As an investment banker I am often asked what’s my everyday job — specifically, what’s your typical day like? Do you pull all-nighters every day?
Most people thought investment banking is glamorous, exciting with crazy working hours. While there is some truth to it, Investment Banking analysts and associates do spend a lot of time updating stock prices, preparing company profiles and binding books. So, all glamor comes with the grunt work, but that’s how we learn.
This is how I spent my days back then, in the M&A department in New York Headquarters…
8:30am — Get up and get ready for work. Skip breakfast. Check mobile.
8:45am — Leave home and walk 15 minutes to Subway.
9:15-9:30am — Arrive at the office.
Morning — Check email, continue to work on the pitch book or financial model from yesterday, and snack away.
Lunch time – Go down to Company cafeteria with fellow analysts and associates. May have time for window shopping or checking out movie / Broadway tickets for the weekend.
Early afternoon – Short meeting with the project team. Finish off with pitch book draft and ask VP to review. Go to library to request searches on a particular industry and prepare a Public Information Book (PIB) for another project. Chat with friends over the phone on weekend plans.
Late afternoon — Send presentation draft to Word Processing. Update the comps and league tables. Bring PIB to print room for binding, then swing by the Company gym and work out for an hour.
Evening — Order dinner with team members or fellow analysts / associates and eat together in conference room.
8pm-ish — Check whether the presentation is done at Word Processing and review for further edits. Call up Limo service for a 9pm pick-up. (For “early” requests it may take up to an hour). Call up the print room and library respectively and see if the PIBs and industry research are ready for pickup.
9pm-ish — Leave.
9:30pm — Home. Check mobile one last time before hitting the bed.
7am — Wake up. Likely pulled an all-nighter but managed to nap for an hour on MD’s sofa. Get back-up suit in the office and get changed.
7:15am — Meeting in MD’s office. Lots of changes. Keep the finger crossed that there are no glaring mistakes.
8am — Continue to work on the model and presentation. Time is running out. VP is breathing over you by 8:55am.
9:03am — MD decides to run an entirely different scenario. The model is not built for this extra demand. The associate is freaking out.
9:08am — Modify the model while the Associate works on the powerpoint.
9:36am — Show model to MD. He likes it and wants to put it in the presentation. But time is running out. Ask whether it is possible at all to put it in the appendix. Sure, he said. Thank goodness.
9:39am — Start printing the presentation books in the print room. Color printing takes forever.
9:48am — VP, Associate, you and the printroom guys frantically bind the books.
9:55am — Everyone dashes to the Limo to catch the flight at 11:15am. VP discovers one calculation error and two typos on the way. MD reassures it’s all right.
Afternoon — Arrive in client’s office in Chicago. MD delivers the presentation eloquently. Client is pleased.
Late afternoon — Internal meeting at the client’s conference room. Run a few more scenarios with client’s corporate finance team and prepare a presentation together for Board meeting tomorrow. Wait for comments from client’s Investor Relations and Legal team. Call up analyst buddies back in New York to email/fax in a few companies (client competitors)’ stock price charts and description pages from Bloomberg.
Evening – Dinner with client’s deal team. Go back to their office and revise the presentation after some comments from the CEO over the dinner. Check again with their IR and Legal team for approval.
Night — Finally time for rest. You didn’t realize how tired you are until now. You drop yourself in the king-sized bed in the ultra 5-star hotel but in fact you can drop dead anywhere.