A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Sunday & Monday

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

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Sunday Monday Investment BankingOne bit of feedback I’ve received over time is that my “Day In The Life” features are among your favorites. Whether it’s my worst day or my best day, everyone’s interested in… what bankers actually do.

In the spirit of the famed investment banking lifestyle, this article kicks off a series on what’s it like to be an investment banker – for 1 week.

This time around we’ll cover Sunday and Monday (what, you thought we had weekends off?) and each subsequent article will address the next day of the week.

Sunday

12 PM - Wake up late. Was up late the night before at a friend’s birthday (fun, but no models and bottles). Find food and get ready for the day.

1 PM – Head to gym. While there, run into another friend at a different bank and talk about plans for next year (one of the most popular discussion topics among analysts) and why neither of us is in the office currently.

3 PM – Relaxing near the pool post-workout when The Dreaded Email arrives. Client A, a sell-side M&A client, has reviewed a presentation we sent yesterday and has changes. I have to run to the office at 4 to discuss the changes and then revise the presentation.

4 PM – While on a call going over the changes, I get bored and begin internet surfing in the background. Most of the edits involve wording and font sizes on graphs through 100 or so slides. This is going to take some time to finish because of the sheer volume of changes.

10 PM - I finish up with the revisions and the associate sends it out to the client. Meanwhile, Client B, a public company being sold to a bigger public company, has sent over revised projections and we need to update our merger model.

A merger model (also called accretion / dilution model or combo model) is used to analyze the impact of an acquisition. The output, called the accretion / dilution, is the change in EPS (Earnings Per Share) and the most important inputs are purchase price, form of consideration (cash, stock, or debt), and the buyer and seller’s financial profiles.

Click here and enter your email address to get a free merger model tutorial.

11 PM – Finish the updates and head home.

This was a normal Sunday – some time for fun, some work, and being in the office for at least part of the day.

Monday

9 AM – Arrive at work and chaos is unfolding – a standard Monday morning.

We’re working on further revisions to the presentation for Client A, and the Director in charge of the deal is quite persistent with the “Are you done yet?” questions.

At the same time, we’re also multi-tasking between that and getting NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) executed for Client C, a large public company we are selling to several private equity firms.

Getting NDAs (also called Confidentiality Agreements (CAs), among other terms) executed involves sending the document back and forth between legal representatives of the buyer and seller until they reach agreement. It’s a joke because there’s no way to enforce an NDA, but both parties want protection for their trade secrets and employees if nothing comes of the discussions.

In this case the associate is handling most of the work.

2 PM – CFO of Client C (the private equity deal) sends updated financial statements and other information that we need to incorporate into our own models and into the materials we’re sending to the buyer(s). VP informs me this is needed “ASAP.”

5 PM – Finish up the updated model and send it to the VP, who sends it to Client C’s CFO so he can “sign off” on it. Just as I’m finishing, I learn that I’m being staffed on an upcoming Fairness Opinion for an M&A deal that is set to be announced soon.

A Fairness Opinion is an extremely rigorous valuation that is prepared by a bank for legal reasons (to “prove” that a deal price is “fair”). It’s a bit silly because no bank is ever going to say that a price is not fair, and they’ve become formalities that are required to counter shareholder lawsuits following a deal.

8 PM – Head to the conference room to eat dinner quickly with other analysts and then go back and try to wrap up an Offering Memorandum and presentation for Client A. The associate is side-tracked on other projects all night so I have to handle this work.

An Offering Memorandum (or Information Memorandum (IM) or Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM) ) is a long document with an overview of a company, including its products/services, customers, management, history, and financial profile that “sells” it to potential buyers. As an analyst or associate you spend a lot of time working on these.

12 AM – Head home.

This was a typical Monday – 15 or so hours of work, some chaos in the morning and a decent amount of actual work at night.

Series: A Week in the Life of an Investment Banker

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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52 Comments to “A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Sunday & Monday”

Comments

  1. Zee says

    Great post, once again…definitely one of my favorite kind of posts, very informative stuff that no book will ever teach you, especially the little informational excerpts.

    It’s also good to see that I’m doing a lot of the same kind of work that full time analysts perform at my boutique internship.

    • says

      Thanks Zee – glad you enjoyed. Just wait for the rest of the week. :)

      BTW I got your email but will need some time to respond, hopefully in the next few days.

  2. Jay Gould says

    That’s pretty crazy…
    I’d be very appreciative if you could answer these three questions:

    I’m an applied math major with a concen. in prob. and stat. Also, I’m doubling up in the quant. fin. program which incorporates fin., acc., econ, and comp. programing. Would that look good for an undergrad?

    The catch is that I’m going to University of Colorado main campus. Will that hurt me compared to the New England Brahim Ivy-Leaguers?

    If I’m done with my undergrad with all those supplementary classes by the age of 26, is that too old to get into the game?

    Thanks bro, really appreciate it!

    • says

      1) Yes but emphasize finance more than math, especially if you want to do banking rather than hedge fund / quant stuff.

      2) Yes you will be at a significant disadvantage and will have to network / cold-call a lot more.

      3) No, 26 is definitely not too old. Know lots of older people who have done it.

    • LB says

      Hey Jay,

      I’m also at CU, doing a finance major with the quant. finance certificate. If you would give me your email, I’d love to talk with you about what you’ve encountered along this similar path.

      M&I,

      How specifically would we be at a significant disadvantage, and would we be better off transferring to a more highly-ranked undergrad bschool, if it’s not ivy league (ex. Univ. Southern California, UCLA, Northwestern)?

      Thanks,
      LB

  3. NeverGivingUp says

    Hey,

    So, I just started to read your stuff. Your awesome man. After reading all your stuff, you just put a smile on my face.

    So, I did not get into IBD after trying for three longs years (started sophomore year). I was very upset but I had been interning for a the #1 BB bank and they ranked me top 5% and gave me a full time offer in the middle office during some very sensitive and important stuff for senior managment. Very impressive offer at the bank but I hate what I do. I did not imagine life to be this way. I am not an idiot, I just dont know where things went wrong. I did all the networking, all the cold-calling, called most of my schools Alumni, still did not get banking. I’m in two in about two weeks after training on the job and I hate it. I want to start applying elsewhere for a banking job. I have seen a few openings but I am scared to apply. What am I scared to apply? B/c where I work, I do not want to be blacklisted for working here for a few weeks and then quitting. Its the most powerful bank currently and hopefully would like to return here in the IBD and do not want to burn bridges.

    Would you recommend applying to other places, or should I stick out the 18 month minimum here. Please help. I am miserable currently but you sure did make my day today.

    Thanks,
    NeverGivingUp

    • says

      If you hate your life as much as you say I would just apply anyway. It might be tough to get in with no work experience but if you truly hate it, it’s not worth ruining 18 months of your life.

  4. Mike says

    I noticed you only worked 81 hours this week, but I always hear that bankers routinely work 95-100 hours. Would you say that 95-100/week is a bit of an overexaggeration, and a week like this (80-85) is more common…or was this week just a particularly good one?

    Another thing i thought was that maybe 80-85 hour weeks were most common, but there were a few 120 hr weeks from hell that brought the average up… could you shed some light on this?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  5. says

    I can’t believe you actually counted the hours…. wow.

    It’s really all over the map and depends greatly on your bank, group, and what is going on at the time. The standard deviation of hours per week is extremely high. I would say to expect 80 on average but it can go quite a bit higher than that depending on what’s going on.

    Ok, I’m still in shock that you actually counted the hours…

  6. 999 says

    Hey, Im just wondering how tense relationships are with your bosses as an analyst. Do they yell at people every time?

    Is it a collegial atmosphere?

    Are analysts willing to help you when you’re in deep shit?

    Do you actually have professional relationships with your MDs, VPs and Associates? Or do you just hate them deep inside?

    • says

      1. Depends a lot on the person but they are usually ok, some are worse than others

      2. With your peers, yes

      3. Yes

      4. Again depends a lot on who they are… you can “befriend” the ones that are more open to it, but some will always be resistant

  7. Jayce says

    Hey there,

    I just discovered this site about a week ago and its been a great read. Really interesting articles!

    I just noticed that it says you arrived at the office at 9am on Monday morning. Just wondering what time did you actually have to wake up? I’ve heard that you need to get up at like 6am everyday just to keep up to date with the financial press. But if your leaving the office on average past midnight, wouldnt that be absolutely hectic?

    I mean seriously after a single all niter (uni assignment), I am absolutely knackered the next day. I cant begin to imagine what it feels like to operate on 2 hrs of sleep each day. More so, how is it possible to stay ‘focused’ at the office without going in and out of micro-sleeps?

  8. shane says

    I’m glad i read this post. Now i know that IB is definitely where I DO NOT want to be or belong. So as Jayce asked, how the hell do you get by? I wouldn’t be surprised if you had 10 cups of coffee a day.

  9. says

    I am studying bachelor of accounting degree and am in my final year .I am 33 years old which means next year i’ll be 34.i just want to know if i have a chance of being recruited as an analyst at the age of 34.

    thank you

  10. Keneilwe says

    Hi, my name is Keneilwe and Im glad I read this post.I’m 22 this month and hold a b.com management accounting and finance degree with 17 months of experience at an insurance company as an accountant.I recently applied for a graduate programme at standard bank and made it past the 1st round of interviews,still awaiting the next.I think its going well but i may have another offer in an investment company.If i do get both offers wghich would be the best to pick?the grad program that introduces you to everything or just going straight into a conmpany and assuming full responsibility with no experience?

    I recently wrote my 1st level cfa though i have a feeling it didnt go so well and i’ll do it again if I have to.But am I on the right track or am i just shooting in the dark and being ambitious? what kind of person,besides analytical,hardworking abd being deadline driven,does it take to really crack it in this industry and what are the career prospects beyong making it as a associate?

    I know I’m asking too many questions but I’ve just never had anyone to ask.
    finally,in comparison with the CA stream,which is more challenging and how do the lifestyles of people in these to professions really differ?

    I’d really appreciate it if you respond.
    Thanks.

    • says

      Depends what the graduate program entails… if it’s closer to banking I would pick that. I am not a fan of the CFA although it can be more helpful in emerging markets – breaking into banking is really all about networking rather than certifications (see the networking-related articles under Recruiting at the top of this site).

  11. Ravi says

    Hi
    Just read your article. Made me smile and gave me some thoughts. I am a 15 year old living in London, and extremely interested in Banking. I have already read some books on it, and tried some demo websites for it. Also, my uncle is quite high up in a major banking firm – which has given me some idea of the job.
    I was wondering what I can do to gain more experience in the field (such as work experience, books etc). Any advice would be gratefully received.
    Many Thanks.

  12. Angus says

    I have huge interest in Energy market. And sitting for my CFA by end of this year.planning to shift to finance by end of next year..in Energy market

    Present Life: Wake up 5:30..hit the gym……take steam hop on bike at 7:30…at work 8:00 lunch 12 to 12:30…finish job:4:30 hop on bike reach home by 5:00…Take my gf out for dinner….back home and sleep by 11:00…

    Work: Geophysict in oil and gas

    Age:28, Package : Around 85k$ per annum…

    Next year target: Break in Finance (Giving CFA in December).ER or may be researcher in oil and gas finance side…

    Present city: Calgary

    Love to listen to your views…on information I gave

    Thanks..its a awesome blog

    • M&I - Nicole says

      It can be challenging to break into ER if you don’t have any experience in finance though your industry knowledge and CFA can help (esp for buy-side related roles).

  13. Adam Smith says

    Seriously why waste your time there, you’ll never become a millionaire and you’ll get canned on a whim.

    I’ve seen entire departments just wiped out (fixed income) through no fault of some of the workers there. I bet they regretted spending all that time there and how are they going to be compensated for that ???

  14. Jane says

    Hi,
    I was just wondering whether you are married/in a relationship or have children? If so, how much time do you actually get to spend with them? I imagine maintaining any relationship at all must be difficult, even with friends and family. And do you really get much time to benefit from the money you are working so hard to earn? If you are always having to work for it, how do you ever get to enjoy spending it?
    Thanks for a great read,
    Jane

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes, unless you’re in Sales and Trading, Private Banking & Asset M’gmt or some back/middle office roles (some of them require long hours too).

      IBD roles generally require very long hours even at a senior level. However, it also depends on the firm and your ability to manage your time, clients and your superior.

      Balancing time b/ family and work, etc really depends on the individual. Some people can do it with a thriving career they love, even in IB, some people can’t. I think it depends a/c to the individual, though there is a higher likelihood that your hours will be longer given demands of the job, culture of firm and colleagues’ expectations of you, but then you also get paid more and this alone can save time in other areas of your life too.

      Your hours may also be long in roles at other corporations outside of IB.

  15. Mayonnaise says

    Hi,
    prospective investment banker here! just wondering what are the best majors to choose that will complement a finance major (and consequently a career in investment banking)?
    The Uni of Melb offers the following majors for the Bachelor of Commerce:
    Accounting
    Actuarial Studies
    Business
    Economics
    Finance
    Management
    Marketing
    Also, what is a typical career path for someone entering the investment banking industry (i.e. if someone starts as an analyst, what is the next step up regarding promotion)? Is knowledge of foreign languages preferred (will it help me better get a job) if dealing with international clients?

  16. Justin says

    Hi!
    I am 24 in college at jacksonville university as a finance major. I have 3 years left before I graduate. Can you recommend any advice for the future?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d suggest you to learn as much about finance/accounting as you could during college, join a finance club or organization, network with alums in finance and finance firms in your area.

  17. says

    sir,i dont have interest in making a career in accountancy and laws.if i prefer investment banking,then will i face accountancy and laws(especially taxes) as major part of my job.please help me out,i am really confuse.

  18. Sweet says

    Hi,
    I am so happy that I have started reading your article. And like everyone, I have questions too. So I am a student of Wilfrid Laurier University doing a double major in bba (accounts) and ba financial Math. I was wondering how hard will it be for me, being a canadian, to get hired by US investmnt banks for my co-op which starts next summer.
    Your help will be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • M&I - Nicole says

      It can be harder because you’ll need to be sponsored. Adding to that, you’ll also be competing against people from US who don’t need sponsorship, from target schools and may also have experience in finance. You may have better luck trying Canadian banks…

  19. says

    Hello! Sir, I want to ask certain questions in regard of investment banking.please answer it Right now,I am doing graduation from delhi university distance mode and french course from college.thinking of taking investment banking , So tell me should I prefer for mba right after this or shpuld I first go for experience of certain years? Moreover, tell me about minimum time to get promoted and salary scale, if you do mba from good b-school in india.

  20. says

    Thank you very much sir,and in investment banking field is it necessary to be an associate only after atleast 3 years of experience as an analyst.please answer it , I am unable to find it in above mentioned links.

  21. Akshay Balgi says

    I finished my Bachelor’s in Finance and Accounts from India this June. I plan to do some kind of Training in Financial Modelling coupled up with an internship for 3 months in IB. So how good a option is that to get in as an analyst or will it burn my chances??

    What would be the best possible way to get on from here?

    Appreciate your reply

    Sincerely
    Akshay

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I think the training may help you. I don’t think it will burn your chances. The best way is to ace your internship, get good recommendations and land a full time offer.

  22. ayush says

    I’m presently studying in class 12 and I want to become an investment banker. How should I go about it and what all degrees or courses do I have to pursue.

  23. Eddie says

    Hi, I am a freshman at a non-target school, is there anything I could do this year to help my potential career as an investment banker after college? (Since i can’t get an internship with an investment bank due to me only being a freshman)Thank you!

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