by Brian DeChesare Comments (14)

A Day in the Life of a Former Investment Banker

Former Investment Banker

So, what do you do when you quit the world of investment banking?

I’m not talking about getting fired – I’m talking about when you voluntarily quit to do something else, ideally without a “Plan B” in place.

Is life less stressful? More fun? How can you entertain yourself all day?

And most importantly, what about the models and bottles?

To answer these questions and more, here’s an account of one day in my life shortly after I left investment banking, when I was “on vacation” for the first time in a long time.

Make sure you contrast this with¬†a week in the life of an investment banking analyst after you’re done.

6:30 AM – Wake up. Look next to me and confusion sets in when I see no Flashing Red Light: yes, my Blackberry is gone. For a moment I pause in panicked confusion.

Some habits die hard, and despite being “on vacation,” I can’t bring myself to wake up late. Being in a different time zone doesn’t help either.

8:30 AM – Sleep in for awhile longer. None of my other friends is awake yet. Back to sleep… for even longer.

11 AM – 11 sounds like a good time to wake up – everyone else is also conscious by now. It’s 2 PM or so back in the office, which means my friends there are probably being told that whatever model they’re working on currently is “needed ASAP” and watching VPs punch through car door windows.

12 PM – Head to lunch. Life near the beach is slow. We spend around 2 hours eating and reminiscing over the good old days. The whole time I keep looking down at my hands, only to see no Blackberry… still. My friends are wondering why the nervous twitch persists.

2 PM – Finally we finish up and leave. Can’t do anything too strenuous, though, so we head to the beach and sit in the sun for awhile. The water’s much more colorful than my Excel spreadsheets, even the ones with excessive color-coding.

4 PM – Time passes quickly when you’re in the sun all day. We go and play frisbee on the beach while some other friends head off to go kayaking.

5 PM – On our way back from the beach, I get a text message from a friend at work wondering about some model I worked on a long time ago.

While I’m under no obligation to answer questions anymore, without my bonus in my bank account yet I’m not about to take any chances.

Analyst bonuses are paid out in mid to late July or sometimes even later, so I have to be cautious (for associates and senior bankers it’s January/February).

And even without a Blackberry, I am still reachable 24/7 thanks to cell phones – so disappearing completely is not an option.

6 PM – Head over to the spa for a massage. Turn my cell phone off. There’s no way anyone’s interrupting this one, not even for the most urgent Excel question ever.

7 PM – Go back to our hotel and I do some more planning for my upcoming investment banking training program (what would later become Breaking Into Wall Street).

Today I’m outlining the material that would later be released as The Investment Banking Networking Toolkit.

I want to cover this because it’s a topic that goes untouched in most other training programs, and because there are hundreds, if not thousands, questions related to networking on message boards and in my email inbox.

See, even when I’m on vacation I manage to do some work – old habits…

8 PM – Go to a local restaurant for a late dinner. The food is almost as good as all the places back home, but there’s no $30 expensing of dinner each night so we’re a bit more conservative with spending.

Everyone loves expensing dinners at first, but eventually you realize eating out too much just results in even more of a gut than you’d normally get from staring at a computer all day.

As I wrote back in how to stay fit as a banker, I strongly recommend using your daily dinner expense at the grocery store instead of eating out all the time.

10 PM – Get back and get ready to go out. It’s a Monday night so there probably won’t be much in the way of models and bottles, but one can always hope.

11:30 PM – Luckily there are always people on vacation here so the club isn’t totally empty, but it’s not exactly happening either. In short: plenty of bottles but not enough models.

But hey, it’s a Monday night and this sure beats sitting in a cubicle until midnight.

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Hi,Nicole

    I am from India and pursuing BBA in one of the Italian university. What my plan exactly is getting a full time investment banking analyst job in London and work for 2-3 years and then i am planning to get into top tier business school in USA to pursue MBA for getting into HEDGE FUNDS industry. is investment banking exit opportunity and MBA in USA going to helpful for breaking into hedge funds (or) else shall i start networking directly to USA based hedge funds?.
    What do you think?. i am doing my best in college and apart from that I’ve been networking and planning to get an internship in London.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes an MBA from a target school can potentially help you. is a great article!

  2. I can’t find an article dealing with excel… but…

    if you’re preparing to be an intern, what’s the best and most efficient training for excel?

    What about full time?

    1. You can look at the training courses on this site, or for Excel training.

  3. Sounds relaxing. I would love to work as an Investment Banker… Not sure why, but I like the lifestyle… Wake up at 6 AM then sleep at 2 AM… Fun fun!

    1. Time is the most valuable commodity we all have and realising now that actually ibanking is not the route for me. Do traders, wealth/asset managers have problems getting time off?

  4. are you on permanent vacation aka retired now? how many years did you work in banking, and did you only work in banking? how old do you look compared to your actual age? :P

    1. I own my own business (this site!) right now, so it’s certainly not a “permanent vacation.” I look about 10 years younger than I actually am.

      See the About page for all the details.

  5. Avatar
    analyst 2

    Were you really an investment banker? what happened to a day in life Saturday/Sunday?

    1. Yes, I really did banking (see the older entries to verify).

      A bunch of people have asked me about Saturday/Sunday now so maybe I’ll add these on Friday…

  6. […] A Day In The Life Of A Former Investment Banker [Mergers and […]

  7. yes I am completely hands-up for “Networking into Investment Banking” course. This is completely lacking on the market and rarely do career offices give you great advice… (well maybe it’s coz im not at Harvard/ Wharton…)

    My friends and I are totally in for that section. So if you will offer that part separately from your other services, it will be a hit.

    oh yes and thank you for replying to my email. i was so happy when i saw your reply come up in my inbox =)

    1. Glad you think so too. Still deciding what form these courses will take, but I’m trying to make it as flexible as possible for everyone.

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