Saturday Night In Investment Banking: How To Ruin A Dinner
“10:40 p.m. – I am at my friend’s apartment, pre-gaming with Tuaca, Grey Goose, and other fine spirits. The clock strikes 10:45, and we are now “Rolling Hard” – banker lingo for partying.”
–A Night In The Life, The Leveraged Sellout
I’ve received a lot of emails lately on lifestyle and what the hours are like at all levels in finance, from Analyst to MD. Many of you assume that Managing Directors have a great lifestyle, filled with massages on tropical islands, tours to exotic paradises and more models and bottles than you could imagine.
But even Managing Directors can have their weekends ruined. And Analysts very frequently have their weekends ruined.
The Time: Roughly one year into my time in investment banking, on a Saturday night. I was burned out already, but bonuses were coming up and this was back when they were actually good, so I had something to look forward to.
The Setting: A restaurant near my place.
A friend from out of town was visiting and about 20 of us had gathered at this restaurant. No one had seen me in about 11 months (since training ended and I actually started working), so that alone caused quite a bit of shock.
“Wow, he’s still alive!”
“I though you were in jail, did you get out early!”
“Shouldn’t you be at the office?”
Things were off to a good start…
6:00 PM – We order 3 rounds of drinks. Still waiting on friend.
6:30 PM – Friend gets there. Several more rounds of drinks ordered.
7:00 PM – We order enough food for 60 people.
7:30 PM – As we’re eating, I get a series of Blackberry messages from my team. I try to avoid looking down, but the red light starts flashing… and flashing…. and flashing, drawing me toward it like a homing beacon.
So I have no choice but to give in and look at the emails.
One of our clients has a Board Meeting the next day (Sunday) and needs analysis on an offer from a potential buyer. The email chain shows the CEO emailing my MD, who in turn emailed the VP on the deal, who in turn emailed the Associate… and finally it has arrived in my inbox.
Why would you ever have a Board Meeting on a Sunday?!
7:35 PM – I reply and tell the Associate I will be back “shortly” and get to work on the presentation. He tells me he has a “previous engagement” so he won’t be able to help out or look at anything until “later.”
7:45 PM – Say goodbye to my friends, tell them not to expect to see me for another 11 months or so, and head to the office to work on the presentation.
8:15 PM – Immediately realize that we don’t have the necessary financial information to do anything. Decide to twiddle my thumbs and wait around for Associate/VP to respond to my emails while I chat with friends online.
9:30 PM – Finally hear back from the Associate after his “previous engagement” has ended. He instructs me to use “ballpark” figures (fake numbers) for the entire presentation and that he would look at it “in the morning.”
2:30 AM – Finish up and head home. Friends are sitting around my place drinking. The hookah is out. I know there’s a 50% chance I will be woken up the next day at around 7 AM, so I head to sleep.
7:30 AM – Associate calls my cell phone repeatedly to wake me up. I finally get up and explain to him (again) that we don’t have any of the numbers. He informs me that the Board Meeting is at 2 PM and we need to finish by then.
9:30 AM – The client finally sends us the necessary financial information. I re-do the entire presentation.
1:55 PM – After email exchange back and forth between me, the Associate, the VP and the MD over several hours, we finally send the presentation to the client for their Board Call.
2:30 PM – Call goes by without client looking at presentation or referencing it at all. Head home.
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