A career in finance is challenging as money matters. When we deep-dive into some of the coveted work profiles in finance, we find that the working hours are generally longer and intricate as compared to normal 9 AM to 6 PM jobs.
The working hours in investment banking generally exceeds the average working period in a week. The immediate answer from any investment banking professional would be 80-100 hours per week. The hours might be long in equity capital markets, debt capital markets, mergers, and acquisitions. Reportedly, the hours are a bit longer in New York. In brief, the determining factor of working hours in investment banking is the end-client base.
Though 100 hours per week is worthful, the painful note is unpredictability. You may never know when you will be working and it will be difficult to commit to social life. You may never have your morning coffee due to late night stay (not every day). Though a significant downtime between hours occurs, the scenario is that in 17-hours of a day, you work for approximately 12 hours in which, a few hours require high mental energy. However, you should be ‘on-call’ the entire time.
Let us deep-dive into the reasons for long hours working in the investment banking profession.
Investment Banking Profession: Why Long Hours
Though there may be several reasons, a few are highlighted here.
- The clients pay one to fifty million dollars to get advised for a deal. It is normal to make oneself available for them at any time of the day. If any of the executives get upset with the client and the client cancels the deal, it would lead to revenue loss in dollars.
- The investment banking process is random, unpredictable, and it is impossible to plan a project as a school time-table to proceed with a fixed slot. Though there would be a lot of work at the beginning and end, a lot of random requests, events, or problems pop out always.
- During the tenure of a project, one person alone can ‘own’ the deal aspect. Each deal is different and requires client-specific knowledge and research. As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth, the division of labor possibility is lesser and unfair.
To be simple, time and attention are what the work profile needs and it could never be a tangible product.
Moving forward, the position and work nature also matter. As you advance in your investment banking profession, the nature of work and time spending changes. Generally, the Vice Presidents and Directors work less than Associates who in turn work less that Analysts. One may stay in the office editing documents, while others may spend time in travel, meetings, or calls.
The investment banks have done their best part in attempting to improve work hours and provide protected weekends or personal time. But, in practice, not all may be possible and not all the time. Working in an investment banking firm is like taking care of a baby that is ‘less than two years old or months old’, to be specific. If you love your baby, you do make night rounds, right? This is all about working hours in an investment banking firm. You can never expect fewer working hours. However, the hard work is worth it as you reap monetary benefits in the same terms.