If you’re new here, please click here to get my FREE 57-web-page investment banking recruiting guide – plus, get weekly updates to enable you to break into investment banking. Why, perhaps you have destroyed the economy multiple times? What makes you stealing money from poor people? Why are you not in prison?
Oh, and now that you point out it… why do you work a lot? For many years, investment banks and other finance jobs have had a reputation for brutal, 80-100-hour workweeks. But then banks realized that this practice was killing people – several interns have died through the years literally. As a total result, the large banks started to implement “protected weekends” and mandatory time off for junior bankers. So, in the event you still expect 80-100 hours per week when you hear “investment banking hours”? Or do you want to reach have (a bit) more of a life? The Short Answer: Do Investment Bankers Work Weekends?
Initiatives like secured weekends have shifted the hours, but they haven’t changed the quantity of work that must be completed or your total time in the office. You will possibly not have to focus on Saturday, but you my work all day long on Sunday and even more on weekdays. These policies haven’t changed banks’ business models, which describe the long hours in the first place. But these insurance policies also haven’t transformed the fact that you won’t be doing “real work” for much of your in-office time.
What Do “Investment Banking Hours” Mean? When people start bragging about their long hours, you ought to be skeptical. It isn’t possible to do challenging, productive work that will require high levels of mental energy for 100 hours, 80 hours, or even 60 hours weekly. NOTE: Types of “challenging, productive work” might include writing a novel, coding a challenging algorithm in a software product, or conducting a negotiation with a sharp counter-party. PowerPoint/presentation work will not count, plus some financial analysis or modeling might count, but let’s be honest: plenty of work in IB doesn’t require that much thought. When bankers discuss “their hours,” they mean their amount of time in any office of what they are doing there irrespective.
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For example, if a banker reaches work from 9 AM to 2 AM, that’s 17 hours at work. But was he/she doing productive work that whole time? Occasionally the answer is “yes,” but of all days, there is significant downtime in between tasks. 9 AM to 12 PM: Browse the news and wait for the client to send financial information. The client is late.
12 PM to 3 PM: Do some mindless work control NDAs for another offer or updating company information or open public comps (AKA Comparable Company Analysis). 3 PM to 5 PM: Begin working on a valuation for a pitch next week. 5 PM to 7 PM: Client still hasn’t sent the information. 7 PM to 2 AM: Client finally transmits the financial information, but it’s horribly formatted.