A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Wednesday

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

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Wednesday Investment BankerOur series continues with an account of Wednesday of the same week in my life as an analyst. This one is the closest to a “typical day” of anything in this series.

8 AM – Join a customer due diligence call for an upcoming IPO for Client D. No way I’m in the office this early so I take this one from home.

Bankers conduct customer due diligence calls as part of any IPO process to “vet” the company, make sure its customers are happy, and ensure that there are no major issues investors need to know about.

Sometimes with international customers, you get calls at 11 PM and 5 AM and such (another reason why bankers work so much: to stay awake for these calls…).

8:20 AM – In the midst of the call, a fire drill erupts and one of our potential clients needs information pulled on potential acquisitions before a 9 AM Board Meeting. I have not left my apartment yet so panic sets in and I start calling every other analyst in our office.

8:40 AM – I’m saved. The Star of our office gets back to me – as expected, he is there early to cover for me. He sends over the information.

9:30 AM – On my way to the office, my associate calls me to ask why I’m not there yet. He is about to call Client A (the one we’ve been working on the presentation and Offering Memorandum for) to discuss things. Explain that I will be there in 2 minutes.

10 AM – Call with Client A concludes and the associate and I review changes. This is revision #78 or so by now.

12 PM – Nothing immediate to do, so I run to Starbucks, the lifeblood of investment banking analysts everywhere. This is coffee #5 for the day, about par for the course. While I’m there, get Blackberry message that Client C (the private equity deal) has sent over further changes and materials for the buyers need to go out “today.”

3:30 PM – As I’m cranking through changes for Client C, a draft Purchase Agreement for Client B (the public company being acquired by a larger public company) arrives.

A Purchase Agreement (also called a Definitive Agreement or Stock Purchase Agreement, among other terms) defines the key terms of an acquisition. Beyond just the price the buyer is paying, other important terms are the representations and warranties (what the buyer/seller state is legally true about their businesses), the treatment of options (ignored, assumed, or cashed out) and the termination fee or break-up fee (how much the buyer or seller pays if either one cancels the deal after agreeing to it).

5 PM – Finish off work for Client C and go through the Purchase Agreement with the associate to summarize the major points. Sometimes analysts get no exposure to the legal side of deals, but I was fortunate enough to learn about it here.

6 PM – Finish our summary and have the presentations department print presentations for a meeting between Client A and a potential buyer the next day.

6:30 PM – Passing in and out of consciousness due to (relative) lack of sleep the night before. Associate for Client C has a few changes and I make them quickly.

8 PM – Things slow to a crawl. No requests and no fire drills, so I start looking online for new furniture to decorate my apartment. I’ve missed dinner with everyone else so I go outside to find something to eat.

8:55 PM – Contemplate “leaving early.” Decide it’s too risky.

9 PM – Good thing I didn’t leave early. Client A calls us and wants to change the wording in one slide of our presentation. The only problem: the Director in charge is already on his way to the airport, 20 copies in hand. His flight leaves at 10.

9:30 PM – Changes made and another 20 copies in hand, I rush to the airport to drop off the revised presentation. The Director wonders why I’m out of breath when he sees me.

10:30 PM – Flood of emails from Client C. They do not want us to send materials out yet, despite the VP wanting to send them “today.” Sure enough, they have… more changes.

12 AM – Send the revised version to the associate for inspection. Head home. Only bad TV re-runs are on so I fall asleep quickly.

As I wrote above, this is the closest example I have of a “typical day” in investment banking: periods of calm followed by periods of chaos. Despite all the work, I even had some downtime to shop online!

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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22 Comments to “A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Wednesday”

Comments

  1. Zee says

    It’s a bit unrelated from your post above but it got me thinking of how analysts are placed in different categories as far as bonus compensation?

    How are analysts chosen to be classified in “top, mid, or lower” buckets for bonuses?

    It seems to me that either the work gets done or does not and would end up being a fairly subjective process.

    The only differences I could summarize are that some are: more efficient than others, more consistent, produce better quality, more reliable and/or more available?

    • says

      Zee: It’s pretty much exactly what you said. Reliability, quality, and consistency are the key factors for Analysts.

      In general there is a lot more downside risk to how Analysts get ranked than there is upside…. if you screw up once that will do a lot more damage to you vs. the good that delivering a pitch or something early would bring.

      It’s also highly dependent on who you work with – some people/groups are easier on Analysts than others.

  2. Bellerophon says

    I just read your week in the life of an analyst post, and I realized that there is hardly any DCF or LBO modelling involved. Given that your modelling skills are crucial in PE interviews, I was wondering how/when you learn to build such models.

    Thanks!

    PS: Your site is great!

    • says

      First off, DCF modeling is not really “essential” for PE interviews. As far as learning LBO models, the best way is to practice on your own using models from friends or from training courses. I would go through a few yourself, then try to create them (very, very simply) from the ground up and verify that you know how to do everything. I would get started with this mid-way through your first year.

  3. Adam says

    Presentations dept printing-

    Was wondering if you really have to bribe them with pizza & beer like mentioned in Money Business (I assume you’ve read the book) to get your stuff done in time.

    Cheers,

  4. Alastair says

    Hi. I love your website, so frank, straight to the point and somehow very interesting :)
    Sadly a lot of your academics are not entirely valid for me, since I’m in the UK (but that doesn’t matter).
    However, after reading many of these articles, I find it hard to believe people still want to join this particular industry, I do enjoy the world of finance but wow!

    Anyway, I guess that was a very badly hidden “why on earth bother?” question, but also a congratulations to the site.

    • says

      Well, what are the alternatives? Take a boring job at a normal company with no room for advancement? If you’re ambitious, you either do finance or start your own business…

      • Alastair says

        Fair point. I’ll see whether I can handle it if I get an internship soon anyhow – would you happen to know anything about lawyers/accountants who work in the city? Or perhaps similar websites for those professions.

        • says

          I don’t know offhand but I think the WSJ has a Law or Law Career-related blog, sometimes people on WallStreetOasis know something as well.

          • Alastair says

            Thanks again and take a peek. Anywho, in reply to your initial reply – a job at a normal company hardly leads to mediocrity 100% of the time, no? Then again – I suppose the rise could be much faster in finance.

          • says

            My friend at Microsoft got a 1% raise in his first 2 years there… unless you generate profit for a business, you are just an expense and no one will pay much for that. Sales is the best way to make a lot at a normal company due to commissions.

          • Alastair says

            Fair point. Well I’ll continue browsing and learning anyhow, unless some grand business prop. comes to my head.

  5. Sal says

    “Sometimes analysts get no exposure to the legal side of deals, but I was fortunate enough to learn about it here.”

    Joking,right??? (about the fortunate…)

  6. Roy says

    First, I just want to say that I love this site. Now to my question, is there an age limit that can stop someone from getting into investment banking?

  7. Peter Hauser says

    Hello.
    As I always hear different things, I ll ask the expert now.

    What is the average amount of sleep you get in M&A divisions at Goldman Sachs?
    Could you sleep 7 hours on average if you live close the office?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Haha, I’d say maybe around 6 hours/day if you’re lucky? Otherwise, maybe around 2-3 hours/day or none at all when you’re busy?
      If you’re very lucky, maybe. I would not count on it though.

  8. Joe Blow says

    I was curious why so many ibankers I know complain so much about their long hours, I wanted to see how much of that was serious work. It seems to me that the bulk of the work is doing this or that revision and rushing to deliver X to Y director or whatever, and the rest of the time is filled by just a need to be present in the office. Couldn’t the process be much more efficient if clients just made their own changes & used ‘track changes’ and stuff like that. Having one party go through a document/presentation, recommend specific changes, and a separate party make those changes seems highly inefficient.

    Instead of rushing around to hand-deliver copies of this or that, why not just send an email with the new copies and have them print out out at a kinko’s or something at their convenience. A lot of these struggles seem pretty unnecessary to me.

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