by Brian DeChesare Comments (18)

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

Saturday Investment Banker

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

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. I see this was already answered. Thanks for the great series!

  2. When you’re called to the office on weekends do you need to go home and put a suit on or are casual clothes fine?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think going casual is fine unless you’re going to a client meeting on a weekend.

  3. Avatar
    Gaone Lloyd Ramatshaba

    Thanks for this info. I’m actually doing actuarial science but I am trying to see which is better compared to IB , when it comes to both hours and general lifestyle outcome

  4. Avatar

    What if there’s a fire drill and you aren’t able to complete it? For example, sourcing from potential acquisition deals in 30 minutes – you just weren’t able to find the necessary info/data or you were pulled off on some more urgent thing.

    What’s the appropriate behavior and reaction for a situation like this?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You explain why you can’t complete the task and offer a solution to make up for it …

  5. I see that your weekends are filled with a lot of hedonism.

    But since I don’t want to do any of that, (I don’t mean to be lame), which places in America, specifically, have less hardcore, or “Play Hard” cultures as in New York City, where someone who does not party or refuses to “go out”, and sleep instead will not shunned from his coworkers?

    1. Anywhere is fine, SF and Houston are probably more laid back.

  6. Quick question: Why can’t you just work from home? In other words, like the Board Presentation for example, have your colleagues or superiors send it to your email, and you complete it at home and send it back to them? Why is your physical presence needed in the office?

    Also, I’m assuming that you’re in Corporate Finance, as Investment Banking covers a variety of arms (at least it does here in Malaysia).

    1. Mostly a cultural thing, sometimes you’re just expected to be at the office if you’re working, also some banks don’t allow working from home (no VPN access) though there are exceptions

  7. Love the series. Quick question: On weekends when you “suddenly” have to go to the office to finish something do in 2 hours, does it matter what you’re wearing? do you have to get back into the formal wear or do you just go in what your already wearing?

    1. On weekends your attire doesn’t matter.

  8. I couldn’t give two craps about clubs and bars, but fishing is key for r&r and drinking a six pack on the tailgate of my truck (I’m a redneck, whatever I know it, I bet my “target school” gpa was higher though ha). Anyway, is that even a possibility if you need to be at the office in 20 minutes and your an hour away on your Saturday or Sunday?

    1. I stopped caring in my 2nd year so I did that kind of thing all the time, you probably want to be more conservative at first though.

      1. Thanks for the response, that makes sense in terms of fitting in with culture. Sorry if this is the wrong spot for this question, but would you say your articles about PE would transpose to venture capital? I know more startup experience is better for smaller firms, but bigger funds (I guess 500MM+) would you kind of try to follow the same path as an analyst trying to break into PE? Thanks.

        1. A lot of it still applies, but PE cares less about deal experience/modeling and is even more fit-focused. Generally the later stage VC it is, the more it starts to resemble PE instead. Anything growth-equity/late-stage focused would be similar to PE.

  9. Avatar
    The Deal Maker

    I love hookah, there are some really nice hookah lounges in NYC to have a good time.

    It’s light and relaxing with some really tasty flavors depending on the lounge’s flavor selection.

    I agree though, it really does hurt endurance dramatically. I noticed a marked improvement in stamina whenever I stopped for a month or two when playing basketball.

    It’s definitely good to enjoy once and awhile, there are some real nice exotic flavors you can find online or at shops that carry hookah tobacco since most lounges tend to only carry the most popular flavors.

    Starbuzz and Fumari tobacco are the two elite brands in hookah tobacco in my opinion, the priciest as well but deliver the most flavor.

    1. Thanks for the tips – I’ve gone occasionally before and it has been fun, but yeah I’m kind of a hardcore health nut now so I try to stay away…

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