Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's Your Pain Tolerance?

How committed to working in the investment banking division are you?

I've been searching around the internet looking for other investment banking resources to share with you and I came across the email below. The email was written on a Sunday morning, apparently after an all-nighter, by a analyst in the Healthcare group of a bulge bracket in New York.

Warning: Read at your own risk - you might find yourself second guessing your commitment to working in the IBD


Sent: Sun Sep 16 07:02:32 2007
Subject: Sorry everyone

I'm leaving the bank now.

I'm not made to do this. If I put my mind to something as much as I do
here to mindless text editing, copy and pasting, and getting yelled at
for stuff other people can't/won't/don't do, I would be much better off.
It's 6:43 a.m. on a Sunday, and I have at least 14 more hours of work to
do today that will not be fulfilling, useful, appreciated, recognized,
or paid for.

Sorry this is last minute, but it's just not worth doing more

My blackberry is on my desk

Apparently that failed staffing request was fatal (no, not as in I'm
going to kill myself, hehe, I'm just going to go enjoy life). There is
no happiness here.

I took all my personal stuff. No one needs to contact me for anything
(except for a drink for those of you with my personal number). I will
only be at my New York address a few days longer.

Good luck y'all,

Global Healthcare Group


As you're aware, investment banking is very demanding. I thought I knew what working 100 hrs/wk would be like but I didn't. No one knows what working 100 hrs/wk feels like until it's experienced first hand. As Jonathan alludes to above, you should be prepared to spend every waking hour sitting in a cubicle. Every week will not be like Jonathan's. There will be times when the workload consumes all of your energy for weeks at a time but there will also be periods when things are slower and you can enjoy a weekend with friends.

Before you spend one more second preparing for interviews, ask yourself if you are committed enough to persevere through the scenario above. If you're not, that's ok - your life will be far more enjoyable if you don't find yourself in a situation like Jonathan's. If you are committed, then keep pushing! You can land your dream job as long as you make the effort.


Anonymous said...

How exactly do you know if you are committed for a 100 hour weeks? Like you said, you didn't know if you were til you actually did it? How can someone prepare themself for this type of environment?

IBDBlogger said...

Good question.

Even though you might have not "felt" what working 100hr/wk is like, you still can imagine the scenario and make a generalized determination whether or not you are committed to it. Some people would read that email and know, immediately, that this sort of employment does not fit their personality, desires, etc. Conversely, other might read the email and say, I can hack that.

At the end, it's a matter of determination. How determined are you to work at an investment bank? What are you willing to sacrifice? If you're willing to make the sacrifice that Jonathan wasn't then you know can hack it.

Anonymous said...

Why don't ibanks just hire 2 people instead of one? That way each person can do 50 hr weeks with half the pay or something... They would also get people who actually love ibanking for the sake of ibanking...

Anonymous said...

There are several reasons why banks don't do this. The overhead for an additional employee is expensive. Think about the resources necessary to provide benefits, HR, IT, blackberries, training, etc.. So more people means increased overhead.

On the production level, the amount of information it takes to create a pitchbook or a financial model is immense. That amount information can't be communicated very quickly. Think about the complexities of a 80 page pitchbook with 30 different graphs that are specific to the project. The amount of time it would take for a different person to comprehend the book, and all the information in it, and then edit the book would all be wasted. Why not have the analyst who spent the first 50 hours putting together the book, finish it? This is particularly true of financial models. Think of the amount of information contained in a model and the structure of a model itself.

The time sensitive nature of the deal business also demands that analysts are on call 24/7. And unfortunately, most deals are time sensitive.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear your thoughts on how to survive if looking for a finance job now... let's face it... if you are beginning the journey in i banking right now... there are a ton of more qualified people to take your spot. What advice do you have for these people?



Everyone must decide that for themself.