If I wanted to, I could be cruel here and write about that one Saturday when I was summoned away from dinner and had to work into Sunday, but that’s not a typical weekend.
Plus, it wouldn’t be accurate since I’m pulling all these day-in-the-life accounts from the same week in my life as an analyst.
So here’s what really happened on Saturday in that same week:
12 PM – Wake up “late.” If you recall from my Friday account, I went to sleep around 5 AM. If you’re still in school you might be used to waking up at 3 PM on Saturday, but I recommend getting up by noon on the weekends once you’re a banker.
1 PM – Head to the gym. Check my Blackberry intermittently in between sets, but so far no major surprises.
In case you’re wondering, people at the gym do look at you strangely when you check your Blackberry every 5 minutes.
2 PM – Get back. A few friends are in town for the weekend and one of them wants me to quit investment banking and buy a laundromat with him (apparently they are cash-cows). I have a diverse group of friends.
It’s tempting but I’m not crazy enough to invest the amount of cash required, so I decline. Plus, I need to continue living the dream for at least 2 years.
3 PM – Here it is: The Email arrives. I have to run back to the office to take care of a Board Presentation needed on Monday for a prospective client.
The Board Presentation is a nebulous concept: it refers to any presentation given to a company’s Board of Directors, but the size, scope and format vary widely depending on what you’re presenting. It can be a 100 slide presentation that requires strings of all-nighters, or it can be a quick update of previous materials.
Luckily, in this case all I have to do is refresh a valuation that we showed the company previously and add a few slides of text, so it shouldn’t take long.
You might be wondering why I have to do this on Saturday if it’s only needed for Monday. Everything in investment banking requires at least 10 revisions and everyone from associate to MD will have to look at this first and offer feedback before it’s done.
So things often take longer than expected.
7 PM – Finished. I distribute it to my team, knowing that no one is likely to look at it on a Saturday night. I’m a free man (temporarily).
7:30 PM – Meet up with friends for dinner. I am still being pitched on this laundromat idea. Maybe if I had just pulled an all-nighter it would sound more attractive.
9 PM – Exchanging text messages with friends planning out where we’re going tonight. In the immortal words of Leveraged Sellout, “There is no consensus, but one thing is agreed: it is going to be epic.”
10 PM – Still no consensus has emerged, so we split up and head to separate clubs.
11 PM – See another few friends from different banks in the city. I mentioned how you can’t get away from work, no matter how much you try, right? Having a Blackberry on you at all times doesn’t help, either.
2 AM – Things are winding down, so it’s time to go elsewhere. If this were a Thursday night, 2 AM would mean time to sleep, but this is Saturday.
Models and Bottles Watch: Luckily it’s a Saturday night (even on a tropical island in the summer, a Monday night out results in few members of the opposite sex), so the model count is high. Bonuses are not out yet and I’m still a starving 1st Year Analyst so the bottle count is lower than expected.
3 AM – Head to a stereotypical hookah bar. I don’t know why bankers love these so much, but they do. Personally I don’t smoke at all (it would ruin my diet) but I follow my friends there and hang out for awhile.
4 AM – Sleep.
You might be surprised that there were “only” a few hours of work on this particular Saturday. When you get busy on weekends, it’s usually because of pitches and aggressively marketing to prospective clients – or the occasional crazy, high-maintenance client.
But most of my work this week was related to existing clients – “deals” – so there wasn’t much to do on the weekend. This isn’t always true – if a deal is just starting or is about to finish up, there will be a mad rush to finish things over the weekend.
If you read through all the entries in this series, you might notice the lack of all-nighters. This is because I didn’t work on any pitches in the week described here – it was almost entirely client-related work.
If you look back at my worst day, you can see most of the pain was a result of multiple simultaneous pitches. Avoid these if it all possible, but you usually have to do at least a few each month (and sometimes many more than that).
Series: A Week in the Life of an Investment Banker