about 3rd years?

    Also, would you say hours in IBD are more self-imposed (i.e. you’re ALWAYS trying to go above and beyond to be the best analyst, even when not necessary.)

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Hours may get a bit better as a 3rd year analyst though I wouldn’t count on it. Sometimes it is self imposed because most who are in IB are high achievers. However, the culture of the industry is to work hard. Senior people will have high expectations of you, and you’re likely expected to work long hours and around the clock for clients and seniors’ demands. Unless you choose to leave the industry or perhaps go for a bank with less deal flow your hours may still be long!

  5. Enrique Flores says

    Do IB Analyst actually get to work on modeling and real financial analysis or is it all fixing presentations and reports? Do IB Analyst learn a lot of finance in the process or is it just an entry level job to show discipline and dedication?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes you get a bit of both – modeling and pitches/reports. Depending on your team, group and bank, you may get to work on more valuation analyses. Most learn quite a bit in finance though I would not expect too much at the entry level – the learning curve will be steep, though you may be doing “mundane” work. However, after a while, you’ll probably realize that you’ve learned a lot, even though you may not think so during that time.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes you get a bit of both – modeling and pitches/reports. Depending on your team, group and bank, you may get to work on more valuation analyses. Most learn quite a bit in finance though I would not expect too much at the entry level – the learning curve will be steep, though you may be doing “mundane” work. However, after a while, you’ll probably realize that you’ve learned a lot, even though you may not think so during

  6. fang says

    You’ll have big salary but can expect short life and painful one. And if some crisis shit’s happened, you will be on blame. Loo at IB worker at UBS and other prestigious bank now … the bosses made a mess and they cut some thousands workers. No thanks… porn industry is better… and global recession have no effect. Well, let me tell, I was an quant analyst, in one of big ten bank in SE Asia.

  7. kamo says

    what are the chances of entering into investment banking if you have studied investment management at university

    • M&I - Nicole says

      If you have had work experience at a bulge bracket and go to a target university, your chances are higher. Otherwise, the subject itself won’t be sufficient enough to increase your chances.

  8. GH says

    Hi ! Sounds tough but amazingly dynamic and challenging!! Would love to enter the field. Im currently studying a master in finance at a leading european university, but haven’t had any experience with investment banking, PE or the like. What are the chances and how would you recommend me to proceed?

  9. John says

    Is it possible to build a stronger valuation skill set on your own, independently rather than working in investment banking, by reading lots of guides and building out models on real companies yourself? Or does IB give you a “special” advantage in some way, in being able to build out DCFs etc? IB seems like it’s 50% finance, 50% marketing.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I think it can be challenging because work experience is probably best avenue for you to build your valuations, not to mention the “stamp on your resume” an IB internship offers – this can open you many doors

  10. Jiayaaaa says

    What was your first job before becoming an investment banking analyst? What experience helped you to get this position?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      First internship – worked as an analyst for a leading asset management company in 2nd year (for free). Then landed an internship at top BB in research.

  11. theresa muzondo says

    I have always wanted to work in finance but i was not sure which part exactly. Investment banking sounds like the best fit for me although i am a bit worried about the long working hours as i will also want to still ‘have a life’ and be always available for my family. Does the investment banking industry allow you to ‘have a life’?

  12. Shivendra says

    Hi. This might sound foolish but I want to know however low the odds may be. I am currently doing masters in Mechanical engineering in a leading European university but I am very fascinated by finance and economics. And I am pursuing many online courses as self learning because I am really interested in this field. What are my chances of breaking in ?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      When you make VP+ your hours tend to be better. I’d say around 60-70 hour weeks, maybe a bit more depending on time of year.

      As an associate or analyst, I’d say your hours can be around 70-100. Hours are still long since you’ll be doing/monitoring most of the grunt work.

  13. Phillip says

    I was thing about going into real estate and i was just wondering what is the best way to do this and what type of qualifications or experience will i need before i get given a job in real estate?

  14. Ryan says

    I just got my degree in accounting, but IB has always been a goal of mine, and I have less than 1 year experience. What should I do to raise my chances of breaking into IB?

  15. Archana Vijayan says

    I had a meeting couple of days back for a position of investment analyst with Canaccord Genuity, however I have only operations experience with Goldman Sachs and northern trust hence the guy asked me to go through the concept of investment banking and what an analyst does throughout this week and reach out to him for further details . Do I stand any chance in getting in there and also is there any article which can help me get a complete concept about IB and IB analysts.

  16. Pratap says

    I have studied and worked in software developemnt side. i am taking Investment banking classes, seems impossible since i have no finance or banking background. how hard would it be to learn and get a job in IB. I dont care about late working hours, I have worked insane hours. Do you think i can learn on the job?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes you can learn on the job, but interviewers do value work experience so if you can get some sort of paid/unpaid work experience in finance this can potentially help you.

  17. Raj says

    What are the major qualifications at GCSES as I am studying them currently and A levels and finally university degree??

  18. Wolfgang Orth says

    Sorry to say that but to me the whole thing looks somehow unstructered and inefficient. How can I trust a result produced by exhausted bankers?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Most bankers are high achievers with ATD. So the work is usually triple checked so I wouldn’t worry too much about the quality of the work

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